The Federal Government plans to increase the number of farmers under insurance coverage from 500,000 to 3.8 million through the recently launched index-based agricultural insurance scheme.
It also plans to announce series of incentives aimed at promoting agriculture value chain across the country
Managing Director of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Aliyu Abdulhameed, made these known in Abuja at the opening of training workshop on index insurance product design, evaluation and risk transfer. The forum was organised by NAICOM in conjunction with International Finance Corporation (IFC) an arm of World Bank group.
“We have made significant investments in technology solutions and innovations to reduce counter chances of risks occurring in agricultural projects that we support. For instance, we have piloted the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to carry out field verification so that only viable lands are utilized for agriculture,” he said.
“Using satellite imagery, we remotely monitor crop performance and growth. We deploy drones and geospatial monitoring devices to the field to detect and provide early warnings on field deviations. These measures help to promptly trigger required remediation actions to protect expected farm output and prevent unwarranted pay-outs by the insurance companies.
“A key aspect of our plan is to increase insurance coverage from the current level of about 0.5 million to 3.8million agricultural primary producers. In this regard, we are nurturing local and international partnerships to make this happen. We recently signed a partnership agreements with a leading Moroccan agricultural insurance as well as and reinsurance company to provide technical support in expanding the range of agricultural insurance products in Nigeria.”
Abdulhammed said that the four agencies would also develop insurance schemes to help end the persistent farmer-herder clashes, noting that the agency’s operations were anchored on five pillars.
“These are risk sharing facility pillar ($300 million), insurance pillar ($30 million), technical assistance pillar ($60 million), rating pillar ($10 million) and incentives pillar ($100 million),” he noted.
He said the agency has opened discussions with Royal Exchange Assurance, NIMET and CELLULANT for the development of a technology-driven Hybrid Index Insurance product that will include the Area Yield Index, Weather Index, and Price Index Insurance.
“We are currently also, exploring innovative insurance products for livestock to help stem the tide of herdsmen versus farmers clash. Acre Africa of Kenya is a major partner,” he said.
In a similar development, Commissioner for Insurance and CEO of NAICOM Alhaji Mohammed Kari, said index insurance is a new concept to Nigeria hence the need for capacity building to enhance progress in our drive to achieve efficiency and effectiveness in index- based agric insurance in Nigeria.
“Our drive in this regard is tending with the ongoing effort of this present administration to diversify the economy and create opportunities to promote agricultural business and youth empowerment and index based agric insurance is one program that is in support of this policy of the government “ he said.
“For us at the national insurance commission, we desire to create penetration and market growth. We have embraced index based agric insurance as a strategic initiative for insurance penetration as well as contribution to the development of agriculture.”
He disclosed that in the last one year, NAICOM has played active role in promoting access to agricultural finance.
He added:” There is need to request for further support from our partners especially in the areas of facilitation of compressive feasibility study on pilot bases, technical assistance on the provision of historical weather index data, technical capacity building to our regulatory persons who should be learned in product design, risk modeling , capital management, design of regulatory and supervisory framework, development of frameworks and guidelines for index based insurance regulation and supervision of operations, training and educational programs for key agricultural staff.”
Kari however, expressed his delight that the collaboration between NAICOM, Africa Re, IFC has already achieved product approval for five insurance companies who are participating in the pilot scheme.
In his remarks, Chief Executive Officer of Africa Re, Mr. Karekezi Corneille, represented by the Managing Director Africa Re, Ken Aghoghovbia, noted that food security is becoming a major concern for policy makers, especially in developing countries.
“You will recall that during the first decade following independence, Nigeria stood out as one of the world’s most promising agricultural producers. Not only was the country largely self-sufficient and food secure, it also thrived in global markets ranking as the world’s largest producer of palm oil,” he said.
“Today, Nigeria has lost that enviable position largely due to a shift in focus whereas several other countries are thriving, buoyed by various models of subsidy. Agriculture in Africa is generally dominated by smallholder farmers and pastoralists who do not appreciate what insurance can do for their business. Even the ones that do either lack the confidence that insurers will easily settle their claims or can barely afford the insurance premium. Thus, subsides on index products in agriculture insurance have a lot of promise in the continent.
“At Africa Re, we believe that it is critical to support agricultural self-sufficiency within Africa, and that is why we are working with the international finance corporation of the World Bank group and other stakeholders to promote agriculture insurance in the continent. “This workshop being driven by NAICOM therefore is a welcome development, which we hope will be embraced by all Nigerians.”
Mrs Essien Emem, Country Director, international financial corporation (IFC) in her remarks, said Nigeria is a critically important country for IFC, which is the largest investor in emerging market.
Telecoms’ GDP leaps to 1.8% growth
From a decline of -3.28 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate in Nigeria’s telecommunications sub-sector jumped to 1.8 per cent in the first quarter of this year, New Telegraph has learnt.
This, according to latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), shows a general improvement in the Information and Communication sector.
The telecoms and information services, which come under the Information and Communication sector in the NBS’ categorisation of economic activities, had in the last three quarters recorded negative growth rate as it fell by 1.9 per cent in second quarter 2017. In the third quarter of same year, it also went down by -5.68 per cent. By fourth quarter, the sector still went down by -3.28, even at the time when the overall GDP growth rate of the country looked positive.
However, the telecoms sector has shown remarkable signs of growth since the beginning of this year as subscriber data continue to surge.
Analysis of active mobile subscriptions in the first three months of the year shows that the telecom operators added 4.2 million subscribers within the period. Data subscriptions on the four GSM networks also crossed the 100 million mark in January and have maintained a steady growth.
The Information and Communication sector is composed of the four activities of Telecommunications and Information Services; Publishing; Motion Picture, Sound Recording and Music Production and Broadcasting. In nominal terms, the first quarter of 2018 saw the sector grow by 1.79 per cent (year-on-year) , a 7.25 per cent points decrease from the rate of 9.04 per cent recorded in the same quarter of 2017. However, it is 2.34 per cent points higher than rate recorded in the preceding quarter. The quarter-on-quarter growth rate was 3.58 per cent. The Information and Communications sector contributed 10.64 per cent to total Nominal GDP in the 2018 first quarter, lower than the rate of 11.43 per cent recorded in the same quarter of 2017 but higher than the 10.04 per cent it contributed in the preceding quarter.
The sector, in the first quarter of 2018, recorded a growth rate of 1.58 per cent in real terms, year-on-year. From the rate recorded in the corresponding period of 2017, there was a decline by 1.15 per cent points. Quarter on quarter, the sector exhibited a growth of –4.15 per cent in real terms. Of total real GDP, the sector contributed 12.41 per cent in 2018 first quarter, lower than in the same quarter of the previous year in which it represented 12.46 per cent but higher than the preceding quarter, in which it represented 11.35 per cent.
Analysts see the growth rate as a positive sign of more economic activities in the sector, leading to job creations and increased contribution to the economy.
Citing the NBS statistics, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta recently disclosed that the telecoms sector in the first quarter of 2017 contributed N1.45 trillion to the GDP, adding that in the second quarter, the figure rose to N1.549 trillion.
“This performance at a period of recession is very remarkable,” he said. “We are keeping dates with the NBS to identify and track how these trends progress. On the aggregate, the telecoms industry’s contribution to GDP in Nigeria stands at 10 per cent.
“But the figures may not tell the entire story. Investments in the sector, in human and material resources, have continued to soar. In 2001, the telecom sector could boast of a mere $50 million worth of investments but as at September 2017, we have investments worth $70 billion. The Value Added Services (VAS), segment of the telecom market in Nigeria today is worth $200 million and is estimated to grow to $500 million by 2021. The industry has provided both direct and indirect employment opportunities, accentuated growth and expansion.”
Reps probe Pencom over alleged financial mismanagement
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) over alleged reckless financial management of retirees’ funds and infraction on the public procurement Law. The House has consequently mandated its committee on public procurement and pensions to carry out a comprehensive investigation on alleged monumental fraud ongoing at the commission.
The decision followed the passage of a motion sponsored by Hon. Zakariya Galadima on the “need to investigate the alleged violation of provisions of the public procurement Act and financial mismanagement by the National Pension Commission (PENCOM)” During debate, the legislators faulted the commission over several financial infractions as against the principles and objectives of the provisions of the Pension Reform Act, which required the commission to collect and utilize fees, levies and penalties prudently in accordance with its regulatory and compliance roles. For instance, part of the 2014 Act authorizes PENCOM to invest the retiree funds in order to generate revenue but the lawmakers are worried that such investments powers of the agency have been grossly eroded by financial abuses.
In his lead debate, Galadima faulted the agency over several financial mismanagement while expressing worry that PENCOM engaged in fraudulent practice by investing N1billion into Aso Savings and Loans Plc under its investments portfolio at a ridiculously low interest rates and further directed Aso to lend the money to MGSL Mortgage Bank Limited where a top PENCOM management staff has interest.
Confectionery firm hosts BBNaija ex-housemates
Infusion Cakes & Cafe, a Lagos-based confectionery firm, has hosted ex-housemates of the reality TV show, Big Brother Nigeria (BBNaija), in a meet and greet session in Lagos recently.
Founder and chief executive of Infusion Cakes & Cafe, Mrs. Ibigbeye Okobi, in a statement, said the company decided to host the BBNaija ex-housemates because: “We really enjoyed the free spirit they exhibited, how natural they were and how they were able to get Nigerians to actually get engaged in everything they did while in the house.”
Okobi said the management of Infusion Cakes & Cafe also felt that the location of the company in the highbrow Lekki area of Lagos would serve as an excellent platform for Nigerians who were keen to meet the ex-housemates, get to know and interact with them in a friendly and hospitable environment to really appreciate them.
Infusion Cakes & Cafe is a modern bakery and cafe where customers can get a combination of international and locally made cakes, coffee, pastries and desserts for refreshment, weddings and special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, among others.
The highlight of the event was a competition for the decoration of cakes. Participants in the competition included the reigning Miss Nigeria, Miss Mildred Peace Ehiguese; one of the BBNaija ex-housemates, Anto; and a representative of Team Definition, a band of musical artistes which entertained guests at the session.
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