Category Archives: Business Updates

5G Network has no license to operate in Nigeria – FG.

Series of conspiracy theory has been making the rounds drawing the relationship between electromagnetic waves emitted from 5g networks and the novel coronavirus.

The unconfirmed theory has it that the frequency from the wave emitted causes destructions on the human cells.

However, reacting to the rumour and outcry from some Nigerians that the authorisation for such should not be granted in Nigeria, the presidential aide on social media, Lauretta Onochie has come out to categorically stated that such licence has not been granted to anybody.

She made this known via a statement on her official Twitter handle on Saturday, 4th April.


Why we are changing our name – ICSAN.

The President of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries of Nigeria (ICSAN), Mr. Mode Ayeku, has said that the over 50-year-old institute will soon be rechristened to reflect its mandate on ‘corporate governance’.

Speaking at ICSAN’s corporate headquarters in Ikeja, Lagos, Ayeku, who is the 27th president, said the roles of chartered secretaries transcends the traditional organising and taking minutes of meetings, to being governance professionals.

He said: “About five decades ago, when you mention ‘chartered secretary’, the attention was solely limited to secretaries of companies, and public organisations. In fact, the impression was that they were just there to take the minutes.

“Interestingly, If you look at the emerging trend starting from the 90s, when we started having code of corporate governance, the role of chartered secretaries have changed dramatically. We are now in a strategic role of being governance professionals.

We are no longer people who sit in the background and being given instructions to carry out. We are now seen as trained professional that will chart a course for best practices in an organisation.

According to him, secretaries are expected to be the central source of guardian for the company and other organisations they work for on issues bordering on ethics, conflict of interest and corporate governance.

Ayeku is optimistic that ICSAN members stand to profit a lot from the proposed name change.

“When you are called a governance professional, it is impossible for anybody to specifically identify who you are. At present, the country has various nomenclatures we have in the economy like secretary, permanent secretary personal secretary, private secretary.

But, because that particular word have been used in various occasions, there is now a confusion when you say you are a chartered secretary.

Continuing, he said: “Chartered secretaries should know they are now dealing with the economy in terms of management and governance of companies and therefore guiding an organisations into doing things that are proper and right.

So, when there are issues in a corporate organisation, everyone knows its either the chartered secretary did not advise the board properly or the company in question refused to heed his advice.

Although he hopes the rechristening might happen sooner than Nigerians expect adding that there is no way the new mandate would not reflect once a new name is conjured. “I can assure you it will not be long,” he said.

He assured that it will be in line with what obtains globally. “Our entire institutes have ‘corporate governance’ (in their new names).

So, by the time the name is finalised, it will show the whole world particularly our stakeholders here that this is the institute saddled with entrenching corporate governance. The name will tell you at a glance that this is a group comprising governance professionals.

We are doing it via the normal process. We have an enabling Act. The name cannot be changed overnight. We have to recourse to the National Assembly to explain to them the new strategic role,” he noted.


PMS reduces to N125 – Minister of petroleum resources, Timipre.

The Federal Government has directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to reduce the pump price of petrol from N145 to N125.

This, the government said, was to reflect the current crash in the global price of crude oil.

President Muhammadu Buhari approved the price reduction after the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, briefed him on the matter.

Sylva also made a presentation to the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday.

“The drop in crude oil prices has the expected open market price of imported petrol below the official pump price of 145 per litre,” the document said.

It added, “Therefore, the FG is directing the NNPC to reduce ex-coastal and ex-depot prices of PMS to reflect the current market realities.”

Speaking with journalists after the session, he said the new price would take “immediate effect”.

The government directed the NNPC and the PPPRA to work out the details.

He added that the pump prices of diesel and kerosene would also be reduced.

Sylva said the NNPC would roll out all the new prices soon. ‎

Crude oil sells for about $29 per barrel, dropping from about $60 in December.


13 internet fraudsters arrested in Ilorin.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ilorin Zonal Office, has arrested 13 persons over their alleged involvement in offences bordering on Internet fraud and other fraud related offences.

This is contained in a statement signed by the commission’s spokesperson, Mr Tony Orilade, and made available to newsmen in Ilorin on Wednesday.

The suspects are Babatunde Omiyale, Salau Olumide, Akinsanya Ridwan Olamide, Akinola Eniola, Bashir Abdulbasit, Jide Owolabi, Kolade Balogun and Salawu Oluwadamilare.

Others are Akinola Opeyemi, Adewumi Johnson, Abiola Adedeji, Oyeyemi Caleb and Salawu Victor.

According to the statement, the suspects were arrested at strategic locations within Ilorin metropolis based on intelligence reports gathered by the commission.

According to the information received, the suspects were involved in offences bordering on Internet fraud, and they have confessed to the crime.

“Several incriminating documents were printed from their mobile phones and laptop computers recovered from them.

“They will soon be charged to court,” /mOrilade said.


N130: Nigerian fuel price reduce from N145 by N15.

Following global crash in price of crude oil, the federal government has also approved a reduction in the pump price of price of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol from N145 to N130.

Sources at the presidential villa said the President Muhammadu Buhari approved the reduction in the pump price of petrol followed a presentation by the Minister of State on Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, to the ongoing Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Villa.

According to the source, who would not want to be named, Sylva had made a request to the FEC for the reduction of pump price of the product, based on the drop in the price of crude oil at the global market.


Ecobank announces new appointment.

Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, ETI, the Lomé-based parent company of the Ecobank Group, announces two new appointments and changes on its Board of Directors.

Dr. Georges Agyekum Nana Donkor has been appointed as a Non-Executive Director to replace Mr. Bashir Mamman Ifo as the representative of Ecowas Bank for Investment & Development (EBID) on the Board of ETI.

Donkor was recently appointed President of EBID following the retirement of his predecessor Mr. Bashir Ifo. Dr. Donkor is a Lawyer, Banker and Marketing Consultant with over twenty-five years’ experience in Senior Management capacities across several fields such as Finance, Strategic Management, Marketing, Legal, Compliance and Administration.

A statement issued by Adenike Laoye, Group Head, Corporate Communications, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, on Wednesday said the Board also announced the appointment of Mrs. Zanele Monnakgotla as a Non-Executive Director and nominee of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) of South Africa on the Board. Mrs. Monnakgotla has over 20 years’ public and private sector experience in Structured Finance and Strategy. She is replacing Dr. Daniel Matjila who resigned from the ETI Board when he left his role as Chief Executive Officer of PIC.

Mr. Emmanuel Ikazoboh, Chairman of the Board of ETI, commenting on the changes said: “We must first of all, sincerely express our appreciation to Mr. Ifo and Dr. Matjila for their contributions on the Board and their tireless dedication to the Ecobank Group.

“We know that they will always remain members of the Ecobank family. As we formally bid them farewell, I do warmly welcome, both Dr. Donkor and Mrs. Monnakgotla and believe that their respective expertise would be most beneficial to the Board.”


First Bank set to merge with Heritage Bank & Polaris Bank.

Nigeria will soon witness an­other round of merger and acquisition in the banking sector as financial advisers are putting finishing touches to a merger arrangement be­tween First Bank of Nigeria, Heritage Bank and Polaris Bank.

A source privy to the merger informed reporters that both Polaris and Heritage have been looking for a worthy bank to do busi­ness with as they have been told by the apex bank, the Cen­tral Bank of Nigeria (CBN), after a round of stress test in banks last year to shape up or lose their licence.

The source also informed that these three entities are vigorously pursuing the merger and acquisition talks across all available means.

It was gathered that Polaris Bank, for­merly Skye Bank, for instance, which is currently under the Asset Management Corpora­tion of Nigeria (AMCON), is up for sale since it became a bridge bank in 2018.

The CBN had stated in Oc­tober last year that seven com­mercial banks in the country failed stress test in adequate funding at the end of 2018.

In a financial stability re­port published by the bank, it was revealed that in less than 30-day period analysis, seven Nigerian banks were not ad­equately funded, while in the 31-90 days bucket, nine banks had funding gaps.

Overall, the cumulative po­sition for the industry showed an excess of N4.8 trillion as­sets over liabilities.

The banking regulator, however, did not mention the names of the seven of the banks but it privately in­formed the affected banks to look into the possibility of merger and acquisition to prevent a total collapse.

A financial expert, Tola Odukoya, Chief Executive Of­ficer, FSL Asset Management Limited, said the merger will bring good tidings to the bank­ing industry.

He Said:

“It will lead to fresh consolidation exercise in the banking industry. You know that Polaris is current­ly under the Central Bank of Nigeria, I mean it is an AMCON bank. We were made to understand last year by the CBN that it may call for recap­italisation of some banks”. ­

He added that a merger be­tween these three banks will probably birth the biggest bank in the country.

“You know we have more banks than we used to have before with the issuance of banking licence to some mer­chant banks and regional banks.

“Within this our current economic situation one may ask what are these banks do­ing? Are they providing bank­ing services to the people? Are they offering proper banking intermediation?

“To that extent, the merger to me is welcomed. I am of the opinion that it is better to have 10 percent in a big bank than to have 100 percent in a bank that is drowning.

What is your say to this?

Will this enhance their service?

Let’s hear from you


Nigeria: Government to conduct census of business.

The Federal Government yesterday, indicated its intention to conduct a census of all business establishments across the country.

Speaking yesterday, in Asaba, Delta State, during a stakeholders’ sensitisation workshop on National Census of Commercial and Industrial Businesses (NCCIB), the Statistician General of the Federation (SG), Dr Yemi Kale, said that the effort would enable the government have a comprehensive list of all establishments in the country.

“It will also help us to determine the structure of enterprises in Nigeria by sectors and the spread across the states and all the 774 local government areas (LGAs).

In addition, the census will further help us to classify businesses into micro, small, medium and large establishments,” he said.

The SG who sought the cooperation of stakeholders in the exercise, assured the stakeholders that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) would collaborate with World Bank to endure the integrity of the information from the exercise.

“World Bank will deploy the use of modern Information Communication Technology (ICT) at every stage of the conduct of the census. In particular, we shall be using the Computer Assisted Personnel Interviewer (CAPI) devices during the field operations…”


We will make agriculture alternative revenue earner – Wike.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said the government is working to make agriculture a major revenue earner for the state, in view of the dwindling revenue from oil.

Speaking, yesterday, during a courtesy visit by the Kingdom of the Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Harry Van Dijk, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Governor Wike said the state government will partner Netherlands to build its agricultural base.

He said: “We are going into agriculture in order to diversify the economy of the state. We want to partner investors from your country to develop agriculture and create employment opportunities for our people.

“With the price of oil crashing, it is necessary to get alternative sources of income. We know Netherlands is good in aquaculture and we will collaborate in that area.”

The governor said his administration has improved security to ensure investors operate freely without hindrance.

“We have developed a system to tackle criminality. We have drastically reduced the level of insecurity in the state and that has improved the business climate.

“We have developed roads and we are developing other basic infrastructure to create access across the state,” he said.

The governor added that the state government has established a medical and teaching hospital to groom the next generation of doctors and medical professionals.

He commended the Netherlands government for working with relevant stakeholders to clean up impacted sites in Bodo, Gokana Local Government Area.

He said some improvements have been made, but it is not enough as the Ogoni communities need total remediation to carry on with their lives.

Earlier, Dijk said: “We are here to inspect the clean up sites in Bodo. We witnessed the replanting of the mangrove with the support of Shell Petroleum Development Company.”

The ambassador said 800 people from Bodo community got certificates for the training they received and work they have been doing to reclaim sites.

He said the Netherlands government is willing to discuss areas of partnership with the Rivers government for the development of the state.

#Newsworthy. .

2020 Budget: FG releases N295b for capital project.

The Federal Government on Friday disclosed that it has released the sum of N295 billion for some selected critical infrastructural projects under the 2020 budget.

It also said it has released the sum of $220 million (about N67.1 billion) as its counterpart funding for railway projects.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who made this disclosure to State House correspondents, said the releases were made under transportation, Niger Delta, Works, and Housing ministries.

Ahmed said this after the presidential committee to review the impact of coronavirus on the economy, submitted its interim report to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.

She disclosed that the president had directed the committee to do more consultations and report to him next week.

Details later…


Oil fall: Professionals calls for immediate development.

Some economic experts, on Thursday, expressed the need for the Federal Government to immediately and purposefully develop the non-oil sector to mitigate the effect of slump in oil price in the international market.

The experts gave the advice, while speaking with newsmen in Ibadan on the implications of falling oil price.

A Policy Economist, Dr Olumuyiwa Alaba, told newsmen that government must, as a matter of urgency, build the sectors that would sustain the value of the Naira in the face of oil price crash.

He said that the implications of the slump in oil price was that the nation was likely to run a budget deficit close to about N5 trillion, if the current budget was not reviewed.

“We might not be able to do any capital project, because we were only struggling to do capital projects even when things were going well for us.

“It means we are going to borrow massively to sustain the budget. This, by implication, means that our debt profile will increase.

“Government will have borrow more, both domestically and internationally, as it must meet its obligations in terms of being able to pay salaries and so on.

“If the rest of the world trusts us, we can increase our foreign debt profile, as borrowing internally will crowd out the private sector, thus pushing it out of the market,” he said.

According to him, proactive measures were needed to sustain the economy, in terms of strengthening the macroeconomic fundamentals.

He expressed the fears that inflation as well as interest rates might rise, if proper actions were not taken.

Alaba said the country might not escape devaluation of naira, if oil prices keep falling.

He opined that the border closure had not really helped legal trade to thrive but the illegal ones, as the Nigeria Customs Service kept seizing illegally-imported goods at various stores in the country.

The policy economist, however, enjoined the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to focus on its core functions, which, he said, were monetary policy, reserve management and foreign exchange management.

Another financial expert, Mr Tunji Adepeju, said that government was taking the right measures by reviewing the 2020 budget to meet the present realities.

“The good thing is that we are already looking at other sources of revenue, that is, the non-oil sector.

“The reserve from the non-oil sector has risen, particularly taxes, while solid minerals and tourism too are moving up.

“Government should review everything and come to terms with what is going on.

“The implication of this is not being able to finance the budget and depletion of our foreign reserves,” he said.

Concerning the proposed N22 billion loan, Adepeju said the Federal Government had no other option than to borrow, especially for infrastructural development.

“Owing to the fact that the revenue source to support or finance such development is not available, borrowing is the only option left,” he said.

Adepeju, however, said that if the country must borrow, it must be for specific purposes.

“All that is left is for Nigerians to monitor and ensure that such monies are used for the purpose for which they are meant,” he said.

The experts, however, said that they expected growth in the economy to translate into good living conditions for Nigerians, with the hope that if managed well, the nation’s economy would not slide into recession for the second time.

Newsmen report that oil price slumped to $30 per barrel on Monday, but picked up to $37 per barrel on Tuesday.

Some experts have hinged this development on the effects of the trade and technology wars between Saudi Arabia and Russia, and more importantly, the spread of Coronavirus across the world.


Just in; Access Bank launches TraderLite.

Access Bank Plc has launched TraderLite, an account that enables micro-businesses with turnover between N50, 000 and N1 million to operate their businesses with their individual names or registered business names. The aim, according to the bank, is to stimulate the growth of the economy.

At the launch of the new product, Victor Etuokwu, Executive Director, Retail Banking, Access Bank, told newsmen that the bank looks at its customers beyond being just customers but also as partners. In his words: “The future of Nigeria’s economy is Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises because they can provide more than enough jobs to the unemployed if empowered. And that is why the bank’s passion is to offer more than financial services to its customers and also work with them in growing and expanding their businesses. Whichever category you fall into, we are here to work with you to take your business to a whole new level.

“TraderLite, a variant of the Diamond Business Advantage account within the bank’s emerging businesses portfolio, is specially designed for micro-businesses with the aim of providing financial inclusion for businesses in that segment while equipping them with the required skills to grow their businesses.

“The product has two variants namely: DBA TraderLite Individual, which is for individuals with unregistered businesses and DBA TraderLite Business, for registered businesses. The DiamondBusiness Advantage proposition from Access Bank has been designed to add value to micro, small and medium- scale business owners so that they can grow their businesses with smart banking. The proposition provides SME’s market linkages, increased referral base and networks that enable them scale the hurdles of accessing new markets for their products.

“Networking sessions such as business clubs, business clinics, and business seminars enable MSME customers to expand their referral base by interacting with other MSMEs.”

The statement says: “Access Bank is the leading retail bank in Nigeria with over 600 branches and more than 40 million customers. The bank offers products and services tailored to suit the lifestyle of every Nigerian irrespective of age and demographic.”


Lecturers who are not on IPPIS won’t get future salaries – Minister of Finance.

Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed has stated that lecturers who have not enrolled for the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System(IPPIS) will not get their February salary.

The Minister who disclosed this at the opening ceremony of a management retreat in Kano on Thursday March 5, said the objective of capturing lecturers on the IPPIS is to check corruption.

Zainab also revealed that in spite of the resistance from the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), 55 per cent of its members have been captured on the platform.

She said;

“Unfortunately most reforms that you undertake you come across resistance. We have had resistance from ASUU on the implementation of the IPPIS and I am happy to report that at least up to 55 percent of ASUU members are registered and the ones that have not are not getting their February salary.

Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed

“It is in eliminating ghost workers because you register on the IPPIS using biometrics and we are currently working with the office of the head of service to link up the IPPIS HR management module with the payroll itself. It will help us better maximise the efficiency of the system.

“I know that we have up to 70,000 ghost workers that have been identified in this process and we hope that we will come to a time when we will say that we have no ghost workers.”


Biz: 1st Bitcoin ATM launched in Nigeria

Today, a firm, Patricia launched its exclusive PATRICIA BITCOIN ATM CARD, which some stakeholders called Africa’s First Bitcoin card; a global initiative that simplifies the way its current and new users interact with bitcoin, giving them access to do everyday financial transactions at the swipe of a card.

It was learnt that the firm is offering a simple, single entry-point to the company’s specialized card, a system which gives both old and new users instant ability to withdraw cash directly from their BTC or Naira wallets, make POS and web transactions, and as well withdraw cash, do transfers on any ATM machine just like the regular bank’s ATM card smooth and fast.

The Patricia Card enables the user to carry out instant transactions with no delay or network issues. The users can partake via their Patricia wallet, which enables them to store their bitcoins, save cash and as well as transfer to any wallet both within and outside the eco-system. The company intends to leverage its insights and customer-centric services, engage new customers, and reach new markets and segments. This is in addition to Patricia’s commitment to financial inclusion, focused-based product development, and helping to create solutions that enable a more inclusive economy.

“The thing about vision is that it should be ambitious and futuristic, but achievable. We understand that payments won’t (and can’t) change overnight and that there will be a long transitional phase before the world starts to fully transact in digital currencies.That’s why we combine digital infrastructure with existing card processing and banking infrastructure. This is a necessary step to drive the mass adoption of digital cryptocurrencies.
“With the Patricia card, our users all over the world have access to cash, pay bills, make over-the-counter or inshore transactions, buy data and make subscriptions. We will allow you spend your bitcoin, anytime, everywhere and anywhere,” said Fejiro Hanu Agbodje, Founder, Patricia Technologies Limited.


NDIC handed victory in N1.4bn debt recovery case

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) on Thursday said it secured a judgment against Jolimair Nigeria Limited and three other debtors who owed the defunct Gulf Bank Plc the sum of N1.4 billion.

The corporation achieved the feat in its capacity as official liquidator of financial
institutions in Nigeria.

In a debt recovery suit Number: FHC/L/CS/1328/17 – NDIC (Gulf Bank) vs. Jolimair Nigeria Limited & three others, the NDIC prayed the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos for the recovery jointly and severally from the respondents of the total debt sum of N1,494,987,317.44.

The amount was due and payable by Jolimair Nigeria Limited to the Gulf Bank
(in-liquidation) as at 16th January, 2006 when the defunct bank’s operating licence was revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The amount was in respect of the banking facilities granted by the bank in-liquidation and guaranteed by three other respondents in the suit; Joseph Samir Karkar, Abbas Shour and Patrick Sule Uduka.

When the matter came up for judgment on 31st January, 2020, the presiding Judge, Honourable Justice Ibrahim Buba
granted the reliefs sought by the NDIC in respect of the N1.4bn debt. The judge
said the respondents failed to tender any documents before the court to prove
that their indebtedness to the bank in-liquidation had been settled, adding
that people like them were responsible for the failure of the bank.

The court also agreed with the NDIC that the Respondents owed interest on the total debt sum calculated from the 16th January 2006 at the rate of 21 per cent per annum until the whole debt was fully liquidated, in addition to a cost of N500,000.00 awarded against the Respondents.

NDIC, in exercise of its power as the liquidator of Gulf Bank (in-liquidation)
instituted the debt recovery case against Jolimair Nigeria Limited in 2017, under the Failed Banks Act to recover the outstanding sum of N1,494,987,317.44
owed to the closed bank by the respondents.


How to get job after having Degree, HND, BSC, others

The Federal Civil Service Commission of Nigeria (FCSC) is an executive body in Nigeria that has the authority to make appointments, transfers and exercise disciplinary control over all Federal Civil Servants. No officer can be appointed into the Civil Service without authorization from the Federal Civil Service Commission.

The Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) is the body mandated to recruits qualified Nigerians to different Ministries, Departments and Agencies, such as:

(i) Federal Ministry of Information

(ii) Federal Ministry of Environment

(iii) Federal Ministry of Justice;

(iv) Federal Ministry of Trade and Investments

(v) Bureau of Public Procurement.

To apply for Nigerian Federal Civil Service Recruitment into ministries, departments and agencies. All qualified Nigerians with OND, HND, BA/BSC are advised to follow the instructions below on how to apply for recruitment in FCSC.

1.Collection of Application form.

For avoidance of doubt, the application form is free. Qualified applicants can always collect the FCSC application forms in the FCSC Headquarters, 4 Abidjan Street, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. From the office of the Chairman States Civil Service Commissions. The documents and credentials listed below must be presented before the collection of the application form. They include

# A copy of your CV

# A degree / HND certificate

# NYSC discharge certificate

# Secondary school certificate

# First School leaving certificate.

# Birth certificate / Age declaration

# Local Government identification from Chairman not Laison office.

2. Filling of the application form

To fill the applications form, applicants is expected to fill the application accordingly as instructed in the form. What you will fill in the form should be the exact of what you have in your documents.

3. Submission of the form.

The completed application forms must be submitted where it was collected on or before six (6) Weeks from the date of the Publication (Advertisement).

Hope this information is helpful, don’t forget to share with your friends and family.


VAT: BEDC improve power supply

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday said it would mobilise Nigerians to resist any form of increment in the electricity tariff, be it in form of Value Added Tax (VAT) or others.

This is even as it said it has nothing to do with the ongoing public hearing on the proposed increase in the electricity tariff across the country.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, who spoke in Lagos yesterday warned that the labour centre would not support any increase in the electricity tariff as it would further impoverish Nigerians.

Continue reading VAT: BEDC improve power supply

Nigerians should prepare for more electricity pay – TCN

Mr Usman Mohammed, Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has said that consumers should be prepared to pay more for electricity in order to ensure regular power supply in the country.

The TCN boss said this on Friday in Lagos during the Groundbreaking for the Replacement of old wires on the Ikeja West-Alimosho-Ogba-Alausa-Ota Transmission Lines.

According to him, Nigerians have to be prepared to pay more for electricity because there is no relationship between poverty and payment of electricity.

“I want to tell the Nigerian public that we cannot move forward if we do not pay more for electricity.

“There is no relationship between poverty and payment for electricity.

“For the poor, give them electricity and a means of measurement and manage their cost.

“But if we don’t initiate a cost reflective tariff system and the situation continue like this, public funds would continue to sink in the sector in futility,” Muhammed said.

The TCN boss also urged the government to stop subsidizing the power sector in order to move the sector forward.

“We have to be prepared to remove government in the middle, this issue of government guaranteeing everybody won’t work.

“The facts is that contracts are not effective and government cannot continue guaranteeing the Generation Companies (GENCOs) where it already sank over N1.5 trillion.

“The expenses can only be stopped when contracts become effective through cost reflective tarrifs.

“We have to stop this government intervention and we can only stop it when contracts become effective.

“Contracts can only be effective when you have cost-reflective tariffs.

“When contracts are effective, everybody is binded by certain agreements,” he said.

According to him, Nigeria has the cheapest electricity in West Africa and we can’t say we are the poorest.

“Even Burkina Faso is having collection efficiency of 98 per cent, despite their location within the sub region, we therefore have to solve the problem of market issues,” said the TCN boss.

Mohammed said that the issue of load rejection by Discos could also be resolved once bilateral contracts were effective.

Speaking on the cable replacement project, the TCN boss said that the power transmission lines were built many years ago with limitations on the quantity of electricity they were carrying, making the upgrade inevitable.

“So, we are in the process of replacement of old wires on the Ikeja West-Alimosho-Ogba-Alausa-Ota transmission lines.

“Due to the current management quest of improving availability of electricity in the country, there have been series of transformer installations across the country, and there is need for a line that can supply power to all the transformers.

“This installation will increase the current capacity of this station to about two and half capacity compared to the old capacity of 200mw.

“The line to be re-conducted has 664MW capacity of transformer, and the current line has only 200MW of capacity, so the re-conducting would increase the capacity by 2.5 per cent which would upgrade it to 500MW.

“That means all transformers the line Ikeja West is covering between Abeokuta and Lagos will be energised.

“The project would improve power supply to residents under Ikeja Electric network,” he said.

Mohammed said that the timeframe for the reconstruction of the line was six months, adding that re-conducting was also taking place at other locations such as the line from Alagbon transmission to Ikorodu down to Maryland, among others.

The TCN boss said that being the largest TCN Sub Station in Nigeria, there were likely to be outages along the network connected to the transmission line.


Breaking: CBN return excessive charges to customers

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday said it has so far recovered over N60 billion from erring banks as excessive charges imposed on customers. The bank also said it has equally returned same amount to the affected customers.

This is just as the Apex Bank announced that it had commenced the processes for creation of 10 million jobs in the next five years through investment support in agriculture, using 10 commodity models.

Speaking during a two-day customers sensitisation forum in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the CBN Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor said the recovery of the excess bank charges was made possible through the bank’s Consumer Protection Department.

According to him, the amount was recovered following complaints by 13,000 customers over excess and illegal charges on their accounts by banks.


How to deal with high electricity tariff – Professor

A Howard University Professor of Mechanical/Energy Engineering, Prof. Sylvester Egwu, has highlighted how the Federal Government can resolve challenges impeding improved electricity supply in the country.

Egwu, who is also the Chief Executive Officer, KAKU Professional Engineers, made the call in an interview on Thursday in Lagos.

According to him, to achieve 24-hour uninterrupted electricity supply, the Federal Government needs to decentralise electricity generation to allow states, local governments and private sector to generate and add to the national grid.

”If the 36 states can generate 1,000 Mega Watts (MW), it will amount to 36,000MW that will be added to the present generation hovering between 3,390 and 4,678MW.

”The interested private sector will also generate some Mega Watts that will still be added to the national grid which will increase the nation’s electricity generation significantly.

”Once generation is taken care of, the problem will remain what to do with the excess power which will be solved by overhauling of the present Distribution Companies (DISCOs) as constituted.

”Nigeria needs to move forward by improving power infrastructure and making the power sector workable as without power nothing will function properly in the country,” he said.

Egwu other countries which had developed their power sector properly allowed the states, provinces and private sector to generate electricity.

He said that Nigeria could boast of tested professional engineers who could drive the 24-hour power realisation.

Egwu added that the engineers just needed a conducive and enabling environment to turn the power sector around.

He said that the Federal Government needed to move the power sector from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List, and recommended a restructuring of DISCOs, saying present structure of the DISCOs make them to be under full control of federal government.

”With the DISCOs still under the control of the federal government, it will never work.

”To make the power distribution effective, the DISCOs need to be fully privatised and the stakeholders allowed to distribute electricity in their priority areas,” said the expert.

Egwu said that with 24-hour electricity supply, Nigeria would easily become industrialised.

He said poverty, unemployment and crime rates would go down, the livelihood of Nigerian citizens would improve while the economy would boom


Annuity business set to suffer neglects

…insurers record loss

Although the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has disclosed the insurance sector life annuity fund por\tfolio stood at about N323 billion as at the end of the second quarter of 2019, reports have it that operators’ balance sheets have been negatively affected by the annuity business.

According to data obtained from the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), out of the 11 life assurance companies that took annuity business in the 2018 financial year, five recorded losses.

Investigations on the firms that suffered losses revealed that they decided to minimise the uptake of annuity due its low returns on investment, volatility and inflationary pressure.

In fact, three of the affected companies have put off underwriting annuity for the time being while the other two have decreased their annuity business volume as profits continue to dip.

According to industry sources, the annuity business has not been profiting to most life insurance companies because of the pricing mechanism and inflation which tend to overshadow the premiums paid by annuitants.

They asserted that the fact that some pensioners now have longer life duration than those in the previous years, has compelled annuity to be a risky business for some insurers.

Worried by this development and the impact it will have on its financial stability, AIICO Insurance Plc, African Alliance Insurance Plc, LASACO Assurance Plc, Niger Insurance Plc, Royal Exchange Plc, have decided to slash their annuity businesses they write until the status of the business becomes better yielding.

It will not be surprising if more insurance firms decide to either suspend or slash their annuity business volume in the next couple of months in line with set precedent.

Speaking on the issue in a media interview, the Managing director/CEO, Niger Insurance Plc, Mr. Edwin Igbiti, said, interest rate and pricing of annuity plan are a major challenge, adding that, his company decided to reduce annuity intake and concentrate more on annuitants already in the books of Niger Insurance Plc.

Igbiti noted that currently, his company is paying its annuitants as and when due, so, limiting annuity business was purely a business and investment decision.

He however noted that low awareness on annuity as well as de-marketing of annuity plan and the desperation of most Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to still keep pensioners’ contributions in their coffers, are the issues that must be addressed to realise the full potential of annuity in the insurance sector.

According to him, “the way annuity business is now, it is better to concentrate on what (annuitants) you have on your books than bringing in new annuity business. To get the pricing right, you need an in-house Actuary because you need to be monitoring the pricing on a regular basis. Annuity business still has potential if the business investment climate is right”.

Speaking, the General Manager, Life Business, LASACO Assurance Plc, Mr. ‘Dimeji Olona, said his firm has stopped taking new annuity businesses since the beginning of the year, even though, the company has never been a major player in annuity market.

“We are not a major player in annuity, and the way the fund works, you have to be careful so that you don’t run the fund aground. Because of the low yield and other interest rate, what we have done is to stop further taking of new annuity and ensure that all current annuitants are paid as and when due”.

Olona disclosed that every annuitant of LASACO gets paid on the 22nd of every month, hence, are not affected by the new development, adding that, “But the new ones, we need to be very careful because LASACO is based on integrity and trust is very important to us. For us, we are very sensitive to what is happening around, and we have not taken any new ones, we are servicing all our existing annuitants.”

Similarly, the Managing Director/CEO, African Alliance Insurance Plc, Mrs. Funmi Omo, said: “Our Q4 2019 financials show a marked progress in our strategy to expand our retail presence and aggressively grow our market share despite suspending our largest line of business; annuity.”

For Royal Exchange Plc, its spokesman, Mr. Wilson Okoh-Esene, said: “We (Royal Exchange Plc) took a position some years ago not to take new annuities and so we have just been managing the ones already in our books”.

However, there are ongoing plans by NAICOM and PenCom to review annuity business regulations so as to tackle some of the highlighted challenges as well as empower insurance agents to market annuity products.

Speaking at the 2020 NAICOM seminar for Insurance Journalists in Kano State, the Deputy Director/Head, Research, Statistics & Strategy Directorate, NAICOM, Mr. Gbolahan Adewale Suleiman, disclosed that the two regulators are reviewing the existing regulations on annuity business, which, he said, is gradually attracting the needed attention from retirees.

Suleiman pointed the guideline became compulsory due to the current trends around annuity business, noting that, when the guideline becomes operational, only insurance agents will be allowed to sell annuity plan on behalf of insurance companies.

He stressed that any insurance broker that is interested in the sale of annuity should be ready to earn agency commission.

According to him, the step is taken to protect annuity funds against huge commissions earned by intermediaries.

Earlier, the Acting Commissioner of Insurance, Sunday Thomas, hadexpressed optimism that substantial part of the N10 trillion pension assets will find its way into the insurance portfolio.

NAICOM, he said, is working assiduously to put in place measures to protect the expected funds.

According to him, this informed the move to raise actuarial analysts who will help measure and manage insurance associated risks.

“Annuity requires day-to-day measurement and management of its activities. As I speak with you right now, annuity accounts for about 40 per cent of our portfolio. That actually requires our attention.

“We have also read that contributions into the pension portfolio is in the neighborhood of N9.9 trillion, closed to N10 trillion. So, substantial part of it is supposed to empty itself in the insurance portfolio. How do you manage this if you do not have those who have what it takes to measure and manage the associated risks?” he queried.

The Retiree Life Annuity (RLA) is an insurance product and one of the available retirement benefit options for retirees. The product can be purchased from a life insurance company licensed by the NAICOM and authorised to sell RLA under the regulation of retiree life annuity.