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Border closure: Price of stock-fish, dry fish rise by 22% at Oyingbo Market

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Border closure: Price of stock-fish, dry fish rise by 22% at Oyingbo Market

T

he price of rice may not be the only imported (smuggled) item that may have rise due to the recent closure of Nigeria’s borders as the Sunday Telegraph Market Survey team on Thursday learnt at Oyingbo and Otto markets, on the Lagos Island that the price of stock-fish and stock-fish head has increased by over 22 per cent.

 

 

This is even as most of the traders spoken to in the markets complained of poor patronage by customers, who according them are being scared away by the sudden increase in the food item.

Speaking, Mr. Ndubusi Okoro, a dealer on stock-fish in Otto Market, a bag of ‘Cod’ Stock-fish is now N400, 000. This N100, 000 above the N300, 000 it was sold before the border closure, over 22 per cent increase.

Okoro admitted that he is aware that stock fish is prohibited, but said that it is not fair to stop Nigerians from eating stock fish after they had developed that taste over a century ago, even as the country does not produce stock fish. He further argues that there no country in the world that produces all that it consumes.

 

He further disclosed that before the closure of the border, one was selling at N11, 000 but not it sells for as much as N15, 000.     

 

Mrs. Chichi Steven, a stock-fish head dealer in the market, disclosed that from June to July every year, the price of stock-fish head used to be low but this year the price has remained on high till date.

She said a bag stock fish head is now sold at the rate of N72, 000; this is over N7, 000 above the 65,000 per bag it was sold before the border closure. The least retail price of stock-fish head, now ranges from N200, N450 to N700, before the border closure, one could buy a stock-fish head at N180, Mrs. Chichi said. 

 

 

Commenting on the price of dry-fish in the market, Mr. Aliyu Bala a dealer on dry-fish in Oyingbo Market said he had different varieties of dry fish, like ‘Italian’ fish which he said was the only imported; the rest like ‘Ariwa’ fish come from Maiduguri, Lokoja and Minna.

According to him, four pieces of ‘Italian’ dry fish sells at N1, 500 and N2,000 respectively while five pieces of Lokoja dry fish sold at N3,000 and Asa dry fish goes for N600 for one. He added that the current increase in price of some foodstuff in the market has not affected dry fish in the market as they still sell at the pre-border closure prices.

 

Meanwhile, Sunday Telegraph observed that the price of onions in the market has also increased. Speaking, Malami Mulatah, who sells onions in Otto Market, said that we already in the off-season for onions as a result, a bag now sells at N35,000 as against N12,000 a couple of months ago.   Four pieces of onions sells at N100 while they also have a small bowl of onions sells at between N2, 000 and N3, 000 respectively. 

 

Similarly, Mr. Andrew   Ikeh, a rice dealer in the market disclosed that a 50kg bag of foreign rice sells at N25, 000 for those that still have it as old stock and the demand higher than the supply while the Nigerian rice has a lot of fake ones in the market, he said. The Abakaliki (Ebonyi) Rice is sold at N19, 000 per 50kg bag and those ones he referred as fake rice do have problem when cooked in a large quantity.

 

Again, Mr. Andrew mentioned five varieties of Nigerian rice in the market that one can buy when cooking in large quantity. They include Mama Pride, Mama Choice, Lake Rice, Tomato King and Tomato Nigeria Rice, all sell at the rate of N20, 000 per 50kg bag.

 

 

Commenting on the price of beans in the market, he said that Honey Beans is sold at the rate of N18, 000 to N20, 000 per 100kg bag, while Brown Beans sells from N25,000 to N30,000 per 100kg bag. White Beans sold from N25, 000 to N30,000 per 100kg bag.     

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Business

Apex bank CBN to create 2m jobs via cassava value chain

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Apex bank CBN to create 2m jobs via cassava value chain

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday issued an exposure draft on guidelines for Shared Services Arrangements for banks and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs).

In a circular posted on its website, the apex bank said: “The absence of standards for the application of costs related to shared services and ensuing pricing arrangements has resulted in uneven management of shared services in the banking industry and has been a source of concern for regulators, especially in view of its governance, financial and tax implications.”

Thus, the guidelines it released Thursday, the CBN explained, are aimed at providing guidance to banks and OFIs on the initiation and evaluation of shared service arrangements.

It further stated that the proposed rule “sets operational standards for banks and other financial institutions in line with best practice and ensures compliance with Executive Order 5 of the Federal Government of Nigeria, signed on February 12, 2018, which seeks to promote the development of indigenous capacity and local content in  contracts  and  science,  engineering  and technology, as a necessary tool to drive national competitiveness and productivity.”

Specifically, the CBN listed objectives of the guidelines to include setting out supervisory expectation in respect of shared services arrangements between a parent company and its subsidiary; ensuring  that  the  fees  received  or  paid  are  a  reflection  of  the  services rendered, taking into account the assets used and the risks assumed; making sure that financial institutions comply with the extant transfer  pricing regulation in Nigeria and reducing  operational cost of benefitting institutions.

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Agric

NASC: Gunning for quality seed economy

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NASC: Gunning for quality seed economy

Recently, the hierarchy of the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) disclosed that about N1.1 billion would be required to execute its programmes under a five-year strategic blueprint to improve seed system in Nigeria. Taiwo Hassan reports

 

To make Nigeria’s food sufficiency programme a reality to guarantee sustainable food security and safety in the country, there is need for quality seed availability for farmers.

However, it is regrettable that Nigeria is yet to possess quality seed in her agriculture space following widely adulterated or fake seeds in circulation.

In a bid to correct the wrong, the Federal Government saddled the National Agricultural Seed Council with the responsibility of regulating seeds in circulation and to ensure that Nigerian farmers get high quality seeds and also reduce fake ones in the country to the barest minimum.

Curbing fake seeds

In many fora, stakeholders have raised concern over increased circulation of adulterated seeds, a development that is posing a threat to Nigeria’s gross domestic product.

Ideally, curbing fake seeds in circulation has been very challenging as statistics showed that over 70 per cent of people who have no business with seeds jump into the business without getting certified by the Seed Council- National Agricultural Seed Council.  They end up selling junk to farmers.

Consequently, this has resulted to farmers being at the receiving end by buying fake seeds, thereby truncating the actualization of food sufficiency in the country.

With this menace in place, it is important that the only agency empowered by law to regulate the seed industry in Nigeria, NASC, plays its role to deal with the challenge.

As part of the strategies to combating fake seeds merchants and helping farmers access quality seeds, the Director-General of NASC, Dr. Philip Ojo, told journalists in Abuja that his council had perfected arrangement to provide farmers with a call centre and a helpline.

He explained that “the helpline will serve a platform to address the concerns of farmers and the general public on seed related matters.”

Ojo noted that to achieve the desired food security in the country, farmers need to be properly guided in their dealings in the seed market, as that would help them to make informed decision towards improved yields and bumper harvest.

Funding

However, to realise the dream of eradicating fake seeds in the country’s agriculture space, the issue of funding to NASC is important.

To achieve this, Ojo disclosed that N1.1 billion was required to execute its programmes under a five-year strategic blueprint, spanning from 2019 to 2024.

Ojo, in a chat with newsmen in Lagos recently, decried the low funding from the statutory budgetary allocations, saying that the council intends to leverage technology to develop improved seed system for farmers, ensure greater access to quality seeds, and position Nigeria as the seed hub of Africa.

Despite the fact that Nigeria already accounts for a large number of seeds used in West Africa, the DG stated that the endgame was not only to sustain food sufficiency in the country but to also improve agricultural produce for exports.

2019 NASC Act

Speaking on the 2019 NASC Act, Ojo said that the council had been enabled by its enactment in line with changing trends in the global seed industry, adding that the Act will ensure adulterated seed peddlers face stiffer sanctions.

In his words: “It is important to have a new Act because there are changing trends in the global trade industry, and Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind. There are also other things that were not in the old Act, which has been added; one major issue is that of doing the wrong thing in the seed industry because, in any other professional business, there are also fraudulent and deceitful people as well as regulation that should not be broken.

“The penalties in the Seed Act before were very minimal, example; if anybody runs afoul of the law in the old Act, he or she was to pay a fine of N50, 000 for a first time offender, N100, 000 for a repeat offender as well as a jail time of six months.

“Under this new Act, if the first time offender is found guilty he or she will pay N1 million and jail time of one year, while a repeat offender would pay N2 million and jail time of two years.”

Last line

Agric stakeholders hope that the proposed N1.1 billion to execute the country’s seed programmes under a five-year strategic blueprint will come to reality.

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Energy

OPEC+ likely to extend oil supply cuts until June – sources

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OPEC+ likely to extend oil supply cuts until June – sources

OPEC and its allies are likely to extend existing oil output cuts when they meet next month until mid-2020, with non-OPEC oil producer Russia supporting Saudi Arabia’s push for stable oil prices amid the listing of state oil giant Saudi Aramco.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets on Dec. 5 at its headquarters in Vienna, followed by talks with a group of other oil producers, lead by Russia, known as OPEC+. The current oil supply cuts run through to March 2020.

On December 5, Saudi Arabia is set to announce the final pricing of the initial public offering of Aramco, in what it hopes will be the world’s largest IPO. The oil price at the time is likely to be key to Aramco’s listing, expected around mid-December, reports Reuters.

“So far we have two main scenarios: either meet in December and extend the current cuts until June; or defer the decision until early next year, meet before March to see how the market looks and extend the cuts until the middle of the year,” said an OPEC source.

“It is more likely that we will extend the agreement in December to send a positive message to the market. The Saudis don’t want oil prices to fall, they want to put a floor under the prices because of the (Aramco) IPO.”

OPEC sources said market conditions in the first quarter of 2020 remain unclear amid concerns of a slowdown in oil demand and weak output compliance by some producers such as Iraq and Nigeria, which is complicating the outlook.

An OPEC delegate said: “My feeling is that (an extension) to end-June to avoid meeting again early March, with the possibility of calling for an (earlier) meeting should market conditions require it … is the likely scenario as of today.”

The two sources said formally announcing deeper cuts looked unlikely for now although a message about better compliance with existing cuts could be sent to the market.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s de facto leader, wants to focus first on boosting adherence to the group’s production-reduction pact before committing to any more cuts, they said.

“The Saudis want to see how the rest of those who are not complying (with the cuts) do first. There are no numbers being circulated so far for deeper cuts or changing output quotas,” said the first OPEC source.

Amrita Sen, co-founder of Energy Aspects think-tank, which closely watches OPEC and Saudi oil policies, said a mere extension by OPEC+ of the existing output cuts until June might not be enough to support oil prices.

“The market expects a further cut and an extension until the end of 2020. In any other scenario, the market will sell,” she said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin set the tone for the December meeting last week, calling Saudi Arabia’s position ahead of the talks “tough”.

Moscow argues that it will find it hard to cut oil production voluntarily during the cold winter months, especially in western Siberia, where Russia produces two-thirds of its oil and where most of its well rigs are located.

Freezing temperatures make it difficult for Russia to shut in and restart wells in winter months.

“There is no doubt that Russia won’t let the Saudis down in case of a price collapse, given the upcoming IPO,” said one source familiar with Russian thinking.

He added that Putin had developed close ties with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Russian government was aware that the three-year-old partnership could fall apart if Russia did not support Riyadh.

The OPEC+ alliance has since January implemented a deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day, to help boost oil prices trading now at $62 a barrel.

“This is not only about supporting Saudi Arabia. The deal, without a doubt, is beneficial for Russia. The Russian budget has received more than $100 billion from the deal. And the deal has stabilized the Russian economy,” Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russia’s Direct Investment Fund, told Reuters.

Dmitriev and Energy Minister Alexander Novak were the key architects of a deal with Saudi Arabia, which began in 2017.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers in OPEC have been delivering more than their share of promised cuts to stabilise the market and prevent prices from falling.

In October, the kingdom raised its oil output to its OPEC target, pumping 10.3 million bpd to replenish its inventories after attacks on its facilities last month, but kept the volumes of crude supplied to the market at 9.9 million bpd.

Last week, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said U.S. shale oil supply growth could slow next year while demand may have upside potential, appearing to downplay any need to cut output more deeply.

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Business

Traders lament continuous border closure

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Traders lament continuous border closure

The sustained border closure by Federal Government has continued to destabilise commodity retailers, especially those into food item business.

Investigation by New Telegraph revealed that the situation had started creating an atmosphere of hopelessness since the Federal Government has vowed to sustain the closure till end of January 2020.

Nigeria closed its land borders to both Benin and Niger in August in what the government said was aimed at curbing smuggling of goods, especially rice into Nigeria. The closure has led to increase in food prices and subsequently pushed up annual inflation in the country.

Speaking on the development, John Paul, who sells food stuff such as rice, beans garri, noodles, among others at Egbeda market, complained that since the closure of the border his business had been affected in terms of both patronage and restocking.

He said the effect of the closure was obvious, as he has both increased the price at which he sells as well as reduce the quantity he buys.

Another woman, who pleaded anonymity, complained that the fairly used clothes she sells were now difficult to buy.

According to her, before the closure of the border she used to purchase her goods from neighboring countries at cheaper price, but with the closure, she now buys here in Nigeria but at a high price.

Before the border closure she used to sell her clothes for as low as N300 or N400 depending on the quality of the material, but now she sells them for nothing less than N600.

Another woman, who also pleaded anonymity, explained that there were goods currently on demand but not available as a result of the closure.

“Products such as sardines and some brand of sanitary wares are no longer in the market,” she added.

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Business

ICPC bestows integrity award on FAAN staff

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ICPC bestows integrity award on FAAN staff

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has recognized a staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mrs. Josephine Ugwu for her honesty and integrity in the discharge of her duties.

Mrs Ugwu was presented with the award at a two day summit on ‘Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector’ jointly organized by the Office of the Secretary to the

Government of the Federation and ICPC in Abuja.

You will recall that in a celebrated case in the year 2015, Mrs. Ugwu while carrying out her duties as a cleaner at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos saw the sum of $12,200,000 in a toilet and submitted it to security officials. The money was subsequently returned to the owner. She has also refunded other sums lost by several other passengers at different times.

Mrs. Ugwu was subsequently given automatic employment by the Authority in recognition of her honesty and exemplary conducts.

The event climaxed with an hand shake to Mrs. Ugwu from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari. She was also given a brand new apartment in Lagos for her act of honesty and integrity.

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Business

Senate pledges to help AMCON recover N5.4trn debt

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Senate pledges to help AMCON recover N5.4trn debt

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Uba Sani, has declared that the Senate under the leadership of current Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, will join forces with the executive arm of government to wage serious and sustained war against obligors of the  Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), whom he described as economic saboteurs, saying they must be made to repay the over N5trillion outstanding debt owed the corporation.

Sani made the declaration at the commencement of the 2019 retreat for members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, which began in Kaduna on Wednesday.

He said recovering the huge debt of AMCON had become a major burden for which the National Assembly will consider all options including reactivating the Failed Bank Act and at some point invite the pioneer management of AMCON under the leadership of Mustapha Chike-Obi to come and explain to Nigerians what they did during their tenure.

The chairman also hinted that the National Assembly would continue to support AMCON by providing all legislative supports including further amendment of the AMCON Act, if need be, to enable the corporation to recover the huge outstanding obligation.

He said the red chamber would bring up several motions that will enlighten the public on the real dangers of non-recovery of the debts to the economy. As the upper legislative arm provides AMCON with such support, the senator said if need be the Senate would along the line step on toes as far as the recovery of these national assets are concerned.

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Business

NSE extends gain with N46bn

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NSE extends gain with N46bn

Nigerian stocks market yesterday sustained its positive outlook as the overall performance measures, NSE ASI and market capitalisation, rose further by 0.36 per cent each.

Market watchers attributed development to renew of confidence as bargain hunters leverage on under value stocks.

Consequently, the All-Share Index rose by 95.94 basis points or 0.36 per cent to close at 26.872.09 index points as against 26.776.15 recorded the previous day while market capitalisation of equities appreciated by N46 billion or 0.36 per cent to close higher at N12.969 trillion from N12.923 trillion as market sentiment remained on the green territory.

Meanwhile, a turnover of 239.2 million shares in 3,585 deals was recorded in the day’s trading.

The premium sub-sector was the most active (measured by turnover volume); with 121 million shares exchanged by investors in 1,527 deals.

Volume in the sub-sector was driven by activities in the shares of FBNH Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.

The banking sub-sector boosted by the activities in the shares of GTB Plc and Sterling  Bank Plc followed with a turnover of 45 million shares in 624 deals.

The number of gainers at the close of trading session was 21 while decliners closed at 12.

Further analysis of the day’s trading showed that Cornerstone Insurance Plc topped the gainers’ table with 10 per cent to close at 77 kobo per share while Oando  Plc followed with 9.89 per cent to close at N3.89 per share and Flour Mills Plc with a gain of 9.85 per cent to close at N17.85 per share.

On the flip side, CCNN Plc led the losers’ chart with a drop of 10 per cent to close at N18.00 per share. Jaiz Bank Plc followed with a loss of eight per cent to close at 69 kobo per share while Lasaco Assurance  Plc dropped by 7. 41 per cent to close at 25 kobo per share.

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Business

FirstBank reiterates commitment to women empowerment

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FirstBank reiterates commitment to women empowerment

The Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, has restated the lender’s commitment to empowerment of women.

He stated this at the bank’s first female-focused product, ’FirstGem’, 3rd Anniversary Conference held in Lagos yesterday.

He said: “May I reiterate that FirstBank is committed to the empowerment of women. We understand their story and recognise their invaluable contributions to the economy of our nation in particular and the global economy in general.

“Having identified the gaps in their lives, both in corporate Nigeria and in the entrepreneurial space, we are committed to bridging those gaps effectively by providing the tools required for women’s empowerment.”

The First Bank CEO said he was delighted that FirstGem was already in its third year, adding that the product, which was launched on 28 October 2016, was designed specifically to meet the financial needs of both corporate and entrepreneurial women.

“This product, apart from being an account dedicated solely to women, is lifestyle-enhancing. It provides a total lifestyle support for discerning women to enable them meet their economic needs and aspirations,” he said.

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Business

Savannah Bank: Reps summon Emefiele, NDIC boss

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Savannah Bank: Reps summon Emefiele, NDIC boss

The House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Banking and Currency to summon the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele and Managing Director, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Alhaji Umaru, to ascertain the new status of Savannah Bank, its readiness to commence operation and to ascertain whether promoters of the bank have fulfilled all requirements to begin business.

The committee is also requested to invite the shareholders and the new management of the bank to brief it on possible ways they have fashioned to pay or refund depositors’ funds.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Aliyu Da’u Magaji (APC, Jigawa), at Thursday’s plenary of the House.

The committee, which is to submit its findings in two months, has also been mandated to ensure that effective measures are put in place to avoid the reoccurrence of what led to the withdrawal of the bank’s licence and eventual closure in 2002.

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Business

Pension: Workers invest N951.28bn in banking sector

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Pension: Workers invest N951.28bn in banking sector

Nigerian workers, who are active in their contributions under the new pension arrangement, Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), have so far invested about N951.28 billion in the banking sector.

The investment carried out on their behalf by pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) represent 9.93 per cent of the total N9.58 trillion pension assets.

According to a breakdown of the total investment posted on the industry regulator, National Pension Commission (PenCom)’s website, the pension fund managers also invested a total of N6.84 trillion in Federal Government securities within the period, representing 71.43 per cent of the total assets.

Details of the commitment shows that Federal Government bond got the highest with N4,47 trillion at 46.1 per cent; treasury bills, N2.2 trillion (23.62%); agency bonds N10.2 billion (0.11%); Sukuk, N80.52 billion (0.84), and green bonds, N13.37 billion (0.14%).

Within the same period, a total of N125.24 billion, representing 1.31 per cent was invested in state government securities while corporate debts securities gulped N621.95 billion, representing 6.49 per cent.

In the same vein, corporate bonds got N572.41 billion (5.97%); corporate infrastructure bond, N17.79 billion (0.19%); corporate green bonds, N31.71 billion (0.33%) and supra-national bonds N4.03 billion, representing 0.4 per cent.

Other areas invested in include commercial papers, N123.28 billion (1.29%), and foreign money market securities, N1.07 trillion (11.21%).

For mutual fund, they invested N9.90 billion (0.10%) in open/close-end funds and N11.91 billion (0.12%) in Reits.

The investment choice as stipulated by law setting up the scheme also includes real etste properties, N231.48 billion (2.42%); private equity fund, N32.06 billion (0.33%); infrastructure fund, N34.89 billion (0.36%) as well as cash and other assets, N26.47 billion, representing 0.28 per cent.

From recent development, the outlook of investment is likely to expand as the regulator disclosed recently that workers in the informal sector are gradually keying into the scheme.

According to the Head, Corporate Communications, PenCom, Peter Aghahowa, 19 PFAs have registered 28,000 micro pension participants as at November.

According to the breakdown, 21,430 participants were registered as at June 2019,b while in July, 221 participants were registered. In August 2019, 1,299 Nigerians were registered, September, 2737 registered and in October, 2313 participants registered.

While over 40 million Nigerians in the formal sector have no pension plan, which account for about 65 per cent of the GDP, Aghahowa said registration had, however, been challenged due to low financial literacy.

Other challenges include the need for National Identity Number (NIN), which is one of the criteria for registration; low awareness about the scheme and inadequate technology platform to support the registration process.

He said in a bid to tackle the challenges, the commission embarked on campaign across the traditional, social and digital media, engaging with union, associations, professional bodies and non-governmental organisations.

“Though NIN has slowed down the process of micro pension registration, PenCom has, however, collaborated with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure that participants get their numbers on time to fast track registration.

“The commission is working on having its own USSD code to ease payment of pension contribution for enrollees,” he added.

Though the micro pension scheme is moving at a slow pace, the President, PenOp, Aderonke Adedeji, said there was need to give it time in order to avoid mistakes.

Speaking on the growth of the industry, Adedeji said 15 years after setting up the Contributory Pension Scheme, it has grown to over N9.trillion.

“However, we are not yet where we want to be. We need to address the issue of transfer window and the slow registration of NIN, but we are making progress in that aspect.

“In recent time, we have been experiencing slow pace of growth of the industry and the reason is not far-fetched.

“In terms of the state of the Nigerian economy, we have increase in unemployment rate which is a threat to the growth of the industry,” she added.

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