Tag Archives: economy

CBN Set New Rules For BVN To Tackle E-Fraud…

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will soon release a new Bank Verification Number (BVN) guideline and set additional rule that will guide it in watch-listing fraudulent banks customers and tackling e-fraud, the apex bank has said.

CBN Director, Payment System Management, Sam Okojere, who stated this at the Access Bank Anti-Fraud Week forum held in Lagos, said there will also be a clear guideline for the operation of Financial Technology (FinTech) companies and Payment Service Banks (PSBs) to make the financial system safer.

Okojere, who was represented by Ademola Adeleke, Assistant Director, Payments System Management, said: “A new BVN guideline should be coming out any moment from now. When the exposure draft is released, I will encourage you to make a suggestion regarding your area of concern”.

He hinted of a stakeholders meeting coming soon where all the people in the ecosystem would come together to rub minds on how to improve the payment system.

“The risk-based supervision framework that will actually take care of Fintechs and PSBs is in the offing, very soon there will be a very clear guideline on that,” Okojere said.

Welcoming the participants, Group Managing Director/CEO, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe said the workshop was the bank’s avenue of reaching out to members of the community on issues around fraud risk and cyber security through close engagement.

Access bank workshop is in line with the International Fraud Awareness Week which officially started on Sunday, November 17, 2019.

Quoting from a report by Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), he said in 2018, about 89 percent of all financial services fraud in Nigeria happened through Digital channels while only 11 per cent were non-electronic.

In Nigeria, he said customers are culturally not attuned to security issues around digital transactions, even well-educated people run the risk of falling victim to social engineering and identity theft traps. “We must go beyond educating customers on the protection of crucial information to actual data protection and integrity amongst operators and stakeholders,” Wigwe said.

“I am a great believer in collaboration to solve problems. Our collaborative efforts in data protection and customer education is required in countering security threats in Digital payments,” he said further.

Speaking in his opening address Head of anti-fraud at Access Bank plc, Ifeanyi Emefiele said: “If we must achieve the cashless policy drive by CBN through reduction in the use of cash for all forms of payments in Nigeria, digital payment systems must win the trust of merchants and end users in the economy. Trust in this regard refers to the safety of digital payment systems”.

#Newsworthy…

Lock horns on FG over road project refunds.

There are indications that the Federal Government and states are heading for a fresh battle over the delay in refunding the money spent by the state governments on federal roads.

Various state governments in separate interviews with media expressed concern about the delay by the Federal Government in refunding the money.

Investigations showed that the Federal Government owed Sokoto State N16.8bn; Cross River State, N25bn; Ekiti State, N11bn; Anambra State, N15bn; and Gombe State, N6.34bn.

Recall that the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, (SAN), on September 24, said President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the state governments to stop rehabilitating federal roads.

According to the minister, the President gave the directive due to the huge amounts of money being claimed by the governors after repairing federal roads in their states.

Fashola, who said this when he appeared before the House of Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee on Abandoned Federal Government’s Projects, stated, “The states submitted a bill of almost a trillion naira when President Buhari was elected. He asked us to work out what was their entitlements. Ultimately, the BPP (the Bureau of Public Procurement) certified about N44bn, I don’t remember the exact amount now.

“The decision to pay those inherited debts, including the ones I contracted as governor of Lagos State, was with the caveat that I should tell the governors to leave (the Federal Government’s) roads alone. Those were the directives; I was not the one that took the decision.”

Before this new directive, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ben Ayade, Christian Ita, said the Federal Government owed Cross River State about N25bn for federal roads that were repaired by the state government.

PFN opposes witches’ conference in Enugu
Ita, in an in interview with one of our correspondents in Calabar, said, “The Federal Government owes us over N25bn. On the Calabar-Itu Road, there have been several interventions, not just by this government, but right from former Governor Liyel Imoke’s time. The Federal Government has not paid for all those interventions. There were some interventions on the Calabar-Ikom Highway.

“There have been interventions along the Calabar-Akpabuyo Road. It is a federal road. Governor Ayade has also done some repairs from the Mobil Filling Station on the Murtala Mohammed Highway.

“The Odukpani Junction, about three years ago, was very bad. There was an intervention by the state. Three or four years ago, vehicles could not pass the Scanobo area to Calabar. The state government intervened along that stretch of the road as well.”

Ita also reacted to a comment by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, that state governments were responsible for most of the bad roads in the country.

He said, “The Calabar-Itu Road that everybody is crying about belongs to the Federal Government. I don’t know what they are talking about. I think rather than seeking to shift responsibility, they should accept responsibility and get down to work.”

FG owes Sokoto N16.8bn

Also, a top Sokoto State Government official, who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, said the Federal Government owed the state N16.8bn for federal roads repaired by the state government.

He said the projects included the 85km Sokoto-Illela Road and the expansion of the 18.5km Western and Eastern Bye-pass roads.

The official stated, “The Sokoto-Illela federal road rehabilitation cost N 2,627,919,798.77 and the Federal Government made a reimbursement of N1.4bn only leaving a balance of N1,227,919,789.72.

“The Sokoto State Government also constructed the Western and Eastern Bye-pass roads at the cost of N3,775,091,529.08 and the Federal Government has yet to refund us.

“As it stands, out of the N18,248,458,883.23 total contract sum on the Federal Government’s roads within Sokoto State, only a paltry N1.4bn has been paid by the Federal Government, leaving a balance of N16,848,458,883.20.”

Accept responsibility, you’ve not paid us N78bn, A Ibom tells FG

When contacted, the Akwa Ibom State Government denied that the Federal Government had refunded over N78bn to it being part of the money it spent on rehabilitating federal roads in the state.

The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, was reported to have said that the Federal Government had released the amount to the state government.

But in an interview with one of our correspondents, the state Commissioner for Works, Mr Ephraim Inyang-Yen, said the Federal Government had yet to refund the money the state government spent on the federal roads.

“We have disclosed what the Federal Government owes us. My friend, if you believe Ita Enang, you also have to believe him when he said the Calabar-Itu Road had been done.

“You can go and pass through the road and reconcile what you see with what Ita Enang told the Akwa Ibom and Cross River people. Let Ita Enang, justifiably tell us when the money was paid.”

You can’t sit in Abuja and determine Ekiti roads status – Commissioner

On its part, the Ekiti State Government, through the Commissioner for Roads, Transport and Infrastructure, Mr Sunday Adunmo, said the Federal Government’s debts to the state were incurred before the inauguration of the present administration in the state.

According to him, the Federal Government owes the state for the work done on the Ado-Ifaki Road, the Ado-Ikere Road and the Ojumose to Police Headquarters in Ado-Ekiti.

On the finance minister’s statement that most bad roads belong to state governments, Adunmo said the length of federal roads in the state was 290 kilometres.

He stated, “What we need is a holistic approach to everything. You can’t sit in Abuja and determine the status of the roads in Ekiti State. People know the federal roads in Ekiti.

“You know the federal roads that Governor Kayode Fayemi did in 2010. Even before then, you know the ones that Chief Segun Oni did before Dr Fayemi. You know the ones that ex-governor Ayodele Fayose did when he was there.

“See the ones that the present Fayemi administration is fixing now. Come to think of it, look at the Aramoko-Itawure-Efon Road, is it a state road? The Ado-Iluomoba-Omuo Road, is it a state road?

“The Ifaki-Ikole-Omuo Road, is it a state road? Ifaki-Ido Ekiti-Kwara border road, is it a state road? Does Ado-Ifaki Road belong to the state? Moreover, is the Ado-Akure Road a state road? What we need is collaboration,” Adunmo said.

But the state Commissioner for Information, Chief Muyiwa Olumilua, said, “What the Federal Government owes Ekiti State for federal roads repairs is nothing less than N11bn. It could be more.”

FG yet to pay our money – Ondo govt

Also, the Ondo State Government said the Federal Government had yet to refund all the money it had spent on the rehabilitation of federal roads across the state.

The state government said since the inception of the current administration of Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, it had spent billions of naira to rehabilitate the roads.

The state Commissioner for Works and Housing, Mr Saka Yusuf-Ogunleye, told one of our correspondents that in spite of the alleged refusal of the Federal Government to refund the money, the state government had been ensuring that all the state and federal roads were repaired.

He, however, failed to mention specifically the amount of money the state had expended on the rehabilitation of the federal roads.

Yusuf-Ogunleye said he did not have the record with him during the telephone interview.

Some of the federal roads the state has rehabilitated, according to the commissioner, are the Owo-Ikare Road, the Ondo-Ife Road, the Ondo-Akure Road, the Owo-Ipele Road and the flyover on the Ore-Sagamu Expressway.

He said, “All these federal roads we have worked on without receiving a dime from the Federal Government in the last two years of this administration. They (FG) said they were not refunding again, but that would not deter us from working on the roads because the average person does not know the difference between federal and state roads.”

A resident of Igoba community along the Akure-Ado-Ekiti Expressway, Chief Michael Adagba, said the federal roads in the state were clearly identified and could not be given to the state.

“The Akure-Ado Road, I know, is a federal road. It was constructed by the Federal Government, so we all know it is a federal road, nobody can tell us now that it belongs to the state government. Whether state or federal, they should come and repair the road for us, it is getting unbearable to ply,” he stated.

FG refunded N10bn out of N25bn it owes us – Anambra

Meanwhile, the Anambra State Government said the Federal Government had refunded N10bn out of the N25bn it spent on federal roads.

The PUNCH learnt that the state had earlier claimed N43.8bn on the work done on the federal roads in the state.

The state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C-Don Adinuba, said when a Senate committee handled the matter, it reduced the debt to about N38bn.

“But the Federal Executive Council after deliberating on it agreed to pay N25bn,” Adinuba stated.

He said out of the N25bn, N10bn had been refunded to the state while the remaining N15bn would be paid in December, 2020.

FG owes Gombe N6.34bn

In Gombe State, the Commissioner for Works, Abubakar Bappah, the Federal Government owed the N6.34bn for the construction of the Kanawa-Deba-Jagali-Talase Road, the Metropolitan section of the Gombe-Biu Road, and the Gombe-Bauchi Road.

Bappah appealed to the Federal Government to complete the payment to enable the state to undertake further construction of federal roads.

FG pays N1.8bn to Benue as money spent on federal roads

However, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State said the state government once received N1.8bn from the Federal Government as a refund for the money spent on federal roads in the state.

Ortom disclosed this to one of our correspondents in Gbajigbam, the headquarters of the Guma Local Government Area of the state.

When asked if the Federal Government had refunded the money spent on its roads, Ortom said, “There was a time we got N1.8bn out of the N2bn the state expended on the roads.”

The governor explained that most of the deplorable roads in the state belonged to the Federal Government, adding that despite the lean resources of the state, his administration was able to rehabilitate some of them.

FG owes Enugu State N29bn in road rehabilitation

Also, in Enugu State, it was learnt that the Federal Government owed the state government about N29bn spent on the rehabilitation of federal roads in the state.

The PUNCH reliably gathered that the state government had written to the Federal Government to refund the money to enable the state to fix more deplorable federal roads, but the efforts had not yielded results.

A source in the Ministry of Works told one of our correspondents that some of the funds were spent on the Opi-Ubolo-Afor Road; Agbani-Amagunze-Ishielu Road; Oji River-Awka Road; Eha Amufu-Nkalagu roads and the Emene-Airport Road.

But when contacted, both the state commissioners for Works and Information, Greg Nnaji and Chidi Aroh, respectively, declined to provide the required information.

Payments are made after verification – FG

However, the Federal Government said the seeming delay in the reimbursement of funds spent by states on federal roads was due to the verification being done by the federal agencies.

Responding to enquiries by The PUNCH, the Special Adviser to the Minister of Works and Housing, Hakeem Bello, stated that a committee had already been established to handle the matter.

Explaining the process, he said, “The Inter-Ministerial Presidential Committee was set up by Mr President. The committee did its work and then sent a report to the Bureau of Public Procurement.

“The BPP will then recommend what is supposed to be paid based on the documents and verification done. The BPP sends it back to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.

“The FMWH then sends it to the Federal Executive Council and after FEC approval, it goes to the National Assembly and from there it is the Federal Ministry of Finance that will then pay.”

On whether the government was verifying the claims by some of the states, Bello said the Federal Ministry of Finance had already paid some of the affected states.

He said, “The Ministry of Finance is in charge of payment, for example, if that of Kogi State has been paid, that means if you check the records, you will find out that some others may have got theirs too.

“Also, I think Lagos and Ogun states got some reimbursements recently. So, it is like it is being paid in batches or so.”

The special adviser stated that his principal had made it clear that going forward the Federal Government would not reimburse states that repaired federal roads.

The Senate had before the governorship election in Kogi State approved the President’s request for N10bn refund for Kogi State.

Buhari had on October 15 written to the Senate, seeking its approval for the money to be paid to the Kogi State Government.

The President in the letter, addressed to the Senate President, said the money would be used by the state government to settle debts it incurred as a result of the projects it executed on behalf of the Federal Government.

#Newsworthy…

Border Closure, Good Or Bad? Local Rice Price Has Increased To 20,000 Naira In Oyo And In Minna, 16,000 Naira. (See full inflations)..

Price of rice, a staple consumed during festivities in Nigeria, has risen by over 29.41 per cent since July, along with other foodstuffs. This is even as Christmas is just a few weeks away, Anna Okon reports
before August 28 when the Nigeria Customs Service closed the borders against her neighbours, the price of rice was N17,000 per 50-kilogramme bag, having risen from N14, 000 a few months before.

Currently the price of foreign parboiled rice, has gone up to between N22, 000 and N30, 000, findings by our correspondent have shown.

Also, the price of local rice that is positioned to replace foreign ones on Nigeria’s dietary palate has also gone up.

It was gathered that the local rice at Bodija market in Ibadan, Oyo State, was being sold for N20, 000 per 50kg bag and N16, 000/50kg in Minna, Niger State.

In Garko Market, Kano, it sells for N20, 000/50kg bag.

In Lapal, Niger State; Gboko, Benue State; Maitagari, Jigawa State and Ughelli, Delta State, local rice sells for N18,000/50kg, N11,000/50kg, N19,000/50kg and N23,000/50kg bag, respectively.

In Egbeda Market in Lagos, local rice sells for about N18, 000; in Umuahia main market, Abia State, it sells for N22, 000.

The popular Ofada rice, consumed for its rich nutritional value and great flavour, sells for N28, 000 per 50kg bag and between N2, 800 and N3, 500 per 5kg bag.

This was not the case in July as data from Nigerian agriculture produce portals show.

In July, imported rice was N17, 000; local rice sold for between N11, 000 and N15, 000 for 50kg bag.

Other staples such as noodles, chicken and mackerel (ice fish) have also witnessed price increases.

WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange could die, 60 doctors write British minister
Mackerel, for instance, has increased from between N950 and N1,000 per kilo to N1, 200/kilo. The price of noodles has moved from between N1,800 and N1,950 per carton to N2,100.

The breeder agriculture chicken sold for N4,500 in October, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, currently sells for between N5,000 and N5, 500.

The NBS in its Consumer Price Index which measures inflation stated that inflation rate hit 11.61 per cent in October from 11.24 in September, increasing by 0.37 per cent.

The bureau stated that this was the highest increase in eight months.

Some consumers said it would be tough to buy food items for the Yuletide season.

One of them, a housewife, Buky Olaoye, said, “The only way to do it is to buy items from far away markets where things are cheaper. Instead of buying foodstuffs in Ikeja, for instance, we will have to buy from Oyingbo or Egbeda.

“Also, it will be wise for two or more people to come together and buy in bulk and then share items.”

The Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Muda Yusuf, said the months ahead would be tough for consumers.

He said at this time of the year, due to high demand ahead of the festive season, rice and other staples usually witnessed increase in price.

Yusuf said, “However, this year has been more severe because of the border closure as a large supply of food items comes from neighbouring countries and once that supply is suddenly cut off, then it leads to scarcity.

“Things will likely continue to be tight for consumers up till early next year and it affects other commodities apart from rice as people try to find cheaper alternatives.”

He advised the government to intensify efforts at boosting local production.

He said, “Productivity is still very low. Many farmers are still relying on the traditional method of farming. That cannot feed 200 million people.

“Government should do something fast because this is a real social problem. The government should consider the plight of those who are paying the high prices.”

The Director General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Mr Timothy Olawale, said the government had achieved economic and security gains from the border closure.

Olawale said the same could not be said for the ordinary man in view of skyrocketing prices of food.

He said, “One had expected that the price of rice for instance would crash due to local production. A bag of rice that went for N14, 000 before border closure now sells for N26, 000.

“Turkey and chicken are now so prohibitive that other options like beef and goat meat are no longer preferred alternatives as they have also joined the league of food out of the reach of the masses.

“This underscores the fact that Nigeria is not self-sufficient in food production as wrongly assumed by the government. Workers’ take-home or pay can no longer take them beyond the bus stop.

“The masses are totally at the receiving end. Businesses especially in the hospitality sector have not fared well as the cost of stocking food is gradually becoming a Herculean task with food cost served guests per cover being increased.”

He said the border closure would not have been necessary if the government agents put in charge of manning them were efficient.

“Nigerians are choking and gradually being emasculated by this economic strangulation. Only timely interventions by government will save the situation,” he said.

Olawale argued that the passage of the new finance bill that would increase Value Added Tax, excise duties and other levies would bring untold hardship on the common man.

“Nigerians are urged to tighten their belts and prepare for real hard times as it seems government interest and economic agenda geared towards the maximisation of revenue at the expense of the welfare of the masses,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of Comtrade Group, an agriculture conglomerate, Mr Abiodun Oladapo, said most agro entrepreneurs had abandoned their infrastructure used in the production of food locally because smuggling of the products had sent them out of business.

He said, “These people are returning to their farms now that the borders have been shut and the demand for food is rising.

“It will take time because for chicken alone, it will take a minimum of 42 days to breed; the same for many other items.”

Oladapo, who is in support of the border closure, gave the assurances that if it was sustained, local farmers would produce enough to crash the prices of food.

#Newsworthy…

Governor of Niger says There are bad times Ahead, calls for adjustment in governance..

Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has advocated the need for structural adjustment in governance to boost economic growth and development in the country.

Governor Sani Bello was speaking at a 3-day Executive Leadership Retreat on Administrative Relationship, Strategic Communication and Management of Public of Finance for Economic Development organised for the newly sworn-in state commissioners and other top government functionaries at the 5th Chukker Polo Country Club, Kaduna.

He described the retreat as timely and informative, urging participants to ensure they block all leakages in the system so as to improve the finances in the state.

He emphasised that the future will be tougher than it is presently, calling for structural adjustment and financial prudence.

“The future is looking very bleak financially and things will be tougher,” the Governor told the gathering.

According to him, the state must work towards moving away from over-reliance on federal allocations and device other means of generating revenue so as to strengthen the state economy.

“We need to block leakages, and we must do some structural adjustment to survive the challenges of the future; and the only solution is to move away from dependence on federal allocations and to raise our internally generated revenue so that federal allocation becomes just an augmentation. Our main revenue should come from what we generate internally and what we get as FAAC should be an augmentation.

“We must change the narrative because we must survive. We must move our system from basically a public reliance system into a private sector system,” he added.

The Governor further charged participants on financial prudence, to avoid issuing irrelevant memos, and to complete ongoing projects before embarking on new ones which must affect the lives of citizens.

The Governor, who called on the commissioners and other government officials to ensure proper execution of government policies and projects, also urged them to imbibe ethical practices.

He called for honesty and sincerity in discharging their duties and for them resist the lure of illicit gain.

The Governor promised that state permanent secretaries and directors will undergo a similar retreat as they play a critical role in policy formulation and implementation.

In his remarks, the Chief of Staff, Government House, Alh. Balarebe Ibrahim, commended Governor Bello for the initiative, which he said has given participants the opportunity to brainstorm and consider the challenges of service delivery to the people.

He gave assures that the new executive council would do its best to make use of the knowledge acquired at the retreat to the narrative of governance under the Bello administration.

Among commissioners speaking at the retreat were Alh. Mamman Musa, Ramatu Yar’adua, Rifkatu Chidawa, Haruna Dukku, all appreciating the Governor for approving the retreat and assuring that they have gained new knowledge that will be useful in the discharge of their duties.

Also appreciating the Governor was the Chairman and Chief Consultant of MBS AMINATO Investment Limited, who thanked him for the opportunity afforded to carry out the exercise.

He assured that he will continue to do his best when called upon to carry out any assignment for the state.

Some of the presenters at the state retreat were Babawachiko Yahaya, Permanent Secretary, Economic Affairs, Dr Ogho Okiti and Alh. Musa Saleh.

#Newsworthy…

Presidency: We are no longer neglecting agriculture – Buhari praised farmers…

President Muhammadu Buhari, commenting on the state of agriculture in the country, said that although Nigeria had once neglected the sector, the Federal Government was wiser now as it makes new investments in the industry.

Buhari made the remark at the weekend through a video presentation at the 23rd Farmers’ Day Celebration tagged: ‘Farm and fortune’ at the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC-Green River Project (GRP) Plant Propagation Centre(PPC) Obie, in Ogba/Ebema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.

He stressed the need for the country to make adequate investments in the agricultural sector, saying that farmers “are our authentic healers now and years ahead.”

The President commended NAOC for investing in farmers in the four states of their operations in the Niger Delta and urged farmers to make good use of opportunities in the agriculture sector.

“I commend the Nigerian Agip Oil Company for their efforts in repositioning agriculture. I urge others emulate the examples set,” the President said.

“I urge you, the farmers, to make good use of the investment made by the company. We want to make farming our bedrock.

“We neglected farming in the time past, but we are wiser now as a nation. We will also take precautions of bad harvest.

“Agriculture is a veritable tools for economic recovery. It engenders better living standard and ensures food security. Agriculture will improve food security and provide jobs. Farmers are our authentic healers now and years ahead,” the President told the audience.

The General Manager, District, Tiani Alessandro, promised that NAOC would continue to build sustainable projects and development in its host communities.

“Eni will continue to build sustainability into all its activities, focusing on the development of people and reorganising the great opportunities embedded in the Green River Project.

“As a company, we will continue to pride ourselves with the Green River Project (GRP) being one of our company’s most impactful projects as an integrated programme of agricultural entrepreneurial development, created to promote a path of autonomous development in the Niger Delta,” he noted.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Managing Director, Mansur Sadiq Sambo, following on the theme, urged oil companies to develop the communities where they operate.

Ben Halliday, who represented Sambo, said: “It gives me great pleasure to be here to celebrate with farmers. NNPC before was in the business of oil exploration only, but we don’t want that again. We want that the companies should develop the areas they are operating.”

#Newsworthy..

Presidency Orders Completion Of Ajaokuta Steel Company…

Ajaokuta Steel >>

Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development says President Muhammadu Buhari has given marching orders to his ministry for the completion of Ajaokuta Steel Company.

Adegbite disclosed this in Abuja during an interactive session with newsmen on the proposed Nigerian solid minerals downstream workshop scheduled to hold Dec. 2.

The minister who spoke through his Special Adviser on Special Duty, Mr Sunny Ekozin said the ministry had been working ’round the clock to actualise the ‘presidential directives’.

“For the past three months, we have been doing everything possible to ensure we make progress and we are happy to let the nation know that the president has given us full backing in this assignment.

“The support given by the president include political backing to ensure that Ajaokuta works and by the grace of God it will work soon,” he said.

The minister also said part of the directives by Buhari was for the sector to solve long intractable problems bedevilling the solid minerals sector and to ensure Nigeria could rely on the sector to diversify its economy.

He said after articulating the problems for the past three months, the administration was on the path to harnessing the potential that abounds in the minerals sector for the benefit of the people in the country.

Adegbite explained that one of the steps taken was the current process of developing the Nigerian Downstream Mineral Policy.

According to him, the policy is first of its kind in the history of the country.

“The downstream mineral policy will trigger the nation with a clear diversification blue print in a sustainable manner, especially for the revamping of Ajaokuta steel company.

“And also effective harnessing of the abundant minerals endowment spread across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“As part of the process leading to the revamping of the entire solid minerals sector, we are sensitising key stakeholders, especially large investors of this novel initiative for the development of solid mineral downstream value chains.

“This will help to create massive jobs, wealth and industrialisation

#Newsworthy…

PDP senator seeks opinion on ‘Hate speech bill’ says constituency is position final…

A Peoples Democratic Party senator representing Plateau North at the National Assembly, Istifanus Gyang, has set up a register to collect views from members of his constituency on the hate speech bill currently before the National Assembly.

The bill, which has passed second reading, when passed into law, prescribes death sentence for offenders.

Senator Gyang, in a statement signed by his media aide, Mr. Musa Ashoms in Jos on Sunday, said the views canvassed by members of his constituency on the matter is final and will form his position on the controversial bill.

He said, “In furtherance of citizen participation in the making of any legislation, Barrister Gyang has, with effect from Monday 25/11/19, opened a register at his Constituency office in Jos for citizens to sign and make their position known on the two bills.

“The distinguished senator shall table all the views so canvassed on the two bills before the Senate as the voice and wish of the people of Plateau North.”

The statement assured that, “Having sworn to an oath to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Senator will not be a party to, or grant consent to any proposed legislation that will compromise or subvert the fundamental rights of citizens and, in particular, the right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the same Constitution.”

It added “To deprive citizens of the right to freedom of speech and expression is tantamount to endorsing and introducing a regime of tyranny.

“This becomes even more draconian when death sentence has been prescribed as penalty in the Hate Speech Bill.”

#Newsworthy…

Debt Attained: Nigeria’s Debt Profile Reach N25.7trn – Ms Patience Oniha…

The Debt Management Office (DMO) says that Nigerian’s total debt profile is N25.7 trillion. The Director- General of the office, Ms Patience Oniha, announced this while addressing House of Representatives Committee on Public Account on Friday in Abuja.

“As at June 2019, our debt profile is at N25.7 trillion; this includes the federal, states governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). We call it the total public debt, out of this total, the Federal Government is responsible for 80 per cent of the debt,” she said.

Oniha said that external borrowing accounted for about 32 per cent of the total debt while the 68 per cent was domestic. She explained that the DMO was an agency of government which began operations in 2000 following the country debt management problems of the country which led to the debt relief.

Oniha said that the agency was responsible for the management of public debts and its mandate includes con- tracting debts on behalf of the Federal Government.

According to the directorgeneral, this is clear under the Fiscal Responsibility Act and provisions in the DMO Act.

“If you look back several years, over 85 per cent of budget deficits are funded by borrowing which the DMO undertakes as approved by the Federal Executive Coun- cil and the National Assembly.

“We borrow from various sources, the multilaterals, the World Bank, Islamic Devel- opment Bank, the African Development Bank, China Exim and we also issue

products in the international market. Locally, we are also very active in domestic bor- rowing, we issue treasury bills, Federal Government treasure bonds,” she said.

Oniha said that DMO also serves as an advisory body for the Federal Government on debt management and to put debt at 25 per cent ratio to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

She explained that the agency did not receive any amount borrowed, saying that it was paid directly to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which ensured that the money was used for what was borrowed for.

The chairman of the committee, Rep. Wole Oke (PDP-Osun), said that it was important for parliament to have all the relevant informa- tion documented.

He said that the parliamentneeded additional facts and figures following the Min- ister of Finance revelations during 2020 budget defence that revenue generation was a challenge in the country.

The lawmaker said that the committee was determined to check Ministries, Depart- ments and Agencies (MDAs) and to avert abuse of the law in the area of remittances of revenues generated.

Oke said that even when the MDAs had powers to spend revenue generated, the committee was determined to ensure transparency and accountability.

“This country belongs to all of us, irrespective of the three arms the Constitution recognises, those in the Executives, Legislature and Judiciary are all Nigerians. We have to synergise to ensure this country progresses,” Oke said.

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