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Economy & Politics

Ngige confirms rejection of $4 million bribe to halt NSITF probe

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Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige has blamed the non-inauguration of the board of the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) on an ongoing investigation into fraud involving staff of the body. The Minister also confirmed an offer of a $4 million bribe, which he rejected. A total of ₦62.3 billion has reportedly been  diverted from the fund.

He made the disclosure while inaugurating a 9 member panel to investigate the fund’s activities. The panel is headed by Director of Finance and Accounts of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ishaya A. Awotu. Other members include Mrs P.O Odusanya from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation, Mr S.U. Ukut from the National Salary Income and Wages Commission, Millicent Ikeotuonye from the Budget Office of the Federation and Eze Osuagwu, representing the Organised Private Sector.

The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation has a representative on the board as well as the Ministry of Labour and Employment represented by Ibrahim Jibia and D.E. Ajiboye.

Other actions that have been taken so far

While some members of staff have been sent on compulsory leave, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)  has arraigned a former Managing Director Umar Munir Abubakar, and four other staff for alleged diversion of ₦18 billion.

Immediate past chairman of the fund, Ngozi Olojeme was also quizzed for reportedly diverting $48 million from its accounts.

The NSITF was established in 1993 by the Federal Government based on recommendations made by the Technical Committee on Privatization and Commercialization  ( now known as the Bureau for Public Enterprises ). The  NSITF replaces the National Provident Fund which was set up as a poverty alleviation scheme to protect private sector employees. The NPF was scrapped for failing to meet its objectives.

The House of Representatives had recently summoned the Ministers of Budget and Planning Udoma Udo Udoma, Finance Kemi Adeosun and Labour Chris Ngige over the Federal Government’s failure to remit NSITF contributions from 2007 till date.

Onome Ohwovoriole has a degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin and prior to joining Nairametrics in December 2016 as Lead Analyst had stints in Publishing, Automobile Services, Entertainment and Leadership Training.He covers companies in the Nigerian corporate space, especially those listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).He also has a keen interest in new frontiers like Cryptocurrencies and Fintech. In his spare time, he loves to read books on finance, fiction as well as keep up with happenings in the world of international diplomacy.You can contact him via [email protected]

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Economy & Politics

CBN extends Covid-19 forbearance for intervention loans by another 12 months

CBN will continue to charge an interest rate of 5% for its intervention loans for another 1 year.

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New CBN guidelines ban MMOs, PSPs, Operators from receiving diaspora remittances

The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced an extension of its regulatory forbearance for the restructuring of its intervention facilities by another 12 months.

In a circular signed by Dr. Kevin Amugo, the Director of Financial Policy and Regulatory. the apex bank said it will continue to charge its borrowers an interest rate of 5% per annum as against the 9% originally offered. The CBN had on March 20th reduced the interest rates on its intervention loans from 9% to 5% as part of its response to the economic crunch brought on by Covid-19 induced lockdowns.

The CBN also offered to rollover moratorium granted on all principal payments on a case by case basis. All credit facilities had been granted a one-year moratorium starting from march 1, 2020 when the pandemic first gripped Nigeria.

READ: Analysing the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Dollar Remittance Policy

See excerpt from Circular

“The Central Bank of Nigeria reduced the interest rates on the CBN intervention facilities from 9% to 5% per annum for one-year effective March 1, 2020, as part of measures to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Nigerian economy.”

Credit facilities, availed through participating banks and OFIs, were also granted a one-year moratorium on all principal payments with effect from March 1, 2020.

Following the expiration of the above timelines, the CBN hereby approves as follows:
1) The extension by another twelve (12) months to February 28, 2022 of the discounted interest rate for the CBN intervention facilities;

2) The roll-over of the moratorium on the above facilities shall be considered on a case by case basis.

READ: Nigeria attracts more FDI than FPI for the first time in 4 years

What this means

Companies who secured intervention funds from the CBN or through any of its on-lending banks will continue to service the loans at an interest rate of 5% per annum instead of 9%.

  • They can also get another year of not needing to pay back the principal sum collection. However, they will need to apply.
  • Whilst this move helps the small businesses continue to manage their cash flow, it means the CBN will record a reduction in its income extended under such facility.
  • Regulatory forbearance is a widely adopted concept during an economic crunch and it is meant to help stimulate businesses. These pronouncements if implemented will only affect those who borrow from the CBN or BOI but those who do not will miss out.
  • Download the circular here.

READ: CBN discloses conditions for assessing N100 billion credit facility, addresses ‘process problems’

 

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Economy & Politics

Senate endorses ex-Service Chiefs as Non-career Ambassadors

The Senate has confirmed President Buhari’s nomination of the immediate past service chiefs as non-career ambassadors.

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The Nigerian Senate has endorsed the nomination of the past serving Military Service Chiefs as Non-career Ambassadors.

This was confirmed during Tuesday’s plenary session and announced in a social media statement by the Nigerian Senate.

Their confirmation follows the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Chaired by Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa.

According to reports, the Senate Minority Leader Enyinaya Abaribe, however, questioned the nomination and confirmation of the ex-service chiefs when the Senate had on 3 different occasions called for their sack.

Senator Abaribe also raised issues on the petitions against the former service chiefs and questioned why they were dismissed without explanations.

But Senate President Ahmad Lawan dismissed Senator Abaribe’s concerns, ruling that the nomination of the former service chiefs cannot be nullified simply because the upper chamber had called for their sack, noting that this is totally a different assignment.

In his concluding statement, the Senate President, Senator Lawan added that these nominees that have just been confirmed have served this country to the best of their abilities. He appealed to the executive to make sure they use their experience as military men to the best.

“These nominees that we have just confirmed are nominees that have served this country to the best of their ability. Our appeal to the Executive is to make sure they use their experiences as military men to the best,” Lawan said.

Lawan, on behalf of the senate, wished them a very successful career in their capacity as Non-Career Ambassadors.

What you should know 

  • Recall Nairametrics reported earlier this month that President Muhammadu Buhari nominated ex-Service Chiefs for Senate approval as non-career Ambassadors-Designate.
  • Their appointment came barely a week after their retirement as service chiefs and their replacement with new ones.
  • This led to a spate of criticisms from some Nigerians who felt that the nation’s security situation got worse under their watch.
  • They were reported to have tendered their resignation from their positions amid heightened calls that they should be sacked due to the increasing rate of insecurity across the country.

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