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Onanuga Advocates Functioning Social Security System In Nigeria

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By Sola Alabadan

In view of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis, the former Director General of Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC) said there is the critical need for a functioning social security system to allow all Nigerians to achieve an adequate standard of living.

Mrs. Onanuga made this call while delivering the theme paper “Covid-19 Impact On Financial Inclusion: Opportunities For Insurance & Pension Sectors” at the sixth edition of the national conference of the National Association of Insurance and Pension Correspondent (NAIPCO) held recently in Lagos.

She said “The World Bank estimates that the covid-19 crisis will result in 10.9 million Nigerians falling into poverty by January 2022. If we have learned anything, the pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis have highlighted the critical need for a functioning social security system to allow all Nigerians to achieve an adequate standard of living.

However, she lamented that “unfortunately, the social security system in Nigeria is next to zero; so you need to plan for yourself so that if anything happens, you need to be able to stand.”

Mrs. Onanuga stressed  that in this era of COVID-19 pandemic, insurance and pension is what Nigerians need to lean on for a hopeful future.

“If you really want to remain in business, you must take insurance, in the event of sudden occurrence like the pandemic, insurance will help you to stand back on your feet; in the event of you finding that because of the pandemic a breadwinner of a family dies, there must be a buffer to ensure that the family is not affected.

“Therefore, more than ever before, you find out that actually there is need for both insurance and pension products to ensure that we continue to live and meet our need of sustainable living, healthy living, wealthy living and of course, continuity in business. That is why it is important for all of us to identify that we have these needs for growth and continuity by taking up both insurance and pension products,” Mrs. Onanuga said.

In her goodwill message, Director General, National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, who was represented at the event by the Commission’s Head, Corporate Communications, Mr. Peter Aghahowa, emphasised the need for Nigerians to embrace contributory pension, as a social security safety net.

He said the issue of gathering retirees physically in various locations across the country for verification is now a thing of the past with the online verification and enrolment portal recently launched by the Commission.

According to him, “Before now, we would congregate several retirees in different centres of the country to do the enrolment for the Treasury Funded retirees, and now that can be done online.

“I’m happy to announce that over 3,000 people have been enrolled through our online portal out of 11,000 expected to retire this year.

Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr. Olorundare Thomas, called on Nigerians in all walks of life to embrace insurance as risk-mitigating mechanism.

The Commissioner for Insurance was represented by Assistant Director, Market Development, Adeyemi Abubakar.

He congratulated the NAIPCO members, for their consistency in organising the conference, as a platform to ensure that they reach out to the public with their reportage on the insurance sector to ensure the growth of the insurance business in Nigeria.

The Commissioner for Insurance reminded NAIPCO of their role as purveyors of information, awareness creation and catalysts of economic growth, just as he solicited the continued cooperation of the Association for the growth of the industry.

He said for the Nigerian insurance market to record significant growth and contributes adequately to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), all hands must be on deck, noting that the media has a critical role to play in this especially in sensitising the public on the benefits of insurance.

Thomas believes that deepening insurance penetration can only be possible through a deliberate and sustained insurance awareness which, he said, will also lead to the realization of the Federal Government’s financial inclusion initiative.

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Minister Affirms Nigeria Air Will Take Off April 2022

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Nigeria’s national carrier, Nigeria Air, will take off by April 2022, Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, said on Wednesday.

The minister announced the take-off date while briefing state house correspondents after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting at the presidential villa, Abuja.

He said the national carrier will be run by a company in which the Nigerian government will hold a five percent stake while Nigerian entrepreneurs will hold 46 percent.

He said the remaining 49 percent will be reserved for yet to be assigned strategic equity partners, including foreign investors.

Sirika said the national carrier, when operational, will create about 70,000 jobs for Nigerians.

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Nigeria Needs $1.5trn To Bridge Infrastructure Gap, Says Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria needs $1.5 trillion within a 10-year period to achieve an appreciable level of infrastructural development.

According to a statement by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson, Buhari said this on Tuesday at the COP26 side event on improving global infrastructure.

COP26 is currently holding in Glasgow, Scotland.

The president said his administration has taken infrastructure expansion in Nigeria seriously, while being conscious of the fact that new investments in critical sectors of the economy would aid lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.

“There is a nexus between infrastructural development and the overall economic development of a nation,” Buhari said.

“My administration identified this early enough as a major enabler of sustainable economic development and the realisation of other continental and global development aspirations, particularly the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.

“On my assumption of office in 2015, Nigeria faced a huge infrastructure deficit and the total National Infrastructure Stock was estimated at 35% of our Gross Domestic Product.

“In solving these problems, we embarked on a massive infrastructure expansion programme in the areas of Health care, Education, Transportation, Manufacturing, Energy, Housing, Agriculture, and Water Resources.

“We provided more financial resources for these policies, charted new international partnerships and pursued liberalisation policies to allow private sector participation.

“We introduced the revised National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan – a policy document that ensures our infrastructure expansion projects is cross-sectorally integrated and environmentally friendly.”

The president welcomed the plan of the G7 countries to mobilise hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure investment for low- and middle-income countries.

He noted that the ‘Build Back Better World’ plan, an initiative of the G7 countries, is expected to be a value-driven, high-standard, and transparent infrastructure partnership.

Buhari also told the world leaders that Nigeria is open to investment in infrastructural development.

‘‘Nigeria is ready for your investments in infrastructural development in the country,” he said.

‘‘My administration has established a clear legal and regulatory framework for private financing of infrastructure to establish a standard process, especially on the monitoring and evaluation process.

‘‘We look forward to working with you in this regard.”

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PenCom Moves To Diversify Pension Funds Portfolios, Reduce FG’s Pension Liabilities

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By Sola Alabadan

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has promised to focus efforts on facilitating increased diversification of Pension Fund portfolios, as well as aggressively pursue efforts aimed at reducing pension liabilities of the Federal Government.
PenCom’s Director General, Mrs. Aisha Dahir Umar, stated this in her report contained in the 2020 annual report of the commission made available today.
She also assured that the commission would seek to expand coverage of the Contributory Pension Scheme in States, Local Governments and the informal sector; while also enhancing public awareness campaign efforts, and striving to improve service delivery in the industry.
Going forward, the PenCom boss pointed out that the commission would re-evaluate the milestones of the past years and consolidate its efforts to build a future-ready and resilient work environment underpinned by various initiatives.
She emphasised that PenCom’s focus shall be on a five-prong strategic approach that steadily pursues and addresses identified gaps while creating a more agile organisation with a culture that supports innovation and continuous improvement.
Meanwhile, the annual report indicated that the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) generated total earnings of N109.68billion in 2020, representing an increase of 3% when compared with the N106.70billion recorded in 2019.
The combined operating expenses incurred by the PFAs amounted to N55.20billion, while profits before taxes amounted to N54.48billion.
The major source of income for the PFAs was fund management fees, which accounted for over 80% of total Income.
The PFAs recorded a combined Return on Assets of 30.07% and a combined Return on Equity of 35.19%. This indicated that the PFAs sustained their profitability in the year under review.
The six CPFAs generated a total revenue (income and transfers from Sponsors) of N2.68billion, which was a 7.58% decrease compared to the N2.90bllion generated in 2019.
The major source of revenue for the CPFAs were inflows from their sponsor companies, which constituted 55% of their total revenue, while management fees and investment income accounted for 41% and 4%, respectively.
The CPFAs incurred a total expenditure of N2.74billion and a combined profit of N52.38million in 2020. Operating expenses comprised mainly of staff costs, which accounted for over 69% of operating expenses.
The PFCs generated a combined income of N24.09billion, representing a 2.75% decrease when compared with the N24.77billion generated in 2019.
The major source of income for the PFCs was custodial fees, which constituted 80% of their total income, while investment income and other income accounted for about 20% of PFCs total income.
The PFCs incurred total operating expenses of N7.73billion and a combined profit of N16.36billion in 2020. This indicated a 12.61% decline in the PFCs’ profitability when compared to the N18.72 billion recorded in 2019.

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