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Merger & Acquisitions loom in Nigeria’s insurance sector over N15b new capital base

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There are indications that the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) may soon increase the capital base of insurance firms to about N15 billion,

At present, the minimum capital requirement of life insurance firms is N2 billion, non-life N3billion and composite N5 billion.

Sources within the industry revealed that the commission may soon mandate insurance firms to recapitalise or merge to meet the new capital requirement.

This time, the recapitalisation will be compulsory unlike the optional window introduced by the commission through the Tier-Based Minimum Solvency Capital (TBMSC) policy, which was rejected by the operators and later withdrawn by the commission.

Although the Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari has been silent on the issue, sources said the commission was working underground to bring the new recapitalisation to fruition soon.

Kari had, before the cancellation of the TBMSC, said there was the need for insurance firms to recapitalise.

According to him, the industry witnessed the last recapitalisation between 2005 and 2007 and that since then, the operating environment had witnessed series of turbulence and uncertainties.

He said immediately after the 2005 and 2007 exercises, the 2008 global financial crisis hit the sector with heavy consequences on insurers.

He stated that this was followed by significant upward increase in risks arising from macro-economic environment, such as inflation rate, interest rate and devaluation of the currency.

These, he said, led to an increase in the current value of insured assets and operating cost of insurers. Yet, the same regulatory capital continued to rule and no significant increase in shareholders’ funds of many insurers.

He said: “As insurers continue to take too much risk with their little capital, coupled with the twin risks arising from impairment of certain assets and inappropriate pricing of insured risks, there has been an increasing inability of many insurers to honour contractual commitments to the insured and the shareholders.

“Guided by the provisions of extant laws and international best practice, the Commission has identified underlying trends, some of which were enumerated above; and has accordingly, considered and hereby prescribed Tier-Based Minimum Solvency Capital for insurers on the basis of their respective risk profiles and their risk management systems.”

Kari said recapitalisation would bost the soundness and profitability of insurers, support the stability of the financial system and increase insurance contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP); and limit significant systemic risks and build confidence in the industry, THEREBY ensuring the stability of the insurance sector.

He stressed that the commission’s goal is to ensure the safety and soundness of insurance institutions.

“Our goal is also to facilitate the stability of the sector, secure protection of policyholders and public interest; promote optimal development of the insurance market; and engender public trust and confidence in the insurance system,” he added.

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Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were down for more than 2 hours

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Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were all experiencing issues this morning for users worldwide. Facebook and Instagram were both inaccessible, with news feeds refusing to refresh and the main Facebook.com domain unavailable for more than two hours. WhatsApp messages were also unable to be sent or received, and users of Facebook’s main services (Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp) headed to Twitter to share that they were having issues. Messenger, Facebook’s chat service, was also down for more than two hours.

The outages appear to have started at around 6:30AM ET this morning, and some locations were more widely affected than others. “Earlier today, some people may have experienced trouble connecting to the family of apps,” says a Facebook spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “The issue has since been resolved; we’re sorry for any inconvenience.” Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp all started to come back online at around 9AM ET this morning.

Facebook’s issues come just a month after Facebook experienced its worst outage ever. Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram were all inaccessible for hours last month, and it wasn’t until over 24 hours later that Facebook finally gave the all clear. Facebook blamed a “server configuration change,” and apologized for the outages.

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This is Ghanaian woman who has 2 vaginas and 2 wombs

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It may probably sound like a fairy tale to hear there exists a woman who has more than one vagina and one womb, but Elizabeth Amoah has lived with this condition for quite some time and has now decided to let the world know about it.

Speaking on 3FM’s Drive with Giovani Caleb over the week, Elizabeth, also known as ‘Special Lady’, disclosed she has had to undergo seven medical surgeries after she was diagnosed of having sexual complications.

“I discovered I had a double womb and a double vagina canal in 2015 after an MRI scan, so I had to undergo about seven surgeries,” she told Giovani Caleb.

The scan, according to her, also detected she had endometriosis: a sexual disorder in which tissues linings of the uterus grows outside the uterus.

She explained having a double vagina means “having one vagina outside and the other inside”.

She added that the double womb usually does not come with any symptoms but rather exposes one to health challenges such as irregular periods, fibroids, irregular fainting and in some instances cause infertility.

“I had a premature baby after four years of not conceiving, and going through such health situations wasn’t easy,” she said.

She noted the condition is not common in women, saying “research says it can be found in one out of 350 women and the person might not even know she has it”.

Having gone through the ordeal, Elizabeth is currently back to Ghana to kick start a campaign dubbed “The Unspoken Topics”, a project she with her Special Lady Foundation plans to use as a tool in educating women, especially young ladies, on female reproductive health challenges.

Commencing a project which will engage young ladies in Ghana on the health challenges women go through reproductively, the Foundation will on Sunday, April 14, 2019 start the campaign at the Nima Berlin Bridge at 2pm.

The project is expected to receive 400 women both young and old for an encounter with Elizabeth Amoah, the Chief Executive Officer of the Special Lady Foundation.

SOURCE; ghgossip.com m

Storm is over as China, US inch towards trade deal

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China's Vice Premier Liu He (2nd R) shakes hands US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (2nd L) as Yi Gang (R), governor of the People's Bank of China (PBC) and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (L) pose for a group photo at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on March 29, 2019. - Top negotiators from China and the United States resumed a fresh round of trade talks in Beijing on March 29 aiming to settle the bruising spat that has threatened the global economy. (Photo by Nicolas ASFOURI and NICOLAS ASFOURI / POOL / AFP)

Chinese and US officials have maintained close contact in recent days on the remaining issues, and further negotiations could be underway, as the two countries inch toward a final trade agreement to end their tariff war, China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday.

However, even as officials hailed new progress in recent talks and appear committed to a final deal, a new point of tension emerged after the US decided to put dozens of Chinese entities on a red-flag list, drawing criticism from China, which urged the US to correct such a “wrongdoing.” 

Following the latest round of negotiations in Washington last week, Chinese and US officials have held discussions on some remaining issues, Gao Feng, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, told a press briefing on Thursday. He did not elaborate.

Alluding to further talks between the two sides, Gao said that the two sides “will maintain communication through all kinds of effective ways and go all out in continuing serious negotiations.”

Commenting on the meetings in Washington, Gao said that the two sides made “new progress” and discussed topics such as intellectual property protection, technology transfer, the service sector, and trade balance.

Though Chinese officials have refrained from disclosing details, US officials have been constantly and in some cases deliberately disclosing information to appeal to US domestic audience and pressure China, according to Chinese analysts. 

In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, US time, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the two sides “pretty much” agreed on an enforcement 

mechanism and suggested that both sides will establish “enforcement offices.”

The enforcement issue has been a sticking point as US officials have been pushing for a greater say on checking on China’s compliance with a final deal, while Chinese officials maintain that any enforcement mechanism must be a two-way street.

US officials have also been pushing for concessions from China on cloud computing. Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that a concession from China to give foreign firms greater access to the Chinese market could be added to the final trade agreement.

“US officials tend to broadcast things in its interest, but the fact is both sides are in a fatigue period and want a break from the fight,” Jiang Yong, an expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday. “That means both sides will have to compromise to make a deal.”

Coming after recent positive developments in China-EU relations, the comments from US officials might also be aimed at avoiding being sidelined, according to Bai Ming, deputy director of the Institute of International Market Research of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation. “The US certainly does not want anything to steal the momentum of the talks,” he said.

China and the EU on Tuesday issued a joint statement that signaled a consensus on a wide range of topics, including trade and investment between the two major economies.

Though China and the US are continuing to make progress in the talks and appear close to reaching a deal, analysts noted that a new point of tension could arise.

New tensions In what could be a new front for disputes between the two countries, the US Commerce Department on Wednesday included 37 Chinese companies and schools in a list of “unverified” entities that US companies need to treat with caution, Reuters reported.

Though different from an embargo, the move could still have a major impact on listed entities as US companies tend to avoid potential hassle, analysts and media reports said.

Commenting on the US move, Gao said that the listing would hurt Chinese firms’ reputation and hinder their normal trade activities. “The Chinese side opposes the US on generalizing the concept of national security and often abusing export control measures,” the spokesperson said.

The Chinese companies listed by the US cover several high-tech areas such as liquid crystal materials and precision optics, prompting Chinese analysts to speculate that this could be a new approach of the US to contain China’s technological rise.

“This is a very negative development in the already complex and tense relationship between China and the US,” said Bai.

However, Bai said the move is not “completely unexpected,” given the rising competition between China and the US over technology. “After

[the trade war]

, China is more prepared than ever to protect its legitimate interests,” he said. 

Among the Chinese companies listed is Beijing Bayi Space LCD Materials Technology Co, which is a publicly-traded company specializing in liquid crystal materials for displays. A company representative told the Global Times on Thursday that the firm is aware of the situation, but declined to offer further comment.

GLOBAL TIMES

Huawei says Apple is welcome to use its 5G chipset

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Huawei’s 5G chipsets are open for sale to third-party companies, and the company will “say yes” if US device giant Apple want to buy it, Richard Yu Chengdong, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group (CBG), said on Thursday. 

Huawei is reportedly now open to selling its 5G Balong 5000 chipsets, which are capable of supporting 3G, 4G and 5G networks on a single chip. The chipsets were officially launched on January 24 along with the first commercial 5G device powered by them. With the support of Balong 5000 chips, Huawei claims that the devices can reach high speeds of up to 3.2 Gbps in live network tests.

“We’ll say yes if Apple wants to use them,” Yu said. 

Previously, the Shenzhen-based company had emphasized that its 5G chips are for use in its “internal products” only. In a media interview in January, the company said that Huawei will not sell its self-developed 5G chipsets to third-party companies.

Apple, on the other hand, has been struggling to find 5G chipset providers to match its 5G device line-up, which was originally planned to roll out in 2020, according to media reports. Its current partner, Intel, is reportedly failing to meet the deadline to provide a major chipset – the XMM 8160 5G modem – that Apple is counting on to enter the competition, the reports said.

Meanwhile, other chipset producers, including Samsung, have also been negotiating with Apple on 5G chipset provision, but have failed to reach a deal. 

Qualcomm, the US mobile technology company, is unlikely to form a partnership with Apple due to their legal dispute over patents.

Apple had not replied to a request sent by the Global Times for comment on Huawei’s latest offer. 

There is still a chance that a deal can be made, according to an industry insider familiar with the chipset supply chain in China. 

“Huawei has mature 5G technology, considering it has used the Kirin 970 chipset to power its products, and the possibility cannot be completely eliminated that it has changed its mind and decided to sell chips to other companies,” the insider surnamed Liu told the Global Times.

Han Xiaomin, a consultant from the Beijing-based CCID Consulting, told the Global Times in an earlier interview that he believes that both companies can benefit if a deal can be reached. For Apple, it can get the chips it needs. By supplying 5G chips, Huawei can also win a competitive edge over its competitors including Qualcomm and Samsung.

“Huawei is now one of the global leaders in 5G, with advanced and mature technology development. I believe that Huawei is confident enough to supply its technology to Apple despite the fact that it is one of Huawei’s major rivals in the smartphone industry,” Han said.

“In cooperation with Apple, Huawei can also gain more bargaining power in the market of 5G chips.”

GLOBAL TIMES