Shore-up Retirees Pensions, PenCom Urge  PFAs

PENCOM-logo
PENCOM-logo

The National Pension Commission has directed the Pension Fund Administrators to implement pension enhancement for retirees on programmed withdrawal under the Contributory Pension Scheme.

PenCom maintained that the pension enhancement is for Contributory Pension Scheme retirees who retired between July 2007 and December 2017 and have accumulated significant growth in their Retirement Savings Accounts

A statement from the organization revealed that this formed the second edition of the pension enhancement for retirees on the programmed withdrawal mode of retirement.

“Accordingly, the retirees referred to above are by this notice advised to contact their respective Pension Fund Administrators to confirm their eligibility and complete requisite documentation.”

This measure which is the second edition of the pension enhancement exercise for retirees on Programmed Withdrawal mode of retirement is a follow-up to the first pension enhancement plan for the programmed withdrawal retirees implemented in  January 2017,

PenCom stated that it had concluded the exercise and increased the monthly pension of all retirees on the programmed withdrawal due to the income earned on investing their pension assets.

Latest figures from PenCom revealed that the number of retirees receiving their pensions under the programmed withdrawal contracts increased by 3.81 per cent from 214,538 as of the end of the first quarter of 2019 to 222,712 in the second quarter.

Some retirees will however not benefit from the increase as a result of  low balances in their RSA

 

NIMASA To Honour Stakeholders

NIMASA logo
NIMASA logo

Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, is set to honour Maritime stakeholders in Nigeria will on Saturday, January 18, 2020, be honoured  at the annual dinner and awards night by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.

Dr, Dakuku Peterside who disclosed that part of the aim of organising the annual programme is to encourage industry players to keep striving to ensure global best practices, extolled the role of stakeholders in assisting the Agency achieve its mandate over the years.

Dr Peterside maintained that the willingness of stakeholders to imbibed and adhere best industry practices in their various activities, attract more investors that will help open up the blue economy and ensure compliance to maritime regulations, thereby making Nigeria a force to reckon with in the comity of maritime nations.

“Over the years, our stakeholders have made us proud and put us on our toes as there will be no NIMASA without the shipping community and vice versa. There have been times of criticisms, sanctions and enforcement; all these were geared towards ensuring the right thing is done and laid down rules and regulations are adhered to. We must therefore reward hard work and encourage more investments in the maritime sector by appreciating those who have done well, hence we are organising this auspicious event,” he said.

Dakuku further stated that this year’s award will focus on various categories to include; Most Compliant ISPS Offshore and Onshore Facility; Best Terminal and Jetty Operator; Best Maritime Training Institution; Best Shipping Company (Marine Environment Management).

Others are; Overall Shipping Company; Best Cabotage Operator; Company with Largest Combined Tonnages and Best Maritime Financing Banks among other categories of awards.

He also said that the event will provide opportunities to expose both local and international stakeholders to the inherent opportunities that abound in the nation’s maritime sector.

In order to ensure transparency in the process of selection for the various award categories, the Management of the Agency engaged an independent panel of judges, headed by a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Adebayo Sarumi.

The NIMASA DG, who inaugurated the panel in Lagos a few months ago disclosed that the independent panel was composed in order to instill confidence in the selection process for the awards. He also described the members of the independent panel of judges as persons of proven integrity and distinguished careers in their various disciplines.

The terms of reference of the committee include; to identify the various categories of awards for the industry; invite applications from industry stakeholders and the general public for various categories of the award; set criteria and benchmark for the selection process; and finalise the list of awardees in the different categories for submission to the Agency. In pursuance of this, the Agency has already put out a notice for nomination from companies and individuals for the various categories.

The award ceremony will also be an opportunity to reward staff who have contributed meritoriously to the service of the Agency, ranging from fifteen to thirty years.

TCC: FIRS Approves 30-day Window  For Taxpayers

FIRS
FIRS

The, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has approved a 30-day window to enable taxpayers in the country obtain Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC).

Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS); Mr Muhammad Namin  in a statement issued by the organisation on Sunday, explained that the move was designed to make things easy for taxpayers; and assist them to meet their obligations as they might need TCC.

The Executive Chairman noted that the offer to ease issuance of TCC; was in accordance with the provisions of Section 101 (1) of CITA LFN 2004 and in conformity with Self-Assessment Regulation, 2011.

He warned that the  FIRS will not hesitate to invoke the provisions of the law; including enforcement and imposition of lien should it be apparent that a taxpayer has misled the FIRS to issue a TCC.

“Following the numerous complaints received from our esteemed taxpayers with respect to difficulties encountered before obtaining Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC); and the fact that taxpayers need TCC to enable them to, inter alia, seek and obtain contracts and loans, renew permits, registrations, franchises, agreements and/or licenses that will invariably generate revenue from which taxes will be paid; management has looked into the above complaints and has taken steps to ease the process of obtaining TCC.

“Consequently, notice is hereby given that the service has put in place; machinery to issue 2020 TCC for all eligible taxpayers from January 2 to January 31, 2020.

“The service may not hesitate to use enforcement activities; including the imposition of a lien on bank accounts of such defaulting companies; to recover any outstanding debts when it discovers that the taxpayer has misled the service in her duty to observe tax compliance.

“The issuance of TCC to ease the burden of taxpayers is in line; with the provisions of Section 101 (1) of CITA LFN 2004 and in conformity with Self-Assessment Regulation, 2011.

“Taxpayers are, therefore, encouraged to take advantage of this initiative and apply for their 2020 TCC, as soon as possible.”

DBN Trains Executives of Microfinance Banks

Tony Opanachi
Tony Opanachi

The Development Bank of Nigeria as part of its advocacy initiative recently held a capacity-building programme on Environmental & Social Risk Management practice for top executives of Microfinance Banks recently in Lagos.

Giving his opening remarks, the Managing Director, Development Bank of Nigeria, Tony Okpanachi represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Bonaventure Okhaimo, said “in fulfilling our mandate of increasing access, Development Bank of Nigeria Plc is poised to not only be change drivers but be a strong ally partnering with participating financing institutions to drive sustainable development by ensuring that lending is done with the interest of the environment and social wellbeing of the people”.

He stated that this workshop was a follow up on the feed back received at an earlier training organized in 2018 for middle level managers of MFBs by DBN and charged participants as the leaders of their institutions, to take advantage of the lessons from these workshops to ensure improved compliance as well as best practice in environmental and social risk management principles.

The session highlighted strategies on identification, measurement, and mitigation of Environmental and Social Risks in project financing, from policy and strategic point of view. It also exposed participants to measures of developing Environmental & Social Risk footprints in areas of resource efficiency, reducing carbon emission and other sustainable banking initiatives.

Participants comprising of CEOs and top executives of leading Microfinance Banks in Nigeria expressed their gratitude to DBN for granting them the opportunity to be part of this timely initiative that is designed to upscale MFBs in operationalizing the requirements of Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBP). They also pledged that they will inculcate in their various organizations the strategies and concepts to influence policies and changes that would not only encourage a renewed level of compliance with NSBP but also promote strong corporate governance and responsible banking practices.

The Development Bank of Nigeria has so far on-boarded 27 participating financial institutions and disbursed over N100,000 billion to more than 95,000 MSMEs in Nigeria since the commencement of its operations in 2017.

 

 

SON Committed To 35% Local Value At Free Zone

By Andy Nssien

The Director General Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON),  Osita Aboloma has reiterated the Organisation’s resolve to continue to support manufacturers at the Guandong Free Trade Zone Igbesa, Ogun State (OGFTZ) in meeting the required 35 percent minimum local value added to products and continual improvement in products quality.

Aboloma who made the commitment while on a working visit to Ogun State, described the zone as an important economic area, adding that his visit was to promote and enhance quality assurance and conformity assessment of products coming out of the zone.

The SON Chief Executive added that his visit was also to promote the ease of doing business with SON in particular and Nigeria in general in line with the Federal Government’s policy.

He assured companies operating in the zone of expertise and professionalism from the SON staff as well as prompt attention and a quicker turnaround time.

Aboloma reiterated that the 35% minimum local value addition to products manufactured within the Free Trade zone is stipulated by law to be carried out by SON adding that it is binding on all manufacturers and regulatory authorities operating within the zone.

Welcoming the SON Chief Executive and entourage, the Sole Administrator of the Zone, Juwon Falope acknowledged the support of the SON State office in Ota in ensuring prompt certification of products in the zone especially on the 35% minimum local value addition and necessary guidance in standards implementation.

Falope extolled the various conformity assessment and certification programmes of SON, stating that they were brilliant in ensuring the zone remains one of the best in the country in terms of product quality.

He therefore challenged all regulatory agencies with oversight functions within the OFTZ to close ranks to avoid rancour from overlap of functions, stressing the need to recognize each other as stakeholders in the ease of doing business in the country.

Responding on behalf of the Chinese manufacturers, the Deputy Manager Guandong Free Trade Zone, Mr. Daniel Chin acknowledged SON for its efforts at leveraging on the partnership to industrialize the nation through its technical support to OGFTZ

According to Chin, there are about 30 companies with over 4,000 Nigerians and 250 Chinese gainfully employed at various factories within the cluster which has helped to curb crime and youth restiveness within the host community.

He also alluded to the fact that the visit of the DG SON was an eye-opener as they were now aware of other capabilities of SON in the areas of laboratory facilities and metrology for calibration of machinery and equipment.

Mr. Chin enumerated various corporate social responsibility activities that have been undertaken by the companies within the zone including provision of infrastructures like roads, health facility and educational scholarships which according to him has ensured relative peace and harmony in and around the OGFTZ.

 

Nigeria’s £4bn Gold Market Presents Very High Prospects – Heritage Bank

Managing-Director-of-He
Managing-Director-of-He

Nigeria’s Gold market worth £4 billion Pounds presents very high prospects for profitability for all players in the subsector.

The MD/CEO, of Heritage Bank Plc Ifie Sekibo, stated this at the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit, held in Abuja, disclosing that the enormous potential of the industry was one of the reasons why Heritage Bank delved into the mining sector despite enormous risks.

According to him, the bank has Dukia Gold as its partner that would facilitate access to local miners and artisans to get value for their commodity at international market price after being registered with Dukia Gold.

Sekibo, who was represented by the Team Lead, Agric Finance and Export, Adelana Ogunjirin, explained that prior to now, local miners of Gold found it difficult to trade their commodities favourably but with the involvement of Dukia and its partner, Heritage Bank, a Quality-and-Quantity test will be conducted based on the arrangement they made with Dukia Gold and that will lead to additional value to the small holder miners. He explained that this will leverage the small miners the opportunity to also trade their commodities at international market price.

He further stated that a metric tonne of Gold is currently valued at $30million adding that it is worth investing in the industry, especially as gold is a kind of commodity that does not easily lose its value.

He said: “Mining sector is an area which has not been fully tapped in terms of the potentials around it, as there are quite a lot of opportunities around that sector. Recently we secured $1 billion funding line with our funding partner AfreximBank, which also is to support areas like solid minerals.

“Now with respect to this we have looked at the value chain of this space and we have looked at the opportunities that are there. A lot of fund providers have not really delved into this and it is because of the lack of understanding of the market.

“In terms of value, gold is an area where you can enhance the value. You hardly see Gold losing value and you see that in different exchanges you even trade those commodities.

“Looking at it in terms of trend, you see that gold is something that will appreciate definitely. So in terms of the profitability of this business, we have looked at it, the crunch, the numbers we see that is a space that the Bank will definitely earn a lot of income.”

He also expressed optimism that other banks would like to come into the Nigerian mining sector, but may be studying to understand the sector properly.

“Definitely other banks will come into the sector. For us we are leading, but the truth is they need to play in an area and space that they understand, as not everybody would be able to play in that space.

“Heritage Bank has already carved a niche for itself in agribusiness space, just like the Gold commodity, this would be exported. So, in terms of export proceeds too, there are opportunities to be explored. Generally, looking at the Nigerian outlook, on the long run, this will also enhance the country’s external reserves. There are multiplier effects of what we are doing today and that is why we are also moving in this direction,” the MD noted.

Also speaking, Managing Director, Nigeria Export-Import Bank, NEXIM, Abba Bello, revealed that the bank had gone into high level discussions with heavy equipment manufacturers and suppliers that would lease equipment to miners for exploration and processing, adding that this was expected to make the equipment accessible and affordable.

Bello said, “For equipment supplier or outright purchase of equipment, we have gone into discussions with Bluecare and now Mantrac for the supply of heavy equipment for gold processing or exploration on lease basis and, it is something that does not exist currently within the industry.

“Barrick Gold and Bullion Mart is something that happen in the mining world. You don’t have to own the equipment, but there are vendors who supply the equipment for explorers to hire.

“Discussions have gone very far with the equipment suppliers and very soon we will announce the programme.”

Meanwhile, the Country Manager, ITM, Nigeria, Habibah Waziri, raised concerns on human resources development that would sustain the sector.

Waziri also said there is need to formalize the sector and also invest in human capital in the sector for growth and development.

SON Wants 35% local value at Free Zone

SON-Logo2
SON-Logo2

By Andy Nssien

The Director General Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON),  Osita Aboloma has reiterated the Organisation’s resolve to continue to support manufacturers at the Guandong Free Trade Zone Igbesa, Ogun State (OGFTZ) in meeting the required 35 percent minimum local value added to products and continual improvement in products quality.

Aboloma who made the commitment while on a working visit to Ogun State, described the zone as an important economic area, adding that his visit was to promote and enhance quality assurance and conformity assessment of products coming out of the zone.

The SON Chief Executive added that his visit was also to promote the ease of doing business with SON in particular and Nigeria in general in line with the Federal Government’s policy.

He assured companies operating in the zone of expertise and professionalism from the SON staff as well as prompt attention and a quicker turnaround time.

Aboloma reiterated that the 35% minimum local value addition to products manufactured within the Free Trade zone is stipulated by law to be carried out by SON adding that it is binding on all manufacturers and regulatory authorities operating within the zone.

Welcoming the SON Chief Executive and entourage, the Sole Administrator of the Zone, Juwon Falope acknowledged the support of the SON State office in Ota in ensuring prompt certification of products in the zone especially on the 35% minimum local value addition and necessary guidance in standards implementation.

Falope extolled the various conformity assessment and certification programmes of SON, stating that they were brilliant in ensuring the zone remains one of the best in the country in terms of product quality.

He therefore challenged all regulatory agencies with oversight functions within the OFTZ to close ranks to avoid rancour from overlap of functions, stressing the need to recognize each other as stakeholders in the ease of doing business in the country.

Responding on behalf of the Chinese manufacturers, the Deputy Manager Guandong Free Trade Zone, Mr. Daniel Chin acknowledged SON for its efforts at leveraging on the partnership to industrialize the nation through its technical support to OGFTZ

According to Chin, there are about 30 companies with over 4,000 Nigerians and 250 Chinese gainfully employed at various factories within the cluster which has helped to curb crime and youth restiveness within the host community.

He also alluded to the fact that the visit of the DG SON was an eye-opener as they were now aware of other capabilities of SON in the areas of laboratory facilities and metrology for calibration of machinery and equipment.

Mr. Chin enumerated various corporate social responsibility activities that have been undertaken by the companies within the zone including provision of infrastructures like roads, health facility and educational scholarships which according to him has ensured relative peace and harmony in and around the OGFTZ.

 

Investors Urged To Diversify Portfolios

Mary-Uduk-Actng-DG-SEC-
Mary-Uduk-Actng-DG-SEC-

Investors in the capital market have been advised to diversify their investment portfolio in order to mitigate risk.

The Acting Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk stated this at a one-day enlightenment programme for the Nigerian Army Ordinance School, Ojo Cantonment, Lagos..

Uduk who was represented by the Head Lagos Zonal Office of the SEC, Mr. Stephen Falomo, said that investors must learn to invest in various asset classes to mitigate risks and exposure.

According to Uduk, “Investment in the Nigerian capital market, just as in any other capital market across the world is a mixed bag of fortunes. A smart investor is expected to have this consciousness at the back of his mind at all times, even as he wades into the market, to pick his choice instruments or instrument of  investments”.

She said that there were good opportunities to achieve decent returns on investment in the market and urged investors to seek knowledge before investing.

Uduk, however, said that an investor must be smart to avoid some obvious mistake which could lead to capital erosion through mixed bag of investment.

She explained that an investment portfolio connotes a mixed bag of investment instruments such as shares and bonds adding that investment in mutual funds had continued to be a worthwhile investment in the recent time.

The Acting DG said the Commission has a number of initiatives that have been put in place to boost investors’ confidence.

“We have the E-Dividend mandate system, the Direct Cash Settlement as well as multiple subscription in place. Investors have to take ownership of their investments. They have to be able to monitor their investments, attend Annual General Meetings as well as read the annual reports sent out to them.

“We also protect them through the National Investors Protection Fund (NIPF) Risk Based supervision that enables us to supervise the operators to ensure that they do not do what they are not supposed to do. And again the Complaints Management Framework enables investors to know where to complain to and how long it takes for such complaints to be resolved” she added.

CBN  Directs Banks, Companies  On Cash-In-Transit, Currency Processing Operations

 

CBN-2
CBN-2

By Andy Nssien

The Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) has directed all companies, including Deposit Money Banks, who are desirous of providing currency distribution and/or currency processing services in Nigeria to register for operations.

In a revised guidelines for the registration of Cash-in-Transit and Currency Processing companies in Nigeria, the CBN said the purpose was to enhance the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of currency management.

It was also to facilitate the generation of fit Naira banknotes for payment, promote the use of shared facilities to drive down currency management cost, engender healthy competition among service providers and ensure product quality, integrity and standardization in Nigeria.

The apex bank said this update was in furtherance of the circular it released  on the “Notice to Companies Providing Currency Sorting and Distribution Services and Deposit Money Banks providing these services for themselves or other banks in Nigeria”, published on 14th December, 2009.

Under the revised guidelines, a company registered to provide Cash-in-transit services in all states in the federation shall have a minimum capital of N1billion while a regional operation shall attract a minimum of N500 million.

For  Currency Processing companies (CPC), a company would be registered to operate  a national CPC operating in all the states in  the federation or  a regional CPC operating within the states of one geo-political zone. The national CPC shall have a minimum capital of N3 billion, while the regional CPC shall attract a minimum of N2 billion.

Companies providing both CIT and CPC services shall meet all the requirements for registration as specified under Cash-in-transit and Currency Processing operations.

In addition, they shall have a minimum capital of ₦4.0 billion or such other amount as may be prescribed by the CBN from time to time, while companies registered to operate both Regional CPC and CIT shall have a minimum capital of ₦2.5 billion or such other amount as may be prescribed by the CBN from time to time.

For money banks desirous of providing currency processing and distribution services,  they shall jointly (two or more banks) float a subsidiary company. The subsidiary company(ies) shall meet all the registration requirements and be subject to the regulatory and supervisory framework of the CBN.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 Buhari, Heritage Bank, Zamfara State, Others  Parley On Ssolid Mineral Development Boost

President Muhammadu Buhari (4th right) with Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Muhammad Matawalle (3rd right); Minister of Solid Minerals, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite (3rd left); President/CEO AfreximBank, Prof. Benedict Oramah (4th left); MD/CEO Heritage Bank Plc, Dr Ifie Sekibo (2nd right); Managing Director, Intra-African Trade Initiative, AfreximBank, Mrs. Kanayo Awani (left); Zamfara State Official, Alhaji Bashir Hadejia (2nd left) and Managing Director,  Pan African Capital, Mr. Chris Oshiafi, during a meeting to brief President Buhari on the Afreximbank cooperation with Zamfara State for Solid Mineral development put together by Heritage Bank and PAC, in Sochi, Russial,
President Muhammadu Buhari (4th right) with Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Muhammad Matawalle (3rd right); Minister of Solid Minerals, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite (3rd left); President/CEO AfreximBank, Prof. Benedict Oramah (4th left); MD/CEO Heritage Bank Plc, Dr Ifie Sekibo (2nd right); Managing Director, Intra-African Trade Initiative, AfreximBank, Mrs. Kanayo Awani (left); Zamfara State Official, Alhaji Bashir Hadejia (2nd left) and Managing Director, Pan African Capital, Mr. Chris Oshiafi, during a meeting to brief President Buhari on the Afreximbank cooperation with Zamfara State for Solid Mineral development put together by Heritage Bank and PAC, in Sochi, Russial,

In a bid to boost the nation’s economic growth, Heritage, Zamfara State Government and the Pan African Capital, at the just concluded Russian-African Summit in Sochi, Russia, held a meeting to brief President Muhammad  Buhari on the African Export Import Bank cooperation with Zamfara on solid minerals development put together by the two aforementioned financial institutions.

This is coming on the heels of the signing of $1bn Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the areas of mining, agriculture, water resources and others, between Afreximbank and Zamfara, which Heritage Bank is the banker to the project.

Part of the agenda of the present administration is the development of solid minerals as a means of diversifying the economic base of the country and reduce the overdependence on oil as the major source of foreign exchange earnings .

Nigeria is blessed wit a lot of mineral resorces scarttered accross several geopolitica zones of the country and its development is sxpected to enhance the nation’s economic development as well as boost the standard pf living through an increase in the GDP and per capita income respectively.