- Stock Exchange Suspends Trading on Unic Insurance
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has placed UNIC Insurance Plc on full suspension, following approval of the scheme of arrangement that will lead to a restructuring of the insurance company under an investment holding company.
Full suspension disallows both trading and price movement on a particular stock unlike technical suspension which allows trading without price movement.
The NSE stated that the full suspension was in compliance with the process required for the approved scheme of arrangement between UNIC Insurance and shareholders of the insurance company.
Already, the NSE has approved the rearrangement of UNIC Insurance under a new core investor and shareholding structure. The restructuring will allow the ailing insurance company to access capital through a new core investor.
The scheme of arrangement included the plan by South Africa’s Liberty Holdings to acquire 75 per cent majority equity stake in Unic Insurance Plc for 160 million Rands, about $12 million and an equivalent of N3.72 billion. Liberty Holdings is an investment holding company and it already has investment in the Nigerian market through Total Health Trust.
Chief executive officer, Liberty Holdings, Thabo Dloti recently outlined the group’s plan to expand into East and West Africa regions as part its strategy to grow its presence in West Africa through long-term insurance business and asset management business.
“It may be having difficulties now, but everything indicates to us that in the long term Nigeria is going to be a big contributor of growth if you are doing business in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Dloti said.
With more than five decades of operations, UNIC Insurance has struggled with declining performance in recent years. Like most insurance stocks, it has stagnated at its nominal price of 50 kobo at the NSE.
Many analysts saw the merger and acquisition deal between UNIC Insurance and Liberty Holdings as a possible boost for the two companies.
Although relatively low turnover-to-net assets ratios of most insurance companies may on one hand imply underutilization of shareholders’ resources, these also indicate significant headroom for underwriting capacity and growth on the other hand.
Most analysts believe there is still much growth potential in the Nigerian insurance industry. From government to the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and to operators, insurance stakeholders have recently taken major steps to enliven the performance of the industry. The passage of the Nigeria Content Development Act and other laws on compulsory insurance by government has opened up tremendous business opportunities for insurance companies. The Local Content Act requires that all insurance risks associated with oil and gas sector including prospecting, exploration, drilling, constructions, shipping, distribution, marketing and transportation must be insured in Nigeria with registered Nigerian insurance company. This law alone represents immense opportunity for well-capitalised and stable insurance companies.
Besides, NAICOM has also in recent period taken many far-reaching and proactive steps to standardize insurance operations and enforce conformity with best practices. NAICOM has introduced new accounting standards with more stringent provisions to ensure that insurance profit and loss accounts and balance sheet showed the true state of affairs. Insurers are also expected to make timely rendition of accounts, making their returns more predictable. With the broad provisions of the Insurance Act and related NAICOM guidelines, the tough stand of the insurance regulator has greatly improved the operating environment. The industry regulator is also leading the charge for compliance with existing compulsory insurance laws.
Although still a highly fragmented industry with some 51 insurance companies, well-managed quoted risk companies stand to benefit both in the event of industry consolidation or market-driven competitiveness that places premium on security of insurance rather than lower rates. With estimated penetration of some seven per cent, Nigeria’s large population and expansive economy also put insurers on good footings.
FG Includes Emirates Airlines in Restricted Flights
FG Restricts Emirates Airlines From Flying Nigeria
The Federal Government on Friday said it has included Emirates Airlines in the list of airlines not allowed to fly into Nigeria as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, disclosed this via his official Twitter handle on Friday.
According to him, the decision was taken after a meeting between members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and European Union ambassadors.
The minister said the ban would take effect on Monday, September 21, 2020.
“The PTF sub-committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban. The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed & they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st September 2020,” Hadi Sirika tweeted.
“The PTF sub committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban. The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed & they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st Sept. 2020.”
FG to Absorb Exited N-power Beneficiaries into New Program
Exited N-power Beneficiaries to Be Absorbed into Another Program
The Federal Government has commenced plans to absorb exited N-power beneficiaries into a new program in an effort to help them eke a living.
Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, made the statement at an interactive forum with state focal persons of the National Social Investment Programmes in Abuja.
She said: “As we renew our commitment to the service of humanity, I will like to cease this opportunity to once again state that we have successfully exited Batch A and B of the N-Power beneficiaries in June and July respectively and we are still working towards ensuring a transition plan that will further engage or absorb them into other programmes.”
Sadiya also stated that the selection process of the Batch C N-power application will be thorough and base on merit.
“We have also received over 5 million applications from proposed N-Power Batch C and we are currently in the process of selecting the qualified beneficiaries coming into the programme.
“I assure all the applicants and Nigerians that the selection process will be transparent,” she said.
She added that, “I wish to reiterate that I have given approval for the payment of stipends for the exited beneficiaries of batches A and B up to the month of June 2020 including that of the independent monitors. Also, the final payment of stipend for Batch B is almost ready for transmission to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation for final checks and payment.
The minister urged state coordinators to discharge their duties diligently and not let her down.
“It is against this background that I urge everyone of you to continue to give in your best to ensure the lives of those we are called to serve are made better.
“We must not lose sight of the fact that each one of the vulnerable persons are not mere numbers or statistics but real people with dreams, hopes, aspirations and a desire to live decent lives in peace and safety,” he submitted.
FG Says All Airports Are Now Open for Domestic Flight Operations
All Airports Are Now Open for Domestic Flight Operations Says FG
The Federal Government on Monday said all airports in the country are officially open for domestic flight operations.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.
Hadi, however, noted that operators flying into private-owned airports must know the status of such airports.
Speaking at the PTF Briefing, the minister said there is no need for flight approval within Nigeria again as all airports are now opened for domestic operations.
He said, “All airports in Nigeria are now open for domestic flights, including those that are for private charter operations.
“They (operators) will no longer need approvals from us to operate domestically within government-owned airports. However, for the private airports, operators should check their safety status with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
“Such airports are Jalingo, Uyo, Asaba, Gombe, Nasarawa, Damaturu, Osubi, etc. So you don’t need any approval from the minister, but you should check the status of these airports with the NCAA.”
Commenting on international chartered flights, the minister said they need approvals to flight out of the country.
He said, “All flights out of the country that are private charter will still need approvals for those kind of flights, including technical stops.
“So with this, it means that the approvals that are sent via the NCAA, NAMA and myself will cease and if there is any change, it will be so advised accordingly.”
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