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SEC Seeks Innovative Financial Products for Pension Industry

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Pension Industry

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, has called for more innovative financial products to meet the needs of the pension industry in Nigeria so as to deepen the capital market and sustain the growth in the sector, especially in the non-interest segment.

Mr Yuguda made this call at a one-day seminar organised by the agency themed The Imperative of Non-Interest Capital Market for Pension Industry.

According to him, the non-interest finance segment holds great potentials in furthering the development of the capital market and the growth of the nation’s economy as it is one of the most appropriate for the funding of long-term infrastructure.

He described the pension industry as one of the fastest-growing in the nation’s economy with assets under management of N13 trillion as at the end of September 2021 adding that of this impressive amount, less than N80 billion is invested in Sukuk, representing a little less than one per cent of total pension assets under management.

“This calls for more innovative financial products to deepen our market and sustain the growth in the industry, especially in the non-interest segment.

“We strongly believe that the capital market has a leading role to play in this regard by providing a variety of long-term investable products to service the needs of the pension industry as well as other investors with a similar focus.

“It is encouraging that the national pension commission has taken concrete steps to improve the regulatory framework for the investment of pension funds in the non-interest capital market by the introduction of an operational framework for the non-interest fund.

“This will no doubt provide an additional opportunity for retirement savings account holders and retirees to invest their savings in financial instruments that are aligned with their lite goals and objectives.

“Indeed, the operationalization of the funds definitely accelerates the national financial inclusion agenda while increasing the quantum of investible funds by unlocking the untapped capital,” he said.

Mr Yuguda stated that as of September 2021, the total assets stood at N7.79 billion constituting about 0.059 per cent of total pension assets under management expressing the hope that the fund assets will grow with robust public awareness, education programs and capacity building of stakeholders through seminars, workshops and programs such as this.

“The SEC in the realisation of the potential of the noninterest segment of the capital market has a veritable avenue for providing long-term capital launched its 10-year capital market masterplan with a very strong focus on the development of the non-interest capital market segment through awareness creation, capacity building, review of regulatory framework and development of non-interest projects and services.

“I am happy to report that a significant number of its strategic initiatives have been achieved as several sharia/ethical funds have been registered by the SEC.

“In addition, the SEC collaborated with the MO towards providing a framework for the issuance of the first FGN Sukuk in 2017 and two other issuances of Sukuk have followed.

“However, we believe that more work still needs to be directed towards achieving other critical initiatives of non-interest in our capital market plan.

‘At SEC, we have been approached by a number of potential corporate issuers of scope and we have registered the first issuer of scope, we are aware that a number of corporate issuers are interested in issuing Sukuk, but some of them have noted that they will like clarity on the neutrality of the Sukuk vis-a-vis corporate bonds.

“The increased supply of scope will hasten the development of the non-interest capital market because I am confident that the non-interest finance experts gathered here today will invoke the interest and attention of participants and enhance their knowledge of the subject to eventually lead to the birth of promoters and on takers of non-interest products of the capital market,” he added.

In a goodwill message, the Director-General of the National Pensions Commission (PenCom) Ms Aisha Dabir Umar, commended the SEC for organising this webinar.

The PenCom chief, represented by the Commissioner Administration, Mr Umar Farouk Aminu, acknowledged the collaborative efforts of the two agencies which have over the years laid acceptable values and good governance standards in their investments of pension funds in the Nigerian capital market.

“As you may be aware, PenCom recently released a list of operational guidelines for non-interest funds. It is our belief that this singular act will promote financial inclusion in Nigeria, and particularly drive enrolment in the macro pension fund. It is my call that industry practitioners gathered here will come up with practical measures to facilitate the issuance of non-interest instruments in the market.”

She stated that PenCom remains resolute in ensuring that all instruments meet this requirement before pension investment and commended the collaboration between PenCom and SEC towards deepening the capital market to sustainably introduce non-interest products.

In his remarks, the Secretary-General of the Islamic Financial Services Board, Dr Bello Danbatta, said Islamic finance is a complementary system adding that no system would be able to develop without integrating it into its financial system.

“Sustainable finance is not complete without integrative finance and integrative finance is only possible when you have non-interest and interest-based finance,” he stated.

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Economy

Ellah Lakes, Enugu Government Seal Rice Processing Deal

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Ellah Lakes

By Dipo Olowookere

A Nigerian agribusiness company, Ellah Lakes Plc, has sealed an agreement with the Enugu State government for the processing of rice aimed to improve food security in the state and the nation at large.

The chief executive of the firm, Mr Chuka Mordi, described the deal as “a significant landmark for the company in fulfilling our strategic objective of diversifying our portfolio and production base.”

Ellah Lakes said in a statement that with the partnership, it will transform the Ada Rice Company and Plantation in Adani, Uzo-Uwani LGA, into a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) in Enugu State.

This is expected to create not less than 5,000 jobs over the next 24 months as the company will have the opportunity to establish a feed mill and ethanol processing plant on the site in Adani.

Business Post reports that Adani community is well-known for the cultivation and production of rice but due to poor infrastructure and support of the government, it has suffered low patronage.

This partnership between the Enugu State government and Ellah Lakes should change the narrative for good and boost local production of rice.

In the statement issued on Wednesday by Ellah Lakes, a company listed on the trading platform of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, work is scheduled to begin immediately in Adani.

“Ellah Lakes is happy to announce that it has entered into an agreement with the Enugu State Government, through the Enugu State Technical Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, for the expansion and further development of the Ada Rice Company and plantation in Adani, Uzo-Uwani LGA, into a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) in Enugu State, Nigeria.

“Ellah Lakes will produce and process rice with the participation of over 200 indigenous farmers in the local out-grower program. Ellah Lakes will also develop a feed mill and ethanol processing plant on the site in Adani.

“The development is expected to create a minimum of 5,000 jobs over the next 24 months, and work is scheduled to begin immediately,” a part of the statement disclosed.

“This is a significant landmark for the company in fulfilling our strategic objective of diversifying our portfolio and production base, and we are very excited to be working with the Enugu State Government.

“We are very pleased with this collaboration with the very progressive government of Enugu State. For us, this is the beginning of a great journey to expand the industrial base of the state, and we look forward to a mutually beneficial, valuable and fruitful venture,” Mr Mordi was quoted as saying.

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Economy

Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Rewards Customers

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Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers scheme

Ahead of the festive season, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Nigeria’s largest Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), has unveiled the Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Loyalty Program tagged Umatter.

It is a reward scheme targeted at the customers of the PFA, to reward them for their loyalty and patronage through exclusive discounts as they shop with their e-loyalty card.

The loyalty program is available at the PFA’s partner merchants’ locations and stores across the nation. It is aimed at providing Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers’ customers with exciting shopping discounts to help them spend less and save more when they shop.

Some of the participating merchant outlets are Maybrands, Café Royale, Hubmart Stores, Chocolate Royal, La Campagne Tropicana, Physio Centers of Africa, Medplus, iStore, Oriki, Launderland and Active Leisure.  The discounts range from 5 to 12 per cent on products and services purchased.

Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers’ partnerships with these major outlets will enable customers to seamlessly enjoy instant discounts on their purchases during this festive period, thereby making life even more easy and affordable for customers who use the Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers e-loyalty card.

Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers will continue to initiate valuable programs like this that encourage people to continue saving for their retirement and building their financial future.

New and existing customers can be a part of this exciting loyalty program by visiting www.stanbicibtcpension.com or calling 01 271 6000.

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Economy

FG to Inject N381trn into Economy to Create Job, Tackle Poverty

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Nigeria Economy challenges

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government is partnering with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to inject N381 trillion into the economy to cushion the growing rate of poverty, job losses and economic degradation in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by the Director-General of the Fund, Mr Joseph Ari, during a media interaction with the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Jos.

Mr Ari said the federal government came up with a 5-year National Development Plan tied around the sum of money to be able to achieve this aim.

He said the plan will replace the initial Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP).

According to him: “The plan, which projects the creation of 21 million jobs, with 35 million Nigerians lifted out of poverty, affordable housing for Nigerians and an export-led economy among others, is expected to cost N381 trillion to implement and have six focal areas of economic growth and development, infrastructure, public administration, human capital development, social development and regional development.

“As the leading human capital development institution in Nigeria, we have commenced the process of repositioning our programmes and activities to effectively prepare the Nation’s workforce in line with our mandate of developing a pool of qualified Nigerians to man the public and private sectors of the national economy as we believe that for this plan to succeed, all Nigerians as individual citizens and as institutions must contribute their bit.

“You will recall that on the assumption of office in 2016, the economy was in recession leading to massive job losses and corresponding increases in poverty.

“Our initiatives then particularly the emphasis on skills intervention programmes was borne out of the need to drive the actualization of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP), which we achieved to an appreciable degree by training hundreds of thousands of Nigerians that are today gainfully employed or even employers of labour,” Mr Ari said.

He, however, lauded the media for a robust coverage of the Funds activities over the years, saying that the media has been critical in return of peace in the state.

“Beyond this, fora such as we are holding today have been critical to the return of peace in plateau state, thereby creating the necessary environment for our organisation to thrive especially within the last five years on account of your professionalism and determined efforts to rise above sensationalism, headline-grabbing and petty politics,” Mr Ari said.

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