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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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Senate Confirms Cardoso, 11 Others As Monetary Policy Committee Members 

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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’

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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

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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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