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NAICOM Raises Capital Base for Insurance Sector



The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has raised the capital base for firms from N2 billion to N6 billion operating in the insurance sector, with effect from January 1, 2019.
The new recapitalisation exercise is a three-tier recapitalisation system, whereby firms were graded as tier-three, tier-two and tier-one.
The commission disclosed this in Lagos wednesday, at the insurers’ committee meeting.
According to the insurance sector regulator, the new capitalisation system tagged, “Recapitalisation of insurance companies, the tier-based minimum solvency capital,’ would be based on risk-based supervision model.
Releasing the modalities for the new capital base, the NAICOM Director of Supervision, Mr. Thompson Barneka, operators of life insurance business whose current minimum required capital is N2 billion and who want to continue underwriting businesses that fall under tier-1 category, they would have to shore up their capital to N6 billion, effective from January 1, 2019.
Similarly, life underwriters who want to underwrite businesses, which fall under tier-2 will have to shore up their capital from the present level of N2 billion to N3 billion, while those who want to underwrite businesses that fall under tier-three category will retain the existing N2 billion.
On the other hand, for non-life operators whose existing minimum capital is currently N3 billion, operators who want to underwrite businesses that fall within the tier-1 level, which include oil and gas and oil related projects, explorations and production and aviation, will have to shore up their capital from the present level of N3 billion to N9 billion.
For those that will write businesses that fall within tier-2 level, which includes engineering , marine, and bonds credits guarantee and suretyship insurances, they would be expected to shore up their capital base from the present level of N3 billion to N4.5 billion, while those that wish to underwrite businesses that fall within the tier- three level, which include fire, motor, engineering, general accident and agric policies, will remain within the minimum capital base of N3 billion.
However, for composite insurance firms consisting of insurers underwriting both life and non-life businesses, those under tier-one level will have to shore up their capital from the present level of N5 billion to N15 billion, those in tier two level will move up their capital from N5 billion to N7.5 billion,while those on tier-three will remain on N5 billion minimum capital.
The commission said the essence of the risk -based capital classification was to encourage firms to specialise on businesses and risks level they have the capital capacity to underwrite and leave those businesses they do not have the financial capacity to underwrite.
Before now, some insurance firms used to engage in underwriting risks they do not have the capital to shoulder.
This was prevalent among underwriters of oil and gas and aviation businesses.
But NAICOM said effect from January 1, 2019, this will cease to be.
The commission, said in classifying and spelling out the new minimum capital, it was encouraging insurance companies to limit themselves to risks they have the financial muscle to carry and for mergers and acquisitions in the sector.
The last recapitalisation exercise in the industry was carried out in February 2007.
However, NAICOM explained that the policy thrust of its current exercise was to enhance the stability of the financial system, introduce proportionate capital that supports the nature of business conduct of insurers and to specify the capital requirement for each tier level based on risk classification for each tier.
It said there “will be no mandatory injection of fresh capital by insurers, no cancellation of licences of any operator is anticipated but that it will be subject to solvency control level.”
But the commission, however, stressed that the exercise was meant “to open up licencing window to interested investors at higher tier level as well as restructuring of capital resources for improved liquidity and claims settlement in the industry.”
The guidelines for the new capital base would be released next month, while implementation takes effect from January 1, 2019.


NIMASA, MWUN dialogue on fate of disengaged NNSL seafarers



By Seun Ibiyemi

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN have begun discussions on how to resolve the lingering issue of terminal benefits of Seafarers whose appointments were terminated due to the liquidation of the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line, NNSL.

The Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir JamohOFR, and the Vice President of the Nigerian Labour Congress who is also the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, jointly announced an agreement for physical verification of the affected seafarers/next of kin as the case may apply; the nature of appointment of all affected seafarers, and the exact amount due each beneficiary.

The NIMASA DG also assured the Union that their position will be communicated to the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, to ensure the Government takes all necessary actions to bring to a conclusion the issue of NNSL.

“The issue of industrial harmony in the maritime sector is of uttermost interest to our administration at NIMASA. We have been at this for a while. NIMASA had offered N100 million as settlement, which the Union declined.

“We have also discovered that some of those demanding settlement did not even have any employment letter. We will follow the lead from our supervising Ministry and ensure the physical verification exercise is brought to a logical conclusion. Our Honourable Minister will be duly updated by the Agency. I look forward to closing this issue in months to come,” the DG said.

On his part, the President General, Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Adeyanju restated the commitment of the Union to peaceful resolution of disputes; to ensure the rights and privileges of workers are well protected, without disrupting productivity in the Maritime Sector. He commended the Jamoh led Management at NIMASA,urging others to follow suit.

“I would like to commend NIMASA under Dr Jamoh, for the unflinching commitment to industrial harmony. He is always a phone call away to resolve any issue. Yes, NIMASA offered N100 million to offset the terminal benefits.

“However, if others like Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Shippers Council and the rest also add funds, there will be enough to go round the expected beneficiaries. As we did for dockworkers when a flat rate of two hundred thousand was paid during port concession; that is what we want, putting into consideration the realities on ground now.”

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COP28: Airtel Africa calls for enabling policy environment, collaboration for climate action in Africa



The Group CEO of Airtel Africa plc, Segun Ogunsanya, has reiterated the importance of an enabling policy environment for sustainable development and climate action in partnership with Africa’s private sector at COP28.

Mr. Ogunsanya, a member of the United Nations Global Compact’s African Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC), addressed a distinguished audience at a COP28 side event co-hosted by Airtel Africa and the ABLC.

Guests included the President of Botswana, His Excellency Mokgweetsi Masisi; the Finance Minister of Nigeria, Mr. Wale Edun; the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nigeria, Mr. Nyesom Wike; Ms. Sanda Ojiambo, the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC); Chairman of BUA Group Nigeria limited, Abdul Samad Rabiu and several business leaders from across Africa.

The Group CEO of Airtel Africa urged African business leaders and governments to join forces to advance sustainable growth, development, and prosperity across the continent.

He said, “We stress the importance of an enabling policy environment for sustainable development and climate action in partnership with Africa’s private sector. Livelihood and living must go together.”

He also shared details of Airtel Africa’s environmental stewardship initiatives. These include ‘Project Green,’ launched in 2022, and focused on circular economy practices, especially in the responsible replacement of end-of-life equipment to minimise potential adverse environmental impacts.

Furthermore, in March 2023, Airtel Africa joined the multi-stakeholder partnership to eliminate open waste burning from Africa. This collaborative effort with local authorities, private companies, community groups, civil society and development partners targets a 60 percent reduction by 2030 and complete elimination of open waste burning by 2040.

Mr. Ogunsanya declared, “Airtel Africa’s corporate purpose, our driving force, is to ‘transform lives.’ This is not simply a slogan but a genuine passion that informs every aspect of our operations and every decision we take.”

He concluded, “It is our firm belief that African businesses, including Airtel Africa, stand ready to leverage global markets to accelerate the transition to a future-fit economy. We must deliver economic development, inclusive growth and GHG emissions reduction at the same time to enjoy the fruits of sustainability.”

The United Nations African Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC) is a collaborative initiative comprising African business CEOs committed to fostering sustainable growth, prosperity, and development throughout the African continent.

Members in the coalition, including Airtel Africa, committed to escalating the adoption of renewable energy, investing in climate-adaptation solutions, and ensuring an equitable transition. During COP28, the ABLC released a policy recommendation urging governments to establish conducive regulatory frameworks that facilitate collective climate action.

The recommendation further advocates for the setting of decarbonization targets and the acceleration of initiatives such as green minerals and climate adaptation programs and calls for increased access to climate financing to support these endeavors.

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Non-Interest Financing critical to funding amidst high debt service levels — Wale Edun



By Matthew Denis

The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun has stated that the country needs Non-Interest Financing  as a critical sector towards funding as the country is faced with high levels of debt servicing.

The Minister’s disclosure at the SEC Nigeria-Islamic Financial Service Board (IFSB) International Forum held in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said, “Non-interest financing is a critical part of funding and that is because as we all know, we are faced with three crises right now which are the climate, and biodiversity but there is also a debt crisis in major countries and of course, the available solution is non-debt, equity and financing mechanisms that will eliminate the pains of paying interest on loans. Rather, it is better to have a participatory opportunity that equity and non-interest finance gives.

“And so what we are saying here is a critical piece of the solution to the crises of the world currently, including the fact that for the rapid and inclusive growth this administration desires, we need to have green projects so we don’t only need to have projects funded by equity.

“As we all know, our debt service levels and revenue to debt service ratio are so high and currently constrained.”

The Minister stressed that there is fiscal exhaustion in many parts of the world and there is also a need to finance green projects.

“So the only way to grow our economy is not just relying on foreign direct investments, and domestic investments but tap into the world of non-interest financing.”

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