Summary of the top business, economic and political news in Nigeria today.
- President Muhammadu Buhari has signed nine agreements, including the Extradition Treaty, with United Arab Emirates (UAE). The treaty is designed to strengthen Nigeria’s anti-corruption campaign. Link
- The Centre of Democracy Development, CDD, has urged Nigeria to rise up to the occasion and ensure that the application of Morocco to join the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, is rejected. The Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, said on Thursday, that since its formal request on February 24, to join ECOWAS has relentlessly pursued the agenda by designating an ambassador to ECOWAS on March 2. She said the move by Morocco to join the ECOWAS is a direct challenge to the leadership of Nigeria in the sub-region. Link
- Following the Federal Executive Council’s recent approval of a plan to issue $3bn worth of foreign bonds of up to three years’ maturity to refinance maturing naira-denominated treasury bills, consultancy firm, PwC Nigeria, says the impact of the action on debt sustainability is likely to be modest. The firm, in its Economic Alert released on Wednesday, said the decision was in line with the Federal Government’s debt management strategy to rebalance its debt portfolio for domestic and foreign debts, from the current 69 per cent: 31 per cent to a targeted 60 per cent: 40 per cent. Link
- Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says monetary policy offers limited tools for dealing with the current economic challenges in the country. Emefiele identified the current challenges facing Nigeria as falling Gross Domestic Products (GDP) growth rate, rising inflation, persistently high interest rates, falling foreign exchange reserves and depreciating exchange rate. He said the CBN could not tackle these challenges with the tool available to it with the objective of changing the outcomes for the better. Link
- Nigeria raised 56.05 billion naira ($179 million) in a bond auction on Wednesday, less than half the amount on offer as domestic pension funds and insurance firms cut orders due to low yields, traders said on Thursday. Link
- Nigeria will by 2021 join the International Civil Aviation Organisation in the implementation of the pilot phase of the Carbon Offsetting Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has said. Link
Nigeria’s central bank said on Thursday it is setting up two financial instruments to provide liquidity support to its non-interest paying lenders. It is a push by Nigeria, home to the largest Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa, to establish itself as the African hub for Islamic finance, which follows religious principles such as bans on interest and gambling. Link
- The Federal Government will inaugurate the $200m (about N61bn at the official exchange rate of N305 to a dollar) local content intervention fund today (Thursday). It was gathered that the $200m Nigerian Content Intervention Fund would be directed at increasing local content in the oil and gas industry and would be used for projects and other activities in the sector. Link
- The China National Electric Engineering Company has disclosed that the Zungeru 700mw hydroelectric power plant in Niger State is at 47 per cent completion stage. The Deputy Project Manager, Mr. Xiao Nie, said the project on Wednesday that the $1.29bn (about N473bn) project was expected to be completed in 2020. Link
- The Federal Inland Revenue Service on Wednesday closed down an MRS Oil’s facility in Lagos over a tax debt amounting to N497.1m, an action the agency described as part of measures being taken against tax-defaulting companies in the country. Link
- A major downstream player in the oil industry, Nipco Plc, has bought another 3.23 per cent stake in 11 Plc, the fuel retailer formerly known as Mobil Oil Nigeria, for N4.84bn to increase its holding to 70 per cent. Nipco’s investment subsidiary bought 60 per cent of Mobil Oil Nigeria from Exxon Mobil Corporation in October, when the United States oil giant pulled out of downstream fuel distribution in Nigeria. Link
- The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has said it is working closely with international oil companies to deploy a structured security apparatus in strategic places including the Niger Delta to arrest incidence of oil and gas infrastructure sabotage across the country. Link
- The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) on Thursday in Lagos has met with leading Nigerian investors to push for strong participation in the bank’s $300 million equity offering. Link
- The management of the Bank of Industry (BoI) may soon consider an option of working in partnership with credible micro finance banks to make credit more easily accessible to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. Link
- Former Vice-Chairman of Arik Air, Senator Anietie Okon, yesterday alleged that some interests in government initially planned to take over Arik Air and sell it cheaply to their cronies. However, he said the plot was frustrated following the takeover of the airline by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). Link
- The World Bank and French Development Bank will partner the Federal Government and the Oyo State Government in the construction of 70 roads in the agrarian communities of the state to aid agriculture. Link
- The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has said that the Senate will accelerate the passage of a bill that will curb the rate of illegal recruitment in government agencies. Link
FG discusses nation’s carrier, Nigeria Air with US Ambassador
The FG has held a discussion with the US government over the establishment of a national carrier for Nigeria.
The federal government has held a discussion with the government of the United States of America over the establishment of a national carrier for Nigeria.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika via his Twitter handle after he held a discussion with the Ambassador at the United States Embassy in Abuja.
He tweeted, “We took the opportunity to discuss investments and opportunities in the aviation sector, including national carrier. The partnership looks promising. USA is the only country we have open skies with. Thanks, Ambassador Mary and the team.”
What you should know
In July 2018, the Federal Government unveiled the branding and livery for the new airline, Nigeria Air, and stated that the carrier would be inaugurated at the end of that year.
Sirika unveiled the carrier at a press conference during the Farnborough Air Show in London that year.
“I am very pleased to tell you that we are finally on track to launching a new national flag carrier for our country, Nigeria Air. We are all fully committed to fulfilling the campaign promise made by our President, Muhammadu Buhari, in 2015. We are aiming to launch Nigeria Air by the end of this year,” the minister had said.
He also stated that the government had obtained the Certificate of Compliance from the Nigerian Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission and would go into investor search.
SERAP asks Buhari to probe N39.5 billion duplicated, mysterious projects
SERAP has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the reported N39.5 billion duplicated and mysterious projects inserted in the 2021 budget.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the reported N39.5 billion duplicated and mysterious projects inserted in the 2021 budget.
This is to know if public funds have been diverted in the guise of implementing the projects and prosecute those allegedly involved including those from the executive and the National Assembly.
The request from SERAP follows a report from BudgiT last week, where they alleged that there are 316 duplicated capital projects worth N139.5 billion in the 2021 budget.
This disclosure is contained in a public statement issued by SERAP on Sunday, May 9, 2021, and can be seen on its website.
SERAP said that the investigation of the alleged duplicated and mysterious projects, which are part of the 2021 appropriation bill of N13.588 trillion, should establish whether public funds have been mismanaged, diverted or stolen in the guise of implementing these projects.
What SERAP is saying in its letter
In the letter dated 8th May 2021 and signed by SERAP, Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare said: “The misallocation of public funds for duplicated and mysterious projects has seriously undermined the ability of the indicted MDAs, and the government to ensure respect for Nigerians’ human rights through developing and implementing well-thought-out policies, plans, and budgets.”
The letter from SERAP partly reads, “BudgIT had in a report last week stated that there are 316 duplicated capital projects worth N39.5 billion in the 2021 budget. The duplicated and mysterious projects are contained in the 2021 appropriation bill of N13.588 trillion signed into law in December 2020.”
These damning revelations suggest a grave violation of the public trust, and Nigerians’ rights to education, health, water, sanitation, and clean and satisfactory environment because the indicted MDAs have misallocated public funds at the expense of the people’s access to basic public services, and enjoyment of rights.”
SERAP urges you to ask the heads of the MDAs involved to explain why they allegedly failed to ensure strict compliance with constitutional and international standards of transparency and accountability in the preparation, processes and decisions on their budgets, and to return any misallocated public funds to the public treasury.”
Investigating and prosecuting any allegations of mismanagement, diversion and stealing of public funds budgeted for the 316 duplicated and mysterious projects would allow your government to use the budget to effectively promote Nigerians’ access to essential public goods and services.”
Publishing the ‘implementation status’ of the duplicated and mysterious projects would allow Nigerians to hold their government to account in the spending of public funds. This is particularly true for marginalized and excluded groups, such as people living in poverty, women, children, and persons with disabilities, as the budget has a disproportionate impact on their welfare.”
We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.”
SERAP also urges you to direct Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning to publish full details of current ‘implementation status’ of the duplicated and mysterious projects, and any spending on the projects to date, including the 115 projects inserted in the budget of the Ministry of Health; the 23 projects inserted in the budget of the Ministry of Education, and 10 projects inserted in the budget of the Ministry of Water Resources.
The following ministries are reportedly involved in the duplicated and mysterious projects: Ministry of Health with 115 projects; Ministry of Information and Culture with 40 projects; Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development with 25 projects; Ministry of Education with 23 projects; Ministry of Transportation with 17 projects; and Ministry of Science and Technology with 17 projects.”
Others are the Ministry of Environment with 13 projects; Ministry of Power with 11 projects; Ministry of Labour and Employment with 11 projects, and Ministry of Water Resources with 10 projects.”
The letter was copied to Mr Malami; Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC); Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); and Mrs Ahmed, the Finance Minister.
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- Okomu Oil proposes dividend worth N6.7 billion for shareholders.
- Ardova Plc confirms appointment of Oladeinde Nelson-Cole as secretary.
- Cadbury Nigeria Plc set to hold 56th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on June 16.
- FCMB Group Plc appoints Muibat Ijaiya as Director.
- Afromedia Plc reports a loss after tax of N27.3 million in Q1 2021.