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Royal Exchange Group Posts N2.4m Loss

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Royal Exchange Assurance Group, one of the non-banking financial services groups has posted a loss after tax of N2.4 million for the financial year ended December 31st 2008.

This is against a profit after tax of N647.1 million recorded in 2007 which represents 476.37 per cent decline in profit.

However, the group recorded N3.36 billion premium income from its operations for the period under review a 25.37 per cent improvement on the figure of the previous year which was N2.68 billion.

Shareholders stake in the company however went down by as much as 48.99 per cent, falling from an all time high of N11.92 billion in the previous year to N6.08 billion at the end of the last accounting period.

According to the company’s annual report made available at the 40th annual general meeting of the company in Lagos last week, total assets fell by 23.61 per cent while net premium income stood at N2.60 billion, as against N2.09 billion, recorded in the previous year, a 24.40 per cent improvement.

Premium earned by the firm within the year under consideration rose by 16.59 per cent, rising from N2.17 billion, in 2007 to N2.53 billion, last year.

Also last year, Royal Exchange paid claims to the tune of N880.08 million, a 45.40 per cent improvement in the level of customer’s expectations met and surpassed. In the previous year, claims settled by the group totaled N605.30.

Underwriting profits closed at N572.10 million, a 32.49 per cent shortfall from the N847.44 million, made in 2007 while interest income went up to N94.96 million, even as its investment income fell short of its 2007 figure by 9.67 per cent, having gone down from the N571.50 million, in the previous year to N516.25 million, last year. It also improved on its other incomes by a whopping 1,433.92 percent, increasing it from N7.90 million, in 2007 to N121.18 million, last year just as it improved its earnings from stock exchange operations by 143.91 percent. This was reversed from a N14.28 million, loss position in 2007 to N6.27 million, gain last year.

Loss before taxation and exceptional items was N164.64 million,  a 21.23 percent shortfall when compared to the N775.41 million, profit recorded in the previous year.

Within the period, the group wrote off N1.37 billion, as exceptional items resulting to a N1.54 billion loss before tax which translates to a 298.50 per cent fall from the N775.41 million profit that it recorded at the close of business in 2007.

The Royal Exchange Group within the year under consideration increased its paid up share capital by 10.12 percent, moving it up from N1.68 billion, in the previous year to N1.85 billion, last year.

It also raised its contingency reserve by 22.91 percent from N445.79 million in 2007 to N547.92 million last year. While its investment properties revaluation reserve rose slightly by 1.96 per cent from N2.04 billion last year.

The group’s general reserve was significantly drawn down by as much as 314.35 per cent, having been reduced from N933.71 million in the previous year to N2 billion deficit last year.

Shareholders’ interest in the company also nose-dived; it fell by 48.99 per cent, having been drawn down from N11.92 billion in the previous year to N6.08 billion last year.

The group however increased the balance in its insurance fund by 45.68 percent, raising it from N1.27 billion in 2007 to N1.85 billion in 2008.

Short term investments went down significantly by as much as 95.88 percent as well as its long term investment by 49.92 per cent.

The group’s short term investments was reduced from N2.06 billion in the previous year to N84.77 million last year.

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COVID-19: Dockworkers/Seafarers Are Essential Workers, Exempted From Travel Restrictions, Says NIMASA

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? As Agency Unveils Guidelines for Terminals, Jetties.

 

In line with the newly endorsed protocols by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO] designed to lift barriers to crew changes, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA] has designated Seafarers and Dockworkers as essential workers who should be exempted from travel restrictions.

 

The exemptions are contained in a new guideline developed and published by the Agency to support essential services in Nigeria’s shipping sector. The guideline states that the jobs of dockworkers at the country’s seaports, terminals, and jetties are essential to the national economy and, therefore, dockworkers should be granted passage between their places of abode and the seaports/terminals and jetties to perform their duties.

 

The advice also declares that seafarers are on essential duty and as such exempted from the curfew and travel restrictions, which may hinder necessary movement for crew change. It directs companies employing the services of seafarers to provide special and dedicated means of transportation to convey the seafarers, adding that such transport system must be disinfected within the recommended minimum hours.

 

The guideline specifically provides for the mandatory use of facemasks within all terminals and jetties, mandatory temperature check on all staff before access to terminals, and denial of entry to persons who present temperature above 38°C. It makes it mandatory for all dock labour employers to develop risk assessments and safety intervention guidelines for all personnel and operations in the areas of vulnerability within their maritime operations that can be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including cargo handling, access control, and rostering procedures.

 

Dock labour employers are also to devise methods of ensuring that dockworkers absent from their duties for issues relating to COVlD-19 are quarantined and compensated for the suspension of earnings they suffer as a consequence. Furthermore, all dock labour employers are to ensure that buses deployed during the COVID-19 pandemic carry a 50 per cent maximum capacity in line with Federal Government directives, and all passengers wear facemasks. Such buses must have hand sanitisers for all drivers’ and passengers’ use and be frequently disinfected.

Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said the latest advice was meant to contain the coronavirus pandemic while also supporting the continuation of the economy. 

 

Jamoh stated, “Like President Muhammadu Buhari said, no economy can survive total lockdown. If you look at it critically, maritime is an essential duty, with the major actors being seafarers and dockworkers. This is why we continually come up with guidelines to ease their operations so that activities in our ports will not suffer.”

 

The DG emphasised the prohibition of loitering around port premises and charged dock labour employers to ensure social distancing of two meters is maintained between people in the workplace and other public spaces within and around port terminals.

 

The guideline is in sync with those issued by the United Nations agencies, including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Labour Organisation (ILO), as well as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

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ICT Skills’ll Deliver Economic Independence To Nigerian Girls – NITDA

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said that if Nigerian girls are taught relevant Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills at a young age, they will be set up for economic independence in future.
The Agency who made this remark through a press release signed by its Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Mrs Hadiza Umar, joined the global community to mark the “Girls in ICT Day.” The day which is marked annually on the fourth Thursday in April falls on the 23rd April this year.
In the statement, Mrs Umar said that the Agency is highlighting the need to promote technology career opportunities for girls and women in ICT, the world’s fastest growing sector.
She said, “During this year’s celebration, NITDA is drawing attention to the critical need for more girls and women to participate actively in the ICT sector of our economy. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) had estimated skills shortfall of over two million jobs in the ICT sector within the next few years. This opens a huge opportunity for girls and young women who have the ability to learn Coding, Apps Development, Computer Science and other ICT related courses.
“This will not only make them ready for a successful career in the ICT sector, but ICT skills are rapidly becoming a strong advantage for students in just about any other field they might choose to pursue. With technology playing vital role in all manner of careers, from Arts to Social Sciences, and from Law to History, to Graphic Design, learning ICT skills at a young age will set girls up for economic independence. Furthermore, the ICT sector needs more girls and women and celebrating a day like this reminds us that ICT helps to improve the lives of people everywhere.
“It contributes significantly towards better healthcare, better environmental management, better communication, and better educational systems that transform the way children and adults learn. NITDA, in its proactive manner and in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy as well as in furtherance of bridging the gender imbalance in ICT in Nigeria, has embarked on series of Capacity Building programmes for women and girls across the country. Girls with ICT skills can expect to earn good wages and enjoy huge career opportunities.

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Keystone Bank Disowns Ex-staff, Fake Investment Company

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Keystone Bank Limited has alerted customers of the activities of one Mr. Obinna Onuselogu, who parades a company, Triple C Investment Limited, as an affiliate of the bank with the aim of defrauding unsuspecting members of the public.
The bank, in a statement yesterday, said Onuselogu, who used to be a staff, was no longer in its employ.
It added that anyone who transacts any business with him purportedly in the name of the bank does so at his/her own risk.
“Please note further that Keystone Bank is neither related nor affiliated to any company known as Triple C Investment Limited, which Mr. Onuselogu claims to be its chief executive officer.
“Anyone who transacts any business with him purportedly in the name of Keystone Bank does so at his/her own risk,” the statement said.
It was learnt that the ex-staff has been using the name of the bank and its executives claiming to be in partnership with the bank with the intent of defrauding unsuspecting members of the public.
The bank said it was working on a legal process and security agents to put an end to the unscrupulous activities of the so-called Tripple C Investment and its agents.

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