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Economy

N-Power beneficiaries urge probe of illegal N200 verification fee in Ebonyi

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Some beneficiaries of the N-Power social investment programme have called on the Federal Government to probe the collection of N200 fee from beneficiaries in the ongoing verification exercise in Ebonyi.

Scores of N-Power beneficiaries in Ebonyi on Wednesday thronged the Unity Square, Abakaliki, venue of the verification exercise to participate in the state government-organised verification.

The beneficiaries alleged that the no receipt was given for the N200 they paid, and wondered which government purse the money would be paid into.

They also decried the stress in the exercise, noting that beneficiaries usually did monthly clearance at their places of primary assignments.

Mr Gideon Ndubuisi, a beneficiary of the N-Teach component of the scheme, who spoke to Nigeria News Agency explained that the statewide verification exercise was the first of its kind in the state.

Ndubuisi said verification exercise was done monthly at the Local Government Area or at a place of primary assignment without any charge.

He decried the payment of N200 paid by beneficiary, describing it as illegal act of extortion by the N-Power state officials.

He called for the probe of the verification exercise and the entire N-Power scheme in the state.

“We were asked to come for the verification exercise and before now the verification is usually done at the local government areas or at the place of one’s primary assignment without any charge.

“We were not told the reason for the statewide verification, but on reaching here, I was issued with a form requesting personal information of beneficiaries.

“You are required to pay N200 before you are issued with a verification form, no receipt is given to authenticate payment and I wonder where the money will go to.

“If they want to know if actually we are carrying out our duties, they should meet us at the places of our primary assignments.

“There is no justification for the exercise and I call on the Federal Government to probe the verification and the N200 charged on beneficiaries,” Ndubuisi said.

Mr John Ofoke, also a beneficiary in the N-teach component, decried alleged extortion by the officials from the beneficiaries and called for immediate probe into the programme in the state.

Ofoke, who teaches at the Agbaja Central school, Nwofe in Izzi Local Government Area, said that monthly verification exercise was usually at the local government area or at the place of primary assignment.

“The exercise is strenuous, illegal and came at a very short notice.

“Again, the N200 we are asked to pay for form is not receipted as evidence of payment, hence I am appealing to the Federal Government to investigate the illegal collection,” Ofoke said.

Meanwhile, Mr Nnanna Okoroafor, former N-Power focal person in Ebonyi and South-East facilitator of the programmes said that it was fraudulent to collect money under any guise from N-Power beneficiaries for purposes of verification.

He said that the various component structures in the N-Power scheme were saddled with the responsibility of verification of beneficiaries.

Okoroafor explained that verification exercises were usually done free at the local government areas by the various implementation structures and not at the state level.

“The Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) is in charge of N-agro, while the Primary Health Care and Universal Basic education are in charge of N-Health and N-teach components.

“The Supervisory heads of the structures are responsible for verification of staff under them at their local government areas”, Okoroafor said.

When contacted, Mrs Ugo Nnachi, N-Power focal person for Ebonyi, said she was out of the country.

Economy

Gov. AbdulRazaq to send Social Investment Bill to Assembly

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Esan

Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara says he will send a Bill to replicate the Federal Government’s anti-poverty Social Investment Programmes to the State House of Assembly.

AbdulRazaq said this on Monday when he visited the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) at Jimba-Oja, in Ifelodun Local Government area of the state.

He added that the legislation would domesticate the Federal Government’s TraderMoni and Home grown school feeding programme concepts in Kwara for the benefit of the poor in the state.

“The thrust of the administration is to lift our people from poverty line and how to go about it is through agriculture. We have a goldmine in ARMTI and we will take full advantage of your resource.

“Empowerment must be from the communities and I can assure you that we’ll engage you because this week or so we are sending a Bill to the State House of Assembly to replicate the federal government’s social investment programme in Kwara,” he said.

The governor also said that his administration would key into the Village Alive Development Initiatives (VADI) of AMRTI to empower Kwara youths and deepen participation in agriculture.

Earlier, the Executive Director of ARMTI, Olufemi Ajayi, lauded AbdulRazaq for his commitment to development.

Ajayi said VADI has been packaged to provide local farmers with micro credits in order to boost farming in rural communities.

AbdulRazaq also visited the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM), where he said his administration was thinking of reviving the Patigi Rice Mill.

He appealed to the Centre to set up Poundo Yam Processing firms in the Baruten axis of the northern senatorial district as part of efforts to spread development.

“We’ll like you to visit Patigi. There is a Rice Mill there which was built by the Sardauna government.

“The structure is solid and good but it’s long been abandoned. It was the first Rice Mill in Northern Nigeria.

“So, we want to bring it back instead of going to China to bring equipment. Give us a proposal to see what you can do in this regard,” he added .

In his remarks, the Executive Director of NCAM, Dr Muyideen Kasali, said the centre has the mandate to test and certify agricultural equipment in the country.

Kasali, who was represented by the Director of Engineering, Power and Machinery of the centre, Mr Kamaldeen AbdulGafar, expressed displeasure that Kwara has not taken full advantage of the agency.

He, therefore, called on the Governor to partner with the institution for mutual benefits.

ESAN/AFA

Edited by Felix Ajide

 

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Economy

Naira exchanges at N359 to dollar at parallel market

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The naira on Monday traded at N358.6 to the dollar at the parallel market in Lagos.

The pound sterling and the euro closed at N445 and N396, respectively.

At the Bureau De Change (BDC) segment, the naira was sold at N358.6, while the pound sterling and the euro closed at N445 and N396, respectively.

Trading at the investors’ window saw the naira closing at N363.32 as market turnover stood at 477.04 million dollars.

The naira, however, traded at N306.95 to the dollar at the official CBN window.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the naira had remained stable at the parallel market, due largely to the interventions of the CBN.

As the rate stands, it appears the parallel market rate determines the prevailing rate for most buyers.

 

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Economy

Cornerstone Insurance records N11.5 bn Gross Written Premium in 2018

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Cornerstone Insurance PLC on Monday said it recorded Gross Written Premium (GPW) amounting to N11.5 billion in the 2018 financial year.

The company made the claim in a statement released in Lagos by its Chairman, Mr Segun Adebanji.

According to the statement, which is a prelude to the company’s forthcoming annual general meeting, the N11.5 billion represents a 25 per cent increase on the 2017 GWP.

Adebanji identified the Group Life portfolio as the largest contributor to the high GWP, saying that it contributed N2.01 billion.

“The N2.01 billion is 17 per cent of total GWP,” he said.

The chairman  further said that the Individual Life Insurance portfolio grew by 370 per cent from N132 million recorded in 2017 to N621 million in 2018 financial year.

“A prudent claims reserving methodology during the year under review saw our gross claims incurred dropped to N4.53 billion from N7.74 billion in the previous year, aligning more with the Industry average.

“In accordance with the provisions of International Financial Reporting System (IFRS) 11, the completion of the head office, which represented a non-earning asset in account unlocked some value and contributed N2.31 billion to the group’s profit,” he said.

The underwriter commended the Board of Directors (BoD) and management of the company for the feat, saying that they did not relent on the cost control measures put in place in 2017.

“The efforts reduced the operating and personnel expenses by 13 per cent from N3.09 billion in 2017 to N2.69 billion in 2018.

“The cumulative effects of the strategic focus on the company’s key growth drivers resulted in a return to profitability in 2018 as Profit before Tax (PbT) for the year 2018 stood at N2.66 billion after a period of losses, ” the underwriting firm said.

The chairman lauded the effort of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) for implementing the Tier-Based Minimum Solvency Capital (TBMSC) to strengthen insurance companies in the country.

“However , based on the audited financial statements as at 2017 when NAICOM first kicked off the initiative, the company’s solvency status stood at N5.192 billion while total assets were N20.804 billion.

“Nonetheless, our approach is always to balance the capital to ensure the obligations to both policy holders and shareholders are met,” Adebanji said.

 

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Economy

Pipelines vandalism: NPDC adopts modern technology to monitor facilities

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Mr Sheidu Aiguedo, the company’s Manager in charge of Government, Community Relations and Security, made the assertion at a media briefing in Warri.

Aiguedo decried the persistent attacks on the company’s facilities by miscreants, saying, the company had lost several billions of naira to their illegal activities.

“We are employing the use of technology to enhance our monitoring capacity,” he said.

Aiguedo said activities of the oil thieves had caused serious disaster, adding that the company would continue to intensify awareness to its host communities on the dangers inherent in pipelines vandalism.

“The oil bunkerers are destroying our facilities, and their activities are also destroying the environment,” he said.

Aiguedo urged the Federal Government to apply “prevention, protection and prosecution” approaches as ways of curtailing oil theft in Delta.

He also advised the government to establish and increase its presence in the oil communities with a view to reducing theft in the area.

EDI/GOK

Edited by Olagoke Olatoye

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Economy

Industrial policy implementation will increase production -FG

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The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) says implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Policy (NIP) will improve growth, promote made in Nigeria goods and increase industrial production.

Mr Edet Akpan, Permanent Secretary, FMITI, stated this at a six-day brainstorming on the “Validation of the Revised Draft Nigeria Industrial Policy” in Lagos on Monday.

According to him, implementation of the NIP will also increase foreign exchange earning, thereby encouraging sustained and inclusive contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The last published industrial policy took place in 2003, while the initiative to review this particular document started in 2014.

“The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has since began the engagement of stakeholders and the international community to ensure that the document has both domestic and international flavour.

“The validation exercise, therefore, is set to review what was dofasttrackr and accommodate reasonable and concerned inputs from the varied Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) assembled.

“The Nigeria Industrial Policy (NIP) validation is very apt and indeed long overdue in positioning and responding to the Federal Government economic direction,” Akpan said.

Akpan, who was represented by Alhaji Tijani Inuwa, a director in the ministry, stressed the need to have a working document for the investing public and decision makers.

Akpan said that the NIP seeks to fasttrack the industrial development of the country based on its endowed resources and special prominence to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Also speaking, the Director, Industrial Department of FMITI, Mr Adewale Bakare, said that the quest for enduring industrial policy was everybody’s business.

Bakare called for continued engagement as the country diversify its economy from oil to non oil sectors by harnessing the opportunities that abound from the vast natural resources of the country.

The President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr Mansur Ahmed, said that Nigeria would benefit from the new African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.

He said this, however, depended on the effectiveness of the country’s industrial policy and the quantum of Nigerian Manufacturing products available for sale at the continental market.

“MAN is therefore delighted to be part of this exercise that will enable stakeholders to validate the revised industrial policy in this consultative platform.

“Clearly, this initiative would afford stakeholders in the industrial value-chain, the opportunity to discuss pertinent issues constraining industrialisation in Nigeria.

“It is encouraging to note that this draft policy document captured some of the challenges hindering the attainment of set objectives for sustainable industrialisation in Nigeria and suggestion required to mitigate them,” Ahmed said.

In his goodwill message, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mr Ernest Umakhihe, said that NIP was anchored on the utilisation of domestic resources in which the country had competitive advantage.

Umakhihe, who was represented by Mrs Zainab Pisagih, Deputy Director, Industry and Investment Division, Economic Growth Department in the ministry, urged stakeholders to leverage on its deliverable which were very critical to ensure the growth of the industrial sector.

Also in his goodwill message, the President, Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Prince Degun Agboade, said the policy should interlink and reinforce other existing economic policies.

He said that there should be initiative that would encourage MSESs to be vanguard of production of quality products that are globally competitive.

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