The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has unveiled guidelines for Non-Interest Financial Institutions under its Agri-Business, Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF).
The CBN made this known in its latest guidelines released on its website on Tuesday.
It said the 10 guidelines also included the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) and seven other intervention schemes in its bouquet.
The guidelines followed the Bank’s June 2020 meeting where it announced plans to unveil framework to integrate non-interest window in its intervention programmes aimed at supporting businesses and households negatively impacted by COVID-19.
In the AGSMEIS guidelines for the operations of NIFIs issued on Tuesday, the CBN would create a Fund to be known as ‘AGSMEIS Non-Interest Fund’ to be domiciled in a dedicated account with the apex bank.
The bank stated that the guidelines stipulated that each non-interest deposit Bank (full-fledged or window) was to set aside five per cent of its Profit After Tax (PAT) annually as contribution to the Fund.
It added that each non-interest Deposit Bank was also to transfer its contribution to the CBN not later than 10 working days after the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the participating bank.
According to the CBN, eligible activities under the Scheme are businesses across the agricultural value chain, covering production, inputs supply, storage, processing, logistics and marketing.
Others included MSMEs in the real sector including manufacturing, mining and petrochemicals.
It disclosed that others were MSMEs in the service sector including information and communication technology (ICT) and the creative industry as well as other activities as the CBN may determine from time to time.
According to the guidelines, financing under the Scheme will be for start-ups, business expansion or revival of ailing companies and shall be in compliance with provisions of BOFIA (1991) as amended and the principles underpinning operations of NIFIs.
“The MSMEDF for NIFIs guidelines are aimed to channel low return funds to the MSME sub-sector of the Nigerian economy through participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) to enhance access by MSMEs to financial services.
“Similarly, the non-interest guidelines for the AADS are aimed at engaging a minimum of 370,000 youths in agricultural production across the country between now and 2023, in order to reduce unemployment among the youth in the country.
“While the specific objectives of the MSMEDF for NIFIs are to increase the productivity and output of microenterprises, job creation and engender inclusive growth, those of the AADS are to increase agricultural production towards food security, job creation and economic diversification.
“The non-interest guidelines for the AADS, which is targeted at Nigerian youth between 18 and 35 years, seek to promote interaction among state governments, the CBN and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain in each state.
“To enhance job creation in the agricultural sector, with focus on two crops where States have comparative advantage,” it stated.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that other non-interest guidelines issued by the CBN were for the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the Credit Support for the Health Sector and Intervention in the Textile Sector.
Others were the Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF) revised guidelines (V3); the Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF) among others.
Speaking on the guidelines, CBN Spokesman, Isaac Okorafor, said the non-interest windows had opened more opportunities for eligible beneficiaries to be considered for funding under all the Bank’s initiatives.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
`NDDC yet to pay contractors that handled road projects I facilitated’-Orji Kalu
Senate Chief Whip, Dr Orji Kalu, said on Monday that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) had not paid contractors that handled roads he facilitated in Abia.
Kalu stated this in a statement issued by Mr Emeka Nwala of Office of the Senate Chief Whip and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria
The former governor of Abia was reacting to claims by Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio that 60 per cent contracts awarded by the commission were handled by members of the National Assembly.
Akpabio mentioned ex governors Emmanuel Uduaghan, James Ibori, Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume, Sen. Orji Kalu and others as beneficiaries of several contracts awarded by the NDDC.
“The road projects mentioned by the minister are the interventions I facilitated for the communities as a private citizen before I became a senator,’’ he said.
Kalu argued that his name was mentioned because he used his letter headed paper to write a sympathetic letter to NDDC in 2016 pleading with the commission to rescue roads in Abia.
“I was Governor of Abia between 1999 and 2007 and never held any public office until June 11, 2019 when I was sworn in as a senator.
“Between 2016 and 2018 during my tour to several communities, leaders and welfare unions of most communities pleaded for urgent intervention on some dilapidated roads.
“The NDDC in their consideration which I am very grateful to, awarded the roads to companies that duly tendered for the projects and not myself.
“Whatever link I have with the projects is because it was considered due to my intervention,” Kalu said.
The senate chief whip also noted that the contracts were awarded by fully constituted body of NDDC with its board and not any interim management of the commission.
He said “the roads I requested for intervention as mentioned by the minister were repairs of Ezere-Acha-Ndiokoukwu road, Amaubiri-Eluama-Uru ring road and Lokpaukwu, Umuchieze Ndi Oji Abam-Atan road.
“Others are Okafia-Ozuitem-Bende and Ozu-Amuru-Abam roads.
“The contractors have completed and delivered these roads long time ago except Abam-Atani road, which I learnt from the contractors was slowed down due to rain but still ongoing.
“Meanwhile, the contractors who built these roads have not been paid any dime.
“I am much concerned about roads because I understand the economic importance of good roads.
“As a community leader, I do not intend to stop my interventions on roads in NDDC states because all the states need good roads.
“Good roads help to drive the economy,’’ Kalu said.
He, however, urged the commission to focus on paying contractors that delivered their jobs.
Edited Obike Ukoh
Bayelsa Govt. promises safety of students as schools reopen Aug.5
Bayelsa Government says it is taking steps to ensure that schools are safe to allow final year students to resume and participate in external examinations as directed by the Federal Government.
Messrs Freston Akpor and Walter Liverpool, Permanent Secretaries of Ministries of Information and Education, respectively assured that the government was doing its best to protect students and teachers.
They said that government was already fumigating schools across the state as well as providing hand washing facilities and urged parents and communities to complement the efforts of the government.
Akpor, who is a member of the Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force, said that Gov. Douye Diri of the state who chairs the Task Force had approved the deployment of health professionals to schools while temporary isolation facilities would be put in place in schools.
“The government of Bayelsa has been working to get our schools ready and safe for our children and that is why we have scheduled a train the trainers programme to acquaint schools with COVID-19 safety protocols.
“The essence is to build capacity of our people and update them with the guidelines from the Federal Government on the reopening of schools that is why we are taking our time and shifted the resumption for final year students to Aug. 5.
“Government is providing face masks, infrared thermometers and access to water for schools without water supply, alternative arrangements are in place and we are poised to check the spread of the coronavirus.
“In view of the questionable and low quality of hand sanitisers, we are emphasising frequent hand washing with soap and water and we appeal to members of the public as well as parents and guardians to complement the efforts government is making.
“Parents should for example provide additional face masks for their wards so that for instance when they wash the ones provided in schools, they can have a spare one,” Akpor said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state government has scheduled a COVID-19 prevention training programme for private and public schools to ensure safety protocols are complied with when schools resume on Aug 5.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Obike Ukoh (NAN)
Sen. Ubah, Obikwelu return as Anambra FA Chairman, Vice through e-voting
Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah, President of FC Ifeanyi Ubah has been re-elected as Chairman of Anambra State Football Association (AnSFA) for a second term, in an election conducted through electronic voting on Sunday.
Jude Obikwelu, a long time vice-chairman of the association was returned unopposed.
The result of the elections was signed by Jude Anayadufu, chairman of the 2020 AnSFA electoral committee and issued to newsmen by Obinna Dike, Head of Media and Publicity, on Monday in Awka.
Philip Balepo, a veteran journalist was also elected into the board as a first timer.
Other elected members of the board were Joe Amene, Uduh Kingsley, Amuzie Cyprain, Obiefune Collins, Adinnu Okezie and Ada Edward.
Elections were also successfully conducted into 19 Local Football Councils (LFC) while in Orumba South, forms were returned late and bye election would be held on a later date.
“The elections held on August 2, 2020 with Obinna Dike as the Returning Officer for the LFC, while Godwin Madubuko was the Returning Officer for the Board Elections.
“In the LFC elections, there was a tie in the Chairmanship position for Onitsha South with option of a coin toss. A bye election will be conducted for Orumba South LFC which returned forms late. Other 19 LFCs were through”, the statement said.
“The Electoral Committee thanks the candidates, delegates, agents, stakeholders, media and the government for their collaboration in ensuring a smooth electoral process.
“Appreciation also goes to the Nigeria Football Federation and Sports Ministry for their roles in the elections,” it stated.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Anambra FA elections originally scheduled for July 27 and July 28 were suspended on the orders of the state government that it would violate COVID-19 rules.
The election had reached advanced stage with conclusion of sales and return of forms, screening, appeal and final briefing for all candidates and delegates eligible to participate in the quadrennial election before it was called off by government.
The electoral committee communicated the development to the AnSFA which met and gave it powers to conduct the election through virtual processes.
Edited By: Angela Okisor/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
Work resumes in Osun after Eid-el-Kabir holiday
Workers in Osun resumed work on Monday after observing Thursday and Friday Eid-el-Kabir public holiday declared by the Federal Government.
The state civil servants working at the state secretariat in Abere, Osogbo, were also back to their duty posts, as many were already behind their duty desks carrying out the day’s work.
The same scenario also played out at the Olorunda and Osogbo Local Government secretariats, both in Osogbo, where some workers were seen resuming to their offices, as some others, already at the secretariats, were busy with their office works.
Staff and workers of the state House of Assembly in Osogbo, were also at the assembly’s complex carrying out their various duties and responsibilities.
Workers at some federal establishments in Osogbo too were also back to their stations as a lot of them were seen carrying out their daily jobs.
A federal worker, Mr Kareem Ashimu, said he traveled to Lagos, where his family resides, for the Eid-el-Kabir, and he returned back to the state on Sunday evening to resume work this morning.
Ashimu said the extended public holidays gave workers the opportunity to spend more time with their family, especially those working in separate states from their family.
“Apart from the festivities and celebration stuff, the break afforded me the opportunity to spend more time with my children.
“Though the COVID-19 restricted visitations and social gathering, I had a low key celebration with my immediate family and the expenses was also minimal,” he said.
A staff of the Osun House of Assembly, Mr Kamal Adeniyi said this year’s Eid-el-Kabir was the only one he ever observed without travelling to his own town to celebrate with his extended family.
“I just pray that this Coronavirus goes away soonest because it has really caged a lot of us and restricted our freedom,” Adeniyi said.
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)