UAE removes Rapid Antigen test requirement for travellers from Nigeria airports…..imposes new conditions for resumption of flights between both countries

By admin


The United Arab Emirates, UAE, government has said its has decided to remove the Rapid Antigen test requirement for travellers from airports in Nigeria so as to restore normal flights between both countries.

This is just as the country imposes new conditions for Nigeria to meet before normal flights will resume in Abuja yesterday

Recall there has not been flights between both countries as a result of stringent covid-19 test requirements UAE imposed on travellers from Nigeria.

In a letter from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Abuja issued yesterday with reference No.078/A/2021 among other things requested that number of passengers from Nigeria to the UAE must not exceed 200 passengers for inbound flight from Nigeria for two weeks and that only direct flights between both countries are allowed.

The letter read : ” The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Abuja presents its compliments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Protocol Department) of the Federal Re[public of Nigeria with reference to the Ministry Verbal Note No. K.521/2021 dated 16th February 2021 and the Embassy’s Note Verbal No. 049/A/2021 dated 23 February 2021.”

“The embassy has the honor to convey the response of the competent authorities in the UAE regarding the ongoing flight halt between the UAE and Nigeria as well as the travel requirements for travelers to the UAE.”

“The UAE Government has decided to remove the requirement for the Rapid Antigen test at the airports in Nigeria while demanding the following requirements:

“Number of passengers on inbound flights to the UAE must not exceed 200 passengers for two weeks. Only direct flights between the UAE and Nigeria are allowed. Passengers need to present a valid negative PCR test conducted within 48 hours before boarding.

Provide the embassy with updated list of the approved PCR test centers by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the importance of ensuring the accuracy of the passengers’ information, contact details and place of stay during their visit in UAE.”

The federal government is yet to respond to the new conditions imposed by the UAE authority as at the time of filing this report. Stringent covid-19 test requirements by the UAE government forced the federal government to ban Emirates from operating flights out of the country.

Suez Canal blockage, heavy traffic – Capt. Rahul Khanna

By admin

The grounding of an ultra large container ship in the Suez Canal brought traffic on the central shipping route between Europe and Asia to a standstill.

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) Global Head of Marine Risk Consulting, Captain Rahul Khanna looks at some of the potential implications of this incident and highlights some of the risk challenges posed by ever-increasing ship sizes.

How do operators approach the salvage of such a huge ship? What are the challenges?

Container-carrying capacity on ships has increased by 1,500% over the past 50 years and has doubled over the past decade and a 224,000-tonne, 400-metre-long vessel which can carry up to 20,000 containers like the MS Ever Given is in the top 1% in terms of size of vessels on the ocean. Obviously, the size of these vessels make a salvage operation a significant undertaking. For some time now many in the salvage industry have warned that container ships are getting too big for situations like this to be resolved efficiently and economically.

Dislodging a “mega ship” in a confined space like the Suez Canal will be challenging, requiring the expertise of a specialist salvage company – not all have the experience of dealing with such vessels. Their first job is to assess the degree to which the vessel is aground, and what could be the safest and quickest way to refloat the ship.

A best case scenarios would be that a combination of high tide and adequate tugs may free the vessel. However if the vessel is hard aground then lightening the vessel may be the only option and containers may have to be removed from the ship. This will delay the salvage/refloating process and is going to make the operation a lot more expensive.

Assuming that the grounding of the Ever Given will continue, what are the potential claims scenarios in scope from an insurance perspective?

It’s still too early to comment on the causation of this incident as a number of different factors have been cited as contributing to the incident in reports. However, potential claims scenarios could include damage to the vessel’s hull and engine (if there was a machinery breakdown issue – a frequent cause of marine insurance claims); damage to the propeller and its shaft if the stern is aground as well; salvage and vessel removal costs – which can quickly escalate particularly in the event of wreck removal; third party liability claims especially with regards to damage to the canal; loss of any perishable goods in cargo; and business interruption and loss of revenue claims as a result of this blockage.

If ships are unable to go through the Suez Canal, is there any chance they can take the longer route around the African coast?

The option of going around the Cape of Good Hope (COGH) is always available although it adds around 5,000 nautical miles or 9,000 kilometers to a typical journey from the Middle East to Europe. From Singapore to Europe it probably is less, around 3,000 to 3,500 nautical miles

This means a lot more fuel consumption and a much longer journey time (around 10 to 15 days more depending upon the speed of the vessel). Therefore, such a consideration is considerably more expensive but the ship can save on Suez Canal fees. The weather is another consideration as this can deteriorate while going round the Cape. Therefore, it’s not the first route choice for smaller vessels who may not even have the fuel capacity. Much also depends on the price of fuel and prevailing ship charter rates.

Sometimes higher fuel prices and charter rates combined could make the longer journey cost-effective. For a few days blockage it probably doesn’t makes sense for ships to reroute, only if a longer term delays are envisaged.

What is the likely impact on global supply chains? Which goods may be affected?

Such incidents show the immediate impact that the blockage of one of the world’s major shipping routes can have and highlights how dependent global trade has become on mega ships.

Between 10-12 percent of global trade passes through the Suez Canal with more than 50 vessels transiting it a day. Lloyd’s List has estimated that around $10bn of daily marine traffic could be halted by this blockage and it comes at a particularly bad time for global supply lines. Car and computer makers are straining from a global chip shortage, exacerbated by a fire in a big chip making factory in Japan. Car makers have closed plants after a Texas cold snap earlier last month hit plastics production, and California ports have been hit by backlogs and delays.

The canal is an important route to transport oil and liquefied natural gas from the Middle East to Europe and there is also the potential for delayed shipments to technology and automotive companies as well.

What are the challenges of mega ships in general? From a risk management point of view, what lessons can be drawn from this incident?

Insurers have been warning for years that the increasing size of vessels is leading to a higher accumulation of risk. These fears are now being realized, potentially offsetting long-term improvements in safety and risk management.

Such ships generate economies of scale for ship owners but also a disproportionately greater cost when things go wrong. Dealing with incidents involving large ships, such as fires, groundings and collisions, are becoming more complex and expensive.

Fires on board large container vessels are now a regular occurrence and such incidents can easily result in large claims in the hundreds of millions of dollars, if not more.

A hypothetical worse-case loss scenario involving the collision and grounding of two large container vessels, or a container vessel and a cruise ship, could result in a $4bn loss if the costs of a complicated salvage and wreck removal and any environmental claims are included.

The size of a vessel can significantly increase salvage and general average costs. Mega ships require specialist tugs and finding a port of refuge with capacity to handle such a large ship can be difficult, which increases the salvage operation costs.

It is clear that in some shipping segments, loss prevention measures have not kept pace with the upscaling of vessels. This is something that needs to be addressed from the design stage onwards. And with 24,000 TEU vessels on the horizon we are now seeing the implications of what might happen more regularly in the future.

In this case of this particular incident there will no doubt be some valuable lessons to be learned with respect to the pilotage and handling of the ultra large vessels in the Suez Canal, especially during sand storms and other scenarios where visibility is hampered

Suez Canal expects to cost insurers $100 m

By admin

A mega containership wedged in the Suez Canal is expected to cost $100 million loss to the owner and insurers.

The ship is stuck in the southern section of the canal, travelling northbound to Rotterdam from Yantian in China with about150 ships backed up since Tuesday evening and supply chain issues building every day.

Head of hull and marine liabilities at McGill and Partners, David Smith said the broker has heard figures as high as $100m in insured losses mentioned.

But he said other costs, including compensation for delays, loss of revenue for the Suez Canal Authority, potential damage to cargo and the costs of refloating the ship could be “even more expensive”.

Owned by Japanese firm Shoei Kisen and operated by Taiwanese firm Evergreen, the 220,000-tonne Ever Given ran aground in strong winds on Tuesday evening and blocked the canal from one side to the other. Efforts are underway again today to dislodge the ship, which has the capacity to carry 20,000 containers.

More than 10 percent of global trade passes through the narrow stretch of the Suez Canal at an average 51 ships per day. “The disruption will come with a hefty price tag, a figure of $100m has been mentioned by some in the industry,” Mr Smith said.

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) said “ships face costly and lengthy deviations if the canal is not opened soon”. It added that it is a “particularly bad time for global supply chains”, with a worldwide shortage in chips for cars and computer manufacturers after last week’s fire at a manufacturer in Japan.

Reuters reported that Ever Given hull is insured in the Japanese market, while UK P&I Club said it covers the ship for protection and indemnity loss.

“For some time now the salvage industry has been warning that container ships are simply getting too big for situations like this to be resolved efficiently and economically. This incident may force shipbuilders, owners and cargo operators to sit up and listen,” Mr Smith said.

Russell Group said Ever Given could be carrying goods worth $89m, including $4m worth of clothing. It valued the goods that flow between Ever Given’s route at more than $40bn per year, adding that it is a key transport for integrated circuit ports to Europe.

Managing director at Russell Group, Suki Basi, said business interruption was the biggest risk posed by the Ever Given grounding, rather than damage to the vessel.

“The disruption highlights that global trade has become dependent on these mega ships, and how any disruption in trade routes can leave many organisations and their (re)insurers significantly exposed to business interruption risks.

Coming on top of the global pandemic and recent disruptions to global auto production caused by other events, this latest blockage shows that insurers and their risk partners increasingly need to follow the money when assessing their underlying connected trade risks,” he said.

924 workers withdraw N1.01 bn from RSAs in Q4 2020

By Favour Nnabugwu


The Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) witnessed the withdrawal of N1.01 billion by 924 workers from the voluntary contributions in their Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) with their Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) in the Q4 quarter of 2020.

The National Pension Commission (PenCom), disclosed this in its 2020 fourth quarter report.

“During the quarter under review, the Commission granted approval to 924 contributors for the withdrawal of voluntary contributions amounting to N1,011,283,273.66”, the report stated.

An analysis of this quarter’s report revealed a decrease in withdrawal by workers when compared with that of the 2020 third quarter report which saw the sum of N2.18 billion withdrawal from about 1,286 workers under the scheme.

According to the guidelines on voluntary contribution under the CPS, PenCom states that, the main purpose of the Pension Reform Act 2014 is to introduce a pension system that is sustainable and has the capacity to achieve the ultimate goal of providing a stable, predictable and adequate source of retirement income for each employee in Nigeria

“The Pension Reform Act 2014 allows employees to make, voluntary contributions into their Retirement Savings Account, in addition to their mandatory pension contributions, with the sole aim of enhancing their retirement benefits.

“Voluntary contributions under these guidelines shall be non-obligatory contributions made by any employee in the formal sector through the employer.

“Employees of organisations with less than three employees as well as self-employed persons as provided in Section 2 (3) of the Pension Reform Act 2014 (PRA 2014) shall be covered under the guidelines for micro pensions.

“Voluntary contributions shall be remitted into and withdrawn from a duly registered RSA, managed by a licensed PFA”, the guideline says.

Stating the rules of general application, the Commission stated that any eligible contributor under these guidelines must notify his employer in writing of his intention to make voluntary contributions and the amount be deducted from his emoluments and remitted as voluntary contributions.

In addition, PenCom noted that voluntary contributions should be made from employee’s legitimate income, which should not be more than one-third of the month’s salary in line with the Labour Act, 1990.

The guideline further stated that “all voluntary contributions must be remitted through an employer into the RSA.

“Failure to deduct or remit voluntary contributions within the time stipulated in Section 11 (6) of the PRA 2014 on behalf of a contributor by an employer shall attract the same penalty to be stipulated by the Commission.

“The Commission sets out the modalities and broad guidelines under which voluntary contributions can be administered.”

Speaking on the objectives of the guidelines, PenCom said they are to establish a uniform set of rules for the operation of voluntary contributions and eligibility criteria for participation in voluntary contributions.

Further outlining the objectives, the commission said it seeks “to provide the procedure for making voluntary contributions, and necessary safeguards and modalities for its withdrawals.

“To utilise voluntary contributions for the purpose of enhancing future retirement benefits for active or mandatory contributors. To encourage retirees under the CPS to utilise part or all of the voluntary contributions to augment their existing pension.

“The guidelines aim to assist retirees under defunct Defined Benefit, exempted persons and foreigners to save in order to cater for their livelihood during old age. To assist improvident individuals by ensuring that they saved in order to cater for their livelihood during old age.”

It is also important to note that the scheme provides a platform for an RSA holder to make voluntary contributions, in addition to the statutory contributions being made by him and his employer.

The above guidelines apply to any employee in the public service of the federation, the public service of the Federal Capital Territory, the public service of the State Government, the public service of the Local Government Councils and the private sector.

Great Nigeria Insurance eyes top 5 companies

By Favour Nnabugwu

The management of Great Nigeria Insurance Plc has set all methologies in place to be among the too five insurance companies in the industry

The Managing Director of Great Nigerian Insurance Company, Mrs Cecilia O. Osipitan at a press conference in Lagos said that the underwriting firm would remain committed to its vision, mission and shared values.

While she informed that GNI will also come up with innovative ideas on how to move GNI Plc forward while also ensuring the implementation of all measures and strategies to engender the achievement of the company’s various goals and strategies.

Osipitan stated that the company will pay particular attention to Excellent Service delivery and adoption of global best practices by the organization in all areas of its operation.

According to her,  “We are out to reshape the industry, we are also aware that we cannot attain the top five position in the industry if our service delivery is questionable,

She continued, “We will at the same time strive to imbibe global best practice in all facets of our operation to ensure we remain front-liners in the industry”.

She explained that the Company has put in place modalities that will ensure effective coordination of the organization’s re-positioning and re-structuring strategies as well as the formulation of strategies to deepen direct market penetration

Osipitan also noted that the company will monitor the production and collection performance for the company and provision of advisory support when needed in correcting shortfalls.

Also, the regular review of the company’s internal processes and procedures will be done for continued performance improvement, she added

Osipitan asserts that “the company has clearly set out to chart a professional course in the practice of insurance business in Nigeria and that Great Nigeria Insurance Plc will not leave any stone unturned in the quest of attaining the status of a world-class insurance company.

She said,  “We are poised to meet up with our obligations as and when due. “We will continually strive not to disappoint our teeming customers and uphold the confidence of our stakeholders”, she concluded”

Great Nigeria Insurance Plc is fast emerging a giant in the Nigerian Insurance Industry with an extensive network of branches spread across the country.

The company has over the years demonstrated commitment to improving on its existing infrastructure in order to attract and retain the best hands in the industry.

With an avowed commitment to Best Practice, Professionalism and Excellent Service Delivery, Great Nigeria Insurance Plc aims at becoming one of the top five players in the Insurance sector in the very near future.