PENCOM expresses happiness with preparedness for Ondo contributory pension scheme





By Segun Giwa

Akure, Feb. 20, 2019 The National Pension Commission (PENCOM) on Wednesday rated high the commitment and preparedness of the Ondo State Pension Commission (OSPEC) for full implementation of its Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).

Mr Dan Ndackson, the Head of States Operations in PENCOM, who led a delegation to the state Commissioner for Finance, Mr Wale Akinterinwa, in Akure, said their level of preparedness for scheme was in advance stage.

Ndackson commended the efforts of the government towards full blown commencement of CPS in the state.

“One of the major things that any state needs to do to show its intent to adopt the scheme is to pass the law, this the state has done.

“It has also created an administrative structure with a Director-General and complementary staff that will do the job, and that is a major step in the right direction.

“This government has set up its high level implementation committee charged with the responsibility of ensuring full implementation of the scheme. That is a gesture which shows the seriousness of a government on the scheme and this is commendable.

“In many states that have adopted the scheme, they have not yet settled down to do this. So if you compare Ondo State with them, Ondo State is in advance,” the PENCOM head of states operations said.

He said their visit was to help discuss with the state on how to put the necessary machinery in place in order to comply with the provisions of the law of the scheme to ensure its smooth running.

“We are happy for the level of readiness of the state and following the last assessment the PENCOM did, the state is very compliant with the law. This is a good one,” Ndackson said.

Responding, Akinterinwa said that the Akeredolu-led government remained resolute to the full blown implementation of the CPS, noting that the scheme would take off soon.

Akinterinwa expressed the state government’s readiness to partner with PENCOM to fast track the smooth operation of the scheme in the state.

The state Head of Service, Mr Toyin Akinkuotu, also expressed pleasure over the development, saying “it should be embraced by all workers to give them peaceful retirement.”

“I want to charge all workers in the state to see the development as a big achievement not for the government, but for themselves to be captured under the scheme which will save them from queuing for their gratuity or pension in the future.

“With this scheme, you are sure of getting your entitlements as and when due, you don’t have to lobby, you don’t have to run helter skelter.

“Nobody would tell you there is no fund because you have contributed towards your own final entitlements,” he said.

Earlier, the OSPEC Director-General, Mr Jaiyeola Olowosuko, said the visit of PENCOM team became imperative to help the state to fine tune the implementation processes.

Olowosuko reassured the commitment of the state government to the full implementation of the CPS.

He said the state was ready and willing to ensure the CPS was implemented successfully and become sustained.

On the involvement of labour unions, the Olowosuko said the scheme had their backing and they were committed and were  eagerly waiting for its implementation.

“We have on the board of the pension commission, NLC, TUC, JNC among other labour leaders, so any decision we are taking, is on behalf of and in the interest of workers in the state.

“The issues we had had been resolved four years ago,” he said.


Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed/Tajudeen Atitebi


Oil prices rise on OPEC deficit forecast



Oil prices rose on Thursday, recouping some of the previous session’s losses after OPEC forecast a supply deficit next year and the U.S. Federal Reserve said the economic outlook was favorable.

Prices had fallen on Wednesday after a report showed an unexpected increase in U.S. crude inventories.

The market picked up on Thursday, although the International Energy Agency (IEA) and The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) offered different prospects for the oil market in 2020.

Brent LCOc1 rose 41 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to 64.13 dollars a barrel by 1005 GMT. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 was up 22 cents, or 0.4 per cent, at 58.98 dollars a barrel.

IEA said on Thursday that global oil inventories could rise sharply despite an agreement by OPEC and its allies to deepen output cuts and expectations for lower production by the United States and other non-OPEC countries.

The market, however, focused more on OPEC which said it now expected a small deficit in the oil market in the next year, suggesting the market is tighter than previously thought.

OPEC and other producers including Russia agreed last week to rein in output by an extra 500,000 bpd in the first quarter of 2020.

Oil prices were also supported by the U.S. Federal Reserve keeping interest rates unchanged at a meeting on Wednesday.

Our economic outlook remains a favorable one, despite global developments and ongoing risks,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell told a news conference.

While oil prices are trending higher benefiting from a dovish Fed, a weaker USD, the IEA reiterates that despite the deeper oil production cuts, the oil market is likely to be oversupplied in 1H20,” said UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

Referring to OPEC members Iraq and Nigeria and their weak compliance with the pact in the past, Staunovo said:

We remain skeptical that they (Iraq and Nigeria) will achieve their 100 per cent pledge in the first quarter of 2020… (This) could see oil prices coming under pressure again in the future.

Oil prices fell on Wednesday after the U.S. Department of Energy’s report that showed an unexpected rise in U.S. stocks.

Inventories of petroleum products also increased with gasoline stocks surging by more than 5 million barrels and distillates gaining just over 4 million barrels.

Analysts blamed much of the dip in gasoline demand on winter storms that brought heavy snow to several states, making many roads unfit for driving.

The outlook for oil demand continued to be clouded by U.S.-China trade tensions and uncertainty over whether a fresh round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods would come into effect on Sunday.

China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday that Beijing and Washington were in close communication on trade, declining to comment on possible retaliatory steps if U.S. President Donald Trump imposes more tariffs on Chinese goods this weekend.

Edited by: Abdullahi Mohammed/Wale Ojetimi

Continue Reading


Refund to bank customers stand at N76.7bn, $20.9m -CBN



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the worth of money refund to bank customers as at Nov. 30 stood at N76.75 billion and 20.90 million dollars.

Mr Kofo-Abdulsalam Alada, the Director, Consumer Protection Department (CPD) of CBN, said this at a workshop for business editors and members of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN), on Thursday in Yola.

Alada, represented by Mr Tyoden Nanfwang of the CPD, said the refund from several banks arose from various financial related complaints.

According to him, the refund is in line with the mandate of the department of the bank to promote consumer confidence in the financial system.

Highlighting some achievements of the department, the director said they had resolved no fewer than 16,263 complaints against banks from 2012 to Nov. 30.

Cumulative number of complaints against Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) that were resolved or closed from 2012 to the end of November 2019 is about 257.

We resolved over 13,000 complaints, obtained refunds of N76.75 billion, 20.90 million dollars, among others to bank customers as at Nov. 30.

The department has also developed a consumer protection framework and established a guide to charges by banks and OFIs,’’ he disclosed.

Alada noted that there was an extraordinary imbalance of power between the service providers and the consumers.

According to him, the goal of consumer protection is to mitigate this power imbalance.

The director said that one of the roles of the department in the bank was to entrench fair and responsible practices among financial service providers through regulations.

He, however, called on bank customers to report any financially related complaints to the CBN anytime they were dissatisfied with responses from their banks.

Edited by: Olawunmi Ashafa/Ismail Abdulaziz

Continue Reading


Food System Vision 2050 Prize: UNILAG group engages stakeholders across value-chains



The Food Systems Vision Group of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) on Wednesday engaged stakeholders across the agriculture value chain to articulate ways of addressing food safety challenges.

Lecturer at the Department of Geography, University of Lagos, Dr Vide Adedayo, at the Food System Vision 2050 Prize, UNILAG Group Engagement.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the university held an interactive session to spark connection and create awareness for the Food System Vision tagged: “Lagos Food System Vision 2050”, considering population, climate change and how they affect nutrition of the populace.

NAN reports that the Food Systems Vision 2050 Prize is a Rockefeller Foundation global initiative that invites organisations from around the world to create compelling and progressive visions of the world’s system by 2050.

A prize of $2 million will be distributed among the winners.

Dr Jide Adedayo, a Lecturer at the Department of Geography, UNILAG and the convener of the engagement, while delivering a paper on ‘Building Deeper Empathy to Develop Healthy Food’, touched on the quality of food in the state.

Adedayo said that there were opportunities in the challenges of food, especially from wastes generated, which were mostly organic and would help drive organic farming in the state because the organic wastes world be decomposed into organic fertilisers.

This programme is about the Rockefeller Foundation’s call for a prize and one of the requirements is for us to gather stakeholders in the food system to develop a vision for a community, and in respect of a community, Lagos State is in focus.

This is basically for food system players to come together to deliberate, look into the problems and challenges facing each player across the value chain as researchers, transporters, producers, processors and marketers to envision what we want it to be.

This is to also develop a strategy in the future as to how we can arrive in that vision. The call is a global call for each sector or community to gather thinker and decide on ways to solve malnutrition and food nutrition,” she said.

Adedayo said that there was currently low investment in agriculture as more land areas were converted into construction, highlighting that the food system was a case as the population continues to grow with a projection of over 200 million people in 2020.

She said that the food system in Nigeria was largely dependent on diet, culture, environment, technology, economy and policies.

A representative from the State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Dapo Olakulehin, General Manager of the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority commended the university for the engagement.

Olakulehin said that government could not do everything alone and in such engagements, issues raised by participants would help to chart policies that would shape the vision.

As a government, we cannot do it alone and that is why we are ready to support and collaborate in this effort. We have come to agree on certain issues which I believe will help in putting the vision aright in terms of production, transportation, market and other aspects of the value chain.

This goes to show that Lagos State is no longer in the era of quantity of what we produce but of what gets to the table of Lagosians in terms of quality.

This will help to chart a course for Lagos State and a good way of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) of poverty reduction and zero hunger,” he said.

He expressed appreciation for the composition of the participants drawn from all sections of the value chain.

Welcoming participants at the event, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos expressed optimism that the discussions would further help in the quality of food produced and nutrition of Lagos residents.

Ogundipe was represented by the Dean of Management Sciences, Prof. Owolabi Kuye.

NAN reports that the participants suggested that it was about time organic farming took centre stage in food production especially as the sector faced adoption of Good Agricultural Practices during the production processes.

It was resolved that food security, food regulation, chemical use, technology, achieving SDG’s, government intervention among others should be given priority towards achieving the Food System Vision 2050 Prize.

Farmers, transporters, marketers, processors, researchers, policy makers, food vendors, representatives from the medicals, academia and others were at the event were it was discussed that antibiotics, salt intake, chemical use and others posed health challenges for consumers.

Edited by: Oluwole Sogunle

Continue Reading


Bauchi spend N12 bn to build 2,500 houses in 2020–Official



Bauchi State Government said on Wednesday, that it would spend N12 billion to build 2,500 houses in 2020.

The Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Umar Adamu, said this in Bauchi while giving a breakdown of the 2020 budget.

Adamu said that the funds for the construction of the houses would be accessed from the Family Support funds.

He said that the houses would be developed in six local government areas in the state.

The fund would be accessed in instalments while the state government can award the contracts after accessing 12 per cent of the contract sum in line with the procurement Act.

The moment we start accessing the loan, the bank will give us 50 per cent of the total sum required.

The projects would be executed through direct labour with the supervision of the state government and officials of the Family Support Fund.

He said that most of the previous housing schemes in the state were abandoned as they were handled by private developers.

” Most of such houses were located at the outskirts of the towns and cities while the developers were eager to sell off the property at high profit margin.

In the present dispensation, the houses will be located closed to the towns and we want to assure the people that they would be completed.

Commenting on the 2010 Budget, the commissioner for Budget and Planning, Dr Aminu Gamawa, said that it was a complete departure from the usual system of budgeting that gave preference to recurrent expenditures.

Gamawa said that the state government had increased capital expenditures to N94.6 billion while recurrent expenditures was allocated N72.61 billion.

He explained that the development followed the determination of the present administration to develop the state to compete with its neighbours.

Gamawa said that it was also aimed at cutting down the excesses in payment of salaries, allowances, pensions and gratuities, following the recent verification to determine the exact number of civil servants in the state.

The commissioner said over N8b had been set aside for salaries, allowances, pensions and gratuities and N800m for  payment of allowances of political officials.

The former government awarded a lot of contracts especially road projects, we will carefully review them, reach an agreement with the contractors and execute them.

“In the same vein, direct labour option will also be exploited to give our professionals opportunity to practice their discipline and improve their capacity and cut cost and give value for our money,” he asserted.

Edited by: Dada Ahmed

Continue Reading


NSE indices record first gain in December, up 0.19%



The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Wednesday recorded the first gain in December with the crucial market indices appreciating by 0.19 per cent.

Specifically, the All-Share Index increased by 49.79 points or 0.19 per cent to close at 26,434.00 compared with 26,384.21posted on Tuesday.

Also, the market capitalisation which opened at N12.734 trillion rose by N24 billion or 0.19 per cent to close at N12.758 trillion.

Consequently, the Month-to-Date and Year-to-Date losses moderated to -2.10 per cent and to -15.90 per cent respectively.

Market analysts attributed the rebound to renewed bargain hunting activities in high capitalised equities.

The upturn was impacted by gains recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are; MTN Nigeria, CI Leasing, Flour Mills of Nigeria, United Bank for Africa and UACN.

Market breadth closed negative with 12 gainers and 14 decliners.

C & Leasing led the gainers’ chart in percentage terms, with a gain of 9.26 per cent to close at N5.90 per share.

Courteville followed with a gain 8.70 per cent to close at 25k, while Oando grew by 4.17 per cent to close at N3.75 per share.

UBA went up by 3.85 per cent to close at N6.75, while UACN appreciated by 3.11 per cent to close at N8.30 per share.

Conversely, Chellarams led the losers’ chart by 9.74 per cent to close at N2.78 per share.

Union Diagnostic & Clinical Services followed with a decline of 8.33 per cent to close at 22k, while Chams went down by 8.11 per cent to close at 34k per share.

Linkage Assurance dipped 5.88 per cent to close at 48k, while Lasaco Assurance shed 3.85 per cent to close at 25k per share.

However, the total volume of shares traded closed lower as investors bought and sold 180.228 million shares worth N3.03 billion transacted in 2,951 deals.

This was in contrast with a turnover of 196.29 million shares valued at N3.55 billion achieved in 3,154 deals on Tuesday.

Transactions in the shares of UBA topped the activity chart with 29.33 million shares valued at N192.72 million.

Zenith Bank came second with 19.85 million shares worth N366.31 million, while Guinness Nigeria traded 15.64 million shares valued at N460.63 million.

Guaranty Trust Bank accounted for 13.32 million shares worth N373.01 million, while Access Bank transacted 12.98 million shares valued at N119.44 million.

Edited by: Oluwole Sogunle

Continue Reading

Latest News