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AIICO Insurance reports N32.1bn gross premium

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  • .To pay shareholders N0.05kobo dividend

 

Foremost underwriting firm, AIICO Insurance Plc, has reported a gross premium of N32.1billion at the end of the financial year ended December 31, 2017. Disclosing this in Lagos, the Managing Director/CEO of the company, Mr. Edwin Igbiti, said that the premium income grew by 19 per cent or N5.03 billion from N27.06 billion for the year ended December 31, 2016. He also proposed a dividend of 5kobo to shareholders of the company, saying the 19 per cent growth was due to improved performance in life business. According to him, “our life business grew 15 per cent from N18.8 billion to N21.6 billion in 2017.

This growth was driven by the increased popularity of our traditional life products. The ordinary life business grew 29 per cent in 2017 to N16.4 billion from N12.8 billion in 2016.” Igbiti, who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer (COO), Tunde Fajemirokun, said growth in the non-life business rose from N7.6 billion in 2016 to N8.7 billion in 2017, representing an increase of N1.1 billion or 15 per cent.

“We have worked to improve our relationships with agents, brokers and various intermediaries this year to improve performance,” he added. While noting that investment and other income rose massively by 92 per cent in 2017 to N15.1 billion from N7.8 billion reported in 2016, he said total comprehensive income was not left out as it increased to a profit of N2.4 billion from a loss position of N655 million reported in 2016.

Total assets grew 19 per cent to N92 billion in 2017 from N77.5 billion in 2016, while total shareholders’ equity also appreciated 25 per cent to N10.9 billion in 2017 from N8.7 billion in 2016. The growth of over N2.2 billion was achieved despite the complete derecognition of deferred tax assets in the company’s balance sheet.

This, he said, translated to a net asset per share (Book value per share) of N1.58k compared to N1.25k in 2016. Speaking further on investment income, he said: “We will continue to pursue an active investment strategy to take advantage of market conditions and improve our investment performance. The relatively low-interest rate environment provided an opportunity for the company to make some gains through trading.

This was responsible for net realised gains of N5.3 billion compared to N336 million in 2016.” He affirmed that the company’s financial position remained robust, and an area of focus for the company and an indicator of “our capacity and strength. Assets remain adequately matched to liabilities and legacy concerns have been appropriately addressed. Value has been created over the last 5 years.

“We experienced significant growth as a company in 2017. We had to significantly increase our capacity and improve our processes to meet up with customer demands. Over the next few years, we have plans to grow our businesses; this means we must invest in technology and people to ensure our processes are more efficient to increase our capacity and improve our processes to meet up with customer demands.

Over the next few years, we have plans to grow our businesses; this means we must invest in technology and people to ensure our processes are more efficient to increase customer service levels,” Igbiti noted.

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Tincan Customs chief to implement 48-hour cargo clearance

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Customs Area Controller (CAC), Tin Can Island Port Command, Musa Baba Abdullahi has reiterated the command’s unshaken commitment to achieve 48hour cargo clearance from the port without compromising revenue collection and national security.

The customs chief said efforts are being put in place to maximise benefits of technology and build the command’s manpower to meet with the growing challenges of modern trade.

 

While addressing maritime journalists in his Apapa office, Musa identified swift dispute resolution as a key component to facilitate trade. He said the command has put in place a faster mechanism to address any area of disagreement in interpretations of guidelines for duty collection and other related matters.

 

He added that a committee put in place for disputes resolution meets as soon as any dispute arises to avoid port users incurring costs caused as a result of delays in resolving such disputes.

 

According to him, there is a quicker process of bringing issues to his attention and contacting the headquarters where necessary to avoid delays associated with such disagreements. He said the command has stepped up efforts at keeping officers and relevant stakeholders abreast with the use of technology for the purpose of customs operations.

 

The Controller disclosed that senior officers and licensed customs agents are being trained at the command’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) Centre on the latest Nigeria Customs Information System (NICIS 2) in batches.

 

Musa said the training and retraining of customs personnel and stakeholders will continue with a view to getting as many persons as possible knowledgeable in the workings of the system.

 

He also stressed the need for all stakeholders to increase their levels of compliance with rules and improve on their knowledge as ways of achieving seamless flow of trade thereby achieving faster clearance of goods from the port.

The Controller also advised the maritime media to uphold the ethics of their profession and be fair and truthful in all they do.

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Early rainfall to boost Nigeria’s cocoa mid-crop

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Nigeria’s mid-crop cocoa output for 2017/18 could rise by 15 per cent from last season, helped by a mix of rainfall and sunshine in the main growing regions which has helped the trees, President of Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN) Sayina Riman said in a recent interview with Bloomberg.

 

Drought cut last season’s mid-crop harvest by 40 per cent. The dry weather continued into the main crop of the new season.

 

Riman said the drought affected the trees, reducing output of between 300,000 tonnes and 320,000 tonnes projected at the beginning of the 2017/18 season.

 

He said that early rains in March and April have helped boost the mid-crop, which could see the season’s output close at around 290,000.
Riman farms on a 170 hectare cocoa plantation in Nigeria’s second-biggest region of Cross Rivers.

 

The cocoa season in Nigeria runs from October to September, with an October-to-February main crop and a smaller light or mid-crop that begins in April or May and runs through September.

 

“Despite the drought of last year which affected cocoa we believe we would be close to 290,000 tonnes for 2017/18 season,” Riman told Reuters.

 

The International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO), however, gives much lower estimates of Nigerian cocoa output. It forecast last season’s production at 225,000 tonnes.

 

Riman did not give a reason for the discrepancy. Nigerian government production figures are also significantly higher than ICCO estimates.

 

Nigeria has recently emerged from recession and a currency crisis which caused a chronic dollar shortage, forcing exporters to under-invoice their goods in order to use the foreign exchange black market to get premium for their hard currency.

 

The action caused the West African country slip to the sixth producer of cocoa in the world at the peak of the crisis. Riman said Nigeria was getting back to number four grower as exporters now use the official currency markets.

Riman said Nigeria was working on improving its bean quality especially with renewed demand from Europe.

 

However, bean count, a measure of the number of beans needed to produce 100 grams of cocoa, reached as high as 140 for the main crop.

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Rising Nigerian bonds drags yields down

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Nigeria’s local-currency bonds are on a roll, rising for the last eight days and driving their yields below Turkey’s for the first time in more than two years.

 

The average rate on Nigerian government bonds has fallen around 400 basis since an August-peak to 13 per cent. Yields are now 100 basis points below the Central Bank of Nigeria’s benchmark interest rate of 14 per cent, where its been held since July 2016.

Investors have piled into the naira market thanks to slowing inflation, a stable currency and rising Brent crude prices, which climbed about 25 per cent in the past six months to more than $70 a barrel. In contrast, they’ve turned bearish on Turkey, which has the worst-performing local bonds in emerging markets this year, because of accelerating inflation and loose monetary policy.

 

Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, may be tempted to commence his long-touted easing cycle and help revive the economy that has faltered since the 2014 oil crash. While that would reduce the attractiveness of naira assets, Nigerian yields are still high relative to other major emerging markets. Aside from Turkey, Argentina and Egypt’s bonds are the only ones to yield more in the Bloomberg Barclays EM Local Currency Index.

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