The central banks of some of the world’s wealthiest countries (G-20) are considering a debt swap deal for African countries that will help cushion the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The deal, which is being managed by a United Nations steering committee, will work in such a way that African countries can be relieved of their debt repayment obligations, without triggering the consequences that come with default.
More Details: Nairametrics understands that if this deal eventually comes to fruition, payments on international bonds that are due this year would be channeled back to African countries. Meanwhile, investors would receive compensation in the form of securities issued by an international organization that would be set up and guaranteed by the unnamed G-20 central banks.
A report by Bloomberg noted that this arrangement is akin to the 1980S Brady plan which converted bank loans owed by countries in Latin America into securities that were guaranteed by U.S Treasuries.
In the meantime, there are only three African countries that are interested in this arrangement, according to Vera Songwe, the executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa. She also explained that the loan swap deal would allow private creditors to join the debt relief plan for low-income countries that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Although Songwe did not disclose the names of the African countries that have indicated interest, there are indications that Nigeria could be among them. This is because in April this year, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed during an interview that the country had approached some multilaterals for debt deferral.
As you may well know, the Nigerian was already facing various challenges prior to the COVID-19 pandemic which only made things worse.
NCC creates digital economy department to harness technology in Nigeria
The commission announced that its Governing Board had approved the creation of the new department.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has approved the creation of a Digital Economy Department, which will be responsible for promoting the digital economic agenda of the federal government.
Among other things, this department will renew the commission’s strategy for delivering its programmes and policies, and give the necessary push to promote the national digital economy.
In a press release signed by the Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, and published by NCC on Tuesday evening, the commission announced that its Governing Board had approved the creation of the new department which would be structurally under the Office of the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of NCC.
According to the Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, the decision to place the newly-created department under the Office of the EVC also underscores the “importance the Commission places on the need to successfully drive the overall national digital economy strategy of the government through ensuring its effective monitoring and supervision.”
All staff members of the Special Duties Department are to move to the newly-created Digital Economy Department. which will be headed by Engr. Babagana Digima, an Assistant Director in the Special Duties Department who will now serve as pioneer Head of the new department.
Danbatta noted that the department would be guided by the eight pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) document, the Broadband Implementation Unit in the Commission.
The eight pillars contained include: Developmental Regulation; Digital Literacy and Skills; Solid Infrastructure; Service Infrastructure; Soft Infrastructure; Digital Services Development and Promotion; Digital Society and Emerging Technologies; and Indigenous Content Development and Adoption.
The NDEPS was unveiled in November 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari as a guide for the national digital economy which will lead to the Economy Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Update: Buhari suspends EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu from office
The suspension follows the investigation of allegations of gross misconduct against him on Monday.
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the suspension of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, from office. The suspension follows the investigation of allegations of gross misconduct against him on Monday.
According to available information, Magu was suspended to allow for probe into allegations against him.
The EFCC boss appeared before a presidential probe panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami, who is investigating the allegations against him.
The latest development is coming a day after he was invited to face the Rtd Justice Ayo Salami led probe panel, to various allegations that had been levelled against him, which borders on misconduct and financial irregularities.
Meanwhile, the Presidency in reaction to the probe of Magu, declared that it shows that nobody under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is above scrutiny. A monitored report suggests that the investigation of the EFCC boss was to reinforce that this administration’s commitment to transparency and accountability, adding that the holder of such office must be above suspicion.
A monitored report states that the interrogation of Magu is to give him the opportunity to clear himself of the weighty allegations against him.
The Department of State Services (DSS), yesterday stated that contrary to claims in the media that the EFCC boss had been arrested, he was only invited by a presidential panel that was set up to review the activities of the EFCC.
According to the DSS, he was served the invitation to the panel, while on his way to the Force Headquarters, Abuja for a meeting, so he was neither arrested nor forced to honour the invitation.
The acting Chairman of EFCC appeared before the panel probing allegations of gross misconduct against him on Monday, July 6, 2020.
Reps to investigate alleged illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from NLNG account
Gbajabiamila mandated the House to conduct a thorough investigation on activities of the dividends account.
The House of Representatives has concluded plans to investigate the alleged illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) account by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) without its knowledge and appropriation.
The decision by the lower chamber is on the heels of a unanimous adoption of a motion by the Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, during plenary session on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.
Going down memory lane, Elumelu recalled that the NLNG was incorporated as a limited liability company in 1989 with the aim of producing liquefied natural gas and natural gas liquids for export purposes which began in 1999.
He pointed out that the NLNG is jointly owned by the Federal Government, represented by the NNPC with a shareholding of 49% and Shell Gas with 25.6%, Total LNG Nigeria Ltd with 15% and ENI International with 10.4%.
The Minority leader said, “The dividends from the NLNG are supposed to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Funds Account of the Federal Government and to be shared among the three tiers of government.’’
Going further in his motion, Elumelu said, “The NNPC who represents the government of Nigeria on the board of the NLNG had unilaterally without the required consultations with states and the mandatory appropriation from the National Assembly illegally tampered with the funds at the NLNG dividends account to the tune of 1.05 billion dollars thereby violating the nation’s appropriation law.
“There was no transparency in this extra-budgetary spending as only the Group Managing Director and the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer had the knowledge of how the 1.05 billion dollars was spent.’’
‘’There are no records showing the audit and recovery of accrued funds from the NLNG by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. Hence the need for a thorough investigation of the activities on the NLNG dividends account.”
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, mandated the House Committee on Public Account to conduct a thorough investigation on activities that had taken place on the dividends account.
Gbajabiamila mandated the committee to invite the management of the NNPC as well as that of the NLNG in the process and report back to the house in four weeks.