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How to use your pensions for mortgage

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The National Pension Commission recently approved the guidelines to access Retirement Savings Account balance for payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders.

The approval was in line with Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014, which allows RSA holders to use a portion of their RSA balance towards payment of equity for residential mortgage.

PenCom however specified conditions to access the funds. A major condition is that the applicant must be in active employment, either as a salaried employee or as a self-employed person.

It stated that application for equity contribution for residential mortgage must be in person and not by proxy.

How to apply

Anybody who is interested can approach his PFA to get explanation on the process. The PFA will print the statement of account and determine the 25 per cent.

Speaking with our correspondent, the Spokesperson, PenCom, Abdulqadir Dahiru, said, “Then when you have that, you can now go back to your mortgage lender, get a letter of offer of your property, go through their own due diligence to agree for them to finance because the pension is only giving you 25 per cent; 75 per cent will still be financed by somebody.

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“That person must give you an offer letter for a loan that he is ready to finance you, and this is the equity contribution you are required to bring. So if you have that equity contribution with that letter of offer, which has been validated by the mortgage lender, that is when you can approach your PFA to request for your 25 per cent.”

Maximum amount allowed

PenCom stated that the maximum amount to be withdrawn is 25 per cent of the total mandatory RSA balance as of the date of application, irrespective of the value of equity contribution required by the mortgage lender.

Where 25 per cent of a contributor’s RSA balance is not sufficient for payment as equity contribution, the RSA holders may utilise the contingency portion of their voluntary contributions (if any).

Consent form

If a person had accessed part of the funds before either for leaving paid employment before retirement age, he will still get lump sum at retirement. He can still get part of the funds for mortgage after meeting specific conditions stated in the guidelines, but he must sign a consent form to get it.

Aisha Dahir-Umar, DG National Pension Commission

Dahiru said, “If you have taken 25 per cent for temporary loss of job and then you get employment again, and you continue contributing and you come to collect for a mortgage, you will sign a consent to say that I’m fully aware that this money I want to withdraw to finance a house will affect the amount I may likely take when I retire, I understand and whatever.

“So, basically you are indemnifying the PFA that you understand so that at the point of retirement, if your benefit is lower compared to your colleagues you will not complain.”

Mortgage lender

To qualify as a mortgage lender for the purpose, the company must be licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, comply with the Contributory Pension Scheme and have valid Pension Clearance Certificate, according to PenCom’s guidelines.

Eligibility

According to PenCom, a worker must have an offer letter for the property duly signed by the property owner and verified by the mortgage lender. The RSA of the applicant must have both employer and employee’s mandatory contributions for a cumulative minimum period of 60 months (five years). A contributor under the Micro Pension Plan is also eligible, provided he/she has made contributions for at least 60 months (five years) prior to the date of his/her application.

Age limit

RSA holders that have less than three years to retirement are not eligible.

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Dahiru explained, “If I am an employee and working in an organisation where the retirement age is 55 years, if I am 50, or 51 years, I can access because I have five years or more than three years to retire. But once I get to 52 that, means I have three years which I cannot access.”

According to PenCom’s guidelines, married couples, who are RSA holders, are eligible to make a joint application, subject to individually satisfying the eligibility requirements.

Data recapturing

RSA holders, if registered before 1 July 2019, must have their records updated through the RSA data recapture exercise.

Dahiru said, “But it’s very important that RSA holders have done their recapture. When you have not done your data recapturing, we can’t process it.”

Insufficient 25 per cent contribution

The PenCom spokesperson said, “Where the 25 per cent the mortgage lender is asking for is equal to the 25 per cent of your RSA, definitely we will process. But if what mortgage lender is asking for is higher than what you can get from your PFA, you will have to look for the difference and pay and show evidence to your PFA.

“For instance, if your mortgage lender is looking for N2.5m and the mortgage is N10m, and the mortgage lender says bring 25 per cent as equity contribution, and your own 25 per cent in your RSA is only N1.5m, you will have to look for that difference of N1m and pay; then come with it with your offer letter for the property and the evidence that I have paid, then your PFA will give you the balance of N1.5m which is your 25 per cent.”

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Aviation

Lagos-London air passengers pay over 400% more than Abuja-London fliers

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Passengers travelling from Lagos to London in the coming days might be forced to travel through Abuja to their destination as the former are made to pay at least 400 per cent higher than the latter.

According to a new Vanguard report, passengers flying on one-way economy ticket through Abuja on British Airways pay $501 (about N222,093) while those travelling through Lagos on the same airline and ticket class pay as much as $2,700 (about N1,196,910).

Also, passengers travelling through Ethiopian Airline on one-way economy ticket through Abuja pay N700,000, while those going through Lagos on the same airline and ticket class pay as much as N2.8 million.

The fare differential, according to industry operators, may not be unconnected to demand and supply differentials but also noted that the distance is almost same for the two routes.

Vanguard gathered that flights from London to Abuja take six hours, and 20 minutes, while flights to Lagos from London take six hours and 25 minutes.

Though Air France maintains same fares from both routes the amount is also high at $2,141 on similar ticket class for a one-way journey.

Passengers’ reactions

A traveller who spoke to Vanguard about the development lamented her amazement to the development.

According to her, “I was to travel to London next week. So in a bid to ensure i pay less, I open the booking portal of BA, I was in Abuja and I mistakenly clicked on Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, and i was taken to the price to my amazement, the price i saw there was $2,700 I was shocked.

“I had to check very well to see if i had punched something odd. I realised I inputted Lagos instead of Abuja. So I had to readjust and the price I finally saw was far lower. This was quite outrageous as it was not supposed to be so.”

Another traveller who spoke to Vanguard Aviation World, said: “Why will Ethiopian Airline, and Africa airline put their airfare to London this high? I was expecting their price to be lesser than others but I was wrong.

“Even the price in Lagos differs by a far margin. Why would it be so?

 

The ministry responsible should look into it, as for me it can only be attributed to extortion.”

BA’s spokesperson, Josephine Simmons, gave reasons for the disparity, saying that airfares could differ due to availability, airport taxes and other factors.

She was quoted as saying, “Prices differ by airport due to numerous factors including customer demand and fare charges – including airport taxes.

“Most customers book their flights in advance, benefiting from competitive fares.”

The development has created a series of reactions from both stakeholders and travellers across the country.

While some stakeholders attributed the development to the exploitation of Nigeria’s passengers, others stated that the less demand in Abuja was strengthened by the security challenges.

According to the Principal Partner, Avaero Capital, Sindy Foster, the development possibly might be due to more demand than supply in Lagos.

“If BA had more demand from Abuja price would probably be higher. Most people are not flying direct between Abuja and London. I expect demand for Abuja went down due to security issues.

Flights tend to be lower if there is more supply against demand. It is good that prices have come down in Abuja. Will be interesting to work out why they are still high in Lagos. I suspect there is less demand for Abuja.

The chairman of United Nigeria Airline, Obiora Okonkwo, said: “Why do foreign airlines charge Nigeria so much?

“In the aviation industry, one-hour flight fuel consumption is the same, the only difference is maybe different landing charges in London or Ghana, the rest is the same.

“I can assure you that if Air Peace goes to London today, Nigerians will fly to London with an Economy ticket of N500,000. Today the price is about N2 million, why should we pay such if they are converting from N450 to $1?

“We owe Nigerians this explanation. However, whatever is going on, this is a wake-up call that the local operators have to be supported as they have all it takes to operate internationally.

“Emirates have over $5 billion in support from their government. When we ask for support, it is not free, we pay back. American Airlines have equity of over $60 billion and a debt profile of $70 billion and those debts all come from government support.

“If the local airlines are supported, we can have the capacity that cannot be threatened globally. The easiest flight to operate is a long haul. Short haul is even more difficult as it is stressful to both the aircraft and cabin crew.

“It is even easier to go to London, aviation is the same globally, you are audited by IOSA, IATA and that is, they prevented us and make us looks bad.

“They are also aware that our quality and regulatory standards are high. We get crews and captains coming to Nigeria and they fail our exams and we send them back.”

It would be recalled that Nigeria, a destination of over 22 foreign carriers, manages Bilateral Air Services Agreements, BASA, with over 78 countries.

These airlines operate daily and weekly in Nigeria.

Ethiopian and ASKY, Togolese airline also operated by Ethiopian Airline, together operate 54 frequencies weekly in Nigeria.

African World Airways (AWA) has 49 frequencies per week; British Airways and Virgin Atlantic operate 21 frequencies weekly into Nigeria; EgyptAir with 16; Air France 15; Saudi Arabian Airways 13; Emirates 11; Lufthansa 11; Air Cote d’Ivoire10; Qatar 9; South African Airways 7.

Others were Delta, Royal Air Maroc, RwandAir, Sudan Airways, and Turkish Airways, which enjoy seven frequencies without reciprocity from Nigerian airlines.

Also, Etihad has five frequencies; Fly Mid Africa has four; Middle East Airlines – has four and Air Italy formerly Meridiana has three weekly flights to the country.

-Vanguard with minimal editing and a new headline

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Auto

US used car firm begins Nigeria’s operations, unveils Yuletide promo

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A global automobile company that specialises in premium used vehicle sale and service, Carloha, has announced the commencement of operations in Nigeria with a target at the top of the market.

The firm with head office in the USA has also unveiled a Yuletide promo with a huge slash in prices of its vehicles and free insurance, registration and warranty.

The firm, according to a statement obtained via email, owns and manages several stores and maintenance centres, with over 200 dedicated employees providing comprehensive car purchase, finance and insurance services.

Carloha Nigeria is said to parade a host of premium used vehicles in its arsenal of stocks and well positioned to be the leading automobile company in used vehicle trading business in Nigeria.

Marketing Manager of the auto firm, Mr Mathew Enuoma Aje, said, “We are in business to set the pace in sales and services of used vehicle segment in Nigeria, by making vehicle ownership a seamless process for all customers.”

Commenting on the Yuletide promo, said, “In the spirit of the Yuletide, Carloha Nigeria is offering huge price slash on every vehicle purchased from October 31, 2022 to January 31, 2022. Customers can also take advantage of free registration, free insurance, free first three services, finance option, trade-in-option, and three month warranty or 5,000km whichever comes first.

The End of Year Promo tagged “Drive Your Dream” is exclusive and all-embracive because they all come with freebies that are germane to vehicle ownership and driving comfort.

The essence of “Drive Your Dream” promo is to bring happiness, joy and peace of mind to all customers in this Yuletide, and also our token of appreciation for all year-round patronage in 2022.”

Aje said Carloha Nigeria prides itself with the best of used vehicles of choice brands that are durable, rugged well refined to suit the taste of all customers.

“The class and state of vehicles we stock are rare and cannot be sourced elsewhere,” the firm said in the statement.

The company said it “works with well known used car provider in the USA, using big data technology to select the best quality used car in Nigeria. The replication of the automated system is to position Carloha Nigeria as a viable company that will drive the world with latest technological advancement in automobile engineering that offers bespoke premium services that cannot be seen anywhere in sub-Sahara African.”

Carloha Nigeria listed the notable brands of vehicle offerings as Mercedes-Benz, Toyota (Lexus), Ford, and Range Rover it considered “neatly selected and well finished to specifications with the states-of-the-Arts technology.”

Even as the firm noted that pricing of used vehicle had been a huge algorithmic challenge to the overall business, it stated that automated pricing system is used Carloha Nigeria to fix the right price of all used vehicles.

This, it said, was done to accurately fix each price of vehicle in relation to economic fluctuation and imbalance in the local market.

On after-sale, it said, “The installations of state-of-art technological automated equipment is a proof of Carloha’s readiness to set the pace as a major player in the sales and maintenance of used vehicle.

“To ensure quality standard of vehicles, Carloha Nigeria utilizes scientific method with fully automated management system known as 149 vehicle inspection point on chasis, engine, transmission, exterior, interior, electronic system, road test, and maintenance equipment to meet the demand of the market,” it said.

 

 

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Excitement as NAJA introduces new categories in auto industry awards, announces date

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The Nigerian auto industry has come alive again following the announcement by the Auto Journalists Association (NAJA) to hold the 2022 edition of its annual awards on Wednesday January 25, 2023 at the prestigious Eko Hotels and Towers, Victoria Island.

Auto industry players are particularly excited about the introduction of new categories including the most popular brand whose products are most visible cutting across different models.

Speaking on the new date, Chairman of the Planning Committee, Mr Rasheed Bisiriyu, stated that it had always been the tradition of the organizers to schedule the award ceremonies to coincide with the end-of-the-year festive period, but it had to be rescheduled for the New Year due to some unforeseen circumstances.
According to him, the NAJA awards which annually reward excellence in the Nigerian automotive industry, has over the years become a great platform to bring together critical stakeholders in the industry.
“One thing has remained true to this remarkable contest; it celebrates and rewards automotive excellence. Our jurors are experts in the automotive field and clearly understand vehicles and the mobility sector.”
He also said nominated vehicles would be judged based on value for money, pricing, cost of maintenance, depreciation rate, fuel consumption, warranty & dealer access and insurance.
“It will also be judged on design and functionality which will take into account factors such as safety, environment, seating comfort, space, practicality and ergonomics.
“Nominated vehicles will also be selected based on performance such as handling, braking, smoothness and quietness,” he added.
He said once the expert panel concluded scoring, the automated scoring factors that cover sales performance, segment share and value for money are applied, the nominees in all the categories would be announced.
“Every year, we adapt the scoring system slightly to consider new global and local market trends to ensure the credibility and objectivity of the awards, ” Bisiriyu said.
In his own remarks, Chairman of NAJA, Mike Ochonma, explained that the change in the traditional date would not in any way affect the glamour and credibility of the awards.
He said new categories such as Most Popular Auto Brand had been added to the 2022 edition.
He assured stakeholders of utmost objectivity, credibility and integrity.
“NAJA awards present a platform for the automotive industry to demonstrate and celebrate the advances made in the key areas of manufacturing, assembling, technology, stewardship, franchising and innovation,” he added.

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