Tag Archives: finance

IMF MD name former finance minister of Nigeria her new external advisory group.


IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, on Friday, named a former Nigerian finance minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, among a group of prominent individuals appointed to serve as her new External Advisory Group.A statement posted on the IMF website said the group, comprising individuals with high-level policy, market, and private sector experience, would provide insights to enhance the Fund’s ability to serve its membership.


Other members of the group are Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister of Singapore and Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore; Ms. Kristin Forbes, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Mr. Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia.Also in the team are Lord Mark Malloch Brown, former United Nations Deputy Secretary-General; Mr. Feike Sijbesima, Honorary Chair, DSM; Former CEO, Royal DSM, Mr. Raghuram Rajan, Professor, University of Chicago, and Ms. Ana Botín, Group Executive Chairman, Santander.


The group also include Ms. Carmen Reinhart, Professor, Harvard University; Mr. Mohamed A. El-Erian, Chief Economic Adviser, Allianz; Mr. Scott Minerd, Chief Investment Officer, Guggenheim Investments, and Ms. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, Chair of ActionAid International.The group is expected to provide perspectives from around the globe on key developments and policy issues, including policy responses to the exceptional challenges the world now faces due to COVID-19 and its economic impact.


Announcing the establishment of the group, Georgieva said, “Even before the spread of COVID-19 and the dramatic health, economic, and financial disruptions it has brought, IMF members confronted a rapidly evolving world and complex policy issues.“To serve our membership well in this context, we need top-notch input and expertise from the widest range of sources, inside and outside the Fund.


“Toward this end, I am proud that an exceptional and diverse group of eminent individuals with high-level policy, market, and private sector experience has agreed to serve on my External Advisory Group.

“Today we had a dynamic discussion to gain their insights, and to receive informal reactions to our ideas and approaches.”The External Advisory Group will meet a few times a year with the IMF’s Managing Director, Deputy Managing Directors, and a sub-set of IMF department Directors.


#Newsworthy…

Lecturers who are not on IPPIS won’t get future salaries – Minister of Finance.


Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed has stated that lecturers who have not enrolled for the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System(IPPIS) will not get their February salary.

The Minister who disclosed this at the opening ceremony of a management retreat in Kano on Thursday March 5, said the objective of capturing lecturers on the IPPIS is to check corruption.

Zainab also revealed that in spite of the resistance from the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), 55 per cent of its members have been captured on the platform.


She said;

“Unfortunately most reforms that you undertake you come across resistance. We have had resistance from ASUU on the implementation of the IPPIS and I am happy to report that at least up to 55 percent of ASUU members are registered and the ones that have not are not getting their February salary.

Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed

“It is in eliminating ghost workers because you register on the IPPIS using biometrics and we are currently working with the office of the head of service to link up the IPPIS HR management module with the payroll itself. It will help us better maximise the efficiency of the system.

“I know that we have up to 70,000 ghost workers that have been identified in this process and we hope that we will come to a time when we will say that we have no ghost workers.”


#Newsworthy…

Financial sector: 2020 will be tough – EAC ..

…Vulnerability to persist

…Foreign reserves to drop further


Renowned economist and member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (EAC), Mr. Bismarck Rewane, has said that 2020 will be a tough one for the banking sector as vulnerability is certain to persist.

In his address as Guest Speaker at the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN) Breakfast meeting tagged “Nigerian Economic Outlook for 2020, the Implications for Marketing Communications Sectors,” in Lagos yesterday, Rewane explained that the country’s external reserves is also expected to be down from approximately $38 billion to $34 billion in the second quarter of this year.


According to him, the naira-dollar rate was pressured towards the end of 2019 on the back of in- creased foreign portfolio outflows due to depletion in external reserves. Overall, he said, the exchange rate had demonstrated relative stability, supported by the sustained intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Particularly, the external reserves still hover around the $38 billion threshold, according to official data from the CBN.

He projected that the year (2020) would be a tough year for the financial sector and the economy in general, but he ruled out economic recession, adding that the banking sector vulnerabilities would persist this year, and the CBN would be more proactive in managing financial system risks. “Following the general election, a lot of monies came in, but that has also gone out of the economy. The reserves are going to come down whether we like it or not to anywhere between $38 billion and $34 billion in Q2’20. Import cover now down to approximately 10 months – estimated to fall to nine months.


“The national budget is less than eight per cent of GDP and there is likely going to be supplementary budget. But the outcome will not differ much. Don’t expect any game changing thing that will have a positive impact in 2020 even though Dangote’s petrochemicals are going to be available in March. “The impact on the market will be felt by next year. Banking sector vulnerabilities will persist. CBN will be more proactive in managing financial system risks,” Rewane added. On the current political tension in the country, he said the situation was affecting the current administration’s economic policies, especially with regard to boosting infrastructure.

He said there was need to downplay politics in order to face the country’s economic challenges squarely this year, predicting that the economy would be tougher. He said the prevailing tension was stalling some key projects the administration had identified from being completed. According to him, there are lots of abandoned key projects that are needed to be completed in the country, adding that the only way out for government to get over the country’s economic challenges is when there is less tension in the country. Rewane said: “There was a Sukuk bond of N100 billion and it was apportioned that N10 billion for 10 roads projects. Even the N100 billion alone cannot complete Lagos-Ibadan expressway road.

“On what impact would N10 billion complete major roads, it will not complete anything. “I think the political terrain is a major factor. People will be asking why does government have to commit N100 billion for only Lagos- Ibadan expressway road.

“You see people from the East, North and South saying such road project should have come to their place too. But I think that committing N100 billion to Lagos- Ibadan expressway road should not be a problem for the road to be completed. “Reason: Everybody going to the North to the East will go through that road and see the benefits. But the political consideration has made us not to complete it. The economic cost is huge since we have too much need, too many people criticising, too many nerves in the country. “For me, the answer is that you have to downplay some political considerations, but make sure that those economic decisions you made, the impacts can be felt very quickly, so that you can explain to the people that look, this is where we spent the money for economic benefit.”


#Newsworthy…

2020 Finance Act would stimulate the economy – FG


Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Saturday asserted that the Finance Act 2020 would stimulate the Nigerian economy and put the country on the path of geometric economic growth.

Osinbajo made the assertion at the Inspiration Conference 2020 of the Redeemer’s Men Fellowship (Lagos Regions) in Lagos.

The conference had as its theme: “Galvanised for Geometric Growth”.


He said the bill, which was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Jan. 13, was aimed at shoring up revenue for all levels of government to meet up with their expenditure.

This, he said, was in addition to it supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in the country.


“The challenges of growing the economy border on creating an environment favourable to businesses and low revenue generation,” Osinbajo said.

He said that the 2020 budget of N10.6 trillion has a deficit of N2.2 trillion, “so it is clear that we are running a fairly large deficit”.


“The sources of revenue are oil proceeds and taxes, and most states do not generate enough revenue to meet their financial expectations,” Osinbajo said.

He cited Adamawa, Benue and Ekiti as some of the states with very low Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), too inadequate to cater for their expenditure.


The vice-president justified the increment of the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent, noting it to be very low when compared to other African countries.

“Ghana has 12.5 per cent; Cameroun has 19.25 per cent; Mexico with 16 per cent; South Africa at 15 per cent and Egypt at 14 per cent.


“To make things easier for the common man, we have exempted 16 classes of food items, tampons, sanitary towels, and tuition fees from nursery to tertiary.

“Also, before the Finance Act, many companies operating in the country without physical presence escaped taxation.


“Most digital companies made significant revenue from e-commerce, online advertising and the likes, but were not taxed.

“But now, once you have a significant economic presence in Nigeria, but reside anywhere around the world, you are eligible to pay tax,” he said.


Osinbajo expressed confidence in the Nigerian economy, maintaining that the government would continue to provide the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

He explained that in spite of the perceived low growth rate, the Nigerian economy was still relatively bigger when compared with other African economies.


“Rwanda has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $8.7 billion, while FCT, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Rivers and Delta have growth rates of $29.9billion, $14 billion, $90 billion, $14.2 billion and $11.2 billion respectively.

“Even Ghana is at $65.5 billion and is less than Lagos,” he said.


He stated that the potential of the Nigerian economy has been boosted by agriculture, manufacturing, creative industry, technology and ICT.

“Today, we produce an estimated 7.3 million metric tonnes of rice compared to 5 million metric tonnes in 2015.


“Today, people are using technology to attract investments in agriculture through crowdfunding.

“There are incredible new ways of investing in agriculture in Nigeria, where companies are raising funds for farmers and farming, and such platforms should be invested on,” he said.

Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

Osinbajo also called for more collaboration between the government and the private sector to bridge the infrastructural deficit.

“The Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) and Dangote Group have already keyed into this, while 10 other companies have applied to execute 19 road projects of about 800km,” he said


#Newsworthy…

10 things you should know about new finance bill: VAT now 7.5% from 5%


Nigeria’s President Muhammodu Buhari on Monday signed into law Finance Bill 2019.

Revealing this on his Twitter page, the president said: “I am pleased to announce that this morning I signed into Law the Finance Bill, 2019.”

Since signing the bill, Nigerians do not really know what the Finance Bill entails.


Here are 10 things about the bill you need to know about as compiled by TheNews:

1. The bill was submitted to a joint session of the National Assembly October. 8th along with the 2020 Budget presentation by the president.


2. The Bill’s primary purpose is to make money available for the implementation of the 2020 Budget.

3. Although since the country’s return to democracy in 1999 no such Bill’s have been used, the practice is not entirely strange, as past military leaders from time to time used it to amend laws.


4. The Bill aims at curing the deficiencies of major primary tax legislation by amending obsolete and contentious provisions.

5. It emanated from the initiatives suggested by the President Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and the National Tax Policy Implementation Committee.


6. It seeks to promote fiscal equity and align domestic laws with global best practices.

7. It Incentivize investments in infrastructure and capital markets; and raise Government revenues.

8. It increases VAT to 7.5% from 5%

9. The 2020 Budget presentation was the first time, since the return of democracy in 1999, that a Federal Budget was accompanied by passage of a Finance Bill specially designed to support its implementation, and to create a truly enabling environment for business and investment by the private sector.

10. It’s implementation takes immediate effect.


#Newsworthy…

Ngozi Iweala’s father buried after death at 91.

Former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, joined other members of her family to lay their father, the late Obi of Ogwashi-Uku, Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State, Chukwuka Okonjo, to rest today December 21st.

The monarch who was a Mathematics professor, died in Septemer in Lagos at the age of 91.

In attendance at the funeral were Delta state governor Ifeanyi Okowa, former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniels, and the pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu.

See more photos below.

Okonjo-Iweala?s father laid to rest (photos)

Okonjo-Iweala?s father laid to rest (photos)
Okonjo-Iweala?s father laid to rest (photos)
Okonjo-Iweala?s father laid to rest (photos)
#Newsworthy…

FG may borrow N2trn from pension fund – Mrs. Zainab.

… we’ve been able to release N1.2trn

Low revenue will constrain the implementation of the 2020 budget, Minister of Finance. Budget and Panning Mrs Zainab Ahmed said on Thursday.

She noted that 44 per cent of projected revenue would come from oil-related sources while the remaining 56 per cent is projected from the non-oil sector.

According to her, because the implementation of the budget will start on January 1, the operation of the 2019 budget has been terminated. There will be no release of capital funding henceforth.

The minister spoke on Thursday during the breakdown of the budget.

She explained that the government was doing its best to improve the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate to seven per cent

Mrs Ahmed said: “We have been able to release N1.2 trillion. We will not be making any more releases before the end of the year. We are not doing any more releases. However, there are some in various stages of processing that would be completed. The 2020 budget takes effect from January 1, 2020.”

She noted that in releasing funding for capital projects, priority was given to critical ongoing projects in rail, roads, power and agriculture sectors while debt service and the implementation of non-debt recurrent expenditure, particularly payment of workers’ salaries and pensions will continue.

On the Finance Bill and the requirement of Tax Identification Number (TIN) to operate a bank account, she said not all the provisions of the bill would be implemented from January 1, 2020, adding that the government would engage banks on the modality for implementation of the TIN requirements.

She expressed optimism that the Finance Bill which has about 83 modifications meant to improve the business environment, especially for small and medium enterprises, would soon be sent to the President by the lawmakers for assent, adding, until the Finance Bill is assented; the measures we are talking about “are just plans for now. We are confident that within this week, Mr President will have this bill from the National Assembly”

She noted that the projected N8.42 trillion revenue is 3.2 per cent or N263.94 billion over the executive proposal, and 10.9 per cent more than the 2019 Budget of N7.59 trillion) .

To promote fiscal transparency and accountability, the budget of 10 major Government-Owned Enterprises (GOEs) have been integrated in the Federal Government budget with effect from 2020.

#Newsworthy…

NSE All-Share Index Drops, Falls To 0.13%

..all drops of financial institutes.

The All-Share Index of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday bowed to profit taking after two-day upward trend.

NobleReporters culled that the index lost 33.59 per cent to close at 26,536.21 compared with 26,569.80 achieved on Thursday.

Also, the market capitalisation which opened at N12.823 trillion shed N18 billion to close at N12.807 trillion.

MTN dominated the laggards’ table with a loss of N2. 70 to close at N115.30 per share.

GlaxoSmithKline trailed with a loss of 55k to close at N5.25, while United Bank for Africa dipped 25k to close at N6.60 per share.

Oando was down by 18k to close at N3.62, while Caverton declined by 10k to close at N2.45 per share.

On the other hand, Presco led the gainers’ table, appreciating N2.05 to close at N43.50 per share.

Dangote Sugar followed with a gain of 55k to close at N16.55, while Lafarge Africa garnered 45k to close at N13.95 per share.

Ecobank Transnational added 35k to close at N6.90, while PZ Cussons increased by 25k to close at N5.25 per share.

The banking stocks led the activity chart with United of Africa emerging the most traded with 42.59 million shares worth N285.18 million.

Zenith Bank followed with an account of 13.74 million shares valued at N256.94 million, while Union Dicon traded 11.84 million shares worth N2.60 million.

FBN Holdings sold 8.52 million shares valued at N55.36 million, while Access Bank accounted for 8.48 million shares worth N79.57 million.

In all, investors traded 155.35 million shares valued at N1.43 billion in 2,773 deals, indicating a decrease of 51.41 per cent.

This was against a turnover of 319.69 million shares worth N3.07 billion exchanged in 2,502 deals on Thursday.

#Newsworthy…

14 count charge dropped against Diezani; EFCC called to come clean on status of charges against her, others.

The dust raised over the alleged withdrawal of criminal charges against a former Minister of Petroleum Resource, Diezani Alison-Madueke, is yet to settle as a pressure group, Northern Youths in Defence of Democracy and Justice (NYDDJ), has jumped into the fray, dismissing denials by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that the charges have not been dropped but split.

Diezani and four others are under indictment by the anti-graft agency for money laundering and other related financial crimes.

Alison-Madueke’s four co-defendants in the case are former Executive Director of First Bank, Mr Dauda Lawal, the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, the former Executive Director of Sterling Bank, Lanre Adesanya and the former Group Executive Director of NNPC, Stanley Lawson.

It was however reported in the media recently that the Commission had dropped the original 14-count charge against them.

In a statement at the weekend, the NYDDJ criticised the anti-graft agency over the sensational reports and advised it to retrace its steps and go back to the spirit of the EFCC (Establishment) Act.

It would be recalled that after the media last week reported that the EFCC had withdrawn a 14-count money laundering charge against the former Petroleum Minister and four others at a federal high court sitting in Lagos, the anti-graft agency had quickly issued a rebuttal, urging the public to ignore the reports, calling the news false and misleading.

In a series of tweets on its verified Twitter account, the EFCC had explained that it never dropped charges against the former Minister, but split them to allow for a fresh arraignment.

It explained that the only development in the case was that the Commission took a prosecutorial decision to split the initial 14-count charge to enable separate arraignment of defendants following a spate of adjournments that prevented arraignment of the defendants more than one year after the case was listed.

“The charges were first filed on November 28, 2018. Since then, every attempt to arraign the defendants had been frustrated by one excuse or the other,” the Commission explained.

“In more than four times that the matter was called for arraignment, it was either Lanre Adesanya was sick, bedridden in a London Hospital or Nnamdi Okonkwo was hypertensive and on admission in a hospital or Stanley Lawson had had a domestic accident and could not appear in court.”

Responding to the development, however, the NYDDJ, which says it has been following developments in criminal proceedings against prominent Nigerians in the last four years, said that the EFCC was not being truthful.

A statement by Abba Yahaya on behalf of the group said:

“Following the controversy trailing the present status of the case in question, we are constrained to issue this public statement as patriotic Nigerians committed to the Nigerian project, who believe that institutions like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which are funded by taxpayers and are supposed to be answerable to Nigerian citizens, need to be transparent and honest about their actions.

“From our findings, we make bold to say that the rebuttal by the EFCC is a deliberate effort to distort the facts and mislead Nigerians as to the event that happened in open court and which was widely reported by several news media.

“For instance, in the rebuttal, the EFCC laboured to explain that it never withdrew charges against all the accused persons but that it took a prosecutorial decision to split the charges. Whereas, the truth is that the EFCC withdrew the charge containing all the original names of the defendants and filed an amended charge retaining only the name of Dauda Lawal.

“It is elementary that you cannot file an amended charge in court without withdrawing the old charge. It is also elementary that as soon as the court is seized of the amended charge, the old charge becomes non-existent in the face of the law.

“If EFCC still claims that the charges against Diezani, Okonkwo, Lawson, Adesanya and Mr. Otti are still in place, we ask them to show us the charge sheet.

“Again, in its statement, the EFCC claimed that its decision to withdraw against all the other co-accused and retain only Mr. Lawal on the amended charge sheet, was a prosecutorial decision taken in open court, following a spate of adjournments occasioned by non-appearance of one or two of the defendants each time the matter came up which prevented arraignment of the defendants more than one year after the case was listed.

“However, we wish to note that contrary to the Agency’s claim, all the accused persons including the discharged persons were in Court on the last two Court dates of 24th May, 2019 and 5th November, 2019, yet no pleas were taken from them, rather, the agency, suo motu, withdrew the charge and substituted it with an amended charge against Lawal.

“From the foregoing, we state that the claim by the EFCC that in more than four times that the matter was called for arraignment, it was either Lanre Adesanya was sick, bedridden in a London Hospital or Nnamdi Okonkwo was hypertensive and on admission or Stanley Lawson had had domestic accident and could not appear in court is a story for new-born babies.

“From all indications, we make bold to say that the litigative history of this case has shown that EFCC ab initio never had the intention to charge any of the discharged accused persons to Court, rather its sole intention from the start was to harass Mr. Dauda Lawal, bring his name into disrepute and seize his hard earned assets from over 30 years work in the private sector (reaching the rank of Executive Director, in Nigeria’s largest bank) for reasons best known to them.

“We are therefore demanding that EFCC should retrace its steps and go back to the spirit of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, where the organization was envisaged to be one that will be run devoid of sentiments and personal considerations in fighting financial crime.

“It is our humble advice that witch-hunting, selective prosecution, cherry picking accused persons and preferential treatment of suspects, will only further confirm the widely held view that EFCC has derailed from its initial mandate.

“As for Mr. Dauda Lawal, he is a model and mentor for Northern youths and we are confident that he is innocent of the charges brought against him and that in no time he will be vindicated.

“For the general public, we wish to state that we will continue to monitor developments in this case and put out the correct information at all times,” the statement concluded.

#Newsworthy..

SERAP: Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed Sued For Failed $460m Abuja CCTV project.

SERAP sues minister, seeks information on failed $460m Abuja CCTV project
A rights organisation, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, to a Federal High Court in Abuja, over her refusal to provide information on how the $460 million loan obtained in 2010 from China to fund the failed Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) project was expended.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1447/2019, SERAP contended that the minister has no legally justifiable reason not to heed its Freedom of Information (FOI) request of October 25, regarding the identities of contractors involved in the failed project as well as the reason behind Federal Government’s continuous repayment of the loan.

It noted that transparency in the spending of Chinese loans is good for everyone, as this would help to increase the effectiveness, legitimacy, and contribution of the loans to the development of public goods and services, and the general public interests.
The organisation further argued that the information being requested for does not come within the purview of the types of information exempted from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

“Democracy cannot flourish if governments operate in secrecy. The citizens are entitled to know how the commonwealth is being utilized, managed and administered in a democratic setting.

“By the combined provisions of Sections 1; 2; 3(4); 4; 7(1)&(5); 9; 14(2)(b); 19(2); 20 of the FoI Act, 2011, among other provisions; SERAP’s right of access to information is guaranteed and there is a statutory obligation on the minister, being public officer, to proactively keep, organize and maintain all information or records about her ministry’s operations, personnel, activities and other relevant or related information or records in a manner that facilitates public access to such information or recor

“By virtue of Section 4 (a) of the FOI Act, when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution or agency to whom the application is directed is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within seven days after the application is received.

“The minister is an appointee of the President of Nigeria and Head of the Ministry of Finance. Her official duties include; collecting and disbursing government revenue, formulating policies on management of the Federal Government’s finance, preparing annual budget and accounts for ministries, departments and agencies and managing federal debt.

“Obedience to the rule of law by all citizens but more particularly those who publicly took oath of office to protect and preserve the constitution is a desideratum to good governance and respect for the rule of law. In a democratic society, this is meant to be a norm; it is an apostasy for government to ignore the provisions of the law and the necessary rules to regulate matters,” SERAP argued further.

#Newsworthy…