By Favour Nnabugwu


Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted low weather visibility of below a thousand over some parts of the northern region on November 20, 2021 stating that dust haze are expected to affect Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina and environs .

The Dust haze originated from the Faya Largeau in Chad Republic – a major dust haze source region for Nigeria and indeed the West African Sub-region.

The value scale of significant visibility deterioration over the northern cities on the 20th as stated above would range from 2000-5000 metres with isolated cases of visibility below 1000 metres. Most parts of the central states are expected to be partly cloudy with sunny intervals while the southern states are expected to be cloudy with prospects of isolated thunderstorms

Consequently, motorists are advised to drive with caution especially in the extreme northern parts where reduction in visibility is envisaged. More attention is expected especially during the early morning period when horizontal visibility is mostly impaired.

Hot and dry atmospheric condition associated with harmattan could result in heat exhaustion and dehydration, hence keeping the body hydrated by drinking water is crucial to avoid heat stroke, however temperatures at night could be very low, adequate clothing is therefore essential. The expected reduction in visibility may disrupt flight operations through cancellation and delay of flights; this is for the safety of air travellers.

Pensioners seek increased benefits from Oyo’s free health mission

By admin


State Secretary, Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Comrade Segun Abatan, has said many pensioners have ailments that require them to take medicines daily, and he has called for increased slots from the Omituntun Free Health Mission for its members in the state.

Comrade Segun Abatan, who spoke at the Omituntun Free Health Mission outreach to the Nigerian Union of pensioners, said pensioners, being elderly people, are vulnerable to infections and many non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and heart problems and would have to pay if they go to the only geriatric hospital in the state.

Abatan, who said the union has about 50,000 members, noted that “access to health care services is not easy for pensioners and senior citizens”.

He said: “They face many challenges including unfriendly medical personnel, crowded hospitals and cost of drugs. While trying to struggle for access, they are prone to falling and even dying.

“There is no government in Nigeria that has a prepared programme for them, even though as workers before retirement they are under the National Health Insurance scheme. That is why you find many turning to traditional medicine and herbal remedies, which also has its many problems, too.”

While assuring the pensioners of more time slots, Coordinator of the Omituntun Free Medical Health Mission, Dr Wale Falana, said the programme which takes place quarterly, covers all LGAs in the state and also offers free surgeries, including cataract and hernia surgery for all age groups as well as fill prescriptions for ailments such as diabetes and hypertension for the indigent in the community.

Falana, the Director, Secondary Health Care Services and Training, Oyo State Ministry of Health, said the free health mission for this quarter had reached about 400,000 and those which couldn’t be handled were referred to the Oyo State Health Insurance Agency to enrol for health insurance to meet their health needs.

Why 14 PFAs Are Still Jostling To Meet N5bn Recapitalisation

By Favour Nnabugwu


Barely eight months into the pension industry recapitalisation announced by the National Pension Commission (PenCom), no fewer than 14 out of 22 pension fund administrators (PFAs) are yet to pull a string from their former capital position.

Recall that PenCom had in April 2021 announced a capital increase for PFAs from N1billion to N5billion, a development that was applauded by industry watchers who said the increase was long overdue.

They are having upto June 30 2022 to recapitalize, but virtually eight months into the exercise, five PFAs are still at the bottom of the ladder with little above the current status of N1billion.

On the list are AIICO Pension Fund Managers Limited, N1.76 billion; OAK Pension Limited, N1.73 billion; AXA Mansard Pension, now Tangerine Pension Limited, N1.70 billion; Veritas Glanvill Pension Limited, N1.53 billion; IEI Anchor Pension Managers Limited, N1.37 billion; Investment One Pension Managers Limited, N1.26 billion and Radix Pension Managers Limited, N985.68 million; APT Pension Fund Managers Limited, N2.68 billion.

However, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited and Trustfund Pension Plc take the lead with N64.45 billion and N12.49 billion shareholders’ fund according to their respective 2020 financial reports.

Also on the lead category are ARM Pension Managers Limited with N9.04 billion shareholders’ fund; NPF Pension Limited, N8.01 billion; First Guarantee Pension Limited, N7.25 billion and Leadway Pension Limited, N7.06 billion.

While Premium Pension Limited has N5.31 billion; Crusader Sterling Pension Limited, N4.67 billion; Sigma Pension Limited, N4.34 billion; Pension Alliance Limited, N4.29 billion; FCMB Pension Limited, N3.48 billion; Fidelity Pension Managers Limited, N3.44 billion and NLPC Pension Fund Administrators Limited, N3.23 billion are below the N5billion capital requirement.

Those at the lower level of the exercise include APT Pension Fund Managers Limited, N2.68 billion; AIICO Pension Fund OAK Pension Limited, N1.73 bilManagers Limited, N1.76 billion; lion; AXA Mansard Pension, now Tangerine Pension Limited, N1.70 billion; Veritas Glanvill Pension Limited, N1.53 billion; IEI Anchor Pension Managers Limited, N1.37 billion; Investment One Pension Managers Limited, N1.26 billion and Radix Pension Managers Limited, N985.68 million.

The increase of the shareholders’ fund of PFAs from N1 billion to N5 billion, according to PenCom was aimed at boosting PFAs capacity in terms of operational efficiency and service delivery.

PenCom in a circular entitled: Revised Minimum Share Requirement for Licensed Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), dated April 29, 2021 and sent to Managing Directors/Chief Executive Officers of all licensed pension fund operators, said: “The increase in the minimum regulatory capital is necessitated by the need to improve the capacity of PFAs, in terms of operational efficiency and effectiveness as well as service delivery.”

CBN signs up 488,000 eNaira wallets, 78,000 merchants globally

By Favour Nnabugwu



Transactions cross N60m as experts express reservation over economic impacts
Apex Bank explains its intervention programme to editors

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has onboarded over 488,000 consumer wallets and about 78,000 merchant wallets, with downloads coming from over 160 countries.

The statistics, which was obtained from the apex bank by The Guardian at the weekend indicated that almost 17,000 transactions amounting to over N62 million with the average transaction being about N3,800 each were recorded as well.

The CBN said statistics had shown that the adoption of eNaira had been excellent.

The apex bank also claimed that the project had received positive reviews from Nigerians, noting that the multi-layered security encryption of the digital currency has enhanced its security. It stated this at the Editors’ Master Class with the theme ‘Central Bank of Nigeria Interventions as Fulcrum for Economic Diversification’, an event organised by the Centre for Financial Journalism in Lagos.

Speaking at the programme, the Director of Corporate Communication Department of the bank, Osita Nwanisobi, said the regulator’s interventions reflect the people-centric management approach of its current leadership.

Nwanisobi said the interventions were a conscious effort by the CBN to ensure that all Nigerians, especially the ordinary folks, benefit from the economy.

“These interventions do not just happen, they are well-thought-out responses by the CBN to exigencies. You would recall that when he (Godwin Emefiele) assumed office in 2014, he promised to run a people-centric CBN and a financial system that would meet the needs of the average Nigerian,” he stressed.

He added that the interventions were practical efforts to diversify the economy, stressing that the CBN under Emefiele had been at the cutting edge of initiatives to truly diversify the economy.

Nwanisobi said the interventions were responses to market failures, stressing that no responsible central bank would sit back and watch the economy collapse.

He traced the evolution of interventions by the CBN to 1979, saying the global financial crisis of 2008/2009 threw up multiple challenges the CBN had to respond to.

On the prospect of eNaira, a development economist, Henry Adigun, who spoke with The Guardian, said awareness about the workability of the digital currency was still low among most Nigerians.

He explained: “There is much ado about the currency, which most people do not understand. CBN has so far run a poor education campaign. The e-currency seems to be a subtle way of CBN competing with banks. Most persons are not certain if this is a cryptocurrency or just an innovation-based on the existing e platforms.”

Adigun, however, pointed out some benefits inherent in eNaira. He submitted that the adoption should lead to the cheaper cost of transactions and the cost of printing currency should reduce, saying: “All that, however, depends on acceptance by the people, penetration and, most importantly, the strength of the platforms.”

He insisted that there were questions still unanswered by the CBN, adding that the regulator should do more on educating the public so that the innovation would work at all levels.

Also, an associate professor of economics and the immediate past General-Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, insisted that as long as it is linked and part of the total money in circulation, it will not make much difference in the monetary framework.

His argument: “The possible positive gain is simply in the efficiency of exchange. Instead of bothering with physical money and the challenges that bring, people can now do transactions even across the border without having to carry much money or the hazards associated with physical lifting of cash will all be eliminated. Those are the efficiencies that can be reaped from the process.”

Going down memory lane on the adoption of technology in the financial sector, Ozo-Eson urged the CBN to create safety measures to prevent the stealing of funds by hackers.

“However, we know that our attempt at technology-based financial instruments thus far has been effectively prone to hackers and stealing of funds. To do the ordinary transfer of funds, people can hack into accounts and do transfers. Those hazards that Nigerians have experienced in the case of electronic-based handling would probably be going to be more in e-currency. The operators need to ensure that they find ways to block such possible abuses for this initiative to work. The degree at which we can make the system more robust is what is important to minimise those negative possibilities,” he said.

He does not share in the optimism about the possibility of the eNaira to add about $29 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) in the nearest future.

He said: “It is not a major deal in terms of monetary management. All the talks about how much it will add to GDP over the years are nothing but speculative. Yes, there can be positive gains for the GDP because of the expected efficiency in transactions, but other than that, it does not generate income on its own. Therefore, I think we should not overstress its potential impacts on the GDP.”

He also disagreed with the notion that the CBN is looking to participate in the money transfer market, which is dominated by the banks and other participants in the private sector.

“I don’t think it is the same thing with money transfer. Money transfers require three parties at the minimum. The three are the person doing the transfer, the receiver and the medium of transfer. That is if it is the bank that initiates the transfer directly. In some other cases, there is even the fourth party that may involve inter-switch or those agencies that facilitate the process of transfer. In the case of e-currency, those parties are not present. It is indeed a direct transaction between two parties just like the physical cash. That is a major difference. In money transfer, there are cases of late transfer that never reach its destination or late in reaching the intended destination, but in the case of eNaira, it is a direct transfer to recipients,” he explained.

Senior Economist at the SPM Professionals, Paul Alaje said eNaira may solve some specific challenges confronting banks.

“I think the eNaira comes to solve some challenges that banks have. eNaira will facilitate payment with the speed of light. Money will change hands very quickly. eNaira has its challenges. Unlike the cryptocurrency that is globally accepted, eNaira is not yet globally accepted. Again, people are buying crypto because they want to trade with it and see the value goes up or down as the case may be, eNaira is not subject to that.”

Pension fund assets tops N13 trillion in September 2021

By Favour Nnabugwu


The Nigerian pension fund industry hit another milestone in September as its total asset value hit and surpassed the N13 trillion mark for the first time. This is according to the unaudited report on the pension fund industry for September 2021, published by PENCOM.

As pension and retirement funds all over the world continue to grow, Nigeria is also not being left out. This is evident by the 5.6% year-to-date increase recorded in the net assets of the industry. According to data from the National Pension Commission, total pension fund assets in Nigeria grew to N13.001 trillion ($31.69 billion) as of September 2021.

Similarly, the number of RSA registrations also increased to 9.46 million in September from 9.43 million as of the previous month. Also, between January and September 2021, a total of 245,385 new RSA registrations was recorded.

  • As of 30th September 2021, a sum of N8.22 trillion has been invested in FGN securities, representing 63.2% of the total net assets.
  • On the other hand, 17.6% of the funds were invested into local money market instruments at N2.29 trillion.
  • A total of N968.26 billion was invested in corporate debt securities as of the review period, which accounts for 7.4% of the total fund. Investments in corporate debt securities also increased by N131.93 billion on a year-to-date basis.
  • Investments in mutual funds dropped by 27.6% year-to-date to stand at N116.84 billion, whilst accounting for the least quota in their investment portfolio.

Compared with the previous month, pension fund assets increased by N100.57 billion from N12.9 trillion. The increase is attributable to increased contributions from retirement savings account holders, better investment performance and an increase in the number of people that registered into various retirement savings accounts.

The increase could also be attributed to the creativity of the Pension Commission, whose effort to come up with a Sharia-compliant pension fund, Fund VI, added N7.8 billion to the total assets of pension funds in Nigeria. The growth of pension fund assets has been in the ascendency in Nigeria as indicated in the chart below.

The RSA fund II category increased by N315.12 billion between January and September 2021, representing a 5.88% increase from N5.36 trillion recorded as of December 2020 to N5.67 trillion as of the end of September 2021.

RSA fund II, which is the default fund for active contributors who are 49 years and below accounted for the lion share of the fund, which is 43.6% of the total net assets.

RSA fund III followed with N3.43 trillion, representing 26.4% of the total, while CPFAs accounted for 11.5% of the total net assets at N1.49 trillion.

It is worth noting that RSA fund II is a balanced fund with the intention of capital preservation while pursuing fair returns in the long term. About 10% to 55% of the pension funds can be invested in variable income instruments. Although it is typically a default fund for contributors aged 49 and below, they can also opt to switch to Fund I based on their request

Notably, assets in Fund I totalled N45.14 billion, Fund II assets were N5.67 trillion, Fund III assets stood at N3.4 trillion while the assets in Fund IV totalled N1.05 trillion. Newcomers, Funds V or micro pension fund and Fund VI, Sharia Compliant pension fund had asset totals of N196.9 million and N7.8 billion respectively.

Though the growth in pension assets is a giant stride in Nigeria, it is a far cry from what obtains in the United States of America. As at the end of the second quarter of 2021, Retirement Assets in the US totalled $37.2 trillion, according to data from the Investment Company Institute. That represents a 4.8% increase when compared with the ending balance as at the first quarter of 2021.

The huge disparity in the retirement assets in Nigeria and the US is not surprising given the level of financial literacy in the US versus Nigeria, and the high level of awareness being created in the United States on the importance of retirement savings.

In addition to all that, the US has a series of tax policies aimed at incentivizing the citizenry to save for their retirement. According to the same data, retirement assets account for 33% of all household financial assets in the US as at the end of June 2021.

The Nigerian pension industry continues to wax stronger with improved competition amongst the 22 players in the industry. However, due to the conservative investments of the PFAs they often post only single-digit returns.

A recent analysis carried out by Nairalytics showed that the best performing PFAs in the country between January and September 2021, printed single-digit ROI in the period. Specifically, ARM Stanbic IBTC, Veritas Glavills and ARM Pension topped the list with 6.79%, 6.29%, and 6.02% year-to-date ROI respectively.