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I Am Ready For International Challenges – Okonjo-Iweala

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I Am Ready For International Challenges – Okonjo-Iweala
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, DG, WTO

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the newly appointed Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), has affirmed her readiness to confront the challenges associated with her job.

Okonjo-Iweala gave the affirmation during a virtual interview session anchored by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State at the Lagos Economic Summit (Ehingbeti) 2021.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Ehigbeti Summit had its theme as: ”For a Greater Lagos: Setting the Tone for the Next Decade”.

Read Also: Buhari Meets Ex-Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, At Aso Villa

She said that in confronting those challenges, there would be opportunities to leverage on to perform her duties.

“Well, it is fantastic and I want to start by humbly thanking His Excellency, Mr. President, thanking all Nigerians for your support and encouragement and I mean it sincerely.

“The process is difficult’; it has taken almost nine months of competition and waiting and uncertainty.

“Nigerians have been absolutely incredible by sending me messages of support, going on the internet, some people have been making videos and releasing them.

Read Also: Finally, US Govt Endorses Okonjo-Iweala For WTO Job

“So, I feel incredibly blessed and I am happy that it has come out well and therefore, we can try to show what Nigeria and what Africa can do in such an international position.

“It is going to be very challenging but I feel ready; as everyone says, in every challenge, there is an opportunity.

“So, it will be good to see what can be done with all the countries around the world,” she said.

The WTO chief said that Africa should critically look at its demographics so as to be successful.

According to her, when you have 60 percent of the population that is 30 years old and younger, then you have to worry about job creation.

“A success Africa is an Africa that is able to create jobs for its citizens. And when I said job, I mean decent work, that is the biggest issue that the continent has to face.

“We have to create modern, decent jobs for our youths to avoid creating dislocation and unrest,” Okonjo-Iweala said.

In his goodwill message, the President, African Development Bank (AFDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, said that the youths are the assets of the state and should be given chance to showcase their worth.

Adesina said that the state should also invest in education by making tertiary institutions to be of world-class standards.

”Youths are not the problem of Lagos, they are the asset. The slogan should not be the young shall grow, but the youths have arrived. Youths do not need empowerment or handouts, what they need is an investment.

Read Also: Okonjo-Iweala’s Appointment Will Boost Trade Relations In The World

“The poverty level in Lagos has reduced from 30.3 percent in 2009 to 4.5 percent in 2019.  About 20 percent live in the slum. A prosperous Lagos will bring a healthier Lagos.

“Private sector needs to be mobilized to support the new Lagos. There must be accountability for taxes collected.

“I see a greater Lagos, a Lagos where visions are turned into reality and where women and youths thrive,” he added. 

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Osinbajo Kicks Against CBN’s Cryptocurrency Prohibition

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Osinbajo Kicks Against CBN's Cryptocurrency Prohibition

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has kicked against the prohibition of cryptocurrency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Osinbajo however said the cryptocurrency sector can be regulated.

Speaking at a CBN Bankers’ Forum, Osinbajo added that sooner than later, blockchain technology generally and cryptocurrencies, in particular, will challenge traditional banking, including reserve banking, in ways that cannot be imagined.

He, therefore, urged the central bank to figure how to regulate the system rather than try to prohibit it.

Osinbajo’s words: “There is need for regulation and not the prohibition of Cryptocurrency. On the very topical issue of blockchain technology, digital assets, and cryptocurrencies let me say two things.

“First is that there is no question that blockchain technology generally and cryptocurrencies, in particular, will in the coming years challenge traditional banking, including reserve banking, in ways that we cannot yet imagine so we need to be prepared for that seismic shift.

“And it may come sooner than later. Already remittance systems are being challenged. Blockchain technology will provide far cheaper options for the kind of fees being paid today for cross-border transfers.

“I am sure you are all aware of the challenge that the traditional SWIFT system is facing from new systems like Ripple which is based on the blockchain distributed ledger technology with its own crypto tokens. There are, of course, a whole range of digital assets spawned…….daily from blockchain technology.

“Decentralized finance, using smart contracts to create financial instruments, in place of central financial intermediaries such as banks or brokerages are set to challenge traditional finance.

“The likes of Nexo finance offer instant loans using cryptocurrency as collateral. Some reserve banks are investigating issuing their own digital currencies. Clearly, the future of money and finance, especially for traditional banking, must be as exciting as it is frightening.

“But as we have seen in many other sectors disruption makes room for efficiency and progress.

“Secondly, I fully appreciate the strong position of the CBN, SEC, and some of the anti-corruption agencies on the possible abuses of cryptocurrencies and their other well-articulated concerns. but I believe that their position should be the subject of further reflection.

“There is a role for regulation here. And it is in the place of both our monetary authorities and SEC to provide a robust regulatory regime that addresses these serious concerns without killing the goose that might lay the golden eggs.

“So, it should be thoughtful and knowledge-based regulation, not prohibition. The point I am making is that some of the exciting developments we see the call for prudence & care in adopting them, but we must act with knowledge and not fear.”

Newsrand had reported a few weeks ago that cryptocurrency is no longer allowed in the country.

Giving a stern warning over transactions relating to cryptocurrency, the CBN, in a memo addressed to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs), Other Financial Institutions (OFIs), and members of the public, ordered financial institutions across the country to report persons and entities transacting or operating in cryptocurrency exchanges.

Revealing why cryptocurrency was prohibited, the apex bank said amongst other reasons, digital assets promote illegality and its risks are high.

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AXA Mansard emerges Best Health Insurance Product Winner 2021

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AXA mansard

Health Management Organization, AXA Mansard Health Limited, recently announced that it has emerged as the winner of the best health insurance product of the year in the Insurance Product & Process section of the just concluded 11th Annual Global Banking and Finance Awards 2021.

The winning product was the AXA Platinum Plus Cover which has been specially designed to provide a world class health cover for the insurer’s customers. With access to roam over 1,700 hospitals locally, care in India, UAE and South African hospitals and limited in-patient cover in the UK, France, and Germany for up to $1000 in healthcare benefits.

The product provides enrolees with benefits such as twenty-four hour dedicated Telemedicine service, home vaccination service, free home delivery of special medications, partnership with healthy eating restaurants, and smarter budget-friendly discounts on healthy meals.

Speaking on the award, Chief Executive Officer, AXA Mansard Health Limited, Tope Adeniyi, said “We thank our highly esteemed customers for this prestigious award, as they are the reason, we passionately drive to improve our product offerings and execute innovative initiatives. This award is recognition of our unflinching commitment to our customers and an affirmation of our current position as the leading health insurance company in the country.”

Read Also: FG To Receive 20m Doses Of COVID-19 Vaccines

AXA Mansard Health has a twenty-four-hour call centre, a team of highly trained and dedicated professionals, service portals at all AXA Mansard Welcome Centres nationwide and has deployed state-of-the-art technology to attain operational excellence while contributing to prompt service delivery and overcoming of challenges being encountered in the Nigerian health insurance industry.

Whilst thanking the organizers, Adeniyi noted that “the company is counting on the continued support of our stakeholders to continuously provide superior customer experience and to develop more innovative and value-adding products. We will continue to innovate, create new products, improve our product offering and refine our service delivery to ensure we continuously meet the changing needs of our customers”.

AXA Mansard Health Limited is the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) arm of the AXA Mansard group of companies. The HMO is geared to promote her members’ wellbeing.

The HMO serves all clients across the country virtually and has established functional offices in Lagos (the head office), Abuja, Port-Harcourt, Enugu, with ongoing plans to open offices in other locations.

Read Also: Nigeria To Take First Delivery Of COVID-19 Vaccines

Global Banking & Finance Review is a leading Online and Print Magazine, which has evolved from the growing need to have a more balanced view, for informative and independent news within the financial community.

Since its inception in 2011, The Awards reflect the innovation, achievement, strategy, progressive and inspirational changes taking place within the Global Financial community. According to the magazine’s publishers the awards were created to recognize companies prominent in their areas of expertise and excellent in financial service delivery.

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Adetokunbo Fagbemi Reinstated As NAHCO Boss

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Adetokunbo Fagbemi Reinstated As NAHCO Boss

Adetokunbo Fagbemi has been reinstated as the Group Managing Director (GMD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO Aviance).

The aviation company’s board of directors made this disclosure in a statement made available to the press.

“The Board is however pleased to inform the investing public and the Exchange that on, Tuesday, February 24, 2021, a satisfactory evidence of departure and arrival dates of the equipment has been received by the board from the equipment manufacturer.

“Consequently, the Board at its emergency meeting today, February 24, 2021, has recalled the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Adetokunbo A. Fagbemi from the suspension and she has resumed work,” the statement read.

Why she was earlier suspended

In a press statement released at the time she was suspended, NAHCO explained that Fagbemi was suspended due to a ‘managerial failure’ on her part.

It all started when the company purchased equipment but failed to take delivery of it within the stipulated contractual period. To make things worse, NAHCO’s management failed to offer a plausible explanation to the Board as to why the equipment was not delivered to the company on time.

Consequently, in line with an earlier decision by the Board regarding the purchase of the undisclosed equipment, Fagbemi was suspended and was to receive only half her pay during the duration of the suspension. She was also to remain on suspension until the equipment was finally delivered by the vendor.

“The GMD/CEO was suspended by the Board at the meeting held on 27th January 2021. The suspension was due to management’s failure to diligently secure the delivery of a purchased equipment from the vendor within the contracted period and management’s inability to provide satisfactory/acceptable reason for the unreasonably very long delay. The suspension was in line with the Board’s earlier decision that if a certified bill of lading for the equipment was not received by 2nd of February 2021, the GMD/CEO shall proceed on suspension with half pay until receipt of acceptable evidence of equipment shipment from the manufacturer. The suspension commenced from 3rd February 2021 and the Group Executive Director – Corporate Services, Mr Olamuyiwa A Oyimekun acted as the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer,” part of the statement by the company read.

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