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Cornerstone Hails Insurance Best Practices

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Cornerstone Insurance has commended professional brokers and other stakeholders in the collective drive to enhance the ethics and compliance with best practices in the Nigerian Insurance Industry.

Cornerstone Insurance recorded the highest gross premium earning in its 18 years of existence underwriting N3.8 billion in 2008, in spite of the adoption of a wholly ethnical approach to insurance business.

Mr. Adedotun Sulaiman, chairman Cornerstone Insurance Plc, at the yearly general meeting of the company in Lagos recently, said the top line performance of the company was due to supports from professional brokers, corporate Nigerian, institutions, businesses operators in the formal and informal sectors and individual policy holders.

According to him, despite choosing the ethnical route and emphasising that it will not pay bribe to acquire business, the company had tremendous support and patronage from professional brokers which saw it recording its all-time high gross premium of N3.8 billion.

Sulaiman said 80 per cent of Nigeria’s insurance businesses are controlled by brokers, which underlined their importance as strategic business partners are influencing factors in the drive to reposition the Nigerian insurance industry.

He called for closer collaboration between brokers and underwriters in the country to enable the industry give the highest value to policy takers adding that all stakeholders stand to benefit in the growth of the industry.

“Cornerstone as a responsive and transparent company, will always meet its obligation to brokers and those on whose behalf they placed their insurance risk with Cornerstone”, Sulaiman said.

He assured shareholders that the Company’s definitive strategic medium term growth plan would translate into significant shareholders’ value in the years ahead.

He said the company has undertaken comprehensive renew of its process and resources and already implementing measures to realise the company’s vision of being the leading insurance-based financial services company in Nigeria. According to him, the company’s unwavering commitment to enshrining an ethical culture and promoting best business practices informed its resolve to put in place a robust governance structure, which importance in the creation of shareholder value cannot be overemphasised.

We are taking sure and steady steps, more than ever before, to take advantage of the opportunities and are confident that the prospects are bright.

We are strengthening the leadership of the business – Life, General and Financial Services and intensifying our brand reputation in line with our corporate mission to deliver value beyond the expectations of stakeholders”, Sulaiman said.

He pointed out that in spite of the recession in the financial markets, the company has maintained its focus on building the company for sustainable success and leadership.

He noted that the company was constantly engaging its customers to identify and create tailor-made solutions to meet their needs as part of efforts to deepen existing market share and break new ground.

He urged shareholders and other stakeholders to support the on-going efforts by the company to redefine Nigerian insurance practice along ethical line noting that it is possible to business successfully without engaging in unethical practices.

He added that the nature of insurance business as a long-term business also requires understanding and patience given the ups and downs that sometimes characterise investments.

He said the company’s determination to ensure prompt claim payment irrespective of the global and national macro-economic conditions and the recession in the stock market adversely affected the performance of the company in 2008.

He noted that many one-off costs such as rebranding and relocation of the head office of the company in 2008 would not reoccur and as such mitigate costs while significantly adding value to the business.

He said the board took a courageous decision to make almost full provisions for the potential loss in the market value of its investments, although the recovering trend at the stock market suggests that the potential loss is unlikely to crystallise.

Audited report and accounts of Cornerstone Insurance for the year ended December 31, 2008 showed significant improvements in the top line and bottom-line with group gross premium rising but 37 per cent from N2.7 billion in 2008. Profit before tax and diminution in value of investment jumped by 76 per cent to N678.9 million in 2008 as against N386.6 million in 2007.

A provision of N1.11 billon as diminutions in value of investments however impacted negatively on the bottom-line, leaving the company with a net loss of N419.5 million in 2008 compared with a net profit of N325 million in 2007.

Sulaiman however assured shareholders that the company would deliver better results in 2009 noting the interim reports for the first half of the year showed significant improvements.

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LASG Begins Vehicle Parking Lanes Demacation

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The Lagos State Parking Authority (LASPA) has revealed it will today commence creating additional Vehicle Parking Lanes in some selected locations across the State.
The Authority stated that all efforts have been geared towards improving the parking system of the State.
Speaking on the planned initiative on Friday in Ikeja, the General Manager of LASPA, Mrs. Adebisi Adelabu, stated that the vehicle parking lane mark exercise, which will begin with designated streets within Surulere, Ikoyi, Lekki, Obalende, Ikeja and Victoria Island axis of the State, is a step towards improving street parking from 2023.
Adelabu noted that the Parking Lane Markings will further guide motorists and pedestrians on appropriate parking regulations and spaces, minimise indiscriminate parking, confusion and uncertainty, while conveying a range of information to residents on parking procedures within each specified environment.
According to her, the lane markings will also include special consideration for people living with disabilities and signposts for parking directives, among other features.
The General Manager, however, solicited the understanding of residents within the locations who might be affected by any inconvenience the process might cause, assuring that the government is working rigorously in regulating and improving the parking culture as part of its Traffic Management and Transportation Agenda to ensure parking is convenient, safe and secure across the state.
Recall that the Authority had recently unveiled plans to begin full implementation of parking policy in the second quarter of 2023 and has continued to sensitise the public on the need to embrace the parking culture.

By; Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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NIMASA Builds Maritime Institutes, Skill Acquisition Centres In Zones

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Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Yusuf Jamoh, has revealed that the agency is embarking on building six skill acquisition centres, and maritime institutes in each geopolitical zone of the country.
He disclosed this while receiving the Minister of Transportation, Dr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, and the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr. Kitack Lim, during the commissioning of the new NIMASA head office in Victoria Island recently.
The NIMASA boss said the agency has already started building of ten of its offices in various states of the country, saying that 2022 is dedicated for projects.
“We dedicated 2022 as projects year and we have more than ten projects ongoing now, but we expect that before the end of this administration, we will commission them.
“Parts of the projects have something to do with human elements.
“We have six skill acquisition centres all over Nigeria, one per political zone, and we have six maritime institute projects. Each geopolitical zone has a university with maritime institute, just to build maritime assets,’’ he said.
He thanked the Minister for always being there, and also expressed appreciatiin to the IMO Secretary General for his visit to Nigeria, noting that he is the second IMO Secretary General to visit Nigeria, with the last visit having taken place 15 years ago.
“I am particularly delighted that he is commissioning this building today. He promised to come and has kept his promise”, he added.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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FG Borrows N24trn From CBN Amid Fiscal Risks

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Federal Government of Nigeria has borrowed N6.31trillion from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through Ways and Means Advances in 10 months.
This amount has increased the total amount the Federal Government got from the CBN from N17.46trillion in December 2021 to N23.77trillion in October 2022.
It does not include the N23.77trillion the Federal Government is already owing CBN that is part of the country’s total public debt stock, which stood at N42.84trillion as at June 2022, according to the Debt Management Office.
The public debt stock only includes the debts of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the 36 state governments, and the Federal Capital Territory.
Ways and Means Advances is a loan facility through which the CBN finances the shortfalls in the government’s budget.
Section 38 of the CBN Act, 2007, states that the CBN may grant temporary advances to the Federal Government with regard to temporary deficiency of budget revenue at such rate of interest as the bank may determine.
The Act read in part, “The total amount of such advances outstanding shall not at any time exceed five per cent of the previous year’s actual revenue of the Federal Government.
“All advances shall be repaid as soon as possible and shall, in any event, be repayable by the end of the Federal Government financial year in which they are granted and if such advances remain unpaid at the end of the year, the power of the bank to grant such further advances in any subsequent year shall not be exercisable, unless the outstanding advances have been repaid.”
The CBN, however, said on its website that the Federal Government’s borrowing from it through the Ways and Means Advances could have adverse effects on the bank’s monetary policy to the detriment of domestic prices and exchange rates.
“The direct consequence of central bank’s financing of deficits are distortions or surges in the monetary base leading to adverse effects on domestic prices and exchange rates i.e macroeconomic instability because of excess liquidity that has been injected into the economy,” it said.
The apex bank had last November warned the Federal  Government against financing deficits by borrowing from the CBN through the Ways and Means Advances, saying this putd fiscal pressures on the country’s expenditures.
Despite warnings from experts and organisations, the Federal Government has kept borrowing from the CBN to fund budget deficits.
The Tide source noted that the Federal Government paid an interest of N2.03trillion from January 2020 to November 2021 on the loans it got from the CBN through the Ways and Means Advances.
It was also reported that the Federal Government paid an interest of N405.93billion from January 2022 to April 2022 on the loans it got from the CBN.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr Johnson Chukwu, recently said the Central Bank’s lending to the government was putting pressure on the exchange rate and the inflation rate, with “liquidity that has no productivity attached to it coming into the system.”
An economist, Dr Aliyu Ilias, criticised the government for its constant reliance on borrowing, which was unhealthy for the economy.
He further urged the government to seek better ways of generating revenue rather than persistently borrowing from the apex bank.

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