Nigeria’s insurance sector regulator, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), has increased the minimum paid-up share capital of insurance and reinsurance firms. The move though expected, sent shock waves around the insurance sector of Nigeria.
Breakdown: In a circular made available to insurance firms, NAICOM disclosed that under the new capital regime;
- life insurance underwriting firms, which currently have a minimum paid up share capital of N2 billion, will compulsorily shore up their capital to N8 billion, representing a 200 percent increase.
- By the new paid-up share capital regime, Insurance firms underwriting general business have been mandated to shore up their capital from N3 billion to N10 billion.
- Composite insurance firms, that is, firms underwriting both life and general business will raise their capital from the current N5 billion level to N18 billion.
- Reinsurance firms will move up from the current minimum capital of N10 billion to N20 billion.
Effective date: In the circular signed by Pius Agboola, Director, Policy and Regulation Directorate for Commissioner for Insurance, NAICOM disclosed that the new minimum paid-up share capital requirements shall take effect from the commencement date of the circular for new applications, while existing insurance and reinsurance companies shall be required to fully comply not later than June 30, 2020.
NAICOM stated, “The provision in respect of the requirement of statutory deposit as stipulated in part III, section 10 of the insurance Act 2003 shall apply on the effective date of commencement of this circular”
It was looming: Nairametrics had in April 2019, reported a possible increase in the capital base of insurance firms to about N15 billion. According to industry sources, NAICOM was to mandate insurance firms to recapitalise or merge in order to meet the new capital requirement.
Major U-turn: Last July, Naicom announced an increase in the capital base of Insurance Companies but suspended it. At the time it introduced a tier system where Life insurance firms were supposed to have three capitalization tiers. Tier one companies were required to have N6 billion as capital. Tier two life insurance firms N3 billion, while tier 3 firms were to remain at N2 billion.
Non-life insurance firms on the other hand also had three tiers. Tier one non-life firms are mandated to have a capital base of N9 billion. Tier two firms in this segment were expected to have a capital base of N4.5 billion, while tier 3 firms maintained the current capital base of N3 billion. This time around the regulator has decided to go without a Tier.
What this means: Insurance companies in Nigeria are now faced with an imminent race to raise capital. There is going to be a flurry of right issues, public offers, and even IPOs in the coming weeks. Just like it happened to banks in the Soludo era, most insurance firms will have to consider mergers and acquisitions to meet the capital requirements.
Bad timing: NAICOM is perhaps the winner in all of this as it finally gets to fix the insurance sector’s capitalization problem. However, this policy could not have come at the worst times for Insurance firms. There is a paucity of investors in the capital market with most focussed on buying MTN shares. Foreign investors that have for years been hoping to acquire insurance firms on the cheap in Nigeria may have a window of opportunity to do so. Most insurance firms will be willing to get bought out or partially acquired.
Who will benefit: FInancial advisory firms, private equity companies, stockbrokers, stock exchange, banks, accountants, lawyers are poised to earn huge fees from the spate of deals that will be consummated between now and June 30th, 2020.
What next: Insurance companies will have to consider complying with the rules or once again lobby the regulators to postpone the effective date of June 30, 2020. NAICOM suspended this requirement last year when it first issued it and could do so again if pressure is from the “top.” For now, the focus of all insurance firms in Nigeria will be geared towards raising capital.
About NAICOM: The National Insurance Commission was established by the National Insurance Commission Act No 1 of 1997 to ensure the effective administration, supervision and regulation of insurance business in Nigeria as well as regulate transactions between insurers and reinsurers within and outside Nigeria.
Katsina State records fastest growth in mobile internet subscribers in Nigeria
Nigeria has a total of 136.2 million mobile internet subscribers as at 2020 Q1.
Katsina State recorded a massive 41.46% jump in the number of mobile internet subscribers the fastest growth by any state in the country. This is according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. The data focus on mobile internet subscribers via GSM phones.
Katsina state recorded 3.679 million internet subscribers in the first quarter of 2020 compared to 3.17 million and 2.6 million subscribers in the 4th quarter and 1st quarter of 2019 respectively. This represents a 15.8% jump quarter on quarter and 41.5% jump year on year. No other state comes close.
Edo State was however second year on year recording a growth of 36.8% to 4.3 million internet subscribers. Katsina was also recorded the fastest growth quarter on quarter followed by Sokoto State.
Nigeria’s Mobile Internet Subscribers Data
According to the data from the NBS, the total number of internet subscribers in Nigeria as at the first quarter of 2020 is 136, 203, 231. This compares to 126, 078, 999 in the 4th quarter of 2019 and 116, 310, 154 in the first quarter of 2019. This represents a QoQ growth of 8.03% and year on year growth of 17.1%.
Nigeria’s commercial cities of Lagos, Rivers State, FCT and Kano also recorded growth in internet subscribers year on year.
Subscribers – 17.02 million
YoY Growth – 7.16%
Subscribers – 5.12 million
YoY Growth – 9.77%
Subscribers – 8.33 million
YoY Growth – 33.19%
Subscribers – 6.13 million
YoY Growth – 13.3%
Growth by Geopolitical Zones
We also observed the North West still retains the number one position in terms of internet subscribers per geopolitical zone with 46.9 million subscribers out of a total of 136.2 million in the country. The North-Eastern part of the country recorded the fastest growth of 23.3%. See below;
Internat Subscribers by GSM Companies
MTN continues to lead with 57.2 million subscribers. They also grew the fastest YoY by 23%
MTN – 57,282,123
GLO – 33,871,456
AIRTEL – 36,827,677
9MOBILE – 7,762,068
Others – 459,907
Total – 136,203,231
Upshots: Internet subscriber’s growth in Nigeria continues to record double-digit growth and one of the fastest in the world. The competition for mobile data subscription is intense and could end up being a winner take all activity. As GSM companies move in search of growth, the North seems the area with the most potential for double-digit subscriber growth.
COVID-19: Minister of Power instructs contractors back to site as lockdown eases
The power minister gave the directive during an inspection visit to the new Gagarawa 2.
The Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, has asked all contractors handling power projects across the country to return back to project sites following the gradual relaxation of the lockdown by the Federal Government, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The directive from the minister was contained in a press statement by the Special Adviser to the Minister on Media and Communications, Aaron Artimas, on Sunday, July 12, 2020, in Abuja.
The power minister gave the directive during an inspection visit to the new Gagarawa 2 by 60 Mega Volt Amp (MVA) 132/33 Kilo Volt Sub-station being constructed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) in Jigawa.
Mamman, lamented the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the power sector, pointing out that the sector was among the worst affected with the entire value chain directly or indirectly counting losses.
The Minister in the statement said, ‘’I can tell you that the impact of the pandemic is huge in the power sector as a real service provider. We, however, have joined the government effort to restart the economy with the easing of the lockdown and opening of the interstate road.’’
“I direct all contractors handling power projects to return to sites and work assiduously to recover from the losses recorded during this lockdown,” he said.
Mamman said the Gagarawa Sub-station project would boost power supply in over 7 local government areas including an industrial area.
On his part, the Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, who was part of the inspection team, commended the power minister’s effort at ensuring completion of these projects that have been on for over 20 years.
The News agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the sub-station is 99% completed and has been energized.
The acting Managing Director of TCN, Suleiman Abdulaziz, who was also part of the inspection asked for speedy completion of similar sub-station across the country.
How to protect your bank accounts from hackers and fraudsters
Cybercriminals have been on the prowl trying to steal, even as banks intensify efforts to warn customers.
There has never been a time we should all be more concerned about the security of our bank accounts. There are too many scammers/internet fraudsters on the prowl, and they are constantly devising new sophisticated methods to steal your money.
In April this year, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a fraud alert to the Nigerian public about the alarming rate of cybercrime activities in the country. According to the apex bank, cybercriminals resorted to taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to defraud citizens, steal sensitive information, or gain unauthorized access into computers or mobile devices using different techniques. You may keep up with that by clicking here.
In the weeks and months that followed CBN’s fraud alert, deposit money banks in the country have all intensified efforts at educating/encouraging their customers to become more careful and protective of their bank accounts. Numerous hands-on tips have also been emailed to these customers by the banks. In this article, we have summarised some of these tips, as you can see below:
- Never disclose your mobile app activation code to anyone over the phone, via SMS, email, or in person. Be warned!
- Never reveal your card number, OTP, Pin, or password to anyone over the phone, via SMS, email, or in person. Do not do this, even when the person requesting for such details claim to be from your bank’s headquarters!
- Desist from clicking suspicious links or downloading attachments and apps from unknown sources!
- Do not entertain unsolicited phone calls, SMS, or emails asking you personal details about yourself or asking for information about your bank accounts!
- Again, do not fall for fraudsters’ phishing baits. They are smart and you should be ten times smarter than them!
- Update your security software by installing the latest updates of your operating system and mobile banking app.
- Avoid unsecured wifi!
- Do not perform sensitive financial transactions using public wifi or networks you do not know the source. Do not let your love for free things expose you to risks!
- Instead, use a secure connection whenever you perform online transactions.
Remember, you worked hard for your money and the economic situation in the country at the moment is hard. It would, therefore, be a shame to have your money stolen just because you were careless for a moment. This is why you must do everything possible to protect your bank accounts.