By ADEBAYO OBAJEMU
When this reporter asked 15-year-old Uche, a pupil of Baptist Academy, Obanikoro, Lagos, who is his role model, he quickly said,” I want to be like Davido or Whizkid.” When asked why he would prefer to be like those artistes he had mentioned instead of an Achebe or a Soyinka, his reply was even more shocking. “Are they footballers or singers too?”
This reporter took time to explain to him that Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe are international writers from Nigeria, widely respected, but the teenager was not concerned, he said he does not want to be like them since they are not given money by Glo or MTN as their Ambassadors.
There have been concerns lately about the social responsibility of most companies in Nigeria, especially the big blue chip ones like MTN, Glo, Airtel, Nigeria Breweries and others. Most commentators say big multinationals and successful indigenous companies have a wrong set of values when it comes to fulfilling their social responsibility role as they are alleged to prefer spending on entertainment and music in general instead of on academic research and things of beneficial value to the society.
However, this situation may change as Nigerian banks are falling beside themselves to impress and win over the people with their public spirited programmes and initiatives as part of the corporate social responsibility, CSR. It has never been this good for the public and banks have suddenly taken CSR as major part of their operations.
Business Hallmark takes a look at the social responsibility content of some banks in 2018. Top banks including GTBank, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, FirstBank of Nigeria (FBN), United Bank of Africa (UBA) and 10 others are playing in the social sector. According to BusinessHallmark’s findings these banks spent over N8 billion on their Corporate Social Responsibilities in 2018.
While Zenith Bank Plc spent N3.06 billion, UBA spent N1.04 billion, GTBank spent N928.07 million, FBN spent N831 million, Access Bank (N376.75 million), FCMB (N315.80), Sterling Bank (N299.01 million), Stanbic IBTC (N233.40 million), Fidelity (N158.36 million), Wema Bank (N34.62 million), Union Bank (N30.20 million) and Unity Bank (N13.38 million).
GTBank spent a lot of money on arts, community development, education and others.
Arts — N49.70 million
The bank initiated Painting the future for tomorrow’s leaders when it engaged children with a 4-week Art635 Summer programme where they explored and harnessed their creativity through painting, sketching and photography.
It also promoted creative expressions through writing, harnessed art for economic development, conducted capacity building for female photographers, and preserved historical artefacts and monuments among others.
Community Development – N326.61 million
It launched a nationwide campaign, tagged “#SimpleChangeBigImpact” through which it collaborated with individuals and groups to invest in the social infrastructure of 20 communities nationwide.
Education – N544,964,714
Having transformed the Herbert Macaulay Library into a vibrant centre for personal learning and group interactions, GTBank also promoted innovation and academic excellence as it empowered four outstanding Junior Secondary School students; MordiMenashi, GbemiFamobiwo, Afolabi Williams and OsagumwenroUgbo, who created a Virtual Farm Application that helps farmers manage their farm and connect with their target market
N905,118, Others N5,888,200.
Anthony Emmanuel, a trend analyst and writer said GTBANK has upped its social responsibility quotient by investing in arts, infrastructure, education and the environment. “where they put money are the key areas, talk of education, environment and infrastructure, at least that’s of more benefit to society at large than giving money to artistes who are individuals. They are other areas especially education where corporate world needs to invest,because any investment in research will be of benefit to society. “
The bank spent N3.06 billion on various states governments’ security funds (N1.57 billion). Others are:
Sports organisations (N363 million);
Seed contribution to private health sector alliance (N305 million);
Financial inclusion project (N200 million),
Medical assistance to the underprivileged (N158 million);
Educational support to Nigerian schools (N131 million);
Information Communication Technology (ICT) centres for educational firms (N85 million);
Economic summit (N81 million);
Delta State principal Cup second edition (N43 million);
CFA Society of Nigeria, Musical Society of Nigeria, Centre for Value in leadership youth empowerment and LouisvilleGirls High School among others.
Anthony Emmanuel told this newspaper that banks in 2018 got their priority right on social responsibility as they invested on things that have direct benefit to transforming lives and society.
The Bank identifies with the aspirations of the communities and the environments in which it operates. It made contributions to charitable and non-charitable organisations amounting to N376.7 million, lower than the N567.02 million it spent in 2017.
It spent N100 million on its contribution towards deepening financial inclusion in Nigeria;
Lagos State Security Trust Fund (N100 million);
National MSME clinics in Nigeria (N40 million);
Donations to 2018 Brains Initiative (N14.7 million); and
Sponsorship of Capacity Building Programme for the Association of Senior Staff of Banks Insurance & Financial Institutions(N10 million).
Others are sponsorship of the 2018 International Press Institute Conference (N10 million), Supporting 2018 World Mosquito Day (N10,000);
Contribution towards commemoration of World Malaria Day 2018 (N6.03 million),
Sponsorship of the African Women Business Initiative (N5.50 million) and
Contributions to NSE’s Essay Competition (N5 million) among others.
FBN’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CR&S) involves meeting the needs of its current stakeholders now and in the future. It goes beyond financing economic activity in a responsible way to ensuring an inclusive, positive impact on our communities. It is about creating long-term stakeholder value by adopting the opportunities and managing the associated environmental, social and governance risks.
It concentrated on areas like:
Deepening Wealth Creation for Women across the Nation: Through FirstGem, its passion and drive to increase the number of women who take pride of place in business and wealth creation intensified. FirstGem is a bespoke solution to foster women empowerment across all socio-economic strata and supporting SMEs in Growing the Nation’s GDP:
The Bank organised several empowerment programs for SMEs tagged ‘SME Connect Series’. This initiative provides 360 degrees support to startups and scale-ups, offering practical and realistic solutions to numerous business challenges encountered.
Youth Empowerment Series: This is a program designed to sensitise children and young adults on issues relating to financial literacy with focus on financial discipline, savings, investment and career guidance. In 2018, children between the ages of 10 to 24 years were hosted at the 2nd edition of the Youth Empowerment Series which attracted about 1,350 youths across the Lagos metropolis.
Employee Giving and Volunteering: Its Employee Giving and Volunteering programme was set up to encourage employees to give back to the community and instil the integral corporate culture of giving.
Renovation of classrooms and donation of Boreholes: The Company renovated two blocks of classrooms at a primary school and also donated boreholes to both the primary school and the neighbouring secondary school located in a village near Abraka, Delta State among others.
The bank engaged in various community development initiatives either directly through UBA Foundation, its special purpose vehicle for Corporate Social Responsibility, or in partnership with credible non-governmental organisations and public institutions. They are:
Financial Inclusion and Public Enlightenment Project (N400 million);
AkwaIbom State Government Security Project (N177.25 million);
Ambrose Ali University, Edo State (N93.72million);
Taraba State Government Security Project (N84 million);
Abia State Government Security Project (N65.86 million);
Plateau State Specialist Hospital (N37 million);
Benue State Financial Management System (N32.88 million);
Taraba State University (N30 million);
National Youth Service Corps (N27.76 million); and
Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (N15.50 million).
Others are Delta State African Senior Athletics Competition (N10 million),
Flood Victims of Jibia Local Government Area, Katsina State (N10 million),
Augustine University, Lagos state (N10 million), Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University, and Niger State (N10 million) among others.
Dr. Olufemi Omoyele, a management consultant and lecturer at Redeemer University said ” we can give some measure of credit to banks. Their social responsibility is more defined, more relevant and more in tune with social need of the society.
But the same thing cannot be said of the manufacturing sector like Nigeria Breweries and others who invest in less valuable things such as entertainment or reality show, things that have no direct benefit to society. “