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Finance Minister charges West African insurers to reposition industry

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Dr Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget And National Planning, on Monday charged insurers across West Africa to strategise on repositioning the insurance industry in the continent for global competitiveness.

Zainab said this at the 50th Anniversary of the West African Insurance Companies Association (WAICA) 2023 Educational Conference, hosted by Nigeria, in Lagos, with the theme: “Repositioning Insurance Industry in West Africa for Global Competitiveness.”

She was represented by Mr Sunday Thomas, Commissioner for Insurance/Chief Executive Officer, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM).

According to her, insurance in the whole of Africa has been characterised by low penetration and poor contribution to most African countries’ financial growth.

Ahmed said maintaining efficient, fair, safe and stable insurance market in the West African sub region must be promoted for the benefit of the policyholders and other stakeholders.

“As an optimist, we are encouraged to believe in a new dawn, leveraging technological innovations and a positive paradigm shift, focused and poised to meet the anticipated surge in the demand and untapped side.

“In modern business environment, disruption plays an integral part of any business.

“The insurance industry, like other components of the financial system, is changing in response to a wide range of global social and economic forces.

“In particular, insurance and insurance-linked financial activities are increasingly crossing national and sectorial boundaries,” she said.

According to her, the 2023 WAICA educational conference could not have been more aptitude, in view of the overarching objective behind the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to accelerate intra-African trade.

Ahmed emphasised on the need to establish high quality insurance database to provide a holistic view of the industry’s operations in the sub-region.

The Finance Minister encouraged WAICA members to leverage technology and other alternative distribution channels to increase market penetration.

She said that multilateral cooperation must be enhanced with the objective of promoting international standards and foster favourable investment environments and orderly markets in the West African sub- region and beyond.

“Consequently, it has become imperative for the Insurance supervisory systems and practices to continually upgrade in order to cope with these developments.

“This is to mitigate possible financial and systemic stability concerns arising from the insurance sector as they emerge.

“I congratulate all WAICA delegates on the occasion of the association’s golden jubilee and wish you a fruitful deliberation,” she said.

In a panel discussion, Mr Ganiyu Musa, Managing Director, Cornerstone Insurance Plc., urged WAICA members to go for international rating cycle to boost their profile and confidence of the public on their companies.

Musa explained that ratings was key and deeper than audit to consumers, because such recommendation from an independent third party, shows the credibility of a company to the consumers.

He noted that African insurers go to rating from a disadvantaged position, hence, to achieve stronger rating, they must have the modelling of the risk and capital allocation.

WAICA was established in1973, with the purpose of improving the image of the insurance industry in West Africa.

The association assists in creating an enabling environment for industries and economies, by promoting cooperation in every respect amongst all the insurers and reinsurers companies operating in its sub-region.

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Abiodun to receive Silverbird Man of the Year award on Sunday

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Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, will on Sunday, 3 March, receive the 2023 Silverbird ‘Man of the Year’ award.

Prince Abiodun emerged the 2023 Silverbird Man of the Year award, beating four other nominees after a rigorous voting process.

A statement signed by Jacob Akinyemi-Johnson, Chief Creative Officer/Chairman Editorial Board of Silverbird Group, said Governor Abiodun won over 70 percent of the votes sent in by Nigerians.

He said: “We are once again congratulating you on your emergence as the Silverbird Man of the Year, 2023.

“We make bold to inform you that you secured over 70% of the votes sent in by the Nigerian people due to the fantastic job you are doing as the Governor of the Gateway State.

“As we earlier informed you in our congratulatory letter, the grand event for the official presentation of the awards comes up on March 3rd, 2024 at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos State at 6 pm.”

In an earlier letter in December 2023, the management of Silverbird said Prince Abiodun was nominated as one of the four to jostle for the award because he has contributed immensely to the advancement of the Nigerian society through his many laudable projects since he assumed office.

“We feel deeply honoured to write and felicitate with you for being nominated by the Editorial Board of the Silverbird Group owners of Silverbird Television and the Rhythm FM Network as one of the four distinguished individuals for the prestigious ‘2023 SILVERBIRD MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD’

“You were nominated because of the immense contributions you have made towards the advancement of the Nigerian society through laudable projects and schemes that you have embarked on and have subsequently impacted positively on the lives of Nigerians.

“Your exemplary disposition has also not gone unnoticed. The winner will be chosen by Nigerians who will vote by sms, WhatsApp, and online.

“The winner will be announced on the 1st of January 2024,” the letter had said.

It would be recalled that Prince Abiodun, on February 17, received the year 2023 Sun Newspapers ‘Governor of the Year’ award in Lagos.

He has also won the Forbes Best of Africa award in industrial revolution in 2023. He won the LEADERSHIP Governor of the Year Award 2022.

The governor was also conferred with the Vanguard’s Governor of the Year Award 2021, along with four others.

He won Governor of the Year Award at the Nigerian Agricultural Awards 2020.

He has also been honoured by the Federal Government with the Industrial Revolution Award, amongst others.

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Benue Governor grants full financial autonomy to Legislature, Judiciary

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By Titus Atondu, Makurdi

Benue State Governor, Rev.Fr.Hyacinth Alia has granted full financial autonomy to the Legislative and Judiciary arms of government in the state.

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Sir Tersoo Kula, made the disclosure while briefing Journalists on the outcome of the State EXCO meeting held on Wednesday at Government House Makurdi.

The Governor explained that this would ensure the smooth and efficient running of government administration, as all arms of the government will be more focused and organised in moving the state forward.

The statement also disclosed that the State executive council has approved the establishment of a Benue Sub-National Fund, explaining that this will be similar to the National Sovereign Fund of the Federal Government, where the monies will be saved by the state government.

“A committee was formed to draw an operational framework which will  be forwarded to the state House of Assembly for it to be made into law,” The statement revealed in part.

The Governor also stated that his administration has classified the payment of salaries, pensions and infrastructural developments in the state as ‘a no go area’ adding that Benue is a civil service state, and as a result Civil servants and pensioners must be given the highest priority, followed by development of infrastructure in the state, as seen in the prompt payments of salaries, pensions & gratuities and also ongoing roads construction in makurdi and other parts of the state.

The Benue State Executive Council also approved the sum of Three Hundred & Fifty one Million Naira(351M) for the purchase of a plot of land to serve as the permanent site for the Abuja Benue Links park.

The State EXCO explained that it became necessary due to the operational challenges and difficulties the company has been experiencing in it’s temporary site, hence the need for a permanent site, equipped with standard building structures.

Similarly, the state EXCO approved the sum of Four Hundred and Twenty Six Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N426.5m) for the establishment of a standard Civil Engineering Material Testing Quality Control Laboratory in the state Ministry of Works, Housing & Urban Development. 

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VON DG visits Kano Emir, urges Nigerians to shun bad narratives

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By Aminu Garko, Kano

The Director-General of Voice Nigeria(VON),Jibrin Baba Ndace has paid a courtesy visit to the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, at his palace.

The VON DG, speaking, urged Nigerians to shun teling bad narratives of the country noting that efforts of President Bola Tinubu in turning around the current situation must be told in such a way that Nigerians and the International Community would understand.

The VON DG said that Nigeria had suffered negative publicity over time, and that all efforts must be made to change the narrative.

“We believe that there are positive stories to tell about Nigeria, there are so many good stories to tell about our country, not the way the country is being portrayed.

“One cannot stop telling positive stories about himself because if he does not tell it, nobody will do it for him.

“The platform of the Voice of Nigeria is so available to tell the positive stories about the country and the positive things it has,” he said.

The Director-General promised that the Voice of Nigeria would be available for the Emirate 24 hours to promote its traditional values.

He said he was at the palace to pay homage and show his respect to the Emir, recalling that as the President of Students Union of his Department at the Bayero University (BUK), Kano, then he organised a tour of the palace for his members.

The Emir, represented by the Walin Kano, Bashir Mahe Wali, lamented the dissemination of frightening news reports about Nigeria by media platforms.

He commended the efforts of the Director-General and his colleagues in changing the negative narratives about Nigeria.

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