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World Bank, IMF to Undertake Joint Action Plan On Debt Reduction For IDA Countries

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The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), have proposed to undertake a joint action plan on debt reduction for the most indebted International Development Association (IDA) countries.

Mr David Malpass, the President, the World Bank Group, said this on Wednesday during a virtual meeting with the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors at the ongoing IMF/World Bank annual meetings in at Washington D. C.

Malpass said that it was urgent to make rapid progress on a framework because the risk of disorderly defaults was rising.

He said that the bank’s latest economic and poverty data showed that desperate inequality was being caused by the COVID pandemic and economic shutdowns.

“The recession in advanced economies is less severe than had been feared but in most developing economies, it has become a depression, especially for the poorest and extreme poverty may rise by 150 million by 2021.

“Soon after our spring meetings, we were able to launch health emergency programmes in 111 countries and began a surge in our grants and highly concessional lending that will reach the limits of our capital structure and commitment authority.

“As part of this effort, we expect to provide over 50 billion dollars in grants or highly concessional credits by June 2021, helping provide large net positive flows to the poorest and most fragile countries and people.”

The president recalled that in March, the G20 endorsed a vital debt relief programme for the poorest countries, giving people a ray of hope.

He said that the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) helped increase fiscal resources for over 40 countries and created more transparency on the overwhelming debt burden.

According to him, the goals for debt relief are fiscal savings for the poorest countries, greater debt transparency and a path forward for countries in debt distress.

“We are making progress but not nearly enough. The DSSI extension being agreed today is welcome and the term sheet has been strengthened in important ways.

“However, some core DSSI-related problems are still unresolved, notably a lack of participation by private creditors and incomplete participation by some official bilateral creditors.

“The bigger challenge is the need to look beyond DSSI. It is important to note that the DSSI defers payments into the future but doesn’t reduce them.

“Interest charges compound quickly on the deferred amounts, leaving countries with even more debt.

“The DSSI has been a stopgap to provide fiscal resources and greater transparency while a longer-term solution for the debt crisis can be developed,” he said.

Malpass said that the tendency in past debt crises was for countries in debt distress to go through a series of “ineffective debt reschedulings that leaves them weaker’.

He said that creditors might eventually allow them to get to a debt reduction process but at a tremendous cost to the poor, adding that they needed to work better and faster this time.

“On a positive note, I am happy to announce that yesterday afternoon, our board approved a package of up to 12 billion dollars to expand and fast-track COVID response for the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments.

“The scale of the challenges ahead is staggering, so we need to do more. With the strong support of its shareholders, IDA has frontloaded IDA-19 resources to the fullest possible extent as a key part of the surge in our commitments this fiscal year.”

He, however said that IDA lending would have to decline in the next two years even though the latest forecasts, including those just announced by the IMF, suggests that the reduction in economic activity would extend well into subsequent years.

Malpass said that the bank was proposing to IDA deputies later in October, a 25 billion dollar supplemental COVID Emergency Financing Package.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the IDA, a member of the World Bank Group, is an international financial institution with 173 member countries.

It offers concessional loans and grants to the world’s poorest developing countries.

The 2020 Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group holding in Washington D. C. began on Oct. 12 and will end on Dec. 16. (NAN)

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NAICOM Licences Seven New Insurance Firms 

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Commissioner for insurance, Sunday Thomas and representatives of the newly licensed insurance outfits in Abuja on Friday.

By Sola Alabadan

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) issued operational licences to seven insurance companies in Abuja today, in line with Market Conduct & Business Practice Guidelines.

The new insurance firms are Heirs Insurance Limited (General), Heirs Life Assurance Limited, Stanbic IBTC Insurance Limited (life), Enterprise Life Assurance Company, FBS Reinsurance Limited, Salam Takaful and Cornerstone Takaful Insurance Company Limited.

The Commissioner for Insurance, Sunday Thomas, who gave the operational licences to the five firms at NAICOM Head Office, said the Commission has issued operational licences to the firms to operate insurance business.
According to him: “The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) received applications from the under listed companies for registration as Insurance and reinsurance Companies to transact insurance and reinsurance business in Nigeria.
“In fulfillment of the statutory provisions of extant laws for the registration/licensing of insurance Companies, the general public is hereby informed that the Commission has commenced the process of registering the companies.
Consequently:” Heir Insurance Limited (General) has picked, Olaniyi Stephen Onifade as its Managing Director, Stanbic IBTC Insurance Limited, picked, Akinjide Orimolade as Managing Director; Heirs Life Assurance Limited picked Abah Okoriko and Enterprise Life Assurance Company Nigeria Limited picked Fumilayo Abimbola Omo.

“FBS Reinsurance Limited is led by the former Commissioner of Insurance, Fola Daniel. FBS is bringing together professionals with proven experience from the brokerage and underwriting units of the industry including Bala Zakariyau, the former managing director of Niger Insurance who currently plays in a support unit of the Nigerian aviation industry, Ahmed Olaniyi Salawu of the Standard Insurance Consultants, and Wole Oshin Bankole of the Custodian Investment Plc that has just taken a plunge into the property sector by taking a large chunk of the United Property Development Company, a subsidiary of the UACN Plc.
“These crops of professionals represent those with firm beliefs that there is a big insurance potential in Nigeria and indeed, the African continent. Others are Ebele Ofunneamaka Okeke, from Nnewi North, Anambra who rose to the position of the Head of Nigerian Civil Service before her retirement, and also, Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar, a lawyer, and an accomplished administrator and businessman with vast experience at the senior executive level in power and communication sectors.
“The reinsurance firm is required to pay the new N20 billion capitalisation stipulated by the commission under the reform exercise for it to start a business in the industry.”

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Power: FG Ready To Support DisCos’ Initiatives – Minister

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Mr Saleh Mamman, Minister of Power, says the Federal Government is ready to support any initiative by electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) aimed at addressing the challenges facing the power sector.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mamman spoke at the inauguration of Eko Electric Distribution Company’s (EKEDC) Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) System on Thursday in Lagos.
Mamman said : “I felicitate with and commend the EKEDC’s Board of Directors and management for this milestone.
“SCADA is one of the most advanced technologies in the power distribution business globally and I am optimistic that this event will translate to improved service delivery within EKEDC’s network.
“The inauguration of this SCADA system will help EKEDC monitor and respond quicker to faults and reduce the outage durations which would improve quality of service delivery to customers.”
According to him, the SCADA project will help the DisCo meet its set objectives under the recently executed Service Level Agreements with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
He said the project would provide access to real time data that enables distribution system operators to make informed decisions that improve reliability and availability, consistent with the targets of the Service Based Tariff (SBT) regime.
Mamman said the FG was working assiduously to address the challenges of the power sector through initiatives such as the National Mass Metering Programme, the Siemens AG Power Project and upgrade of power infrastructure across the country.
Earlier, Mr Adeoye Fadeyibi, Managing Director, EKEDC, thanked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its support to the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry which paved way for the SCADA project.
Fadeyibi said : “SCADA is a centralised computer system which represents the evolution of our network operations from the present physical monitoring, remote coverage and relay of network information.
“By contrast, SCADA innovatively gathers real time information, identifies loopholes or breaches in the network and transfers this data back to a central site where the necessary analysis and control is carried out.
“The result of this analysis is then displayed in a logical and organised fashion. The project involves monitoring, control, fault tracking, data analysis and operations optimisation of our high-tension network.
“As part of Eko DisCo’s effort to improve operational efficiency, revenue generation and reduction of our Aggregate Technical Commercial and Collection Losses, we have implemented the SCADA project to automate our electric power distribution network across our franchise coverage area.”
He said the achievement by the DisCo showed that the FG’s Power Sector privatisation programme was a laudable decision, as it had completely transformed the sector and the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry.

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Emirates Offers Travellers $500,000 Multi-risk Travel Cover 

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Emirates airlines has announced that it will provide travellers a multi- risk travel cover worth $ 500 , 000 on top of its current COVID-19 cover.
The airline stated that the new multi- risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover will automatically apply to all Emirates tickets purchased from December 1 , and extend to Emirates codeshare flights operated by partner airlines , as long as the ticket number starts with 176.
Emirates Chairman and Chief Executive , Ahmed bin Al Maktoum was quoted as saying , “ Emirates was the first airline to offer complimentary global COVID -19 cover for travellers back in July , and the response from our customers has been tremendously encouraging.
“ We have not rested on our laurels and instead continued to look at how we can offer our customers an even better proposition. We are very pleased to be able to now provide this new multi- risk travel insurance and COVID – 19 cover , which is another industry first, to all our customers.”
He added, “ We aim to give our customers even more confidence in making their travel plans this winter and moving into 2021 by the launch of this feature .”
Highlights of the coverage include out -of – country emergency medical expenses and evacuation up to $ 500 ,000 , valid for COVID -19 ( contracted during the trip ) and other medical emergencies while travelling abroad.
It also involves trip cancellation up to $ 7 ,500 for non- refundable costs if the traveller or a relative ( as defined in the policy ) is unable to travel because they are diagnosed with COVID- 19 before the scheduled trip departure date , or for other named reasons – similar to other comprehensive travel cover products.

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