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N20M Bailout Fund: Yaya Bello Gives EFCC 48-Hour Ultimatum To Apologise

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The Kogi State Government has given a 48-hour ultimatum to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to apologise over comments that the state hide N20 billion bailout fund meant to pay salaries in a commercial bank.

In a briefing on Sunday in Lagos, the Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, said the state government did not open or create the said account.

“I want to assure you that after 48 hours from today, if they refuse to retract their ill-fated, false, politically motivated, irresponsible press statement, we will drag them to court,” the commissioner said.

The commissioner equally challenged the anti-graft agency to produce the account mandate and details of those who operated the account.

This is even as the Kogi State Government said it has gotten the bank’s response which exonerated them from running the account.

According to the state, the government has enough evidence against the EFCC to have a field day in court.

“The Kogi State government does not currently operate or maintain a fixed-deposit account with Sterling Bank.

“There is no mandate letter from the Kogi State Government to open account number 0073572696 with Sterling Bank. Sterling Bank account 0073572696 is an internal mirror account operated by the bank for purposes of managing the Kogi State Salary Bailout facility,” Fanwo added.

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Finance

FG To Support States With N656bn

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The Federal Government has approved support the the 36 states of the federation with the sum of N656 billion to bridge financing facility.

This was disclosed at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday.

Each of the state governments will receive the sum of N18.225 billion to help in meeting financial obligations, especially the previous budget support facility due for repayment. 

The states will be required to repay the latest loan with a 30-year tenor and a two-year moratorium at an interest rate of nine per cent.  

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, had informed the council that the bridge facility is now being processed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). 

The money will be disbursed in six tranches over a period of six months to the states. 

She affirmed that the facility is to help the states afford the repayment of previous bailout facilities guaranteed for them by the Federal Government. 

At the July meeting of the council, the finance minister had informed that deductions from state governments would soon commence as repayment for the previous bailout from the CBN. 

Subsequently, the states sought further support leading to the idea of bridge financing. A statement issued by the spokesman of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, also said at the meeting, the Executive Director/CEO of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, briefed the members on the status of the country’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. 

He noted that Nigeria had received over 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, African Union and othes, which, he said, was sufficient to ramp up vaccination for about 50 per cent of the targeted population. 

According to him, the total eligible population of Nigerians for the vaccine is over 111 million. “Given the availability of vaccines, we have started rolling out a plan to vaccinate 50 per cent of Nigerians, 18 years and above by January 31, 2022,” the NPHCDA DG said, adding that there would be a scaling up of over 3,000 health facilities nationwide. 

In his presentation to the council on state performance report on COVID-19, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said Nigerians must continue to maintain and sustain the COVID-19 response, especially as it enters the holiday period where there will be anticipated travels within and outside the country, as well as mass events. 

Adetifa said the country should “maintain visibility of the outbreak by testing, continuing to encourage adherence to public health and social measures, encourage vaccination and address vaccine hesitancy.”

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Finance

Again, CBN Orders Banks To Close Accounts Trading Cryptocurrency

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ordered all Nigerian commercial banks to freeze the accounts of certain individuals for allegedly trading in cryptocurrency.

This is contained in a Post-No-Debit circular signed on November 3 by the Director of Banking Supervision, J. Y. Mammanand addressed to the banks.

“You are hereby directed to close accounts of the underlisted bank customers and place the funds in the accounts in suspense accounts for engaging in cryptocurrency trading in contravention of CBN Circular BSD/DIR/PUB/014/001 dated February 5, 2021.”

The listed accounts belong to two individuals, Nnamdi Francis Okereke and Nwaorgu Kingsley Chibuzor, and a company called TVS Hallmark Service Limited.

In February, the apex bank ordered banks and other financial institutions to close all customer accounts used in trading cryptocurrencies and other related transactions.

In a circular obtained by Grassroots.ng the CBN ordered deposit money banks, non-bank financial institutions and other financial institutions to “identify persons and/or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.”

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Finance

“In 2020, Nigeria Owes China $3billion” – World Bank

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Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, has so far borrowed $3.121 billion, approximately (N1,236 trillion), from China as at March 2020, the World Bank has revealed.

The amount represents only 3.94 percent of Nigeria’s total public debt of $79.21 billion as of September 2021.

Similarly, in terms of external sources of funds, loans from China accounted for 11.28 per cent of the External Debt Stock of USD27.67 billion as of the same date.

According to the World Bank, the total borrowing from China of USD 3.121 billion as of March 31, 2020, are concessional loans with interest rates of 2.50 per cent per annum with a tenor of 20 years and a grace period (moratorium) of seven years.

”These terms are compliant with the provisions of Section 41 (1a) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007. In addition, the low-interest rate reduces the interest cost to the government while the long tenor enables the repayment of the principal sum of the loans over many years.

These two benefits, make the provisions for debt service in the annual budget lower than they would otherwise have been if the loans were on commercial terms,” a newly released world bank document said.

”The $3.121 billion loans, the document, explained, are project-tied loans. The projects, (eleven – 11 in number as at March 31, 2020), include the Nigerian Railway Modernisation Project (Idu-Kaduna section), Abuja Light Rail Project, Nigerian Four Airport Terminals Expansion Project (Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt), Nigerian Railway Modernisation Project (Lagos-Ibadan section) and Rehabilitation and Upgrading of Abuja – Keffi- Makurdi Road Project.

”The impact of these loans is not only evident but visible. For instance, the Idu – Kaduna Rail Line has become a major source of transportation between Abuja and Kaduna. Also, the new International Airport in Abuja has improved air transportation for the populace, while the Lagos – Ibadan Rail line when completed, will ease traffic on the busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

”The projects also have the added benefits of job creation, not only by themselves but through direct and indirect service providers, a number of which are Small and Medium Enterprises,” the document, further explained.

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