The highly anticipated Galaxy Fold, a new foldable device creating a new mobile category, is clearly a hit with Nigerians as the first batch released has already sold out with pre-order sales, Samsung Nigeria said on Friday in Lagos.
It said that it was currently working on increasing stock levels to keep up with demand, adding that even after a delayed-release, there was clearly an appetite for this pioneering device.
It said that the next batch of the world’s first AMOLED Infinity Flex Display would be available in the Nigerian market from November 29.
Galaxy Fold features the world’s first 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display, which folds into a compact device with a cover display.
It said that the device offered a powerful new way to multitask, watch videos, play games, and more – bringing to life new experiences and possibilities years in the making.
“Samsung is proud to introduce a premium foldable device, that goes beyond the limitations of a traditional smartphone,’’ said David Suh, Managing Director at Samsung Electronics West Africa in a statement.
“The pre-order sales are indicative of the public’s affinity for technology that transcends the norm.’’
He added that Galaxy Fold is in a category of its own that delivers a new kind of mobile experience allowing users to do things they couldn’t do with an ordinary smartphone.
“Users now have the best of both worlds; a compact device that unfolds to reveal Samsung’s largest-ever smartphone display, says Adetunji Taiwo, Head, Information Technology and Mobile (IM) at Samsung Electronics West Africa.
He noted that Galaxy Fold brought together material, engineering and display innovations, developed over eight years following the debut of Samsung’s first flexible display prototype in 2011.
PFA emphasises benefits of data recapture
tanbic IBTC Pensions Managers Limited has enjoined employers to ensure that their employees participate in the on-going Data Recapture Exercise being undertaken for the company’s enrollees.
Speaking at the Stanbic IBTC Pension Employers’ Forum held recently in Abuja, Mr. Eric Fajemisin, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited (SIPML), urged employees to always update their information with their pension fund administrators to facilitate easy access to their retirement benefits.
Fajemisin stressed that organisations should encourage their employees to leverage the Enhanced Contributor Registration System, newly deployed by the National Pension Commission, to ensure that their data was up to date.
The Data Recapture Exercise was introduced to enable pension fund administrators obtain complete and accurate data of all Retirement Savings Account holders (both active and retired), in line with the provisions of Section 23 (e) of the Pension Reform Act 2014.
The 2019 edition of the Stanbic IBTC Employers’ Forum had earlier held in Lagos and Port Harcourt on October 29 and November 7 respectively.
In Lagos, Fajemisin, who was represented by the Executive Director, Business Development Directorate, SIPML, Mrs. Nike Bajomo, stressed that the importance of data cannot be overemphasised in the pension industry as data is currently being used to sanitize the industry.
He said: “If there was a golden thread that ties discussions in the pensions industry today, it is integrity. It is at the heart of the most of the changes that are taking place in the industry and its importance cannot be overemphasised.”
He, however, lamented that some workers take part in the Data Recapture Exercise only when they are close to retirement, or after they have retired, thereby making the process a bit cumbersome for them.
“The Data Recapture Exercise has been a reoccurring decimal in many of the conversations that we have had this year. We are glad that some organisations had been successfully on-boarded to the Enhanced Contribution Registration System,” Fajemisin added.
He stated that the pensions industry in Nigeria is being digitised to enable customers enjoy seamless services through various digital platform.
Speaking in the same vein, the Acting Director General, National Pension Commission (PenCom), Hajia Aisha Dahir-Umar, stressed that the Data Recapture Exercise was very critical because it speaks to the integrity of the pension industry.
Dahir-Umar, who was represented by the Deputy Zonal Head, PenCom, South-West Zonal Office, Mr. Sola Adeseun, added that the commission intended to use the data recapture exercise to effectively sanitize the pensions industry.
According to her, “after this industry sanitization is done, we will ensure that the Transfer Credit System, otherwise known as the transfer window, where RSA holders can easily change their PFAs, would become operational in the first quarter of 2020.”
Since it was introduced, membership of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) had grown from 6.9 million subscribers in June 2014 to 8.85 million subscribers as of September 2019.
Stanbic IBTC Employers’ Forum is an interactive forum where challenges and trends in the industry are brought to the front burner. It is also a platform to explore possible ways, options and opportunities to strengthen the Nigerian pension industry.
Nigerian insurance industry ranked 62nd globally
Nigeria’s insurance penetration at 0.31 per cent is less than one tenth of that of India with similar GDP per capita
hen compared to other jurisdictions, the Nigerian insurance industry is relatively small and ranked 62nd in the world with a total premium volume of $1.64 billion, according to a report by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
The report, which was released yesterday at an insurance sector forum tagged “Recapitalisation: Panacea for Insurance Industry Growth,” held at the Nigerian Stock Exchange building in Lagos, revealed that the total Nigerian insurance market accounted for only 0.2 per cent of the global premium in 2018.
“Penetration rate measured as a percentage of GDP of the Nigerian insurance industry currently stands at 0.3 per cent which is relatively low compared to other jurisdictions. Total density of the Nigerian insurance sector (I.e a measure of industry gross premium per capita) is currently at $6.2 and lags behind its African counterparts.
“Nigeria’s insurance penetration at 0.31 per cent is less than one tenth of that of the India with similar GDP per capita which suggests significant un-tapped potential,” it noted.
The Chief Executive Officer, NSE , Mr. Oscar Onyema, while speaking at the forum, said that the reality and headwinds faced by operators in the sector were quite formidable.
He explained that many licensed insurers were largely undercapitalised, thus limiting their ability to take on big ticket in-country risks, as is often required in the oil & gas, marine and aviation sectors.
“As at Q3 2019, the insurance sector contributed less than o e per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria. Having a penetration rate of 0.31 per cent and an insurance density of 6.2 per cent, the Nigerian insurance industry still lags behind its African counterparts – with South Africa having a penetration rate of 14.7 per cent, Kenya 2.8 per cent, Ghana 1.1 per cent and Egypt 0.6 per cent.
“The insurance industry presents perhaps the most remarkable investment case of any industry in Nigeria and despite present challenges, it presents numerous opportunities for enhancing the economic fortunes of this country. Foreign investors, recognizing these opportunities have acted accordingly with the likes of AXA, Prudential, Liberty, Swiss Re, SUNU Group, Saham Group, taking strategic positions in the industry.
“An estimated capital of N200 billion is expected to be injected into the Nigerian insurance industry post-recapitalization with a 400 per cent increase in the minimum capital required for life, 333 per cent for non-life, 360 per cent for composite and 200 per cent for re-insurance.
“While I am optimistic that this directive by the industry regulator would enhance performance, bring about efficiency, innovation and profitability, the industry needs significant support to unleash its growth potential.
“At the NSE, we see close parallels between this recapitalisation and that of the banking sector in 2005. The immense growth seen in banking industry in large part can be attributed to successful capital raised through the capital market.
Analysts: Planned VAT hike’ll hinder growth
World Bank projects 2.1% GDP growth for Nigeria in 2020, 2021
ven as it appears that having received the consent of the National Assembly on the move, the Federal Government is set to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) from five per cent to 7.5 per cent next month, analysts at Cowry Asset Management Limited have again warned that the plan could hamper Nigeria’s already sluggish economic growth.
The analysts stated this in a report obtained by New Telegraph yesterday, where they commented on the latest World Bank report that projects 2.1 per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for Nigeria in 2020 and also warns that the country could slide back into recession if crude oil prices fall by 25per cent to $50 per barrel.
They said: “We feel it is time FG diversified its revenue base in order to increase its spending power as over reliance on borrowings (both local and foreign) appears to be unsustainable.
“Also, we note that the proposed VAT increase to boost revenue could hamper economic growth rate. Instead, FG should deploy the right policies to stimulate public private partnership as more private sector participation would deliver the growth rate Nigeria requires.”
According to the World Bank 2019 Nigeria Economic Update report released last Monday, the number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty will increase by more than 30 million by 2030, if the country’s government fails to revive economic growth and create jobs for its people.
The bank stated that Nigeria’s estimated population growth at 2.6 per cent, which outpaced its economic growth (Q3 GDP growth printed 2.28%], was amid weak job creation as estimated 100 million Nigerians live on less than $1.90 per day.
The World Bank in the report projected that although the Nigerian economy would grow by 2.1 per cent in 2020 and 2021, the projected outlook is vulnerable to external and domestic shocks.
It advised government to increase domestic revenue, remove trade restrictions, expensive fuel subsidies, and improve the predictability of economic policy, amongst other things, in order to ensure more Nigerians do not fall into extreme poverty.
It would be recalled that the National Assembly recently passed the 2019 Finance Bill sponsored by the Executive, which, among other revenue seeking plans, proposes to increase the VAT rate from five per cent to 7.5 per cent from January 2020.
FSI launches industry innovation sandbox
he Financial Services Innovators (FSI), a community of fintech enthusiasts passionate about driving innovation in the financial services industry, recently announced the launch of the Nigerian Industry Innovation Sandbox, at the sidelines of EFInA’s Financial Inclusion Conference in Lagos.
The effort, which is supported by over N250 million naira in multi-year grants from Flourish and EFInA is intended to lower the barriers to innovation within the financial services ecosystem.
“The time to change the narrative of the financial services landscape in Nigeria is here and I am excited to lead this charge at FSI, where we aim to build an inclusive ecosystem of fintech innovators”, said Aituazobe Omoareloje Kola-Oladejo, former head of research and development at the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS).
“I am especially excited for the fintech Industry Innovation Sandbox, which will lower the barriers for early-stage innovators building and scaling global fintech innovation from Nigeria” he added.
“Like people, countries must evolve. We must create an environment which enables our people, young and old, as well as the country take control of our tech future”, said Ade Shonubi, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
To participate in the industry innovation sandbox, innovators need to register as members of the Financial Services Innovators at www.fsi.ng and access a sandbox environment where they can build and test fintech products on technical infrastructure from the NIBSS.
Before FSI, innovators, who needed to access the right technical infrastructure to test the viability of their products, were typically required to get a CBN license and spend months in meetings with banks, fintech players, and NIBSS to get pilots off the ground.
Terminal operator provides quarters, waste disposal to communities
est Africa Container Terminal (WACT), Onne, has donated 10 units apartments and 20 waste disposal skips to Rivers State communities.
The quarters were built for teachers working in Ogu town, Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area of the state, while Onne community was provided with waste disposal skips at strategic locations to manage waste issues.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Aamir Mirza, explained the donations were part of the leading terminal operator’s corporate social responsibility (CSR).
He explained that the communities had been very supportive to the growth of the company by providing good quality staff.
Mirza, who was represented during the commissioning of the projects on Wednesday by WACT’s Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Lewis Sarpong, said: “Education is very important and thought it wise as part of our CSR to build this accommodation to make sure that teachers that are posted to Ogu have good accommodation.
“When the teacher is sound, he goes to the classroom happy and when the teacher is happy he can impact knowledge into the children. That is the most important aspect that we looked at.
“We discussed with the community on how we could be of help and we agreed on providing them with 20 skips to tackle waste disposal and promote environmental cleanliness.”
Expressing appreciation to WACT on the donation of the teachers’ quarters, the Amanyanabo of Ogu Kingdom, King Nicholas Dickson Ibiebele Niminebo Loko IX, said the new building would be of tremendous help to the community and serve as a boost to the educational system in the area.
Also, the paramount ruler of Onne, King Dennis Osaronu, said that WACT had demonstrated a high sense of responsibility by providing waste disposal skips to the community.
He noted that there were some communities and local government areas in the state without a single skip.
Countries eye tariffs on Internet economy
20-year global moratorium on imposing tariffs on digital trade could end this week if India or South Africa makes good on threats, according to trade officials and documents, potentially forcing people to pay duties on software and movie downloads, Reuters reported at the weekend.
Since 1998, World Trade Organization (WTO) members have renewed a ban on import duties on so-called “electronic transmissions”, worth up to $255 billion a year by one estimate.
Some think this favours rich countries, given it received strong backing from Washington at the outset and most of the lost customs revenues are thought to be borne by developing countries.
Pressure is now growing to lift the ban as more books and movies become digital, potentially reducing revenues further.
India and South Africa circulated an internal WTO document, reviewed by Reuters last week, saying that rising digitalisation compelled “a rethink of the role of the temporary moratorium” last year, citing the potential of 3D printing to manufacture products. It will be decided on next week and renewal requires full consensus.
Asked about its position, South Africa’s WTO Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter said that it was “still consulting on this important decision.”
According to the agency, India did not respond to a request for comment.
“At the moment there are a number of countries that feel confident they can stand aside from the global consensus,” said the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) Secretary General John Denton. “It could break the Internet.”
A proposal backed by 21 countries including China and Canada seeks to extend the ban for at least six months when it expires at year end. Deal-broker Switzerland said “a large part of the WTO has signalled its support for the Moratorium”.
Such duties could be difficult to apply and it is not clear how it would be determined where the digital product originated from and whether it is an import.
“How do you put a tariff on a byte? How would you capture millions of data flows from multiple sources flowing across countries’ borders every minute of every day,” asked Denton.
However, the first possible answers are emerging. Indonesia created tariff codes for digital goods in 2018, fixing the level at 0 percent for now.
Should the moratorium end, it does not mean that tariffs will immediately follow, and Mlumbi-Peter stressed that. But this is seen as more likely in a new culture of permissiveness following the expected paralysis of the WTO’s top ruling body after December 10.
“If someone tries to experiment putting customs duties on even a limited set of products or services, then there is a risk of immediate retaliation absent of the dispute settlement function,” said the ICC’s Andrew Wilson.
Estimates of the ban’s effect vary. At the top of the scale, a recent U.N. report said potential annual tariff revenue losses could be up to $10.4 billion a year, with more than $10 billion lost by WTO developing countries.
“More and more production is going to be digitised in future so developing countries will lose tariff revenues,” Rashmi Banga, the report’s author, said.
However, an OECD study questioned these assumptions, arguing that the revenue gains from lifting the ban would be relatively small and tariffs would lead to higher prices for consumers among other costs.
African Alliance rebounds, records impressive figures
oremost life insurer, African Alliance, continues to defy the odds with a string of impressive performances that have seen the 59-year-old insurer stabilise its business and earn positive reviews from industry watchers.
Briefing the press yesterday in Lagos, Funmi Omo, Managing Director and CEO, African Alliance, while listing the giant strides the firm has made in less than two years, restated the management’s commitment to sustaining the upward growth trajectory across all metrics.
According to her, “ours is a business that has seen it all and survived it all. Our position in just two years compared to now is testament to the unstinting leadership and guidance of our Board, the relentless drive of the executive management and a most committed and flexible staff who never shies away from challenges in any form.”
On the company’s recapitalisation plans, she said: “NAICOM gave a ‘No Objection’ to our plans which means we are on course. Come June 2020, you will see how far we have come. We do not say we are with you for life for fun; we mean every word.”
According to a statement obtained from the company, the firm’s premium income grew by 68 per cent from N3.00billion at the end of Q3, 2018 to N5.12 billion at the end of Q3, 2019; while by the end of the third quarter, the firm has also paid claims of about N6billion to keep up with its promises of maintaining customer amazement.
In her submission, Olabisi Adekola, Executive Director, Finance, added that the firm’s all round growth earned it a ‘stable outlook’ and Bb+ by Agusto, foremost financial ratings agency in Nigeria.
“That Agusto rated us Bbb+ is a win for us, considering where we were. But we are not relenting, all hands are on deck to sustain this growth and earn a most elite rating consistent with the elite investments we have made in the business,” she noted.
African Alliance is a publicly quoted life insurance company incorporated in 1960. The firm operates out of the corporate headquarters in Ikoyi, Lagos as well as in 18 branches nationwide. Earlier in the year, the firm was rebranded for the first time in its 59 years history in line with the management’s desire to refresh the brand and reposition it for growth.
Qatar Airways to take 60% stake in new Rwandan international airport
Qatar Airways has agreed to take a 60% stake in a new $1.3 billion international airport in Rwanda, the state-run Rwanda Development Board said on Twitter on Monday.
The board said a first phase of construction would provide facilities for 7 million passengers a year in the Bugesera district, about 25 km south east of the capital Kigali. A second phase, expected to be completed by 2032, would double capacity to 14 million passengers a year.
The country’s infrastructure minister Claver Gatete told a news conference that a construction company was still being sought to build the airport, and that once work starts, the first phase would take five years to complete, reports Reuters.
Qatar Airways declined to immediately comment outside of normal business hours.
The plans for the new airport are a modification of those drawn up in 2017 for a smaller facility with a maximum capacity of 4.5 million passengers a year in the same location.
Company and government officials said at the time that Rwanda had signed a deal with the African division of Portuguese construction firm Mota-Engil (MOTA.LS) to build an international airport at a cost of $818 million.
Gatete said the investment from Qatar Airways would enable it to build the larger airport.
“We are looking for a bigger sized airport. That’s why we are looking for a bigger investor,” he said.
Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani is currently visiting Kigali for the presentation of the International Anti-Corruption Excellence (ACE) Award.
Gatete said there was also a possibility that Qatar Airways would help state-run carrier RwandAir to expand, but gave no more details.
Virgin to deploy A350 in Lagos, unfolds 2020 plans
Mega carrier, Virgin Atlantic, has concluded plans to deploy some of its new newest airplanes, the fuel efficient, noise compliant A350, on London-Lagos route beginning from August 2020.
This is due to the strategic importance they attach to Lagos route.
The Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Shal Weiss, made the disclosure when he visited Nigeria.
Weiss was in Nigeria as part of the airline’s strategic growth to reposition and consolidate on its lucrative London-Lagos route. which was launched 18 years ago and to hold business meetings with airline strategic partners.
He told New Telegraph that the airline customers were going to enjoy incentives, stressing that Virgin Atlantic had returned to profitability and ready to launch more routes to South America.
The airline, according to him, is already phasing out its iconic B747 and A340 airplanes, which it hitherto deployed on the London-Lagos route.
His words: “The plans are to retire the old planes like B747 and A340 for the new ones that are coming. B747 by the way has been a fantastic plane. Everybody loves the B747. The passengers absolutely love it especially the upper deck but it has been 50 years that it has been flying and there are new technologies, better planes, more efficient, more noise efficient and we are moving to those. We are not saying we have been operating B747 for 50 years. We retired one actually last week.”
Asked if the carrier was looking at expansion into more cities in Nigeria, the airline chief said his company was in growth mode not only in Nigeria where they have made some strides but expanding to other cities like Tel Aviv, increasing its flights to Mumbai and opening up services to South America.
Evaluating Nigerians’ low propensity to flying
Nigeria boasts of population many say is almost 200 million. This, however, does not translate to huge traffic due more to prevailing economic situation. WOLE SHADARE writes
Nigeria despite a significant increase in domestic passenger traffic in 2018 by almost 30 per cent, there is still a huge gap in travel demand by Nigerians.
No fewer than 15 million air travellers both domestic and international went through Nigeria Airports in 2018, according to figures released by the Consumer Protection Directorate of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
This story is a paradox of sort, given that the geography as well as the demographic profile in Nigeria favours air travel.
The country has a working population of over 80 million, which, in addition to the fact that there are substantial inter-city distances, should favour propensity to travel by air.
The low Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita probably provides some explanation for low propensity to fly.
Pakistan has a lower GDP per capita and still manages to record a higher flight propensity than Nigeria. The number of active domestic airlines is also lower in Nigeria than in other countries, again indicating the low level of demand for air travel.
Dubai, a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates had 3.137 population. The Dubai airport handled 89 million passengers in 2018.
Dubai, Singapore example
Same with Singapore with a population of 5.6 million but handled 65.6 million passengers in 2018. Infrastructure, security and deliberate plan of making their airports hubs has contributed to the success they and others have achieved over the years.
More than one third of the Nigerian passenger traffic is handled by Lagos alone, and almost two-thirds of the total is served by the three airports in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt.
Air fares are observed to be on the high side. The most trafficked route in the network, Lagos-Abuja, has an average fare of N30,000 per passenger flight hour. Customer confidence in Nigerian airlines is another reason air travel demand is deemed low.
Airlines in Nigeria, as in several places, are mostly passenger movers, hence, the focus on passenger traffic.
Traffic at the 20 nodes shows that over the period 2007–20182 Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt airports accounted for 76 per cent of domestic passenger traffic at the 20 domestic airports.
Abuja and Lagos are Nigeria’s political and commercial capitals respectively, while Port-Harcourt is a major oil producing city. Clearly, the cost of air fares naturally excludes a large share of Nigeria’s travelling public.
Much of the movements recorded in Lagos pertain to corporate travellers in the middle and high income categories; Lagos houses much of this group in Nigeria given its status as a megacity.
In Abuja, passengers are mostly top government and private sector workers, while Port-Harcourt travellers thrive on the oil economy. The lower middle class where a great potential for market exists generally do not find air fares affordable. They therefore resort to corporate road transport services.
The implication of low traffic densities in several nodes is that many city-pair routes are not commercially viable to the degree that active airlines will increase their service frequencies on these sectors.
Consequently, many nodes in the network do not record sufficiently large passenger movements. Nevertheless, city pairs in Nigeria’s network have great potential for air travel as road distances on these corridors range from 200 km to over 1400 km.
Air transport offers the fastest means of covering these distances as long as airlines keep to scheduled departure time.
Air travel is one of the barometers to gauge the health of a nation. Whenever a country is doing well, it will reflect on the number of people that travel by air. Nigerian aviation is not a stand-alone. It is part of the bigger economy of Nigeria and contributing to the GDP. It is obvious that aviation is the quickest barometer to check any economy.
A frequent traveler and an airline owner, who preferred anonymity, said: “If you check the Nigerian travelling populace, 70 to 80 per cent of those travelling are business people, as compared to the outside world where only 40 per cent are business people, 30 per cent tourists and the other 30 per cent are students and others.
“In Nigeria if you check the flights going to Abuja, 80 to 85 per cent are on business purpose and once these people don’t have business to do, it is obvious that there won’t be any movement because if you are not going to do business, no travelling. So it is a clear quick indication and barometer for the economy.
“So, if the economy is not performing as expected and businessmen are not moving, the airlines will not find the passengers.
“Once the economy begins to jump, business starts to move; then you see movement in our airports. Where 80 to 85 per cent of the passengers are doing business, most of them are not seeing any business to do now. I guess what is happening in Abuja right now is more politics than business. So it is the politicians that are moving.”
The spokesman of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Sam Adurogboye, recently told New Telegraph that the low passenger traffic was a reflection of the prevailing economic situation, noting that the aviation industry cannot be insulated from the rest of the economic mix.
“Air travel and the aviation sector respond to the prevailing economic situation; just like it affects other sectors. In air travel, there is low season and there is also high season. Even on international flights, there are times seats are fully booked and there are also times of flying empty seats. But safety remains our number one priority,” he noted.
Road transport alternative
Since the availability of alternative modes of transportation that are reasonably close substitutes for air transport diminishes with distance travel, it is expected that the demand for air transport will be less elastic for longer flights than for shorter flights.
Furthermore, international travel tends to be spread over more time than domestic travel, so that the airfare is a smaller proportion of overall trip costs, which makes international travel less sensitive to changes in ticket prices.
In addition, leisure travellers are more likely to postpone trips to specific locations in response to higher fares, or to shop around for those locations offering more affordable fares. Consequently, it is expected that the demand for air transport for leisure reasons will be more elastic than business travel.
This basic concept of own-price elasticity of air travel in different market segments suggests that if air fares are reduced on Nigeria’s domestic routes, demand for air travel is likely to increase, since these routes are short-haul. the prohibitive costs of air travel exclude several potential consumers of the service.
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