• UNCOVERED: In 2018 Budget, 24 Departments In Six Federal Ministries All Want To Spend N6.5bn On ‘Agricicultural’ Facilities
    by siteadmin on March 22, 2019 at 11:09 am

    The Civic Media Lab's scrutiny of the 2018 Budget has exposed more disturbing albeit interesting details, one of which is the line item: AGRICICULTURAL FACILITIES. The Civic Media Lab discovered the line item, ‘Rehabilitation/Repairs-Agricicultural Facilities’, in 24 departments across six ministries. Twelve projects proposed by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMWR) and eight projects proposed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) have the highest mentions of the heading. The federal ministries of industry, trade and investment; labour and employment; science and Technology, as well as Interior, have one department each with the seemingly wrongly-worded heading. For instance, looking at the 2018 budget approved for the National Directorate of Employment, an agency under the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the conspicuous subheading: REHABILITATION/REPAIRS-AGRICICULTURAL FACILITIES. The budget is divided into two broad categories: recurrent expenditure and capital expenditure. The recurrent axis deals with overheads, salaries and other costs that reoccur annually. Within the capital expenditure domain, however, there are some constantly occurring subheads. The capital expenditure heading has three major subheads: 'Fixed Assets Purchased', 'Construction/Provision' and 'Rehabilitation/Repairs'. Rehabilitation/Repairs-Agricicultural Facilities is under the third subhead mentioned. Here is how it looks in the other MDAs: Under 'Construction/Provision', there is a subhead titled 'Construction/Provision-Agricultural Facilities'. This is why Civic Media Lab was surprised to discover the coinage, ‘Agricicultural’ further down. Under the ‘Agricicultural’ heading, FMARD’s headquarters assigned projects worth N409million; Institute of Agricultural Training and Research, Ibadan, assigned N10million; while the National Agric, Extension Research Liaison Office classed projects valued at N18million under the subcategory. Also, the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure, placed projects priced at N65million; Federal College of Freshwater Fisheries, Baga, puts line items with a combined cost of N76million and Nigeria Stored Products Research Institute, Ilorin, assigned projects valued at N26million into the sub-classification. Under FMARD, the National Agriculture Seeds Council voted projects worth N91million, while the Nigeria Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research voted in N51million for the same ‘Agricicultural’ Facilities. In the same vein, all the departments in FMWR voted hundreds of millions under the same ‘Agricicultural’ heading, namely: FMWR’s headquarters – N676million, Anambra/Imo River Basin Development Authority (RBDA) – N212million, Benin/Owena RBDA – N16million, Chad Basin RBDA – N680million, Cross River RBDA – N810million, Hadejia-Jama'are RBDA – N730million, Osun/Ogun RBDA – N20million, Lower Niger RBDA – N20million, Sokoto Rima RBDA – N128million, Upper Benue RBDA – N695million, Upper Niger RBDA – N185million and Gurara Water Management Authority – N313million. The four departments across four other ministries with projects under the same ‘Agricicultural’ heading are: Federal Ministry of Interior, Nigeria Prison Service – N911million, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, National Directorate of Employment (NDE) – N78million. Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, National Biotechnology Development Agency, Abuja – N17million and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigeria Commodity Exchange – N225million. In total, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources not only has all its departments making provision for Rehabilitation/Repairs under ‘Agricicultural’ facilities, it devotes the highest amount which stands at N4.5billion to this questionable category. Next is the Ministry of Interior with N911million set aside in the Prison Service, while the Ministry of Agriculture has N748million of its total budget under the said class of projects. The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment allocated N225million to fund this group of projects through the Nigeria Commodity Exchange, while the Ministry of Labour and Employment, through the Directorate of Employment got projects worth N78million under the classification. The Ministry of Science and Technology props the rest with N17million assigned to the class through the Biotechnology Development Agency. With similar observations made in budgets as far back as 2014, SaharaReporters reached out to Afolabi Juwon, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Budget Office, to understand why the word ‘Agricicultural’ is used in the budget, even in departments that do not have the direct mandate of carrying out agricultural rehabilitation and repairs. After stating that the word ‘agricicultural’ refers to agric-related items, he promised to connect us with scheduling officers in the ministries identified. However, as of the time of publication, the promise had not been fulfilled. The Civic Media Lab and SaharaReporters have discovered patterns of misaligned projects, poorly-described line items, duplicated descriptions and figures in Nigeria’s appropriation document from 2014 to the proposed budget currently lying at the National Assembly awaiting passage. Business Corruption CRIME Economy News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements :&nbs […]

  • NSE Suspends Diamond Bank's Shares
    by siteadmin on March 21, 2019 at 8:23 am

    Diamond bank The sanctioning of the Diamond and Access bank merger by the Federal High Court Tuesday has signed off on the 29-year life of the latter. Trading on the shares of Diamond Bank, which was founded on 20 December 1990, was also suspended on the floor of the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE). Diamond Bank’s shares will hence be dissolved without being wound up and delisted from the Exchange afterwards. The merger will see the dissolution of 19 per cent of the now absorbed bank’s share portfolio. Diamond Bank will transfer all its assets, liabilities and undertakings to Access Bank and the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank will be cancelled and the Bank will be dissolved without being liquidated. Diamond Bank’s shareholders will get a cash consideration of N1 per share and two ordinary shares of the enlarged Access Bank for every seven ordinary shares of Diamond Bank held as at the effective date. All these are in line with the terms of the merger, which was sealed with the FHC approval. Emerging from the union is an expanded Access Bank, headed by an unchanged Group Managing Director, Herbert Wigwe. “The suspension is required to prevent trading in the shares of the bank in order to determine the bank’s shareholders who will qualify to receive the scheme consideration,” NSE said, referring to the ‘cash consideration." The fusion of both money lenders is expected to form a leading Tier 1 Nigerian bank and the largest bank in Africa by number of customers, with networks across three continents, 12 countries, 3,100 Automated Teller Machine (ATM), over 33,000 Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, 27 million clients and over 10 million mobile customers. There is a challenge of economies of scale, however, which may inevitably lead to the firing of staff. At a press conference in December, Herbert Wigwe said staff of Diamond Bank would not be laid-off, but re-skilled. That will be one word to watch out for in the coming months. What is evident no doubt, is that only one management team will be in place for the purpose of efficiency and overlapping branches and departments will have to be collapsed. Based on year ending financial statements for December 2017, Access Bank, the ‘absorber,’ has 3,190 staff in over 300 branches, while Diamond Bank has 3,280 in 279 branches. Its number of branches was reflected in its nine-month result for 2017. With a staff difference of 90, experts expect some haircut on the Diamond Bank side of the deal. Diamond Bank is not the first money lender gobbled up by Access bank. Following the absorption of Intercontinental Bank in 2012, over 1,000 of the now defunct bank’s staff were laid-off and branches were closed. Experts also say quick-fire retrenchments will not be the mode of operation, due to the workers' unions in the banking sector. Business Economy Money News AddThis :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements :&nbs […]

  • ECOWAS To Adopt Single Currency In 2020
    by siteadmin on March 12, 2019 at 10:45 am

    The Economic Council of West African States (ECOWAS) says the regional bloc will adopt a single currency starting with selected states in 2020. The revelation was made on Monday at an ECOWAS seminar presided over by Moustapha Niasse, the President of the National Assembly of Senegal, in the presence of Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission and Moustapha Cisse Lo, the Speaker of the Community Parliament. The seminar was on the challenges and prospects regarding the creation of the ECOWAS single currency. Speaking at the event, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Moustapha Cisse Lo, said: "The single currency will make it possible to lift the commercial and monetary barriers, lower the cost of transaction and spark up economic activities in the region.” He called on all stakeholders to implement the revised road map on the single currency. The ECOWAS Parliament also requested the authority of heads of state and government to take a firm stand regarding compliance with the 2020 deadline for the establishment of the ECOWAS single currency. Business Economy International News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements :&nbs […]

  • Nigeria 'Losing Billions Of Naira In Cargo Flights Due To Inadequate Tarmac Space'
    by siteadmin on March 6, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    The Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives of Nigeria (AFARN) has disclosed that Nigeria is losing billions of naira in revenue to neighbouring African countries in cargo flights due to multiple taxation, improper planning and inadequate space at its airsides nationwide. Kingsley Nwokoma, the President of AFARN, disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday at the Lagos Airport. He expressed worry that if the bottlenecks were not checked, Nigeria may soon lose its status as a hub in cargo operations to other countries within the sub-region as it has lost passenger regional hub to Ghana. Nwokoma lamented that in order to arrest the unpleasant situation quickly, the association made several calls to the government, but all to no avail. He noted that since the diversion began, investors had also lost millions of dollars; this is aside billions lost by the country. Nwokoma called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, address the situation, warning that this may lead to industry collapse if not nipped in the bud. He suggested that the creation of a cargo village by the Nigerian government would also help in salvaging the situation for the country. He further called on the government to revisit the ease of doing business policy, saying that the policy had been “bastardised”. He said: "If the airlines and stakeholders are complaining, it simply means there is a problem. Nigeria is very expensive. The cost of doing business is high comparatively to other African countries. "Every businessman will want to go where the cost is comparatively good. These are things the government should look into. The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) should look at this, because the more the merrier.  "If you are too expensive, if airlines are complaining of coming in here, if they are paying so much on landing, parking and other multiple charges, it is discouraging. So it is something we have to look at, so as to move the industry forward and also make it competitive.” He, therefore, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to consider expanding the airports’ tarmac and increase the parking bays at the different airports to facilitate free flow of cargoes without hitches. According to him, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), due to inadequate space, cargo aircraft are often moved to the passenger tarmac because the cargo apron cannot accommodate more than two aircraft depending on the aircraft type, leading to disruption in aircraft network punctuality. “Once two aircraft are parked in that tarmac, we don’t have space for additional aircraft to park. So what is usually done is for them to ask the aircraft to go to the passenger terminal, which is also time consuming and also causes more fuel consumption. Network punctuality is also disrupted. Because if I have an aircraft coming to Lagos and it is supposed to be in Accra or Nairobi at a particular time, and it moves from one place to the other, there is always time wastage," he added. He noted that incidents are recorded at the apron as aircraft wings sometimes collide in an attempt to park. “The expansion of the apron is very vital. We implore the government to look into that. We have had some incidents due to parking in the apron in the past and we all know how expensive it is when there is even a little scratch on the aircraft. In order to avoid all these, we should look at how to put them in the budget,” he stated. Business Economy Travel News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements :&nbs […]

  • Peter Obi Questioned On Why He Invested $30m State Funds In Company Where His Family Owns Shares
    by siteadmin on January 30, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    Peter Obi, vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has explained why he invested $30million of Anambra State funds in a company owned by his family. He stated this in response to a question by Kadaria Ahmed, host of ‘The Candidates’, a presidential town hall co-production between Daria Media and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), with support from the MacArthur Foundation, held in Abuja on Wednesday. He claimed that the company belonged to his parents, and he had no dealings in it after he became a public officer. His words: “I brought International Breweries into Nigeria and as a Governor of a state, they built a greenfield facility in the state and they came to me and said ‘as our partner, we want you to own 15 per cent of this company’, and I said to them ‘No, right now, I am the Governor of a state. I know the future of this brewery, and I want the state to own 10 per cent and since I’m no longer involved in the company, they can own five per cent’. I put in $30million of state money there, it’s now worth $100million and it’s still there. No other state in this country has such investment. “Personally, I have no investment; not even one Naira. Go to Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) today, if you will see Peter Obi as owner of one share; it doesn’t exist. Next is a family company started by my own parents and as their child, I ran it at a time, and when I became Governor, I had nothing to do with it till today. “I also invested $50million of Anambra State money in the power sector. I invested several billions in banks, including banks where I have shares. I was investing for the future of the state; it doesn’t matter whether I have shares or not. If I have the opportunity of building the future of the state, wouldn’t I have done that? “I left office in this country, leaving Anambra State with investment in cash of N75billion. The day I left office, we had $56million, N12billion in Fidelity Bank.; in Diamond Bank, $50million, N12billion; in Access Bank, $50million, N12billion for Anambra State. Show me in the history of this country where anybody has left 10 per cent of that.” Business Economy Elections Politics News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements :&nbs […]

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