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Violations: FCCPC intensifies enforcement against digital money lenders

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) says it will intensify enforcement against Digital Money Lenders (DMLs) due to observed violations of the Inter-agency Joint Task Force guidelines.

A statement by Dr Adamu Abdullahi, the Acting Executive Vice-Chairman of the commission, said that FCCPC had zero-tolerance stance for any form of exploitation of consumers or abusive conducts.

 Abdullahi issued the statement in Abuja on Monday.

He said that the commission would not tolerate exploitation of consumers by DMLs in loan default enforcement or recovery processes.

He said that the commission would engage approved loan companies with respect to a more robust compliance framework.

“FCCPC, in continuing investigation and monitoring of DMLs, has observed an upsurge in violations of the Inter-agency Joint Task Force’s Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending 2022.

“The commission understands the increased demand for loans during this time of the year, leading to an increased risk of default due to large numbers and typical cash flow challenges and constraints.

“However, the solution cannot be to violate law or utilise unethical recovery methods.

“The commission will welcome demonstrated and timely compliance by all legitimate operators in order to promote and enhance fairness to consumers and fairness among competitors.

“With respect to operators that do not possess the commission’s approval, the scrutiny process will include law enforcement action against such, in addition to regulatory prohibition and consequences,’’ he said.

Abdullahi reiterated the commission’s commitment to ensuring legal and ethical operations in digital lending.

He encouraged consumers to patronise only approved DMLs listed on the commission’s website www.fccpc.gov.ng, saying that feedback and complaints could also be forwarded to [email protected]

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Dangote Refinery to save Nigeria billions in foreign exchange, boost energy sector

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By Opeyemi Abdulsalam

In a landmark development, the Major Energy Marketers Association of Nigeria (MEMAN) has hailed the Dangote Refinery as a game-changer in Nigeria’s energy landscape, poised to save the country a staggering amount of foreign exchange spent on importing petroleum products.

With a daily consumption of 50 million liters, Nigeria currently spends $4.4 billion annually on petrol importation.

According to MEMAN Executive Secretary, Clement Isong, the refinery will not only save forex but also generate more value through other products like fertilizer.

He emphasized that refining crude oil yields more value, with a barrel worth $100 generating $2,500 when refined.

Isong noted that the refinery’s impact extends beyond saving forex, as it will create more value addition through other products like fertilizer from the plant.

The Dangote Group President, Aliko Dangote, had earlier vowed to end importation of petrol when his 650,000 barrel per day plant starts refining the product this month.

This move is expected to significantly reduce Nigeria’s reliance on foreign petroleum products and boost the country’s energy self-sufficiency.

Industry experts like Dr. Billy Harry, National President of PETROAN, expressed readiness to ensure smooth distribution of products from the refinery to depots and retail outlets.

He noted that the necessary logistics, including ports, barges, and transport infrastructure, are already in place.

Harry emphasized that the workforce, including Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), is available and ready to work closely with PETROAN to ensure a seamless transition.

The stoppage of petrol importation is expected to save Nigeria $2.4 billion annually, making the Dangote Refinery a significant milestone in the country’s energy sector.

This development is also expected to boost Nigeria’s economy, create jobs, and stimulate growth in the energy industry.

In his analysis, Isong noted that a barrel of crude oil costs about $100 but it could yield $2500 per barrel when refined.

He lamented the shortage of feedstock for the refineries, stressing increased domestic crude oil supply to the local plants would culminate in export of products for more dollars.

Isong regretted that nothing has really changed in terms of logistics because the market has since been decentralized, explaining that it is designed in a manner that it distributes products by vessels around the coastal areas and by road network to the North.

The Presidential Initiative on Compressed Natural Gas (PCNGi) Coordinator, Regulations, Compliance, and Facilitation, Engr. Zayyan Tambari, had earlier stated that Nigeria spends $4.4 billion on PMS importation annually.

The commencement of petrol refining in the Dangote Refinery is expected to significantly reduce this expenditure, boosting Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves and stimulating economic growth.

Overall, the Dangote Refinery is poised to revolutionize Nigeria’s energy sector, saving the country billions of dollars in foreign exchange, creating jobs, and stimulating economic growth.

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AIICO Insurance affirms dedication to community health

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AIICO Insurance Plc has reaffirmed its commitment to fostering a healthy community and potentially saving lives.
As part of this commitment, the company’s employees donated blood to the Lagos State Blood Bank in celebration of World Blood Donor Day.

The initiative was conducted in partnership with the Lagos State Government via the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service.

The Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Manager at AIICO Insurance, Mrs. Abimbola Shobanjo , emphasized the company’s ongoing dedication to the health and wellbeing of Nigerians.
She highlighted that the employees who donated blood were driven by a sense of patriotism and compassion, aiming to assist those in need of life-saving blood transfusions.

AIICO Insurance has earlier received the prestigious “Community Blood Drive Initiative” Award from the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service, acknowledging its significant contributions and impact of the LSBTC mandate to ensuring a sufficient and high-quality blood supply in Lagos State.

The award letter from the Executive Secretary of LSBTS, Dr. B.I. Oshikomaya, praised AIICO’s exceptional commitment, partnership, and support through its donations and corporate social responsibility efforts.

She asserted that, “World Blood Donor Day serves as a powerful reminder of the life-saving impact a single blood donation can have. We are proud of our employees who stepped forward today to answer the call and contribute to this vital cause.”

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Foodborne Illness: Nigeria must be prepared for the unexpected in food safety emergency – NAFDAC

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By Seun Ibiyemi

The National Agency for Food and Administration and Control NAFDAC has called on all stakeholders in the food supply chain to take deliberate actions to institute a food safety culture in their operations to mitigate the food hazards and risks that could compromise food safety.

The Director General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the admonition at the 2024 World Foo d Safety Day with the theme Food Safety: Prepare for the Unexpected’ where she calle don all stakeholders to take deliberate actions to institute a food safety culture in their operations to mitigate the food hazards and risks that could compromise food safety.

She however, urged Nigerians to refrain from storing cooked food in the refrigerator for more than three days, warning that cooked food stored in the refrigerator for days is susceptible to contamination by disease-causing pathogens, key agents of foodborne diseases that can lead to death.

World Food Safety Day was established in 2018 by the United Nations General Assembly after it was suggested by the Codex Alimentarius Commission as a way of raising food safety awareness and promoting collaboration across sectors.

According to WHO estimates, globally one in ten people become sick and 420,000 die eac h year after consuming contaminated food which attributed to the loss 33 million years of healthy life with children under five years and other vulnerable groups disproportionately affected in the poorer areas of the world. In developing countries about $110b is lost ever y year on medical expenses due to unsafe food.

Prof. Adeyeye remarked that food safety is not only important for public health but a sine qua non for economic development and food security.

She emphasized that everybody has a role to play from the farm to the table to ensure that the food we consume is safe and will not cause damage to our health. She added that for World Food Safety Day 2024, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) are asking all stakeholders along the food supply chain if they are prepared to address unexpected threats to food safety in an increasingly interconnected and interlinked global food supply.

Prof Adeyeye noted that food safety is a collective responsibility, adding that everyone f rom producers to consumers need to play their part to be sure that the food we eat is saf e, adding that the campaign aims to promote global food safety awareness to strengthen efforts of preventing, detecting and managing foodborne risks globally by highlighting the importance of being prepared for food safety incidents.

Food safety incidents are situations where there is a potential or confirmed health risk as sociated with food consumption. A food incident can happen for example, due to accident s, inadequate controls, food fraud or natural events. While being ready to manage food safety incidents requires dedicated efforts from policy makers food safety authorities, farmers, and food business operators, consumers can also play a very active role.

For example, according to the NAFDAC boss, the WHO World Food Safety Day 2024 communication toolkit suggests that governments commit to developing or updating national food safety emergency response plans, strengthen national food control systems, increase surveillance and coordination capacities and improve communication with food businesses and the public.

Consequently, she mentioned that the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has developed programmes for the elimination, eradication, prevention and control of disease s, which include the National Integrated Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Surveillance an d Response which is useful for preparedness and rapid response to emerging and re-emerging foodborne diseases. She however, noted that this year’s theme calls for all stakeholders from regulatory officers, experts, producers, to processors, distributors, retailers, restaurant outlets and consumers to consider if they are indeed prepared for the unexpected. “Let us all stay true to the statements ‘food safety is everyone’s business’ and ‘food saf ety is a shared responsibility’’ as we celebrate this year’s World Food Safety Day. Working together we will continue to strengthen our food safety system, ensuring its resilience, robustness and preparedness for the unexpected.”

Speaking on ‘Developing a Food Safety Emergency Response Plan: Implementation of the National Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Surveillance and Response’, the Director of F ood Safety and Applied Nutrition (FSAN), Mrs. Eva Edwards, alerted that foodborne diseases are expensive, yet they are preventable. In recent years, she recalled that the global community as well as our national government recognized the public health effect of foodborne diseases as capable of causing considerable burden of diseases and mortality.

She emphasized the significance food as a necessity for human life, stressing that it can also be a source of harm if not handled properly.

Mrs. Edwards stated that food safety emergency response must be anchored on a multisectoral, collaborative, integrated one-health approach across the Health, Agriculture, Environment sectors, the tiers of government including relevant external partners and non-governmental organizations.

The objective is to have a coordinated approach to investigating foodborne disease outbreaks and contributing knowledge and skills from the different sec tors to achieve a robust and comprehensive investigation.

She said that the mix of skills will bring to the fore the robustness of the investigation, ad ding that the emergency response team may include epidemiologists, laboratory scientist s, environmental health officers, and food safety control officers, amongst others.

“Let’s all play our part in promoting the culture of good hygiene practices in our homes, communities and food establishments. Together we can ensure a safer and healthier food supply for everyone.”

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