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Firm, Kebbi partner on N20bn tomato factory

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Firm, Kebbi partner on N20bn tomato factory

An arrangement has been concluded by the Kebbi Government in collaboration with the G-B Foods Africa for the establishment of a N20 billion tomato processing factory in Ngaski local government area of the state.

Addressing members of the team who paid him a courtesy visit recently at Government House Birnin Kebbi, Governor Abubakar Bagudu said the government had drafted an agreement with the company, adding that the process would be finalized when legal backing is given to GB Foods to cultivate 1,000 hectares of farm lands to produce tomatoes as raw materials.

In his response, the firms Director, Cooperative Affairs and Agricultural Business, Dr Teddy Ngu, said G-B Foods would invest an initial fund of $10 million US dollars into the project.

“The project has been designed to be largest of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.

Earlier, chairman of the firm, Mr Francis Ogboro, commended the state governor for his support towards the actualization of the project.

He said the company would subsequently make a total investment of N20 billion into the Tomatoes Processing Factory.

“The company will provide 1,500 jobs to unemployed youths in the local community on completion,” he said.

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Ebonyi demotes 3 Principals, withholds 10 teachers’ salaries

Ebonyi demotes 3 Principals, withholds 10 teachers’ salaries

Ebonyi State Government yesterday demoted three senior Secondary School Principals for alleged dereliction of duties. This is even as 10 teachers in the state would lose their December salaries for same offence. Chairman of the State Secondary Education Board (SEB), Dr. Uchechukwu Ezenyim disclosed this in Abakaliki. She said the punishment for the affected workers would serve as deterrent to others. The SEB Chairman listed affected Principals to include Mr. Nwotolo J. N of Community Secondary School (CSS) Nzashi in Ikwo Local Government Area; Mr. Nweke C.J of Community Secondary School (CSS) Nkomoro in Ezza North LGA and Mr. Anyigor E.N of Community Secondary School (CSS) Okpoto in Ishielu LGA of the state.

 

The trio had been reported to the zonal office of SEB located at Onueke, in Ezza South LGA of the state, according to her. She, however, did not give the names of the ten teachers who were to lose their December salaries.

 

 

Ezenyim said: “The said Principals, three of them in number, during the just concluded first term examination were involved in non-challant attitudes toward their duties. “During our monitoring, we found that some of them were not complying with the rules and regulations guiding the examination.

 

“When we tried to enquire why they were not doing what they were supposed to do, they were giving us flimsy excuses. “But the major reason we decided to sanction them to serve as a deterrent to other Principals is that the concerned Principals are hiding some of the teachers who are believed to be having two jobs. Maybe, a Federal and a State job at the same time. “And His Excellency, the governor has been demanding to know those ghost workers.

“I wonder why a teacher will not be in school for two good weeks to three weeks and no report is given about the whereabouts of the said teacher. And when you try to ascertain from the Principal who is in charge of activities in that school, he/she won’t even give you a proper excuse on the movement of their teachers. “Therefore, we de cided to take this drastic measure on them, so that those who are hiding will come out and we will know them

 

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The 10 teachers involved are to lose their December salaries. “While His Excellency is trying to rebuild our education system, they are there in the field drawing the state back. “Some of them are refusing the assistance that the Stakeholders in the communities wanted to give through their non challant attitudes.

 

Take for instance, the grant given to them for agric farm in their schools, because of His Excellency’s policy that every school would be producing what they would eat and they have been doing that, but some of the Principals are misusing that fund.”

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$41.9bn oil theft: Obaseki calls for special courts, judges

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$41.9bn oil theft: Obaseki calls for special courts, judges

W

orried over the increasing rate of oil theft in the country, the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, yesterday called for the establishment of ‘Special Courts’ and training of judges to prosecute and convict perpetrators of crude oil theft in the country.

 

Obaseki, who chaired a committee set up by the National Economic Council Committee to find a lasting solution to the issues of oil theft and pipeline vandalisation, made the call during the inaugural Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) policy dialogue with the theme: “Stemming Oil Theft in Nigeria.”

 

While raising concerns that no one has been prosecuted or convicted for the $41.9 billion revenue reported to have been lost in the last 10 years and the huge environmental degradation in affected communities, the governor explained that within the first six months of this year alone, about 22 million barrels of crude oil valued at $1.35 billion were lost to thieves.

 

Obaseki, who revealed that most of the crude oil losses were recorded on trunk lines being operated by companies, which owned production fields and pipelines, however, noted that the situation was disturbing as those outsourced to third parties recorded the least breeches.

 

He called on the Federal Government to take over operations of the trunk lines operated by International Oil Companies (IOC’s) temporarily, pending when the issue would be critically looked into and addressed.

 

The govrnor said: “We lost 22.6 million barrels of crude oil at an estimated cost of about $1.3 billion, but these losses occurred specifically in the Nembe trunk line; we lost 9.2 million barrels in the Trans Niger pipeline; we lost 8.6 million barrels; and in the Trans Forcados pipeline 3.9 million barrels.

 

“What is interesting is that the largest losses came from lines that were owned and operated by the same companies which explored and produce oil. We also noticed that the lines that were outsourced to third parties recorded the least losses so there is a very interesting correlation between the ownership production into the lines and the level of losses on those lines.

 

“When breeches are reported, when products are lost, we just deal with the financial losses to the operators, but what happens to government? Nobody is ever held accountable; nobody is brought to order. Looking through the law, we could not find any concrete evidence of people who were caught, prosecuted and convicted on the crime of stealing crude product.”

 

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, who said there was need for a collaborative effort to check oil theft in the country, lamented that amid operating difficulties, it had caused a high cost of production and assets divestment by some companies.

 

Sylva, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Niger Delta, Mr. Felix Bobnabena, disclosed that despite the sophistication of weapons committed to ending the incidences of oil theft in the region, hinted that the government would continue to review current efforts to end oil theft in the country.

 

On his part, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, described the high spate oil theft in the country as a threat to national economy, given the critical role revenues from the oil and gas sector play in the country.

 

Kyari, who was also represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, Mr. Roland Ewubare noted that between 2001 and 2017, NNPC recorded 45,374 breeches on its pipelines.

“NNPC as a player in the downstream sector has felt direct brunt of the attacks on our facilities and assets. Between 2001 and 2019, we recorded a total of 45,347 pipeline breaks and breeches on our downstream pipeline network. If you do the arithmetic, it comes to about an average of seven incidences on a daily basis,” he added.

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DisCos increase revenue collection by N43bn in one year

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DisCos increase revenue collection by N43bn in one year

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he Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) say their revenue has increased by N43 billion in the last one year.

 

Mr. Sunday Oduntan, Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) disclosed this in a statement in Abuja yesterday.

Oduntan said that the increase has reduced their Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses to 45 per cent.

 

Oduntan said that from October 2018 to June 2019, the 10 DisCos raised their energy revenue to N466 billion.

He said that this was higher than the N423 billion collected from customers between October 2017 and September 2018 when the collection efficiency was 65 per cent.

“The DisCos also raised their collection efficiency to collect money for energy supplied to customers by 67 per cent.

 

“This was higher than the N423 billion they collected from their customers between October 2017 and September 2018 when the collection efficiency was 65 per cent.

 

“This is a reflection of DisCos’ commitment to reduce losses, even within the context of the financial crisis of the power sector,” he said.

Oduntan said that the DisCos, while increasing their collections by N43 billion in a year, by a rate that represents over 10 per cent of improvement, also raised billing efficiency by five per cent during the period under review.

 

According to him, an analysis of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) submitted to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) shows that the DisCos reduced their ATC&C losses by 3.6 per cent within one year.

 

“The ATC&C was 49 per cent in 2018 and has been reduced to 45 per cent in 2019.

“The reduction is even more significant, relative to a starting point of 54 per cent, at handover, and within the context of liquidity challenges and lack of access to capital for investment,” he said.

 

He said that on energy delivered to the DisCos, customers were billed for 20,600 Gigawatts hour (GWH) of energy from 2017 to 2018, amounting to N650 billion, of which N423 billion was collected.

Oduntan, however, said for the period of 2018 through 2019, the DisCos recorded huge improvement in billings, adding that they billed 21,650GWH of energy totalling N693 billion and collected N466 billion.

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Ganduje: We’ll continue to pursue economic development

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Ganduje: We’ll continue to pursue economic development

K

ano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, yesterday said his administration would continue to pursue economic development policy aimed at serving the people in the state.

The governor gave the assurance at the Kano/Zamfara Special Day at the 40th International Trade Fair held at Kano Trade Fair Complex in the city.

 

 

Ganduje noted that; “There is a lot of commercial and economic value in creating conducive environment that responds to the needs of the people, especially those that have the talent to utilise them.

“Hence in our attempt to make Kano a mega commercial city, the government had embarked on the provision of qualitative and robust infrastructure at strategic locations to create a rapid ‘transit system’ in the city,” he said.

The governor, represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, said for the first time in history, the state had executed a gigantic development project at Kwari Market and created a market management board to modernise the largest textile market in the West African sub-region.

 

He said: “This government is replicating same in other selected markets, which will inevitably have positive effect on regeneration of modern business/trades in the state, especially the establishment of business clinic with a view to diagnosing various business illnesses across the state for better economic growth.”

 

Governor Ganduje, however, rejoiced with the success recorded by the state chamber of commerce in the last 40 years of staging what he called successful trade fair against all odds, adding that the chamber also created a strong broad-based membership that cut across the Ministry of Commerce.

 

He maintained that the state would continue to give all the necessary support to stimulate commercial, industrial, cooperative, solid minerals and agricultural investments in Kano and Nigeria at large.

In his remarks, Zamfara State Governor, Dr. Bello Mohammed, represented by the Speaker, Zamfara State House of Assembly, Hon. Nasiru Mu’azu Magarya, said the main focus of this year’s trade fair was to draw the attention of both local and international investors to the enormous potentials available in the various parts of the country.

“We are more committed to participating in fairs and exhibitions, considering the fact that our administration has carefully mapped out avenues of reviving the economy, which is emerging from years of crisis,” Bello said.

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Sowore: EU demands due process, rights enforcement

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Sowore: EU demands due process, rights enforcement

T

he European Union (EU) Delegation in Nigeria has asked the Federal Government to ensure it follows the due process of the law in handling the vexed issue of the detained activist and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyole Sowore, as well as other detainees in Nigeria.

 

On its part, the House of Representatives has mandated its joint committees on national security and intelligence, judiciary, and human rights to investigate the invasion of a Federal High Court in Abuja by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) to re-arrest the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Sowore, in the court premises.

 

The delegation said it has been following closely the developments and hoped that the justice system in Nigeria will do all that is necessary to ensure that the rights of citizens to freedom of expression and personal liberty were not trampled upon.

 

EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, stated this yesterday at an event organised by the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and the British Council to mark the 2019 International Human Rights Day in Nigeria.

 

Karlsen, who was responding to question on various incidents of human rights violations in Nigeria, noted that the EU would remain firm on the principle of freedom of speech.

 

He described the concept of free expression as a fundamental pillar of democracy which is enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights Convention as well as the European Convention on Human Rights.

“In any democratic society, there is the need for people to be able to express themselves freely and be able to participate as long as they do so peacefully. This is a crucial element of democracy.

 

“As a matter of principle, it is important that when somebody is detained, there is a due process and the justice system provides access to justice. As always, it is not for the European Union or the EU Ambassador to interfere in the democratic process in the countries where we operate, but it goes without saying that we are following the issue (Sowore’s detention saga) very closely and as much as we can. We hope that there will be due process and that the justice system will do all that is necessary for detainees to access justice,” he said.

 

The event was organised around two panel discussions on pressing issues affecting ordinary citizens in Nigeria namely, Law Enforcement, Citizen Liberties and the Rule of Law in Nigeria as well as Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Nigeria.

It was also the grand finale of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence in Nigeria.

According to Karlsen, given the long years of struggles to ensure that human rights were equally guaranteed to all without regards to gender, one would have expected that everything would be rosy by now.

“But as we all know, I think that is not the case. We must not take human rights for granted because everywhere you go, either in the European Union, Africa or Nigeria; we still have issues of human rights. So we must not give up the fight for human rights in general and women’s right in particular.

 

“People have said that women’s rights are human rights, but it seems that sometimes it is not exactly the case as we have seen with the increasing cases of gender-based violence,” he said.

 

Karlsen attributed the increasing rate of gender-based violence in Nigeria on a number of factors, including socio-cultural practices and conflicts in some parts of the country.

 

He urged the generality of Nigerians, especially the celebrities and social media influencers, to advance the agitation of zero tolerance for gender-based violence beyond the ceremony.

The event had in attendance an array of Nigerian celebrities. 

Meanwhile, the resolution of the House to investigate the invasion of the Abuja court by the DSS was consequent upon the adoption of a motion sponsored by the minority leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta) on the “invasion of the Federal High Court premises, Abuja by yet-to-be-identified persons.”

Leading debate on the motion, Elumelu described the invasion of the court by the unidentified persons as “disregard for the rule of law”.

 

He informed that: “The videos emerging in public domain shows these unidentified person trying to bundle Omoyele Sowore and his co-accused, Olawale Bakare, away from the courtroom room, while Sowore’s supporters were resisting them, which is an abuse to the sanctity of the courtroom.”

 

The lawmaker expressed concern that “men of the civil society” claimed that the unidentified masked men were DSS agents.

 

“The DSS has denied through their spokesman, Peter Afunanya, that its personnel were never involved in the incident.

 

“Sections 4, 5 and 6 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, guarantee the separation of powers and the independence of every arm of government.

 

“A situation where one arm is seen to be overpowering another in the course of dispensing its duties will definitely spell doom for the separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution.”

 

He also expressed worry that the “act of the persons disrupted judicial proceedings and made the presiding judge to abandon her duty post because of safety concerns.”

 

He said that if the action was not properly checked, the National Assembly “may one day be invaded and the relevant security agencies will claim not knowing who the offenders are.”

He also said that the physical assault on Sowore and his co-defendant, Bakare, by the yet-to-be-identified persons inside the courtroom was the “highest act of sacrilege” on the judiciary.

 

The motion was unanimously endorsed when Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila put it to question.

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Senate investigates CBN, banks over N20trn unremitted stamp duties

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Senate investigates CBN, banks over N20trn unremitted stamp duties

T

he Senate, yesterday, directed its Committee on Finance to investigate the alleged non-remittance of over N20 trillion into the Federation Account by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

 

The whopping sum of money was an amount allegedly collected as stamp duties from banks and other financial institutions in the country by the apex bank, which it allegedly failed to remit into the coffers of the federation as required by law.

 

The lawmakers resolved to carry out the inquest while considering a motion entitled, “the need to improve Internally Generated Revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria through non-oil revenue”, sponsored by Senator Ayo Akinyelure (PDP, Ondo Central).

 

Leading debate on the motion, Akinyelure told the Chamber that the CBN had, in January 2016, issued a circular directing all banks and financial institutions to charge stamp duty of N50 on lodgements into current accounts against revenue projections by the Federal Government of N2.5 trillion annually.

 

He stated that after the issuance of the circular by the CBN, all deposit money banks and financial institutions effected N50 per eligible transaction in accordance with the provisions of the Stamp Duty Act 2004 and Federal Government Financial Regulations 2009.

 

The lawmaker, however, noted that efforts by the Federal Government to recover over N20 trillion from Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBBS) to the Federation Account were frustrated by the CBN.

 

He said: “The CBN and NIBBS have technically refused to comply with the Presidential directives for the recovery of over N20 trillion revenue into the coffers of government.

 

“The CBN and NIBSS deliberately failed to cooperate and comply with the directives of Mr. President for the realisation of over N20 trillion revenue due from stamp duties collected for 2013 to 2016 and subsequently over N5 trillion minimum revenue due to be collected annually to the Federation account to be shared among States of the Federation for infrastructural and economic development.”

 

Akinyelure posited that since the Federal Government issued the directive for stamp duty collection, banks had not been transparent in its transactions in this regard, and that the apex bank had not been furnishing the public with reports on the matter.

 

“Since the implementation of the collection of stamp duties, accountability by banks has not been transparent and no report by CBN or its subsidiary (NIBSS) to the Nigerian public to know the actual revenue generated, collected and transferred to the Federation Account,” he lamented.

 

The lawmaker reminded his colleagues that the House of Representatives and National Economic Council (NEC) had, in May 2019, decided to intervene in the matter and recommended that all agencies should support the Federal Government’s recovery mandate on the over N20 trillion stamp duty.

 

According to him, the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) and Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) have adopted the combined resolutions of the House of Representatives and NEC.

 

He further lamented that before the Joint Task Force could move to recover the huge unremitted fund, the CBN, in August 2019, released a report that its borrowings to banks would hit N23 trillion by the end of this year.

“The Senate must consider whether the target N20 trillion fund is being recycled into private banks (with impunity) when Federal Government had directed its recovery,”Akinyelure said.

 

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said: “I engaged the Ministry of Finance and CBN for an interaction, and I discovered that what we have been expecting to be available as stamp duty is not so.

“I was under the impression that we had over N20 trillion somewhere. It will interest you to know that we don’t even have N1 trillion.

 

“What has happened is because those that are supposed to collect the stamp duties were taking advantage of the non-electronic transaction.

 

“With the passage of the finance bill, this is an opportunity we have to start getting what ordinarily should go to the government.

“The banks and many private organisations have taken advantage of the way the stamp duties have been.

 

“I want to believe that from January 2020, when the Finance Bill will start being effective, the stamp duty collection will be significantly improved.

“It is for our Finance Committee to monitor closely what the collection should be.

 

“We have also come up with another idea of engaging all the revenue generating agencies on a quarterly basis.

 

“We have got already a list of all of them from the Federal Ministry of Finance. We will put them into maybe four groups, and the first meeting for evaluation of their collection will be sometime in March.

 

“We would like to know in the first quarter how much they have collected, and if they have not met targets; if they have met targets, how do we do better than that? The idea is not to slow down the operations of the agencies.”

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Nigeria needs $22.7bn loan to fix infrastructure – FG

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Nigeria needs $22.7bn loan to fix infrastructure – FG

I

n order to bridge the infrastructural deficit in the country, the Federal Government has declared that it will require borrowing at least $22.7 billion.

 

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed; her Works and Housing counterpart, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, that of state for transport, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, as well as the Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms. Patience Oniha, made the disclosure at an interactive session with the House of Representatives’ Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management led by Hon. Safana Dayyabu (APC, Katsina).

 

The ministers, who were before the committee to defend the loan request of $22.718 billion made by President Muhammadu Buhari, underscored the urgent need to fund the budget, improved on infrastructure development and create jobs with the loan.

 

According to the DMO, Nigeria’s Total Public Debt Portfolio as at June 30 stood at $83.88 billion (N25.7 trillion).

 

The 8th National Assembly had received the proposed projects for 2016 to 2018 Medium Term (Rolling) External Borrowing Plan put at $30 billion.

 

The ministers, however, presented the same proposal at $22.7 billion and gave reasons why the country should have funds as soon as possible.

 

 

They emphasised that the loans would promote infrastructure development and job creation.

 

In her lead presentation, the Finance Minister, Ahmed said: “We need to invest in roads, rails and to be able to grow at a growth better than we are growing now. They are strictly for infrastructure development so that we can address the deficit that we have. We know we must comply with some criteria.”

 

Defending the proposed loan, the minister said that “Nigeria does not have a debt sustainability problem, but revenue challenge.”

 

She added that “every kobo borrowed will be judiciously used.”

Also speaking, Fashola said that the government cannot ignore the demands for infrastructural sustainability. “It is right to have this hearing because we cannot ignore the concerns of the members of the public over the debt profile of the country.

 

“As we cannot ignore the concerns about debts, so we cannot ignore the concerns and demands for the provision of life sustaining infrastructure.

“So, everybody wants a road, everybody wants a rail project, everybody wants a port and efficient airports. They want to ensure that our ports are efficient so that business can function more effectively, so that clearing of goods can happen more quickly and cheaply.

 

“And in the midst of these physical challenges, the revenue is not just enough to meet these challenges.”

 

Fashola said that there are a total of 524 ongoing road projects across the country, but there is no money to execute them, adding that “524 roads projects are currently being executed. N73 billion was released this year. We have contractors willing to do the work, but we cannot pay them.

 

“We have had deficit budgets for a long time and so we have to borrow.

“Over four years, we have never received full funding for any budget. There is deficit and we cannot finance it.

 

“Some of the roads we are investing in will last for upwards of 20 to 30 years if well maintained and not abused. For rail assets, usually the tracks will last for at least 100 years. Power plants like the Mambilla will be there for many decades.

We must find a way to finance these assets. We will be spending today’s money to secure tomorrow’s assets.”

 

On the current status of East-West Road, the minister said it was not under his ministry, adding that a substantial part of the road had been completed.

 

“East west road is not under my ministry. It is under Niger Delta Ministry. I can say here, that a substantial part of that road has been executed. I drove through the stretch in 2016. Large part of it has been completed,” he said.

 

On Benin-Auchi-Okene road, the minister said: “From the briefings from Ministry of Finance, there are external borrowings. There are also internal borrowings. The road is being funded under SUKUK which is local borrowing. The SUKUK is not enough to fund all the roads. We get N100 billion, we shared it across all the six zones.”

He also denied insinuations that Nigerian roads were not built up to global standards.

 

“Nigerian roads are designed to global standards. We are not doing things as we want, but according to global standards,” Fashola said.

 

 

The view of the Minister of State for Transport, Gbemisola Saraki, was not different on why the Federal Government needed to borrow as she pointed out the need to complete Kano-Lagos and Niger Delta coast rails.

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CBN mulls hike in LDR to 70% by 2020

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CBN mulls hike in LDR to 70% by 2020

…expects 2.38% GDP growth by Q4

A

s the December 31, 2019 deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country to attain its 65% Loan-to-Deposit Ratio (LDR) target draws closer, the apex bank has said that it is thinking of increasing the target for lenders to 70 per cent by the end of next year.

 

 

The Deputy Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, CBN, Dr. Hassan Mahmoud, disclosed this while speaking at the ongoing workshop for finance journalists organised by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) in Yola, yesterday.

 

 

He said: “The Central Bank increased the minimum loan-to-deposit ration to encourage banks to lend and de-risk the real sector, particularly the SMEs. This is to encourage employment. Now, we are thinking of doing 70 per cent by the end of next year. Within the period that we have increased the LDR, industry lending has increased by over N1.1 trillion.”

 

As part of measures to encourage DMBs to increase lending to the real sector of the economy, the CBN had, in July, raised the minimum LDR to 60 per cent, and gave lenders a September 30, 2019 deadline to comply.

At the expiration of that deadline, the regulator debited 12 DMBs N499 billion for not been able to meet the target even as this was raised to 65 per cent which the lenders were directed to attain by the end of this year.

 

He reiterated that the CBN’s LDR policy was aimed at ensuring that DMBs channel funds to growing the real sector of the economy, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

 

According to him, before the apex bank introduced the policy, it carried out a research which confirmed that although there was excess liquidity in the system, DMBs were reluctant to lend to the real sector.

Mahmoud, who spoke on the topic: “State of the Nigerian economy and implications for the stability of the banking system,” stated that despite risks arising from sluggish global economic growth, the Nigerian banking industry continues to show resilience.

 

He said: “Yes, there are vulnerabilities, but we do not foresee any systemic challenges in the banking industry, that would jeopardise the banking system.”

He noted that although the CBN was putting pressure on DMBs to increase lending to the real sector, it was also putting measures in place to ensure this does not impact the industry negatively.

 

According to him, “What we also did in the system to strengthen banking system stability, is the fact that so long as you are owing a bank, let’s say you have N1 billion in one bank and you went to another bank to borrow N1.5 billion and you leave that to go to another bank to borrow another N1 billion, without paying the loans you collected, the new policy is that as long as you default, where you have money in any bank, the bank you are owing can take the money in any of your account that you have money. You would have been made to sign the agreement before taking the loan. That is one of the measures to guard against risk in the system.”

Also, the CBN expects to achieve 2.38 per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate in the fourth quarter of this year.

Mahmoud said that the GDP growth target would be an improvement over the third quarter growth rate of 2.28 per cent.

 

“If you are looking at the 1.1 per cent that we did in 2015/2016, and 2.28 per cent that we did in the third quarter of 2019, we will see that we have really moved substantially.

“By the fourth quarter of 2019, we are going to be doing 2.38 per cent in GDP growth rate; that is CBN projection, the IMF is projecting same growth of 3.31 per cent,” he said.

On the wide gap between lending and saving rates in banks, he said that was dependent on customers’ negotiation skills.

 

He, however, said that it was the responsibility of CBN and NDIC to ensure that customers were not ripped off by the excesses of banks.

 

According to him, CBN is, however, creating ways to discourage the trend.

Earlier in a paper, the Deputy Director, Bank Examination Department of NDIC, Abdulhammeed Aliyu, said depositors’ protection by the corporation is a sacred duty of the NDIC.

 

The duty of protecting depositors, he said, is co-undertaken by the corporation in collaboration with the CBN through risk-based interventions to ensure depositors’ funds are safe in banks across the country.

 

Aliyu, whose paper was titled, “Emerging Issues in Regulation and Supervision of Banks in Nigeria,” said intensified oversight by the CBN and NDIC has helped to ensure that DMBs play by the rules.

 

“Our oversight, in collaboration with the CBN in the area of oversight, has ensured a more proactive approach by banks as we undertake risk-based supervision on examining banks to comply with regulations and ensure they manage their risk adequately in transactions.

 

“Subsequently, we have moved from individual banks to the entire banking system so that the reforms will be holistic,” he said.

Aliyu further stated that the Corporation introduced several policies to ensure effective supervision.

“The anti-money laundering and terrorism policy Introduced by the CBN and NDIC as well as the implementation of the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) has ensured transparency in banking transactions.

“Also, the Know Your Customer (KYC) Policy has aided banks to investigate bank customers independently, especially in the case of suspicious transactions which have further strengthened the system,” he added.

He, however, noted that weak mutual discipline of banks and legal limitations have been some of the challenges facing the corporation.

According to him, if banks are disciplined appropriately, several complaints will not be recorded often.

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Oshiomhole, Wike throw jibes at book launch

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Oshiomhole, Wike throw jibes at book launch

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choes of political leadership in Nigeria reverberated yesterday at the presentation of a book by former Managing Director of the Sun Newspaper, Mr. Eric Osagie.

 

The occasion, which had in attendance, the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, as well as the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Prince Uche Secondus, became an opportunity by the leaders of the two leading political parties to throw jibes at each order.

 

Oshiomhole was first to throw the jibes when he made a reference to an interview of unnamed former Nigerian president, whom he said, appeared on the popular BBC interview programme, HardTalk.

 

“I watched an interview with former Nigerian president. I have enough trouble right now, so I won’t add to it, I won’t mention names. But Wike knows the person, he is associated with the person, he schooled under the person and still being oversees by the person,” Oshiomhole said.

 

According to him, when the former president was asked the problem of Africa, he attributed it to lack of population control to match the economic growth.

 

“But when he was asked that as president of Africa’s most populous nation, how much did he contribute to this population growth? How many children do you have? How many wives do you have whether now or before? That to me is courageous, that leaders should not preach what they are not doing.

 

“We have it on record that he has so many wives, both registered and unregistered; several children, some in dispute, and yet, you go to the Queen’s land and lecture about population.

 

“You are part of the people who helped to create problem instead of being role model to young ones,” the APC National Chairman added.

But Wike, who responded almost immediately, drew the former Edo State governor’s attention to his statement when he won second term in office.

 

“I remember during the chairman’s second term as governor of Edo, he came to the Villa and thanked the then president for one man, one vote. Today, do we have one man one vote? He should have carried it along to make sure that we have one man one vote.

 

“Two, remember in their own time, they have what they called ‘Occupy Nigeria.’ Nobody was arrested, nobody was sent to jail. Are they practicing what they’re preaching?

“We cannot be deceived by rhetoric, we cannot be deceived by propaganda. All of us know we are not progressing, rather we are retrogressing. Nigeria is witnessing what we preach but not practising. So as a leader, call our leaders to order,” Wike demanded.

 

He equally tackled the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, who had earlier cautioned the media practitioners on negative reportage as it might affect foreign investment in Nigeria.

 

But Wike accused him of de-marketing his state, Rivers.

The governor wondered why Peterside could kick against the publication of negative things about Nigeria, but he would say negative things about his own state.

Publisher of Vanguard Newspaper, Sam Amuka, said Nigeria does not need any legislation against fake news or hate speech.

“We do not have to put up legislation. The constitution says what to do: you can sue.

 

 

“Who defines hate news? If somebody criticises you the way you don’t like, does it amount to hate news?” he asked. 

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Army: Law-abiding Nigerians’ve nothing to fear

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Army: Law-abiding Nigerians’ve nothing to fear

…says operations meant for criminals, miscreants

 

 

G

eneral Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Olu Irefin, has stated that law-abiding citizens in the country have nothing to fear about Exercise Crocodile Smile IV.

 

Irefin, who reassured Nigerians about the ongoing military operation, declared that only criminals, miscreants and “those on the other side of the law” should be ready for military onslaught.

He spoke yesterday at the flag-off of road maintenance from Alamala Barracks to Lafenwa Railway in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

 

New Telegraph reports that the rehabilitation of the deplorable roads was carried out by the 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta in collaboration with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

The GOC, who was accompanied by the Commander, 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, Brig-Gen. E.J. Amadasun, said the Army authorities desire a hitch-free festive period for Nigerians.

 

He explained that the Exercise Crocodile Smile IV was designed in line with military’s constitutional role of conducting internal security operation in aid of civil authority.

 

Irefin said: “Operation Crocodile Smile is an exercise designed by the military and other civil organisations in aid of civilian government.

“We want to ensure during this festive period, every citizen is able to go about his or her normal business without interference from miscreants. It is to checkmate the activities of miscreants and criminals perpetrating all kinds of crime within Ogun State.

 

“The aim of the exercise is to check crimes and criminal activities and ensure that people are able to live, sleep and go about their normal businesses without interference.

“Law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear. But if you are a miscreant or on the other side of the law, then be ready for us.”

 

On the road maintenance, the GOC said it was part of the civil-military relations activities lined up for Exercise Crocodile Smile IV.

 

He appealed to the state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, to assist the Army in fixing the deplorable condition of roads in Alamala and environs.

 

“It (road maintenance) is a civil-military programme to help our neighbours, who are assisting us, to be able to move freely within our communities.

“We do sincerely hope that the governor, who has the interest of the people at heart, who is very focused, will look into this direction to help in fixing this road. In the long run, it helps to shorten our time to react to situations if and when necessary,” Irefin said.

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