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PTAD Pays Pensioners N102.8bn in 15 Months

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  • PTAD Pays Pensioners N102.8bn in 15 Months

Between January 2018 and March 2019, a total of N102.82bn was paid by the Federal Government through the Pension Transitional Arrangement Department to pensioners in the public sector.

The Executive Secretary, PTAD, Sharon Ikeazor, disclosed this in a speech delivered at the agency’s North Central stakeholders forum on Thursday, in Abuja.

She said that the release of the fund to pensioners was a demonstration of the commitment of the Federal Government to make life easier for pensioners.

A breakdown of the figure showed that the highest amount of N59.97bn was utilised to fund Parastatal Pension Department in the 15-month period. Out of this amount, the sum of N45.05bn was utilised in 2018 while the balance of N14.92bn was spent in the first quarter of this year.

For Civil Servants Pension Department, the sum of N26.4bn was released during the period made up of N21.21bn for 2018 and N5.19bn for the first three months of this year.

The agency also utilised the sum of N8.64bn for pension payment to Customs, Immigration and Prisons Service, out of which N6.81bn was for 2018 while the balance of N1.84bn was utilised in the first quarter of this year.

For Police pension, the sum of N7.78bn was released, out of which N6.12bn was utilised in 2018 while the balance of N1.65bn was for the first quarter of 2019.

Ikeazor described the 2018 fiscal period as a very busy year for PTAD, adding that the agency had made significant progress in ensuring regular payments of pension to retirees.

She said, “2018 was a busy year at PTAD and we dare say a successful one too. Pension payments have been regular and up-to-date.

“We concluded the Civil Service Pension Department verification and commenced the verification of the Parastatal Pension Department pensioners, starting with the defunct agencies.

“We made significant progress on the payment of the long outstanding 33 per cent arrears, which we are hopeful will soon be a thing of the past.

“Incidents of pension fraud are on the decline as we continue to create awareness and partner with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to arrest and prosecute fraudsters.”

On the issue of minimum wage, she said that once the bill is assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, it would also result in an increase in pension payment.

She said, “PTAD is working closely with all relevant agencies of government towards improved turnaround on monthly pension payment.

“The issue of increment will apply automatically once the minimum wage bill is passed into law.”

Ikeazor said that the future plans of the agency would be implemented from three main strategic priorities.

According to her, the areas to be prioritiesed are strengthening of PTAD’s institutional framework using technology; prudent and efficient resources management and sustained optimal pensioner satisfaction.

On the issue of funding, she said, “Funding to address our obligations to all our pensioners is a recurring challenge.

“We will continue to forge ahead as we have done in previous years. We are fortunate to have an administration that identifies with our vision to provide innovative and sustainable pension services to our pensioners.

“It is on this assurance that we have developed our strategic plans for the coming years.”

The Chairman, National Union of Pensioners, Dr Abel Afolayan, called on PTAD to quickly offset the 33 per cent arrears of retirees under the Parastatal Pension Department.

He said that while PTAD had been making efforts to address complaints made by pensioners, such issues were not being addressed speedily.

He commended the Federal Government for putting smiles on the faces of pensioners through prompt release of funds, noting that in his 29 years as a pensioner, he had never had it that good.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said that the meeting had provided a platform for resolution of the grey areas being faced in the payment of pensions to retirees.

Represented at the event by the Director, Legal, Mr Gabriel Christopher, the minister said that the Federal Government would continue to take the issue of pension as a priority.

She commended PTAD on the way it had managed the payment of pension to Federal Government retirees under the old scheme, adding that the strategy had assisted in addressing issues of irregular payment of pension, non-receipt of pension after retirement and pension fraud.

Meanwhile, PTAD said it had concluded arrangements for the Parastatals verification exercise of 104,133 pensioners and next of kin of 270 federal funded parastatals, agencies and institutions under the Defined Benefit Scheme.

The exercise, according to a statement, would take place across the six geopolitical zones and Lagos.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

JR Firms, an agribusiness firm with headquarters in Nigeria, has announced partnership with Sanit Wing Rwanda through the acquisition of 11 per cent stake in the company.

The CEO of the company, Mr Rotimi Olawale, explained in a statement that the partnership was in furtherance of its goals to ensure food security, create decent jobs and raise the next generation of agrarian leaders in Africa.

The stake was acquired through Green Agribusiness Fund, an initiative of JR Farms designed to invest in youth-led agribusinesses across Africa.

Sanit Wing Rwanda is an agro-processing company that processes avocado oil and cosmetics that are natural, quality, affordable, reliable and viable.

The vision of the company is to become the leading producers of best quality avocado and avocado by-products in Africa by creating value across the avocado value chain.

With focus on bringing together over 20,000 professional Avocado farmers on board and planting of three million avocado trees by 2025 through contract farming, the company currently works with One Acre Fund in supply of avocado to its processing facility.

The products of the company which include avocado oil, skin care (SANTAVO), hair cream and soap are being sold locally and exported to regional market in Kenya.

With the new partnership with JR Farms- the products of the company will enjoy more access to markets focusing on Africa and the European Union by leveraging on partnerships and trade windows available.

Aside funding, the partnership comes with project support in areas of market exposure, capacity building, exposure and other thematic support to grow the business over the next four years.

JR Farms has agribusiness operations in Nigeria, Rwanda, United States and Zambia respectively.

In Nigeria, the company deals in cassava value chain processing cassava to national staple “garri” which is consumed by over 80 million Nigerians on daily basis, while in Rwanda, it works in the coffee value chain with over 4,000 coffee farmers spread across the East Central African country.

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Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers

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Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers

The Federal Government should close down depots that are selling petrol above the approved price, oil marketers said on Thursday.

National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Sanusi Fari, said the sale of petrol above government approved price by depot owners would soon lead to a hike in the commodity’s pump price.

Fari told journalists in Abuja that the government through its agencies such as the Department of State Services and the Department of Petroleum Resources should curb the development to avoid crisis in the downstream oil sector.

He said some private depot owners were selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers, way above the government stipulated price of N148 per litre.

Fari said, “Our challenge is the inconsistency in the pricing of petrol. Up till a week ago, government was still insisting that the February price for petrol remained unchanged.

“And most of the private depot owners are selling above the government stipulated price. As at today ( February 25, 2021) private depot owners are selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers.”

He added, “In the last six years, only NNPC imports refined products into this country and these tank farms buy their products from NNPC under a controlled price.

“This has affected our businesses seriously because government is insisting that we sell at the rate of N165, which is not going to work.”

The IPMAN president said filling station owners buy the product at N165 per litre from the private depots and incur other expenses such as transportation, rent, etc.

“So government cannot expect us to sell less than what we buy,” he said.

Fari added, “This is why we are calling on government and agencies that are saddled with the responsibility to control petrol pricing to urgently clamp down on depots that are selling above the stipulated price.”

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s sole importer of patrol, recently stated that it never hiked the cost of petrol to depots.

It also enjoined the depot owners to sell the product at the approved rate and called on the DPR to enforce the stipulated price across the depots.

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Nigeria Will Benefit Less From African Trade Deal – NESG

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Nigeria Will Benefit Less From African Trade Deal – NESG

Nigeria and other resource-based countries will benefit less from the African Continental Free Trade Area than economies that are more diversified, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group has said.

The NESG, a private sector-led think-tank, said in its 2021 Macroeconomic Outlook that Nigeria could reap more gains through export diversification away from crude oil.

It said trade in Africa remained dominated by raw materials and less processed products, adding that on average, minerals and agriculture accounted for 44 per cent and 16 per cent of intra-African trade respectively between 2007 and 2017.

The NESG said, “Evidence has shown that African economies that are more diversified and have improved transport infrastructure, would benefit more from the trade pact than others that are resource-based and agricultural dependent.

“Putting this in context, South Africa currently accounts for 40 per cent of intra-African manufacturing imports. On the other hand, resource-based countries, such as, Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria – which collectively account for approximately 50 per cent of Africa’s GDP – contribute only 11 per cent to intra-African trade.”

“Another bone of contention is the issue of ‘rules of origin’, which constitutes a significant risk factor. This implies that protectionism practices by some countries could constitute a setback for the establishment of the ambitious single market for Africa. But there are several reasons to be optimistic,” it added.

The group said the World Bank estimates revealed that the AfCFTA would promote manufacturing exports over natural resources, agricultural and services exports, and that manufacturing exports would account for one-third of the projected total exports of $2.5tn by 2035.

It said, “Nigeria could reap more gains through export diversification away from crude oil, as manufacturing exports currently account for an average of nine per cent of the country’s total exports.

“This suggests that efforts should be directed at strengthening domestic value chains, particularly the agro-allied industrial base.

“To achieve this, there is a need to attract private capital, most especially, FDI, that would allow for knowledge and technological transfers.”

According to the NESG, for Nigeria to maximally benefit from the trade deal, there is an urgent need to also address transport infrastructure bottlenecks and provide improved logistics.

It said, “Finding a lasting solution to the Apapa gridlock by creating similar ports in other regions of the country, so as to ensure speedy clearance of consignments needs to be prioritised.

“Nigeria also needs to set standards for locally-made goods to enhance their attractiveness in the regional market.

“The Nigerian government as a matter of urgency needs to operate an efficient and corruption-free land border system, so as to guide against the importation of low-cost sub-standard products into the country.

“It is only when these and many more reforms are implemented that Nigeria can begin to reap the benefits of the trade deal.”

The group noted that owing to the outbreak of COVID-19, the implementation of the AfCFTA was postponed from July 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021.

It said, “The key goal of the free trade pact is to expand the volume of intra-African trade, which stood at 16 per cent in 2018 .“Till date, 36 countries, including Nigeria, have ratified the agreement. The trade deal is expected to create a single market with a combined GDP of $2.5tn and total population or market size of 1.2 billion.”

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