20 Mar

Daily Watch – FG to find ₦5.4 billion in premiums, Amnesty programme is broke

  • Nigeria’s amnesty programme which provides vocational training and stipends to former militants who attacked oil facilities in its Niger Delta energy hub is struggling with a shortfall of funds, a special adviser to President Buhari has said. The government has been in talks with militants to end the attacks which cut Nigeria’s output by 700,000 barrels a day for several months last year, reducing total production at that time to about 1.2 million bpd. It has since climbed. Under the amnesty programme, each former militant is entitled to ₦65,000 ($213.68) a month plus job training. “The main challenges the Presidential Amnesty Office has faced is inadequate funds,” Paul Boroh, special adviser to the president and coordinator of the amnesty programme, said late on Thursday. Boroh said the funding problems meant the tuition fees of some ex-militants in local and international universities had not been paid. He added that most vocational training had stopped, affecting 1,770 participants. “Inadequate funding has also limited the capacity of the office to empower delegates and exit them from the programme,” said Boroh. But he said the situation was “being reversed” with the release of more funds to the amnesty office. He did not say when the funds would be released.
  • The FG is owing ₦5.4 billion in premiums to civil servants six months after they were due for renewal. The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and the Bureau of Public Procurement have selected 20 underwriters and 108 insurance brokers to take on ₦5.4 billion group life policy of the FG but no premium commitment has been made. The underwriters for the government group life insurance were selected in compliance with Section 4 (5) of the Pension Reform Act, 2014 which states that “every employer shall maintain a group life insurance policy in favour of each employee for a minimum of three times the annual total emolument of the employee and premium shall be paid not later than the date of commencement of the cover. According to the Permanent Secretary, Common Services Office in the OHCSF, Yemi Adelakun, the government would review the current Group Life Assurance Scheme from an annual policy to a long term policy for effectiveness and efficiency in order to address these drawbacks.
  • South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, said that Nigeria’s exports to South Africa hit ₦552.2 billion (R23 billion) in 2016. According to a statement from the country’s Department of Trade and Industry on Thursday, Davies said South Africa’s exports to Nigeria slightly declined to about ₦153.7 billion (R6.4 billion) in 2016. He said the two countries “continuously traded goods at high capacity and Nigeria maintained the trade surplus of R23 billion (₦552.2 billion) in 2016”. According to the minister, the department of trade and industry would lead a business delegation on a trade and investment mission to Nigeria and Ghana from March 20 to 25.
  • In line with the OTC FX futures market framework, OTC FX futures contracts valued at $354.71 million will mature this week. However, the CBN is expected to replace the maturing instrument with a March 2018 contract. Activities at the FMDQ OTC FX Futures Market remained relatively quiet last week as the total value of open contracts increased to $4.09 billion as at last Thursday, from the $3.99 billion recorded the preceding week. The April 26 2017 (which was the cheapest instrument for an extended period of time at the launch of the Futures market) remains the most subscribed, with the value of open contracts at $893.77 million, according to a report by Afrinvest Securities.
  • Ericsson has appointed Rutger Reman, President and Managing Director for Ericsson Nigeria, reporting to Jean-Claude Geha, President and CEO of Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa. Reman succeeds Johan Jemdahl in this role as Managing Director for Ericsson Nigeria. Announcing the change, Geha said: “Rutger has demonstrated excellent leadership capabilities, and has displayed keen insight in developing business and creating value. He brings to bear nearly 30-years’ experience in the telecommunications and technology industry and possesses a strong drive to strengthen Ericsson’s support and amplify its new innovation to leading operators and their customers in the Nigerian market.” Rutger joined Ericsson over 20 years ago, having started his professional career at the Swedish operator, Telia where he worked for several years. He holds a wealth of experience in Project Management, Product Management, Operations, Marketing and Sales garnered from leading various projects for a vast number of customers in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa since 2004. Ericsson remains committed to its vision of onward expansion and growth in Sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria in particular. Mobile broadband will account for 90 percent of global, and around 83 percent of Sub-Saharan African subscriptions by 2022. This indicates an immense opportunity, especially for Nigeria as the largest telecom market in Sub-Saharan Africa by subscriptions.