Ten of the Nigerian banks quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) spent a total of about N12.2 billion on travels for the financial year ended December 2020.



This represents a 38.7% drop from the N19.8 billion spent in the same period in 2019, and is much lower than the N22.56 billion recorded in 2018. These were obtained from the banks’ financial reports.


The banks are GTBank, Zenith Bank, United Bank of Africa (UBA), First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN), Fidelity Bank Plc, Wema Bank, Stanbic IBTC, FCMB, and Sterling Bank Plc.


 

What it means
The drop could be attributed to the lockdown imposed by the Federal Government due to the coronavirus pandemic, which hit the nation in February 2020.


The development forced most businesses, including banks switch to virtual operations in compliance with the government’s sit-at-home directive.


The lull is not limited to the travel expenses of the banks alone, it also took a toll on the revenue of airlines and aviation handling firms. Though none of the airlines are listed on the NSE, which made it difficult to access their data, two aviation handling firms listed on the Exchange, recorded a drop in their revenues.

What you should know
The pandemic, which warranted nationwide lockdown measures, had adverse effects on businesses (the banking sector included) and the economy as a whole. Many financial institutions, especially in commercial cities, were forced to suspend operations, resulting in job losses and salary cuts.

As financial services were not categorised by the government as essential services, the comparatively large drop in bank travel expenses was not unexpected.