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Covid-19: FG to set up N500 billion intervention fund to upgrade healthcare sector

FG has concluded plans to establish a N500 billion COVID-19 crisis intervention fund in order to upgrade healthcare facilities.

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The Federal Government (FG) has concluded plans to establish a N500 billion COVID-19 crisis intervention fund. The fund was introduced to upgrade healthcare facilities and administration in the country.

The decision was taken after the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed met with the leadership of the National  Assembly, led by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, at the National Assembly complex.

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It was agreed that the intervention fund will include mopped up resources from various government accounts as well as loans and advances from multilateral organizations.

(READ MORE: Nigeria considers request for debt relief as debt stock climbs)

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The fund is also to be used to provide intervention to various state governments and also take care of special public work program that is being implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

Covid-19: FG to set up N500 billion intervention fund, Lawan criticizes N20,000 disbursement

Our general view is that the crisis intervention fund would be used to upgrade health care facilities as earlier identified,” Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said. 

The minister in her presentation said, ‘’We know that there is a need for the parliament to agree and approve the taking of loans from these special accounts and we will be coming back with a proposed bill in that regard that will define what the fund will be used for’’.

“The Federal Government also needs to be in a position to improve healthcare facilities not only in the states but to provide intervention to the states’’, she said.

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(READ MORE: FG begs Elon Musk’s Tesla for ventilators, as COVID-19 cases rises in Nigeria)

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It could be recalled that the government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and in collaboration with the Private Sector, set up a relief fund to help fight the coronavirus disease and its impact. CBN announced that a total sum of N19.48 billion has been contributed to the account.

Many Nigerians have expressed doubts about the proper management of these resources as there is no framework or proper monitoring mechanism for the disbursement of those funds. They believe that the process is riddled with corruption.

Meanwhile, the Senate President on his part picked holes in the way and manner the disbursement of the N20,000 social intervention programme was being handled. According to him, time has come for the government to redefine its implementation.

Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- chike.olisah@nairametrics.com.

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Economy & Politics

CBN reacts to videos, pictures of new N2,000 and N5,000 in circulation

The videos and pictures of the purported circulation of the N2,000 and N5,000 banknotes as false, a piece of fake news that is being pushed out to the members of the public and asked them to disregard the falsehood.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reacted to the circulated videos and pictures that claimed it had introduced N2,000 and N5,000 banknotes to members of the public.

The apex bank in a statement described the videos and pictures of the purported circulation of the N2,000 and N5,000 banknotes as false and a piece of fake news that is being pushed out to the members of the public and asked them to disregard the falsehood.

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Going further, they asked the members of the public to report to law enforcement agencies if they found anyone in possession of such banknotes.

This was disclosed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in a tweet post on its official twitter handle on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

The CBN stated, ‘’Videos and pictures of purported circulation of N2,000 and N5,000 banknotes are false and fake. Members of the public are advised to disregard such falsehood and to report anyone found in possession of such banknotes to the law enforcement agencies’’.

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https://twitter.com/cenbank/status/126713171778308505

It would be recalled that the planned introduction of the new N2,000 and N5,000 banknotes by the CBN under the leadership of the then Governor, Lamido Sanusi, in 2012, had elicited some mixed reactions from some experts.

The Federal Government at that time said that the proposed N5,000 banknotes will not be for mass circulation, but would only be reserved for banks and heavy cash users.

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Business News

UPDATED: CBN revises timelines for resolution of dispense errors, refund complaints

The apex bank said this is in line with its resolve to enhance the quality of service bank customers are given. Nigerian banks are, therefore, required to implement the revisions starting from June 8, 2020.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has revised the timeframes for the resolutions of all botched online transfers, POS transactions, and ATM withdrawals.

According to a brief statement that was posted on its official Twitter handle this evening, the apex bank said this is in line with its resolve to enhance the quality of service bank customers are given. Nigerian banks are, therefore, required to implement the revisions starting from June 8, 2020.

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Below are the revisions

In line with the revisions, any failed ATM transaction that occurs when a customer tries to withdraw from their bank must be reversed instantly. In the event that instant reversal fails due to technical challenges, the money must be manually reversed within a 24-hour period. Note that prior to the revision, the timeframe for such reversal is usually three working days.

Similarly, the resolutions for failed ATM withdrawals occurring when bank customers use their ATM cards on other banks should not exceed 48 hours, the CBN said. Before now, such a resolution would normally take three working days.

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Also, starting from June 8, banks will be required to resolve all disputed/failed online transfers and POS transactions within 72 hours. In other words, resolution for such disputes shall no longer be taking five working days as it used to.

In the meantime, the apex bank advised banks to ensure that all pending failed transactions/complaints are resolved “within two weeks starting June 8, 2020”.

“Meanwhile, key service providers in the Nigerian payments system have also committed to establish an integrated dispute resolution platform for the industry and enhance their payment system infrastructure and processes to reduce incidences of transaction failure,” the statement further disclosed.

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Tech News

Why Nigeria must invest in digital technology – El Rufai

Nigeria needs to look for a way to move from the agrarian and industrial into the services sector, and ICT is a way to do that.

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El-Rufai: How Vodafone recorded its ‘biggest’ investment mistake in Nigeria, FG concludes plan to borrow N2 trillion from Pension Fund, Infrastructure: Tapping into pensions funds - a step in the right direction? 

If Nigeria is to join the richer countries of the world, she must invest aggressively in technology, improve local production, and cut cost of governance.

These were some of the opinions presented by experts during a virtual colloquium tagged Government Unusual: Innovative Economic Solutions to Unlock Mass Prosperity held on Saturday afternoon.

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While making a presentation at the Rauf Aregbesola colloquium, Governor Nasir El Rufai noted that investment in digital technology must become a priority if Africa hoped to join the league of developed countries. He said,

Investing aggressively in digital technology is the only way Africa can preserve its growth and continue to lift people out of poverty. We must invest in the digital because henceforth, every sector of governance and living will depend on the digital.

READ ALSO: FG sets committee to support tech start-ups with affordable internet access amid lockdown

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He added that one of the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic was the need for Nigeria to embrace technological advancement so that Nigerians could benefit from the numerous opportunities that came with it; and pointed at the recent decision to crash right of way charges as the first way to go.

In agreement with his position, CEO Lotus Capital, Mrs Hajara Adeola, added that investment in technology was the best way to get Nigerian youths to take advantage of global opportunities without migrating to other countries.

Nigeria needs to look for a way to move from the agrarian and industrial into the services sector, and ICT is a way to do that. Our youths are innovative and capable, so if we can train our youths in technology, then we can get homegrown solutions to some of our issues without them having to migrate” she said during the panel discussion.

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Unless infrastructural developments are shaped and directed towards business developments, the country will continue to invest in infrastructure which have no benefits.

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“You don’t shape infrastructure as how you think it makes sense. you do it in a way that follows the money because ultimately that is where prosperity comes for everybody,” Chairman of Citibank Nigeria limited, Yemi Cardoso said.

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The global terrain continues to change and Nigeria must develop a framework to align its growth strategy with the changes, identifying and eliminating bottlenecks as we go forward.

The colloquium, which was held online (via zoom), had over 700 participants across several countries, and was also streamed live on Youtube.

Panelists at the colloquium were Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor, Kaduna State; Sen. Abubakar Bagudu, Governor, Kebbi State; Mrs. Hajara Adeola, CEO, Lotus Capital Limited; Mr. Bismarck Rewane, CEO, Financial Derivatives; Dr. Joe Abah, Country Director, Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI); Dr. Yemi Cardoso, Chairman, Citibank Nigeria, and Boason Omofaye, the Moderator.

Dr Yemi Kale, Statistician General of the federation and CEO of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) was also present.

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