…As AIICO Insurance unveils new initiative to boost Agriculture, economy***
The bears continued to dominate trading on the nation’s bourse on Wednesday with the market capitalisation extending loss by N12 billion amid political uncertainties.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the market capitalisation shed N12 billion or 0.10 per cent to close at N11.822 trillion in contrast with N11.834 trillion achieved on Tuesday.
Similarly, the All-Share Index, which opened at 32,417.70, lost 35.12 points or 0.11 per cent to close at 32,382.58.
Market analysts hinged the persistent fall in the equities market to fears surrounding the 2019 general elections.
They said that investors were still watching to ascertain what would be the outcome of the just concluded political primaries of the major political parties.
They said that if the primaries did not generate serious upheaval that the stock market would likely stabilise for sometime.
Nigerian Breweries topped the laggards’ chart with N2.50 to close at N85.50 per share.
Transcorp Hotel trailed with a loss of 65k to close at N6.10, while UACN declined by 50k to close at N11 per share.
FBN Holdings lost 25k to close at N9.20, while Mobil Oil went down by 20k to close at N175 per share.
On the other hand, Nestle led the price gainers’ table, increasing by N15.30 to close at N1,420.30 per share.
CAP followed with a gain of N3 to close at N33, while Unilever gained 50k to close at N42.50 per share.
Flour Mills also garnered 50k to close at N20.40, while Red Star Express advanced by 30k to close at N4.60 per share.
The financial services sector maintained its leadership position as the most active.
Specifically, FCMB Group emerged the most traded equity with a turnover of 18.23 million shares worth N31.07 million.
Fidelity Bank came second with an account of 17.22 million shares valued at N32.16 million, while FBN Holdings traded 15.83 million shares worth N145.68 million.
Chams sold 12.41 million shares valued at N3.23 million, while Guaranty Trust Bank exchanged 12.06 million shares worth N444.65 million.
In all, the volume of shares transacted closed lower with an exchange of 134.57 million shares valued at N1.94 billion achieved in 2,760 deals.
This was against a total of 349.53 million shares worth N1.46 billion traded in 2,832 deals on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the AIICO Insurance Plc, on Wednesday launched its new product aimed to strengthen the agricultural sector.
Mr Edwin Igbiti, AIICO Managing Director said at the launch of the `AIICO Agriculture insurance’ in Lagos that it would boost agriculture production, economic development and employment rate in the country.
Igbiti said the move was in response to the dire need for adequate insurance in protecting investments in agricultural sector having obtained approval from the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM ) to underwrite agriculture insurance.
He said the company was uniquely positioned to offer agriculture insurance to Nigerian farmers at all levels and investors looking to tap into the huge potentials of the sector, through its value-based insurance propositions.
“AIICO is taking strategic position to be a major player in offering agriculture insurance in order to deliver the much needed protection to the different players in the agriculture value chain.
“The company’s competitive edge is hinged on its understanding of the exact needs of farmers through the application of knowledge and expertise in this line of insurance business,’’ Igbiti said.
He noted that for over two decades, agriculture insurance in Nigeria was solely dominated by government owned insurance companies.
“However, around 2011, NAICOM took a significant step of opening up the space to privately owned insurance companies in order to bridge the gaps and strengthen agriculture insurance in Nigeria.
“Even with this step, not many operators are willing to play in the Agric Insurance space for obvious reasons,” he said.
According to him, active participation of insurance companies would be required to deliver the much needed protection to the farmers and other stakeholders in agricultural sector in terms of risk being experienced by them.
The managing director said that the company decided to come in as one of insurance leader in taking strategic position to be a major player in offering agriculture insurance.
He said that the company would deliver the much needed protection to different players in agricultural sector and other value chain.
“AIICO Insurance is uniquely positioned to offer both indemnity and index based agricultural insurance product to Nigeria farmers at all levels as well agricultural sector investors looking to tap into the potential of the sector,’’ Igbiti said.
He said that the bold step taken by the company in introducing full array of agricultural insurance products offering to the market would support the initiatives and interventions of government and non-governmental organisations.
Igbiti, however, called on stakeholders to partner and support the company’s initiative so as to deliver value to farmers in all agricultural chain.
Mr Abdulhammed Aliyu, Managing Director, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), commended AIICO Insurance for the initiative aimed at reducing unemployment rate.
Aliyu said that the product would reduce risk associated with farming and would enhance agricultural development.
Aliyu, represented by Mr Babajide Arowosafe, Executive Director, Technical, said that agriculture was an essential part of socio-cultural heritage with high potential in employment generation, security and poverty reduction.
He said that NIRSAL would work effectively with AIICO Insurance to move agriculture sector to its next level with the agriculture insurance product.
Aliyu noted that it would be difficult for government and private sector interventions to thrive without an agriculture insurance product.