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Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue, after obtaining Exparte Orders from the Enugu State High Court, sealed eight banks in the state for refusal to remit Withholding Taxes worth about N1billion into the coffer of the State Government.

Mr. Emeka Odo Chairman(on behalf of Esir),Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue gave reasons why the 8 banks were sealed off.....

Eight banks were this morning sealed by the Enugu State Government for failure to remit about ₦1, 000,000,000.00 (One Billion naira) in taxes to the coffer official the state government.

The state government, through the Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue (ESBIR) on Feburary 6 and 16, 2017, obtained Exparte Orders from the Enugu State High Court to distrain the affected banks. The Board began the enforcement exercise this morning, and I wish to state that it was very successful.

The eight banks are Access Bank PLC, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Skye Bank, Union Bank, Unity Bank, Heritage (Enterprise) Bank, Keystone Bank, and Sterling Bank.

The branches of the affected banks in the State, which are now under lock and key will remain locked until they pay to the state government the taxes they have collected on its behalf.

The government has been encouraging individual tax payers and tax agents to comply voluntarily by paying their taxes promptly. We have reformed the process of remittances of government revenues to make it easy for banks to pay their taxes like other corporate citizens.

In the past one year we have written the affected banks severally and held meetings with them on the subject matter but they would rather hold onto government funds illegally.

The action of the affected banks has been denying the State government of the funds it needs to execute its developmental programmes that would impact positively on the lives of the people.

The eight banks have a combined branch network of 36 branches in Enugu metropolis and the neighbouring towns of Agbani and Ituku  Ozalla.

The sealing of the banks is the first phase of the enforcement exercise on major companies and institutions to ensure that they perform their civic obligation to the state government.

We can no longer allow the banks to behave like corporate outlaws, moreso, when it is on record that the Withholding Taxes (WHT) which the state government is demanding that Banks remit to its coffer,  have already been deducted by  the banks from the interests that they pay on deposits to their customers.

The banks have no business holding onto these taxes they collected on behalf of the government.

The present administration in Enugu State has laid out an ambitious plan to upgrade critical infrastructural facilities in the State. These people-oriented programmes need to be adequately funded urgently, because the state government is in a hurry to deliver on all its campaign promises to the people.

We are all aware that revenue allocation from the Federation Account to the state government has been dwindling. The government expects banks and other financial institutions to join hands with it to harness its internally generated revenues.

In view of the above, we call on the people of the state, especially customers of the affected banks to be calm and see the action as a measure to enable the government serve them better as their monies in the affected banks are safe.

 

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FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange (FMDQ) has admitted the quotation of the Sterling Bank Plc N2.40 billion Series 1-3 Commercial Paper (CP) Notes (the Sterling Bank CP), under its N100.00 billion CP Programme and the listing of the FCMB Financing SPV Plc N5.10 billion 7-year 17.25 per cent Series 3 Fixed Rate Unsecured Bond (the FCMB SPV Bond) under its N100.00 billion Debt Issuance Programme, on its platform.

According to FMDQ, the successive admittance of these securities, following due approval from the FMDQ Board Listings, Markets and Technology Committee, attests to the highly efficient time to market the uniquely tailored Listings and Quotations service offered by FMDQ. In the coming weeks, respective ceremonies will be held in honour of the issuers, Sterling Bank PLC and FCMB SPV Plc to commemorate these achievements.

“From the continuous provision of invaluable information, to global visibility, improved secondary market liquidity, efficient price formation and unique transparency, the activities and value-adding services of the OTC Exchange continue to be experienced by businesses, corporate and government entities with debt securities listed/quoted on FMDQ. As part of FMDQ’s commitment to organise, govern and enforce credibility and transparency in the debt capital market space, the OTC Exchange has, through its innovative practices and the concerted efforts of its stakeholders, positively influenced the competitiveness of the Nigerian financial markets.

FMDQ shall continue to validate its operational mandate of aligning the markets within its purview to international standards, striving to ensure they emerge as globally competitive, operationally excellent, liquid and diverse. Through the continued support for institutional growth, the OTC Exchange shall invariably contribute its quota to rejuvenating the vibrancy of the Nigerian economy,” the Securities Exchange said.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could be set to adjust its current foreign exchange regime, as it comes under increasing pressure to ease dollar scarcity and stem the naira’s free-fall on the parallel market. In a note issued last weekend, the investment and research firm, Renaissance Capital (RenCap) stated that it gathered during its meetings with policy makers and development partners in Abuja last week, that the apex bank was planning an adjustment of the forex policy in the short term, though this will not be the full float of the naira desired by international investors.

 RenCap’s sub-Sahara Africa Economist, Yvonne Mhango, said: “We think the most probable outcome of an FX policy adjustment is a managed float, possibly a new peg, but a full float is unlikely.

The failure of the June 2016 FX liberalisation is attributed to a poor implementation framework. We heard this is being “fine-tuned”. It was unclear whether the 60:40 rule would be removed, but the authorities are talking of replacing the de facto ban on 41 items with import tariffs.

“The $5 billion build-up of FX reserves since November is a deliberate policy of the central bank (pent-up demand is c. $4 billion). This is in keeping with plans for an FX policy adjustment. Making the interbank FX market work is key for the central bank. Improved liquidity, a smaller premium between the parallel and interbank rate, price discovery, and transparency would signal success.

Our YE17 forecast is N447/$1.” The naira has been in free fall mode in recent days on the parallel market, crossing the N500/$ mark penultimate week and falling to N507/dollar and N510/$ on Monday and Wednesday respectively. With the local currency further sliding to N515/$ to the greenback last Wednesday, pressure has been mounting on the CBN to review its forex policy.

Last Thursday, the National Economic Council (NEC) demanded an urgent review of the policy. Deputy Governor of Nasarawa state, Silas Ali Agara, told journalists after the NEC meeting: “(National Economic) Council members generally expressed concern over the current situation of the exchange rate and called for an urgent review of the current forex policy, especially the gap between interbank and the parallel market rates.”

He added that the CBN governor, Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had told the body, which comprises the country’s 36 federal states, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and other ministers, that patience was needed but that the situation was under control. The CBN had launched its liberalised forex market on June 20 last year, announcing that the new regime would be purely market driven.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said at the time that under the new regime, the market will operate as a single market through the inter-bank/ autonomous window, adding that it will use the Thomson- Reuters Order Matching System as well as the Conversational Dealing Book. He, however, stated that the CBN would participate in the market through periodic interventions to either buy or sell FX as the need arises.

Although with the new policy, the baning watchdog removed its currency peg (N197/$) and essentially devalued the naira to about N280/$, analysts soon started seeking further devaluation of the local currency when it became apparent that the CBN was always intervening in the official market to ensure the exchange rate did not fall below N305.5/$. Analysts blamed the CBN’s ‘manipulation’ of the official exchange rate for its failure to attract foreign inflows, a key requirement for the success of the forex policy.

 

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Consumer Protection Council (CPC)

The commissioner, however, enjoined petroleum dealers not to engage in any illegal practice.

“Enugu State Government will sanction any petroleum dealer found short-changing consumers in the state,’’ he said.

The commissioner urged petroleum dealers to always support the state government by complying with the state laws on weight and measures as well as quality and safety standard of their petroleum products.

He also reminded them to promptly pay their registration and renewal of business premises fees for 2017 as enshrined in the state law.

Responding,

, Chairman of Petroleum Dealers Association, Enugu State chapter, said that the association would leave no stone unturned in supporting the present administration of Enugu State.

 
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Jumia, the leading online retailer in Nigeria says it is partnering with the Estée Lauder Companies to unveil for the first time three of the company’s brands.

The Chief Executive Officer of Jumia Nigeria, Ms Juliet Anammah, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos.

“With this new partnership on the Jumia platform customers and beauty enthusiasts all over Nigeria can now access the premium products from Clinique, Estée Lauder and Aramis.

“This comes with the assurance of Jumia’s buyer protections.

Each of our visitors will enjoy countrywide delivery, seven-day free returns, and varied payment options including cash on delivery shares,’’ Anammah said.

The statement also quoted Mr Mario Lazzaroni, Country Manager for the Estée Lauder Companies, Sub Saharan Africa as saying, ”the Estée Lauder Companies is excited about this partnership with Jumia in Nigeria.’’

“Many of our consumers currently do not have regular access to our products, specifically in Lagos and Abuja.

“Our fully branded “stores-in-store” on Jumia will provide women and men all over Nigeria with the opportunity to enjoy our brands via an educational and convenient online shopping experience.

 “It will also come with full confidence on our products authenticity,” he said.

He urged the public for more information on the brands

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Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, says the Federal Government plans to establish modular refineries to engage youths involved in illegal oil refining in the Niger Delta.

This, according to Osinbajo will discourage illegal refining in the region.

The acting President made this known at a stakeholders meeting with members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rivers chapter in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

He said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government was sincerely committed to ensuring that young men and women in the region were properly engaged.

Osinbajo said that the Federal Government will continue with the amnesty programme in spite of suggestions to end it, adding that more commitment had been made toward the programme than ever before.

The acting President also said that the level of work done by the Federal Government on the East/West Road in the last 18 months was much more than work done in six years.

He said that the Lagos/Calabar Rail Line through Port Harcourt was a critical infrastructural project for government.

“At the moment, we have already set aside our own part of the counterpart fund. We are waiting for a facility from China to commence the project. I’m sure you know how hard we fought when there were some issues over it in the National Assembly. We fought hard to include the project in the budget and it is included,” he said.

Osinbajo said that in spite of the economic challenges and lean funds, the government had been able to assist states with funds to pay salaries because of prudent management of resources.

He urged members of the APC and leaders of the Niger Delta not to use violence as a solution to issues.

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A former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Obadiah Mailafia, has said that 20 percent of the currency circulating in the country is fake.

Mailafia, who said this at the national assembly on Monday, while delivering a lecture at the public hearing on the 2017 budget, said it would be impossible to bring down food prices with fake currency in circulation.

“Twenty percent of currency circulating in Nigeria is fake; you can’t bring down food prices if you have fake currency circulating,” he said.

Mailafia said apart from the foreign exchange crisis, the refusal of CBN to effectively regulate commercial banks contributed to the recession in the country.

“I am a former deputy governor of CBN so when it comes to regulations, we could have done better,” Mailafia said.

“If you have recession, you have to open a situation room, where experts will be monitoring the economy daily. These experts will work to on ways to get the country out of the situation.”

He advised the authorities to take concrete steps to prevent the naira from plunging “down forever”.

“If nothing is done, the naira will continue to plunge down forever,” he said.

“This is where boldness in economic policy is needed. Though the current administration inherited recession, Nigerians expect them to tackle it. That was what the Obama administration did. We need stabilisation of the exchange rates.”

He advised that the budgetary process should be structured in a way that would ensure rapid economic recovery.

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The Federal Government, yesterday opened its case against former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Dikko Umar, with shocking revelations of how he collected over N13.3 billion for two years, from N558 million monthly upkeep allowance.

Air Marshal Umar was Chief of Air Staff between 2010 and 2012.

Revealing this yesterday, star prosecution counsel, Air Commodore Salisu Yaushau (retd), who was the Director of Finance and Accounts, Nigeria Air Force (NAF), also told the court how he assisted the retired Air Chief to acquire property across the country worth over N2.3 billion, out of the monthly upkeep of N558 million.

The witness, who was led by prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, told Justice Nnamdi Dimgba that NAF was receiving a budget of about N4 billion monthly, from which between N2.3 billion to 2.4 billion was used for payment of salary and allowances.

He revealed that from the balance of about N1.6 billion, the sum of N558 million was usually set aside for the upkeep of the Chief of Air Force.

The property acquired by the former Air Chief, according to the witness, include a house at No 14, Pistola Close, off Panama Street, Abuja bought N700 million; Plot 1853, Denq Xiano Ping Street, Asokoro, Abuja, worth N860 million; another house at No 14, Ahmadu Boko Street, Government Reservation Area (GRA), Kano, worth N250 million; No 8, Kabala Road, Kaduna State, worth N80 million and a property at Mabushi, Minister’s Hill, Abuja bought N500 million. 

Giving a breakdown of how the houses were acquired, Yaushau, who was testifying as PW1, said: “Sometimes between November and December 2010, my boss (AM Umar) asked me to get somebody who could buy him a house around Maitama, where he can settle down after retirement.

“I contacted one Barrister Hussein Umar from Capital Law firm to look for a house. After a couple of days, he came back and told me he had found a house at Pistola Close, off Panama Street in Maitama. I inspected the house and informed my boss that the lawyer had located a very fine house with a guest chalet, swimming pool and boys’ quarters.

“My boss asked me to arrange for inspection of the house. I drove him to the property in the night. We met the lawyer, Umar, and my boss saw the house. He was very happy and gave me the go-ahead to pay. We negotiated for the purchase of the house and the price was agreed at N700 million. 

“My boss authorised the purchase and asked me to take money from the N558 million we usually give him monthly for his upkeep. I then directed the Finance Officer, Group Capt. Burka, to pay the lawyer the US dollar equivalent of N700 million. 

The witness said the defendant directed that the title documents of the house be issued in the name of Mohammed Maijama. 

On the N860 million property at Plot 1853, Asokoro, Abuja, the witness revealed that the house, a duplex of about six bedroom and underground hall for conferences, a boys’ quarter, a gym, swimming pool and two bedroom guest chalets, was also acquired from the N558 million monthly upkeep allowance.

Just like the Maitama house, the title papers and relevant deeds documents were issued in the name of Mohammed Maijama, according to the witness.

He added that after the house was paid for, a mosque was constructed in the compound, while the fence was re-designed by Architect Saka, who also reduced the depth of the swimming pool, all at the cost of N66 million.

In respect of the N250 million property bought by the defendant in Kano, Air Commodore Yaushau narrated that the house located at No. 14, Ahmadu Bako, GRA, was a 7-bedroom duplex with an enclosed swimming pool, three sitting rooms, a study, a lawn tennis court, squash spot and a two-bedroom boys’ quarters.

He said the house belonged to a Sudanese by name Mustapha and was bought by the defendant, who said he wanted to live there after his retirement.

According to the witness, the defendant also inspected the house and gave him money in US dollars to pay for the house through Shuaibu who facilitated the transaction.

He, however, said he could not remember the actual name the defendant gave for the title papers.

At the close of his evidence-in-chief, lead defence counsel, Hassan Liman (SAN), asked for an adjournment to enable him cross-examine the witness.

The request was granted, as it was not opposed by the prosecution counsel. The matter was, accordingly, adjourned to February 16, 2017.

Umar was re-arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 7-count charge of money laundering, in violation of the Money Laundering Act, 2011, when he was the Chief of Air Staff.

Source: Daily Sun 

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Comptroller General (CG), Jaffaru Ahmed, head of the Nigerian Prisons Service NPS on Monday in Abuja during the 2017 budget defence in the House of Representatives, disclosed that it has obtained waiver from the Federal Government to employ 6,545 staff members in different cadre of the service.

Ahmed explained that the service had inadequate personnel, which prompted the waiver for employment, saying that N6 billion was earmarked for the recruitment in 2017 budget.

On the 2017 budget, the CG said that N72.3 billion was proposed, out of which N37.5 was earmarked for personnel with N19 billion for overhead and N16 billion for feeding of inmates and dogs.He said that the service would embark on mechanised agriculture to enable prisoners produce enough food to feed themselves, saying that this would reduce high financial burden laid on the Federal Government.

According to him, the service spends over N16 billon each year to feed about 72,000 inmates in the country.

Ahmed added that in 2016 fiscal year, the NPS had an outstanding of N5 billion owed contractors for the feeding of prisoners.

“We intend to set up specialised farm centres to train prisoners towards boosting food production and make prisoners able to feed themselves.”

He stated that although prison was not a revenue generating agency, yet the service was able to generate about N40.1 million in 2016 which had been paid into the national treasury.

Ahmed said that the service was not allowed to retain any of its revenue unless it was generated from the Prison Industry or workshop, where the inmates were directly involved.

The CG also disclosed that about 27,992 work force of the service could not be paid their salary as when due in 2016.

He explained that only N27.9 billion was released out of N34.9 billion proposed for personnel.

He added that additional N3.9 billion intervention fund was later released by the Ministry of Finance.

The CG said that out of N14 billion appropriated for 2016 Capital expenditure, N3.6 billion was released as the service purchased only 117 vehicles out of 350  proposed.

He reiterated the need to relocate prisons from urban centres, adding that massive rehabilitation was urgently needed in most of the prisons to avoid jail breaks.

According to him, out of 241 prisons in the country, about 200 were constructed in the colonial days, dating back to 1896 and about 139 sandwiched in the metropolis.

“There is need to relocate some prisons from urban centres because there is no room for expansion and some of them are over 100 years old,” Ahmed said.

 

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Dangote Rice Limited (DRL), a subsidiary of Dangote Group, is set to launch in Sokoto state, its multi-million Naira 25,000 hectares of rice outgrower scheme with a prospect of hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities for inhabitants of the rural communities.

President of the Group, Aliko Dangote disclosed at the weekend that the Company will on Wednesday, flag off with a pilot project of 500 Ha by Gonroyo dam, in Goronyo community. Gonroyo dam is the second largest in the country, after Kainji.

The flag off ceremony which will be performed by the governor of the state, Aminu Tambuwa, will witness seedlings being distributed to the primary local farmers who will in turn plant them, after which Dangote Rice company will purchase from them for milling and final processing.

Sokoto state is one of the 14 states spread across the country where Dangote Rice plans to operate the outgrower scheme to empower local farmers and create job opportunities for community dwellers and reduce migration to the cities.

Dangote Rice projects in the 14 states, when, operational, will generate a significant number of jobs and increase take-home income for smallholder farmers, all while diversifying Nigeria’s economy and reducing the nation’s food import bill.

Statistics from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) estimates that rice demand in Nigeria reached 6.3 million MT in 2015, with only 2.3 million MT of that demand satisfied by local production.

This local production shortfall leaves a gap of 4.0 million MT that is currently being filled through formal importation of rice or illegal imports over land borders.

By year-end 2017, Dangote Rice plans to produce 225,000 MT of parboiled, milled white rice. This will satisfy 4% of the total market demand within 1 year. Our model can then be successfully scaled to produce 1,000,000 MT of milled rice in order to satisfy 16% of the domestic market demand for rice over the next 5 years.

Due to the current economic crisis, domestic prices for agro-commodities have risen dramatically over the last 12 months, making local agriculture an attractive investment. Dangote Rice seeks to take advantage of this economic trend and the favourable policies laid out in the FMARD’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda.

Dangote Rice has a mandate to locally produce high-quality milled, parboiled rice for the Nigeria market. This goal will be achieved by sourcing the raw material (paddy) required from the Dangote Rice Outgrower Scheme.

Through the Dangote Rice Outgrower Scheme, DRL will partner with outgrowers (smallholder and contract rice farmers) to cultivate and grow rice paddy. Specifically, DRL will provide inputs, technical assistance, extension services and land preparation services and equipment directly to farmers. At harvest, DRL will recoup the costs of inputs and services in-kind and will act as a guaranteed offtaker for paddy that meets certain pre-agreed quality standards. Smallholder farmers will provide land and labour.

The centralized outgrower model enables a high level of control over product quality and quantity. The purchasing price given to farmers will reflect each season’s market price and will be set after an extensive market price survey and consultation with all stakeholders.

In the short-term, Dangote Rice will be responsible for importing all of the inputs needed for cultivation and making them available to the outgrowers.

By end of 2017, Dangote Rice will have 25,000 Ha under rice cultivation across 3 sites in Northern Nigeria having identified rice-growing communities in Jigawa State (5,000 Ha), Sokoto State (10,000 Ha) and Zamfara State (10,000 Ha).

The 25,000 Ha will be farmed by nearly 50,000 outgrowers in the selected site areas. These outgrowers are already organized into cooperative associations. Dangote will engage with these organizations to register and sign contracts with each farmer.

In addition to the outgrowers, an additional ~260 jobs will be created by year-end 2017. These individuals will serve as agronomists, credit officers and staff of the mill.

Upon harvest, Dangote Rice will offtake rice paddy and transport the paddy to be processed. One centralized mill will mill the stored paddy rice from all 3 sites.

Dangote Rice plans to produce one million MT of rice from 150,000 Ha in the next 5 years over. They intend to accomplish this by scaling the business model described above to more sites and rice growing communities. These communities have been identified and relationship building and sensitization has already begun. In addition to scaling the above model, DRL will establish and manage a high-quality seed development farm at Numan in Adamawa to reduce the costs of seeds.

Dangote Rice will establish raw material reception, drying, hulling, parboiling units and silos in strategic areas throughout the country near our additional outgrower communities. Each site will store dried, hulled, parboiled bran rice. DRL will then transport this bran rice to a mill, where finished rice will be produced.

Source: BellaNaija

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