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Economy

Financial expert commends Buhari over Emefiele’s re-appointment

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A financial expert, Dr Boniface Chizea, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the re-appointment of Mr Godwin Emefiele as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos.

Chizea, Chief Executive of BIC Consultancy Services, said the re-appointment of Emefiele was a welcome idea, saying it will ensure the sustainability of all policies that were embarked upon during his first tenure.

NAN reports that Emefiele has been Governor of the CBN since June 3, 2014.

He had earlier served as Chief Executive officer and Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc.

Chizea said: “It is the best news for the country because we don’t want someone to come and experiment. We commend the president for Emefiele’s re-appointment because it is a good development for the country.

“It’s like the best news coming out of this time. I say so because we have some economic stability now, everything is moving in the right direction and we don’t want any more experiments.”

According to him, the country has witnessed several positive developments through Emefiele’s decisions in his first tenure.

The BIC Chief Executive said such decisions included tight forex control that led to banning of 43 items, Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) to create economic linkage between smallholder farmers and large-scale processors.

NAN reports the ABP is meant to increase agricultural output, and significantly improve capacity utilisation of processors.

The ABP helps to increase banks’ financing to the agricultural sector, reduce agricultural commodity importation and conserve external reserves, increase capacity utilisation of agricultural firms, create new generation of farmers, entrepreneurs and employment.

Others include deepen the cashless policy and financial inclusion, reduce the level of poverty among smallholder farmers, assist rural smallholder farmers to grow from subsistence to commercial production levels.

“The governor has done well in his first term. It’s like a ruling team and you don’t change a winning team. God has blessed the man and he is winning.

“Since 1999, nobody had been able to get a second term as governor but he has gotten it. So, it is a remarkable development,” he added.

He advised the CBN boss to work toward ensuring single exchange rate and look into the importers and exporters window to see if there was any way it could be improved.

Chizea said Emefiele could also look at the areas the bank was putting money as intervention funds for national development to ensure it justified the purpose.

Besides, he said the bank, under his watch still needs to aim at reducing the inflation rate to single digit inspite of its consistent decline.

The financial expert suggested a single digit that ranges between six to nine per cent, saying this target could be attained in no distant future.

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Foreign

Lebanon to create fund to support local SMEs with financial problems

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Lebanon will create a fund to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) amid the current economic deterioration and the lay-off of more than 100,000 employees in the country, LBCI local TV channel reported on Thursday.

Ibrahim Kanaan, a member of the parliament and also head of the Finance and Budget Parliamentary Committee, said after a meeting of the committee that the ministries have approved such suggestion since the current situation is very dangerous.

The labor and economy ministries agreed to prepare statistics about the institutions that were heavily impacted by nationwide protests that started on Oct. 17, 2019, and COVID-19 outbreak.

The fund will be financed by international institutions and the Lebanese expats who are willing to help local businesses.

Lebanon has been going through a tough economic and financial situation amid severe shortage in U.S. currency which led to the bankruptcy of thousands of businesses and the lay-off of thousands of employees.

(XINHUA)

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Judiciary

Financial autonomy will radically transform state judiciary – Ex-NBA chairman

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Mallam Manzuma Issa, a former Chairman of the Ilorin Branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), on Thursday said financial autonomy for state judiciary would ensure rapid improvement in justice delivery.

Issa stated this while reacting to the Executive Order 10 recently issued by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, the signing of  Order 10 will bring efficient and effective service delivery.

“I think over time, the challenge of judiciary at every level is inadequate funding in the system.

“I think the story at the federal level has changed because money due to the judiciary is paid to the National Judicial Commission (NJC) for onward disbursement to the head of various courts.

“But the story has not changed at the state level; dilapidated building, lack of computers and libraries and other facilities are still major challenges.

With the signing of the Executive Order  10 by the president on May 20, 2020, we believe as the funding of the system improves, there will radical transformation in the system and rapid improvement that would bring efficient and effective service delivery.

” What the governors are saying is that Nigeria is a federation and even if the Section 5 of the constitution gives the president the power to defend the constitution, it has to do with the federal judiciary, not the state judiciary.

“In an ideal democracy, this is right. But governors also would have to implement the provisions of the constitution.

“Governor should have power to implement that section of the provision as it regards the state judiciary.

“The provisions of the constitution are mandatory. It does not need approval. It is self implemented.

“In a federation, the money due to the state must be paid into its account and it is the responsibility of the governor to disburse accordingly because funding  is the responsibility of the governor.

“In those days, the judiciary used to be  on the first line charge from the consolidated revenue account of the state, the money due to the judiciary is credited to the account of the head of court for effective running of the system.

“But unfortunately today, we are not running an ideal democracy.

” There is nothing wrong if the president is funding the federal judiciary and the state governors are funding those in states by virtue of the 1999 constitution,” he said.

(
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo (NAN)
)

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Foreign

China vows consistent financial policy to curb housing speculation — Central Bank

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China says it will maintain a consistent and stable policy on real estate finance and avoid using the property sector to generate a short-term stimulus to the economy, according to a central bank report.

The country would continue to stick to the principle that “houses are for living in, not speculation,” said the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, in the report on the country’s regional financial operation in 2019.

Home prices across the country remained generally stable in 2019, price indices of new and previously owned houses in first-tier cities rose slightly last year, with their year-on-year monthly expansion peaking at 4.9 per cent and 1.7 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, the growth pace of price indices for new and resold homes in second-and third-tier cities witnessed a marked decrease in 2019.

In its efforts to implement a long-term mechanism for real estate finance, the PBOC stressed the importance of improving the system of government housing support and maintaining the steady and sound development of the property market in the country.

While curbing housing speculation, China will also implement city-specific policies in the sector, according to this year’s government work report.


Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

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Foreign

Indian state Maharashtra crosses mark of 70,000 COVID-19 cases, financial capital Mumbai crosses 40,000 mark

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India’s western state of Maharashtra and the state’s political capital Mumbai crossed the 70,000 and 40,000 marks of confirmed COVID-19 cases respectively, as per the official update late on Monday.

Maharashtra is the worst affected Indian state accounting for close to 38 percent or 70,013 cases in the country, while India’s financial capital Mumbai has now turned into the epic center accounting for over 22 percent or 40,877 cases in India.

The death toll in the state rose to 2,362 after 76 more fatalities including 40 from Mumbai were reported in the past 24 hours.

Several districts in the state with nil cases have seen a spike in cases due to reverse migration from urban hubs like Mumbai and Pune back to their native homes during the past two months of the lockdown.

The western state had extended its lockdown by further one more month till June 30 with some relaxations but the under-funded health care infrastructure and poor living conditions in the city’s slums have acted as a boost to the spread of virus.

To further add to the stress, the coastal districts of the state including Mumbai city are on high alert due to the in-coming cyclone, which is closing in and expected to land on Wednesday evening.

India’s federal health ministry on Monday morning reported 230 new deaths from the COVID-19 and 8,392 more positive cases cross the country, taking the number of deaths to 5,394 and total cases to 190,535.

(XINHUA)

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Politics

Ebonyi indigenes in Diaspora demand  probe of state’s financial records

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The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in Diaspora (AESID) has urged  the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-graft agencies to embark on  comprehensive probe of the state’s  financial records in the last 16 years.
AESID Chairman,  Mr Pascal Oluchukwu, said this in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.
Oluchukwu said the probe became necessary due to alleged mismanagement of a N2 billion agricultural loan secured by the current administration from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the 2016 farming season.
AESID as a non-governmental organisation whose mandate is to protect and safeguard the interests and welfare of the common Ebonyi people, strongly believe that the state will  be saved from an impending economic doom, if its financial records are holistically ascertained.
“And offenders who have plundered its resources made to face the wraths of the law.
“There exist in our beloved state, many  contracts and projects which have remained uncompleted several years after they were awarded till date,  while the contractors obviously live large on public funds meant for their executions.
“Also, many funds, grants and loans given the state which are still being repaid as debts,  have remained largely unaccounted for.
“This has severely hampered developments on all fronts in critical sectors in the state such as education, health, agriculture, economic and human capacity developments and empowerment, youths and sports development among several others,”he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)

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General news

Financial Autonomy: Presidential committee tasks governors on strict compliance

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The Presidential Implementation Committee on Financial Autonomy for Judiciary and Legislature,  has urged governors to comply with the Executive Order 10.

This it said would enable effective implementation of the financial autonomy of  states’ Legislature and Judiciary guaranteed by the Executive Order 10.

The Committee’s Secretary, Sen. Ita Enang stated this whiel speaking with newsmen on Sunday  in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Executive Order 10, was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari  for the implementation of autonomy of the two arms of government; the state legislature and the judiciary.

The  Executive Order 10,  granted  financial autonomy to the 36 state Houses of Assembly and its Judiciary.

The executive order No. 10 of 2020, made it mandatory that all states of the federation should include the allocations of both the legislature and the judiciary in the first-line charge of their budgets.

Enang said that the financial autonomy would  facilitate development and promote financial accountability at states level.

Enang, who is also the  Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, said that the greatest challenge in Nigeria’s democracy  today was wastage at the state level, hence the need to address it.

He said that the Executive Order no 10 would guarantee financial transparency in states.

According to Enang,  one important feature of the financial autonomy is that all the three arms of government will prepare their budget together; they will know what the state government has and what it do not have.

“In the budgeting process, they will know how much each of the arms of government will use in settling salaries and allowances of the legislators, paying their aids, legislative staff and office maintenance, among others.

“The governors will no longer be responsible for their expenses, it will also make the house of assembly responsive.

“So; what the president is doing is to ensure that each state house of assembly is independent not for the purpose of attacking the governors but for the purpose of checking the executive and making  government more responsible and responsive to the yearnings of the people, and development will be faster.

“The governors will know that the judiciary is independent and same with the legislature, these arms of the government need not to get approval from the governors in order to execute their respective duties,” he added.

The secretary also said that the provision stipulated that the governors upon receipt of money due to any arm of government in the consolidated revenue fund of the state from the federation account and internally generated revenue,  should remit same to the respective arms.

“But where any governor fails to remit the money due to the arms, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) will deduct that amount standing to the credit of that state in the federation account and remit directly to arms concerned.

“It is important to emphasise that this deduction is not the first line action, but it is only applicable when one arm of the government is oppressed.

“We are confident that none of the 36 states will in any manner deprive their state legislature or judiciary of the fund that is due to them.

“The implementation committee will be very conciliatory and respectful of the powers of each arm of government at the states level and the powers and privileges of the governors,” Enang said.

He, therefore, advised that all the arms of government at state levels should ensure  they followed the practice that had been at the federal level for proper accountability.

The state Houses of Assembly should follow the process that goes on in the National Assembly, be as independent, inter dependent and consultative as the national assembly is with the executive,  then we will have the best democracy.”

The Presidential Implementation Committee was constituted to fashion out strategies and modalities for the implementation of financial autonomy for the state legislature and judiciary in compliance with Section 121 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

Section 121 (3) of the 1999 Constitution states: “Any amount standing to the credit of the judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State shall be paid directly to the heads of the courts concerned.”

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma (NAN)

 

 

 

 

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General news

Gov. Mohammed sacks director over alleged financial scam

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Gov. Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has sacked the Director Establishment and Service Bureau in the office of the state Head of Service over alleged swindling of funds.

Mohammed disclosed this during his one-year anniversary media chart on Saturday in Bauchi.

He said the director (name withheld) was found to be engaged in alleged diversion of funds in the names of staff that retired long ago or died while in service.

The governor said the director was involved in taking money out of salaries of the deceased or those who had left the service.

He recounted the level of alleged fraud and lack of accountability in the state civil service.

“That is why I had to set up a committee and insist that their findings must be made in public domain,” he said.

Mohammed vowed to step on toes to fight corruption as the recommendations of any committee set up and uncovered questionable deals in the state must be implemented.

He enjoined citizens to be rest assured that his administration would stop all elements of corrupt practices in the state.

“Even if it requires stepping on toes irrespective of who is involved, I will do just that,” the governor said.

 

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: C/River govt. seeks financial support from FG, others

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The Cross River Government has called on the Federal Government, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, for financial support in its fight against preventing the spread of the virus.

Dr Betta Edu, the State Commissioner for Health and Chairman of COVID-19 Task Force Team, made the appeal at a news conference in Calabar on Friday.

Edu said that the state was more concerned about prevention of the spread of COVID-19, hence the support of all stakeholders and relevant health agencies to sustain the strategy.

According to her, the state had shut down over 300 legal and illegal border entries with a view to avoid the spread of the disease into the state.

She said that Cross River was surrounded by states that had recorded cases of COVID-19, including Cameroon, thereby asking the Federal Government to support the state financially to police her borders.

Cross River is in the middle of states with COVID-19 including Cameroon.

“We have thousands of Cameroonian refugees in the state. We need more resources for advocacy, personal protection equipment, sanitisers and money to pay health surveillance officers, among others.

The Federal Government and NCDC should not only focus on states with the virus. They should also stretch their hand to Cross River and support the prevention strategies.

“We have been manning over 300 legal and illegal borders across the state and we pay the security and local vigilantes daily.

“We also want support in the area of equipping the Molecular Laboratory we have to help us test cases of COVID-19 in the state,” Edu said.

She also urged the Federal Government to make orders for the production of face masks from the state garment factory with a view to stimulating the state’s economy.

The commissioner further said that the state started the prevention against the spread of the virus in January by setting up the Emergency Operation Centre to boost preparedness.

According to her, the state had distributed over 5,230 Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), 2,000 hand sanitisers and 1.5 million face masks to residents across the state.

She added that the state had deployed health surveillance officers across the state to get samples that met NCDC requirements for testing.

The Commissioner added that 400 health personnel have been trained to work in the state’s 130-bed isolation centre.

Edu lauded residents of the state for obeying the state government directives on “no mask no movement”, saying that the task force will continue to enforce the order.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Foreign

Brazilian president signs financial aid bill for states, cities

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has signed a bill that provides financial aid to pandemic-hit states and cities, but vetoed part of it, according to Thursday’s Government Gazette.

The financial aid takes various forms, including 60 billion reals (about 11 billion U.S. dollars) for states and cities in direct transfer and the suspension of debt payments to the central government.

Bolsonaro’s government is to make four monthly payments of the same size to regional and local governments to pay for measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and cushion its impact on their economies.

The president vetoed a stipulation allowing salary adjustments for public-sector officials, which effectively freezes their earnings until the end of 2021.

The amended bill now goes back to Congress, which will have 30 days to consider the change.

In addition to suspending any salary adjustments, regional and local governments must suspend public bids for new works projects until 2021, and prioritize purchases of goods and services from micro and small businesses, according to the amendment.

(XINHUA)

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