The Senate on Thursday mandated its Committees on Finance, Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to investigate rationale behind huge difference between deposit and lending interest rates among commercial banks and other financial institutions.
The Senate’s resolution is hinged on a motion: “Urgent Need to Reduce the Gap Between Lending Interest Rate and Deposit Interest Rate among Commercial Banks and other Financial Institutions.”
Adeola in his lead debate noted that there was a huge divergence between the deposit and lending rates in Nigeria.
He said data from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) indicates that savings deposit rate as at December 2019 was 3.89 per cent while prime and maximum lending rates were 14.99 per cent and 30.72 per cent in the same period.
He said latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) also showed that inflation rate further rose from 11.98 per cent in Dec. 2019 to 12.13 per cent in Jan. 2020.
“This development negatively affects the deposits of commercial bank customers in addition to the low interest rates on deposits.
“The interest rate spread in some other African countries are not as wide as that of Nigeria.
“For instance in Kenya. the deposit rate, savings rate and lending rate as at Sept.2019 were 6.89 per cent ,4.58 per cent. and 12.47 respectively”.
He said South African’s overnight deposit rate and lending rate as at February 20 were 6.34 per cent and 9.75 per cent .
He said CBN had not done enough in balancing the deposit and lending rate with the goal of encouraging savings.
He also expressed concern that higher interest rates, interest payments on credit cards and loans were more expensive.
This, Adeola noted discourages people from borrowing and spending while those who already had loans would have less disposable income because they spend more on interest payments.
This, he further noted usually affects production in the real sectors of the economy.
He said the defence in the rates would discourage investors into the country.
He said there was the need for the senate to investigate the matter by inviting the CBN to explain reasons for the huge difference.
The senators condemned the huge difference in the deposit and lending rates noting that the development was designed to rip-off Nigerians and stall growth of businesses in the country.
Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam/Sadiya Hamza
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Coronavirus: Lagos discharges 2 female patients
The Lagos state government says an additional two female patients who had Coronavirus disease have been discharged.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said in a statement that the patients were discharged on Monday, after they tested negative for two consecutive times.
”I have more great news for you from our Infectious Disease Hospital. Today, additional two female patients have recovered fully, having tested negative twice consecutively. They have been discharged from the facility.
”With the newly discharged patients, we now have a total of 31 people that have fully recovered from COVI-19 in Lagos and discharged to join the community.
”We are full of appreciation to the frontline health workers, working hard during this difficult time. Their successful strides in this war against COVID-19 bring us joy and hope,” Sanwo-Olu said.
”I have no doubt whatsoever that we have the upper hand in this war. We are winning and we will eventually win,” he said.
Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Oluwole Sogunle
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COVID-19: Chinese doctors must undergo laid-down protocol – Gbajabiamila
Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila on Monday said that the Chinese medical personnel coming to Nigeria to assist in the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic must undergo the necessary checks as provided by Nigeria.
In a statement issued after a meeting with the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, Gbajabiamila, said the measure was for precautions and allay fears expressed by many Nigerians.
Gbajabiamila said the meeting was conveyed following widespread complaints that trailed the announcement of the coming of some Chinese medical personnel to assist Nigeria.
“It is incumbent on us, as lawmakers, to intervene, following the concerns of our constituents to understand the issues and get the right information to them.
“Our duty is to protect the Nigerian people, and every opportunity to increase our knowledge will not be thrown away.
“Having listened to you, what we are taking away from this meeting is that Nigeria needs this intervention from the Chinese, but you have to make it mandatory that they observe all the protocols laid down for the disease.
“As you explained that they won’t have direct contact with Nigerian patients, you have to make sure that they go through our official immigration laws, they have to get work permit waivers because they are coming here to work,’’ he said.
The speaker said that the doctors have to be quarantined for 14 days as stipulated by the protocol urging the ministers to keep educating Nigerians to avoid misconceptions.
Earlier, the Minister of Health, Ehanire, told the House leadership that Nigeria did not officially invite the Chinese team.
He explained that it was an offer arranged by a group of Chinese companies based in Nigeria as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) to Nigeria.
Ehanire said that being a novel disease that every country is trying to understand, Nigeria would benefit more from the gesture in tackling the disease are inadequate.
Also, the Minister of State for Health, Mamora, emphasized that the Chinese personnel are mainly experts in molecular laboratory testing.
“We have only two indigenous experts currently serving seven laboratory centres in the country.
“The Chinese doctors are expected to help in setting up molecular laboratories around the country as well as upgrade and reconfigure existing ones in the country,” he said.
He said that the Chinese medical personnel would not have direct contact with Nigerian patients but would only help to reconfigure the laboratories.
The minister for state also said that the team train Nigerian experts on the management of the disease, operation of the equipment and upgraded laboratories.
Mamora regretted that there were little options available to Nigeria in the trying times than to accept the offer adding that the Chinese gesture has no financial implications to Nigeria.
“Case testing is the bulk of work because some people are asymptomatic, so we need faster and rapid test kits and processing; we are doing molecular testing that helps us know the viral load as well.
“We need to expand our testing labs across the country as presently, we have two lab scientists in molecular testing, serving seven labs across the country.
“As we are expanding across the country, we need more people to be trained in molecular testing for faster results,’’ Mamora said.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
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COVID-19 Donations: Group calls for proper accountability
An NGO, Women Arise for Change Initiative, on Monday urged government to provide proper accountability on all COVID-19 donations and their utilisation.
In a statement, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, President of the NGO, said the account of utilisation of all donations must be put in the public domain.
Okei-Odunmakin said that the media should insist on strict accountability, while the government must give status updates on such funds and its applications to the public on a regular basis .
“With the general complaints accompanying the distribution as well as quality of relief materials across the country, it has become imperative for government to take a closer look at the templates adopted for the exercise.
“Let each governor be atop such sensitive programme of this nature to distribute relief materials directly and monitor same effectively for the benefit of the people’s welfare,” she said
Okei-Odunmakin said that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State who had earlier held strategic service position should be able to navigate this effectively.
“Messages were actually sent to the aged on LASTRA database but investigations revealed that those concerned might still be awaiting their own relief package.
“Someone who spoke to us said he knew of two aged people over 60 years of age that received the message from the relief-sharing committee and who responded before the deadline of 12 noon, March 31, 2020.
“He regretted, however, that as of today, no food package has been received by them,” she said
Okei-Odumakin said for transparency and accountability sake, the LASTRA SMS responses should be collated and made public for Lagos to know how many families were reached with relief materials.
Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Wale Ojetimi
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COVID-19: Kaduna lawmakers donate April salary to support palliative measures
The 34 members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly have agreed to donate their April salary to the state.
The Deputy Speaker, Kaduna State House of Assembly, AlhaMuktar Hazo, said this in a statement made available to the Nigeria News Agency , on Monday in Kaduna.
Hazo said the donation was aimed at supporting the COVID-19 palliative measures in the state.
He said it was to further support the state in sharing more food items to the most vulnerable in the state.
Meanwhile, the Speaker Alhaji Yusuf Zailani, commended the members for their sacrifice.
The speaker also urged residents to keep social distance and wash their hands with running water, as they adhere to the guidelines put in place by the government toward controlling the spread of the virus.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Oluwole Sogunle
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APC lauds Lagos govt. over COVID-19 response
The Lagos State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has commended the state government for its courageous , inspiring , professional and reassuring response to the coronavirus scourge in the state.
In a statement on Sunday through its spokesman, Mr Seye Oladejo, the APC recalled that the state government before the report of the Italian index case on Feb. 22 had set necessary machinery in motion to protect the lives of its citizens in case of a full outbreak.
The party lauded Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and all those in the frontline of the battle to protect residents of the state.
“They are in our prayers and we reassure them that they have a special place in history for this great effort.
“We also appreciate our law enforcement agencies for an incident-free first few days of the lockdown. We urge them to remain calm and professional all through, ” it said.
The party commended the display of collaboration between the executive and legislative arms of government in the overall interest of the state.
It said that the speed and the smooth passage of the bills to facilitate the fight against the coronavirus further underscored the commitment of the law makers.
The party further commended the state for setting up temporary food markets in some schools across the state to cushion the effect of the closure of major markets in the state.
“In furtherance if its social intervention efforts, the state government provided food stimulus package for Lagos residents targeting 200,000 households which is highly commendable
“Without any doubt, the events of the past few days has underscored the fact that leadership is earned in unusual trying moments as the COVID- 19 scourge represents.
“Governor Sanwoolu has led the battle from the front by his provision of the wherewithal for our medical practitioners to deliver, provide succour for the vulnerable and by his time to time interaction with the citizens.
“The Lagos state government’s approach to battle COVID- 19 has since become the model highly commended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the international media like the CNN,” it said.
The party, however, enjoined all residents to continue to cooperate with the government in the battle against COVID -19 by obeying all measures put in in place.
” We should continue to stay at home, observe social distancing and hygiene tips and call the emergency phone numbers provided if need be.
“We urge all and sundry to provide the needed cooperation at all times. We shall win this battle together,” it added.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Mufutau Ojo)
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Lagos discharges 5 Coronavirus patients, records another death
The Lagos State Government, on Sunday discharged five more COVID-19 patients.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, said in a statement on the Update on COVID-19, that those discharged are two males and three females including a 10-year old girl.
He said the five patients tested negative twice consecutively to COVID-19 and had been discharged to reunite with their families.
Sanwo-Olu, who is the COVID-19 Incident Commander of the state, said that with the five, a total of 29 patients had fully recovered and discharged from the facility at Yaba.
”It is however sad that the state has recorded another death, bringing to two the total number of deaths from COVID-19 in Lagos state.
”Although, there is a strong indication that the state is winning the battle against the disease which is ravaging several countries across the world, we need to remain steadfast and aggressive to curtail the spread.
”I need to reiterate that the result of tests conducted by our health workers on the recovered patients are confirmation that they pose no threat to the community.
”I will like to use this opportunity to advise Lagosians against stigmatising the discharged patients as this act can bring feelings of shame, hopelessness and despair.
”We need to do all we can to support them in whatever form to get over the memories as soon as possible,” he said.
The governor thanked the frontline health workers who were taking good care of the patients, members of the Lagos State Health family and the Emergency Operation Centre for their kindness and flexibility in managing the patients and checking the spread of the disease.
He said that as the disease ravaged countries all over the world, Lagos state would continue to do the needful in terms of responding to emergencies in an effort to ensuring the health and wellbeing of the people.
According to him, the government will continue to do its best to make sure that other patients at the facility receive the best of care and attention, so that they can return home to join their families and the community soonest.
”In order to contain the spread of the disease, I strongly advise you to continue observing Social Distancing.
”Let us remain indoors and shun the temptation to breach the presidential restriction that has been placed on our state, so that the gains recorded so far are not eroded.
”You should regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and clean, running water and where water is not readily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitiser can be used.
”It has come to our notice that some of our youths still engage in sporting and related activities, this is very unfortunate.
”This act can jeopardise our efforts and the laudable intention of the lockdown. I therefore, advise you to adhere strictly to our instructions so that together we can win the battle,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Sadiya Hamza
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Tinubu praises State Chief of Protocol, Amb. Kazaure at 60
All Progressives Congress (APC) National leader, Sen. Bola Tinubu, has felicitated with President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Protocol, Amb. Lawal Kazaure, on his 60th birthday. Tinubu commended Kazaure for his diligent service to the country and dedication to President Buhari.
According to a statement by Tinubu’s Media Adviser, Mr Tunde Rahman, the APC leader described the ambassador as a fine career diplomat and an excellent human being.
“Ambassador Kazaure performs his responsibilities with utmost dedication, courage and commitment.
“As State Chief of Protocol, he serves the country meticulously.
“He also serves President Buhari diligently just as he had done in the various positions he previously held in his foreign service career which had seen him work in Nigerian missions in Namibia, Turkey, Syria and Iran, among others.
“As you join the Sexagenarian Club, l pray Almighty Allah imbue you with good health, renewed energy and grant you many more years to continue in the service of the country and our people,” Tinubu said
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
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COVID-19: PDP tasks NASS on proposed N500bn intervention fund
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has called on the National Assembly to scrutinise the overall profile of the N500 billion proposed by the Federal Government as intervention fund against COVID-19.
The party, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, on Saturday in Abuja, said the call was important to ensure that the fund reached the desired targets.
Ologbondiyan called on the legislature to examine the expenditure layout and put adequate clauses to eliminate diversion.
He also urged the lawmakers to ensure prudence, as well as guarantee broad-based transparency in target-specific disbursements across all areas of need in the fight against the pandemic.
The PDP spokesperson said the call was predicated on apprehensions in the public space over allegations of diversion of funds in the recent disbursement of N20,000 social palliative.
He urged the National Assembly to demand the Federal government to furnish it with details of how the N500bn would be spent.
Ologbondiyan also called on the lawmakers to ask what amount would be spent on interventions on individuals and families, as well as a template that guaranteed that the fund would get to vulnerable Nigerians.
“The PDP insists that such information should also include details of what each state of the federation gets; the parameters for allocations, the monitoring system and foolproof measures to block all loopholes and check fraud.
“The Federal Government needs to place these details before the National Assembly.
“This money, which is to be mopped up from various special government accounts, belongs to Nigerians.
“As such, the National Assembly must ensure that it is fully utilised for their well-being.
“The PDP therefore, urges the National Assembly to instill checks and balances, by ensuring implementation involves trusted and transparent eminent Nigerians from the private sector, to further guarantee accountability and overall confidence of Nigerians in the scheme,” he said.
Ologbondiyan also called on the National Assembly to direct a quick investigation into allegations of diversion of the N20,000 social palliative.
According to him, the direct disbursement of the money instead of going through the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN), is part of a design to manipulate the system and stifle accountability of the funds.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore
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Coronavirus lockdown: LASG to punish officials undermining welfare programme
The Lagos State Government says it will identify and punish anyone undermining welfare programme aimed at cushioning the effects of the lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, made this known on Saturday at Lagos House, Marina, while briefing newsmen on the update of COVID-19 lockdown in the state.
According to Sanwo-Olu, when the government began this battle against the spread of the disease, it promised that the vulnerable and indigent segment of the society will not be abandoned or left behind.
He that it was in this vein, that approval of a welfare programme was given, under which 200,000 households were targeted in the first phase, for the distribution of food and other essential items.
According to him, the programme has since begun to make a positive difference in the lives of many of the intended beneficiaries.
”I must also acknowledge that there have been hitches and snags in some aspects of the implementation.
”It is not as though, we never envisaged teething problems along the way, but I must tell you that our major focus was to roll out without delay and fine-tune the modalities as we continued with programme expansion.
”What we, however, did not reckon with was the extent to which some people would go to deliberately undermine and sabotage a programme intended to bring succour to the poorest among us.
”This kind of malicious behaviour is unacceptable, and we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that all the culprits are identified and appropriately punished.
”I must assure you that we have since returned to the drawing board for a more superior strategy to ensure that this laudable programme is not compromised by the sheer irresponsibility of a few, and that the full palliative impact is realised across the state,” he said.
The COVID-19 Incident Commander said that the road ahead remained long and uncertain; but the bulk of the battle had been fought and won in the mind.
Sanwo-Olu said that it had been five days since the Federal Government ordered a restriction of movement in Lagos State as part of measures to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor said that it had not been easy, but it was abundantly clear that this was a step that had to be taken, a necessary sacrifice, to avoid far more disruptive outcomes.
He urged Lagosians to condition their minds and reinforce their psyche to take on that of a winning approach.
”By this, I mean that we must begin to picture life after this pandemic and a return to normalcy.
”We must continue to reassure ourselves that we are not weaker as a unit, but much stronger and our confidence lies in the fact that, working together, we have and will always emerge victorious,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
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