THE federal government has said it had paid N26 billion to agro-dealers for the supply of farm inputs to farmers across the country for the 2014 rainy season. Ibukun Odusote, permanent secretary, federal ministry of agriculture and rural development, made this known in Minna, Niger State, during a meeting with stakeholders from the northern states on the performance of the growth enhancement support, GES, programme since inception in 2012.
“Total bills received so far from the agro-dealers under the Federal Government’s 2013 rainy season farming is N45bn, out of which N26bn has been paid, leaving an outstanding balance of about N19bn being processed,” she said, adding that the 2013/2014 dry season farming, bills worth N4.6bn were received and were being processed.
Odusite said the government had captured 10.5 million farmers across the country in the national database since the inception of the GES scheme. The permanent secretary also said the measure had ensured that only genuine farmers got subsidised inputs such as improved seedlings and fertilisers through the electronic wallet system and use of scratch cards. “To ensure that only genuine farmers got subsidised inputs, farmers’ enumeration was carried out at the end of the 2013 farming season and 10.5 million farmers were captured in the national database.”
She said since the commencement of the implementation of the GES in 2013, farmers had received 50 per cent subsidy for fertilisers and 100 per cent for improved seeds, adding that only registered farmers received subsidies from the government.
Stallion Group Rolls Out Nigerian Car
THE federal government’s quest to have Made-in-Nigeria vehicles under the new auto policy is yielding results. The Stallion Group has rolled out its first Nigeria Nissan-branded vehicle from its Lagos assembly plant. Stallion is Nissan’s exclusive distributor in Nigeria and has upgraded its automotive assembly facility to international standards.
Announcing the inaugural roll-out of a gleaming black Nissan Patrol vehicle from the plant, Sunil Vaswani, chairman, Stallion Group, said it was a promise kept. “In October 2013, upon the announcement of the Federal Government’s new auto policy, Nissan and Stallion had committed to commencing assembly by April this year. We are immensely pleased to mark our success in meeting this targeted time frame. Our long-term partnership with Nissan will continue to flourish, resulting in expansion of our capacities and product range. Several other upcoming models, including the Almera (Sunny) and pick-ups will shortly be made available to our valued customers in Nigeria. The commencement of assembly will also generate significant employment opportunities for Nigerians and the establishment of several ancilliary industries,” he said.
Vasawani said the roll- out of the vehicles marked a significant milestone in the history of the country. “We believe that this is a historic moment in Nigeria’s progress towards creating and fostering local industries. It will result in Nigeria becoming the region’s leader in automotive industry.”
Takashi Hata, Nissan senior vice -president and chairman for Africa, Middle East and India region, said Africa remained the firm’s growth driver, adding that demand for automobiles continued to grow. “For Nissan, Africa is our strategic growth driver. Demand for cars is growing quickly in African markets. By acting quickly to begin production in Nigeria, we are securing for ourselves first-mover advantage.” The roll-out of the first Nissan vehicle comes shortly after confirmation that Nigeria’s booming economy has now overtaken that of South Africa.
Worries of Insurance Consumers
THE Insurance Consumers Association of Nigeria, INSCAN, has called on insurance operators to see claims payment as the right of the insurance consumer and not as a favour. Yemi Soladoye, national technical adviser, INSCAN, who made the assertion, stated that the insurance premium does not belong to any insurance company, it is money held in trust for the policy holders.
“We the insurance consumers in Nigeria feel that insurance business is that of collecting money from the shareholders and the policy holders mainly for the benefit of the practitioners or how else would we describe a situation whereby in 2011 the net claims paid to us was N30.7 billion but management expenses totalled N36.7 billion out of N163 billion generated as gross premium from the general business class. This is 18 percent of the gross premium income and in fact one of the most ridiculous claims ratio in the world. In some individual company cases, the gross claims ratio was as ridiculous as 3.0 percent. We the consumers are very much aware of the fact that – the insurance premium does not belong to any insurance company, it is money held in trust for the policy holders,” he said.
Soladoye said that a claims ratio of 18 percent should be a source of concern to any industry that is interested in its future, adding “In most other countries of the world, claim servicing cost alone – provision of replacement car, alternative accommodation, cost of investigation, payment for temporary staff, and computer are well over 25 per cent of the gross premium income.”
He said according to Ralph Nader and Wesley Smith in their book ‘Winning the Insurance Game,’ the greatest calamity that can befall a man is to suddenly discover that his so-called insurance protection is a worthless piece of paper. Research has also shown that in any country where the claims ratio is below 30 per cent, it is either that the premiums charged are too high or claims are not adequately paid. In Nigeria, it appears it is both.
Soladoye also charged insurance operators to minimize the claim documentation and investigation process and time. “Stop the practice of requesting for claims documentation piece- meal as a way of buying time. In other countries of the world, insurers have stipulated period on which claim must be paid and at times they conduct their investigation for up to seven years but the claim must be paid promptly. In Nigeria, our members are made to wait on adjuster’s report which takes ages to come and who we did not appoint in the first place. The insurers in Nigeria are protected by Sec. 52 of the NAICOM Act 1997 in case they paid out any fraudulent claim, and hence our members should receive their entitlement at the time they are still in grief,” he said.
Compiled By Anayo Ezugwu
— May 12, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT