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FG Borrowed $5.9B To Fight COVID-19 and Implement Budget – Minister of Finance

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Zainab Ahmed

The federal government borrowed about $5.9 billion in 2020, to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and implement its budget. The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, revealed this yesterday.

A statement issued by her Special Adviser, Media and Communications, Mr. Yunusa Abdullahi, yesterday, indicated that the minister told the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) General Assembly during a webinar, that the federal government had to move quickly to save the economy.

Speaking on Nigeria’s fiscal response – short term interventions and impact on public finances, as an immediate fiscal response, Mrs. Ahmed said: “We did the following: Procured a $3.4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and about $2.5 billion in local currency from the domestic capital market to support the 2020 budget implementation), among others.”

She noted that the government then packaged a N500 billion for COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund in the 2020 revised budget, as part of a N2.3 trillion Economic Sustainability Plan.

Mrs. Ahmed said that the government had begun the process of moving the economy away from its primary dependence on oil for revenues and foreign exchange, and making steady gains in addressing infrastructure and human capital challenges before the pandemic hit the global economy.

With COVID-19, Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude oil price fell from a peak of US$72.2 per barrel on January 7, 2020 to below US$20 by April 2020.

She said, “In effect, the US$57 crude oil price benchmark approved in the 2020 budget became unrealistic triggering the need to adjust the following variables: reduction of crude oil benchmark price from US$57 per barrel to US$28 per barrel; reduction of daily crude oil production benchmark from 2.18 million barrels per day (mbpd) to 1.9 mbpd; adjustment of the official exchange rate to N360/US$1 from N305/$.”

Mrs. Ahmed revealed that part of the federal government Supplementary Budget on COVID-19 would be spent on the procurement of 29. 588 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Insurance

Airtel Partners AXA Mansard, Unveils Mobile Health Insurance via USSD

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AXA Mansard USSD Code-Investors King

Airtel Nigeria and AXA Mansard, have entered a strategic partnership to deepen access, participation and enrolment in health insurance for more Nigerians.

The partnership by Airtel and AXA Mansard is in response to the Federal Government’s goal, through the National Health Insurance Scheme, to provide easy access to healthcare for all Nigerians by leveraging on the USSD channel, an easy-to-use and interactive platform.

By dialing the shortcode, *987*7#, Airtel customers can now conveniently enroll for affordable and robust health insurance plans from AXA Mansard, with access to over 1,000 hospitals nationwide for quality healthcare services.

Commenting on Airtel’s partnership with AXA Mansard on the Mobile Health Insurance, the Head Mobile Financial Services, Airtel Nigeria, Muyiwa Ebitanmi, said the mobile health insurance initiative demonstrates Airtel’s commitment to providing innovative and relevant solutions that will empower more Nigerians to conveniently access best-in-class health insurance value offerings.

“Airtel Nigeria is always exploring innovative ways and platforms that will make life easier, more meaningful and more enjoyable for Nigerians. With this initiative, we are not just delivering bespoke health insurance services to the doorstep of more people, we are also leading a quiet revolution that will drive and deepen health insurance inclusion by removing the many barriers that have hitherto excluded many well-meaning Nigerians from participating in the sector.”

Speaking about the Mobile Health Insurance initiative, the Head, Emerging Customers and Digital Partnerships Group at AXA Mansard, Mr. Alfred Egbai, stated that “our research has shown the value and importance of having a health insurance plan to the public especially for the emerging customers in the country, but for many reasons, the uptake of insurance products has been low”.

He continued, “In order to mitigate these challenges and satisfy the health needs of the retail consumer whilst also encouraging the uptake of health insurance in the country, we have partnered with Airtel Nigeria to provide a solution that gives users a convenient way to purchase and manage their AXA Mansard micro-insurance plans.”

Malaria Cover, Inpatient, Outpatient, Specialist medical consultations, Immunizations, Family planning, Ambulance services, Dental care and more are some of the covers provided in the AXA Mansard Health plans.

“The challenges to the implementation of health insurance schemes hitherto include a low level of awareness, affordability, ineffective distribution systems and inefficient payment models.

“The partnership between Airtel Nigeria and AXA Mansard is aimed at solving these challenges and assisting Nigerians to access a viable Health Insurance Scheme,” he said

Airtel Nigeria, as a socially responsible organization, will continue to partner with industry leaders to bring products and services that will touch the lives of its subscribers in very positive ways.

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Insurance

AXA Mansard Launches MyAXA Plus – A Better, Faster, and More Convenient Mobile App

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MyAXA App- Investors King

AXA Mansard Insurance Plc, a member of the AXA Group and global leader in insurance and asset management, today announced the launch of its new “MyAXA Plus” mobile application.

This follows the launch of the company’s first mobile app in 2017 and further underscores the company’s desire to deliver delightful and relevant, cutting-edge financial solutions to its customers and the larger society.

“MyAXA Plus” has been very well received because it provides a much improved, seamless, and satisfying experience that puts users at the heart of every feature and action on the app.

The features available at launch include:

  • Make Claims: Customers can make claims on their insurance policy, enabling fast reporting of incidents and payment of claims by the company.
  • Book Hospital Visits: HMO customers of AXA Mansard can receive care at over 1,700+ hospitals, and with MyAXA Plus, they can also pre-book hospital visits, reducing their wait time while also getting faster access to specialist consultations.
  • Renew Insurance Policy: Customers, by providing their car plate number on the app, can also renew their motor insurance policy within a few minutes.
  • Invest & liquidate funds: Investors, whether with a high or low-risk appetite can find the right investment options on the app. Also, liquidation of funds and crediting of the customer account is completed within 5 minutes via the app.
  • Data-driven advice: App users can make informed decisions by checking the market rates and trends before investing funds, reading articles by experts, and interacting with a robot-advisor that uses information provided by the customers to suggest the right products and insurance cover in seconds.

In addition, MyAXA Plus allows registered and unregistered users to generate instant quotes of any product; use the BMI calculator; read blog articles; check investment trends & rates; calculate returns on investment; calculate the market value of any car; and contact sales agents for more information.

“After launching the first of its kind MyAXA mobile app which gave customers a consolidated, single point of access to their general and life insurance; health insurance; assets and savings accounts in 2017, our team set out to build a more advanced solution to further empower customers to achieve their financial goals and access quality healthcare, wherever and however they choose,” said Mr. Bayo Adesanya, the Chief Digital Innovation Officer at AXA Mansard.

“We are committed to achieving the singular goal of putting our customers first, in this instance, by building an app that incorporates their feedback on desired features and improvements, as well as including other market-leading innovations. We urge our existing and future customers to start using MyAXA Plus today.”

To download MyAXA Plus by AXA Mansard Insurance, visit App Store for iOS users and the Google Play Store for Android users respectively.

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Banking Sector

CBN Grants Lotus Bank Non-Interest Banking Licence

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Lotus Bank- Investors king

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday, June 17, granted a non-interest banking licence to Lotus Bank Limited.

This was contained in a statement titled ‘CBN grants Lotus Bank licence to commence non-interest banking operations’.

The statement read in part: “Lotus Bank seeks to pursue the mission of creating value and growth for all through digital innovation and best-in-class customer experience for Nigerians.”

Commenting on the grants, the founder and managing director of Lotus Capital (the pioneers of non-interest finance in Nigeria), Hajara Adeola, said the bank was starting its operations on a solid foundation of experienced leadership and a strong advisory council of experts.

Adeola explained that the bank is managed by a team of seasoned professionals and financial experts led by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kafilat Araoye, who has over 25 years of commercial banking experience.

She added that the institution’s focus and guiding principle is ‘to deliver an alternative option to interest-based banking and to cater to the needs of not just the banked but also the underbanked and unbanked population.

According to her, non-interest banking was geared towards supporting the real sector and Lotus Bank aimed to improve financial inclusion in the country.

The founder of the bank, however, disclosed that it would operate transparent pricing models as it was the norm in non-interest banking.

The statement added: “Our values are deeply rooted in partnership. A critical component of our mission is the provision of innovative solutions that drive ethical prosperity for all stakeholders.

“We pride ourselves on digital solutions that provide our customers with the convenience of unlimited access to our services and products.”

“Our products and service offerings will include non-interest business financing, deposit products (current, savings and investment accounts) and personal financing.”

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