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PenCom boss queried for spending N5 billion on 380 staff in 8 months

The Acting DG of PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar has been queried by the House of Representatives for the handling of the finances of the commission.

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PFAs make N1.69 trillion ROI , Pension Contributions in Nigeria rose by N169.9 billion in 3-month , PenCom calls for thorough scrutiny of dead RSA holders’ benefits, PenCom discontinues Employee Death Benefit Account  , PFAs boost investment in infrastructure by N17.77 billion in one year , Pension: Low RSA balances - a subtly growing concern, PENCOM boss queried for spending unapproved funds, N5 billion on 360 staff in 8-month , How negative performance in the capital market affected PFAs in 2019, PenCom seeks pension bonds to clear N400 billion arrears as retirees groan, PenCom set to offer pension bonds to offset unpaid pension arrears, Is the pension asset just another cookie jar?, PenCom threatens companies with no insurance covers for their staff 

… as federal lawmakers drill her over other unauthorized spendings

 

The Acting Director-General of the Nigeria Pension Commission (PenCom), Aisha Dahir-Umar has been queried by the House of Representatives on how the finances of the government agency was managed. PenCom boss was accused of flouting the law by spending funds without the approval of the National Assembly.

According to the House of Representatives, the management of PenCom made it a habit of spending funds from the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the commission without following due process as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.

Funds spent without approval: The lawmakers disclosed that the management of PenCom spent N2,138,440,241.57 from the Internally Generated Revenue of the commission on ‘Admin Expenses’ without the approval of the National Assembly.

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SEEPCO, local content laws, CBN Cashless Policy: Reps eye policy reversal, court Emiefele approval , Lawmakers tackle Finance Minister over failed CCTV project worth $460 million , Former Ghanaian President, Mahama begs Buhari to open border Former President of Ghana, John Mahama has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to open up its borders saying that Ghana has been heavily affected by Nigeria’s decision to close its borders. Mahama said that for economic activities to resume in West Africa, Nigeria needs to reconsider its decision on the total border closure. He made this plea while delivering the seventh anniversary lecture of investiture into The Realnews Hall of Fame and the unveiling of a book, titled: Pathways to Political and Economic Development of Africa. According to the former president as reported in The Nation, the closure of especially the Benin border, was taking a significant toll on many small and medium businesses, especially in Togo, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire, which relied on inter-country trade. “I am sure that businesses in Nigeria that rely on supplies from these countries are also suffering. With the signing of the joint border task force agreement between Nigeria and her neighbours, I will like to take this opportunity to appeal to Nigeria to open up her border so that economic activities can resume,” Mahama said. While reacting to the shut down of shops owned by Nigerians by the Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA) as retaliation to the border closure, Mahama said; “Back home in Ghana, I also look forward to our government’s intervention that brings an immediate cessation to the forceful and illegal closure of shops of foreigners, especially Nigerians, by members of the local trade associations”. Mahama who is a former Chairman of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) spoke on how he still has an abiding interest in the progress of ECOWAS and its people. In this light, he said that Nigeria being the home of ECOWAS and the largest economy in West Africa should not allow the objective principles for establishment of ECOWAS to be lost. Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor of Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to yield to pressure to reopen the borders. Edoumiekumo who was also present at the lecture said President Buhari should remain firm in his resolve to ensure economic growth and the country’s development as the border closure will generate more revenue for the nation and tackle smuggling.

The commission was also faulted by the members of the House Committee on Pensions headed by the lawmaker, Alhassan Rurum, for disbursing N369,688,000.00 from the Commission’s Internally Generated Revenue on ‘Miscellaneous Expenses’.

PenCom’s numerous unapproved spendings include over N5 billion spent on the salaries of about 380 members of staff within the first eight (8) months of the year 2019 and the N731,477,627.90 spent on ‘Capacity Building Costs’, as well as N1,831,275,331.00 spent on ‘Operational and Monitoring Expenses’, all of which were not approved by the National Assembly.

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[READ MORE: PenCom: Constitute a board, NASS and pension operators tell FG)

Honourable Alhassan Rurum kicked against this pattern of spending at the budget defence session with Dahir-Umar and other members of the management of the commission.

Lawmaker approval not needed: According to the committee, PenCom claimed that the commission didn’t need the approval of the lawmakers. The excuse didn’t sit well with the lawmakers who said the management team of the commission must explain to the committee why it claimed that “it is the right of the Commission to start spending its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) without further recourse to the National Assembly as soon as Mr President signs the Appropriation Act into Law, even when the IGR does not form part of the Appropriation Bill in the first place.” 

In a report by The Nation, Dahir-Umar responded to the queries at the budget defence, but the lawmakers insisted on seeing the documents where approvals were given for the funds disbursed by PenCom; evidence of appropriation for the 2019 spending; as well as the cash flow analysis for the Internally Generated Revenue already spent by Monday, December 9, 2019.

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Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Bamidele Akinola

    December 6, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Always about money, money money.

  2. Ademola

    December 6, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    Anything related to money 💰 directly under the care of public officials in Nigeria is tantamount to entering a once-chance vehicle.

    Our transparency & accountability laws need thorough review

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Business

HealthPlus crisis: Alta Semper directors reported to Police for trespassing

HealthPlus has made a formal complaint to the Police following its ensuing battle with Alta Semper.

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HealthPlus crisis: Alta Semper directors reported to Police for trespassing

Nigerian Pharmacy Chain, HealthPlus Ltd which is in a battle for control with private equity firm Alta Semper Capital took a new twist as Health plus reported Alta Semper directors to the police last week, as observed in a document seen by Nairametrics.

In a letter sent to the Assistant Inspector General of Police on the 25th of September, HealthPlus stated, “We had the presence of unknown persons around our head office locations.”

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The locations stated were 4 HealthPlus branches in Lekki, Lagos.

HealthPlus stated further, “We are aware that there are unauthorized and illegal plans by certain persons to take over our company premises to steal sensitive company property and assets, and ultimately take over operations of the company”

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The 4 persons mentioned by HealthPlus are; Zachary Fond and Ivan Genadiev (both Alta Semper Directors), Ernest Eguasa, CFO of company and an unidentified middle-aged white man.

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data 

Niarametrics reported last week that HealthPlus Limited appointed Chidi Okoro as Chief Transformation Officer.

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However, the announcement set off a chain of allegations and counter-accusations, including online media mudslinging with both sides trying to court public sympathy for who is in control of the company.

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Economy & Politics

P&ID dispute: UK Court orders $200 million guarantee to FG

Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange Reserves was boosted after a London Court ordered the release of $200Million placed as security in the case against P&ID.

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A London Commercial Court has ordered the release of a $200 million guarantee as security to be paid to the Nigerian government in the P&ID $10 billion Arbitral Claim.

This was disclosed in a social media statement by the Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday.

Nairametrics reported earlier this month that The Federal Government secured a landmark victory in its bid to overturn a $10 billion arbitration judgment award against it in a case against Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).

READ: Nigeria seeks bank documents of former President, others over $9.6 billion P&ID case

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The Court said that Nigeria has established a strong prima case that the contract was procured by bribes paid to insiders as part of a larger scheme to defraud Nigeria. He said that there is also a strong prima face case that the P&ID’s main witness in the arbitration, Mr Quinn, gave perjured evidence to the tribunal, and that contrary to that evidence, P&ID was not in the position to perform the contract.

In today’s statement, the CBN said, “Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange Reserves was this morning boosted by over $200Million when the London Commercial Court ordered the release of the $200Million guarantee put in place as security in respect of the execution of the much discredited P&ID $10 Billion Arbitral Claim.”

READ; Why the NNPC is being dragged to US courts by Exxon Mobil, Shell

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“The court also awarded a £70,000 cost in favour of Nigeria in addition to an earlier award of £1.5m.”

On January 31, 2017, an arbitration tribunal had ruled that Nigeria should pay P&ID, the sum of $6.6 billion as damages and breach of contract after a 2010 deal for a gas project in the Niger Delta part of Nigeria collapsed. The pre and post judgement accrued interest of 7% has seen the amount standing against Nigeria, rise to almost $10 billion, an amount that will be a serious dent on the country’s external reserve.

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Business

FG to revitalize rice farms in rice producing regions

The Minister stated that rice production is expected to increase as the government continues to revitalize rice farmers.

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The Federal Government has stated that Rice Farms in Anambra State and other regions will be revitalized to boost rice production, create jobs and also improve the living standard of the people in the State and the region.

This was disclosed by the Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, during the assessment of Federal Government Rice Farms/Mills in Omor and Umerum in Anambra State.

Given the importance of rice as a staple in Nigeria, the Minister stated that the Federal Government is taking steps to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production, and this is evident in the policies of the government in achieving food and nutrition security, import substitution and promotion of inclusive economic growth across all sectors of the economy.

READ: CBN says 22 banks to restructure over 35,000 loans due to COVID-19

Government Policy Interventions in Agriculture and Rural Development has helped to develop the rice sector, and these interventions include the provision of farm inputs such as agrochemicals, organic fertilizers, knapsack sprayers, planting & harvesting equipment such as reapers, mini combine harvesters, threshers at a subsidized rate in order to increase productivity.

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The Minister added that these policies have not only increased the quantity of rice produced annually but interventions through the provision of modern rice milling machines to small/medium scale processors, has also helped to improve the quality of Nigeria milled rice to international standard.

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However, Nigeria’s rice consumption still holds higher than production, but government interventions through myriads of policies have increased rice production from 4.8 million metric tons of milled rice in 2015 to over 6 million metric tons by 2019 with a huge reduction in the nation’s deficit.  Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri explained that production is expected to increase as the government continues to revitalize rice farmers.

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Shehuri said that ”the Ministry has established 23 Paddy Aggregation Centers nationwide to aggregate and store paddy. The centres were given to members of the Paddy Dealers Association of Nigeria (PRIDAN) under the public-private partnership arrangement”.

READ: How to register for FG’s N75 billion MSME survival funds

In like manners, there will be the dissemination of modern rice production and processing technologies, through capacity building of farmers and processors directly and also in conjunction with the international donor agencies such as Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), German International Cooperation (GIZ), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Competitive Africa Rice Initiative (CARI), AfricaRice.

He reiterated that the Ministry is currently responding to the challenges of food availability posed by the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting smallholder farmers nationwide with various inputs including certified seeds of improved varieties of food crops such as rice, maize, sorghum, wheat, orange-flesh sweet potato, groundnut cowpea, soybean, yam, as well as cash crops like cashew, cocoa, sesame, oil palm, gum Arabic. Others include herbicides, pesticides and agricultural machinery such as rice reapers, transplanters, power tillers motorized sprayers and processing equipment.

These interventions are expected to alleviate the effect of the pandemic on farmers and ensure that they keep producing food for the country.

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