BUSINESS NEWS: DIAMOND, ACCESS, ECOBANK PLC BATTLE OIL COMPANY OVER N36.7BILLION DEBT
In a desperate more to recover over N36.7billion loan, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has dragged an oil company, Aquitaine Oil and Gas Limited, and its Managing Director, Mr. Ikechukwu Okolo, to court.
In a statement of claim filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos, AMCON said as at October 31, 2010, the total indebtedness of the oil company to six banks stood at N36,781,443,091.99, excluding the interest that have accrued from date of purchase till the commencement of the action.
The debts to each of the bank bank were listed as follows:
(I). Oceanic Bank (now Ecobank Plc, N8,740,606,062.13k
(ii) Afribank Plc (now Mainstreet Bank Plc) N3,883,514,294.00k
(iii) Finbank Plc (N9,919,735,637.10k)
(iv) Intercontinental Bank Plc (now Access Bank Plc) N1,485,191,419.15k
(v) Access Bank Plc N4,240,865,675.00k
(vi) Diamond Bank Plc N8,511,528,968.06k
The security for the various credit facilities made available by the oil company were listed as follows:
(1) 4C, 4D and 4F Bedwell Avenue, Ikoyi, Lagos
(2) Plot A and B1, Plot 67 Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase I, Lagos.
(3) Plot 4, Mabogunje Street, Oniru Private Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos.
(4) 9, Takura Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja
(5) 3, Olaitan Road, Oniru Private Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos.
(6) Plot 11, House 7A, B and C Ogunyemi Street, Oniru Private Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos.
(7) Plot 1297, Naiorbi Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja
(8) K1, Adeleke Adedoyin Street, off Kofo Abayomi Street, Lekki Phase I, Lagos,
(9) Victoria Okolo Court, Plot 6, Esther Adeleke Street, lekki Phase I, LAgso
(10) Aquitaine Tank Firm, Ibru Complex, West Minister Jetty, Along Apapa/Oshodi Expressway, Lagos and
(11) 16.99 percent equity takes in Sogara Refinery, Gabon.
AMCON averred that the tenour of the respective facilities have since expired.
It was further alleged by AMCON that several demands were made for the settlement of the debts but that the oil company failed to liquidate the debt.
The plaintiff said the oil company had no defense to the suit and consequently urged the court to enter a summary judgment for the forfeiture of assets of the company to AMCON and sale or disposal of assets and securities of the oil company’s assets by AMCON in line with provision of AMCON Act 2010.
In the alternative, AMCON is urging the court to order the oil company and its Managing Director, Mr. Ikechukwu Okolo, who stood personal guarantee for the loans, to pay the sum of N36,781,443,091.99 being the total indebtedness to the banks as at 31st of October 2010, with interest at the rate of 25 percent per annum from 31st of October, 2010, until judgment is finally delivered.
However, counsel to the defendants told the court that there were moves to settle the matter out of court, consequent upon which the case was adjourned for report of settlement.
CBN EARMARKS N132BN TO EMPOWER NIGERIAN WOMEN
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has earmarked the sum of N132 billion under its Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF), to enhance Women Economic Empowerment in the country.
The amount represents 60 per cent of the total sum of N220 billion set aside by the apex bank under the scheme to address cash flow challenges of financial services in the Micro Finance sub sector.
This was the highpoint of a meeting held in Abuja at the weekend between the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, and the Acting Governor of the Central Bank, Mrs. Sarah Alade.
Hajiya Maina commended the CBN for taking the lead in promoting financial inclusion of women and other marginalized Nigerians through its various schemes such as the Revised Micro-Finance Policy, the Agricultural Credit Guaranty Scheme, the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) and the newly-introduced MSMEDF.
She noted that these schemes, if properly harnessed especially by women at the grassroots, would go a long way in reducing the current exclusion rate of women from financial services of 46.3 to 20.0 per cent by the year 2020, and ensure the much-needed economic empowerment of women in the country.
“The successful integration of women in the financial system will ultimately lead to robust participation of Nigerians in the economy, lead to expansion of available markets and enhanced economic development.
“The Ministry welcomes more initiatives by financial community to encourage access of its target groups to financial services, especially women at the grassroots that contribute greatly to the GDP, and produce more than 70 per cent of agricultural produce,” she added.
The minister, however, urged the CBN to engage gender-sensitive Micro Finance Banks in the disbursement of the funds to the end beneficiaries so that the generality of women would not be schemed out.
Earlier, the Acting Governor of the CBN, Mrs. Sarah Alade, observed that in most cases, women exclusion in financial services was as a result of lack of financial literacy of the women, especially those at the grassroots.
To this end, she emphasized the need for the CBN to collaborate with the ministry on advocacy programmes that will create the necessary awareness towards greater participation of women at the grassroots on the various economic support programmes of the bank, especially the Agricultural Credit Guaranty Scheme meant for small scale farmers.
Mrs. Alade noted the need to ensure feedbacks during the enlightenment campaign to enable the CBN make necessary policy adjustments and guide the bank in fine-tuning the guidelines of the new SMMEDF scheme.
Dana Air strengthens domestic operations …introduces additional flights
Dana Air has further reinforced its domestic flight operations by introducing additional flights across its existing route network from its hub at the Lagos Murtala Mohammed Airport Terminal 2 (MMA2) in response to growing demand by guests who desire convenience.
With the development, Dana Air has inaugurated an earlier flight from Lagos to Abuja that departs at 7:02 whilst it has also strengthened the Abuja to Port Harcourt route with the introduction of an additional flight to cater for the growing needs of the flying public.
Announcing the introduction of the additional routes in Lagos, the Head, Commercial, Mr. Obialor Mbanuzuo, said “Dana Air route plans are entirely a function of customers’ demand and the airline is consolidating its operations on the Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt axis following extensive market research that has shown strong customer demand for the additional flights especially the earlier flights that have been inaugurated on the Lagos to Abuja and Abuja to Port Harcourt routes.” He also enjoined passengers in both Abuja and Port Harcourt who do not want to transit in Lagos to take advantage of the additional flights between Abuja and Port Harcourt for both their leisure and business travels.
Mr. Mbanuzuo also noted that Dana Air currently offers competitive webfares to guests who search and book flights on the recently introduced Flydana Mobile app platform and it is therefore imperative for them to visit the app’s stores to freely download the application that puts booking convenience in the hands of discerning guests.
With superior performance, service and creativity, Dana Air is uncompromising in its commitment to excellence and safety as it is currently the only Nigerian carrier to have successfully undergone an operational audit conducted by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority Flight Safety Group in partnership with their foreign counterparts.
Also, in its determination to meet the highest global aviation safety standards, the airline has commenced an Implementation Training Initiative as part of the preliminary process to prepare for the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). Dana Air is one of ten airlines benefiting from the IOSA implementation training initiative that is 100 per cent funded by International Airline Training Fund (IATF).
RETAIL MARKETING AND INSURANCE PENETRATION IN NIGERIA
By Kunle Ogedengbe
The regulatory body of insurance in Nigeria, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts at ensuring that insurance reaches all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria as it has set up machinery in motion to ensure that the mass end of the market is reached effectively through micro insurance. Micro insurance very unlike the common insurance that is patronized by the high and mighty, micro insurance focus on the lower end of the market.
The policy thrust of NAICOM should be commended as there is a growth cap for the high end of the market. Obviously, this high end market is technically experiencing diminishing returns in terms of its contribution to the insurance market. This is also caused by the introduction of no premium no cover in the Nigerian insurance industry. Many of the high networth individuals are reducing their insurance premium through reduction in their asset. The economic situation where there is lull in the system is another factor making the the growth cap of the high networth market becoming obvious. The situation is a threat to the medium to long-term focus of the industry especially in increased contribution to the gross domestic product of the economy of the largest economy in Africa and the largest market in the continent.
Not to outdo the industry in the emerging landscape in Nigeria, the National Insurance Commission has underlined the place of micro insurance. However, micro insurance as an element of retail market needs to imbibe the culture of retail marketing for its impact to be felt. Taking the United Kingdom as an example, insurance is at the grassroot. A shopping experience say at Tesco (a retail mall where all household items are bought; it is similar to Shoprite or Bazaar here in Nigeria) will invite you to insurance. The racks of leaflets in the store display insurance purchase and the attendant teller encourages you to pick the leaflets and execute the content of the leaflet which insurance is one of.
Other elements of retail marketing which will help to grow micro insurance in Nigeria and increase the contribution of insurance to the gross domestic product of the country include a good understanding of the highly dynamic and innovative retail market especially in the present time where technology is ever changing. Social and ethical issues should also be considered. The Nigerian environment has over 250 cultures. The micro insurance seller must bear in mind that not all ideas fit in well with all Nigerians. There is nothing like ‘one fits all’.
Even in retail marketing, key issues like branding should not be forgotten. People hardly buy product but brand. This means that even in micro insurance, a forward-looking underwriting company must differentiate.
Uncontrolled marketing elements like law and consumer protection must be addressed. The law must be respected while the right of the consumers must not be tramped upon.
The micro market is a price sensitive market. The marketing mix elements must be well mixed for value in the micro insurance market. Consumer credit is key in retail marketing but the environment of no premium no cover is an issue that must be addressed.
The ever-changing retail environment must be well scanned and analysed for the benefits of micro insurance. Logistics must be well sought out as the distributive channels must be well oiled for impact.
Obviously, micro insurance has lots to achieve with retail marketing. The good news is that the journey has started and it must keep moving for the future of the market is bright.
LEADWAY ASSURANCE MARKS 15 YEARS AFTER FOUNDER WITH CSR
Leadway Assurance Company Limited has reiterated its commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility.
According to a statement from the firm, the firm gave this indication when it donated some items such as medication, foodstuff and equipment to four homes in Lagos State.
The firm said this gesture was part of activities to commemorate the 15th year anniversary of its late founder, Dr. Olusola Odukale.
Leadway said that the schools visited are Modupe Cole Memorial Child Care and Treatment Home School, Akoka; Ile Aanu Olu Pre-school, Surulere; Nigerian Society for the Blind and Wesley Schools for Hearing Impaired Children.
It stated that the late founder was well known for his philanthropy, integrity and sound professional, business ethics within the industry.
Using the platform of the Leadway movie club, the company said it also hosted about 180 children from the less privileged homes to a kiddie movie at the Silverbird Galleria.
According to the firm, the children from Modupe ColeMemorial Child Care and Treatment Home School, Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria, the Slum to School Project along with their caregivers, were given exciting treats.
SOVEREIGN TRUST INSURANCE PARTNERS CVL FOR POSITIVE VALUE
IN furtherance to fulfilling its commitment towards the advancement of the Nigerian Society through its strategic Corporate Social Responsibility platform, Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc has joined hands with the Centre for Values in Leadership, CVL, in hosting the maiden edition of the Center’s Road Show tagged ‘Walk The Talk”, geared at entrenching good leadership in the society and promoting positive values.
The event comprised of distinguished Nigerians who are accomplished role models in their chosen fields. Some of these notable dignitaries expected to take part in the Walk include, Professor Pat Utomi Chairman of CVL; Mr. Wale Onaolapo, MD/CEO, Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc and the Insurance Man of the Year; Mrs. Joke Silva, Kate Henshaw and a host of others.
The ‘Walk-the Talk’ campaign which literarily means ‘practice what you preach’ is a change movement initiated to preach CVL’s leadership values while reaching out to correct some social, economic and political challenges in our society. The objective of the movement is to equip generations of young Nigerians with values and leadership skills which will make them become effective and value-driven leaders in future.
CIIN BOOSTS INSURANCE EDUCATION
THE Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) in a move to sustain insurance education and capacity building in the country, has made good its promises to equip accredited tertiary institutions offering insurance programmes with relevant tools to help students in their insurance career as well as deepen penetration.
The President of the Institute, Mr. Fatai Kayode Lawal, addressing representatives of the institutions during the presentation of computer systems to the institutions at the Council chambers of the institute in Lagos, said the event was in realization of another phase of the major anchors of the theme of his presidency of the institute: “Promoting insurance education in Nigeria.”
According to him, the Nigerian population has just about 3,500 professionally qualified insurance practitioners out of about 160 million people. Getting only 3,500 educated out of this figure is a far cry. The only way we can get insurance to penetrate every nook and cranny of this country is to get more people involved as crusaders for insurance. This we believe is the way to go.
In his remark, the Director-General of the Institute, Mr. Kola Ahmed, said the presentation is the fourth in the series of the promise made by the President in Council during his investiture in fulfillment of his agenda to move and enhance the capacity building and insurance education in the country.
Hear him: “as we move forward, we aim to boost students’ enrolment for the institutes examinations; pursue a more robust and better packaging of the institutes programmes and activities, sustain and improve upon memberships’ interest and attendance at the institutes programmes, ensure and enhance the level of confidence in and support for the secretariat, and to guarantee greater demonstration of accountability and transparency as well as greater prudence in the management of affairs of the institute.