By Dipo Olowookere
President Muhammadu Buhari has explained why his administration has been borrowing from various sources since assuming office on May 29, 2015.
According to the former military head of state, the sourcing for loans to finance infrastructure by his government is mainly to attract investors to Nigeria.
A statement on Tuesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, stated that if Mr Buhari had not taken these loans, Nigeria may have been in dire shortfall of infrastructure.
“We have so many challenges with infrastructure. We just have to take loans to do roads, rail and power, so that investors will find us attractive and come here to put their money,” the President was quoted as saying at a virtual meeting with members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) at the State House, in Abuja.
He stressed that the funds must be taken to fix roads in the country so as to save lives from soaring road accidents.
The President, who spoke after listening to a presentation by PEAC chaired by Professor Ayo Salami, regretted that the failure to provide the infrastructure for effective transportation deprived the country of its well-deserved status as the West African hub for Air cargo transportation and trans-shipment of goods.
On the issue of the economy, President Buhari noted the challenges posed by the “collapse of the oil market” and the decision of government to abide by the reduced oil production quota allocated by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
“We have to accept that decision; otherwise they (Middle-East producers) can flood the market and make the product unviable.
“So, we have cooperated with what we get. With oil, we are in a difficult situation. The politics of oil is that the less you produce, the less you earn,” he said.
Mr Buhari also stressed the position of agriculture in the government’s scheme to reduce joblessness and poverty, noting that, “For us to bounce back to productivity, especially in agriculture, the unemployed with many of them uneducated had to be persuaded to go into agriculture.”
“If we hadn’t gone back to the lands, we would have been in trouble by now. That is why we virtually stopped the importation of food, thereby saving jobs and foreign exchange,” he said.
The President also broached the issue of COVID-19 pandemic and how it necessitated the recent government policies as they relate to energy (electricity) and fuel, saying the federal government took such decisions because it places the country above politics.
“COVID has reduced us to the same level as developed countries.
“We are lucky we went back to the land. We eat what we produce. We are doing our best to secure the country and provide infrastructure for investment to be viable in the country,” he said.
Commending the Chairman and the members of the council for their patriotism and service to the nation, President Buhari pledged to continue to draw from their wisdom, knowledge and experiences as the nation deals with challenging economic times.
Earlier, Prof Salami had in his presentation highlighted the council’s recommendations on poverty reduction and stimulation of non-debt investment inflows, as promised at their last meeting.
The council recommended steps for the effective implementation of government’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, as well as measures to curb poverty disparity in Nigeria.
The council promised to set out a full policy paper that would, in the first instance, stop more Nigerians from falling into poverty and thereafter, further plans on reducing the poverty headcount in the country.
The PEAC also outlined a number of measures aimed at aggressively increasing the country’s non-debt investment inflow, including measures to improve investor perception of the country and the proposed establishment of a $5 billion – $10 billion investment and growth fund to invest in.
African Alliance Plots Strategy to Gain Substantial Market Share
By Dipo Olowookere
The management of a foremost life insurer, African Alliance Insurance Plc, has said its main focus at the moment is to ensure the company attain a substantial market share.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of African Alliance Insurance, Mrs Joyce Ojemudia, speaking at the company’s hybrid 52nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos and streamed online, said the team has plotted a strategy to achieve this goal.
“Our main focus next year is to grow our market share substantially. This will be achieved by a massive beef-up of the sales team (field force and corporate marketers) and the provision of necessary tools to aid marketing activities.
“We will reopen branches in locations we have found promising and enhance our presence in existing locations,” the respected sales guru was quoted as saying at the event via a statement signed by the firm’s Brand, Media and Communications Manager, Mr Bankole Banjo.
“Our quest to maintain physical presence resonates with our integrity drive as insurance is a business of trust, especially amongst the retail market. This effort will be supported by digital technology as we adopt a two-prong onslaught on the market,” she added.
Mrs Ojemudia also listed as priorities the renewal of the company’s ISO certification as a business tool to enhance market confidence; staff training and retraining to aid knowledge acquisition; recruitment into key technical areas as well as massive IT upgrades to support the business goals and optimise costs.
Earlier, the company’s Chairman, Dr Anthony Okocha, highlighted the many signs of progress of the company in the 2020 financial year.
“Your Company was able to grow its asset base by 29 per cent from over N40 billion to N56.3 billion. This was as a result of substantial capital injection which gave us a boost on our bottom line to the tune of N5.67 billion from the 2019 loss position of N7.04 billion.
These profits have been immediately assigned as retained earnings to further boost our ongoing quest to revamp our books and grow the overall financial standing of your Company,” he said.
Business Post reports that during the meeting, the company announced the retirement of Mr Okocha as chairman of the board effective September 20, 2021.
A non-executive director of the company, Sylva Ogwemoh (SAN), who chaired the meeting, described the retired Chairman as a man who was passionate about the cause of African Alliance Insurance Plc.
“For a man to have led the board for 9 years is testament to his resilience despite all odds. We wish him a happy retirement and on behalf of the board, management, staff and shareholders of the company, we thank him for his contributions to the growth of the company,” the legal practitioner said.
Recall that under Mr Okocha’s watch, the company successfully conducted the first rebranding exercise in its 61-year history firmly making it attractive to younger professionals and repositioning it for future success.
In the year under review, African Alliance declared a profit before tax of N5.67 billion compared to a loss of N7.04 billion in the preceding year, representing over 1300 per cent year-on-year increase.
Further analysis of the books showed that the company paid N8.16 billion in claims, a 21 per cent reduction year-on-year on the previous year’s figure of N10.4 billion.
This, according to the Chairman, was a “result of shrewd underwriting/ vibrant risk selection process which saw us cede strategically to reinsurers.”
The firm’s income from investments dropped also by 19 per cent from N3.02 billion to N2.46 billion, a direct outcome of the decline in market rates, however, the company’s operating expenses were also reduced by 14 per cent as a precautionary counterbalance to the reduced earnings.
Incorporated in 1960, African Alliance is widely regarded as the strongest life specialist in the industry. With a policyholder base of over 50,000 policies, spanning more than three generations, the company is adequately positioned to provide innovative and customized plans for the Nigerian market.
FIRS Advocates Partnerships for Better Tax Administration
By Adedapo Adesanya
For a better tax administration, there must be stronger relationships between Nigeria and development partners, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Mohammed Nami, has submitted.
Mr Nami, who is also the President of the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators (CATA), was quoted as saying this in a statement issued by Mr Johannes Wojuola, Special Assistant to the Executive Chairman on Media and Communication.
The FIRS boss, during a visit to the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) Secretariat at the United Kingdom’s Treasury House for a meeting on tax administration on Friday, was briefed on the governance structure of CATA and the current efforts by the association to serve the common interest of member nations.
He promised to achieve the short and long term goals and objectives of the association before his three-year tenure ends in 2024.
Mr Nami also held a bilateral meeting with Miss Antonia Strachey of the Public Finance and Tax Department, UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), on issues of mutual benefit to the revenue authorities of both countries.
The FIRS boss was unanimously elected on October 12 by the 47 member countries of CATA at the association’s General Meeting as its 15th President.
CATA is an accredited associate of the Commonwealth, established in 1978 in London to promote the improvement of tax administration in all its aspects within the Commonwealth with particular emphasis on developing countries like Nigeria.
Mr Nami was accompanied by Mr Olufemi Olarinde, Nigeria’s CATA Country Correspondent, Mr Johannes Wojuola, and Mr Jibrin Salihu, Personal Assistant to the Executive Chairman.
The meeting was attended by UK Government Tax Authority representatives, including Ms Fiona Hay, Head, Capacity Building and International Relations, Mr Mahtab Hashim, Capacity Building Unit, and Ms Jasmine Taylor, Director, Senior Leadership Programme.
Airtel Africa, 17 Others Lift Stock Exchange by 0.46%
By Dipo Olowookere
Nigeria’s stock exchange closed positive on Friday by 0.46 per cent following a renewed bargain hunting in Airtel Africa, Guinness Nigeria, Sterling Bank, Ardova and 14 others.
This pushed the All-Share Index (ASI) of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited by 199.52 points to 43,308.29 points from the previous day’s 43,108.77 points and jerked the market capitalisation higher by N104billion to N22.598 trillion from N22.494 trillion.
Royal Exchange and ABC Transport grew by 10.00 per cent each at the trading session to finish at 55 kobo and 33 kobo respectively.
AIICO Insurance gained 9.38 per cent to close at 70 kobo, University Press appreciated by 8.89 per cent to N2.94, while Regency Assurance jumped 7.69 per cent to 42 kobo.
On the other hand, UPDC REIT topped the losers’ table of 24 members with a price depreciation of 9.82 per cent to settle for the day at N5.05.
Champion Breweries retreated by 5.90 per cent to N2.55, UPDC moderated by 5.07 per cent to N1.31, FTN Cocoa eased by 4.76 per cent to 40 kobo, while Veritas Kapital contracted by 4.55 per cent to 21 kobo.
Unlike the preceding day, the level of activity was mixed yesterday with the trading value declining by 15.15 per cent to N3.6 billion from N4.2 billion, while the trading volume rose by 14.73 per cent to 305.3 million units from 266.1 million, with the number of deals rising by 13.96 per cent 4,450 deals from 3,905 deals.
FCMB finished the day as the most active stock with 81.1 million units worth N247.9 million, trailed by GTCO with 29.5 million units valued at N738.3 million.
Further, Access Bank transacted 28.1 million units valued at N253.9 million, Honeywell Flour sold 16.8 million units worth N70.2 million, while Zenith Bank exchanged 13.2 million units for N320.2 million.
At the market on Friday, the insurance sector gained 1.98 per cent, while the quartet of the consumer goods, banking, energy and industrial goods counter lost 0.89 per cent, 0.33 per cent, 0.03 per cent and 0.01 per cent respectively.
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Latest News on Business Post
- African Alliance Plots Strategy to Gain Substantial Market Share November 28, 2021
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