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Pension Fund Assets Grow 10.28% to N9.33trn in Six Months

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has revealed that the total pension fund assets as at June 30, 2019 stood at N9.33 trillion.

Business Post gathered from a report released by the agency that from the figure moved from N8.46 trillion in January 2019 to N9.33 trillion in June 2019, indicating an increase of 10.28 percent in the period under review.

From the data, the pension fund assets recorded an inflow of N21 billion from pension contributors in the second quarter of this year, with government securities making the highest contribution of 69.55 percent, largely dominated by 47.60 percent of FGN bonds and 20.77 percent of treasury bills.

Another big contributor to the pension fund assets were local money market securities with 11.21 percent and the domestic equities contributed 5.76 percent, while foreign shares made a meagre 0.70 percent.

Business Post observed from the data that in the second quarter of 2019, investment in FGN securities dropped to N6.49 trillion in June from N6.55 trillion in April, while investment in corporate debt securities increased in the same period to N505.82 billion from N474.32 billion, with investment in local money market securities rising from N947.34 billion in April to N1.10 trillion in June.

However, investment in mutual funds decreased to N23.67 billion in June 2019 from N24.52 billion recorded in April 2019.

Source: businesspost

Liberia: Atlantic Ocean Washes Away 72 Homes in West Point

West Point, Monrovia – When Patricia Siryon woke up Wednesday, July 31 at 2 am to use the bathroom, her children were covered in water. She screamed to seek her neighbors’ attention but they too were struggling to take their belongings from the water.

“I had no idea that the water took away the houses before me, till I came out, I was so confused and just told my children to get through the other door for safety while I helped my neighbors,” Siryon explains.

Pointing to her disarray and extremely wet room, the single mother of five said she was worried that the Atlantic Ocean would make her family homeless.

Sea erosion remains a serious threat for residents of West Point – Monrovia’s biggest slum – as hundreds of homes have already been washed away in the last couple of years.

The National Disaster Agency says safe drinking water, food, mosquito nets, water guide, and blankets are now needed to help the victims.

Wednesday’s disaster saw 72 homes destroyed by sea erosion, and there are also concerns that three fishermen who went on expedition did not return that day.

Seven persons were injured when a wall collapse. They were later rescued by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP).

Many residents in West Point are fishermen or fish sellers. Siryon canoe was destroyed and she’s now worried about feeding her children and sending them to school.

She raised over L$ 5,000 (USD$25.00) but with the damaged canoe, she’s now clueless about her next move.

Fayiah Johnson and Betty Lamin are also worried. Like Siryon, their eight-bedroom house was wiped away by the sea erosion.

Betty’s shop, which was attached to her house, was washed away. She lost all of her goods while Fayiah’s money exchange-abox and personal effects were lost in the water.

“We don’t have no way to stay; we are presently residing with my mother, the house is small but that is the only way we have for now,” Fayiah said.

“Our concern is to protect the children from the sea because we foresee the taking away this old Kru beach [community].”

The Ministry of Public Works has promised to extend the government’s coastal defense project to the community as a similar project makes an intervention in Popo Beach, New Kru Town.

But in West point, Janet Toe’s home, which was marked by the MPW after the government promised to use rocks as coastal defense, was destroyed on Wednesday.

“My house was marked and now it is gone, I don’t know what my family will benefit most when everything is wiped away,” said Toe, who is now displaced in the community school building.

“My whole house went; my children are safe but all our belongings went except for the bed.”

Thomas Joemah accuses the government including current representative Solomon George of ignoring the plights of dwellers.

“We don’t expect this from this Government because District #7, mainly West Point voted this government hugely. I don’t want to talk about Solomon George because he is not seeking the interest of the district,” said Joemah, whose home was also destroyed by the angry waves.

“If the water takes your home away, people here only keep you for a month and they expect you to leave and move on with life.

“My family is surviving by the grace of God – yesterday, we ate farina because that was what we could afford.”

Rose Granery, a mother of 10 children, lost her second home to the sea erosion on Wednesday. She was already recovering from the loss of her four-bedroom home in last year’s erosion.

Rose and her children are currently residing in a church near the debris of her home. The church building is also under threat from the sea erosion as cracks on the building widen.

Rose said she sold dried fish before the latest disaster. Unfortunately, she couldn’t save her dryer from been taken away by the waves.

Daniel Grant of the Disaster Victims Association of West Point says the organization has been working with many victims but stressed that minimizing disaster requires more awareness.

Grant urged the Government to begin the coastal defense to protect more homes from destruction.

Prince Nagbe, Director of Communication at Ministry of Public says the marking of the homes were in consultation with residents who consented.

According to him, the marking was done to break down homes to connect waterside with West Point.

Meanwhile, National Disaster Management (NDMA) & National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) Joint Rapid Assessment of West Point have found that the sea is fast advancing on Power Plain, Kru Beach, and Fanti Town – the three communities where the 72 homes were washed away by sea erosion.

The NDMA says hundreds of people are currently internally displaced and are squatting in the homes of relatives and friends and community dwellers are apprehensive over the delay of government to construct the coastal defense.

Source: frontpageafricaonline

Delta To Sanction Officials For Illegal Approvals

Delta State Government has declared that all illegal structures on waterways, should be pulled down, promising to come hard on any official that flouts the directive.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa warned officials of the Ministry of Lands and Surveys to ensure that they visit sites before approving buildings, and avoid issuing building approval certificates to property developers without visiting such sites to know whether they are on roads or waterways.

According to the governor, “an official of the Ministry who engages in such activities will face sanctions as this administration has set out to demolish structures on the waterways, especially in Warri, Uvwie and environs”

He spoke in Asaba when he received the Final Preliminary Report Of The Committee To Study And Advise Government On Measures Required To Tackle And Control Flooding Of Effurun/Warri And Its Environs In Delta State.

“Henceforth for any building plan for approval, those who are in charge of the approvals must go to site; people must be alive to their duties and not just sit in their offices and approve building plans because, for our people who are building on natural waterways, the structures will be pulled down.

The Governor further said, “If there is any marked building, the people must stop the construction and it must be enforced; It is our desire to reduce the level of flooding in Warri, Effurun and its environs.”

Earlier, John Onwualu, an engineer, had in his presentation, observed that “a large part of the flooding in Warri, Uvwie and environs is caused by blocked drainages, overgrown weeds on water channels, and developers building on the waterways, otherwise, there are natural waterways in the area.”

Source: guardianng

Court Restrains ARCON From Conducting Qualifying Exams

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has restrained the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) from conducting and or conducting any qualifying professional examination by whatsoever name or form for the registration of architects in Nigeria. Justice Muawiyah Baba Idris made the order upon hearing of a motion of ex parte dated May 30, 2019, and moved on July 30, 2019, by S.N Mbaezue of Paul Ananaba & Co, counsel representing some concerned architects.

In the motion filed by the concerned architects and some of them that passed the qualifying examinations conducted by the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) and supported by a 45-paragraph affidavit, the applicants had urged the court for an order of interlocutory injunction against the defendants.

They named ARCON, its president, NIA and its president, as defendants. In his ruling on the motion marked M/6824/19, Justice Idris granted the reliefs sought by the applicants and adjourned hearing on the originating summons till August 8, 2010.

The court also ordered that the summons be served on NIA (2nd defendant) and NIA president (4th defendant). In the originating summons, the concerned architects had urged the court to determine whether by the provisions of Sections 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the Architects Registration Act, CAP A19, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the roles of ARCON extended to the setting up and conducting of qualifying examination for architects in Nigeria.

The applicants also asked for a declaration that the function of ARCON was the regulation of architecture only in Nigeria, which included the registration of architects who had sat and passed the qualifying examination. They further sought a declaration that the only body required to carry out and conduct qualifying examination for the registration of architects in Nigeria NIA.

The aggrieved architects, among other things, also asked for a court declaration that the professional qualifying examination to be conducted for the registration of architects in Nigeria was the Professional Practice Competence Examination (PPCE) and must be in accordance with the Constitution of NIA. It would be recalled that ARCON and NIA had been in dispute over who should conduct architects’ qualifying examination thereby leading to the non-registration of many architects who had already sat and passed the examination.

Source: dailytrustng

Industry Leaders Plan Cement Innovation Confab

Industry leaders, experts and stakeholders have said there is a need to focus on innovation in the cement and concrete industry.

Stakeholders have therefore concluded plans to meet in Singapore in October to discuss innovation within the sector to find solutions to challenges in the industry including ways of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from production processes.

Global Cement and Concrete Association said ‘Innovation in Focus’ would be the theme of this year’s annual conference.

The association said it would have in attendance delegates from around the world including renowned global experts, industry CEOs, executives and other key industry stakeholders who would share ideas on innovation, the future of cities and sustainable construction among other major global trends influencing the future of the cement and concrete industry.

The GCCA said delegates would also listen to experts’ views on a wide range of other topics including technology developments; carbon capture, use and storage; construction techniques; process improvements; new binders; design and architecture.

It stated that a high-level session led by world renowned smart cities expert, Ayesha Khanna, and other speakers from Nigeria, India and Singapore would explore the future of cities, sustainable construction and the role of concrete.

The Chief Executive Officer, GCCA, Benjamin Sporton, said, “This conference is an important opportunity for the global industry to come together and discuss some of the opportunities and challenges we face. With its key focus on innovation, the conference boasts an exciting programme and demonstrates the cement and concrete industry’s commitment to driving progress in sustainable construction and innovation across our value chain.

“Success in meeting these challenges, including reducing our Co2 emissions, will require collaboration on global solutions. The GCCA annual conference aims to facilitate such collaboration, bringing together some of the best and brightest minds within the sector but also from the wider built environment. It is sure to be a key date in the industry’s calendar.”

According to the group, the Singapore event is the GCCA’s second annual conference, following the inaugural London conference of 2018, and is open to all member companies, the wider industry and other built environment stakeholders.

Source: punchng

I Put In 18 Hours Into My Business Everyday —Dangote

In the recently released 2017 KPMG CEO Outlook, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President of the Dangote Group, provides insight into his business success.

Dangote Group, one of the leading diversified business conglomerates in Africa, generates revenues in excess of US$3 billion and employs more than 26,000 people, with business interests as diverse as cement, sugar, pasta, natural gas, and telecommunications.

“I think really, the future is looking very, very bright,” the business mogul said.

Dangote said rather than entering a new market via acquisition, he prefers to builda business from scratch and then “start competing with a lot of existing players.”

“Areas where some of our competitors have been, for 50 years before us, we’ve gone there, we’ve struggled with them, we’ve taken more market share…with no advertisements, nothing,” he added.

“What we’re doing is making sure the quality is unquestionable,” he said, adding that when “you’re providing the highest quality product in the market, you’re able to attach a very good price to that product.”

Dangote recalled that when he entered the cement business, he realized the burning question was whether his company would be able to produce cement that rivaled the quality of the established and only other cement producer operating in Nigeria at that time.

He said: “We concentrated on quality. We knew customers would not trust our brand because they’d been used to one brand for over 50 years. That’s how we came out to have the best quality ever.”

Dangote revealed that he rises before 5:30 a.m. every day and after prayers and run 10 kilometres.

He is at the office by 8:30 a.m. putting in 18-hour days on a regular basis.

“I don’t really take my job as something I have to do, it is my hobby. Twenty-four hours in a day really is not enough,” he added.

On the topic of leadership, for any company to be successful, Dangote said: “The main objective for any CEO is to make sure there’s ownership.

“Some of our competitors are not doing well because there’s nothing like ownership in their businesses.

“What we try to train our people on is that they must be committed and they must have ownership of the business.

“Don’t take it as something that you’re doing just to earn a salary. I think that kind of outlook can bring a major change in any business that you operate.”

Source: tribuneonlineng

Yobe: Flood Wrecks Havoc, Destroys 300 Houses, Farms

No fewer than 300 houses and several farmlands have been destroyed by devastating floods in Ngalda, Yobe, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports.

The floods, which followed days of persistent rainfall, also destroyed schools and livestock.

NAN reports that Alhaji Idi Gubana, the state’s Deputy Governor, who visited the community on Friday, expressed shock at the level of destruction and promised government’s support to the victims.

“The level of destruction is devastating; it is quite unfortunate. Government will provide relief materials to the victims,” Gubana said.

He said that Gov Mai Mala Buni, who is currently in Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage, had directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), to provide food, clothes, mattresses and blankets to the victims.

“The agency will provide 140 bags of rice, 141 blankets, 141 pieces of women wrappers, fives bales of men clothes, mosquito nets, buckets, among others,” he said.

He assured the victims that government would work toward finding a permanent solution to the yearly flood in the area.

“The acting Secretary to the State Government will liaise with the Ministry of Environment and SEMA to work towards relocating people in the affected area to a more secured abode,” he said.

He commended the community for hosting most of the affected families in their houses.

“You have exhibited a good spirit of brotherliness that is worthy of commendation and emulation” he said.

Source: blueprint

FG appoints Sunday Thomas Acting Commissioner for Insurance/CEO NAICOM

The Federal Government on Friday appointed Sunday Thomas, the acting commissioner for Insurance/CEO of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) pending the appointment of a substantive Commissioner.

He takes over from Mohammed Kari, immediate past commissioner for Insurance whose four years tenure ended 30th July 2019, but was not renewed for second terms.

The appointment was announced in a letter entitled: Re: Handing Over Note: Appointment of Acting Commissioner for Insurance, referenced, F.1948/BFPIAC/S,2/24, dated August 9, 2019 and signed for Permanent Secretary, Finance by deputy director, Home Finance, A.O. Bello.

According to him, the appointment was to ensure the effective administration of the commission in line with the provisions of the National Insurance Commission Act 1997.

Thomas was appointed Deputy Commissioner for Insurance Technical by President Muhammadu Buhari On April 15, 2017, having had over three dedicates of experience in the industry, both as regulator and operator. Prior his appointment in April 2017 as Deputy Commissioner in charge of technical matters at the Commission, Thomas held the position of Director –General at the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) for seven years from May 2010.

He is a vastly experienced and knowledgeable Insurance Professional with over 35 years uninterrupted service to the Nigerian insurance industry.

During these years, Thomas worked as a Director for seventeen (17) years at the National Insurance Commission from 1992 to December 2009 where at different times, he superintended over different departments in the technical division. He had also worked as an insurance operator for over 10 years and rose to the position of Assistant General Manager at AIICO Insurance Plc until he left in 1992 to join NAICOM.

Thomas is an active participant in the insurance industry activities and had served as member of several Committees not only within the insurance industry but the entire Financial Services Sector. He holds a BSc (Hons) in Actuarial Science and an MBA Finance both from the University of Lagos.

Source: businessdayng

Mortgage rates plunge to their lowest levels in 33 months

Driven down by worries about a trade war with China, mortgage rates have sunk to multiyear lows.

According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average tumbled to 3.6 percent with an average 0.6 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount and are in addition to the interest rate.) It was 3.75 percent a week ago and 4.59 percent a year ago. The 30-year fixed rate, which hasn’t been this low since November 2016, has fallen nearly a full percentage point since the first of the year.

The 15-year fixed-rate average dropped to 3.05 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.2 percent a week ago and 4.05 percent a year ago. The five-year adjustable rate average declined to 3.36 percent with an average 0.3 point. It was 3.46 percent a week ago and 3.90 percent a year ago.

“Mortgage rates fell to fresh multiyear lows this week as intensifying trade tensions rattled markets,” said Matthew Speakman, a Zillow economist. “This week’s escalation of the conflict greatly overshadowed a series of market-moving economic reports, including July’s jobs data, typically the most-watched report each month, and pushed mortgage rates down sharply, as investors sought the safe haven of government bonds. With a light dose of economic data on deck for the coming week, the market’s attention will likely remain on gauging the impact of the trade war on the global economy.”

The yield on the 10-year Treasury sank to three-year lows this week as trade tensions with China escalated, global economic growth slowed and moves by central banks across the globe made investors anxious. It fell to 1.71 percent on Wednesday and hasn’t been above 2 percent this month.

Bond yields move in opposite directions of prices. When demand for bonds is high, prices rise and yields fall.

Long-term bonds tend to be the most reliable indicators of where mortgage rates are headed. However, home loan rates haven’t declined as sharply as the 10-year yield.

“The big move down in Treasury yields has not yet translated into similarly lower mortgage rates,” said Michael Becker, branch manager of Sierra Pacific Mortgage in White Marsh, Md. “Mortgage-backed securities have not rallied as much as Treasuries. This often happens when Treasury yields drop quickly.”

Bankrate.com, which puts out a weekly mortgage rate trend index, found that half of the experts it surveyed say rates will move lower in the coming week. Becker is one of the experts predicting rates will continue to fall.

“Mortgage rates are the best they’ve been since November of 2016,” he said. “If this move in Treasury yields holds, I would expect mortgage rates to start to catch up with the move in Treasury yields and we will see lower rates in the coming week.”

Meanwhile, falling rates caused mortgage applications to pick up. According to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, the market composite index — a measure of total loan application volume — increased 5.3 percent from a week earlier. The refinance index jumped 12 percent from the previous week, while the purchase index fell 2 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 53.9 percent of all applications.

“The lowest mortgage rates in well over two years led to a surge in refinancing, with activity up 12 percent last week and 116 percent from a year ago,” said Bob Broeksmit, MBA president and CEO. “Purchase applications also continue to trend higher than year-ago levels, but activity has decreased in recent weeks. Concerns about the economic outlook and stock market volatility are likely causing some prospective buyers to delay their home search.”

The MBA also released its mortgage credit availability index (MCAI) this week that showed credit availability decreased in July. The MCAI edged down 0.4 percent to 189 last month. A decrease in the MCAI indicates lending standards are tightening, while an increase signals they are loosening.

Source: washingtonpost

N5trn Debt: We Don’t Owe AMCON–United Capital

The management of United Capital Trustees Limited (UCTL) has refuted claims by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) that the company was part of those indebted to the asset recovery agency to the tune of N5 trillion.

UCTL, which was formerly known as UBA Trustees Limited, disclosed in a statement that it got involved with Geometrics Power Limited, one of firms on the debtors’ list, when its Chairman, Professor Bart Nnaji, was appointed as a Minister by federal government.

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In the statement signed the scribe of United Capital, Mr Leo Okafor, it was explained that, “The relationship between UTCL and Geometrics Power Limited stemmed from a Blind Trust set up by the Chairman of Geometrics Power Limited when he was appointed Minister by the previous administration and to avoid conflict of interest in his duty as Minister, had appointed UCTL and Mr Austin Akpe (representing UCTL) to the board of Geometrics Power Limited.

“The relationship was only for the period when he was Minster and it ceased immediately, he resigned from the Executive Cabinet and returned to Geometrics Power Limited to resume its management and administration.

 

“The Chairman in January 29, 2014 terminated the Blind Trust with United Capital Trustees Limited and took full charge of Geometrics Power Limited but omitted to regularise or reconstitute the board by deleting the name of United Capital Trustees Limited (UTCL) and Mr Austin Akpe.”

“In view of the information above, we request your platform to kindly exclude the names of United Capital Trustees Limited (UTCL) formerly UBA Trustees Limited and Mr Austin Akpe from the list of AMCON Debtors,” the statement said.

Source: businesspostng

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