The Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, has said that the planned recapitalisation exercise will enable local underwriters retain huge risks, which are presently ceded abroad, saying that the fragmentation of the financial sector in Nigeria is hampering the growth of Insurance industry.
Kari, who stated this at the just concluded 46th African Insurers Organisation (AIO) in Johannesburg, South Africa, noted that unlike in most countries where the financial sector only had one regulator in charge of the banks, insurance companies, pension fund operators and health management operators (HMOs), Nigeria has series of regulators, each controlling each sub-sector of the financial sector.
He said, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) controls the banks, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) controls the pension fund operators while the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) regulates the insurance industry.
The commissioner pointed out that in some countries, these sectors are considered as one and are regulated by a single regulator, which gives the financial sector of these countries good ratings because the achievements are counted as one.
Whereas pension and health insurance are classified as the products of Insurance industry in most countries, Nigeria’s case is an exception.
According to him, “Nigeria operates a fragmented financial sector which restricts insurance sector to only the conventional insurance products and services. Pension is seen as a separate industry as well as health insurance when other countries classify pension and health insurance as being under the insurance industry. This is a misnormal, a situation that is affecting the growth of the sector.”
He said such fragmentation was one of the reasons insurance penetration is said to be below one per cent, thereby, limiting the contribution of the sector to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
\he noted that If health insurance and pension products are added to the insurance industry, insurance contribution to GDP would rise, as well as the penetration rate, which will make Nigerian insurance industry compete with its peers across the world.
Although he felt Nigerian insurers must be responsible in meeting and surpassing customers’ expectation in the area of product delivery and prompt claims payment, he noted that the low risk retention capacity of the sector also needs to be addressed.
To this end, he said the ongoing recapitalisation exercise would allow local insurers to retain huge risks in the country, thereby, forestalling premium flight that will, in the long run, increase the profitability of the sector and its impact on the nation’s economic growth and development.
While stating that the recapitalisation is long overdue as foreign exchange rate, asset replacement values as well as claims volume have increased in the last 12 years, he added that operating with the current capital base was putting insurance firms at risk.
He said, insurance operators are fond of resisting recapitalisation exercise, whenever the idea is mooted, saying that some insurers prefer to continue to write huge risks in aviation and marine sectors, with small capital, a development, he said, was responsible for difficult claims payment.
On whether there is need for recapitalisation exercise at a time the country is transiting to Risk Based Supervision (RBS), he said there was no insurance industry all over the world that does not have minimum capital requirement, which is usually the entry point.
“All over the world, there is usually, an entry point , which is the minimum capital requirement for an insurer to underwrite risk in a country. Other decisions whether to increase the minimum capital or maintain it, is taken thereafter. So, even under risk based, the minimum capital still exists,” he said.
FleetPartners expands its corporate car, staff-bus sharing services
A leading car lease company, FleetPartners Leasing Limited has extended its corporate car and staff-bus sharing services to more cities across the country.
Chief Executive Officer of FleetPartners, Samuel Ajiboyede, in a statement, said the increasing demand and success of the two premium services necessitated the decision to take the services to more cities.
Ajiboyede said the corporate car sharing service, which allows executive car owners to offer their cars for rent on FleetPartners platform, is presently in 10 cities while its newly launched staff-bus sharing service is currently only in Lagos and Abuja.
“Due to the increasing demand on our corporate car and staff bus sharing services, we have taken a strategic decision to extend the two services to more cities. We have now added five more cities to our current 10 locations in the country,” he said
Giving insight on how the corporate car service works, Ajiboyede said the service allows people with executive vehicles to become Fleetpartners’ assets partners and turn their vehicles to assets and make more income.
“This model gives corporate organisations the opportunity to only pay for the time used and vehicles are strategically placed close to the point of use for them. This model is cost effective as it ensures no ownership risk to the client or paying for idle time.
“We discovered that a lot of people have idle cars parked in the garage which they only use during special occasions or at weekend. We encourage them to list their vehicles on the platform which we in turn put up for rent on our corporate car sharing platform thereby making the vehicle become an asset instead of a liability.”
Oil prices make small gains ahead of Fed Chair’s speech
Oil prices clawed back the previous day’s losses on Friday, with Brent nudging above $60 a barrel, as tighter supplies from key producers offset slowing demand growth while investors await clues from the Federal Reserve on U.S. monetary policy.
Brent crude LCOc1 rose 10 cents to $60.02 a barrel by 0118 GMT, while U.S. crude futures CLc1 were at $55.38 a barrel, up 3 cents. Both contracts were on track for a second weekly gain.
“Oil is set to trade quietly today as it’s all about the Jackson Hole (meeting) tonight,” Jeffrey Halley, a Singapore-based senior market analyst at brokerage Oanda.
“What we’re seeing is some profit-taking in Asia in very light volumes.”
A speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell later on Friday at a meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole is expected to provide some clues on whether the Fed will cut interest rates for a second time this year to boost the U.S. economy.
Traders’ expectations of further U.S. monetary easing were clouded by comments from two Fed officials who said on Wednesday that they do not see a case for a rate cut now.
A reduction in interest rates could strengthen the U.S. dollar against other currencies and make dollar-denominated oil more costly for investors.
Oil prices are down for nearly two straight months after the International Energy Agency and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries cut demand growth forecasts as a simmering U.S.-China trade war hit global economic growth.
However, oil prices remained supported by production cuts from OPEC members and Russia while U.S. sanctions have sharply reduced exports from Iran and Venezuela, reports Reuters.
Jumia identifies wrongdoing in Nigeria as loss widens
Jumia Technologies AG has identified improper transactions at the Africa-focused online retailer’s Nigeria business that amounted to as much as four per cent of first-quarter sales.
While the Berlin-based company says it’s taking measures to cut out instances of wrongdong, the findings backed up warnings made by short-sellers Citron in a report three months ago, which brought an abrupt end to a share-price rally following Jumia’s initial public offering in New York the previous month.
Jumia found cases where “improper orders were placed and subsequently canceled,” the company said in a statement. These included deals made through a team of independent Nigerian sales consultants called J-Force. The transactions in question amounted to two per cent of 2018 gross merchandise volume , a term for sales used in online retailing rising to four per cent in the first quarter of 2019.
According to Bloomberg, J-Force allows the company to interact directly with customers but requires constant improvement, Jumia co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Sacha Poignonnec said in a conference call.
The retailer sometimes dubbed Africa’s Amazon has operations in 14 countries and is seeking to take advantage of rising incomes and better technology on the continent.
In advertising for candidates to join J-Force, Jumia promises the opportunity to “earn unlimited income” while having “complete freedom and control over your activities.” Nigeria is ranked 144th on a list of 180 countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index, compiled by Transparency International.
The report of dubious sales practices comes after Citron called Jumia an obvious fraud,” wiping out early gains from the IPO. The stock shed another 14 per cent to $12.73 in New York, dropping below the $14.50 listing price.
Jumia said second-quarter operating losses widened by 60 per cent to 66.7 million euros ($74 million), mainly due to an increase in costs related to the vesting of share options following the IPO. The company’s target for profitability is late 2022, and the cash raised through the listing should take Jumia close to that, Poignonnec said.
Eterna reports 88% H1 ’19 net profit decline
Eterna Plc has posted 88 per cent drop in profit after tax for the half year ended June 30, 2019.
According to the unaudited report obtained from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the oil firm posted a net profit of N112.228 million during the half year as against N965.274 million reported a year earlier, accounting for a drop of 88 per cent.
Profit before tax stood at N165.041 million during the period under review, from N1.419 billion posted in 2018, equally representing 88 per cent decline.
The firm’s revenue dropped by 10 per cent from N172.979 billion in 2018 to N155.767 billion in 2019. Cost of sales stood at N153.488 billion from N170.434 billion while finance charges rose by 308 per cent to close at N827.78 million from N202.872 million.
It also posted a 33 per cent drop in profit after tax for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019.
The oil firm posted a net profit of N341.444 million during the first quarter of the year as against N510.818 million reported a year earlier, accounting for a drop of 33 per cent.
Profit before tax stood at N502.123 million during the period under review, from N751.203 posted in 2018, equally representing 33 per cent decline.
However, revenue grew by 11 per cent from N54.332 billion in 2018 to N60.472 billion in 2019.
The group ended third quarter ended September 30, 2018 with 42 per cent decline in profit after tax to N1.175 billion from N2.022 billion in 2017. Profit before tax equally dropped by 42 per cent to N1.728 billion from N2.973 billion in 2017. The group’s revenue grew by 64 per cent to N205.362 billion from N125.454 billion in 2017. Cost of sales stood at N201.626 billion from N121.088 billion.
Recall that the Chief Executive Officer of the oil firm, Mahmud Tukur, had said downstream deregulation was long overdue, and although a very political and sensitive issue, it had rather become imperative for industry growth.
While commending the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for their efforts in making products available, he noted that supply was fraught with challenges and associated cost.
“Let’s stop wasting money on subsidies,” he said.
Speaking further, Tukur said Eterna’s five-year strategic plan focused on three major areas – oil, lubricants and other new businesses, adding that despite the environment challenges, the company was looking forward to acquiring additional 200 filling stations within the plan period.
He said apart from lubricant, which is Eterna’s mainstay, venturing into retail stations was part of the new focus, to be contracted through franchising, leasing, and acquisition, to double available capacity.
“We are not just acquiring stations; we are also getting strategic locations, where we can get value for money,” he added.
He, however, expressed disappointment in supply inequality in the market, and accused NNPC of servicing mainly the majors and big names, which guarantees product availability to consumers.
To sustain expansion in the West African/ECOWAS sub-region, Tukur also unveiled plans to raise additional funds by way of debt or equities.
By offsetting a N14 billion-debt overhang, he said Eterna had cleared its balance sheet, and now well-positioned to review its processes, streamline operations, and pursue new investment opportunities and expansion.
NSE advances on blue chip firms
The bulls maintained their grip on market activities at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), as stocks sustained rally for the second trading following gains recorded mainly by blue chip stocks.
The key market performance measures, the NSE All Share Index and market capitalisation, rose by 1.01 per cent as market sentiments extended gaining streaks following investors’ sustained optimism on new Federal Government cabinet.
Consequently, the All-Share Index gained 276.72 basis points or 1.01 per cent to close at 27,629.66 as against 27,352.94 recorded the previous day, while market capitalisation of equities appreciated by N135 billion or 1.01 per cent to close at N13.441 trillion from N13.306 trillion as market sentiments remained on the green zone.
Meanwhile, a turnover of 369 million shares exchanged in 3,319 deals was recorded in the day’s trading.
The premium sub-sector was the most active (measured by turnover volume); with 99.9 million shares exchanged by investors in 1,085 deals.
Volume in the sub-sector was largely driven by activities in the shares of Zenith Plc and UBA Plc.
The banking sub-sector, boosted by activities in the shares of GTB Plc and ETI Plc, followed with a turnover of 68.2 million shares in 668 deals.
The number of gainers at the close of trading session was 22 while decliners closed at 13.
Eterna Oil Plc led the gainers’ table with a gain of 10 per cent to close at N2.75 per share while ETI Plc followed with a gain of 9.49 per cent to close at N7.50 per share. Wapic Insurance Plc added 8.82 per cent to close at 37 kobo per share.
On the other hand, NCR Plc and UPL Plc led the price losers’ table, dropping 10 per cent each to close at N4.95 and N1.44 per share respectively. MRS Oil Plc followed with 9.83 per cent to close at N18.80 per share while Okomu Oil Plc trailed with a loss of 9.78 per cent to close at N40.15 per share.
AFBTE to CBN: Engage stakeholders over forex restriction list
The Association of Food, Beverage & Tobacco Employers (AFBTE) has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to engage operators in food industry before implementing President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that it should stop allocating forex to food importers in the country.
In a statement obtained by New Telegraph, the President of the association, Patrick Anegbe, said: “We appeal to government to engage the organised private sector and stakeholders in the food industry to discuss the issues involved in this matter more thoroughly before a final position on how to proceed is taken.
“We would like to trust that the government will allow for this step in the spirit of our sustained partnership with it over the years in addressing the various economic issues affecting the Nigerian state.”
He noted that the CBN had towards the end of July announced the decision to deny access to foreign exchange for the importation of milk and other dairy products.
“The negative economic implications of the move in the short- run on the performance of the affected companies and the overall economy had been widely highlighted by experts, industrialists and managers of the targeted businesses,” he said.
He specifically warned that the impact the sudden ban would have on the overall financial results of the companies would likely lead to loss of jobs among other negative effects.
“The organised private sector had tried to draw the attention of CBN to the danger in not allowing for a reasonable period of time for those concerned to make adequate preparations to source their imported milk and dairy products locally.
“The engagement on this CBN pronouncement was still on when news came that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria had at an event in his home State during the Eid-el-Kabir holiday, announced that he had instructed the CBN not to allocate foreign exchange for importation of food.
U.S. stocks fall after disappointing data
U.S. stocks turned lower on Thursday as the first contraction in the manufacturing sector in nearly a decade and uncertainty about future interest rate cuts overshadowed an initial boost from upbeat retail earnings.
IHS Markit said its “flash” survey on new orders for U.S. manufactured goods fell to 49.5 in August, over concerns whether the U.S.-China trade war would tip the economy into a recession. In response, yields on the U.S. two-year Treasury notes again moved above those of 10-Year bonds.
“Manufacturing has been pretty weak across the globe for a while now and we are starting to see that bleed into U.S.,” said Joe Mallen, chief investment officer at Helios Quantitative Research. “It’s not unexpected, but definitely not good for prospects of our economy going forward.”
According to Reuters, adding to the downbeat mood, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker said he does not see the case for additional stimulus, while Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George said she does not yet see a signal of a downturn in the U.S. economy.
Their comments sent jitters through markets ahead of a highly anticipated speech by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Friday at an annual gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole.
The release of the minutes from the U.S. central bank’s meeting on July 30-31 offered little clarity on its next move. The policymakers were deeply divided over their quarter-point cut in rates, but united in wanting to signal the move was not on a preset path to further cuts.
Despite the stock market stabilizing from a rough first half of August, investors are wary about how far policymakers are willing to cut rates and Powell’s remarks may prove crucial to short-term sentiment..
Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower with a 0.59 per cent decline in technology .SPLRCT weighing the most on the benchmark index. Interest-rate sensitive bank stocks gained as central bankers toned down expectations of aggressive rate cuts.
Leading gains on the S&P 500 was Nordstrom Inc (JWN.N), up 15.4 per cent, as it joined Target Corp (TGT.N) and Lowe’s Cos Inc (LOW.N) this week in delivering a quarterly profit beat and bolstering confidence in consumer demand.
L Brands Inc (LB.N) slid 7.8 per cent after the Victoria’s Secret owner reported quarterly sales short of estimates.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.33-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.86-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
Food import: Buhari’s directive may push prices up
Nigeria’s food inflation, which has been on a downward trend in the last two months, could head north if the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) fully implements President Muhammadu Buhar’s directive to stop allocating foreign exchange to food importers in the country, analysts at Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) have said.
In a note obtained by New Telegraph yesterday, the analysts, who were commenting on National Bureau of Statistics’ (NBS) latest inflation data, which showed that inflation fell to 11.08 per cent in July from 11.22 per cent in June, predicted that the president’s directive vould push up commodity prices and stoke inflation.
They further said: “Although the move would encourage backward integration and support agric sector growth, it could push up food prices in the coming months as Nigeria is highly food import dependent.”
The FDC analysts stated in the note entitled: “Nigeria: Inflation lower but the storms are gathering – food import restriction yet to bite,” that “it is worth mentioning that food inflation dropped to 13.39per cent from 13.56per cent in June. In the last year, the food basket has been mostly responsible for the direction of inflation.
“This is because it accounts for more than 50per cent of the weight in the general basket. The food index declined by approximately 0.60per cent in the last two months due to a number of factors including a favourable harvest.”
They, however, forecast that President Buhari’s directive to the CBN and other factors such as implementation of minimum wage and the adjustment in exchange rate for computing custom duty could fuel inflation in the next few months.
According to the analysts, “other inflation stoking factors that have been benign are likely to become potent in August and September. These factors include, the minimum wage implementation and the adjustment in the exchange rate for computing custom duty which moved to N326/$ from N305/$. Assuming that 60 per cent of all goods imported attract a duty, the shift from N305/$ to N326/$ will have a pass through effect of approximately N25.7billion.
“The apex bank is also contemplating adding dairy products to the list of items restricted from forex. Annual dairy imports is estimated at $1.2bilion. In recent times, the President directed the CBN to prohibit forex access for all food imports. This could push up commodity prices and stoke inflation. In Q1’19, food imports was estimated at $1.1billion, 10.7 per cent of total imports. Imported food inflation in Q2 was 15.72 per cent, 2.04 per cent higher than domestic food inflation.”
Specifically, they stated that “according to the NBS, the price of food items such as bread and cereals increased. However, the global cereal price index declined by 2.7 per cent to 168.6 points in July. These commodities have high import content and are exchange rate sensitive.
“Thus the adjustment in the exchange rate for computing custom duty to N326/$ from N305/$ most likely pushed up their prices. Imported food inflation rose to 16.39 per cent in July from 15.75 per cent in the preceding month.”
Forex ban: Association frets over food import
President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to halt foreign exchange on food importation will lead to inflation and also reduce the livelihood of Nigerians.
President, Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN), Professor Bashir Raji, disclosed this.
He advised the president to ruminate on both the production and consumption of food in the nation, while also emphasising that the policy would be laudable if properly articulated.
He described it as “a right policy, right timing but wrong approach.”
He stated that Nigeria’s current rice production was about 3.7 million tonnes annually and its requirement about eight million tonnes of annually, adding that with outright ban, there is no way the country can meet up with the required 50 per cent in one year.
In his words: “Definitely there will be a lot of inflation, there will be high prices, and considering the economy at the moment, a lot of people will suffer. The president must have been fed the impression that because of drop in importation of rice through our ports, the rice we consume in this country is produced locally, which is not true.
“There is a lot of increase in the production of rice locally but there has been increased smuggling from neighbouring countries, which eventually ends up in Nigeria to complement what is produced locally. The policy, if properly articulated, will be beneficial on the long run, but it is quite clear that we still rely a lot on importation of food and outright banning is likely to bring about inflation.
“It will also bring about pressure on the black or parallel foreign exchange market and high cost of food, especially rice. We don’t import yam, we don’t import cassava, beans and we don’t actually import most of our staple food; the ones we import are basically rice maybe wheat, milk, sugar and some of the exotic foods.
“Unless we can produce one and a half times what we require, it will not be a good decision to ban outright importation of food, especially now that a lot of people are suffering economically.”
Prof. Raji recommended that the Federal Government halt forex gradually over the next five years, setting objectives to meet up measurable targets and make sure 50 per cent shortfall is met during the period.
He also guaranteed that the society was ready to work with the Federal Government to reduce land degradation and climate change.
Appraising mushroom farming’s impact on economy
The National Mushroom Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NAMGPMAN) has asked for the support of the Federal Government for a 30 per cent mushroom content in all confectioneries produced in the country so as to generate income and employment, as well asimprove the economy. Taiwo Hassan writes
Indeed, Nigeria is known to be great in agriculture even though it still struggling to attain food security following enormous challenges bedeviling the sector.
Nevertheless, the country’s struggle to achieve nutritional security is still on in all ramifications. In future, the ever-increasing population, depleting agricultural land, changes in environment, water shortage and need for quality food products at competitive rates are going to be important issues in the country.
To meet these challenges and to provide food and nutritional security to Nigerians, it is important to diversify agricultural activities. It is widely known that Nigerian diet is primarily based on cereals (wheat, rice, grain and maize), which are deficient in protein.
However, mushrooms not only impact diversification but also help in addressing the problems of quality food, health and environment related issues.
It is believed that supplementing mushroom recipe in Nigerian diet would bridge protein gap and improve the general health of socio-economically backward communities.
Therefore, mushroom diet can be a good source of dietary fibre in the long run because they are very low in fats and has no starch, hence they are used in preventing diabetes, high cholesterol, heart diseases and obesity.
In short, many varieties are high in fibrer, essential amino acids and proteins and provide vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, cobalamine, ascorbic acid and Vitamin D. They also contain minerals like iron, copper, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. Antioxidants like ergothioneine and selenium are also present.
In Nigeria, mushroom cultivation is of mixed type, i.e seasonal farming as well as high-tech-industry. It can help to reduce vulnerability to poverty and strengthens livelihoods through generation of a fast yielding and nutritious source of food and a reliable source of income.
As it does not require access to land, its cultivation is viable and attractive for both rural and urban farmers. Small-scale growing does not include any significant capital investment. Mushroom substrate can be prepared from any clean agricultural material in temporary clean shelters. They can be cultivated on a part-time basis, and require little maintenance.
Indirectly, mushroom cultivation also provides opportunities for improving sustainability of small farming systems through recycling of organic matters, which can be used as a growing substrate, and then returned to the land as fertiliser.
Through the provision of income and improved nutrition, successful cultivation and trade in mushrooms can strengthen livelihood assets, which can not only reduce vulnerability to shocks, but enhance an individualand a community’s capacity to act upon other economic opportunities.
Mushroom, being rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, can form an important ingredient of food for a balanced diet. They have been shown to promote immune function, boost health, lower the risk of cancer, inhibit tumor growth, help balancing blood sugar, ward off viruses, bacteria, and fungi, reduce inflammation, and support the body’s detoxification mechanisms.
Mushrooms are thus rich source of nutrients particularly proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, minerals, fibers and vitamins, such as B,C and D. Vitamin B greatly helps in carbohydrate metabolism and is particularly useful in removing cardiac embarrassment and beriberi.
Similarly, the presence of other vitamins like ascorbic acid, pantothenic acid, niacin and folic acid are useful in several other diseases. Their content of the anti- pellagra vitamin niacin is comparable to its level found in pork or beef, which are richest known source of this vitamin.
The mineral content particularly Ca and P are remarkably higher in mushroom than in many fresh fruits or vegetables, which again are extremely useful for body building processes. Most of the mushroom have very low starch content and form an ideal food for diabetic patients.
30% diet inclusion
Speaking at the inauguration of the association’s executives in Abuja recently, the President the mushroom growers’ association, Chief Michael Awunor, explained that it was time for government’s backing to support the development of mushroom in the country.
Awunor requested for a 30 per cent mushroom content in confectioneries produced in the country, in order to generate income and employment as well as improve the economy.
The president made the request at the inauguration of the association’s executives to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, led by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Edet Sunday Akpan, in Abuja.
He appealed to the ministry to work on increasing the production of mushroom with the use of local content to establish nutritional security with a rigid policy.
Awunor said: “We will work with the ministry, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Environment and pharmaceutical stakeholders to ensure eating a plate of mushroom a day is against hypertension, diabetics and cancer.”
“The government must help us with policy that will drive this action. Your mushroom on the shelves must have 30 per cent local content. Hotels must include 30 per cent mushroom content in all confectioneries that are served to customers and there will be task force to ensure the implementation from the association. We will strike deal with Indomie Noodles to ensure mushroom inclusion as nutritional addictive into the flour for children and adults,” he added.
Alaya Hammed Funsho, one of the executives of the association, urged youths in agriculture to take advantage of the mushroom potential to create employment for themselves and others.
In view of the high food value to man and their medicinal properties, mushrooms can help in solving the problems of malnutrition and diseases as well as contribute highly to economic growth.
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