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Importers get 4 days waiver to clear containers

By Moses Uwagbale

The Management of Clarion Bonded Terminal has given its customers four days waiver to ensure evacuation of their containers from the terminal.

The Legal Counsel of the terminal, Mr Emmanuel Osonwa, made this known on the side-line of the company’s management courtesy visit to the headquarters of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) in Lagos.

Osonwa said that the waiver was to ameliorate the suffering of its customers when the terminal was sealed by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

He said that as at the time of sealing the terminal, they had close to 4,000 containers and had no prior notice of closure of the terminal.

He said that the Controller KLT Customs Command on May 11 came and alleged that illegal activities were going on in the terminal and that Clarion did not have approval from the Customs Service to operate the bonded terminal.

Osonwa said that the terminal was sealed and the Customs Command wrote a letter to their headquarters that they had sealed the terminal pending the directive on what should be done.

He said that the KLT Customs Command noted that the terminal was only directed to handle empty container transaction.

Osonwa said that investigation were carried out which started from June 11 till July 3, saying that COVID-19 pandemic made this slow for them.

He said that on July 4, the terminal was unsealed for business and all workers moved back to ensure that customers’ containers were evacuated.

He explained that this necessitated the granting of waiver to help those who had concluded their papers.

According to him, this is done to enable customers who are ready to move their containers to do so.

“On our prompt opening for evacuation, nobody was called to pay any demurrage but you know that some customers will go and `sleep’ and so we notified them to come and take delivery of their containers.

“Those that were ready before the sealing will not pay any demurrage. Those of them that have not paid any duty will not fall into the ambit of people that are exempted.

“In fact this week, we will still put two and two together to allow everybody to go but for somebody who is still `sleeping’ by the side, he will not be allowed.

“From the day the terminal was sealed to the day it was opened, we are giving additional four days because it will not be practicable for some people to tidy up what they should have done before the sealing of the terminal.

“Since opening on July 3, we worked July 4 and 5 and we are operating 24 hours to ensure that customers move their containers out,” he said.

Osonwa noted that the management wanted to assure the customers that they were still doing their timely and expeditious job before this happened, urging them to be mindful of ‘Act of Princes’.

He described the `Act of Princes’ as a term in maritime, one of the points that could lead to `force majeure’ in any contract in maritime shipping.

`Force majeure’ being an unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract.

“Customs’ actions rightly or wrongly, constitute what we call Act of Princes. It is not our fault or making; we are doing our legal job and this happened,” he said.

Osonwa noted that customers already knew that some of their goods coming through the barges from Apapa were stalled when Customs Service gave the order and everything stopped.

AfDB ranks 4th in global transparency

By Chris Ndibe

Publish What You Fund has ranked the African Development Bank (AfDB) fourth out of 47 global development institutions on its Aid Transparency Index.

The bank’s Communications and External Relations Department made this known in a statement on Wednesday.

The Index is the only independent measure of aid transparency among the World’s major development agencies.

It index places AfDB in the highest category of transparency along with other world class institutions such as World Bank, Asian Development Bank and UNDP.

The Chief Executive Officer of the fund, Gary Forster, according to the statement, congratulated the AfDB’s sovereign portfolio on achieving fourth place in the 2020 Aid Transparency Index.

Forster said the ranking is based on several criteria, including finance and budget, basic information data, organisational planning and performance.

“In the new index, which covers 2019 year, the AfDB scored 95.5 per cent on transparency which a significant improvement on its score for 2018.

“It is promising to see an increase in the quantity and timelines of aid data now being shared by a broad cross section of the world’s major aid agencies.

“As we work together to fill the gaps in the aid data landscape, we look forward to exploring how we can best meet the demand for data and data engagement” he said.

The AfDB’s Acting Senior Vice President, Swazi Tshabalala expressed joy over the achievement.

“It crowns this institution’s commitment to transparency at a time when it has never be so important.

“With such large volumes of funding now being assigned to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial for our citizens to know how much, where and when AfDB is investing in Africa’s development” he said.

Insurance firms pay N21bn claims

By Tanko Mohammed

Mutual Benefits Assurance and its subsidiary, Mutual Benefits Life Assurance, paid combined claims amounting to N21billion in 2019, a statement said on Monday.

The statement by the Insurance firm revealed that the company’s General Business paid N3.2 billion, while Life Business paid N17.8 billion.

A breakdown of the paid claims reveals that Maturity Claims account for the highest, at N8 billion, followed by Surrender Claims at N4.28 billion and Group Life Claims at N4.03 billion.

The company said that Partial withdrawal stood at N1.26 billion while Credit Life, Individual Death Claims and Annuity Claims accounted for N75.59 million, N105 million and N45.62 million respectively.

According to the firm, for the Non-Life Business, Gross Claims paid was N3.2 billion.

The company stated that Motor Claims, being the highest, was N1.22 billion, followed by Fire Claims at N859 million, Special Risks (Aviation/Oil & Gas) attracted N472.12 million Claims, and Marine Claims were N180.144 million.

The Insurance firm also announced a profit growth of 214 percent for the financial result for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Mutual Assurance said that its Profit After Income Tax grew to N3.61billion when compared to N1.15 billion recorded in 2018.

The company noted that its Gross Premium Written rose by 18 per cent from 15.84 billion in 2018 to N18.7 billion in 2019.

“Net Premium Income stood at N15.29 billion, representing a 13 per cent increase from N13.48 billion in 2018.”

The insurance firm revealed that it also recorded a growth in Underwriting Profit of 77 per cent which rose to N5.4billion from N3.1 billion recorded in 2018.

According to the firm, its net underwriting income increased by 13 per cent, from N13.96 billion in 2018 to 15.77 billion 2019.

The Insurance firm stated that its Shareholders’ Fund for the year under review stood at N13.43billion, which is a 50.33 per cent increase from the previous year which was N8.94 billion.

It said that its total assets grew by 14 per cent from N59.4 billion in 2018 to N67.8 billion in 2019.

Commenting, Mr Femi Asenuga, Managing Director, Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc, said that a twin approach of increased revenue drive and more robust underwriting process ensured an impressive 77 per cent increase in underwriting profit from N3.1b in 2018 to N5.4b in 2019.

On the company’s five-year strategy plan tagged: Project One Reloaded, Asenuga explained that the firm had made giant strides toward delivering more innovative and cutting-edge solutions to its teeming customers .

He said this would be done with the launch of an attractive, user-friendly website with e-commerce capabilities and a Mobile-Application.