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StarTimes Vs GOtv: Which is cheaper and richer in content?

Let’s compare StarTimes and GOtv and find-out which offers better value-for-money.

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By Bolu Aina

Both StarTimes and GOtv are the leading affordable pay-tv options. While GOtv is an abridge (shorter version) of what DStv offers, StarTimes could best be described as a hybrid, a mid-point of combined rich content on DStv and affordable GOtv. So StarTimes is a blend of affordable and rich entertaining digital TV platform.

DStv premium bouquet has 175 channels at N18,400 monthly, GOtv’s topmost bouquet, called GOtv Max, has 90 channels at N3600. StarTimes’ classic bouquet (DTT/antenna) has 99 channels at N2500 and its Super bouquet (DTH/satellite dish) has about 120 channels at N4200.

Though criticized for its grossly limited channels and its programmes falling short of what DStv and GOtv offers, StarTimes has recently gone through brand refresh, rejigging its content offerings and now offers a richer mix of quality content at a more affordable price than DStv/GOtv.

For the sake of the major two platforms fighting for market leader in the affordability segment, let’s compare StarTimes and GOtv and find-out which offers better value-for-money.

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Here are six aspects to consider:

1. Pricing

StarTimes GOtv
Bouquet Price (N) Total Channels Bouquet Price (N) Total Channels
Classic 2500 99 Max 3600 90
Basic 1700 77 Jolli 2460 82
Nova 900 42 Jinja 1640 57
Smallie 800 36

 

2. Movies

StarTimes and GOtv have a rich blend of local and foreign movie channels.  For local movies and series, GOtv has 5 Africa Magic channels – Family, Epic, Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa; and two ROK channels (ROK 2 & 3). In total, that’s seven channels dedicated to local movies and series. To enjoy all these channels, you need to be on GOtv Jolli at N2460 monthly. However, most of the movies and series content on Africa Magic are delayed and relayed several months later on GOtv after subscribers on DStv’s higher bouquets have seen them. BBNaija is exclusive to MultiChoice.

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As per StarTimes, local movies and series channels include: PBO TV, Nollywood Plus, AMC Movies, Area Ten; four Yoruba channels – ST Yoruba, Nigbati, Kaftan Yoruba and Orisun TV; Isimbido (Igbo); and Hausa channels – Dadinkowa and Farin Wata. Another Hausa channel, Arewa 24, is on StarTimes and GOtv. The catch for StarTimes is its recently rolled out a premium Nollywood channel ‘PBO TV’, an entertainment channel dedicated to top-rated Nollywood movies, series, sitcoms and late-night comedy shows. Attractively placed on Basic Bouquet at N1700 monthly and on Smart bouquet at N2200 monthly, the channel promises to offer explosive experience like the one offered on Africa Magic showcase. True to its promise, most of its movies and series since inception are top-class Nollywood movies. But only time will tell if it can sustain the momentum.

As regards foreign movies, GOtv Jolli subscribers (N2460 monthly) have access to Hollywood movie channel, TNT Africa. StarTimes recently launched TNT Africa, also attractively placing it on Basic Bouquet at N1700 monthly and on Smart bouquet at N2200 monthly.

CATEGORY STARTIMES GOtv
HOLLYWOOD TNT AFRICA TNT AFRICA
FOX FOX
ST MOVIES PLUS M-Net Movies 4
ST ZONE
BOLLYWOOD COLORS B4U MOVIES
STAR LIFE ZEE WORLD
STAR GOLD STAR LIFE
STAR PLUS
ZEE CINEMA
ST BOLLYWOOD PLUS
TELENOVELA ST NOVELA TELEMUNDO
ST NOVELA PLUS EVA+
TL NOVELAS TELEVISTA
CHINESE ST KUNGFU
ST SINO DRAMA
TURKISH TDC

 

3. GOtv Vs StarTimes: Sports

For Football, GOtv Max (N3600 monthly) shows one live EPL match every Saturday and one Champions League match a week, though not key matches. GOtv Max also airs all La Liga matches and Serie A matches, and some Emirates FA Cup matches as well as live sports on ESPN 1. No ESPN 1 and La Liga on lesser bouquets. If you want to watch all Emirates FA Cup matches, you need be on DStv Compact Plus at N12,400 monthly.

StarTimes’ Classic Bouquet (N2500 monthly) airs all Europa League matches, all Emirates FA Cup, all La Liga (French commentary), Bundesliga, Copa Del Rey, Coppa Italia, and ESPN 1 and 2 channels. StarTimes also spreads many matches to its lower bouquets (NOVA and Basic). Also, one EPL match is shown every week on NTA Sports 24 on StarTimes 900naira NOVA Bouquet. StarTimes Basic Bouquet (N1700) has ESPN 1 channel and a combat sports channel, Sports Arena. Live combat sports include boxing, kick boxing, Mix Martial Art, etc. Recently, StarTimes acquired the exclusive broadcast rights for Bob Arum’s Top Rank events in 2020. This will see the broadcaster air live boxing events including many world titles bouts on the roster. Top Rank’s current stable of champions represents the best the sport has to offer: Vasiliy Lomachenko, Terence Crawford, Oscar Valdez, Gilberto Ramirez, Jose Ramirez and Tyson Fury.

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Football
Game StarTimes

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(Frequency)

StarTimes

(Price)

  GOtv

(Frequency)

GOtv

(Price)

EPL 1 weekly N900/month 1 weekly N3600/month
La Liga All N2500/month All N3600
Champions League Nil Rarely
Europa League All From N900/month Nil
 Emirates FA Cup All N2500 Few N3600
Bundesliga All N2500 Nil
Serie A Nil All N3600
Copa Del Rey All N2500 Nil
Coppa Italia All N2500 Nil
ESPN 1 All N1700 All N3600
ESPN 2 All N2500 Nil

 

4. Kiddies

StarTimes has eight kiddies’ channels which are Jim Jam, Toonami, ST Kids, Nickelodeon, CBEEBIES, infant channel (BabyTV), Nigerian fables (Pineapple TV), and recently launched top Hollywood animation channel, DreamWorks.

GOtv has seven channels: Jim Jam, Disney Junior, Nickelodeon, Da Vinci Kids, PBS Kids, and Cartoon Networks.

If your kids have a certain affinity for Jim Jam, then StarTimes offers it cheaper on at NOVA bouquet at N900 monthly.

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5. International News

With local news, both networks are on equal footing with Channels TV, AIT, NTA and TVC on their list (although Startimes holds the advantage of NTA channels in Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba). Internationally, GOtv boasts of CNN, Aljazeera, and BBC. StarTimes has BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, CNC and CGTN.

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6. GOtv Vs StarTimes: Affordability

From the above analysis, StarTimes seems more available. StarTimes has more channels and interesting content offering than GOtv. Most of all channels and content you watch on GOtv are on StarTimes and cheaper on StarTimes. Analysis above shows that. Thus, our verdict is that StarTimes is the meeting point between DStv and GOtv.  For instance, Few Emirates FA Cup matches are aired on GOtv Max (N3600 monthly). If you want to watch all Emirates FA Cup matches, you need to be on DStv Compact Plus at N12,400 monthly. Also, GOtv Max has ESPN 1, no ESPN 2. Meanwhile, on StarTimes classic bouquet (N2500 monthly), you will watch all Emirates FA Cup matches and also enjoy live sports like NBA on ESPN 1 and 2. ESPN 1 is on StarTimes N1700 basic bouquet.

When it comes to the manner of payment, StarTimes is the clear winner as it allows for daily, weekly and monthly subscriptions while GOtv only allows monthly subscription. For just 90 naira a day, you can have access to 42 channels under Startimes Nova plan. Basic Bouquet is N160 daily while Classic is N320 daily.

 

7. StarTimes VS GOtv: MOBILE APP

StarTimes is the best when it comes to mobile app features. In fact, the Startimes ON app can be used to watch your favorite TV programs on the go with your phone. But GOtv is yet to develop an app to help customers stream live, except for DStv subscribers who can DStv NOW. The extra benefit with StarTimes is that its streaming app (StarTimes ON) can act as standalone. If you are not a StarTimes subscriber, you can download the app and watch all live matches showing on StarTimes as low as N400 weekly.

NM Partners represent articles published in paid partnerships with corporate organisations. They include press releases, targeted content, and other forms of corporate communications on behalf of our Paid Partners.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. ADEKANMI IGBEKELE

    October 14, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    Thanks for the report. Having read the comparison between the two, I promise to change to Star Time because of the dubious activities of Gotv. Twice I have been cheated by Gotv.

    After exhausting my present subscription, I am going to buy Star Time decoder.

    Thanks

  2. Theo

    October 14, 2020 at 11:02 pm

    Startimes is better compared to the so-called GOtv.
    How much is Startimes decoder.

  3. Kibru Mamusha

    October 15, 2020 at 7:21 am

    However good StartTimes is, one issue shy away its fan. The decoder is working only if there is a subscription. Free to air channels such as your local stations cut off immediately when your subscription ends. No decoder (DSTV, Bein etc) cut FTA channels.

  4. Alqalee

    October 15, 2020 at 7:25 am

    This report is surely an eye opener, i will try startimes.

  5. Emmanuel Bello

    October 15, 2020 at 10:23 am

    Well done for this write up is good but Startimes should try and work on there signals because there are still some areas where it is difficult it will not clear especially when you are leaving in any slope or valley areas. They should erect more mast. I will change to Startimes now. Thanks

  6. Sulaiman

    October 15, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    What a detailed comparism! I was considering changing over to Gotv from Startimes, and with this breakdown, I will suspend the change.

    However, Startimes need to improve on the following

    * Decoder swap from old to new. This look like a difficult task to achieve.
    * Little technical solution training for their online customer service agents.
    * Channels in a package are not always complete as highlighted above. I have always been on Basic package, I cannot remember the last time I have up to 77 channels except during the promo periods.

  7. Gbenga

    October 15, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    This so called Gotv are the useless channel have ever seen I think I will also port to startimes they increased their tarrifs and also deprived us from channel upon increasing tarriffs even the sub expired before the expired date even my neighbour have stop subscribing and I promise not to sub in this Gotv again.

  8. Uche

    October 15, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    Good comparison. Startimes is supposed to be cheaper because it’s owned by Nigeria. Startimes has many useless channels(that’s what makes up the numbers). You didn’t compare picture quality. Startimes picture quality is like that of NTA(it’s still NTA that runs it anyways), even on their HD decoders. Watching a football match on startimes with a 55inches tv is like watching a PS1 game(very blurry). But their subscription comes on faster than GOtv and DStv. I used botg DStv and startimes so to have all the matches.

  9. Isaac

    October 16, 2020 at 10:32 am

    I have been using gotv for some years now, they are dubious and don’t like to give free channels. They just hike their subscription prices anyhow. I think Stratimes is the best.

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Exclusives

Exclusive: Transport industry in Nigeria is facing new and unpredictable challenges – UBER GM

Ridwan Olalere, General Manager of Uber Nigeria chats with Nairametrics on the challenges in the transport industry, amongst several other issues.

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Transport industry in Nigeria is facing new and unpredictable challenges - UBER GM

With an ambition to be everywhere, especially in cities that have a need for safe, reliable, and efficient transportation; the operations of Uber Nigeria have been hit by two key events in 2020.

The unexpected outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to months of movement restrictions and necessitated social distancing rules, cost transportation companies like Uber millions of naira in revenue.

READ: Uber expands food delivery business in a $2.65 billion acquisition 

Also, the recent #EndSARS protests which rocked Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country restricted the full operations of Uber, as some routes like the Lekki Toll Plaza were blocked by protesters.

Recall, that the #EndSARS protests were hijacked by hoodlums who seized the opportunity to loot, vandalize, and burn public and privately owned properties, culminating in an imposed curfew in Lagos and other states. The Lagos curfew – now relaxed (8pm to 6am), continues to affect the optimal running of ride-hailing services like Uber.

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READ: Uber increases fares in Nigeria

Nairametrics interviewed Ridwan Olalere, General Manager of Uber Nigeria, and he walked us through some topical points, as Uber braces up for the ‘new normal’ including the plans for Uber Boat and Uber Eats in Nigeria.

How would you assess the Nigerian ride-hailing segment in the face of the ‘new normal’?

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We know that the transport industry in Nigeria is facing new and unpredictable challenges. As the coronavirus continues to spread, cities begin to reopen, and the public transport sector begins to move again, it is important to proceed with caution and keep safety in mind.

The travel restrictions put in place by the government were done in order to flatten the curve. In doing so, it is the responsibility of the public transport sector to further understand the detailed guidelines, in order to ensure that measures are in place to put the health and safety of the community first.

READ: Uber withdraws financial forecast, reduces assets value by $2 billion

Thus, it is imperative that we are all prepared to ensure customers are unaffected. At Uber, we are doing our best to support drivers and riders during these unprecedented times; and to limit the spread of the coronavirus, we adapted our safety measures.

In Nigeria, especially in Lagos, the government has introduced some levies on the ride-hailing operators. What is your take on this and does it mean your charges will further go up?

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We are positively engaging with the Lagos State Government and relevant stakeholders on the proposed regulations. We are working to better understand how the regulations will impact the future of our business and network of driver-partners.

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READ: Tayo Oviosu, the journey from Software Engineer to Pagatech

We will give an update in due course. However, we look forward to working in close collaboration with the government to develop workable and accessible regulations that will benefit all.

There is an allegation of ‘double charge’ against your brand by riders – A situation where the driver’s phone reads higher charge compared to that of the rider. What is your take on such development and your advice for riders?

This type of behaviour would be in clear violation of our Community Guidelines. Fraudulent activity undermines the trust on which Uber is built. That’s why we are constantly on the lookout for fraud by riders and drivers who are gaming our systems.

Uber has automated rules in place that warn and permanently deactivate any account or accounts associated with fraudulent activity. We have also put in place a transparent fare structure that is constantly monitored and we always examine consumer price sensitivities to ensure fares are correctly priced so that riders continue to take trips and drivers have access to more fare-paying passengers.

READ: Lagos regulations on ride-hailing companies, fair or outrageous

What is the update on your Uber Boat?

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Uber Boat is the first high profile private sector investment navigating Lagos waterways. The pilot of the service lasted for two weeks after it was launched in October 2019, conveying travellers within specific routes.

We piloted this service because we are aware of the man-hours and productivity that are lost every day due to road traffic in Lagos state, and we are looking at ways to provide commuters with an easy and affordable way to get in and out of the city’s business districts.

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What was your plan for the pilot service?

The pilot service focused on getting locals from point A to point B on popular water-based transportation routes, and created a positive conversation around alternative methods of getting around the city more effectively.

Given this was only a pilot phase, Uber is assessing the feasibility of this product in order to assess whether or not to extend. Uber believes the app can help build the transport systems of the future, and we hope that this product will bring that vision to light.

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When are you likely to bring Uber Eats to Nigeria?

While we are always looking at new features and products, this is not something we are looking at launching in Nigeria at this time.

If you won’t launch that in Nigeria now, what are the other areas Uber plans to invest in?

Uber’s ambition is to be everywhere – any progressive, forward-thinking city that has a need for safe, reliable, and efficient transportation, we want to be there. We are part of a broader mobility movement, establishing smart cities of the future. We are currently working hard to grow our business in Nigeria.

Each city offers its own unique opportunities, we have found Nigeria to be defined by agility, creativity, and adaptability. Uber is all about providing access to safe, reliable, and affordable rides at any time, whilst providing flexible economic opportunities for drivers who want to be their own boss.

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Interview

How Citizenship by Investment is offering wealthy Nigerians new global opportunities

Chief Executive Officer of La Vida Golden Visas chats with Nairametrics about Grenada CBI Programme, the opportunities in the country and more.

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As more Africans look to expand their horizons in pursuit of global opportunities, Nairametrics caught up with Paul Williams, Chief Executive Officer of La Vida Golden Visas, one of the world’s leading Citizenship by Investment facilitators, to understand the surge in demand for dual citizenship in Nigeria and across the continent. Discussion points include the Grenada CBI Programme, the Kimpton Kawana Bay resort and the opportunities that lie in wait for High Net Worth Individuals and investors in the country.

We have seen an increasing trend of Dual Citizenship across the globe and most especially from Africa. Why now?

Whenever geopolitical issues arise in any country, we tend to see an increase in demand for second citizenship or residency. With so much uncertainty currently in the world, people are often looking for a ”Plan B”. More than ever before, there is an increased awareness of such programmes which is also driving the demand. Ten years ago, there were just a handful of citizenship by investment programmes available, but the industry has grown substantially in the last decade and there are now more than 80 investor visa options available across the globe. Africa’s affluent middle class are also becoming wealthier, giving them the opportunity and motivation to take part in citizenship by investment programmes.

What are the current challenges with the Nigerian passport?

As a standalone passport, Nigerians have visa-free travel to just 54 countries and territories worldwide. Many are other African countries such as Ghana and Ethiopia. When you break this down, Nigerian passport holders, shockingly, have access to just 2.1% of the world’s GDP or 3.1% of the world’s travel popularity. For HNWIs and business people from Nigeria this is very limiting and could be holding them back from various opportunities, restricting them with business, education and leisure.

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How can Nigerians step up their Global travel?

Investing in a quality government-approved citizenship by investment programme will enhance your visa-free travel access dramatically, and in turn, open up other opportunities. For example, if you pair a Grenadian passport with a Nigerian passport, one will gain access to 163 destinations worldwide, which includes the UK, EU Schengen zone, China and Russia. Now you have visa-free access to 58.7% of the world’s GDP, a huge improvement on the 2.1% that a standalone Nigerian passport offers.

How do you apply for Grenadian Citizenship by investment (CBI) and what are the benefits?

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Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) is one of the world’s top ranked CBI programmes and allows individuals and their families to obtain citizenship in Grenada. It offers a user-friendly second citizenship and a first-class investment opportunity whereby applicants can buy Government-approved real estate from USD220,000 like a unit in the Kimpton Kawana Bay resort, which is currently the most popular project. An application for Citizenship by Investment in Grenada is fast, has low family fees, and no interview, education, language test or management experience is required. There are no residency requirements and dual citizenship is permitted. Once your passports are issued, you have visa-free travel to over 140 countries. Grenada does not tax worldwide income, wealth, gift, inheritance or capital gains.

How long does it take from investment to citizenship?

The government processing time is between 60-90 days from the date the application is submitted. La Vida’s in-house processing team will assist applicants with the entire process from start to finish, providing investors with a seamless and stress-free service.

What is the Grenadian Citizenship by Investment project and how does it work?

Kimpton Kawana Bay is a new beachfront 5-star luxury resort in Grenada. Title deeded studios and suites are for sale for the minimum investment of USD220,000 through Grenada’s acclaimed Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme, which allows purchasers to apply for Grenadian citizenship for themselves and their family in one application. The resort is ideally positioned on Grand Anse Beach, voted by CNN and Condé Nast Traveller as one of the world’s best beaches. The resort will be operated by an internationally recognised hotel brand – Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, part of IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), one of the largest hotel groups in the world.

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What are the benefits for investors at Kimpton Kawana Bay?

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Kimpton Kawana Bay offers hassle-free ownership with no annual out of pocket fees. There is a projected rental income of 3-5% through the transparent revenue-sharing model and personal accommodation usage of up to 2 weeks each year. After 5 years you can disinvest and recoup your initial investment. The hotel will feature an infinity edge pool overlooking Grand Anse Beach, state-of-the-art gym and spa facilities, exquisite fine dining restaurant, roof-top bar, beach bar, lounge with terrace, and water sports facilities.

Kimpton Kawana Bay, Grenada

What does it cost and who is this best suited for?

Asides from the $220,000 investment in the Kimpton Kawana Bay project, investors will need to budget for the government’s application, processing and due diligence fees. For a single applicant, the total cost, inclusive of fees will be $306,000, whereas a family of four would be around $320,000, depending on the ages of the children. A typical Nigerian investor taking part in the programme could be a businessperson looking to extend their global reach, or an affluent middle-class family who may want to broaden their global opportunities, both for business and education reasons. It’s rare that applicants look to relocate to Grenada, and the beauty of the programme is that there is no requirement to do so.

Why should more wealthy Nigerians adopt a second Passport?

Visa-free travel, increased global business and education opportunities, creating a legacy for one’s family and having a ”Plan B” are just some of the many reasons investors take up second citizenship.  Grenadian Citizenship offers several added attractions that many of its competitor countries do not. Grenada is one of the only CBI countries which has visa-free access to China and Russia. Grenada is also the only Caribbean CBI country to hold an E-2 Visa treaty with the USA. This means, once Grenadian citizenship has been granted, there is the opportunity to then apply for residency in the USA through business investment, should one wish to do so.

What is the E2 visa and why does it matter?

The E-2 Visa is an optional and secondary application which is available as an extra service to those who may want to gain residency in the USA. Should investors decide to take this step, they need to budget for an additional investment into a US business. There is no fixed amount set by the government, but it is recommended that applicants invest a minimum of $120,000 upwards and become at least a 50% shareholder in the company. This route is fast becoming more popular than the direct EB5 programme to the US which has lengthy delays and requires a much larger investment of $900,000+. It’s important to note that the E-2 visa category is not affected by the recent immigration bans announced by president Trump.

How long does the E2 Visa take to process?

The timeframe for this is usually two months from the time the E2 application and business investment are made. Applicants will be issued with a five year US residency visa with unlimited renewals.

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Living in Grenada – what is that like?

Grenada is an enchanting and unspoiled tropical island located in the Caribbean. Grenada boasts the quintessential laidback Caribbean lifestyle with lush landscapes, pristine beaches, and warm and friendly people, many of which have historical family ties back to West Africa. The official language spoken in Grenada is English and the population of Grenada is approximately 112,000 people. The magnificent environment with its safe surroundings and exquisite new resorts makes Grenada an alluring destination for tourists and investors. The country is one of the most open and business friendly economies in the region and continues to grow steadily. The island has an established health care system and is home to St George’s University, one of the world’s largest American accredited medical schools, drawing students and faculty from 140 countries. It is easily accessible with a number of daily direct flights into Grenada’s International Airport from major US cities, London and a number of regional flights from the surrounding islands. The airport also offers fixed-based operator services for private jets. Grenada is close to the equator, which ensures a year-round tropical climate. Its cooling trade winds make temperatures comfortable. Most notably it is located outside of the hurricane belt.

Grand Anse Beach, Grenada.

From your own perspective why is this a much-needed opportunity for Nigerians asides chasing the American or English dream?

It’s different in that this is about access, visa free travel and a Plan B. With the direct US and UK immigration options, applicants are usually required to reside full time in the country. Many Nigerians do not wish to leave their country and relocate, they just want more flexibility. Grenada’s CBI programme has no minimum stay requirement. As it is part of the commonwealth, Grenadian passport holders are entitled to spend up to six months per year in the UK too.

How can interested parties get started with the process through La Vida Golden Visas?

La Vida’s team of expert advisors offer a free consultation to any applicants considering proceeding with a Citizenship by Investment programme. We will provide a full quotation to each client and run through the specifics of the process. To speak with one of our experienced consultants, please contact us through our website or call us on: +44 207 060 1475.

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Interview

Fintech key to insurance penetration, processing of claims – LASACO MD

LASACO Insurance boss takes a deep dive into recapitalisation, Fintech, COVID-19 lockdown and other issues surrounding the insurance sector.

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Fintech key to insurance penetration, processing of claims - LASACO MD

The insurance sector is in dire need of Fintech to ensure its products penetrate the un-insured population and fast track the process of claim payments in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by the Chief Executive Officer, LASACO Assurance, Segun Balogun, in an exclusive interview with Nairametrics.

According to Balogun, the Coronavirus pandemic brought enormous pressure on the insurance sector and that of the company. He explained that the various lockdown measures for the effective prevention of the spread of the disease led to a decline in economic output, income, and consumer spending. Excerpts:

Some operators have described the insurance recapitalisation exercise as a great de-service to the sector. What is your take on this?

If not for the timing of the intervention or the eruption of this pandemic, recapitalisation is not a de-service to the insurance industry in Nigeria. The focus for recapitalisation is to enhance the capacity of all the industry players such that it will make us retain more of the revenue of the risk that we all participate in Nigeria than taking so much out of the shore of Nigeria that we do currently, especially in the area of high capacity risk such as Aviation, Oil and Gas, Energy as well as the insurances of major Power Plants. Rather than being a de-service, recapitalisation in itself is an enhancement of capacity which is good for the growth of the sector and it’s a tool to improve penetration.

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READ: Lagoon and Blue Ocean narratives of Nigerian Insurance sector – Report 

Do you also think the exercise period is short, probably a three-year plan will be better?

The timing is not too short, considering the revision that has been made currently by the regulator giving the staggering period for compliance to 31st of December, 2020 to 31st of September, 2021. But for the current situation, where most foreign investors are withdrawing their funds from the local economy, affecting business performance due to the pandemic may call for a further review of the recapitalisation exercises.

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How far are you to deadline?

We have increased our authorized share capital to N20 billion to accommodate new investments, in line with the recapitalisation in the industry. We engaged the services of financial consultants who are working hard to conclude the necessary regulatory protocols. LASACO will meet the new capital requirement, as there are various options open to the Company.

How would you rate the Nigerian insurance sector in Africa, how far is it to South Africa, and how would rate foreign investors participation?

We can make an inference from the participation of some South African companies in Nigeria, and we currently don’t have the same reciprocity of Nigeria Insurance companies operating over there.

Nigeria looks presently like that bride, we have the market, but the capacity is not adequate. One of the advantages the recapitalisation would bring is enhancing capacity such that some of our insurance companies would be looking to take comparative advantage to establish a presence in other economies in Africa. But we are not far back, in terms of skills and competence. In Nigeria, we have competent insurance professionals and business managers. They can also run the businesses across borders.

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READ: Nigerian insurers may lose $6.8 billion of Dangote Refinery’s underwriting business

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Most of the shares of insurance firms listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange are penny stocks; many have not paid a dividend in about ten years. What are the factors responsible for this development?

There are numerous factors responsible, but I would say the shares of insurance firms listed on the Stock Market are majorly affected by perception and the level of awareness of insurance brands amongst the investing public. This is because if you critically review the performances of most of these insurance companies listed on the Stock Market, it’s not as though they are not running profitably, but the value of these stocks and ROI’s as far as the investors’ mind are concerned may be a significant consideration in determining how much they will be willing to commit to that industry. As bleak as it may seem, some of the players in the insurance industry are not doing badly in the Stock Market.

Fintech is the way to go now. How do you think the sector can explore opportunities in the Fintech space?

With my appreciation for technology, it’s a must for Fintech to be adopted in the insurance sector. It has worked for many other industries and businesses. It would help increase the rate of insurance penetration as choosing an instrument such as Fintech would place the operations of insurance in the hands of consumers placing the purchasing of insurance and processing of claims to be at the palm and the comfort of consumers.

READ: These Nigerian Insurance companies are worth under a billion

Insurance penetration is rated at about 0.5%. Considering the nation’s population, what needs to be done to close the gap?

Despite the current low rate of insurance penetration in Nigeria, the sector has enormous growth potential, considering the country’s favourable demographics. With a population of around 180 million people and the potential upward mobility of substantial segments of the country’s populace, a boost in the insurance penetration will increase the insurance industry’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP.

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The industry players need to break insurance down to the language that can be spoken and understood by the common man on the street who presently feels insurance is not meant for him/her. When there is any incident or accident, Nigerians tend to rely on family and community to come to their rescue. Also, when someone dies, it takes the effort of all of the family and community to rally round to provide ordinary burial expenses. As a result, the industry players need to speak to these needs and create bespoke products that can attend to these needs and take it down to them in the grassroots.

Unfortunately, our concentration as an industry is more largely on governments, corporations and the elites. If insurance could be taken down to the low hub, then insurance penetration would soar up.

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READ: LASACO Assurance: 40 years of resilience in the Nigerian Insurance sector

LASACO declared a dividend of 5kobo at your last AGM. What should your investors/shareholders expect in 2020?

Irrespective of the effect of the pandemic on the economy and our well thought out Business Continuity Plan; we will not renege in ensuring that the Company grows its revenue and profits. The controls that we have is over cost mostly and not income, but we are still engaging all relevant partners to ensure we get all our businesses renewed and participate in new ones.

One flip side of the pandemic is that notwithstanding the financial lag back that it will give businesses, the risks abound, and any viable business would ensure to protect their risks. The economy is gradually opening, and insurance is key to businesses. With these positive indicators, we are going to have a growth rate from what we achieved last year.

READ: Here’s what will happen to Nigeria’s insurance sector in the short to medium term

How is COVID-19 affecting your operations?

As expected, the outbreak brought enormous pressure on our businesses. The various Lockdown measures for the effective prevention of the spread of the disease led to a decline in economic output, income, and consumer spending. As disposable income is being affected, so will the demand for our services.
Our First Quarter Results showed an 11% reduction in revenue in comparison to the Year 2019 corresponding period, but our quick response to this reality is to manage down cost.

What is LASACO doing differently to keep it head above water, especially to survive COVID and its challenges?

Our first and swift response was to look at areas we have control over, which is the cost of operations. We have made a lot of adjustment in the field of management expenses because we are almost confident that once the cost is down, the available revenue would provide a good result. We have also upscaled our engagement with customers, especially our brokering partner, which is bringing a good result for us. Our half-year results showed a slight growth in revenue in comparison to the Year 2019 corresponding period.

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

What should be the expectations of your clients, investors from LASACO in the next five years?

It can only be better. By our nag for quality, we seek to improve on the performance of our system continually. Part of our offerings to customers is to ensure prompt claim settlement – claims to be settled the same day after the discharge voucher is executed and submitted to us. We assure our customers to be quick in service delivery and seek to improve our promptness on service delivery and the quality of the products we offer.
For our investors, it will not be less. As good as the Company is performing, and as we seek to better it, the value that will come to them will be enhanced.

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