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Corruption erodes the constituency for aid programmes and humanitarian relief – IMF

The IMF has reiterated the defective role corruption plays in denying poor people in developing nations access to humanitarian relief.

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Corruption erodes the constituency for aid programmes and humanitarian relief - IMF

Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF) has stated that corruption is a barrier to poor nations for humanitarian relief, adding that it weakens the impact of governance policies.

The IMF chief disclosed this on Tuesday at the 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in South Korea with the theme, “Designing 2030: Truth, Trust & Transparency.” The conference focused on the role of transparency in the fight against pandemics.

(READ MORE: Recession: Nigerian economy to slide by 3.4% in 2020 – IMF)

Ms. Georgieva warned that the world is in a period of mass distrust of Government, citing people refusing to respond to Covid-19 measures. She also quoted former World Bank Group President, James Wolfensohn, who said “corruption diverts resources from the poor to the rich, increases the cost of running businesses, distorts public expenditures, and deters foreign investors.

She added that corruption is a barrier to inclusive development in developing nations.

“It erodes the constituency for aid programmes and humanitarian relief. And we all know that it is a major barrier to sound and equitable development,” she said.

She added that focusing on transparency is important in the fight against the pandemic since it has worsened economic recoveries globally. Every dime has to be counted for by developing economies.

She disclosed that IMF Is taking up the role in the fight against corruption, especially during the pandemic.

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“And we have sought to balance the need for accountability and transparency against the need to disburse financing very quickly so doctors and nurses can be paid, and the most vulnerable people can be protected. Some of you may have heard me saying, spend what you need but keep the receipts. Accountability cannot take a back seat in this crisis.

“First, all countries receiving emergency financing from the IMF must accept a safeguards assessment of the central bank. This is an IMF assessment of a central bank’s governance and control framework to ensure that it can manage IMF resources properly,’’ she said.

(READ MORE: The economy may end up weaker if inflation rate is not controlled – CBN report)

She disclosed six areas where the IMF helps in the fight against corruption:

“They are fiscal governance, financial sector oversight, central bank governance, market regulation, rule of law and anti-money laundering. We also look at transnational aspects through assessments of national frameworks to limit opportunities for corruption through foreign bribery or laundering of proceeds of corruption.

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“And in our work on data transparency, we urge citizens to keep track of how public money, their money is spent. Civil society has an incredibly important role to play in this work, including by helping us all to do better,’’ she said.

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported earlier this year that Nigeria dropped from 144 in 2018 to 146 in 2019 on the annual corruption perception index published by Transparency International.
  • The report revealed that Nigeria ranks 146 out of the 180 countries considered, behind Botswana (34), Rwanda (51), and Mauritius (56), amongst other African nations.
  • Nairametrics also reported in 2016 that a study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers revealed that Nigeria will lose 30% of its GDP to corruption by 2030.
  • The  International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicated last month that it may release up to $99 billion to 70 emerging and developing economies to manage issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Business

FG explains why Lagos-Ibadan rail line was not linked to the sea

The government in its explanation said that the delay was due to disruption by trucks going in and out of the port complex.

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FG needs $656 million to complete Lagos-Ibadan railway project – Amaechi, Nigeria loses N150 billion annually to shipping tariffs, Ibadan to Kano rail construction

The Federal Government has stated why the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) Nigeria Limited could not link the final part of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line to the sea.

The government in its explanation said that it was due to disruption by trucks going in and out of the port complex.

According to a press statement signed by the Director, Press and Public Relations of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Eric Ojiekwe, this disclosure was made by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, while on a routine tour of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line project on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

The Minister pointed out that the original blueprint for the Lagos-Ibadan rail line project was not adhered to by CCECC Nigeria Limited and TEAM consortium and therefore warned that the master plan of the soon to commence Ibadan-Kano rail line project should not be changed.

The statement from the ministry partly reads, “The Nigerian Government has restated its commitment to connect the whole country by rail with the soon to commence Ibadan-Kano Standard Gauge Rail project.”

Amaechi forewarned that the master plan of the soon to commence project should not be changed as the original blueprint for the Lagos-Ibadan wasn’t adhered to by Messrs CCECC Nigeria and TEAM consortium. The Minister who rode the train from Ebute-Meta to the 8.72 km Apapa Port Spur line, informed the media that the inability of Messrs CCECC Nigeria to link the final part of the rail line down to the sea is rather due to disruption by trucks going in and out of the port complex.’’

The Minister had noted that the Federal Government has paid its share of the counterpart funding of the Ibadan-Kano rail line project and is waiting for China-Exim bank to ratify its side of the agreement for the project to commence.

He also advised the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to acquire more land around the train stations and the rail tracks for future development adding that this will be near impossible to do in the future as whatever space available now would have been taken over by businesses attracted to the rail line.

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In case you missed it

It can be recalled that full commercial train services commenced on the Lagos-Ibadan rail line after train operations commenced on December 7, 2020, with only Lagos, Ibadan and Abeokuta residents enjoying the train services.

This is because other minor and major stations along that route were yet to be completed.

 

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MTN USSD saga: Charging subscribers is appalling, unacceptable – Ogunbanjo

National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria has lamented the service charge of N6.98.

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Subscribers of Telecommunication services in Nigeria have said that the new Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service charge of N6.98 is appalling and unacceptable.

They insisted that the quarrel between the banks and the telecom operators should not be resolved by taxing subscribers. This came after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) announced that USSD services for financial transactions would be charged at N6.98 per transaction.

This was disclosed by the President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria, Deolu Ogunbanjo, who described the charge as a step back from financial inclusion.

READ: USSD service suspension: FG wades in, resolving issues between MTN and banks

In an interview, he described the development as unacceptable, saying that such a burden should not be placed on subscribers.

He said, “Everything in telecoms that’s meant to put a smile on subscribers’ faces is now being eroded. Why should they increase the USSD transaction fee? It’s appalling and condemnable, and we’ll take it up with them.”

Similarly, the Association of Telephone, Cable TV and Internet Subscribers also frowned at the new USSD service charge. The National President, Sina Bilesanmi, explained that the charge was unacceptable and must be rejected by every bank account holder.

READ: How Ebola, Covid-19 affected MTN, Glo & the Nigerian telecoms industry

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He said, “It is exploitative and this dictatorial act must stop forthwith. I am amazed that the same CBN that was initially opposed to the unjustified increase in USSD service charge in 2019 now made the announcement of the hike.

“If the Central Bank of Nigeria and telecommunication companies do not revert to the previous rate, we shall institute legal action against them.”

What you should know

  • The development could be attributed to threats by banks to withdraw the USSD services rendered to Telco subscribers due to an outstanding debt of over N42 billion.
  • Series of meetings held among MTN, commercial banks and FinTechs to align on longer-term pricing structures on USSD services appeared inconclusive, according to Nairametrics.
  • This was also confirmed by the Telco giant in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Funso Aina on Thursday. According to the statement, which was seen by Nairametrics, MTN stated that the streamlining it undertook is international standard and best practice as scale is built along distribution channels.

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