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African Reinsurance Corporation Records N3bn Profit

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African Reinsurance Cor-poration has announced a profit after tax of N3.028 billion.

The chairman of the company Mr. Musa Al-Nas who announced this at the 31st annual general meeting of the company held in Abuja said the corporation also achieved a turn over of N58.947 billion ($401 million) with shareholders’ funds hitting N32.781 billion at the end of its financial year 2008.

He said that the developments in the corporation showed a remarkable improvement recalling that at the inception in January, 1978, the authorised capital of the corporation was N676.2 million ($46 million) while it recorded premium income of N514.5 million (N3.5 million) at the end of the financial year.

He urged the company’s shareholders to consider beefing up the corporation’s capital base with capital of up to N36.75 billion ($250 million) in 2011and N73.5 billion ($500 million) in 2015 as recommended at its last meeting held in Kigali Rwanda.

He noted that the first ended financial year 2008 was a difficult one, adding that the effects of the global economic crisis could be grievous on the insurance sector if it persists and that there was need for the African Reinsurance Corporation to come up with measures to mitigate the impact.

According to him, “indeed at time when the economic and financial crisis which many believed would spare African due to its marginalisation in the world economy, is still impacting more severely on the poorest regions of the globe and economic operators, the insurance sector, despite its sound financial base could be shaken if the recession continues.

“Indeed, after the failure of a major global merchant bank and the near collapse of a would insurance group, no player irrespective of is geographical and financial size, can feel totally safe from this economic disorder.”

The chairman charged that African Re must extend its marketing network and physical presence to more African territories by completing the projects to establish offices in Luanda (Angola), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) before embarking on new ones.

Currently, the corporation has presence in seven counties namely Casabalanca Nairobi, Abidjan, Johnannesburg, Mauritius, Cairo and Lagos.

“The corporation shall ensure a better diversification of its portfolio by cautiously stretching into the Middle East and Asia, as well as undertaking to promote more “grassroots” products so as fulfill its “social mission” of developing the insurance and reinsurance industry on the African continent, mainly through weather insurance and micro-insurance projects, which it is already fine-tuning in collaboration with other key players, he canvassed.

Earlier, the Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Remi Babalola who was a special guest of honour expressed belief that the insurance industry could and should contribute more to the economic development of the African continent and the individuals national economies.

According to the Minister, “We can deepen insurance penetration in our countries by making insurance more attractive to our peoples.

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Sanwo-Olu Assures On Reduction Of Food Prices

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has assured residents of the state that the various interventions by his administration in the agriculture sector would soon put an end to the astronomic rise in food prices in the market.
The governor gave the assurance on Friday at the flag-off of distribution of agricultural productive assets and inputs under the 2021 Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme, with over 3000 agripreneurs empowered.
Sanwo-Olu said that breaking the shackle of dependency on foreign countries and states for food supplies was in line with his administration’s THEMES agenda for job and wealth creation as well as food sufficiency.
He stated that the empowerment scheme was a demonstration to the development, expansion and growth of agriculture in Lagos by providing tools, deploying innovation and creativity that would make it easier for all farmers to grow high quality crops, thereby raising their inputs to feed Lagosians and Nigerians.
The governor said that his administration was putting in place various interventions which included wholesale agriculture hub, urging farmers, youths and beneficiaries to work hard to nurture their businesses to maturity by building a sustainable wealth.
“We have emerged wiser and more determined to succeed in creating and nurturing a viable agribusiness sector in Lagos State. We may be Nigeria’s smallest state by land mass, lacking the large tracts of land available to others, but we will not allow that to stand in the way of our vision.
“We will maximise the little we have, while also deploying the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit we are known for, to create new opportunities to feed ourselves and feed Nigeria, and create economic growth and prosperity through agriculture”, he said.
 The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, said that 70 per cent of the beneficiaries of the programme were youths and women chosen from the Lagos Agripreneurship programme (LAP), Agric YES programme, and value chain associations.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Monorail Project, A Waste Of Rivers Resources – GDI

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The Monorail Project that was abandoned by the Chibuike Amaechi-led administration in Rivers State has been described as a complete waste of state resources.
President-General of the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI), worldwide, Bright Amehule, in an interaction with journalists at the weekend, alleged that the former state governor used the monorail project to squander Rivers money.
He said that the monorail was not desirable as at when it was embarked upon, adding that the money sunk into the project would have been used for more people oriented projects. 
According to the GDI boss, the state has not reached the stage where the monorail is necessary.
“We have not reached the stage of development where we will need monorail. Where is the power to run it ? We have not grown to the stage to run it, as we have observed in other developed countries.
“We need power to run the monorail, but even the power project former governor Peter Odilli executed was sold by Amaechi. He squandered the money he sold the power project built by Odili without giving account of it.
“There is just little to show for the huge amount of money spent on the monorail and the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority”, he said.
On account of his stewardship as the coordinator of taskforce on Street Trading and Illegal Parking, Amehule said that he performed his duties well, but pointed out  that no individual can satisfy everybody, irrespective of how the person tries.
He said that the state government engaged over 600 youths as task force men, adding that the state government is doing its best to ensure youths employment in the state. 
According to him, the state government has taken steps to provide employment through numerous projects such as the Cassava Plant at Oyigbo, the recent partnership with South Korea, numerous construction works being handled by Julius Berger, and the expansion of the Rivers State University, among others.

By: Corlins Walter

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SON Procures Warehouse For Goods’ Testing

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In a bid to stop the practice of arresting containers released at the seaports on the highways by its officials, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has procured a warehouse around the port where suspicious goods will be taken to for testing.
The Director General, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim who disclosed this at a one day capacity building workshop for journalists organized by SON in Lagos, recently, said that rather than blocking suspicious goods at the port and delay other legitimate businesses coming through, they would just take those containers to their warehouse and conduct their test.
Salim explained that after testing, if the goods were found to be okay, they would release them but if the goods were found not to be okay, they (SON officials) would show those individuals how to fix the products if the products were fixable, adding that where they were not fixable; the SON would destroy them in line with their mandate.
Salim explained that the idea was to encourage ease of doing business at the seaport, saying the organisation does not want bottlenecks and bureaucracy that would stop people from achieving their legitimate goals.
He assured that the SON management would continue to rejig the system to make it more efficient.
According to him: “We have done so many changes over the years. For example, we have our own warehouse right by the port where goods that are suspicious, instead of blocking them in the port and delay other legitimate businesses coming through, we just take those containers to our warehouse which are nearby and because we have a very high professional and efficient lab in this country, we do our test, if the goods are okay, we release them. If the goods are not okay, we show those individuals how to fix those products if they are fixable, if they are not fixable; we destroy them which is our legitimate mandate by the government and by the National Assembly”.
He emphasised that it was the SON’s responsibility to make sure that every goods that enter the country are up to standard.  
He said: “We make sure there are consequences to any product and that any person producing substandard products will have to pay one way or the other. We will have to make sure that there are consequences for individuals buying fake products and injuring our people. We are to make sure manufacturers of goods; building materials are up to standards because collapsing buildings are not discriminatory. 
“We, as an organisation, are committed to improving our responsibility. If we expect standards from people, we have to three times inspect how we handle ourselves. So, over the years, we have collaborated with market associations, we have collaborated with importers’ associations even though our responsibility is primarily to help our local producers but Nigeria has importers and they are legitimate businessmen and they are importing things that are needed in Nigeria. So, our responsibility is to make sure that whatever comes to this country is standard, is good, is not going to harm our people and our local industry”.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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