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SMEDAN-ACTU urges staff to embrace transparency, say No to corruption

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The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) on Thursday urged its staff to key into the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU)  to enable them to be more transparent in their dealings.

The Director -General of SMEDAN,  Dr Umaru-Dikko Radda, made the plea during a-day sensitisation exercise in the South-West Zone of the agency  held in Lagos on Thursday.

Radda, who was represented by the Director,  Planning Research Monitoring and Evaluation in SMEDAN,  Mr Wale Fasanya, said the purpose of the establishment of the unit was to enable government workers to be accountable for their activities.

According to him, the unit is also set up for staff not to be corrupt,  but to be transparent in their responsibilities.

“Our activities  are such that we are impacting on the  Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs) community, so, if office of the agencies are corrupt, it will not only tell on the agency,  it will tell on the MSME community.

“The idea is to approach their work with all honesty and for them to be totally transparent in their dealings with Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s).

“We are also using the opportunity to train staff on the new monitoring tools the agency is deploying so that while they are on the field, they are sending in their monitoring reports to us.

“And we will be able to evaluate and use them to improve our programmes and our approach to the public,” Radda said.

He said the ACTU unit would  assist both the staff as well as the small and medium enterprises.

Radda also  pleaded with the SMEs to be more transparent in their operations.

While sensitising the staff of the South-West zone of SMEDAN,  the Chairman of the  Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit of  SMEDAN, Mr Bowie Okimba  said the sensitisation was needed to improve workers’ level of  compliance in their procedures.

He said it was also needed to enable management check corruption.

“This training is to make them aware of their role, such that if anything happens, they should alert us,  so that we can now come in and provide solution to the situation.

“In 2000 when the  Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) was established,  one of their guidelines in the act  was to create anti-corruption and transparency units in the Ministries, Department  and Agencies (MDAs).

“One of the things they came up with is to create anti-corruption and transparency unit in all the MDAs to  prevent corruption.

“If SMEDAN as an agency is able to minimise corruption ,the SMEs will enjoy; the SMEs are the one that will benefit because what is due to them will get to them.

“For example, we shortlisted them for training in June this year, some SMEs operators were taken to China to display their products and if there is no corruption, the right people will be  chosen and it will benefit the country,’’ Okimba said.

He said the training would commence in the six geo political zones in the country, adding that corruption had done a lot of damage to the country.

The ACTU chairman of SMEDAN said that money would longer be stolen government agencies  if the unit was able to fulfill its mission to check corruption in the system.

Economy

120 SMEs for Lagos MegaCity Fair — Organiser

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No fewer than 120 small businesses from across the country are expected to participate in this year’s Megacity Fair which opens on Friday at Amuwo Odofin Festival Mall in Lagos.

Convener of the Fair, Ifeoma Emenahi, told journalists in Lagos on Wednesday that the three-day event would offer free master classes for women to acquire new skills that would empower them financially.

She said that the 8th edition of the Fair, tagged, ‘Black Friday Sales’, was aimed at supporting vendors and small businesses to network and showcase Made-in-Nigeria products.

“The event this year is not just for the visitors to come and buy, but also for them to come and learn, adding value to themselves.

“We want to empower the women with skills by teaching them how to make headgear like facinators, auto gele and turbans.

“There’s also a master class where they will be taught how to make accessories using Ankara fabrics; all these will be taught for free,” she said.

She added that the Fair would also feature red carpet events, raffle draws, games and bouncy castles to keep the visitors entertained.

“If visitors come to the fair and they find it dull, they won’t come back again but if they are entertained, they’ll be happy to stay,” Emenahi, said.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Economy

FAAC: FG, States, LGs share N702.058bn for month of October

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 The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) on Wednesday shared a total of N702.058 billion to the three tiers of government for the month of October.

This was announced in a communique read by Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris after the FAAC meeting in Abuja.

Idris said that N702.058 billion comprised revenue from Value Added Tax (VAT), Exchange Gain and Gross Statutory Revenue.

He explained that the Federal Government received N295.7billion, the States got N192.697 billion, and the Local Governments received N144.9 billion.

He stated that the oil Producing states received N49.1 billion as 13 per cent derivation revenue and the Revenue Generating Agencies got N19.472 billion as cost of revenue collection.

He, however, disclosed that the gross statutory revenue for the month of October 2019 was N596.041 billion

He added that it was lower than the N599.701 billion received in the previous month by N3.660 billion.

He said the revenue from VAT was N 104.910 billion as against N92.874 billion disbursed in the preceding month with an increase of N12.036 billion recorded.

According to him, the  exchange gain yielded a total revenue of N1.107 billion.

He said as at 20th November, the balance in the Excess Crude Account was 324 million dollars.

He further stated that from VAT, the Federal Government received N15.107 billion, the States got N50.357  billion, the Local Governments received N35.250 billion while the Revenue Generating Agencies had N4.196 billion.

He acknowledged that for the month of October, revenues from Companies Income Tax (CIT), VAT and import duty increased remarkably, while Royalties, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT), and Excise Duty decreased significantly.

Idris noted that the committee was glad with the increase in revenue and expressed hope for its sustainability.

Edited by Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Economy

Ondo govt cautions communities against destroying bitumen exploitation benefits

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The Ondo State government, on Wednesday, cautioned bitumen producing communities against committing any act of violence capable of destroying the benefit of bitumen exploitation.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the bitumen producing communities include Orisunmibare/Ilubinrun Camp, Ufara-Moraye (Araromi Obu), Ilubinrun/Ajayi Camp, Mile 2 Camp, Ogunmakin/Odomode Camp, Mulekangbo Camp and Agbabu.

Prof. Bayonle Ademodi, the state Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, gave the advice during an interactive session with bitumen host communities in Odigbo, Odigbo Local Government area of the state.

Ademodi assured the traditional rulers of the host communities that their views and opinions would be adequately captured and considered as the bitumen development process moved forward.

He added that it was in the interest of the communities to give maximum support to government and investors, who would bring in their funds to invest.

According to him, the state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, is highly committed to peaceful exploitation of bitumen, saying that the cooperation of the host communities is of top priority.

“The present administration has been working relentlessly to ensure that bitumen is produced in the state and Mr Governor is intent on providing an enabling environment for every genuine investor to do their business in a very congenial atmosphere.

“Please join the efforts of the governor in all ramifications for the successful development of the bitumen resources,” he said.

The commissioner noted that government had been talking to the licensed bitumen companies operating in the state to play by the rules.

“The companies should ensure that provisions of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007, which provide for strict adherence to Community Development Agreement (CDA) and proper conduct of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), are observed to the letter.

“The state government has taken it upon itself to ensure that people at the community level are not short-changed and made to suffer.

“At the ministry’s last meeting with the licensed bitumen companies on Oct. 16, the five local government chairmen within the bitumen belt of Ondo State were present.

“And I am pleased to inform you that the Chairman of Odigbo Local Government, Hon. Margaret Akinsuroju, was one of the five chairmen present and her contributions were far-reaching,” he said.

Ademodi recalled that similar interactive sessions had been successfully carried out in Irele and Okitipupa local councils to avoid unhealthy community/investors relationship.

The commissioner promised that their contributions would be critically assessed and factored into the bitumen development policy of the state.

He, however, said that nobody would give money to anybody, but that there would be opportunities for job and good infrastructure.

“There must be patience and cooperation, because there may be environmental challenges in the course of exploitation of the bitumen,” the commissioner said.

Similarly, Mr Ebenezer Ogunsanmi, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, said that the meeting was to know the host communities’ roles in ensuring peace and tranquillity in the exploration and exploitation of bitumen in the areas.

Ogunsanmi noted that development of bitumen would create employment opportunities for indigenous youths and provide good infrastructure to the communities by the bitumen investors.

He enjoined the communities not to create the impression that the state was not safe for investment.

Oba Rufus Akinrinmade, the Orunja of Odigbo kingdom, tasked the communities to shun sentiment and speculations, which were inimical to the exploitation exercise.

He urged them to be patient and allow peace to reign, as no investors would come to crisis-prone areas, adding all would benefit from the gains of the bitumen.

Mrs Margaret Akinsuroju, the Caretaker Chairman of Odigbo Local Government, said bitumen exploitation was a welcome development, urging the communities to be united and cooperate with the bitumen companies.

Mr Rashidi Giwa, a community leader from Olokuta and Mr Babatunde Oni, a graduate of mining geology, asked for equitable distribution of gains and benefits by the bitumen companies and the government.

According to them, cheating often orchestrates violence in any society.

Mr Kayode Zaccheaus, a youth representative from Odigbo council area, asked the bitumen companies and the government to give youths their dues and have listening ears, even as he pledged their cooperation and support.

Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Economy

NSE market indicators maintain positive position, up 0.14%

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Activities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) maintained positive trend on Wednesday with crucial market indices growing further by 0.14 per cent.

Specifically, the market capitalisation inched by N18 billion or 0.14 per cent to close at N12.923 trillion against the N12.905 trillion achieved on Tuesday.

Also, the All-Share Index, which opened at 26,739.44, rose by 36.71 points or 0.14 per cent to close at 26,776.15.

The upturn was impacted by gains recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks of Nigerian Breweries, Conoil, UBA, FBN Holdings and Access Bank.

Consequently, the Month-to-Date return increased to +1.60 per cent, while the Year-to-Date loss moderated to -14.81 per cent.

Commenting on market performance, Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd., said that the market would continue to experience mixed performance.

“We expect mixed performance to continue, profit-taking and repositioning in value stocks as market players digest the rising inflation and its impacts on investment returns,” Omordion said.

He said that the changing sentiments in expectation of improved liquidity as interest rates drop in the money market ahead of the MPC meeting should guide investors.

According to him, the current undervalued state of the market offers investors opportunities to position for short and medium-to-long-term.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the market breadth closed positive with 24 price gainers and price 10 losers.

Chams led the gainers’ chart in percentage terms, appreciating by 10 per cent, to close at 33k per share.

LearnAfrica followed with a gain 9.48 per cent to close at N1.27, while Conoil increased by 9.47 per cent to close at N18.50 per share.

Cornerstone Insurance garnered 9.38 per cent to close at 70k, while NPF Microfinance Bank appreciated by 9.09 per cent to close at N1.20 per share.

Conversely, NASCON led the price losers’ chart in percentage terms with a loss of 5.72 per cent to close at N14 per share.

Lasaco Assurance followed with a decline of 3.57 per cent to close at 27k, while Wapic Insurance dipped by 2.86 per cent to close at 34k per share.

Unity Bank lost 2.78 per cent to close at 70k, while AIICO Insurance shed 2.74 per cent to close at 71k per share.

Meanwhile, the total volume of shares traded decreased by 32.22 per cent to 267.31 million valued at N3.05 billion in 4,074 deals.

Access Bank was the most traded stock with an exchange of 63.53 million valued at N643.70 million.

UBA followed with a total of 44.86 million shares worth N338.65 million, while Zenith Bank traded 24.09 million shares valued at N451.63 million.

FBN Holdings accounted for 16.82 million shares valued at N119.31 million, while Guaranty Trust Bank transacted 14.26 million shares worth N414.07 million.

Edited by Tajudeen Atitebi (NAN)

Edited by Tayo Ikujuni (NAN)

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Economy

Nigeria customs impounds 1,343 bags of foreign rice, others worth N492m, makes 6 arrest

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The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Owerri said it impounded 1,343 bags of foreign rice and other contraband worth N492 million and made six arrest within the month.

The Area Controller of the Zone, Compt. Kayode Olusemire, made this known while displaying the seized items to newsmen in Owerri on Wednesday.

He said the contraband with Duty Paid Value of N492 million were seized by his men along Port HarcourtOwerri axis, while six suspects were arrested in connection with the seized items.

He said that two of the suspects had been given administrative bail.

He expressed regret that in spite of Federal Government’s efforts, through the Nigeria customs and other government agencies to combat smuggling, some individuals had remained adamant in shortchanging government’s revenue generation.

Olusemire said that most of the seized items had expired,  while others such as Analgin had been banned by the government and so are unfit for human consumption.

“Nigerians derive joy in perpetrating evil all in the intent to defraud the government and make more profits.

“The war against importation of foreign rice is not yet over. Nigerians should be encouraged to eat what is produced in the country. We can do this by stopping to patronise foreign rice.

“With technology, you can plant anything and it will grow. Depending on and patronising foreign-made goods is undermining the economy of the nation,” he said.

The area controller identified the seized items to include a 1* 40 ft container carrying 312 bales of used clothing, another 1 * 40 ft container with 1,182 cartons of Analgin injection and other items and a 1 * 40 ft truck with 233 cartons of foreign furniture.

He said the foreign furniture truck was seized due to wrong declaration made by the conveyor.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that other items seized are a truck containing 392 bags of 50kg foreign rice and 33 bales of second hand clothing, both with DPV of over N15.253 million.

A ttruck with 205 bags of 50kg foreign rice both valued at N7.95 million and another truck carrying 684 bags of 50kg foreign rice with DPV of N22.35 million.

Olusemire said the prohibited second hand clothing, furniture, rice and analgin were concealed with other unprohibited items such as granite to deceive the eagle eyes of the customs men.

He said that a Toyota Sienna car carrying 62 bags of 50kg foreign rice with a total DPV of N3.20 million were equally seized.

The customs officer described smuggling as an evil practice that had made the country’s industries moribond causing the Nigerian youths employment opportunities.

“There are so many ways smugglers operate. But we can only stop them, especially the rice smugglers by not patronising the foreign rice.

“We will continue to sensitise Nigerians untill the war against smuggling is won,’ he said.

Olusemire called on Nigerians to always provide useful information about activities of smugglers, stressing that the NCS was  better equipped and trained with wide spread tentacles to stop smugglers any how they decided to operate.

Edited by Tajudeen Atitebi (NAN)

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Economy

FEC approves €500m facility to finance industrialisation projects, MSMEs

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a 500 million Euros loan to finance industrialisation projects and support Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMES) value chains in Nigeria.

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr Clement Agba, disclosed this after the FEC meeting on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to the minister, the loan will be secured from the the Credit Suisse AG London to support industry; revitalise ago-industrial processing zones and facilitate the creation of new jobs.

“Council today approved the issuance of a sovereign guarantee of 500 million Euros from the Credit Suisse AG London Branch and a syndicate of international lenders as collateral for 500 million Euros facility to the Bank of Industry.

“The loan is basically to finance major industrialisation projects and micro-small and medium enterprises value chains in Nigeria for up to five years tenure at affordable rates.

“These rates are single digit rates; the guarantor of the loan shall be the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its going to be executed through the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

“The main objective of the loan is to support industry; revitalise ago-industrial processing zones; to facilitate the creation of new jobs.

“We do believe that about 1.2 million jobs will be created through this facility; increase the income of farming communities and promote the inclusion of SMEs and small holder producers in the industrial value chain and the deployment of transportation infrastructure that connect farming communities to processors and market,’’ he said.

Agba said that the loan would be swapped to Naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria to mitigate the foreign exchange risk.

He said that the fund would, therefore, be available to Nigerian enterprises at a more affordable rate and in local currency.

On his part, the Minister of Power, Mr Sale Mamman, said that the FEC approved a memo by the ministry seeking for the release 2 million dollars as part of Nigeria’s contribution to the West African Power Pool.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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