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CBN disburses smaller naira notes to traders



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has began the disbursement of smaller naira notes to traders in order to improve circulation of N5, N10, N20, and N50 in the market.

The acting Director, Currency Operations Department, CBN Mrs Priscilia Eleje said this at a publicity campaign on “Disbursement of Lower Denominations of the Naira’’ in Wuse Market, Abuja on Tuesday,
She said the campaign was targeted at the informal sector, especially traders in markets with the aim of increasing the circulation of the smaller units of the naira to make doing business easier.

According to her, the Federal Capital Territory will be used as the pilot stage of the new campaign and if successful, will be replicated nationwide.

Eleje said the new strategy would ensure that traders desist from hiking prices of goods, simply to avoid looking for “change.’’

According to her, new naira notes will be distributed to traders within Wuse and Garki Markets and others through their associations.

“The notes we will be disbursing are mints. This money is not meant for you to keep in your house or to go and spray at weddings or sell.

“We have our operatives everywhere and whoever is caught selling these notes will be prosecuted.

“These notes are meant to be used for daily transactions so that when a customer comes to the market, you won’t tell him or her that you don’t have change,’’ she said.

Eleje said that the money was not free, adding that rather, the CBN through the various associations in the market would exchange lower denominations for larger ones.

Also, the Deputy Director, Currency Operations Department, CBN Mr Vincent Wuranti, lectured the traders on ways to handle and maintain the naira notes.

He urged all users to desist from squeezing the notes, writing on them or using dirty hands to handle the notes.

Wuranti also urged the public to inculcate the habit of using wallets in order to safeguard the naira and allow it to have a longer life span.

The Chairman, Wuse Market Association, Mr Rapheal Okoro, said insufficient lower denominations of the naira was one of the greatest problems being faced by traders.

“When you buy something you cannot get change. There are instances where customers change their minds about buying items because of change.

“As a trader, you lend another trader change and he cannot give you back when you need it. This has led to a lot of crisis in the market. So we are happy that the CBN has come up with this plan,’’ he said.

Okoro said the CBN had agreed to make the funds available to traders on a weekly basis and the volume depends on the market demand.

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Study: Excess alcohol intake within a short period can lead to stroke




Study: Excess alcohol intake within a short period can lead to stroke

A high intake of alcohol in a short space of time might upset your heart rhythm, a new study warns.

Researchers at the University Hospital of Munich, Germany arrived at the conclusion after a study was carried out on 3,000 volunteers.

The volunteers, who were deemed sober enough to take part in the tests, had their heart rhythm traces taken using a mobile phone app while they partied.

They found that the odds of heart arrhythmia increased as beer consumption went up.

5 per cent of the volunteers were found to have atrial fibrillation which is linked to an increased risk of stroke and heart failure.

“What we have found is that alcohol does interfere with heart rhythm, which hasn’t been shown like this before,” said Moritz Sinner, assistant professor of medicine at University Hospital, Munich.

“What we still don’t know is what happens after people stop drinking or continue to drink. What happens the next day or the day after?” he added.

The journal was published in European Heart Journal.

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Are Insurance Products hard to sell?




Are Insurance Products hard to sell?

Insurance business remains unviable and its products hard to sell in the Nigerian market place. This unpalatable news raised worries for the captains of industry, who gathered at just concluded 2018 Insurance Industry Consultative Council (IICC) in Abuja, few weeks ago.They described the challenge as “bad message” in the ears of insurance companies and allied stakeholders, given the fact that the industry has been in existence in the country for nearly a century.

Although the desirability of insurance policy has always been a hotly debated issue, a new study does appear to have driven the message home: “More Nigerians won’t and don’t intend to take up any form of insurance cover if given the choice.”

Outcome of new study

The available records in the industry indicate that 86.6 million Nigerians have no form of insurance, while 1.3 million adults, representing 1.5 per cent of the entire Nigerian adult population, maintain some category of formal insurance cover.While the jury is still out contesting the veracity or otherwise, of the survey, which has shown that the nation is probably recording a recurring decimal in the insurance sub-sector as a result of diminishing patronage, a recent survey by NOIPolls, further underscored the situation, saying that nine out of 10 Nigerians do not have any form of insurance.

According to the survey, among those that have insurance policy, 63 per cent has vehicle/car insurance, 20 per cent has life insurance, 17 per cent have property insurance, 16 per cent has health insurance and 16 percent have fire, burglary and travel insurance.Also, few years ago, a survey by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) indicated that Nigerians are not insured against the most vulnerable risks- life, health and agriculture, adding that death and ill-health are the top two risks, with an economic impact, but the most widely experienced.

Growing apathy

It is anybody’s guess why there is growing apathy for insurance by Nigerians. While giving plausible explanations as to why many Nigerians don’t consider acquiring an insurance cover as a priority, the Founder/Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Jim Ovia, during an interactive session at IICC conference in Abuja, affirmed that a number of factors were responsible.

The major hiccup, which is responsible for the growing apathy for insurance, according to him is the low level of disposable income. “The only problem we see in the Nigerian market is that per capita income of the people is very low and people tend not to take insurance as a priority against other things related to them,” he said.He, however, said it was heartening to note that the Federal Government has made group life insurance compulsory for all employers of labour, with a minimum of five employees. The banker said there has been a turnaround in the fortunes of that class of insurance business.“I believe with the improvement in income, regulation and other things, many people will come to take insurance and gradually, we will get an increased participation by the insuring public in the country.

“Again, with the awareness campaign being embarked upon by the regulator, the Nigerian Insurers Association and some industry players, showcasing the need for individuals to be protected and have life insurance cover for their own benefit and the benefits of members of their families, I believe in the next five years, there will be a turnaround in the way and manner people take up life insurance in Nigeria.

“With the coming of retail businesses set up by the various underwriters and microinsurance, this awareness will get to the people at the grassroots and they will embrace insurance as a way of life. Despite the low per capital income, there should be an increase in the rate at which people patronise the insurance industry,” he said.

What NAICOM is doing

To revamp the insurance sector, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) had in the past, come up with a number of measures, including raising the capital base of insurance companies in line with current economic realities.Commenting on the different initiatives by NAICOM, which is the apex regulating body of the sector, the Chairman, Planning Committee for the 2018 IICC Conference, Alhaji Femi Hassan, said the commission under the headship of Mohammed Kari, has not done badly thus far.

“NAICOM is currently doing very well. The commission has been coming up with good regulations that are now moving the industry forward. All that is required is continuous cooperation among the members of the Nigerian Insurers Association, so that we can be united and able to turnaround the image and fortunes of the industry in Nigeria,” he said.

Besides, NAICOM has introduced the Market Development and Restructuring Initiative (MDRI), retail insurance, microinsurance, compulsory insurance and others.

Hassan said: “There are lots of things being done to make the people aware of what they stand to gain by taking insurance. It is not something that will automatically impact on the industry immediately, but overtime, the impacts will surely be felt.

“The MDRI revolution has been on ground for years now, and in the next few years, all these things would have come to pass as people will now have more knowledge about insurance. The industry is also trying to create more insurance awareness through advert placement and by sending people to the grassroots.”In line with the Insurance Act 2003, NAICOM introduced the “no premium, no cover”, all aimed at not just improvement in the industry but to achieve integrity and quality of income generated by the industry.

Source: Guardian Newspapers

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Nigerian Bloggers and Rhetorics: Which way forward?



Nigerian Bloggers and Rhetorics: Which way forward?

Going through the numerous outputs of some bloggers in this part of the world these days could be as discouraging as they come as some of them appear to have lost focus.

The challenge they pose is a tragedy of our time, when we thought we should be having the best of time with information dissemination.

Indeed, one could conclude that this era of social media a la blogging and all kinds of news sites comes with its disadvantages and painful consequences.

While it is apt to agree that news is broken immediately it happen through the help of some of these next door social media; but how do you explain the use of obvious exaggeration and rhetorics in some of the outputs of bloggers and their media?

In a bid to grandstand and be commended for coming up with newsworthy materials, it is not uncommon to see these sites resorting to cheap blackmail and repackaging old reports to embarrass the organisation or person concerned.

If what we read in some of these reports should be taken retrospectively, then there is a need to apply decorum, at least for the sake of the reading public and of course the concerned organization (s).

Many readers are worried

Many readers are worried with the way few of these bloggers dwell on the past and insult the sensibility of the readers in their reports.

One of such reports that threw discerning minds off balance was a story relating to a popular bank, which was repackaged by an online medium as if the incident just happened.

It was reported by the online publication that nine staff of the new generation bank conspired to steal customers’ money running into N600 Million.

The story was not only repackaged, if the figures given in the breakdown are added they are not up to the N600 Million said to have been stolen by the staff of the bank.

This only confirms that some online media are just passionate about creating tension where there is none and misleading members of the public all in a bid to be relevant.

If we are going to get there as a nation, we have to get things right and do things the way they should be done.

Let the bloggers know that to build takes years, but a big edifice can be brought down in a day and when that is done it will take years to build again.

So, why destroying in the first instance, we should be building edifices and institutions.

It is certain that the bank must have handled the matter, when it occurred and do all within its powers to prevent a re-occurence.

Journalism is about timeliness

Journalism is about timeliness and not writing for the sake of writing. Why repackaging an event that happened long ago, and presenting such as if it just happened?

Imagine a scenario, where it is being reported that the first Nigerian civil war is ongoing, this was an incident that happened about 50 years ago. This could mislead members of the public and cause more damage than good.

Blogging has been taken to a new dimension with what is being reported by some, may be, misinformed or unfocused bloggers, whose pastime is bringing up stale news and making it appear as if it is just breaking.

When issues like these are repeated without caution, then the essence of online media is eroded and slaughtered on the altar of charlatans and uncoordinated writers.

We must do all within our means to avoid publishing reports that have been stale as if they just happened.

Such reports belong to the past and they must be allowed to go into the dustbin of history.

There are so many things to write about today. There are issues that could engage the minds of the readers other than matters that belong to the past.

What comes to mind, when a story is read, especially in an online medium is, “oh it has just happened, ha, there they go again, let us see how it ends.’ But alas it has ended, someone is just trying to be mischievous and score a cheap goal like Argentina’s Diego Maradona in that famed World Cup finals of several years ago.

Social media and blogging sites dwell on immediate occurrences, presenting lucid accounts of fresh happenings and events, rather than bothering the readers with what belongs to the past.

We can do better

People want to know what is happening now and not then. They want to know if President Muhammadu Buhari has returned from his trip abroad, or if the National Assembly is sitting on Monday to consider the virement proposal of the president, or if anybody has defected from any of the leading political parties in Nigeria and what is the latest about the detained boss of the Department of Stated Security Service (DSS),

Lawal Daura and the likes.

We may have started from somewhere, but we can do better than what is being done presently.

When the chips are down only the deep can call to the deep and the future belongs to those, who can do it better and give the people what they need now rather than insulting their sensbilities with old stories that belong to the past.

When things are done ríght, then we will get it right and avoid being left behind by the countries that started with Nigeria and have gone past us in all ramifications.

Ade Oni, a social media commentator writes from Lagos, Nigeria.

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