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Business News

PenCom to offer bonds, offset arrears 

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) is in talks with the Debt Management Office (DMO) to offer pension bonds on behalf of FG.

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Pension Funds

The National Pension Commission (PenCom) is in talks with the Debt Management Office (DMO) to offer pension bonds on behalf of the Nigeria Government in a bid to offset unpaid pension arrears

The Acting Director-General, PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar disclosed that the commission had been in contact with relevant authorities to secure funding for the outstanding accrued right liabilities but to no avail.

She added that the bonds when raised are expected to be used to offset the pension arrears of federal retirees, as a result of accumulated accrued rights.

FGN Bonds

 “The commission had been in talks with the DMO on how to raise the pension bonds to clear the pension arrears. While the discussion was still ongoing, the Federal Government had said some of the funds should be released, but as the funds have not been released, we are still trying to see the possibility of raising the pension bonds to clear the backlog,” a source in PenCom said.

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Dahir-Umar stated that as an alternative to budgetary allocations, which were not forthcoming, the commission had suggested to the Federal Government to consider issuance of bond through the DMO to fund the arrears.

The commission cited that according to “Section 39 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014 mandates the Federal Government to pay into the Retirement Benefits Bond Redemption Fund Account an amount not less than 5% of the total monthly wage bill payable to employees in the public service of the federation towards the redemption of the accrued pension right of FGN retirees.

[READ MORE: PenCom seeks bonds to clear N400 billion arrears as retirees groan)

However, in the last five years, budgetary funding/releases had not been regular and adequate for the payment of outstanding accrued pension rights over this period as a result of the decline in government revenue.

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The Federal Government had in August 2019 expressed its readiness to put a stop to delay in pension payment to the workers who joined the Contributory Pension Scheme before retirement, The Nation reported.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Abioye, Victoria Olufunke

    January 8, 2020 at 9:42 am

    Pension, a confuse human-animal syndrome. Pay to insurance companies to give retirees benefits when needed. Government involvement is still on? If government owns those insurance companies then the contributions of citizen to pension funds are in vain. God forbids. Make funds available from bonds, minting as last resort and the retiree will not die of hunger and they will not curse this government and the nation. Well spoken.

  2. Samuel Torduega

    March 29, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    With the Corona Virus making things more difficult, Pencom should please also find a way of paying retirees who are yet to get their entitlements after more than a year of retiring. With this non payment, what is the faith of those who retired December last year? Waiting for another two years?

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Business

Significant progress made in China-Africa ties within cooperation framework – AUC Chairperson

AUC chairperson has disclosed that significant, sustained progress is being made in China-Africa ties within cooperation framework.

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The African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has said that “significant and sustained” progress has been made in China-Africa ties.

Mahamat asserted this in an analysis of his first-term as the AU Commission chairmanship.

He reiterated the AU Commission’s strong commitment to upholding multilateralism and supporting international partners in halting the trend of unilateralism.

He argued that “International cooperation and solidarity are irreplaceable.”

Mahamat, in his analysis, reiterated that global challenges, national egoism, the decline of multilateralism, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and dwindling resources “have hampered our forward march” during the past four years.

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The AU Commissioner for Social Affairs Amira Elfadil recently also hailed China as a strategic partner of Africa.

What they are saying

  • Mahamat submitted that: “With China, significant and sustained progress has been made within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
  • “Africa stands with those who fight unilateralism and strongly advocate for a multilateralism of respect, equality and mutual benefit.”

 

  • Amira Elfadil noted that: “We are looking for those who are serious about the future of this continent, and when we say strategic partners and mention strategic partnerships, China comes first and we appreciate this partnership very much.”

What you should know

  • The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent. It was officially launched in 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999).
  • The African Union Commission acts as the executive/administrative branch or secretariat of the AU and consists of a number of Commissioners dealing with different areas of policy.

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Coronavirus

President Buhari signs COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021

President Buhari has signed the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 policy.

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Buhari sacks DG National Directorate of Employment, Nasiru Argungu

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 policy, citing powers conferred to the Presidency, by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010, “…and in consideration of the urgent need to protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of the widespread and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.”

The signing of the regulations was disclosed in a statement by the FG on Wednesday evening.

The law, which comes in 5 parts, includes; Part 1- Restrictions on Gatherings; Part 2- Operations of Public Places; Part 3- Mandatory Compliance with Treatment Protocols; Part 4 – Offences and Penalties; Part 5 – Enforcement and Application; and Part 6 -Interpretation and Citation.

Restrictions on Gatherings

The regulations require that physical distance of at least two metres shall be maintained at all times between persons. No gathering of more than 50 persons shall hold in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50% capacity of the space.

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“The provisions of these Regulations may be varied by Guidelines and Protocols as may be issued, from time to time, by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 on the recommendation of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)”

Operations of Public Places 

  • No person shall be allowed within the premises of a market, mall, supermarket, shop, restaurant, hotel, event centre, garden, leisure park, recreation centre, motor park, fitness centre or any other similar establishment except the person is using a facemask and has washed hands.
  • Managers of hostels, boarding houses, nursing homes, correctional centres, remand homes, holding cells, military detention facilities, and such centres for care and custody of persons, shall ensure compliance with the provisions of these regulations.
  • Managers of such facilities shall ensure that suspected cases of Covid-19 are promptly and appropriately separated from others and are reported to medical officers of the State Ministry of Health for necessary action.

Mandatory Compliance with Treatment Protocols 

  • Persons confirmed to have tested positive to COVID-19 by an NCDC accredited laboratory, may not refuse isolation and or admission to a designated health establishment for management of the disease.
  • All public secondary and tertiary health facilities shall designate a space or holding bay for the initial triage or assessment of suspected persons with COVID-19 in line with the approved protocol for case management.
  • All public secondary and tertiary health facilities shall establish sample collection centres, where test samples from suspected cases can be collected and transmitted to an accredited testing laboratory in the State.

Offences and Penalties

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  • Any person who contravenes the provisions of these regulations commits an offence.
  •  Any person who, without reasonable cause, contravenes a direction given under Parts 1 and 2 of these regulations commits an offence.
  • An offence under these regulations is punishable, on summary conviction, by a fine or a term of six months imprisonment or both in accordance with Section 5 of the Quarantine Act.

Enforcement and Application 

  • Personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, and other relevant Local Government, State and Federal Government agencies are hereby directed to enforce the provisions of these regulations.
  • Any officer of the enforcement agencies who fails, neglects, or refuses to enforce the provisions of these regulations shall be subject to disciplinary action
  • State Governors may issue regulations on further steps as may be considered necessary.

On interpretations of the law, the FG said, “Offence” means any act, which may constitute a violation of the provisions of these regulations, while “Enforcement Agency” means any law enforcement or security agency vested with the statutory power to investigate and prosecute. The law also stated that the regulations would go into effect immediately and remain in effect until otherwise determined.

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported this week that the Federal Government had announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month with effect from Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

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Market Views

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp user base top 3.3 billion, Q4 revenue of $28 billion

More people are spending their time online on the bias COVID-19 pandemic has negatively disrupted social mobility.

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The world’s biggest social media company, Facebook, recently posted its fourth-quarter earnings which were better than what many stock market experts had expected, against a backdrop of growing regulatory and political challenges.

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp now have a combined user base of 3.3 billion to get their messages out.

Facebook itself has about 2.8 billion monthly users, beating the Wall Street market prediction of 2.76 billion, as humans spend more of their activities online on the basis that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively disrupted social mobility.

Here are highlights of key metrics expected versus the comparable year-ago quarter, according to a Bloomberg consensus forecast of Wall Street analysts:

  • Revenue: $28 billion vs $26.407 billion estimated; $21.082 billion in Q4 2019.
  • Earnings per share (Adjusted): $3.88 vs $3.54 expected; $2.56 in Q4 2019.
  • Ad Revenue: $27.19 billion vs. $26.07 billion expected; $20.74 billion in Q4 2019.
  • Daily Active Users (DAU): 1.84 billion vs 1.828 billion estimates; 1.66 billion in Q4 2019.

“We believe our business has benefited from two broad economic trends playing out during the pandemic. The first is the ongoing shift towards online commerce.

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“The second is the shift in consumer demand towards products and away from services.” Facebook CFO, Dave Wehner, said.

Capital expenditures including principal payments on finance leases, were $4.82 billion and $15.72 billion for the fourth quarter and full year of 2020, respectively.

Cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities were $61.95 billion as of December 31, 2020.

However, in spite of an impressive earning resulted posted by the world’s most valuable social media company, Facebook shares tanked by more than 3% on the consideration that the company printed a blurry outlook amid growing regulatory concerns and stiff competition.

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“We also expect to face more significant ad targeting headwinds in 2021. This includes the impact of platform changes, notably iOS 14, as well as the evolving regulatory landscape. While the timing of the iOS 14 changes remains uncertain, we would expect to see an impact beginning late in the first quarter,” Dave Wehner said.

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