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PenCom Restructure Micro Pension Fund, Stops Fee Charges On Fund Below 5M

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The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has mandated Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) with the fund below N5 million to stop paying fee charges.

PenCom Head, Surveillance Department, Ehimeme Ohioma made this known in a circular to PFAs. He stated that the agency took the step because of the challenges encountered in implementing the micro pension plan by pension fund operators.

According to him, no fee shall be charged until the funds under their management reached N5 million.

He said the PFAs should not charge fees once the daily value of the accounting unit of the fund fell below N1, noting that this was to ensure the principal contributions were not eroded.

He said: “The commission shall not participate in micro pension fund fee regime until funds under management of a PFA attains the threshold of N4 billion. The review of the fee structure of the micro pension fund is in the light of challenges encountered in implementing the micro pension plan by licensed pension fund operators.

“The commission has undertaken extensive consultations on the appropriate fee structure for the micro pension fund, which was expected to incentivize licensed operators to market the micro pension plan and grow micro pension assets, to achieve the objectives of the micro pension plan as outlined by the guideline.

“The circular takes immediate effect and supersedes its earlier circular issued on December 19, 2019, on the fee structure for the micro pension fund,” he added.

Meanwhile, the commission is today sensitizing pension desk officers of the treasury-funded ministries, departments and agencies on its new enrolment application.

The commission has also automated its retirement verification due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Head Corporate Communication, PenCom, Mr. Peter Aghahowa, said the workshop, which holds in Lagos, would be held also across the six geo-political zones of the country.

He said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for us to carry out retirement verification that we conduct six months before the retirement of Federal Government employees in the MDAs. The commission has adopted an automated process instead of the physical exercise in the conduct of the annual verification/enrolment exercise due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why we are sensitizing pension desk officers on how to use the application.

“We believe that the automated process would ensure seamless conduct of the annual verification enrolment exercise. This new process has two options for the prospective retirees, namely self-assisted or the Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) assisted option. The self-assisted option entails a prospective retiree scanning original copies of all relevant documents required for the exercise and uploading these documents to the enrolment web portal located on the commission’s website, www.pencom.gov.ng. After carrying out this process, the retiree is required to visit his her PFA for the verification and validation of the submitted documents

“If a prospective retiree chooses the PFA-assisted option, he/she is required to initiate and conclude the Verification Enrolment process by visiting his/her PFA to verify and validate relevant original documents to enable the PFA to upload these documents to the commission’s enrolment portal on behalf of the prospective retiree.”

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Africa’s Richest Man, Aliko Dangote Ready to Sell Refinery to Nigerian Government

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Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest entrepreneur, has announced his willingness to sell his multibillion-dollar oil refinery to Nigeria’s state-owned energy company, NNPC Limited.

This decision comes amid a growing dispute with key partners and regulatory authorities.

The $19 billion refinery, which began operations last year, is a significant development for Nigeria, aiming to reduce the country’s reliance on imported fuel.

However, challenges in sourcing crude and ongoing disputes have hindered its full potential.

Dangote expressed frustration over allegations of monopolistic practices, stating that these accusations are unfounded.

“If they want to label me a monopolist, I am ready to let NNPC take over. It’s in the best interest of the country,” he said in a recent interview.

The refinery has faced difficulties with supply agreements, particularly with international crude producers demanding high premiums.

NNPC, initially a supportive partner, has delivered only a fraction of the crude needed since last year. This has forced Dangote to seek alternative suppliers from countries like Brazil and the US.

Despite the challenges, Dangote remains committed to contributing to Nigeria’s economy. “I’ve always believed in investing at home.

This refinery can resolve our fuel crisis,” he stated, urging other wealthy Nigerians to invest domestically rather than abroad.

Recently, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority accused Dangote’s refinery of producing substandard diesel.

In response, Dangote invited regulators and lawmakers to verify the quality of his products, which he claims surpass imported alternatives in purity.

Amidst these challenges, Dangote has halted plans to enter Nigeria’s steel industry, citing concerns over monopoly accusations.

“We need to focus on what’s best for the economy,” he explained, emphasizing the importance of fair competition and innovation.

As Nigeria navigates these complex issues, the potential sale of Dangote’s refinery to NNPC could reshape the nation’s energy landscape and secure its energy independence.

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Dangote Shelves Steel Project to Prevent Monopoly Allegations

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Aliko Dangote - Investors King

Aliko Dangote, chairman of Dangote Industries Limited, announced the company’s decision to halt plans to enter Nigeria’s steel industry.

The decision comes just two months after the conglomerate had initially unveiled its intentions to invest in the sector as part of efforts to expand the economy.

Addressing journalists at his refinery in Lagos, Dangote explained that the board’s decision was driven by concerns over potential accusations of creating a monopoly.

“We have decided against pursuing the steel business to avoid being labeled a monopoly,” Dangote stated.

He explained that the company’s operations focus on adding value by transforming local raw materials into finished products.

The industrialist dismissed claims that his group enjoys monopolistic advantages, pointing out that their business practices have always fostered a competitive environment.

“When we entered the cement market, Lafarge was the only player, yet no one accused them of being a monopoly,” he stated.

Dangote further encouraged other Nigerian investors to explore opportunities in the steel industry, suggesting that there are ample resources and space for new entrants.

“There are many Nigerians with the financial capacity to invest. They should seize this opportunity to contribute to our nation’s growth,” he urged.

The billionaire’s call to action extended to Nigerians living abroad, inviting them to invest in their homeland.

“Bring your resources back from Dubai and other parts of the world and invest in Nigeria,” he said, reinforcing his commitment to seeing the country’s economy thrive through diverse contributions.

This decision marks a strategic shift for Dangote Industries, focusing on dispelling monopoly myths and promoting a collaborative business landscape.

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Goya Foods Takes Legal Action to Assert ‘Goya Olive Oil’ Trademark Ownership

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“Goya Olive Oil” trademark in Nigeria, Goya Foods Incorporated has initiated legal proceedings against the Registrar of Trademarks under the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.

The case, numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/883/2023, was brought before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Goya Foods, a prominent producer and distributor of foods and beverages across the United States, Spanish-speaking countries, and Nigeria, seeks to enforce a longstanding consent judgment issued by the court in December 2006.

The judgment directed the Registrar to rectify the Trademarks Register to reflect Goya Foods Incorporated as the rightful owner of the “Goya Olive Oil” trademark, without any further formalities.

The lawsuit, exclusively revealed to sources, underscores Goya Foods’ determination to safeguard its intellectual property against alleged infringements.

According to court documents, Goya Foods obtained the consent judgment against Chikason Industries Limited, which was accused of marketing “Goya Olive Oil” in Nigeria, thus infringing on Goya Foods’ registered trademark.

Legal counsel for Goya Foods, Ade Adedeji, SAN, emphasized the necessity of rectifying the Trademarks Register to protect their trademark interests effectively.

Despite appeals to the Registrar, the requested rectification has not been implemented, prompting Goya Foods to escalate the matter through legal channels.

The case has been adjourned to September 27, 2024, for further proceedings, highlighting the complexity and significance of trademark disputes in the global marketplace.

Goya Foods remains committed to upholding its brand integrity and securing its proprietary interests amidst the evolving landscape of international trademark law.

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