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EFCC gives reason for unspent N4 billion in 2020 budget

The EFCC has said that stalled recruitment accounted for why unspent sum of N4 billion was recorded.

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has explained the reason it had an unspent N4 billion in its 2020 Budget.

The response is sequel to an earlier query by a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives, Zakaria Nyampa, on why the EFCC had N4 billion unspent in the 2020 budget approved for the commission.

In response to the aforementioned query, the commission disclosed that the unspent money is meant for recruitment of staff. The disclosure was made to the News Agency of Nigeria, by the Acting Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Mohammed Umar, on Wednesday in Abuja, during the Commission’s budget defence, before the House committee on EFCC, where he proposed a total of N29.86 billion for 2021.

Mr. Umar stated that the recruitment was initially scheduled for this year but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic which affected the country as a whole. In his own view, the stalled recruitment accounts for why the unspent sum of N4 billion were recorded.

In addition, Mr. Umar disclosed that the commission had earlier made submission to the committee with full details of assets recovery, convictions secured and other relevant cases that the committee ought to know.

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(READ MORE: Covid-19: Court closures impacted revenue generation for courts – Emefiele)

He highlighted some of the challenges faced by the commission including late release of funds for capital projects, lack of special courts to prosecute corruption cases, dearth of eminently qualified personnel, among others. He stated that the five per cent meant to be retained in the agency as part of money recovered, had not been given to the commission as is the norm in other places.

What they are saying

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Commenting on the issue of poor funding, Mr. Umar said, “I don’t think the five per cent to be retained in EFCC for assets recovery has been approved, because we have not gotten any money outside the budget approved,” he said.

Speaking further, he rationalized the idea of equipping already existing offices in the country, rather than embarking on a white elephant project. In his view, “It is better we equip the 15 offices than acquiring more, because some are not adding values to our investigations, so we are thinking of closing them.’’

Allaying the fears raised by the commission, the Chairman of the House Committee, Ibrahim Dutse, assured the commission of his willingness to assist it in carrying out its statutory duties, adding that all kobo allocated to the commission will be expended.

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Public and private sectors must work together to transform the economy – Osinbajo

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has stated that public and private sectors must work together to transform the economy.

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FG to slash import duties on tractors, buses, others in 2020 Finance Bill, Nigeria will not issue Eurobonds, says Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, FG guarantees mortgage loan to low income buyers at low interest rate, FG inaugurates gold refinery project in a landmark event

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning recently held the 26th National Economic Summit (NES#26) Group Conference, themed: “Building Partnerships for Resilience”.

The summit held virtually and physically at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel and was attended by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

In his welcome address, the Chairman of NESG, Mr Asue Ighodalo, said the focus of the summit is primarily on building partnerships for resilience of Nigeria’s households, businesses, and the general economy.

“This became important due to the pandemic and its far reaching health and economic consequences. The restiveness of our huge youth population, a population growth rate that exceeds our rate of economic growth and development; the high rate of unemployment and underemployment as well as the resultant high levels of poverty in our economy.”

Prof. Osinbajo, who delivered the opening remark on behalf of President Buhari, remarked that the theme is quite appropriate at this time in the history of the nation, as vital partnerships are quite critical lessons to be learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic and emphasized the need for both public and private sectors to work together to transform the economy and build a fair and just society.

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According to Prof. Osinbajo, “Our national journey to economic prosperity is a long one, so we must all certainly work together. As we saw, partnerships were essential when we were faced with the serious challenge of combatting COVID-19 pandemic. They are also necessary for framing medium and long-term development plans. They are needed for transforming our economy and certainly indispensable to ensuring that we build a fair and just society.

“We saw the key role that partnerships played in our national effort to combat the COVID-19 crisis. While, Federal and State Governments worked together to manage the health response and ensure the establishment of isolation centres, availability of test kits, personal protective equipment, and medicines. The private sector also played an active role as individual entities and also worked together in groups like the Coalition Against COVID-19.”

(READ MORE: Nigeria to exit recession by first quarter of 2021)

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The Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Ms. Yewande Sadiku, who spoke during the session on a topic, “Attracting Foreign Investments” said there is a greater improvements by Nigeria as shown in the Ease of Doing Business ranking in the last five years and more could be achieved if the government institutionalize its economic reform process.

What you need to know

  • NES#26 is the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit and the annual economic summit of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG). It is expected to focus on building strategic partnerships and cooperation between governments, businesses, and the civil society for resilience.
  • To drive greater attention to subnational investment opportunities in Nigeria, NIPC had developed the Book of States which contains summaries of critical information about 36 States and the FCT needed for investment promotion and facilitation.
  • NIPC is also working with the States to identifying high net-worth individuals that can invest in the profiled investment opportunities across the states.

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Medical Free Zone to save Nigeria about $1billion in annual medical tourism – NEPZA

NEPZA has stated that it is considering setting up 15 Medical Free zones in at least 15 states of the federation.

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The Nigeria Exports Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) is thoughtfully considering setting up 15 Medical Free zones in at least 15 states of the federation, not minding the torrential pressures from the State governments lobbying to skew the location of the novel Medical Free Zones to their own states.

This disclosure was made by the Managing Director of NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, when he was visited recently by the new President of the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFN), Dr. Pamela Ajayi.

According to Prof. Adesugba, the Medical Free Zone is a novel concept and project that is intended to revolutionize the healthcare sector in the country. He said that a number of the Governors are jostling for their states to be selected, as they can see the full benefits of this project to their states and the health-care delivery systems.

The push by these State governments shows acceptability of the project premised upon its viability. NEPZA is, therefore, considering if the project can be located in more than one state.”

He further said that the Federal Government through NEPZA is favourably disposed to siting the novel project in any state that meets all the requirements, as the Authority would not be willing to relax any of its guidelines in the process due to the sensitive nature of the sector.

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What you should know

NEPZA is amenable to partner with relevant stakeholders to deliver the proposed world-class medical enclave to Nigerians.

The project is critically important as it would save about $1billion expended on medical tourism annually by Nigerians. It will provide Nigerians access to some of the best hospitals in the world, that our people spend huge sums of money in for treatments.

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A total of 15 world-class foreign hospitals and a handful from within the country are expected to be part of this project to deliver impeccable services in 2021.

The Healthcare Federation of Nigeria and some of its affiliates are already buying into this great opportunity to invest in. When fully developed, the proposed Medical Free Zone would reposition the local health sector and enable the local operators to compete with themselves and their foreign healthcare providers.

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3 Nigerians arrested by INTERPOL for scamming government, companies in 150 countries

3 Nigerians have been arrested by INTERPOL for alleged involvement in extensive Business Email Compromise scams and other cybercrimes.

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The International Police Organization (INTERPOL) has announced the arrest of 3 Nigerians for their alleged involvement in cyber-crime targeted at government agencies and private sector companies in over 150 countries since 2017.

Their apprehension follows a joint INTERPOL, Group-IB and the Nigeria Police Force cybercrime investigation called Operation Falcon.

This disclosure was contained in a statement which was published on the INTERPOL website on Wednesday and obtained by Nairametrics.

The statement says that the Nigerian nationals are believed to be members of a wider organized crime group responsible for distributing malware, carrying out phishing campaigns and extensive Business Email Compromise scams.

What they are saying

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While describing their mode of operation, INTERPOL alleged that the suspects developed phishing links, domains, and mass mailing campaigns in which they impersonated representatives of organizations and then used these campaigns to disseminate 26 malware programmes, spyware and remote access tools, including AgentTesla, Loki, Azorult, Spartan and the nanocore and Remcos Remote Access Trojans.

The statement partly reads, “These programmes were used to infiltrate and monitor the systems of victim organizations and individuals, before launching scams and syphoning funds. According to Group-IB, the prolific gang is believed to have compromised government and private sector companies in more than 150 countries since 2017.”

“Group-IB was also able to establish that the gang is divided into subgroups with a number of individuals still at large. While investigations are still ongoing, some 50,000 targeted victims have been identified so far.”

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According to the statement, the year-long investigation, saw INTERPOL’s Cybercrime and Financial Crime units work closely with Group-IB to identify and locate threats, and ultimately, assist the Nigerian Police Force, through the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Abuja, in taking swift action.

INTERPOL’s Cybercrime Director, Craig Jones, highlighted the outstanding cooperation between all those involved in the investigation while also pointing out the importance of public-private relationships in disrupting virtual crimes.

He said, “This group was running a well-established criminal business model. From infiltration to cashing in, they used a multitude of tools and techniques to generate maximum profits. We look forward to seeing additional results from this operation.”

What you should know

Cyber-crime has been on the increase amongst Nigerians both within and outside the country. This is one in a series of many high profile arrests of Nigerians who have been involved in internet scam. This includes the arrest of about 80 Nigerians in the US for their involvement in $46 million internet scam, charging of 6 Nigerians for $6 million internet fraud in the US and so many others.

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