Old Mutual Embarks on Yuletide Safety Campaign

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Read Time:1 Minute, 59 Second
Old Mutual Nigeria, a member of the Old Mutual Group, is complimenting the efforts of other corporations in the country to make the roads safe during the Christmas and New Year festivities.
 
It recently launched a radio programme tagged ‘Old mutual Safety Tips’ to teach safety measures spanning across everything that constitutes threats to them naturally.
 
The Group Chief Executive Officer, Old Mutual West Africa, Mr. Offong Ambah, who made this known in a statement in Lagos, said the campaign has started running on several radio stations in Lagos Abuja and Port Harcourt.
 
He observed that the “Ember” season is associated with an increase in accidents and death due to people’s carelessness.
 
“During this period in the year, the roads are usually busier with a higher risk of accidents and it is the tradition for people to use fireworks despite the fact that they are a life-threatening hazard. People are also exposed to safety risks at work, home and in their neighbourhood.
 
“As such, Old Mutual Nigeria has decided to focus on those seemingly minor details we ignore in our daily lives which pose a threat to our safety and those of our loved ones,” he said.
 
Ambah noted that as part of Old Mutual’s core values, the firm supports the communities where it operates by contributing positively to their well-being. “This campaign is in line with this value.  It is our own way of helping to safeguard lives” he said.
 
Old Mutual Nigeria prides itself as providing a range of insurance solutions tailored to meet its customers’ needs. Its current life product offerings include the group life assurance and credit life business.
 
It combines local resources and skills and leverages on Old Mutual Group’s capabilities and experience around the world to serve its customers better.
 
Meanwhile, the Old Mutual group, which acquired majority stake in former Oceanic Insurance Company Limited, now Old Mutual, Nigeria, said it earmarked $600 million to be invested across East and West Africa.
 
Established in South Africa in 1845, Old Mutual provides life assurance, asset management, banking and general insurance to more than 14 million customers in Africa, America, Asia and Europe. The company is listed on the London and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Aiico Pensions Unveils Live Smart Programme

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Read Time:2 Minute, 47 Second
Aiico Pension Limited, one of the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) in the country, has started a campaign to encourage Nigerians to make adequate preparations for the eventualities and their future generally. It is tagged ‘Live Smart’ campaign.
The Head of Business Development and Sales in the company, Mr. Tunde Ottun, stated this while addressed newsmen in Lagos recently, saying the campaign was borne out of the need to ensure that the firm gives back to the society where it operates.
 
“When we set out to do business as a Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), it was not only to effectively and efficiently manage our customers’ pension funds but also to enable the attainment of positive aspirations in ways that create value. This ideology guides our work at Aiico Pensions and largely informs the way we do business,” he said.
 
He recalled that the PFA has transformed and extended its activities beyond the management of pension funds to providing value for the citizenry and a firm that helps the stakeholders, particularly individuals to live smart.
 
“We are a value conservatory. Our concept of value transcends financial gratification. Value, to us, is an experience; a rich and bountiful experience that permeates with invigorating resonance in every corner of one's lives. Value is in the way we work, the way we play, in the way we plan, and in the way we live our lives.
 
“At the heart of our brand is the commitment to help people make the smart moves and smart choices that will guarantee that they live more, live full and live smart. Aiico Pension inspires people to create value in every sphere of their lives,” Ottun said.
“Aiico Pension, we have thought long and hard about what truly makes for a desirable future and comfortable retirement. Taking on this responsibility, we have developed several platforms to enable us achieve this objective.
 
“Along with communicating our message to our customers, we are also currently running several radio programmes that provide audiences with information and useful tips with the aim of subtly getting the audience to reflect on those simple acts that can help them live life better,” he also explained.
 
He listed some of the initiatives in this direction to including a radio programme and the publication of a biennial ‘Live Smart’ pocket magazine, which is being distributed to the public free of charge.
 
“Many other initiatives that would help us promote this message even further are also in the works”, he added.
 
Speaking on the operations of his firm, Ottun said in order for the PFA to sustain this new ideology, it has upgraded its service delivery system and redefined it processes making them more efficient.
 
“We have also invested a great deal in our people, inducting them in the true spirit of our brand. This way, we can successfully achieve both our objectives as a business and our customers’ retirement goals.
 
 
“We believe that by inspiring and enabling people to live smartly, we are helping them store up value in all areas of their lives; value which they can access in future. When this happens, we have successfully done good business,” he said.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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‘Weak Enterprises Hamper Inflow of FDI’

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Read Time:2 Minute, 8 Second
The federal government has said the weak nature of the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) sector is currently hampering the inflow of foreign direct investment.
 
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Mr. Mustafa Bello, disclosed this in Abuja during the recent ninth national conference on investment.
The conference with theme, ‘Building linkages for competitive and responsible entrepreneurship in Nigeria,’ was attended by relevant investment promotion agencies and development institutions from both the public and private sector of the economy.
 
It was convened to mobilise broad-based support and provide a road map towards creating an enabling investment environment for investment in Nigeria.
 
Bello, while quoting statistics from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), lamented that although SMEs constitute 96 per cent of Nigerian businesses in general and 90 per cent of the manufacturing sector, it only contributes about one per cent to Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
 
The one per cent contribution to GDP, he added, is low when compared to the 40 per cent contributed by SMEs in Asian countries and 50 per cent in the United States and Europe.
 
He said: “There is no gainsaying that the engine of industrial development in any economy is the small and medium enterprises sector. According to the IFC, SMEs constitute 96 per cent of Nigerian businesses in general and 90 per cent of manufacturing/industrial sector in particular as against 53 per cent and 65 per cent of businesses in US and Europe respectively.
 
“Unfortunately, they contribute approximately one per cent GDP in Nigeria compared to 40 per cent in Asian countries and 50 per cent in the US and Europe. It is also important to note that with a weak SME sector, the ability of the country to attract FDI is seriously hampered”, he added.
 
With such low contribution to Nigeria's GDP, the NIPC boss said the sector's contribution to wealth and employment in the country would be far below its potential.
He disclosed that the commission has selected the areas that have been identified as hindering the growth of SMEs in Nigeria, adding a framework that would make Nigeria the preferred next destination would soon be formulated.
 
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom, said the federal government had taken several measures to make the Nigerian investment environment more competitive. He listed some of the measures as increased investment infrastructure in roads, railways and airports.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Credit to Private Sector Hits N16.425trn in November

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Read Time:2 Minute, 11 Second
The value of credit to the private sector increased marginally year-on-year to N16.452 trillion at the end of November 2013.
The latest Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) money and credit statistics for November, showed the amount represented a growth by N176 billion, as against the N16.276 trillion it stood  the previous month.
Also, currency-in-circulation increased to N1.571 trillion at the end of November, from N1.549 trillion it was in October.
The total amount of deposit money banks' (DMBs') reserves with the central bank however reduced to N2.892 trillion in the month under review, from N2.962 trillion the previous month.
 
Similarly, currency outside banks during the month under review increased to N1.298 trillion, from N1.249 trillion the preceding month, while demand deposits dipped to N5.080 trillion at the end of November, from N5.211 trillion at the end of October.
Also, the central bank’s money and credit statistics showed that narrow money (M1), which includes all physical monies such as coins and currency along with demand deposits and other assets held by the central bank reduced to N6.378 trillion in November, as against the N6.460 trillion it attained in October.
 
But broad money (M2), which generally is made up of demand deposits at commercial banks and monies held in easily accessible accounts climbed to N14.734 trillion in the month under review, from N14.530 trillion in October.
While total net foreign assets (NFA) reduced to N8.681 trillion at the end of November, from N8.897 trillion the previous month, Net Domestic Asset (NDA) stood at N6.054 trillion, from N5.633 trillion.
Meanwhile, Standard Chartered Bank's London-based Head of Macro-Economics and Regional Head of Research for Africa, Razia Khan, in a report titled: “The Nigerian Economy− Banking on Nigerian Banks,” noted that the tougher regulations in the banking industry would raise cost.
 
Some of the policies that were introduced in the sector include limits on fees, minimum deposit rates, phasing out of commission on turnover (CoT), public sector cash reserve requirement hike, possibility of more tightening, increase in AMCON levy and higher risk weights.
Others are the cashless policy, shared service centre and greater adoption of e-channels (including mobile money).
“Nigerian’s banking-sector environment is changing. Deposit rates are expected to become more responsive to changes in monetary policy. Transmission of monetary policy is enhanced. The CBN has a more effective means of ensuring relative forex stability,” she added.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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N25.7bn Theft: Court Dismisses Atuche’s Application Seeking Dismissal of Charges

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Read Time:3 Minute, 21 Second
Justice Lateefa Okuunu of an Ikeja High Court Monday dismissed the application filed by former Managing Director of Bank PHB, Mr. Francis Atuche and his wife, Elizabeth challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the N27.5 billion theft charges preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).  
 
The Atuches in the application dated November 29 and brought pursuant to Sections 6(6), 230-248, 270 to 274 and 287(2) of the constitution had asked the court to dismiss the charges based on a Lagos Court of Appeal's judgment delivered on November 21, 2013, which struck out a similar theft charges pending before an Ikeja High Court against former Managing Director of FinBank, Okey Nwosu.
 
The Atuches are standing trial alongside the former Chief Financial Officer of the bank, Ugo Anyanwu, over allegations of stealing N27.5 billion belonging to the bank.
 
Atuche and his wife had asked an Ikeja High Court presided over by Justice Lateefa Okunnu to decline jurisdiction to continue to entertain the 27 count-charge before it because it revolves around the issue of acquisition of shares.
 
He also argued that the control of capital issue i.e shares is item 12 on the Exclusive Legislative list of the 1999 constitution and same exclusive to the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court by virtue of Section 251(1) of the 1999 constitution and section 7 (3) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004 Cap F12.
 
But the EFCC in their notice of preliminary objection to the motion filed by Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) urged the court to dismiss the application for being scandalous, frivolous and vexatious.
 
The anti-graft agency in the motion filed December 3, also contended that the plaintiffs were gambling with the process of the court contrary to the Supreme Court decision in Abubakar v. Yar'Adua (2008) 4 NWLR (Pt.1120).
 
EFCC therefore urged the court to dismiss the motion being vexatious and abuse of court process.
 
But Justice Okunnu in her short ruling after listening to the arguments of the parties, failed to grant Atuche’s application for dismissal of the charge on the grounds that it will amount to pre-empting the decision of the Court of Appeal in an appeal filed by Atuche on June 22, 2011, in which he had challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the charge.
 
According to Okunnu, granting such application will amount to judicial rascality and therefore opted to continue with the trial pending the determination of Atuche's appeal at the Court of Appeal on the same issue of jurisdiction.
 
The judge subsequently adjourned till March 10, 2014 for continuation of trial.
Meanwhile, the same court yesterday adjourned the trial of former Managing Director of Finbank Plc, Mr. Okey Nwosu and three other directors of the bank, "sine die" (indefinitely).
 
The trial judge, Justice Lateefa Okunnu, adjourned the matter indefinitely following three separate judgments delivered by the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, on November 21,2013.
 
Nwosu and three directors of the bank, Dayo Famoroti Danjuma Ocholi and Agnes Ebubedike were charged to court for allegedly stealing N10.9 billion from the bank between September 2006 and November 2007.
 
The Court of Appeal had, in the judgments, struck out the theft charges preferred against defendants by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The appellate court held that the Lagos High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the charges because they emanated from capital market transactions.
The court held that such a capital market-based case should be handled by the Federal High Court.
 
Ocholi's counsel, Mr. Lanre Ogunle (SAN), had earlier urged the court to dismiss the charge against his client because of the appeal court's judgments.
The EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), asked the court to therefore adjourn the matter indefinitely in the interest of justice.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Shettima Pleads for Re-opening of Maiduguri Airport

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Read Time:2 Minute, 40 Second
Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, Monday pleaded for the re-opening of the Maiduguri International Airport, which was closed down on the heels of the December 2 attack of the state capital, Maiduguri, by members of the outlawed Boko Haram sect.
 
During the attack by the sect, a section of the airport was attacked as well as the neighbouring Air Force base and an Army barracks, which led to the closure of the airport and air services to the town.
 
The plea by the governor followed the two separate meetings he held with the Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Chief Nnamdi Udoh, and the officials of the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) in Lagos, over the four months closure of the Maiduguri international airport and clearance of 400 containers of agricultural equipment imported by the state government.
 
Speaking during the meeting with Udoh, Shettima asked that the airport be re-opened to allow for access to the town and stop the economic crisis of the state.
 
He noted that the “airport is very critical to Borno people as one of its major links to rest of Nigeria and the world,” adding that the state government in collaboration with security agencies in the state had “already taken measures to ensure enhanced security of the airport and its facilities as well as increased surveillance of roads to secure the lives of both land and air passengers.”
 
The governor further promised to support NAMA in ensuring successful flight operations and noted that being a transit airspace, the Maiduguri airport was also critical to international travellers departing from other parts of Nigeria.
 
In order to ensure the resumption of flight to the state, the governor had also directed the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) to undertake a courtesy visit on Arik airline headquarters in Lagos with the instruction to  of persuad the management to resume flight services to Maiduguri from Lagos and Abuja.
 
In his response, Udoh assured  him of the immediate commencement of the repairs of some of the ailing facilities at the Maiduguri airport, indicating that the airport would be opened as soon as the repairs are completed.
 
He emphasised the importance of the Maiduguri airport as a connecting route to other countries which makes it a strategic airspace not only to Borno people but to the country at large.
Informed sources said the airport was to be opened on March 2, 2014 but the sources said the closure was indefinite, which was an apparent pointer to Shettima’s intervention with NAMA, Arik airline among other stakeholders in the aviation industry.
 
In another development, Shettima also visited the office of the NCS in Lagos to ease the clearance of 400 containers of agricultural equipment imported by the state government.
 
Shettima, who was  at the Apapa Area 1 Command of the NCS, said during a five-hour meeting with senior Customs officials that the imported 400 containers of numerous agricultural equipment was aimed at aggressive revival of agriculture in the state in order to create jobs, generate wealth and enhance food security.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Service Quality: NCC Gives December 31 Deadline

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Read Time:2 Minute, 48 Second
Indications emerged at the weekend that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is set to come down hard on the country’s telecommunications firms over poor service quality.
THISDAY checks revealed that the commission has formally notified the affected firms and has set December 31 as deadline for them to improve on their service.
 
Failure by the telecoms firms to comply with the deadline, according to NCC, will attract stiffer penalties including payment of fine and suspension from sale of new SIM cards among others.
Telecommunications firms, especially mobile telephone companies, have continued to attract criticisms from members of the public over poor quality of service, including drop calls and unsolicited text messages sent to subscribers.
Consequently, the NCC has communicated its decision to issue new quality service regulations to the management of all the affected companies.
The letter dated December 10, a copy of which was made available to THISDAY, notified the operators of the readiness of NCC to issue a direction on the quality of service, which must be complied with by all the operators.
The letter read in part, “The commission after careful investigation of the quality of service of all the major network operators has concluded that the present service being provided by telecommunications service providers falls below the Key Performance Indicators published by the commission in the quality service regulation.
 
“The commission, having critically reviewed the declining quality of service, had decided to issue a direction pursuant to Section 21 and 54 of the Nigerian Communication Act 2003.“Failure to comply with any direction that may be issued pursuant to the above notice will result in the imposition of sanction in the amount of N5 million and a further sum of N500,000 per day after the expiration of the notice for as long as the contravention persists and calculated from the deadline specified by the commission for the operators to meet the commission’s standard of quality of service.”
The letter was signed by Director, Legal and Regulatory Services, NCC, Mrs. Josephine Amuwa.
The letter was addressed to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, Airtel Networks, Etisalat Limited, Globacom Limited, Swift Network, Intercellular Nigeria Plc, Multilinks Telecoms Limited and Visafone Communications Limited.
Spokesperson of the commission, Mr. Reuben Mouka, declined to comment on the issue, but a source confided in THISDAY that the penalties for default might include suspension from sale of new lines, among others.
 
The source added that by implication, if any of the KPIs failed to comply by December 31, such would warrant stoppage of the sale of SIM cards by the erring operators, raising the fairs that all the operators may be affected as most of them are not performing to the satisfaction of the key consumers especially in the area of drop calls, which has become more rampant in recent times.
According to the source, the stoppage of SIM cards would not preclude issuance of sanctions as done in 2012 as the commission is angered by the fact that the KPIs were lowered after the sanctions but the operators did not meet the terms of agreement it entered with the commission to improve quality over a 12 month- period during which it promised to meet with the KPIs.
All the operators were sanctioned N1.170 billion in May 2012 for failing in different KPIs.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Report: Profit Taking Inevitable as Investors Mobilise End of Year Funds

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Read Time:6 Minute, 1 Second
As the prospect of higher returns on the back of growing investors’ confidence in the nation’s capital market rises, financial market watchers said the stage is set for profit taking by investors who are bent on taking advantage of the release of improved Q3‘ 2013 corporate earnings by a number of companies.
According to a report by a leading financial and economic advisory firm, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, “A look at the market‘s build up in activity and performance from the last two months to date would justify profit taking activity by investors.”
The company, in its monthly report for the month of November, believed that the activities of investors seeking to mobilise their gains especially to cope with end of the year finances, would downplay the anticipated gains from the nation’s capital market.
It said: “As we approach the last month of the financial year 2013, market performance would remain choppy as realised gains would be short-lived by profit takers.”
 
The report, however, predicted a bumper performance at the end of the month, which incidentally is also the end of the trading year, saying “decent gains are also anticipated as the outlook for the month remains promising. It is expected that the market would close the year on a higher note than its 32.5% return recorded in 2012.”
The month of November, according to the report, began with the market sustaining momentum from the previous month. “The ASI gained 3.06% to close the month at 38,920.85 points. The number of days of gains to losses was in the ratio 2:1 as the market closed on a positive note in 14 of the 21 trading days in the month. The year-to-date return on the index at the end of the month was 38.61%. Market capitalisation remained above the N12trn threshold to close at N12.45trn – despite the drop from N12.55trn.”
FDC’s report said the release of improved Q3‘13 corporate earnings by a number of companies was a major driver of market activity for the month.
 
This was also evident from the daily average turnover of N4.35bn compared to N3.52bn and N2.57bn recorded in October and September respectively.
“The decision of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to retain the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 12% for the 13th consecutive time, as well as the CRR on public sector deposits at 50% contributed immensely to market activity as investors found renewed interest in equities.
The growing investor confidence in the Nigerian capital market engendered by improved regulatory environment and improved financial results of listed companies led to a gain of N428 billion in Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) market capitalisation in November. The market capitalisation rose 5.56 per cent from N12.021 trillion at the beginning of November to N12.449 trillion at the end of the month, translating into a gain of N428 billion.
Measured by NSE All-Share Index (ASI), the market rose 3.45 per cent, from 37,622.74 to close at 38,920.85. Compared to October, the market recorded an improved performance in November as the market capitalisation added N368 billion. The index rose 2.84 per cent in October. Year-to-date, the market capitalisation of the exchange has chalked up N3.479 trillion, while ASI has grown by 38.6 per cent.
 
Market operators said given the average monthly growth of 3.5 per cent, the ASI is likely to close 2013 by about 40 per cent, as against 34.5 per cent recorded in 2012. Some investors have been reacting to the financial results of companies for the third quarter ended September 30, 2013, while others have been taking positions ahead of the bright prospects in the market.
Meanwhile, the Securities of Exchange Commission (SEC) has said that the nation’s capital market grew by 38.8 per cent in the current year, making it one of the fastest growing bourses globally.
The Director-General of the Commission, Ms. Arunma Oteh, who disclosed this, attributed the spike of the market primarily to regulatory guidelines and other measures by the commission to ensure transparency in the operations of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) among other factors.
 
QUICK TAKES
 
Biometrics for Bank Customers
The Central Bank of Nigeria is to officially launch the 2nd phase of biometric details of all bank customers in the country come February 14, 2014. CBN Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who disclosed this, said the second phase would ensure full capture of biometric details of all banks’ customers nationwide in less than a year.
The project, according to him, is expected to provide a centralised platform through which banks might enrol and uniquely verify the identity of each customer through ‘know your customer, (KYC) purposes, perform credit checks, verify customer’s integrity and authenticate customers from a point of transaction device. At a time when the activities of the various credit rating agencies are yet to make the desired impact, the intervention of the apex bank through the biometric project will go a long way to engender confidence in banks.
 
Is Oil Money Missing?
The media space is awash with stories bordering on the allegation that Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has not accounted for nearly $50bn in revenue from the sale of crude oil, which under the law should have been paid into government accounts.
Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had stirred the hornet’s  nest when he, in a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, dated September 25, 2013, said the NNPC earned $65.3bn from crude oil sales between January 2012 and July 2013 but remitted only 24% of this to the federation account. He claimed that $49.8bn is still outstanding.
Although the rebuttal from NNPC was spontaneous, the import of Sanusi’s claim is not lost on Nigerians who expressed worry that it’s either there are scores to settle between the CBN and NNPC or some officials of government are just being mischievous and clever by half. The Federal Government should as a matter of urgency clarify the situation and ensure the two agencies reconcile the conflicting figures in the public space.
 
Political, Economic Stability
When former Head of Interim National Government Ernest Shonekan spoke of the need for political and economic stability as a precondition for tackling the challenge of unemployment among the teeming jobless youths, not a few Nigerians agreed with him.
For a man who was drafted to stabilise the polity following the crises that trailed the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election, Shonekan surely knows what it means to operate in an atmosphere of peace. That is why the onus is on the current administration to step up efforts at stamping out the insurgency going on in the Northern part of the country because, according to Shonekan, investors will continue to shun economies where political and economic stability is not guaranteed. Shonekan is right on point you might say.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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The Footprints of a Silent Operator at CAC

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Read Time:4 Minute, 40 Second
I know the price of success: dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen
-Frank Lloyd Wright
When the minister of trade and investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga announced late last year, at the closing of the 8th National Conference on Investment, that the country was targeting $16 billion (about N4.2 trillion) revenue from foreign direct investments (FDI) in 2013, it was undoubtedly clear to many analysts why the minister was so optimistic: the significant transformation in the Nigerian business environment owing to improvements in operations of organizations like the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). A few years ago, it was a herculean task to get a company registered for businesses in the country. This, among other factors, had lowered the global competitiveness rating of Nigeria in the comity of nations because many foreign firms hoping to do businesses in the country felt frustrated by the cumbersome process of getting official recognition as registered entities.
 
Shortly after his appointment as the registrar-general and chief executive officer of the CAC in November, 2009, Bello Mahmud left no one in doubt about his determination to lift Commission to greater heights. This was unmistakable judging from the way he handled the protracted face-off between then chairman of the agency’s Board of Directors, Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim and its employees, which had mired the CAC in a crisis of some sort prior to Mahmud’s assumption of duty as RG.
As one of the key stakeholders of the CAC for many years, I know for a fact that before his ascension to the position of its CEO, the Commission was, to a reasonable extend, still trudging. The CAC’s processes had hitherto been fully automated and companies’ registration-from name reservation up to certificate generation-was being done electronically. But it was still unable to render its services electronically-on-line real time, through the web-as fast and efficient as possible, without the various stakeholder such as lawyers, chartered accountants and other applicants having to visit its offices physically. The story has however changed with the coming of Bello Mahmud.  It is also to the credit of this reputable lawyer, who has had a distinguished career in private practice, that the CAC’s clients are now able to file their annual returns in good time. This is in addition to also making-within reasonable space of time- other statutory filings required of registered companies, Business Names and Incorporated Trustees, all in compliance with provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). Besides, it was Bello Mahmud, who had also left an indelible mark when he served as attorney-general and commissioner for justice in Sokoto State from 1996 to 1999, that put practical steps to ensure that state offices of the CAC have become not only very functional, but that they are also at par with the head office in all aspects of registration services. Beyond all these, the incumbent RG nudged the CAC higher by ensuring that the Commission’s dream of 24-hour registration of companies has become a reality. This has upped the number of registered business entities in the country significantly, from less than 1.2 million in December, 2009 when he was appointed to almost 3 million in a space of two years; that is, by December, 2011. For instance, available records showed that the CAC had registered almost 900,000 companies, over 1.9 million business names and almost 50,000 incorporated trustees as at end of December, 2011. Most of these successes were recorded following Mahmud’s decision to upgrade the Commission’s registration software, i.e. Content Pinnacle, one of whose features is the e-payment portal that enables clients to make online payments for the commission’s services.
 
Although Mahmud appears to be media shy, this calm and collected CEO at the CAC no doubt appreciates the value of teamwork. He believes, like Joe Paterno said, that “When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality”. He has, in line with his believe in the above saying, tremendously improved the welfare and working conditions of employees at the Commission. Not only that, within less than three years of his stewardship, the CAC now boasts of a befitting Corporate Headquarters building-an imposing edifice-in Maitama District of Abuja. He has also stepped up efforts to ensure that the Commission builds its own offices in all the states of the Federation to save it the huge costs of renting offices nationwide. So far, it has built its state offices in at least 20 of the 36 states. And unlike many federal government agencies that had to resort to bank loans even to build their head offices in Abuja, Mahmud’s management team achieved all these feats within the CAC’s internally generated revenue. This is besides the significant improvements in its annual revenue remittances to the Federation Account. The remittances have increased from N3 billion when he took over to over N5.5 billion as at end of 2012.
 
Not done yet, Bello Mahmud said recently that he will work harder to ensure that the CAC evolves into a world-class companies Registry that is driven by the best technology and a highly motivated workforce, which will render excellent services,  keep accurate and reliable companies records, and have an effective enforcement capability that ensures substantial compliance with the extant rules by all registered entities in Nigeria.
 

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Raising the Stake in the Seasoning Market

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Read Time:6 Minute, 38 Second
Competition in the seasoning market may assume a new trend following the introduction of new varieties of Knorr by Unilever Nigeria Plc, Raheem Akingbolu reports…
 
In recent times, the battle for the soul of Nigerian seasoning market has been between two giants in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector of the economy; the Unilever Nigeria Plc and Nestle.  Though there are other players like Doyin Group, makers of Doyin Cube and Daily Need Nigeria Limited, manufacturers of Suppy, it is clear that Unilever and Nestle are the market leaders. While Unilever rocks the market with Knorr and Royco, Nestle rides on the strength of Maggi cube as a legendary brand. 
But despite its legendary status, Maggi has continued to receive punches from competing brands. From time to time, the major players, especially Unilever makes subtle move to checkmate Nestlé’s attempt to consolidate on the past glories of Maggi. Among other innovative tools, handlers of other brands have successfully leveraged on promotions, activations and strong advertising champagnes to increase market share.
 
Fresh move
Last week in Lagos, promoters of Knorr made the fast move by re-launching the repackaged Knorr seasoning. According to them, the brand was reformulated to deliver superiority on taste, as it is a winning concept with a compelling insight and proposition for its consumers to buy into. The event, which was witnessed mostly by the brand’s key distributors and its teeming consumers was organised to give patrons a good evening treatment, thereby strengthening its influence in the market.
According to the Managing Director of Unilever Nigeria Plc, Mr. Thabo Mabe, the exploit of the company in the area of market research has remained one of its staying power. “We spend as much as we can to understand the deepest consumer in the urban and rural areas. How much I understand the consumer is more important than how much I spend,” he told newsmen shortly after the unveiling.
In the same way, the company had last year introduced two new additions to the Royco family –the new Royco Seasoning Powder for stews, and another for soups.  At the launch in Abuja, the company indicated that it was being introduced to give Nigerians women better aroma and taste from their everyday cooking. Two things made the launch strategic: the Abuja venue and the N5 price tag placed on the product. By holding the unveiling ceremony in the nation’s capital, it was believed in some quarters that the handlers were sending signal to whoever cared to listen that they meant to take over the entire market and changed the perception that Royco was only popular in the North.
 
Brand’s attributes
Aside the fact that the new Knorr was meant to deliver superiority on taste, it also came with exciting packaging that re-enforces these benefits. The new and improved Knorr cube is said to bring out the very best in all dishes, making it burst with tantalising flavour.
The brand team assures consumers that the improved Knorr seasoning cube cost exactly the same as the old and some of its key attributes include: the Knorr beef is now 3x Meatier, both variants have an exceptional new packaging with an appetite appeal through the food visual on the pack and they are easier to crumble. It also scored best on Overall Opinion, Overall Taste and Overall Appearance during its testing phase in Nigeria. The management said “this year we sold not only 3 billion cubes of Knorr.”
Mabe said “what is important to his company as a business is continuing to innovate to meet the needs of the consumers and also how we give them something better. The brand has been on our stable for close to 175 years. Within this period, we have continually improved Knorr and the taste. “It is not only what Knorr stands for but performance. I am excited that we are satisfying Nigerians with the new taste of Knorr, in terms of formulation, the outlook of the product and key important feature is that the ingredients are coming from natural resources.”
The new seasoning is nothing like ever seen before in the Nigerian market and it would blow away the minds of consumers, according to David Okeme, the brand building director, Unilever Nigeria, while speaking at the re-launch event. Also speaking, Bolanle Kehinde-Lawal, the category manager, savoury, urged consumers and lovers of the brand to try out the new improved Knorr cubes, especially as the festive season, which is fast approaching, was a time to prepare great meals and celebrate with loved ones.
 
Other players
Though Daily Need Nigeria Limited and Doyin Group of Companies, manufacturers of Suppy and Doyin cube respectively, are also making impact, the global influence of the two giant players hinders their spread and popularity. For this reason, it is believed that Suppy and Doyin appeal only to the people at the lowest ebb of the market.
Nestlé’s Maggi, which has since assumed a generic status, is a household name, but recent developments in the market have cost it a substantial part of its market share. In the first place, immediately Unilever Nigeria Plc took over the manufacturing and sales of Knorr seasoning from Cadbury Nigeria Plc in December 2005, the company began a series of activation, which tend to create a bond between average families in Nigeria with Knorr. One of such activations was the popular Power of Meal Times campaign project which saw the company organising family picnics every year. Though this was matched by the Nestlé’s Maggi Cook for Mama Competition, the involvement of all family members in the Knorr exercise made it more impactful.
 
 
Picking from Mr. Bigg’s Glass Cup Promotion
In name and propositions, the ongoing joint promotion between Quick Service Restaurant giant –Mr. Bigg’s and her strategic beverage partner, Coca Cola, appears a veer-off the normal routine.
Tagged ‘Glass cup Promotion’, the joint effort was designed to give patrons of the QSR company a new experience this Yuletide season with bountiful rewards.  
According to the partners, the promotion which will push 120,000 Coca-Cola cups into the homes of many Nigerians is geared towards giving our loyal consumers an adventure to spice up the season. The cups come in five exciting colours vis: Black, Yellow, Green, Blue and Red.
Marketing Manager, Mr. Bigg’s, Nnenna Azuka-Onwuka, said the cups are exquisite and once you collect one colour, you want to collect all five. “It is a collector’s item and we want them in as many homes as possible,” she stated.
Speaking on what makes it an adventure, Managing Director, UAC Restaurants limited; Derrick Van Houten said the strategy to make the cups come in five different colours is to give the customers something different to look forward to at every visit.
He said between November  and January, when the promotion is expected to last, consumers can collect, one or all of the five cups, adding that these cups are a collector’s item.
“To collect the cup, all a consumer does, is buy products worth N1,500 including any Coca-Cola Product from any Mr Bigg’s Restaurant, nationwide and he gets a free cup. It is that simple. Mr Bigg’s and Coca-Cola, two market leading brands are excited at this opportunity to deliver another first to the Nigerian consumers, it is the brands’ little way of saying thank you to their loyal consumers,” he said.
It was further stated that the promotion has recorded immense success in the various markets where Coca-Cola has implemented it with other QSR brands and promises to be a huge success in Nigeria as well.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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