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Cornerstone Hails Insurance Best Practices



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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Senate Confirms Cardoso, 11 Others As Monetary Policy Committee Members 




The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Olayemi Cardoso as the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Also confirmed for appointment as members of the MPC yesterday, include, Muhammad Abdullahi, (CBN deputy governor), Bala Bello (CBN deputy governor), Emem Usoro (CBN deputy governor), Philip Ikeazor (CBN deputy governor), Lamido Yuguda, (DG Securities and Exchange Commission) and Jafiya Lydia Shehu, (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance).

Others are Murtala Sabo Sagagi (CBN director) Aloysius  Ordu, Aku Odukemelu, Mustapha Akinwunmi, and Bamidele Amoo.

President Bola Tinubu had on Wednesday named Cardoso as the chairman and 11 others as members of the MPC.

Tinubu in his letter of nomination to the Senate, said his action was in line with the provisions of Section 12 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007.

The President had about a week ago asked the Senate to confirm Cardoso, as the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee of the apex bank.

CBN MPC will hold its first policy meeting for the year on February 26 and 27.

The Senate had , on Wednesday, screened the nominated members of the CBN Monetary Policy Committee, questioning them on the lingering foreign exchange and food crises.


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‘Unemployment Rate Hit 0.8% In 2023 Q3’



The unemployment rate in Nigeria rose by 0.8percent in the third quarter of 2023.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), this was a significant rise, adding that the unemployment rate rose from the 4.2percent recorded in Q2 2023 to 5.0 percent in Q3 2023.
The NBS, the custodian of official statistics in the country, disclosed this in a report it published last Monday titled “Nigeria Labour Force Survey Q3 2023”.
“The employment-to-population ratio was 75.6 percent in Q3 2023 with a decrease of 1.5 percent compared to a ratio of Q2 2023.
“The combined rate of unemployment and time-related underemployment as a share of the labour force population (LU2) increased to 17.3percent in Q3 2023 from 15.5percent in Q2 2023.
“About 87.3 percent of workers were self-employed in Q3 2023. The proportion of workers in Wage Employment in Q3 2023 was 12.7 percent.
“The unemployment rate increased significantly in Q3 2023 at 5.0 percent. This is an increase of 0.8 percent from Q2 2023.
“The rate of unemployment among persons with post-secondary education was 7.8 percent in Q3 2023”, the report stated in part.
It added that the unemployment rate for youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years was recorded at 8.6 per cent in Q3 2023 while the informal employment rate in Q3 2023 was 92.3 per cent.
The report added, “The unemployment rate in urban areas was 6.0 percent percentin Q3 2023, a slight increase of 0.1 percent from Q2 2023.
“Time-related underemployment in Q3 2023 was 12.3 percent, showing a slight increase of 0.5 percent from the rate recorded in Q2 2023. This shows an increase of 1.4 percent compared to the rate in Q4 2022.
“4.1percent of the working-age population was in subsistence agriculture in Q3 2023. Informal employment rate in Q3 2023 was 92.3percent, while Q2 2023 was 92.7percent.
“Percentage of youth Not in Employment, Education or Training was 13.7percent in Q3 2023”.
Recall that Nigeria’s inflation rate last Thursday climbed to 29.90 per cent in January 2024 from 28.92 per cent recorded in the previous month.
The 0.98 percent increase shows that the inflation rate in the country is yet to slow down.
The NBS revealed this in its ‘Consumer Price Index’
The development adds more pressure on the Central Bank’s monetary policy committee to sharply raise interest rates at a February  26-27 meeting its first in seven months.

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Merchant Navy Lauds NIWA Over Staff Welfare



The Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNO/WTSSA) has expressed optimism that the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr. Bola Oyebamiji, will prioritise workers welfare for optimal performance of the agency.
Jibril Darda’u, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NIWA, in a statement over the weekend, disclosed that the seafarers’ union’s remarks are one of the highlights of the meeting between the Trade Union Congress (TUC) affiliate group and management of the agency.
The statement quoted the Chairman of the NMNO/WTSSA, Comrade Suleiman Danjuma, as commending the Managing Director of NIWA for the good initiative of the kind of interaction that brings the staff closer to the management.
“This will definitely boost the morale of the staff and pledge their loyalty and confidence in the Managing Director’s leadership style”, Danjuma stated.
Earlier, the Managing Director of NIWA promised to build on the progress already achieved at the Lokoja River Port, Kogi State.
The MD disclosed this when he went on a familiarisation tour of NIWA’s facilities in Lokoja.
According to the MD, the importance of Lokoja River Port being in the confluence State is to boost the economic viability of the State and Nigeria at large.
“We are here for facility tour to see for ourselves what is on ground at Jamata Port, Lokoja. It is important we come here to assess the facilities to see, at least, how we can move the facilities forward”, he stated.
Recall that in continuation of his familiarisation tour, the Managing Director’s visited the NIWA Lokoja Area office to inspect the Dockyard facilities.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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