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NIA Rises Against Employees’ Compensation Bill

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The Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) has raised its opposition against the Employee Compensation Bill. The bill which is currently awaiting the attention of the National Assembly is seen by insurers as inimical to the smooth running and growth of the insurance industry. Raising its opposition, NIA opined that it was not proper to replace the Workmen’s Compensation Act 2004 with the Employee Compensation Scheme to be managed by the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund, (NSITF). The insurers’ umbrella body recently wrote a strongly worded memorandum to the Senate Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, stressing that the NSTIF is incapable of managing the scheme. The memo which was signed by Mr. Wole Oshin, chairman of the association, who stated that the trust fund has been incapable before now in managing the deductions from workers salaries occasioned by the volume of unpaid benefits to retirees
According to the NIA, the Workmen’s Compensation Act 2004 was statutorily required to provide benefits for work-related diseases such as injuries, accidents and death, in the course of duty.  It argued that the duty of performing this role the private sector had rested under the insurance companies for decades. It further stressed that the insurance companies have been playing this role well in accordance with the Act. The body stated that since the insurers have been performing this role well, it would be improper and a negation of the spirit of federal government reform program to take the responsibility away from it and entrust it to NSITF, a public institution which already has enough challenges to handle. According to NIA, "Nigerians are aware of how public institutions vested with monopolistic powers and duties have fared. We are not sure that Nigerians want to go through that experience again". The insurers’ body reiterated that the responsibility to handle the management of risks of accident, disease and death, and paying benefits to victims falls within the jurisdiction of insurance. It stressed further that since the insurers have been doing it, there was no gain taking it away from it especially as the NSITF does not have the prerequisites to manage it such as the right training, knowledge and expertise to manage risks emanating from these tasks.  The insurers’ body emphasized that "under the present Workmen’s Compensation Act the liability for Workmen’s Compensation is on the Employers, and they are expected to insure the liability with insurance companies who must provide the money for payment of compensation whenever the need arises". Earlier, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), the regulatory body of the insurance industry had raised its objection to the move to transfer workmen’s compensation to the NSITF. With the latest move by the association, industry watchers are waiting to see which direction the pendulum would swing.
Veteran Applauds NAICOM over Claims’ Disputes Resolution
Alade Olafinmiyan, veteran insurance broker, has praised the oversight r of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), stressing that its promptness in rising to industry challenges has helped in curtailing the excesses of some insurance companies. He explained that apart from the intervention of the commission in addressing past challenges, the recent ones aimed at finding lasting solutions to disputes arising from claims is commendable. He recalled that in recent times, NAICOM has intervened in the redressing complaints arising from over 170 cases. HE stated that “the intervention led to settling claims’ dispute amounting to N182.321million. To have achieved this only within the first quarter of 2010 is an indication that the regulator is up to growing challenges facing the industry.”  According to spokesperson of the commission, Mr. Lucky Fiakpa he explained in a statement recently that most of the settled complaints were concluded  in January while the other cases which were spill- over from last year were also concluded within the time under reference.
Apparently excited at the way the Commission handled his claim issue, an assistant director with the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) wrote to the Commission recently to express his feelings when he said he respectfully thank the commission “for the prompt action that compelled the insurance company to settle my claims after 987 days. It paid the sum of N338, 895.60 inclusive of the accrued interests for the period it held the money", he disclosed. Corroborating, a Loss adjuster also commended NAICOM when he wrote that to confirm that they have received the insurer’s cheque for the amount involved in full and final settlement of their indebtedness to their organization, while expressing deep appreciation to the commission for its prompt intervention and immediate conclusion of their case. Olafinmiyan emphasized that when a body is performing creditably, the achievement cannot be hidden from industry watchers who expect high ethical standard from public institutions.  He recalled the NAICOM’s recent breakdown of settled disputes concerning claims involved a total of 142 cases which were received by it between January and March 2010 while 72 of the correspondences were fresh complaints. It would be recalled that the commission’s image maker had stated its recent statement that, Properfunds Limited lodged a complaint before the commission that five insurance institutions issued their guarantee bonds in various sums of money in their favour and when there was a default, the insurance companies refused to settle the claims with incidental interests. He explained that rising from these complaints, the commission also resolved the case between Crusader General Insurance Limited and the complainant which brought about a cheque payment of N389.021.78 which had since been issued to the complainant as full and final settlement. Also as an attestation, Mr. Fola Daniel, commissioner for insurance, had expressed concern over the issue of non-payment of claims by few operators in the market which over the years has given the industry a bad name. The commissioner gave stern warning to operator that cheques must be paid out within 90 days after due process had been followed, adding that the commission would not hesitate to cancel the licence of any defaulty operator. The veteran advised the operators to cooperate with the leadership of NAICOM to ensure that its regulatory duties are performed creditably.

 


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FG Mulls Renewable Energy for Improved Power Supply

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Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of Science and Technology, has said that the federal government plans to diversify the country’s energy supply sources to include renewable energy towards accelerating socio-economic development.

FG Mulls Renewable Energy for Improved Power Supply

Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of Science and Technology

Onu stated this when he declared open the forum on ‘Scaling-up interconnected mini-grids development in Nigeria’, ‎organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-GEF) and the Energy Commission of Nigeria, in Abuja.

He said that renewable energy will help the nation meet its electricity needs in a functional and sustainable manner, adding that it will also improve the quality of life in the country.

‎“Nigeria is endowed with substantial energy resources such as coal, crude oil and natural gas; renewables such as hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, waves and tides, as well as biomass.

‎‎“The challenge before us, has always been on how to efficiently transform these resources into adequate and reliable energy for national development using our enormous capacity in science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship”, he said.

The minister explained that since the inception of the present administration in 2015, electronic power generation capacity had increased at an annual rate of about 390 megawatts per year.

He, however, said that while this is commendable, it could not adequately meet the needs of the country’s population and sustain the desired level of economic development.

Onu further observed that Nigeria’s desire to industrialise cannot be realised without adequate power supply.

He stressed that every effort must be made to ensure that homes, offices, factories, schools, hospitals and laboratories in the country have adequate, reliable and affordable electricity supply.

“Renewable energy could meet Nigeria’s energy needs in the area of job creation and improved standard of living in rural areas,” he said.

He added that the development of solar photo-voltaic (Pv) in the country triggered by increase in demand for rural water supply, lighting, health services and micro-enterprise needs to be regulated to stimulate private sector participation.


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ROAM Africa Reports Over 2,400 Candidates Applying for One Role as Jobs Stiffens

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ROAM Africa (Ringier One Africa Media), the leading digital classifieds group in Sub-Saharan Africa, has released figures that highlight the current state of the jobs market in Africa, with one standard role attracting 2,417 applications.

Analysing 69,511 jobs listings from January 2019 to August 2020 across 5 African countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), ROAM Africa’s data sheds more light on the challenges facing both job seekers and employers in the African jobs market.

The standard job listing that attracted 2,417 applications was for a Receptionist/Admin Assistant in Kenya while another listing for call centre agents and team leaders attracted 2,283 applicants.

Similar is observed also for other markets: In Ghana, 2,299 people applied for an Administrative Assistant role and 2,265 people in Tanzania applied for a Sales Representative role.

In Nigeria, the highest number of applications for a single role was 2,095 and it was for a Sales Representative role.

According to ROAM Africa’s data, Kenya contributed the highest amount of new job listings in 2019 with 33%. Nigeria was in second place with 31% and Uganda was in third place with 17%. However, so far in 2020, Nigeria is leading the way with 40% of new job listings, with Kenya in second place with 28% and Uganda in third place with 13%.

A closer look at ROAM Africa’s data reveals that, apart from Nigeria, there was a drop in overall job listings across all job levels during the last months.

However, there was an increase in graduate trainee and ‘no experience’ roles in Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana from May to July 2020, which offers some hope for new entrants into the jobs market.

Interestingly, recruitment agencies contributed the most roles, with 16% of overall jobs, closely followed by IT and Telecoms with 15% and Advertising media and communications with 12%.

Some candidates have also reported applying for more than 20 jobs a day for multiple months and only getting to the interview stage on a handful of occasions. This is why ROAM Africa’s jobs platforms Jobberman (Ghana and Nigeria) and BrighterMonday (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) are focused on matching technology.

The company’s technology helps employers to identify and score the right candidates faster. Suitable candidates are made visible to prospective employers, and helped across the finish line by providing data driven career development tools and training programmes.

Job seekers using the platforms can expect to improve their CV, gain interview tips and sign-up for online training courses designed to bridge the gap between education and employment.

Commenting on the data, Clemens Weitz, CEO of ROAM Africa said, “The high ratio of applications per job listing really highlights how challenging the jobs market is for employers and job seekers.  Both employers and job seekers are struggling to connect with the right opportunities and more needs to be done to address this.

“Employers must rethink their hiring strategies and clearly define what they are looking for, based on data and insights. Job seekers must also invest in personal development that will make it easier for them to stand out in such a crowded and competitive market.”

Weitz also added that, “We believe that Africa’s greatest asset is its people and their entrepreneurial spirit. With the expected growth in the continent’s population, we must begin to put structures in place that will make it easier for African businesses to make the most of this resource.”

According to Hilda Kragha, Managing Director of ROAM Africa’s Jobs platforms, “With the current state of the jobs market, Africans cannot afford to continue with the antiquated recruitment processes that are commonplace in many organisations.

We must prioritise a digital approach to recruitment, which brings transparency to Africa’s labour market while connecting people to work opportunities that will improve their livelihood.

We must also embrace objectivity in the recruitment process by incorporating innovation that makes it easier to fairly and consistently sort for the best candidates. This will ensure that only qualified candidates are applying for roles and employers get an accurate picture of jobseekers’ capabilities. A win-win for both job seekers and employers.”

“Our data highlights both the challenge and opportunity that come with the African jobs market. We must address the challenge of rampant unemployment but also embrace the opportunity to transform how recruitment is done. By doing this, we will not only be addressing the current problems but also future-proofing our businesses and organizations for generations to come.”


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FG Offers to Support TStv to Relaunch with Pay per View Model

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National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has pledged to give necessary support to TStv Africa as the indigenous digital satellite TV service begins full operation with pay per view model on October 1, 2020.

FG Offers to Support TStv to Relaunch with Pay per View Model

Professor Armstrong Idachaba, acting director-general of NBC, made the promise on Monday in Abuja when the management team of TStv paid him an official visit.

The visit was to inform him of the company‘s readiness to commence full operation across the country on October 1.

TStv Africa is a wholly-owned Nigerian innovative multi-channel outfit which had promised to operate a pay per view model for the benefit of Nigerians.

Idachaba said: “We promise on our side that we will continue to support you.

“At this time, I think that the major issue confronting the PayTv sector is the area of giving Nigerians option of deregulating purchasing capacity in terms of pay as you go concept.

“We believe this will give you the visibility if you remain committed to the idea.

“We welcome that option and wish that it serves as a stimulant and as a progressive index for other pay-TV operators to adopt.

“Some of them have come up with a lot of excuses why pay per view is difficult and why it is not doable.

“We want you to be the galvaniser to prove the naysayers wrong that this is doable in the interest of Nigerians.

“Once you begin and you make a success of it through increased subscription base, we are sure that others will be drawn into it as it happened in the telecommunication sector.”

Idachaba said the NBC is committed to promoting local participation in the nation’s broadcasting industry, especially in the pay-TV sector, to create jobs and provide diversity for Nigerians.

He acknowledged the challenges TStv had faced over the years and encouraged the company to remain focused.

“We are aware that it has been very challenging for you.

“All over the world dominant players will always want to remain in a dominant position.

” Those who want to survive will also have to take the courage to do so,” he said.

The Acting Director-General, however, admonished the firm to refrain from any activity that would give Nigeria a bad name.

“If you are acquiring rights, you must make sure that your rights are legitimately acquired.

“You must make sure you follow the rules of engagement strictly, study the broadcasting code strictly to have a robust future ahead of you,” he said.

Earlier, Dr Echefu Bright, managing director and CEO of TStv, said they were at the NBC to seek the commission’s support to have a peaceful roll out on October 1.

He said the outfit also visited the NBC to officially present samples of its decoders to the commission and thank the management for its support.

Bright gave an assurance that the novel pay per view concept was sacrosanct.

“The model is what we have experimented and implemented and it works and we have done everything we need to do for it Nigerians to benefit.

“Beyond that, we have enough boxes on ground that will cover the entire country,” he said.

Bright also gave an assurance that with the Oct.1 roll out, every part of the country would be covered.

“We currently have a dealership in virtually every state in Nigeria and as I speak to you now our goods are already with them for October 1 rollout. The coverage from day one will be across Nigeria,”

On sports products, he said the firm has Laliga as well as the FA Cup and  Euro Cup 2021 rights.

 


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