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Atiku to Launch Aaron’s Book: Nigeria DRIVERS OF DIGITAL PROSPERITY

Nigeria’s former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar will on Thursday, July 7, 2022, lead a pack of eminent Nigerians to Oriental Hotel, Lekki, Lagos for the launch and public presentation of the book: Nigeria DRIVERS OF DIGITAL PROSPERITY, The Trajectories of The Digital Evolution, Sector Analysis And Players’ Contributions, authored by Aaron Ukodie, Nigeria’s pioneer ICT and Technology Journalist.

The 472-page page hardcover book is an experiential chronicle of Nigeria’s sojourn through the backwaters of IT and Telecoms to the revolution which inspires the present global reference of its institutions, corporate entities/brands and the individual skills sets.

Other high-profile techies expected to grace the occasion among others include Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, the Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government and a former President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) who has been a dogged advocate of ubiquitous Broadband connectivity across the length and breadth of Nigeria

The book public presentation will be preceded by the eWorld Forum 2022 themed: 4G, 5G Broadband connectivity and the Economy.

The paper presentation session by the current Executive Vice-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta would be chaired by Dr Ernest Ndukwe, Chairman, MTN Nigeria who was the EVC/CEO of NCC when Nigeria recorded the landmark success with the award of the GSM licences.

Atiku who is the Presidential flag bearer of Nigeria’s main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was the head of the nation’s Economic Management Team during the two-term regime of former President Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007.

It was the regime that berthed the celebrated accolades recorded with the Digital Mobile Licensing (DML) which introduced the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) technology to the nation’s telephone network.

As recorded in the book for the sake of posterity, Atiku also played a key role subverting the surreptitious plot by high-ranking government officials who attempted to throw spanners in the works in order to scuttle the GSM auction processes when President Obasanjo was out of the country.

Details of the plot that could have denied Nigeria the globally acclaimed integrity and epoch-making mobile revolution and how Atiku filled the leadership gap in the absence of his boss have been intricately narrated in the book.

The veteran journalist also gave incisive details of how and why it took Nigeria about a decade to successfully issue global benchmark GSM licences. Details of the interests of the late military Head of State, General Sani Abacha and the connections of the Chagoury family were also lucidly narrated in the new book.

Also profiled in the book are the contributions of the celebrated and unsung Nigerians and corporate entities who sacrificed sweat and blood to endure the uncharted pathways to Nigeria’s noble contributions to the national and global IT, Telecoms and computing ecospheres.  The role of the Surulere, the sprawling Lagos Mainland community in the Computerise Nigeria is also revisited in the new book.

The book which is segmented into five sections avails Nigerians the tricks and trials that the pioneer players in the Technology, Telecoms and Computing business environment endured to translate to the powerful statements in the fintech, Creative Hubs, telecoms, technology, robotics and other generational expertise and milestones that Nigeria is now showcasing to the world.

The book, first of its kind to articulate Nigeria’s roadmap from the pre-independence analogue era to the present-day digital connectivity will be useful not only to industry enthusiasts, scholars, academia, researchers and students; avid readers will also find it very interesting as a worthy collection.

 

NAICOM Cancels Operating Licence of Niger Insurance, Standard Alliance

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has cancelled the operating licence of Niger Insurance Plc and Standard Alliance insurance Plc.

The official statement from NAICOM reads as follows:

NOTICE OF CANCELLATION OF THE CERTIFICATES OF REGISTRATION OF NIGER INSURANCE PLC AND STANDARD ALLIANCE INSURANCE PLC

This is to notify all insurance stakeholders and members of the public that the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM has CANCELLED the certificates of registration of Standard Alliance Insurance Plc, RIC – 091 and Niger Insurance Plc, RIC – 029 with effect from the 21st day of June, 2022.

Consequently, the Commission has appointed Sanya, Ogunkuade Esq of Plot 217, Upper Grace Plaza, 3rd Floor (Left Wing), Shetima Munguno Crescent, Behind Julius Berger Equipment Yard, Utako, Abuja as the Receiver/Liquidator for Niger Insurance Plc and, Kehinde Aina Esq of Aina Blankson LP, 5/7, Ademola Street, SW Ikoyi, Lagos as the Receiver/Liquidator for Standard Alliance Insurance Plc.

All stakeholders are advised to forward their enquiries to the respective Receiver/Liquidator for each company for their necessary action.

The Commission assures all stakeholders of the safety and protection of their interests.

‘Rasaaq ‘Salami

Head, Corporate Communications and Market Development

For: Commissioner For Insurance, NAICOM.

Unity Bank Corpreneurship Challenge: Delta, Rivers Corps Members to Benefit from N10m Grant

Unity Bank’s flagship Entrepreneurial Development Initiative, Corpreneurship Challenge, is set to return for the 8th edition across 10 locations in Nigeria, including a debut in Delta and Rivers States.

The Retail lender kick-started the Corpreneurship Challenge scheme in 2019, with a launch in Lagos and in three other states, which included Edo, Ogun, and Abuja, but with the increasing traction of the initiative among corps entrepreneurs, the Bank has now expanded the programme to 10 states across the federation.

The first expanded edition covered Lagos, Ogun, Abuja, Edo, Katsina, Enugu, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto, Kano and Kaduna. This edition will hold for the first time in Rivers and Delta as well as making a return to Sokoto, Edo, Abuja, Akwa-Ibom, Osun, Kano, Bayelsa and Enugu.

The Corpreneurship Challenge, which has earned the Bank a national recognition for its impact on youth empowerment and job creation, has continued to elicit growing interest among the corps members, attracting over 2000 applicants and participation in every edition.

In partnership with the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development, SAED, the initiative prominently features a business pitch presentation that provides the participants with the opportunity to present their business plans and stand a chance to win up to N500, 000 cash in the business grant.

Previous editions saw participants pitching business plans from several sectors including software solutions, fashion, fish production, poultry farming, bee farming, retail chains, and piggery to beverages which were assessed based on originality, marketability, and future employability potential of the product and knowledge of the business.

So far, Unity Bank has invested over N100 million in the initiative which has now produced 58 winners since it was launched.

New Book Reveals How Atiku, Joda, Ndukwe Saved 2001 GSM Licence Auction

Expectations were high on January 19, 2001, the day scheduled for the GSM auction technically referred to as the Digital Mobile License auction.  NCC officials, observers, and accredited journalists were already seated in a secured room at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

The bidders, five of them, MTN, Econet (now Airtel), Communications Investment Limited (CIL) now Globacom, United Network Consortium, and MSI International were in a palpable frenzy and set to outbid each other.

The lead auctioneer, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe wasted no time in kick-starting the auction process that was billed to showcase the regulatory resolve of the Commission and put Nigeria on the map of countries providing mobile phone services.

Unknown to many at the Transcorp room, Nigerians who were watching and the international community, certain officials in the president Olusegun Obasanjo’s government had laid siege to the process, in a last-ditch effort to scuttle it.

At some point in the bid process, they acted causing a temporary halt to proceedings.

Not many knew what was amiss. Some thought it was a temporary technical hitch or some other operational challenge. The matter was far from the two reasons.

A 472-page new book titled: Nigeria Drivers of Digital Prosperity: written by Aaron Ukodie, Nigeria’s pioneer ICT journalist, billed for launch on July 7, 2022, at Oriental Hotel, Lekki, has narrated the high-wired intrigue that played out at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, the venue of the auction.

The content of the book made available to reporters narrated the personalities that were involved in the many bids to scuttle the process, who eventual tried their schemes on the day of the auction to scuttle it. The book reveals what Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, at the time Vice President and Head of the Economy, late Ahmed Joda, then Chairman of the NCC and Ndukwe did to outsmart those who were bent on putting spanners on the process and put the country and the NCC to ridicule.

The book presented in five sections dealing with various aspects of the Nigerian digital revolution process and also narrated in more refreshing detail the manifold battles fought by the NCC, and some stakeholders to overcome the landmines put in the way of the regulatory process in the early years to achieve the model is to Africa.

Oftentimes, when people record history, the role of the media is relegated, even though they have played and continue to play an equally remarkable role in energising and stirring processes that worked and stakeholders to perform optimally, but the Digital Prosperity book is remarkably different.

“The ICT media in Nigeria deserve a place in a book such as this one dealing with the trajectory of the Nigeria digital evolution, because of the unique and remarkable role the IT media has played and continues to play in the sector, Aaron Ukodie, author of the book noted.

The ICT Media has been even involved in ICT advocacy spanning a period of more than 20 years and has organised numerous conferences, workshops, and exhibitions in magnitude and variety no other sector of the Nigerian media has done, Ukodie said.

The launch edition of the book comes in hard paperback printed in glossy colours and splashed with illustrating pictures.

Ndukwe will chair the event which will also be preceded by a lead talk on 4G, 5G, Broadband Connectivity and the Economy to be presented by the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta.

 

 

 

 

FG Commits to Infrastructural Development Through PPP – ICRC

L-R: Mr Soji Adeleye, CEO, Alfe City Institution, Dr Oluseye Ajuwon, Lecturer/Researcher in Economics, University of Lagos; Mrs Maureen Chigbo, Publisher, Realnews Magazine and Mr Dare Mayowa, Publisher, Global Financial Digest during panel discussion at the WorldStage Economic Summit 2022 in Lagos.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has acknowledged that the major problem facing the nation’s economy as the lack of adequate infrastructure and expressed total commitment to the development of infrastructure through Public Private Partnerships (PPP).

The Acting Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Mr. J A Michael Ohiani who said this in his keynote address at the WorldStage Economic Summit 2022 #WorldStageEconomicSummit 2022), said the FG commitment was evidenced by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s continuous commitment as provided in the 2021-2025 National Development Plan (NDP) which sought to encourage more private sector participation in National Infrastructure Development.

At the summit in Lagos with the theme “Nigeria’s Economy: Bridging The Infrastructural Gap, Ohiani who presented his address virtually through Dr. Amanze Okere, Head, Special Projects & Acting Coordinator, NII3P (a PPP Training Institute of ICRC), said as the NDP had a projected NGN 348.1 trillion, with the entire government of the Federation programmed to provide on about NGN 49 trillion, the remaining amount was programmed to be provided by the private sector.

“This has been the trending truth over the years, that the revenue to our government cannot meet the needed infrastructure quantum and speed,” he said.

The summit which was supported by the CBN, NLNG, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Polaris Bank and Ecobank had Dr. Oluseye Ajuwon, a Lecturer/Researcher in Economics at the University of Lagos as the presenter of the lead paper.

The ICRC boss acknowledged a known fact that infrastructure drives the economic growth and development of any nation, but Nigeria over the years, produced several Development plans, “but unfortunately, we have not yet upscaled our infrastructure stock to the level which would drive the economy as expected.

“It is also common knowledge that the Government alone cannot afford to provide the funding necessary to bring our infrastructure up to the level that it needs to be in order to stimulate much needed economic growth.”

He recalled that the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment) Act of 2005 came into existence to enable private sector participation in the development and operation of critical infrastructure, which was hitherto the obligation of the government to provide.

“Even though the global pandemic has dealt a blow to economies around the World, we in Africa and indeed Nigeria, have been blessed to have remained sturdy and focused on infrastructure spending and the necessary diversification of our economy. But we need to do more. We need more investments, more innovative ideas on infrastructure development using already proven and trusted techniques from around the World, and more commitment from the private sector towards the actualisation of these goals,” he said.

He listed some of the achievements of ICRC in the past 14 years to include Federal Executive Council Approval for more than 50 projects, amounting to more than N3 trillion in private sector funds, and is currently providing regulatory guidance on more than 200 projects.

“As part of the ICRC mandate, we gazette and publish a list of PPP eligible projects annually, so that prospective investors will know when and what to invest in,” he said.

“As at May 2022, there are 77 post-contract PPP projects under implementation at the ICRC Projects Disclosure Portal (www.ppp.icrc.gov.ng or www.icrc.gov.ng). The portal is the first disclosure portal in the world, established in collaboration with the World Bank.

“As at May 2022, there were 197 pre-contract projects at Development and Procurement phases at the ICRC website (www.icrc.gov.ng).

“Between 2010 and 2021, under the regulatory guidance of the ICRC, the Nigerian Government has approved PPP projects worth more than USD8 Billion.

“As at May 2022, the ICRC has issued 128 Outline Business Case Compliance Certificates, which shows their bankability.

“In the same period, the ICRC has issued 50 Full Business Case Compliance Certificates to date.

“The continuing success of PPPs around the World and even in Africa shows us that government can share in the responsibility of providing infrastructure given the right guidelines, and within the regulatory framework provided by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) establishment Act 2005

“ICRC has open doors and can be reached for advice and guidance in the development of PPP projects.”

He used the opportunity to invite the participants at the summit to the African PPP event of the year 2022, Africa Public Private Partnership Network (AP3N) being hosted by the ICRC, on behalf of Nigeria which is scheduled for 4th and 5th July, 2022 and will take place in Abuja and would be declared open by the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, on behalf of the President.

Dr Ajuwon in his lead paper identified underdevelopment of physical infrastructures as the major constraints confronting the Nigeria economic and social development over the years.

“These critical infrastructures have gradually decayed over time due to neglect,” he said.

“The poor performance and inefficiency in the operation of the nation’s infrastructure has been described as major constraints to industrial performance and productivity growth.

“As a result, the average growth rate of the national economy has stagnated and stunted around 5.0% for many years.

“This is because the state of our infrastructure does not encourage investment. Unfortunately, we have now added insecurity to the problem of inadequate and decayed infrastructure.”

On the way forward, the economic expert said the desire for true patriotic leadership in Nigeria is most needed for ensuring sustainable infrastructure development.

He said the Nigerian government must commit to providing good governance and ensuring public infrastructures are well protected, managed, and maintained.

“On-going and future developments should be closely monitored while ensuring that the projects are awarded on merits, and practical timelines are given and strictly followed for completion,” he said.

“The government should continue in its fight against corruption and addressing excessive spending in governance.

“Also, government facilities should be appropriately managed and put into effective and efficient use.

“Furthermore, credit facilities for infrastructural projects should be made easily accessible with minimum interest rates.”

He expressed appreciation for the think tank behind the World Stage Economic Summit, Mr Segun Adeleye, and the entire team, saying, “This is a good avenue to air the opinions of experts on issues that are germane to the economic progress of Nigeria our beloved motherland.”

Segun Adeleye, President/CEO of World Stage has in his opening remark said the 2022 summit came at a critical time when politics had overshadowed other activities as Nigeria prepares for the general election in 2023.

“It is equally a challenging time for the economy as the Russia-Ukraine war is causing international commodity prices to surge, with mixed implications for Nigeria,” he said.

“According to EIU, “costlier diesel and food prices will mean another year of high inflation in 2022, combined with mass unemployment and rampant insecurity across much of the country. Economic growth will lag well behind potential, at marginally above the rate of population growth. As Nigeria imports and subsidises petrol and produces relatively little crude, high global oil prices also mean deterioration in the fiscal balance.”

He said the rising inflation which hit 17.71% in May and the decision by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to increase the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 13 per cent after deep concern over inflation, were fundamental distracting factors from the main issue of infrastructure which required very huge investment.

“Nigeria is currently facing huge infrastructural gap that has hindered desire to exploit its rich natural and human resources to stimulate development,” he said.

“In fact, Nigeria was ranked number 116 competitive nation in the world out of 140 countries in the 2019 edition of the Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum, largely due to the poor state of its infrastructure.”

He said the accolade by the Federal Government that it was doing great with infrastructure investments going by the assessment of the Minster of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola was like a drop in an ocean when compared with the level of infrastructure the country should have and what it will take to attain it.

“The Debt Management Office of Nigeria (DMO) said capital investments of over $100 billion, excluding routine maintenance and operating costs, are required to close the yawning infrastructure gap. This will translate to $1.5 trillion needed over a 10-year period to achieve an appreciable level of the National Infrastructure Stock,” he said.

“Augusto & Co put the most aggressive estimate of Federal Government revenue in 2022 at about N5 trillion, which means the Federal Government will need to borrow about N8 trillion in order to finance aggregate spending of N13 trillion.

“So, it’s very glaring that the money we need to attain the level of infrastructure we desire will not come from the federal budget. So where will it come from?”

He said the focus of the WES 2022 was to examine the infrastructural gap challenges and proffer solutions that would significantly help at improving prospects of achieving the nation’s economic potential.

“The resolution of this summit on closing the nation’s infrastructural gap will be very handy for the incoming government to hit the ground running, particularly for job creation. We believe that if the country can get it right with infrastructure, every other thing will fall in place,” he said.

The hybrid WES 2022, the 6th in the series of 10 editions since WorldStage consolidated its economic conferences under the umbrella of an economic summit also attracted over 200 online participations from around the world.

 

 

 

Modernise Service Stations to Survive, BCG Advises Fuel Retailers

Oluseun Solanke

Partner and Associate Director

BCG Nigeria

Fuel retailers have been advised to prepare for an emerging future by modernizing their service stations to support electric vehicles, supply biofuel as well as capitalize on their real estate, and zero in on sustainable practices, in a new report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a leading global management consulting firm.

A new report from BCG, titled A New Era for Fuel Retailers, explores a fuel retail landscape that is evolving at a faster-than-predicted pace and the strategies fuel retailers must implement to survive and thrive in the face of monumental threats.

The fuel industry has long been facing disruptive forces, and these have only accelerated since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic: electric vehicles (EVs) and alternative fuels have gained significant traction, mobility usage and attitudes have evolved, and customer behavior has changed dramatically.

According to the report, which is based on a survey of 33 executives from 20 leading global retailers, operators with robust retail businesses found that in-store sales and online offers during the pandemic offset sharp declines in gasoline and diesel sales volumes.

More recently, as geopolitical uncertainty and volatility have placed upward pressure on oil prices, many operators have realized that retail is a matter of business resiliency. As such, some 70% of leading retailers are planning to expand their network in the coming years.

Oluseun Solanke, Partner and Associate Director at BCG Nigeria, said, “The latest innovations in mobility and renewable power technology is encouraging stakeholders in the Nigeria’s energy and automotive industries to develop and deploy solar-powered electric charging ports and expand gas stations in response to the growing fleet of electric and gas-powered vehicles.

“These initiatives, which are part of the pilot project of National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), will open more opportunities for investors to boost profitability and decarbonise the environment; encourage retail stations to expand their offerings and automobile technicians to upgrade their skills, when deployed at scale.

“Beyond extracting the most value from their traditional core business, fuel retailers’ survival depends on investing beyond the pump,” said Mirko Rubeis, a Managing Director and Senior Partner at BCG and a coauthor of the report. “They need to make ambitious moves into new digital businesses while also adapting the service station to support EV and other alternatives fuels, capitalize on their existing real estate, and zero in on sustainable mobility.”

 

Leading Trends in the Fuel Retail Landscape

 

In the past few years, five trends in the fuel retail industry stand out:

  • Alternative fuels are no longer optional. Sales of EVs are rising—in some regions, even outpacing those of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. BCG projects that by 2030, more than 50% of new light-duty vehicle sales in the US will be EVs. Demand for biofuels is also increasing, and regional partnerships in Europe, China, and the US are being created to enable the mass market rollout of hydrogen-fueled heavy-duty transportation (e.g., long-haul trucks; buses). As a result, 95% of fuel retailers are either already offering or planning to offer EV charging, and 55% are offering or planning to offer alternative fuels.

 

 

  • Advancing mobility forms are changing usage patterns. The pace of technological development in advanced mobility will change the kind of vehicles—and the type of customers—that show up at the service station. The pool is diversifying from purely self-driven vehicles to autonomous fleets and from ICE-only to EVs.
  • COVID-19 has changed consumer behavior. Convenience store (C-store) sales in the US are increasing among those fuel retailers that have adapted their offerings to meet rising consumer expectations around convenience. 65% of the fuel retailers surveyed now plan to invest more in their C-stores to enhance the customer experience and improve site efficiencies.
  • Digital technologies are expanding retailers’ capabilities. Around 60% of retailers are using big data analytics to customize their offerings within and beyond the service station. Digital technologies have also enabled individual stations to use dynamic pricing—an important tool for keeping margins high during COVID when volumes plummeted.
  • Sustainability is taking root. Regulators are adopting more stringent measures to control CO2 emissions, and price parity between alternatives and fossil gasoline is becoming a reality. More EVs are becoming available at prices comparable to ICE vehicles, while in some regions renewable diesel is approaching the same price point as petroleum-derived diesel.

 

An Agenda for Action

These developments point to the need for fuel retailers to reorient themselves: away from fossil fuel and toward alternatives, and away from the vehicle and toward the customer.

The opportunities for growth are significant if retailers pursue four strategic avenues:

  • Rethinking their future network for a world in which hydrocarbon fuels no longer dominate
  • Reimagining the station as a mobility and convenience hub
  • Revamping their loyalty and personalization programs
  • Driving new growth areas beyond the service station

“The possibilities for fuel retailers are numerous, but time is in short supply,” said Stuart Groves, a managing director and partner at BCG and a coauthor of the report. “Retailers that embrace these imperatives, seriously and swiftly, will not only retain their relevance in the low-carbon economy, but can also look forward to an expansive future.”

 

About Boston Consulting Group

Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. BCG was the pioneer in business strategy when it was founded in 1963. Today, we work closely with clients to embrace a transformational approach aimed at benefiting all stakeholders—empowering organizations to grow, build sustainable competitive advantage, and drive positive societal impact.

Veritas Kapital Assurance Partners National Blood Commission to Save Lives

On June 14th 2022, the world stood still to commemorate the annual ‘World Blood Donor’ Day, a day set aside by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to show solidarity and appreciation to blood donors around the world, while creating wider public awareness of the need for regular, unpaid blood donation.

For 2022, the slogan of “Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives” as a call-to-action was answered by Veritas Kapital Assurance Plc, one of the leading insurance companies in Nigeria.

In collaboration with the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) to improve the availability of safe blood in the Country, Veritas Kapital Assurance Plc marked the year’s celebration with a special blood donation drive at its corporate head office located in the Central Business District of Abuja – FCT as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.

During an exclusive interview, Mr. Kenneth Egbaran, the Managing Director/CEO of the Company commended the high turnout of staff while stating that “as a responsible corporate citizen, Veritas Kapital Assurance Plc is humbled by the opportunity given to us to save lives by contributing to the efforts of the NBSC.

He further stated that the Company was motivated to partake in this noble gesture going by its “deep resolve to play a pivotal role in socially responsible programs that will positively impact the lives and wellbeing of everyday Nigerians”.

Reinforcing the statement of the MD/CEO; Aisha Garba, Head, Corporate Services of Veritas Kapital Assurance Plc attributed the high turnout of staff to the “employee volunteer programs” instituted by the Company at the beginning of the year.

She elaborated by stating “these programs actively engaged staff to effectively serve their communities and the environment of which blood donation in collaboration with the NBSC was a top priority”.

Speaking to reporters during the blood drive, Mr. Arinze Adigwe, Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications at Veritas Kapital Assurance Plc praised the NBSC for their professionalism and support while stating that the management and staff of Veritas Kapital Assurance Plc are deeply honored and grateful for the opportunity to save lives. He further elaborated that the blood drive is the first of many more collaborative activities with the NBSC.

HEREL: Redefining Living Experiences in Nigeria via Development

On Sunday, 29th May 2022, Real Estate and Hospitality development firm HEREL welcomed real estate agents and enthusiasts into its community through their new initiative tagged ‘The HEREL Circle’.

Created to foster community building beyond physical structures, The HEREL Circle offers people the opportunity to earn supplementary income by being a part of a group that provides awareness, offerings, and exclusive insights into the premium developments within the company’s portfolio.

The event took place on the cozy and colorful rooftop of an impressive four-story structure, Boardroom Apartments, owned by HEREL Global.

Guests were eased into the event with glasses of wine, other beverages and soothing music as the sunshine sat on their shoulders while guests networked, in preparation for the event to commence. The event kicked off with warm introductions from Deola Aromiwura HEREL’s Executive Director for Marketing and Communications.

After the introductions, the event quickly proceeded to the business end – introducing the properties within HEREL’s portfolio – a segment conducted by Olatade Daranijo, Business Development and Sales Manager, HEREL.

In the thirty minutes that followed, Olatade put the guests through a thorough, interesting, and comprehensive guide to the property listing, hospitality offerings, and the investment potential it holds.

Guests were first introduced to the Lagos Manor which is HEREL’s perfect home design that contains 15 luxury apartments that comprise a one, two, and three-bedroom mix. The development is located in the pristine area of Ikoyi, Lagos.

The apartments contain high-quality wood finishes that combine architectural excellence with homely character. Fitted with a state-of-the-art gym, central swimming pool, housekeeping, and facility management amongst other attractive features.

Next on the list was Prestige at Hampton which is described as a home that offers the living of an extraordinary life.

The development contains 10 stunning five-bedroom houses in a fully serviced estate equipped with top-notch facilities. Each unit is fully detached with a swimming pool, an elevator, a state-of-the-art gym, private cinema, a rooftop lounge, two-room servants’ quarters, a four-car parking space, and a central power and security system.

Guests were also introduced to the Aqua Point which is an impressive waterfront view development with 8 units of five-bedroom en-suite semi-detached houses with two-room servants’ quarters located at Patrick Harbour Estate Onikoyi, Lagos. Landed properties available for purchase were also introduced to the guests.

Olatade also highlighted the many benefits associated with being a member of HEREL Global’s network. The possibility of agents earning as high as N7 million on closing a house sale excited guests as well as getting vouchers and other perks across their hospitality developments.

The excited guests impressed by Olatade’s presentation didn’t fail to ask cogent questions bordering on mortgages and financing, agent commission, and other questions all of which were satisfactorily answered by the HEREL team.

The unfortunate collapse of the 21-story building on 1st November 2021 at Ikoyi which led to the death of at least 45 has led to a significant trust deficit in Nigeria. I asked Olatade how HEREL intends to present itself as a company that doesn’t compromise on quality, and he tells me their stellar records speak for themselves.

Linkage Assurance Reports N11bn Premium in 2021 as Shareholders Applaud Growth

Shareholders of Linkage Assurance Plc have applauded growth of the firm, which saw it grow its Gross Premium Written (GPW) by 34 percent in 2021 financial year despite the challenging business environment.

Cross section of the shareholders including Bisi Bakare who spoke at Linkage Assurance Plc’s 28 Annual General Meeting held in Lagos said the operating environment has become very competitive, commending the board and management for making deeper inroads into oil and gas, aviation, agriculture among others.

Linkage Assurance Plc during the year under review grew its GPW to N11.16 billion from N8.33 billion in 2021 financial year, while the net underwriting income was N6.26 billion, as against N5.076 billion the previous year.

Joshua Fumudoh, Chairman of the Board who announced the performance said growth in revenue could not translate to profitability because of huge claims that hit the company in 2021, including the EndSARS protest losses.

Fumudoh said, “the aftermath of the 2020 #EndSARS protest took a toll on the insurance industry and Linkage was not exempted. The total #EndSARS claims for the insurance industry was about N20billion whilst Linkage Assurance Plc exposure was N1.1 billion.”

He said however, that the Company was proud to have met its obligations to her teaming customers by enabling them to return to their business despite the huge losses.

In addition to #EndSARS, other two major claims occurred in 2021, which there is a provision of N1.5 billion and N750 million already paid.

 

While assuring the shareholders for better performance in the current year given its first quarter and second quarter performance, he said, “we will continue to refine our strategy in line with the political, economic, sociological and technological changes in the industry.”

“We will also continue to develop innovative products, alternative channels of distributions and strategic initiatives that will enable us to achieve our corporate goals and objectives. With a medium-to-long term perspective, we believe that we will benefit from growth in these initiatives, Fumudoh stated.

Daniel Braie, Managing Director/ CEO, Linkage Assurance Plc responding to shareholders questions pledged the commitment of the company to meeting its claims obligation despite the challenging business environment.

Informing that the Company paid out whopping N3.99 billion claims in 2021 financial year, against N2.41 billion in 2020, Braie said its reinsurance capacity is strong to continue to meet her obligations.

On outlook, Braie said management was looking at measures to cut operating expenses and portfolios divestment of unprofitable insurance businesses, while aligning operating costs of distribution channels with their revenue generation potential.

On new lines of business, he said, “in line with our strategic focus, we have developed a bouquet of Agricultural Insurance products as risk management initiatives for both small, medium, and large-scale farmers and agribusiness. These include Livestock Insurance Solution, Multiperil Crop Insurance Solution, Fish Farm & Fisheries Insurance, Poultry Farm Insurance, Area Yield Index Insurance and Farm All Risk (Material Damage).”

“We have embarked on extensive digital transformation, this is expected to be one of the major drivers of operational efficiency as it will improve our business process, eliminate wastages, and positively impact our performances.”

Consequently, we shall be executing our strategic initiatives in line with our 2022 strategic focus, which is hinged around four business pillars –growth & operational, financial, customer & people excellence.

To improve our business process and services, we will commence the first phase of our digital transformation plan during the year, the CEO assured.

 

 

Sovereign Trust Insurance Reaches Final of NCRIB Tennis Tournament

L-R: Adepoju Aderounmu, Manager, Banking Operations, Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc and Semi Finalist of the Men’s Single, Emmanuel Anikibe, DGM, STI Plc and 1st runner-up of the Men’s Single, Barrister Olutemunbi, President, Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Segun Bankole, DGM, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations and Team Manager for Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc at the Tournament and Sola Adeyeye, Senior Manager, Investment, STI Plc who also made it to the Podium of the maiden edition of the Tournament. 

Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc representatives made it to the Quarter, Semi and Final stages of the just concluded maiden edition of the Lawn Tennis Tournament organized by the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers, NCRIB to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Council in Nigeria.

Reuben Muoka Named Director, Public Affairs at NCC

The Management of the Nigerian Communications Commission has appointed Reuben Muoka, an innovative journalist and consummate public relations practitioner, as its new Director of Public Affairs (DPA).

Reuben Muoka takes over from Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, who has assumed duties as the Director of Special Duties Department of the Commission.

The new NCC’s spokesman was recently promoted a substantive director, alongside Ismail Adedigba, now Director of Research and Development (R&D); and Gwa-Tobi Mohammed, who has also assumed duties as Director/Secretary to the Board of the Commission.

Muoka was in 2021, appointed to head the Special Duties Department, which superintends the International Relations Unit; Emergency Communication Centres Unit; the Public Private Partnership Unit; and the Security Services Unit of the Commission.

He was promoted as Director of the Department before his current redeployment to lead the Public Affairs Department, the arm of the Commission mandated to manage the image and visibility of Nigeria’s telecom regulator and a leading light of the Nigerian public service.

Muoka is expected to bring his rich and versatile experience in both specialized and traditional journalism, public relations, integrated marketing communications (IMC), corporate communication and people management, to bear on the Commission’s vision to expand the frontiers of its public goodwill and the impact of its reputational assets.

A former Deputy Communications Editor of the Vanguard Newspapers, former Deputy General Manager at MTS First Wireless (Nigeria’s first mobile telephone operator), Muoka joined the NCC in 2007 as a Principal Manager, and was deployed to the Public Affairs Department where he headed the Media and Public Relations Unit.

He later rose from the rank of Principal Manager to the position of an Assistant Director in 2010, and by 2015, as a Deputy Director, appointed to head the re-engineered Public Relations Unit of PAD. In 2017, he was redeployed to the Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis Department to head the Economic Analysis unit of department.

Muoka earned M.Sc. degree in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos, specialising in Public Relations and Advertising, where he had earlier successfully completed a Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) in the same field of Mass Communication. Much earlier, he had obtained a bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts at the University of Ilorin.

As a mark of his distinctive journalism career, Muoka received a fellowship of the Egyptian Embassy in Nigeria to undertake a Pan-African training and tour of Egypt in 1999, leading to an award of a continental Diploma Certificate in Journalism at the instance of the Egyptian Ministry of Information, and the African Journalists Union (AJU) in Cairo, Egypt.

The focused, innovative and illuminating coverage and analysis of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the pre and immediate post liberalisation period of telecom industry in Nigeria is credited to the insights of visionary journalists like Muoka, whose pioneering initiative led to the establishment and institutionalisation of the Hi-Tech Desk in Vanguard Newspapers in late 1990s. As the Chairman of the League of Communications Correspondents (LECCO), Muoka led his colleagues to give voice and focus to the advocacy for the liberalisation and deregulation of the telecom industry in Nigeria in the 1990s.

During his active days in journalism at Vanguard Newspapers, Muoka served concurrently as Africa’s contributing editor to the London-based CommunicationsWeek for four years beginning from 1998, during which he undertook copious reportage of the African telecom landscape.

The London-based magazine shared Muoka’s work to an enthusiastic global audience in a rare showcase of Africa’s promise as a flourishing point for the emergent converging telecommunications industry.

Between 1995 and 2001, Muoka leveraged his expertise to provide part-time public relations consultancy to notable companies and institutions in the telecommunications industry, including the Nigerian Mobile Communications Limited, Abuja; Multi-links Telecommunications Limited, Lagos; Satellite Telecommunications Limited, Lagos; Pulse Marketing Communications Limited, Lagos; and the Nigerian Communications Commission, Abuja, years before he joined the Commission as a staff.

Reuben Ejike Muoka is a member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ); a full member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (mnipr); and an associate member of the Registered Practitioners of Advertising (arpa), regulated by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON).

‘On behalf of the Board and Management of the Commission, I heartily congratulate Reuben on his new role and look forward to working closely with him and his team in Public Affairs Department, as key internal stakeholders in the Commission’s re-engineering processes to meet and surpass Federal Government’s expectations for a robust telecommunications sector and a remarkably emergent digital economy,’ says Prof. Umar Danbatta, EVC of NCC.

Danbatta: Collaboration is Success Path to 5G Deployment in Nigeria

NCC:

L-R: Mistura Aruna, Assistant Director; Hafiz Shehu, Chief of Staff, (CoS; Grace Ojougboh, Head Media and Public Relations; Efosa Idehen, Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, (CAB); Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta , Executive Vice- Chairman, (EVC); Reuben Muoka, Director, Public Affairs; Yetunde Akinloye , Director, Policy Competition and Economic Analysis and Yakubu Musa , SA Media to the EVC, during the 90th Edition of Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) in Lagos.

Industry collaboration is very essential to successful deployment of 5G Services in Nigeria, so says Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), who in Lagos, urged industry stakeholders to stand with the Commission to explore the prospects and potential of the new technology, which is enormous.

Danbatta, who spoke at the 90th Edition of the Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) hosted by the Consumer Affairs Bureau of the Commission, said the policy framework for the deployment has come into place and will facilitate deployment of services by the recent winners of the 3.5GHz spectrum auction, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and MAFAB Communications Limited.

He said the Commission has set out the regulatory instruments needed for fast deployment of the new versatile technology for the benefit of the consumers and the stakeholders.

Danbatta, therefore, invited the support of all stakeholders to ensure that 5G technology is deployed in Nigeria in a manner beneficial to all telecom consumers and to support the emergent Digital Economy Policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

He highlighted the potential use cases for 5G networks as broadly categorised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to include Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Massive Machine-type Communications (mMTC), as well as Ultra-reliable and Low-latency Communications (uLLC)

“We will continue to collaborate with stakeholders across sectors to ensure faster deployment of 5G services, and accelerate the growth of Nigeria’s broadband infrastructure,” he said.

He identified some challenges in the deployment to include limited frequencies with the required spectral efficiency, skilled professionals with requisite knowledge of the technology, fewer number of 5G-enabled devices, and cost of deployment but stated that the industry must work to turn the challenges into opportunities rather than seeing them as obstacles.

Danbatta said the issues that should militate against or slow down the deployment of 5G technology are themselves opportunities that can potentially create new revenue streams or new subsectors in the industry.
In the panel discussion on the presentation titled “5G Networks: Opportunities and Challenges” by Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Bako Wakil, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management of NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, who chaired the panel session, urged all participants to exploit the opportunities offered by the 90th TCP to contribute to the deployment of 5G Network in Nigeria.

“We must conclude this Telecom Consumer Parliament with solutions to challenges that are associated with 5G deployment in countries that had deployed the services ahead of Nigeria. We must also have a clear roadmap on how the opportunities offered by the technology can be maximized for the benefit of Nigerians” Adewolu said.

The event was attended by representatives of Mobile Networks Operators (MNOs), the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Consumer Advocacy and Empowerment Foundation (CADEF), Association of Telecoms Cable TV and Internet Subscribers (ATCIS), and other key stakeholders in the telecom industry.

 

 

Stanbic IBTC: ‘Women Should Engage in Wealth Building Investment’

As part of efforts to continually advance women entrepreneurs in Nigeria, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, a member of Standard Bank Group has called on women to engage in wealth building investments for the collective progress of their finances and businesses.

This was disclosed at the Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) June 2022 Roundtable Session themed: ‘The Woman and Her Money: Empowerment through Business, Trusts, Private Banking, StockBroking, and Insurance.’

The Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) is a non-profit organisation focused on increasing and supporting the success rates of female entrepreneurs and the proportion of women in senior positions in corporate organisations and public service.

Over the years, WIMBIZ has inspired, empowered and advocated for better representation of women. Speaking at the roundtable session, Busola Jejelowo – Executive Director, Investment Management – Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Limited, stated that despite the positive impact that women-owned businesses have on the society, there are still untapped wealth building opportunities that can be explored to improve their businesses and finances.

She said: “Despite the challenges women face, we continue to play a significant role in driving the economic, social and cultural development of our communities. In Nigeria, more than 41 per cent of small businesses in Nigeria are run by women, with over 23 million female entrepreneurs operating in this segment. Imagine if all these women begin to invest their funds in veritable assets. The returns they will get on their investments will be indeed substantial. However, many women are not aware of financial opportunities due to the low level of financial literacy in the nation. This is part of the reason why we have organised this event.”

According to her, the theme of the session is centered around how investing in Business, Trusts, StockBroking, Insurance’ and other financial properties can greatly benefit women in today’s world.

“We are proud to say that over the years, Stanbic IBTC has helped a lot of Nigerian women build sustainable wealth, despite the general economic outlook. One of our core initiatives is to organise free capacity building sessions for individuals. As people from different works of life and especially as women, we need to cultivate the habit of savings and investing our funds, which will be used to acquire assets,” she added.

The Executive Director, Clients Solution – Stanbic IBTC Bank, emphasised that the focus of the conference was to primarily build the confidence of the businesswoman in the Nigerian market and provide a platform for sensitising women on wealth creation through opportunities with alternative investments, access to business financing and working capital, use of insurance to protect their wealth and many more.

 

 

Anchor Insurance Unveils Local Passengers’ Flight Welfare Scheme

(L_R: Mr. Adebisi Ikuomola (Executive Director, Technical). Mr. Ebose Augustine (MD/CEO), Mr. Ime Umoh (Company Secretary/Legal Adviser), all of Anchor Insurance Company Limited and Mr. Alfred Daudu (MD, FSL Insurance Brokers Limited) during the launching of the Local Passengers’ Flight Welfare Scheme product by Anchor Insurance yesterday in Lagos.

Mr. Augustine Ebose, Managing Director/CEO, Anchor Insurance Company Limited said at the launch of the new product:

The management of our dear Anchor Insurance Company Limited, officers from the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), the Travel practitioners here present, gentlemen of the Press, ladies and gentlemen, I want to welcome you to the official media launch of our added retail product line: Local Passengers’ Flight Welfare Scheme recently approved by our regulator, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM).

We were particularly glad when we received the approval as it provides a further opportunity for us to bring our well-known customer-centric finesse to bear in driving the product to real success and for the maximum benefits of our potential customers.

Permit me to emphasize that for about 32 years that Anchor Insurance Company Limited has been in operations, we are remarkable for excellent delivery of services to our teeming customers. We will not do anything less with this product.

The main purpose of the Local Passengers’ Flight Welfare Scheme which, essentially, is a single product, is to meet up passenger legal liabilities, compensate for losses encountered by passengers including baggage delay, mishandled baggage and loss of baggage, provide financial benefits for the harm done to the health and life of the insured person or to compensate for lost wages during temporary or permanent disability as a result of unexpected and short-term external factors or unforeseen circumstances, for example: accidents.

 

Period of Cover:

This insurance protection will be run in accordance with the stipulated Regulations on obligatory personal accidents insurance on transport. According to the current regulations, passengers are considered insured from the moment of processing the check-in to the period of unboarding and receipt of luggage(s).

The policy terminates from the point the passenger collects or takes his/her luggage at the arrival hall.  For emphasis, the policy covers the passenger from his/her airport of take-off to the airport of destination within the Nigerian geographical space.

 

 

 

Benefits:

During the life of the scheme (that is from the time of announcement of boarding to the point of taking his/her luggage at the destination airport), any affected passenger shall be entitled to the following benefits:

  • Financial lump sum payment to the passenger’s named beneficiary upon the occurrence of fatality or death of a passenger as a result of an accident while boarding or onboard the aircraft.
  • Term payments to the passenger for injury sustained leading to disability as a result of accident occurring while boarding or onboard the aircraft.
  • Term payments to the passenger for injury sustained leading to temporary loss of capacity to labour as a result of accident occurring while boarding or onboard the aircraft. 
  • Medical expenses of up to N50,000.00 for passengers who suffer any injury as a result of an accident occurring while boarding or onboard the aircraft. 

 

Special considerations:

Children from age 0 – 3 years are freely covered by the parent’s policy. By this, we mean that such children shall not pay any premium.

Children between age 3 and 12 years shall only pay 50% of the individual premium.

 

Claims Administration:

Our Claims process for this product shall be as follows:

All Claims including loss of baggage are to be reported within 24 hours of the happening of such event. Incidences or cases of suspected or possible loss of luggage must be reported to Anchor Insurance Company Limited irrespective of the chances that the luggage would be later found.

Claims payment would be made between 3-5 working days upon complete documentation of the Claim.

Anchor Insurance Company Limited reserves the right to pay benefits to the named beneficiary in the Passenger’s Manifest.

As we officially launch this product today, let me, at the same time, reassure all potential customers of a seamless claims process which we are acclaimed for. We do not tell stories when genuine claims are reported to us. We assure you of the very best of service as you invest in our policies.

Bayelsa State Deputy Gov Leads Delegation to Unity Bank on Sport Dev

L-R: Odigie William Otaigboria Innocent, Zonal Head, Port Harcourt Region; Hon. Daniel Igali, Commissioner of Sports, Bayelsa State; Mr. Ebenezer Kolawale, Executive Director, Finance & Operations, Unity Bank; His Excellency, Lawrence Ehrujakpo, Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State; Mrs. Tomi Somefun, MD/CEO, Unity Bank Plc; Hon. Tari Porri, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Sports and Mr. Sunny Bakwunye, Divisional Head, Treasury, Unity Bank Plc when the Bayelsa Deputy Governor led a delegation to Unity Bank Plc

This morning, the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State visited Unity Bank HQ in Lagos to seek collaboration with the Bank on Sports Development in the State. The Deputy Governor was accompanied by a delegation from the State’s Ministry of Sports and was received by the Managing Director of Unity Bank, Mrs. Tomi Somefun.