UN adopts victim-centred approach to tackle terrorism

By Favour Nnabugwu
The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres has said the UN is adopting a victim-centred approach to tackle the terrorism in Nigeria
Guterres  who is on a two-day visit to Nigeria also vowed that perpetrators of terrorism in Nigeria must be held to account.
The UN Chief after laying a wreath in honour of the victims of the terrorist attack at the UN House, Abuja today.
It will be recalled that 23 UN staff and civilians and injured 16 others were bombed on August 26, 2011,
He said “On that tragic day (August 26, 2011) an appalling terrorist attack on the UN House left 23 UN employees and civilians’ dead and 16 injured. Those staff members who lost their lives are heroes who proudly served Nigerians through the UN organizations.
 “We encourage all Nigerians, who have endured similar violence in their own communities. In our victim-centered approach, perpetrators must be held accountable. We remain steadfast in our commitment for a peaceful Nigeria and for all people.”
 Guterres also thanked the government of Nigeria for its support in repairing the UN House which has enabled the staff to return.
The UN boss had a succession of meetings with several groups, which included Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Pauline Tallen, members of the diplomatic corps, religious leaders, civil society organizations, women groups, people living with disabilities and others.
Speaking to reporters after meeting with the UN Chief, Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, told reporters that his interaction with Guterres was on how to resolve the dilemma of a country full of talented people but facing a lot of problems.
“Nigerians are genuinely religious but we see around us so much corruption and outright wickedness,” he said.
He noted that it has become pertinent to interrogate how a nation that is rich but full of poor people, a nation that is full of talented people and yet hardly organized, even as he put that responsibility on the doorsteps of those in government.
He told the UN boss that Nigerians “are not satisfied with how far the rulers are dealing with the issues concerning us, the issue of poverty, the issue of insecurity, and the issues of social services. The government tells us they are doing their best and we say that their best is not good enough. We believe we can do better.”
On the lingering issue of herders-farmer crisis, the Cardinal said since the last ten years, the government has been struggling to address the issue of armed herdsmen, which has created a lot of problems including displacement of farmers.
He said “it seems the displacement is becoming permanent and the herders are taking over the farm lands and the government still claims they have no way of bringing things back to normalcy. The result is that farmers can no longer farm and we are facing the prospects of famine because the parts of Nigeria that use to produce a lot of food many of them can no longer farm.
 “We must admit that the old traditional method of cattle rearing is no longer sustainable in this day and age, because it has become a recipe for chaos. We must learn from how other people rear cattle and produce a lot of meat without disturbing anybody. It can be done and if it is not done it must be that some people are not ready to do the right thing.”
Swiss Re appoints Lubomir Varbanov as Head Public Sector Solutions APAC

By admin


Within his new role, Lubomir will be based in Singapore and will manage a team across multiple locations, including Australia, China, India, Japan and Singapore.

Together with his team, Lubomir will engage with governments, development banks, multilateral organisations and NGOs to develop innovative risk transfer solutions, in order to facilitate economic development and increase societal resilience and financial inclusion.

Lubomir joins Swiss Re after serving nearly 20 years at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the World Bank Group, the worlds largest international development financier.

His most recent roles at the IFC include Head of New Business, Infrastructure and Natural Resources, APAC, Global Head of Equity, Infrastructure and Natural Resources Group, and Chief Investment Officer (Equity), Real Sectors.

Prior to IFC, Lubomir worked in the private sector in Europe, most recently as Head Corporate Finance at BG Group plc in London.

Addressing Lubomir’s appointment, Veronica Scotti, Chairperson Public Sector Solutions at Swiss Re said: “Lubomir Varbanov’s vast multi-sector experience in developed and emerging markets, as well as his extensive network in Asia Pacific and globally, make him the ideal fit for this role. He will help Swiss Re’s Public Sector Solutions APAC team to unlock the potential that we all believe this region holds.”

NCC gives final approval for 5G roll-out to MTN, Mafab

By Favour Nnabugwu


The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, the Executive Vice Chairman, Prof Umar Danbatta has conveyed the federal government approval of MTN Nigeria and MAFAB Communications to commence the roll out of 5G services in the country.

The approval certifies that the two operators who emerged winners of the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum auction in December 2021 have satisfied all necessary requirements to roll out the innovative service in the country after the NCC came out from a meeting.

It also gives the operators time to meet up the August 2022 deadline to roll out services as the Information Memorandum of the auction stipulated.

The Commission, had on February 24, 2022, confirmed the full payment of $273.6 million each by the two spectrum winners, in addition to spectrum assignment fee paid by MTN, for the 5G spectrum licence.

Danbatta who dropped the hint yesterday, that he had conveyed the message to the operators said, “the commission has issued final letters of award of the Fifth Generation (5G) Spectrum Licences to MTN and Mafab Communications, winners of the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum auction conducted by the Commission on Monday, December 13, 2021” .

A Statement from the Director Public Affairs of the Commission, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, said that “with the issuance of the final letters of awards of 5G spectrum and in line with the 5G auction’s Information Memorandum (IM), the two licensees are now expected to accelerate deployment of 5G network that will usher Nigeria into a more robust Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and a more digitised Nigerian economy among the comity of nations.

Terms and conditions of the 5G licence, mandates the licensees to commence rollout of 5G services, effective from August 24, 2022.

While the licensees are expected to meet the timetable regarding their 5G network rollout obligations, the NCC says it required collective efforts and support of the private-sector towards transforming every aspect of the nation’s economy through 5G, which will herald greater transformation than what the nation witnessed with the 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G.

The 5G network, when deployed, will bring huge benefits and opportunities that will engender accelerated growth and smart living in the country.

The technology is also expected to bring substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.

The Commission said it is optimistic that effective implementation of the National Policy on 5G will accelerate the actualisation of the national targets in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, as well as other sectoral policies designed to enhance Nigeria’s digital transformation.

Telcos demand 40% increase on voice calls, SMS, data

By Favour Nnabugwu



Nigerians are to witness a 40 percent increase in voice calls and data tarrifs  by  telecommunications operators, telcos in the country.

The increase it was informed was due to high cost of diesel to operate their businesses, incessant harrasssments and frivolous taxes and levies imposed on them by all manner of agencies from the three tiers of government.

The telcos who spoke to Vanguard on the issue, said the development, is being handled by their umbrella body, the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria, ALTON.

It is reliably gathered that ALTON has already sent a letter to the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, seeking the upward review of tarrifs by 40 percent.

If approved, the services that will be affected include voice calls, short message services, SMS, and data services.
The telcos want the N6.4 per second current cost of voice calls jerked up to N8. 95 while short message services will move from N4. 00 to N5. 61.

ALTON’s letter to NCC highlighted a few operational issues which the regulator should consider to approve the request.
They include rising cost of business operation due to high cost of diesel, and other energy sources, recent introduction of excise duty of five per cent on telecom services, and increased burden of multiple taxes and levies on the industry.

The telcos say these increments, jerk their operating expenses by over 35 per cent.
Part of the letter sighted by Vanguard reads: “As the commission may be aware, the power sector under the supervision of its Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in November 2020 undertook a review of electricity tariffs to cater for the economic headwinds.

“In view of the foregoing, ALTON considers it expedient for the telecommunications sector to undergo periodic cost adjustments through the commission’s intervention to minimise the impact of the challenging economic issues faced by our members.

“ Details are: Upward review of the price determination for voice and data and SMS. Given the state of the economy and the circa 40 per cent increase in the cost of doing business, we wish to request an interim administrative review of the mobile (voice) termination rate for voice; administrative data floor price, and cost of SMS as reflected in extant instruments.

“With respect to voice and SMS cost, ALTON respectfully requests the commission to consider a mark-up approach to address the upward price adjustment desirable for the industry. We have enclosed herein and marked ‘Annexure 1’our proposal in that regard.

“For data services, we wish to request that the commission implements the recommendations in the August 2020 KPMG report on the determination of cost-based pricing for wholesale and retail broadband service in Nigeria.
” Excerpts from the report are attached and marked ‘Annexure 2’ to provide a further illustration.

“In implementing the said recommendations, however, we recommend that the 40 per cent increase in the cost of doing business be factored in to arrive at a cost price per GB in view of the current economic situation.”

The group also highlighted other demands to the commission such as to explore other penalties for operators other than punitive monetary sanctions, extend the payment timeline of relevant regulatory levies and fees, prevail on the federal government to sign the executive order declaring telecoms infrastructure as a critical national infrastructure to mitigate cost spent replacing damaged and stolen infrastructures, among others.

It added that the Mobile (Voice) Termination Rate (MTR) for voice, administrative data floor price and cost of SMS as reflected in extant instruments should also be increased.

The ALTON letter added: “For large operators, a new interim MTR of N5.46 from N3.90 reflecting 40 per cent increase in the cost of business.

“For small operators, the new interim MTR of N6.58 from N4.70 reflects a 40 per cent increase in the cost of business.”

Sanlam, Allianz to form pan-African insurance powerhouse

By Favour Nnabugwu



Sanlam, the largest non-banking financial services company in Africa, and Allianz, one of the world’s leading insurers and asset managers with a century of history in Africa, have agreed to combine their current and future operations across Africa to create the largest Pan-African non-banking financial services entity on the continent.

Sanlam, the largest non-banking financial services company in Africa, and Allianz, one of the world’s leading insurers and asset managers with a century of history in Africa, have agreed to combine their current and future operations across Africa to create the largest Pan-African non-banking financial services entity on the continent. This combination means that customers across Africa will benefit from the expertise and financial strength of two respected and well-known brands.

The joint venture will house the business units of both Sanlam and Allianz in the African countries where one or both companies have a presence. Namibia will be included at a later stage and South Africa is excluded from the agreement.

The agreement is subject to certain conditions precedent, including but not limited to the receipt of required approvals from competition authorities, financial/insurance regulatory authorities and any customary conditions that Sanlam and/or Allianz would be required to fulfil for each jurisdiction

The chairmanship of the joint venture partnership will rotate every two years between Sanlam and Allianz. The CEO of the entity will be named in due course.

The combined operations of Sanlam and Allianz will create a premier Pan-African non-banking financial services entity, operating in 29 countries across the continent. The joint venture will be the largest Pan-African insurance player and is expected to be ranked in the top three, in the majority of the markets where the entity will operate. The entity is expected to have a combined total group equity value (GEV) in excess of 33 billion South African rand (approximately 2 billion euros).

Sanlam and Allianz will leverage each other’s strengths to unlock synergies and provide customers with best-in-class, innovative insurance solutions and technical excellence. The joint venture will create value for all stakeholders through greater economies of scale, broader geographic presence, larger combined market share, and a more diversified product offering.

Combining Sanlam’s expertise in Africa with Allianz’s global capabilities and insurance solutions, particularly for multinational businesses, the partnership aims to increase life and general insurance penetration, accelerate product innovation and drive financial inclusion in high-growth African markets.

“In line with Sanlam’s stated ambition to be a leading Pan-African financial services group, the proposed joint venture will enable us to take a significant step towards realising that ambition. It will also strengthen our leadership position in multiple key markets that are core to our Africa strategy, building quality and scale where it matters. We are delighted to have Allianz as partners and believe their expertise and financial strength will add tremendous value to our businesses,” says Sanlam Group CEO Paul Hanratty.

“In accordance with our enterprise strategy to expand our leadership position through scale and new partnership models, Allianz is pleased to accelerate its growth in this important region through a partnership with the undisputed market leader. Sanlam’s capabilities extend our local reach and market penetration, and the joint venture allows us to establish leading positions in key growth markets for Allianz,” says Member of the Board of Management of Allianz SE Christopher Townsend.

“Further, Sanlam shares our company values, our purpose of securing the future for our clients, and our long-term, generational approach to growing in new markets.”