Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, yesterday blasted the Prof. Maurice Iwu-led Imo Economic Development Initiative for allegedly leaking the outcome of a private meeting they held at the Government House, Owerri on Friday, January 5, to the press.
Iwu and his group had visited the governor to discuss issues affecting the state, including the debt status of the state, which the group said stood at N93 billion; economy of the state; donor agencies, the ban of Keke operations in the state capital, IGR and poverty level among others.
Before the meeting, which was held behind closed doors, the governor had directed all those coming for the meeting to deposit their phones with the protocol personnel at the entrance of the venue to make sure that the discussion remained private.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Sam Onwuemeodo, however, accused Iwu and his team of leaking the discussions to the press. He described the economic team as a group of people who did not deserve government’s respect.
“Less than 48 hours, the story of the meeting was everywhere in the media with some of them quoting from the document Prof. Iwu read. Which means the team released the document they came with to the press. And by so doing, justifying the initial observations of the governor concerning the timing of the meeting and the political inclinations and aspirations of key members of the team.
“For that reason, we do not think that Prof. Iwu and his team deserve our respect again, having abused the respect we had extended to them, since one does not eat his cake and still have it.
“We have always maintained that the 2019 election will be left for Imo people to decide at the poll with regard to who will govern the state after Governor Okorocha. It is not by tricks. We have our achievements to show the difference between us and all those before us.
“And they know that it will be difficult for Imo people not to listen to Rochas when the time comes with regard to his monumental achievements.
“It is going to be achievements galore versus propaganda stuff. And your guess will be as good as mine, on the one that would mean much to Imo people when the time comes.” (Daily Sun)
China May Start Banking In Nigeria – Chinese Ambassador
The Chinese government are in talks with Nigerian government to commence banking operations in Nigeria and will hope this will facilitate trade relations between the two nations.
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Cui Jianchin, while speaking during the commemoration of the 2021 Chinese Moon Festival and China-Nigeria Cultural Week, noted that the establishment of such a financial institution would boost Nigeria’s economy.
“Before my departure from Beijing to Abuja, I talked to several banks in China. When you list the world’s 10 big banks, six are in China. The banking sector is very important because, without money, we cannot build our industries,” Mr Jianchin explained.
“What I am thinking here is best to talk to the governor of the central bank, and how we can allow the Chinese banks to run office here and now, they are doing the feasibility studies on that.
This, the envoy said, would boost Nigeria’s economy and expand trade relations between the two nations.
Mr Jianchin disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja while addressing journalists during the commemoration of the 2021 Chinese Moon Festival and China-Nigeria Cultural week.
He explained that establishing Chinese banks in the country would also be a point of discussion during the China-Nigeria Binational Committee meeting.
“I am working hard that in the binational meeting, I hope we can make a big decision and give a big push to let the banking industry and insurance industry because financial integration and institutions are key,” Mr Jianchin added. “If you go to China, you will find our banking industry is very powerful, not only for business but a change in the way of life.
Abia State Squanders ₦2.2 Billion On Welfare – Report
The Abia State government spent a whopping N2.2 billion on welfare outside of budgetary approvals, an equivalent of the state’s internally generated revenue for two months, according to reports by The ICIR and The Mail.
The reports said Okezie Ikpeazu, spent N1.4 billion on vehicles in the Government House and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) instead of N231 million appropriated in the revised budget.
The report also exposed illegal loan procurement above N11 billion by the state government.
The report detailed the questionable extra-budgetary expenditures by the offices of the governor, deputy governor, ministries of environment and solid minerals and the state’s environmental protection agency.
The total extra spending by these four offices exceeded N14 billion.
An analysis of the 2020 Report of Accountant General with Financial Statements of the Abia State Government revealed that the Governor’s Office purchased an unspecified number and undisclosed brands of vehicles for Government House and MDAs for N1.4 billion in 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
In the breakdown tagged ‘Purchase of motor vehicles for Government House and MDAs,’ the report showed that N1.2 billion was spent on the item instead of N231 million appropriated in the revised budget.
Thus, the Governor’s Office spent extra N969 million on vehicles without appropriation or approval by the state legislature.
The report also detailed curious extra-budgetary spending in the Governor’s Office for ‘welfare packages,’ where a whooping N2.2 billion was spent against N1.5 billion budgeted.
Ahead Of Offcial Launch, CBN Says e-naira Payment Must Be Accepted
Ahead of the official launch of e-naira on October 1, 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said the legal tender which equals to the value of the naira must be accepted as a form of payment by all merchants and business outlets.
In an interview monitored by Grassroots.ng on Channels TV, the CBN Director, Payment System Management, Mr. Musa Jimoh, said there is no difference between the digital token and the Naira.
Jimoh said, “Today, anywhere you present naira to pay, compulsorily it must be accepted because that is our fiat currency. So, the same way naira is accepted that you can’t reject it, is the same way e-naira must be accepted. Anywhere in this country where e-naira is presented, it must be accepted. So, merchants must accept e-naira as a means of payment.”
He advised Nigerians to open e-naira wallets which could be downloaded on their phones from October 1, adding that CBN bears all liabilities.
“The liability of the e-naira money is directly on CBN which is similar to the cash you hold. The liability of the cash you hold today rests with the CBN. So, it gives Nigerians the opportunity to bank with CBN,” Jimoh said.
On whether Nigeria was ripe for the e-naira due to the technological challenges in the country, Jimoh said he didn’t expect it to be a major problem.
He added, “E-naira is a journey. We don’t expect that on October 1, all business merchants in Nigeria will accept it. We don’t even expect that come October 1, all Nigerians will have e-naira. It is a journey. It will continue to grow.
“Remember there was a time in this country when you had to practically beg business outlets, merchants and others to accept POS transactions. But we have come to a point where traders now beg for POS terminals.”
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