“Stop releasing funds to Mimiko”, Labour Unions tell Ondo Accountant-General.

Labour unions in Ondo State on Monday urged the state’s Accountant-General, Laolu Akindolire, to stop further release of funds to the government of Governor Olusegun Mimiko, whose tenure expires on Friday this week.

The letter, addressed to the Accountant-General, was signed by the chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council, JNC, Sunday Adeleye, his Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, counterpart, Bosede Daramola, as well as the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, Soladoye Ekundayo.

The unions alleged that they had information that the outgoing government was making efforts to mop up funds in the account of the state government for “frivolous projects”, before the end of its tenure.

The unions warned Mr. Akindolire not to abuse his office in approving money other than the payment of workers’ salaries.

Officials told PREMIUM TIMES that the Accountant-General had become evasive and had not been to his office to avoid influx of financial requests.

As a result, the N150 million requested by the outgoing administration to organise the inauguration ceremony has not been processed and is stuck in the Accountant-General’s office.

It was also gathered that efforts to reach Mr. Akindolire on his mobile phones had been impossible.

Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade, in his response, said the projects completed by contractors needed to be paid only from funds earmarked for capital projects.

“There is a difference between funds meant for recurrent and those for capital expenditure,” he explained. “You cannot take recurrent funds and use it for capital projects.”

He argued that if a contractor has his certificates of a completed projects, he should be paid, even though salaries have not been paid, because the monies for the payment of salaries are different from those meant for contractors.

On the absconding of the Accountant General, Mr. Akinmade noted that in a transition, there was bound to be some strange movements in a bid to curry the attention of the incoming government.

“This is not unusual in a transition like this, where you see people trying to shift loyalty so that they would be favoured by the incoming government,” he said.

“But we should not play politics with the lives and well-being of the people,” he said.

He noted that Governor Mimiko would not do anything against the interest of the people and in breach of the fiscal responsibility laws of the land.

He had earlier told PREMIUM TIMES that it was legal for the administration to continue to spend funds from the state’s coffers for the next six months even without an extant budget, provided the spending did not exceed the prescribed amount for the period.


Source: Premium Times

We’ll begin disbursement of N25bn ETF in December – Ambode

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday said the State Government will commence the disbursement of the N25 billion Employment Trust Fund (ETF) initiative of his administration by December, 2016.


Governor Ambode, who spoke in Lagos at the graduation ceremony for 500 artisans trained by the State Government on modular employability programme in nineteen different trades, said the informal sector remained a critical vehicle for economic recovery, adding that Government was passionately committed to repositioning the sector for economic gains.


He said the N25 billion ETF, which would be disbursed for the next four years on N6.25 billion annual basis, was one of the initiatives designed to empower the informal sector, adding that government was open to ideas and strategies that would aid sustainable growth of the sector.


“Let me tell you clearly that the N25bn ETF is for artisans and entrepreneurs in Lagos State. We will commence disbursement from the month of December, 2016 and let me assure you that a larger percentage will go to our carpenters, our tailors, our hairdressers, our vulcanizers, and so on. Everybody that is a tradesman and is an artisan in Lagos will have automatic access to the Employment Trust Fund (ETF),” Governor Ambode said.


Speaking at the event which also coincided with the 7th Tradesmen and Artisans’ Week, the Governor said the ETF was an initiative with the cardinal mandate to support the establishment and growth of small businesses to create job opportunities for the people, adding that soft loans would be provided to genuine and credible artisans and traders in the State.


Besides, the Governor said it was now time for conscious and concerted efforts to re-engineer the mindsets of young ones and advance entrepreneurs with the view to repositioning them to face modern challenges, saying that except focus is shifted to equip and rebuild the informal sector, members would not be vibrant enough for the prevailing realities of the moment.

He assured that his administration would not sit and wait for oil prices to rebound in the international market before arriving at a solution to the challenges confronting the state, hence the need for the ETF and other initiatives.


On the training for artisans, Ambode said such was one of the platforms for recognizing and projecting the significant contributions of the informal sector as a vehicle for economic development, adding that government was equally mindful of the fact that artisans were the major players and the conveyor belt for industrial enterprise in the country.


While urging the newly trained artisans to leverage on the strategic position of Lagos as the contributor of 25 percent of the total GDP of Nigeria and 5th largest economy in Africa, Governor Ambode said the training which they passed through was designed to address this skills mismatch and provide the right mix of skills needed to service the industrial needs of the State.


Responding to requests by artisans through their representatives, Ambode approved that the beneficiaries of the training should be increased to 1,500 artisans next year and a yearly subvention of N12million and brand new operation bus for the Lagos State Council of Tradesmen and Artisans (LASCOTA), among others.


Earlier, Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mr. Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti said the 500 artisans were re-trained and up-skilled on eight weeks intensive programme solely sponsored by the State Government for better service delivery.


On his part, LASCOTA Chairman, Alhaji Nurudeen Buhari thanked Governor Ambode for the various efforts aimed at improving the productivity of artisans in the State, especially the Tradesmen and Artisans’ Empowerment Programme (LASTEAP), saying that the continuous training had impacted positively on their productivity and enhanced them economically.

Reps summon Prisons boss, perm sec over handling of funds

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has invited the Comptroller General of Prisons, Mr. Ja’ afaru Ahmed and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs. Ayotunde Adesugba, to explain why their staff have failed to retire funds approved to them.

Also, the officers are to give reasons for failing to remit the Valued Added Tax (VAT) deductions to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) correctly and promptly as required by law.

Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Kingsley Chinda, who issued the summons at the weekend after a session with the officers and their staff said the committee would always ensure that every appropriated fund expended must is properly accounted for by agencies of government and their workers.

At the scheduled meeting, the Prisons boss is also expected to produce the latest assets register of the service and all store received vouchers for Owerri, Bauchi and Kuje prisons to ascertain the volume of receipts by the Nigeria Prisons Service.

He was directed to come along with the four officers who failed to retire the N6.6 million advanced payments made to them since December 30, 2011.

The committee’s concerns sprung from queries by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAGF) against the NPS between 2010 and 2013 and forwarded to the committee for investigations.

Chinda frowned at the non-remittance of 10 percent VAT deductions to the FIRS and called on Adesugba to appear before the panel to explain the action of the staff in her ministry.

She is to also explain the whereabouts of five vehicles belonging to the ministry, which were declared missing, with only two having been recovered so far.

The committee promised to embark on on-the-spot- inspection of the recovered vehicles today and carry out other findings as would be necessary.

Members said they expected to meet one Mr. Alabi during the visit. They said he was the project accountant for one of the many conferences on which huge sums of funds were spent but are yet to be retired five years after the event was hosted.

Similarly, the team from the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will respond to about 21 other queries raised by the auditor general of the federation, particularly on monies expended on conferences and seminars since 2011, which have not been retired.

Meanwhile, a member of the House, Timothy Golu is seeking the intervention of the National Assembly to regulate all mortgage activities in the country and guarantee housing for all categories of workers.

Through a bill titled, “An Act to establish the Institute of Mortgage Brokers and Lenders of Nigeria to regulate the activities and ensure professionalism in the system and for related matters”, the lawmaker is seeking a legal framework to streamline mortgage operations in the country and end the chaos currently associated with land ownership, estate valuing and mortgage financing.

He said the players in the mortgage industry, such as surveyors, architects, engineers, estate valuers, developers and lawmakers were already in support of the bill and were looking forward to legislative action on the issue.

Strike: Release our N800bn – ASUU chair tells FG

The chairman of the Nasarawa state University, Keffi, (NSUK) chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr. Nghargbu K’tso, has asked the federal government to release the outstanding N880 billion meant for critical intervention projects of university education as a way to avert strike action by the union.


K’tso urged government to show more commitment to the funding of universities and welfare of lecturers in order to save the country’s university system from collapsing.


He regretted that the union has been battling with the federal government since 2009 for the release of the fund to no avail stressing that the funds, if released, would address the problems of infrastructural decay, research development and other key components of the nation’s university education.

Speaking after the union’s emergency meeting in Keffi, K’tso said, the nationwide warning strike embarked upon by the union was to get government back to the renegotiation table in respect of the 2009 agreement between the union and the federal government.


He insisted that federal government’s refusal to negotiate with ASUU to address the pending issues which border on funding for revitalization of public universities based on the 2013 MoU was detrimental to progress of the education sector.

Senators, Reps lament inability to recoup funds expended during campaigns.

Some members of the National Assembly are lamenting their inability to recoup the millions of naira they spent on electioneering campaign, 17 months after their inauguration, Daily Trust reports.

Section 91 of the Electoral Act 2010 caps elections spending for Senate at N40 million and House of Representatives at N20 million. Violating the Act attracts a fine of N600, 000 or six months imprisonment or both, in the case of Senate, and a fine of N500, 000 or five months imprisonment or both, for the House of Representatives.

However, aspiring national lawmakers spend well above the spending limit.

While a senator from the South-South said he spent N1billion during his campaign for the Upper Chamber, one of his colleagues from the North-Central said he spent N300 million.

The expenditures were incurred before and during elections, excluding legal fees for those taken to court by their opponents after the election.

Senator James Manager (PDP, Delta South), who has been at the Senate since 2003, said senators were drained before, during and after the election by the public.

“Calls are coming from all over the places, bring this and bring that even after the election, we are still spending. In the Electoral Act, there is specific amount but in practical terms it is not possible. We borrowed and are still borrowing,” he said.

Manager was speaking during the screening of Professor Okechukwu Ibeano as a national commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Lamenting further, Manager recalled how a Senatorial candidate jumped into the lagoon after spending huge sum on election.

“A man who contested for one of three senatorial districts of Lagos in 2011 drove to his bank six months after the election. On his way back, he asked his driver to stop, he walked for few minutes and jumped into the lagoon.

“We are in trouble, Professor please how do we resolve this?” Manager asked Professor Ibeano.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno North), said the amount stipulated in the Electoral Act was not realistic.

“We have 120,000 polling units across the country and if a Presidential candidate pays N10, 000 to each agent at each of the polling units, he will spend N1.2billion just for agents on election day,” he said.

However, Professor Ibeano said: “I definitely feel your frustration but my profession is against borrowing for elections. The only way out is for political parties to go back to the 60s where volunteer party members assist without being paid. As long as you pay for everything, you will continue to spend.”

Times have changed
Daily Trust gathered that lawmakers, who served during previous assemblies, made money through deals with MDAs and other government officials. Those who failed to cooperate were frustrated.

At the peak of budget processes last year, heads of MDAs were warned against lobbying for increase in budgetary allocation at the National Assembly. A memo to this effect was issued by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir David Lawal.

A lawmaker said: “We are afraid to ask them (MDAs) now and they too are afraid to bring anything. Like now that we’re approaching the end of the year, MDAs would bring a lot of things to us, but last year was totally different, and I’m sure this year too will be the same.”

A senator who is into transportation business also expressed dismay. He said: “I should have concentrated on my business than coming here because now I don’t have enough time for my business, yet I’m not making anything here.”

Another lawmaker said: “Seriously, this is not what I expected. In fact, I can tell you that I was better off as a businessman than a legislator.

“The story was different before I came here, at least so I was told. Our predecessors enjoyed their stay at the National Assembly, but our own case is different.”

Some of the lawmakers said if things continued like this up to 2019, they might not seek re-election “because the business of legislature appears to be unprofitable.”

A former lawmaker, who spoke to Daily Trust on condition of anonymity, said: “It will not be fair to say every lawmaker comes to the National Assembly to make money. But it is true that many come with that thinking that it is a goldmine. It will certainly be good to make public office unattractive so that only the best and those ready to serve will stand in election.”

He however said that the get-rich-in-office syndrome was not limited to the lawmakers alone. “Even among the executive many see their position as a key to riches and easy money. So we need to get our priorities right,” he added.

Speaking at a seminar titled “The role of the legislature in the fight against corruption in Nigeria,” organized by the anti-corruption committees of the Senate and House of Representatives in Abuja, Kenya’s former anti-corruption chief, Prof Patrick Lumumba, said if a politician was willing to spend N1billion for a N30m job, then it should be clear he was not going there to serve but to make money.

Return to site or refund our money – Jibrilla tells contractors.

Governor Muhammadu Jibrilla of Adamawa State has given road contractors two weeks ultimatum to resume work or refund the money the state government mobilised them with.

Speaking to newsmen yesterday in Yola, Governor Jibrilla said his administration would ensure that any contractor, who collected government money, delivered on the job or would be prosecuted for failure to do so.

He said: “This government is a no-nonsense government. We have told them (contractors) to bring our money or go back to site.”

On his trip to United States, along with some Northern governors over security and humanitarian support, Jibrilla said: “The trip was a success and would add more value in areas of peace and humanitarian assistance to Nigeria and North-East, in particular. I will like to thank United States for its sustained concern on the humanitarian crisis in the North-East.”

PDP Asks National Assembly to Reject Buhari’s Proposal to Borrow

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to account for recovered loot over his proposed decision to borrow $29.96bn.

The president had asked the national assembly for approval to borrow the sum from external sources.

But the PDP called on the national assembly to reject the proposal “because it will plunge the country into huge debts”.

“We totally disagree with the APC led federal government on this latest move,  and call on President Muhammed Buhari to first and foremost explain to Nigerians what his administration has done with the so-called  ‘recovered looted funds’ and how far the 2016 budget is fairing,” the party said in a statement by Dayo Adeyeye, its spokesman.

The PDP said Buhari must itemise what he intends to finance with the proposed borrowing instead of “lumping it up in a coded term, and to plunge the nation into debt.”

It also said that the approach was not the preferred solution to the economic quagmire “which this government created due to ineptitude.”

“Nigerians will recall that the minister of information, culture and tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in June 2016 made public through a press statement, an account of recovered looted funds between May 2015 to May 2016 amounting to the sums of N78.3bn, $185.1m, £3.5m and €11,250m in cash; while others were under interim forfeiture. What happened to the recovered funds? Or is it the same funds the EFCC and DSS are planting in houses of opposition figures and justices instead of channeling it into the economy?” the party asked.

“In addition, the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu recently confirmed our position when he stated that the commission recovered more money in eight months than it recovered in 12 years.

“Nigerians need to know how much revenue government has been able to generate from crude oil, non-oil and independent revenue sources since assumption of office from May 2015 to September 2016. This clarification will boost confidence of Nigerians on the management of their resources especially in this period of recession before thinking of engaging in external borrowing.

“It is no gain saying that the APC led federal government has left no stone unturned in castigating the PDP’s 16 years as wasted even with its obvious achievements; one of which was getting reprieve from the Paris Club of Creditors. The APC-led federal government is again taking Nigeria prior to Year 2005 when external debt burden derailed the growth of Nigeria economy and weakened the GDP before the total cancellation of her debt. This proposed action of the APC’s government will be a great injustice to the citizens of this country now and in the future if they are plunged back into debt.

“Let us state unequivocally, that history will not forgive this APC government and its collaborators if they allow this injustice and maladministration to our economy and citizens to stand. We therefore call on the two chambers of the national assembly to reject this anti-people request by an anti-people government that has no genuine interest for the growth and development of the people of this country.”

EFCC Arrests Reuben Abati Over N100 Million Funds

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested Reuben Abati, a former spokesman to former President Goodluck Jonathan, over allegations of financial crimes.

According to an EFCC source, Abati is being interrogated over allegation of collecting about N100 million from the former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki.

The source added that Abati is likely to be detained by the EFCC in its Abuja detention facility.

Credit: dailytrust

The Nation: Treasury Single Account: Pains, gains.

For years, the Treasury Single Account (TSA) existed only in the history books. But in September, last year, the Federal Government mustered the political will to fully implements the controversial policy. The TSA has made many banks to cry; Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to groan and government’s coffer to burst. COLLINS NWEZE unveils the TSA and what its full implementation means for businesses and control of government’s cash resources.

It’s nearly a year of pains for the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) since its $2 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Funded Cassava Adding Value Project (CAVA) was trapped in theTreasury Single Account (TSA), the pool account for all government’s revenues.

The institution has been haggling with the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) on how to resolve the quagmire while the projects the funds were meant to be channelled are suffering.

The FUNAAB Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olusola Oyewole admitted that the TSA is impeding research in universities as institutions cannot access their grants on time, while several funds from donor agencies were diverted to countries with less transactions difficulties.

“You can imagine the shock that our universities have, waking up one day to find out that our funds have been moved away from the commercial banks to an account that we can’t even identify,” he lamented.

But the OAGF seems helpless with the situation, insisting that the policy must take its course despite the implications on the institution.

The CAVA funds, The Nation further leant, had finally been lodged at the Standard Chartered Bank in London, by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on behalf of FUNAAB, while the institution said it was still trying to access the fund, as at press time.

Welcome to TSA, Nigeria’s new accountability and most feared sheriff in town.

For decades, many emerging markets and low-income countries have fragmented systems for handling government’s receipts and payments. In these countries, the ministries of finance/treasury lack a unified view and centralised control over government’s cash resources. The cash lies idle for months in different bank accounts held by spending agencies while the government continues to borrow to execute its budget.

That was the case with Nigeria until September 2015 when the Federal Government began the full implementation of TSA. And since then, the policy has come with pains, gains and controversies depending on which side of the divide it was viewed.

The TSA is a bank account or a set of linked bank accounts through which the government transacts all its receipts and payments and gets a consolidated view of its cash position at any given time.

But for commercial banks which had for years relied on cheap government deposits to post huge profits, universities that secure foreign grants for research, and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) which have to suffer delays in getting transactions, the TSA remains a nightmare.

The lenders have since the full implementation of the policy began, lost huge revenues and deposits that threatened the continued existence of many mid-tier banks.

Confirming the pains of TSA on banks, CBN Director, Banking Supervision, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, agreed that the TSA regime precipitated some unintended consequences, affecting the operations of banks, especially regarding deposit depletion, asset quality, decrease in revenues and liquidity stress.

She said the aggregate deposit transferred to the CBN from the inception of the TSA regime to March 2016, was N2.67 trillion. This sum, which represents 15.14 per cent of the total deposits of commercial banks of N17.63 trillion as at April 30, constitutes the volume of deposits “lost” by banks as a fallout of the implementation of the TSA regime.

“This loss impacted banks differently in line with the proportion of their balance sheet that was sustained with Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) deposits. Due to its large size and low cost, Federal Government of Nigeria deposits were a huge source of revenue for banks. Although specific data on revenue attributable to FGN deposits is not available, a good proxy is the yield on Treasury Bills, which is currently around 14 per cent,” she disclosed at the CBN-Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC) continuous education programme for Directors of Banks and Other Financial Institutions, held in Lagos at the weekend.

Mrs Martins said assuming the entire government deposits were invested by the banks in Treasury Bills, at the current yield of 14 per cent, it would generate interest income of about N374 billion for the banks. This figure, she said, provides an indication of revenue that is no longer available to commercial banks due to introduction of TSA.

She explained that based on the large quantum of revenue earned from government deposits, majority of commercial banks had created teams with responsibility for mobilising public sector funds.

“These teams, which were large and significant, were in some cases directly supervised by top management staff. The introduction of the TSA regime and resultant depletion in government deposits and related revenue has made these teams unprofitable and their existence untenable. Therefore, most banks had scaled back or disbanded the teams and, in extreme cases, released staff deployed to the teams,” she said.

The CBN director said the TSA regime impacted the liquidity level in the banking system due to the attendant remittance of cash, which constitutes a major portion of banks’ liquid assets to the apex bank. “Furthermore, as part of risk management, banks with large government deposits mitigated their positions by investing the liability in T-bills and FGN bonds. These banks had to liquidate these investments in order to comply with the TSA regime, thereby further reducing their stock of liquid assets,” she said.

Mrs Martins explained that with the introduction of the TSA regime, easy and risk-free revenue that was hitherto available to banks via investment of FGN deposits in Treasury Bills and Government Bonds had been restricted.

“Therefore, banks must become innovative in generating revenue to support their operations and provide returns to their shareholders. This development also presents an opportunity for banks to return to their traditional role of savings aggregation and financial inter-mediation. Banks should thus strive to increase the size of their loan books in order to increase their interest and fees income,” Mrs Martins said.

Managing Director, Wema Bank Plc, Segun Oloketuyi also recounted the impact of TSA on banks’ profitability and deposits. “I think over N2 trillion left the banking system for CBN. Without doubt, TSA has impacted the volume of deposit in the banking system. As you know, deposits are our raw material. Certainly, if the sector lost N2.1 or N2.2 trillion, it will definitely impact on the sector; you will see the impact of the liquidity on every institution. It is going to impact us differently. Wema Bank lost almost N50 billion to TSA, but if you look at our annual report in 2015, we grew deposit despite the loss.

‘’We recorded between 10 and 15 per cent growth in our deposit compared to 2014. TSA started in September 2015, but we were still able to grow; so, what that means is that we would have grown higher,” he said at a meeting with financial journalists in Lagos.

“Our deposit still grows, if I have the N50 billion or thereabout in the system it would have helped my growth better than it was, but the impacts were not such that we were not able to meet our deposit obligation, neither were we short on the liquidity ratio required of the bank. Certainly, we lost some money to TSA that would have otherwise helped the performance of the bank better than we recorded in 2015,” he added.

CBN’s fines hit banks

Aside the loss of deposits, many commercial banks had been sanctioned for breaching TSA rules. FirstBank, United Bank for Africa, Skye Bank had all been fined by the CBN for non-compliance with the TSA rule.

The CBN had fined FirstBank and UBA the sum of N4.819 billion. The CBN imposed a penalty of N1.87 billion on FirstBank, UBA was fined N2.94 billion. FirstBank allegedly concealed N37.5 billion belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) while UBA concealed N58.8 billion instead of remitting it to the TSA as directed.

The CBN has also imposed a fine of N4 billion on Skye Bank for concealing funds belonging to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Skye Bank allegedly failed to report MDAs’ balances amounting to N40 billion as at October 23, last year, more than a month after the TSA deadline had expired on September 15.

The CBN defended N8.819 billion fines slammed collectively on three lenders.

CBN Director, Corporate Services, Adebayo Adelabu who made the apex bank’s position known during the Bank Directors’ Association of Nigeria (BDAN) stakeholders’ forum held in Lagos, said some penalties for regulatory breaches are at the discretion of the CBN, saying the regulator acted based on the gravity of the offence committed by the lenders.

Speaking on the theme: Oversight functions of the board: Effectively managing key external relations, he explained that although the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) stipulates specific penalties for offences, the law also makes room for open-ended penalties, where the CBN is allowed to act based on what it thinks is the right punishment for offenders.

“Some of the offences are open-ended depending on gravity of offences but it is left at the discretion of the regulator. But the CBN has been considerate in fining the banks,” he said.

There were also controversies concerning fees charged by stakeholders implementing the TSA project. SystemSpecs, the owner company of Remita, the e-payment and e-collection software deployed by the Federal Government to drive the TSA said only N7.62 billion was taken as fees by the three implementers of the project against N25 billion claimed by some legislators.

In a document obtained by The Nation, the firm also described the N2.5 trillion transaction volume as false, saying only N1.36 trillion passed through 20 participating banks from inception of the project to date.

The top executive said that at the commencement of the project in May 2012, it was agreed that one per cent of the sums collected from MDAs would be deducted and shared between SystemSpecs, the affected banks and the CBN in ratios of .5 per cent, .4 per cent and .1 per cent respectively.

A copy of the service agreement between SystemSpecs Limited and CBN dated December 2013, read in part: “SystemSpecs and CBN are entering into a mutually beneficial relationship for the purpose of deploying and integrating Remita e-Payment platform and T24 Banking application to facilitate and support electronic payments and revenue collection of Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) through seamless interface with Government Integrated Financial Management Information System application in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in this agreement”.

System Specs was engaged to provide the Payment Gateway for TSA in 2011. While the payment leg of TSA began in January 2012, the collection component did not start as scheduled due to the resistance from a number of quarters and the absence of the political will to push this through.

Besides the issue of fees on transactions, there were also complaints that the Remita platform delays  the payment plans of MDAs and other government agencies that rely on it to initiate and approve payment transactions.

“Once the transactions are finalised, MDA funds at CBN are accessed and the transfer of funds to beneficiary accounts in various financial institutions begins.  Unfortunately, the RTGS server at CBN has experienced some issues recently, which has substantially impaired the settlement of transactions across multiple payment platforms (as all banks are aware), one of which is Remita. CBN has been managing the situation and providing updates on service status to stakeholders. The delay in consummating transactions at CBN has inadvertently increased transaction time on the platform, causing interference to efficient service that Remita users have become accustomed to,” an industry source who understands the workings of the platform, but not in a position to speak on the matter, told The Nation in confidence. “Remita continues to deliver on its mandate and objective of ensuring convenient, secure and efficient payment transactions (Inflows and Outflows). However, Remita is part of a financial ecosystem, and like other service providers, relies on collaboration with other partners (CBN, Commercial Banks, Card Scheme issuers/operators, Payment Services Providers among others,” the source said.

CBN Director, Banking and Payments, ‘Dipo Fatokun, said there are no exemptions given to any MDA on TSA implementation. “On the issue of whether there are exceptions on the TSA or not, for the Federal Government, there are no exemptions.  All MDAs are expected to be part of the TSA but we need to clarify something. Even under TSA,  banks customers are not expected to walk up to the CBN to make deposits. So even under TSA, the deposit money banks still have a role to play, the only thing is that they are not expected to keep those balances, they still have those accounts,” he explained during a conference on e-payment in Lagos.

He said that cash deposits, or transfers can be made by companies or individuals into an MDA account in a commercial bank and the fund is subsequently swept to a designated account of the Federal Government in the CBN. The commercial bank is expected to transfer that money to the account in the CBN, having deducted its charges which have not been agreed on.

He disclosed that the Federal Inland Revenue Service and Customs had their accounts with the CBN, long even before the commencement of TSA. “So, if you go to a bank and make payment to for Customs duties, the money does not sit in the bank, it actually flows into the CBN, same with the FIRS and that is why even when the TSA was deployed, there was little or no noise about these organisations because all their revenues have actually been coming to the CBN,” he disclosed.

The CBN, he said, was also monitoring the banks to ensure full compliance with the TSA rule. “We are checking the banks. We have about four departments checking on the banks. For TSA specifically, we have the Other Financial Institutions (OFIS) and Banking Supervision, Financial Policy and Regulation, Consumer Protection departments monitoring the banks. They monitor various assets and operations because these are related and management is informed. And I know that with the penalties and sanctions that the banks have suffered for breaching the TSA, I do not think any of them would want to dare us,” he asserted.

Other stakeholders speak

TSA gains

By March 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari said the Federal Government had mopped up over N3 trillion as revenue accruals since the TSA policy began. Other stakeholders have also listed the gains of the policy since inception.

Confirming the development, SystemSpecs CEO, John Obaro, said the funds came from 17,000 MDAs’ accounts under the TSA project. He said the funds came from deployment of Remita, the software powering the TSA to which has reduced the government’s debt servicing costs, lowered liquidity reserve needs and boosted effective use of surplus cash.

Obaro said his firm would continue to deliver on the TSA service terms of contract with the CBN despite being owed all of its earned fees on e-collections since March 2015.

He disclosed that some bank branches have started to turn down collection of government deposits due to the non-payment of these agreed fees. “From our end, we have continued to provide and support the Remita platform, 24 hours a day and  seven days a week, for use by citizens for all their payments to the Federal Government. Our continued support for the TSA is fueled by our belief in the enormous benefits the Remita software brings to the implementation of TSA to the average citizen,” he said.

“We must admit though that we are excited and further driven by the fact that our indigenous Remita software has succeeded in powering the technological backbone for such a successful and strategic national initiative, along with other well meaning Nigerians, we do not want this to fail”.

In a report obtained by The Nation titled: Treasury Single Account: A Catalyst for Public Financial Management in Nigeria presented by Prof. Stephen Ocheni of Public Sector Accounting, Kogi State University, Anyigba, at a workshop organised by the OAGF and the World Bank in Abuja, he said a great challenge facing most parts of the world and particularly the developing countries like Nigeria is how to achieve efficient allocation of resources as well as stabilisation of the business cycles.

“An important factor for efficient management and control of government’s cash resources is a unified structure of government banking. Such unified banking arrangements should be designed to minimise the cost of government borrowing and maximise the opportunity cost of cash resources. This requires cash received is available for carrying out government’s expenditure programmes and making payments in a timely manner,” he said.

Nigeria initiated and implemented the TSA and other series of economic policies to assist in the better management of national resources and help fight corruption.  Besides the TSA, government also instituted the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), Automated Accounting Transaction Recording and Reporting System (ATRRS), Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), International Public Sector Accounting Standard (IPSAS) among others to promote public financial management systems.

The Federal Government of Nigeria commenced the implementation of TSA with the e-Payment component in April 2012 while the e-collections components of TSA began in January, 2015. The government also set September 15, 2015 deadline for full compliance.

Ocheni said the TSA facilitates better fiscal and monetary policy coordination as well as better reconciliation of fiscal and banking data, which in turn improves the quality of fiscal information. The TSA also cuts the debt servicing costs and eradicates financial misappropriation in the public sector.

“The full implementation of the TSA will not be hurting banks. It will only hurt establishments that purport and pretend to be banks but have failed to understand banking and do what bankers do elsewhere. It is an opportunity for banks to refocus on the original purposes for which they were set up to collect depositors’ funds, keep them safe; engage in intermediation to create wealth and jobs for the economy and in the process earn profit for themselves,” he said.

Beyond transparency and accountability, the TSA introduces economy and efficiency into overall management of public finances and this will in the long run lead to effectiveness of government spending since it places government in a better position to realise overall policy goals.

He believes that for TSA policy to be maximised, it needs  to be accompanied with the Fiscal Sunshine Bill, which if enacted will open up the financial activities of government in a way that there will be no more hiding place for those who divert or loot government money.

For instance, with Fiscal Sunshine Act in place, budgeting process and implementation, including contract awards, should be in the open for Nigerians to see both how revenues are generated and how public money is being spent by those in government, and why.

“The TSA enhances the transparency of the government’s banking arrangements by ensuring that all end-of-the-day balances are electronically swept into the TSA. Establishing a TSA may require hard decisions, such as closing the existing bank accounts of spending units, therefore for a successful TSA implementation, explicit and strong support for reform of government banking arrangements by the Federal Government is recommended,” he added.

Tertiary institutions

confronts TSA

Tertiary institutions are already feeling the pangs of TSA. The policy stipulates that all the money they get must be centrally collected and withdrawals approved by the CBN. Under the TSA regime, institutions no longer have direct access to their funds, including research grants from international donor agencies.

At a press briefing in Lagos last month, ASUU President Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, complained that the TSA was retarding the progress of universities and promised to fight the government on the matter.

“As we have consistently argued, the implementation of the TSA is inimical to the well-being of universities. The policy has made it impossible for universities to draw research grants, run programmes based on endowment and transfer funds earmarked for staff development in universities locally and overseas.

“All our appeals to government to exempt universities from the TSA regime have fallen  on deaf ears. Because of our abiding commitment to defending and protecting the university system, ASUU will go to any length to resist the continued implementation of TSA in our universities,” he said.

In response to enquiries, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, clarified the Outstanding issue of Federal University of Abeokuta’s grant for the Bill and Melinda Gates Funded Cassava Adding Value Project (CAVA) in which the institutions grant was delayed and moved to a foreign account due to TSA.

It explained that in line with the operational guidelines of the implementation of the TSA as approved by the Federal Government, the CBN opens a domiciliary account in favour of an MDA upon receipt of mandate from OAGF.

It is the CBN’s decision to choose in which bank to open the account based on agreed criteria and list of foreign correspondence banks. “Such funds that are domiciliary in nature are only kept by the foreign banks on behalf of the concerned MDAs. The process for opening foreign bank accounts may take up to four weeks in line with the terms and conditions of the foreign bank including and the banks Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements,” it said.

It said the OAGF and CBN are in the process of automating the payment and receipt processes of foreign components of TSA. “The new process shall empower each MDA to be able to access its domiciliary account through electronic channels as is currently done for all local payments. The new process shall be communicated to all MDAs as soon as it is finalised and the systems have been put in place.”

“It should be noted that the OAGF had since processed the Federal University of Abeokuta’s grant from Bill and Melinda Gates Funded Cassava Adding Value project (CAVA). The institution should accordingly follow the approved process to access the funds,” it said.

2 commissioners arrested over funds from Diezani.

Two commissioners in Enugu, Charles Egumbe and Rita Mba, have been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Punch reports that the commissioners were arrested in connection to their alleged involvement in a N23billion allegedly disbursed by Diezani Alison-Madueke in the run-up to the 2015 general election.

Before their appointments as Commissioners for Water Resources – Charles Egumgbe and Commissioner for Tourism – Rita Mba, the politicians held sway as the chairman and secretary for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign in the state during the 2015 election.

“They were detained, they made statements and they were later released on bail,” Johnson Babalola, the EFCC zonal head, south east zone disclosed.

Also arrested by the EFCC was Ikeje Asogwa, the current chairman of the board of Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board.

It was further reported that the arrested politicians’ names popped up during the interrogation of Sullivan Chime by EFCC officials.

Obanikoro Makes Shocking Confessions To EFCC, Throws Fayose Under The Bus.

Former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro has disclosed how he gave Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, part of the N4.745billion made available to him by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

obanikoro fayose.jpg

The said cash was wired into the company, Sylva Mcnamara within seven months in 2014.

Obanikoro, who is still in detention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commision, EFCC, said N2.23billion was transferred to Fayose. While $5,377,000 was given to Fayose in cash, N1.3billion was received by the governor’s associate, Mr. Abiodun Agbele.

He admitted that the N1.3billion was flown to Akure airport in two chartered flights for delivery to Agbele.

Obanikoro said he is not the owner of Sylva Mcnamara that was used to transfer the funds to Fayose.

A source told The Nation that “the sum of N2.2billion was transferred to Sylva Mcnamara for onward transfer to Mr. Ayodele Fayose on the instruction of the NSA.

“The sum of N1.3billion cash was brought in a bullion van by Diamond Bank on the instruction of the NSA.

“In addition, the sum of N60million was converted to dollars at the rate of N168 per dollar and altogether the sum of $5,377,000 was handed over in cash by me to Mr. Fayose while the N1.3billion was received by Mr. Fayose’s associate, Mr. Abiodun Agbele in the presence of my Aide-de-Camp (ADC), Lt. Adewale who also accompanied them to the bank along with the bank officials.

“I didn’t interact with the bank officials. I called Fayose before the funds were handed over to Mr. Abiodun Agbele. I spoke to Fayose with my phone at Akure airport.”

Obanikoro said he “took off with the first flight with part of the money while the second flight brought the remaining funds to Akure local airport and I directed that it should be handed over to the same person.”

The source added: “He told us that he is “ not the owner of the company in question but introduced the owner, Mr. Kareem Taiwo to the NSA, Mr. Sambo Dasuki when the threat of Boko Haram became more visible in Lagos.

“He said the government wanted to incorporate local input into the intelligence gathering and prevention of terrorist attack on Lagos and the South-West in general.”

US to investigate illicit diversion of USAID-funded malaria products, funds.

The United States government yesterday said it would intensify investigation in the alleged diversion of USAID-funded malaria programmes and illicit sale of malaria products it has funded in Nigeria so far.

Head of Investigation, Office of the Inspector General, USAID, Jonathan Schofield, told journalists in Abuja at the relaunch of Make A Difference (MAD) malaria hotline that the investigation bureau entrusted with the task of probing such illicit activities relating to malaria programmes found some ‘troubling patterns’ in Nigeria.

He explained that the probe will only be restricted to US funded projects and will be in collaboration with Nigerian law enforcement agencies.

Jonathan said: “The US funded malaria programme is a specific tailored initiative we are now doing. We are working in many other countries around the world to look at illicit activities, including diversion, kick backs, including embezzlement of health programmes funds.

“There are patterns that we see in Nigeria that are troubling, we don’t know how deep they are, but with this project, we will focus on those patterns,” he said.

He stated that probe would extend to “The global funding to Nigeria given that one third of the global fund budget is contributed by the US government.

Jonathan informed journalists that though “the global fund focus on audit” In their investigation, he added that, “what we (Office of the Inspector General, USAID, offer is the law enforcement component.”

The MAD programme also included rewarding Nigerian whistleblowers who have vital and concrete information and facts about diversion of malaria products and funds to contact US authorities through 8099937319.

Jonathan explained that “the main objective is to obtain actionable information concerning their transmitted, resale or falsification of anti-malaria drugs and commodities within USAID President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) funded countries.

Also speaking, National Coordinator of the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Dr. Bala Muhammed, represented by a Director in the agency, Dr Godwin Ntadom, stated that “part of the problems we face in the fight against malaria is in the quality of medicines used in the treatment of Malaria in Nigeria.

“The continued availability of counterfeit impedes global efforts in the fight against malaria and as such results in treatment failure and even death,” Ntadom stated.

Kwara State Government Releases N1.7b for Projects

THE Kwara State government has released the sum of N1.7 billion for the completion of ongoing and new projects across the State.

The funds will also cover outstanding payment on completed projects.

Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed disclosed this on Wednesday at the traditional sallah homage by the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Sulu-Gambari to the Government House, Ilorin.

According to him, the funding is to cover about 54 projects across the education, energy, health, works and water sectors. He also noted that the released fund is expected to put more money in circulation, food on more tables and new jobs for the people.

The governor stated that the fund was released following the recent verification of the state’s outstanding projects and duly certified work on each project.

He noted that the N1.7b is the first tranche of the newly launched Infrastructure Development Fund’, (IF-K) while assuring that all ongoing and new projects would be completed before the expiration of his tenure.

Providing further clarification, the Commissioner Mr Demola Banu, said some of the projects to be covered under the scheme are Micheal Imodu-Afon junction road, Oniju street babanloma, Oloro palace road, Geri-Alimi fly over bridge, college of Engineering building at KWASU and rehabilitation of Anilelerin/Agun/Ita Erin road offa.

Other projects are rehabilitation of Oke-Opin township road, Ilorin water supply and reticulation network phase I, Arandun Rore-Ipetu Aran Orin road, Share-Oke Ode section I and II, Rehabilitation of Egbejila road, Arobadi-Magida road and Ilesha-Gwanara road

Governor Ahmed Approves Special Release of N36m for COED Salaries

Following the release of N86, 996, 422.00 as the last quarterly subvention to the State-owned Tertiary Institutions for 2016, the Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed on Friday approved a special release of another N36, 091, 000 to the College of Education, Oro.

The State Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Demola Banu, who disclosed this, noted the N36m release to COE, Oro is to assist the school to pay its workers’ salaries.

Alhaji Banu said that the State government is working with the College management to find a permanent solution to the salary crisis facing the institution.

He said Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed is optimistic that the Visitation Panel to the College will come up with relevant recommendations that will assist the government in making the school financially independent.

Recall that the State government recently set up a Visitation Panel to among other functions assess the operational practices of the College; examine the management of its finances as well as assess the relevance of courses offered.


The Panel is headed by Prof. K. S. Adeyemi of the Department of Economics, Kwara State University.

Kwara State Government releases N250m Salary Augmentation to LGs

In keeping with its earlier pledge, the Kwara State Government today released the sum of N250m augmentation approved by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed to the 16 Local Government Councils in the State.


This was disclosed today by the State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Demola Banu during a meeting with the Local Government Chairmen.


The Commissioner urged the Chairmen to put all necessary machineries in place to ensure that workers are paid before close of business today, noting that the State government has fulfilled its pledge to help LGs pay their workers for the month of August.


Mr Banu stated that the chairmen should notify him immediately if they face any challenges accessing the fund so he can intervene.

Nigeria, UK sign MoU On Return Of Stolen Assets

The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the British Government on the modalities for the return of Nigerian stolen assets.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, signed on behalf of the Federal Government in Abuja on Tuesday.

Malami said that the MoU reflected the desire and willingness of both countries to continue cooperation and mutual support.

Malami said that this was in the responsible and transparent return of all recovered assets.

He outlined the objectives of the MoU to include the fact that the processes of returning stolen assets was a partnership recognising the interest of both countries and based on mutual understanding, confidence and trust.

The MoU read in part:

That both countries recognised that they have a mutual interest in ensuring that returned assets are not at risk of being misappropriated again.

And that both countries recognised they have obligations toward their own citizens for providing such assurances.

That both countries recognised the importance of ensuring that the highest possible standard of transparency and accountability are applied for the return of assets.

He gave the assurance to the international community that all funds recovered would be judiciously utilised for projects that would benefit the poorest segment of the Nigerian society.

Earlier, leader of the UK delegation, British Minister of State for Immigration, Robert Goodwill, said that the MoU provided the mechanism by which monies could be returned.

Goodwill, who is also a member of the British Parliament, noted that there was no safe place for stolen assets in the UK.

“Our ability to recover and return stolen assets should send a clear message to all who may seek to habour such assets that there is no safe haven in the U.K,” he said.

According to him, the British government is committed to the return of all funds looted from the Nigerian State.

“We are keen to do this as soon as the necessary legal process allow. As outlined at the summit, we will be taking steps to accelerate the procedures for identification and confiscation of illegally acquired assets,” he said.

He said that they were as committed as Nigeria in ensuring that beneficial ownership of assets was made available to relevant authorities so they know who the real owners of assets held in the UK are.

“Forty jurisdictions, including British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies announced that they will automatically share beneficial ownership information relating to companies, trusts, foundations, Shell companies and other relevant entities and legal arrangements.

It is important that everyone can see how returned assets are used to benefit Nigerians. We have therefore agreed in this MoU to be fully transparent about this,” he added.

The signing of the MoU is a follow up to the agreement reached at the London anti-corruption summit in May.

Also signed was an MoU on the return of illegal immigrants.

Governor Fayose Loses Bid To Stop EFCC Investigations.

An ex parte order sought by Governor Ayo Fayose administration to stop the investigation of the finances of the state by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been declined by an Ekiti State High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti.


The court, presided over by Justice Cornelius Akintayo refused to grant the order on grounds that all the defendants in the case should be put on notice to prepare for their defence at the court.


The judge consequently adjourned the suit to August 23 and ordered all parties in the suit to appear before him when the Motion on Notice would be heard.


The Ekiti State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, OwoseniAjayi, had filed the suit to stop the anti-graft-agency from investigating the accounts of the state government.


The plaintiffs also sought the relief on an order stopping the arrest of the Commissioner for Finance, Accountant General and the managers of the affected banks.

Recover Stolen Funds, Prosecute Looters, Sanusi Tells Buhari

The Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, has advised the Federal Government not only to recover looted funds from individuals and groups, but should also prosecute culprits to serve as a deterrent to others.

He gave the advice in a lecture he delivered on the deregulation of the downstream oil sector and Nigeria’s economic development at the National Defence College, Abuja on Wednesday.

He called on the Federal Government to ensure that those who looted the nation’s treasury were punished for their actions.

Sanusi said that it was not enough for those who diverted huge amounts of money from the nation’s treasury to be made to return what they stole.

The emir said that the right thing to do was to recover the stolen funds and imprison the culprits to serve as a deterrent to others.

He said that the ongoing campaign against corruption and the intensified onslaught on insurgency demonstrated the government’s commitment to economic development.

The emir stated that the current economic recession facing the country was self-inflicted.

He said that the fact that the economy was in recession should not be a surprise since it was a product of bad policies.

Sanusi said that the country was made bankrupt by unrealistic policies and failure of those in charge of the government over the years to take corrective measures.

He said, “Nigeria is bankrupt; we are bankrupted by a policy that was foolish, that was unrealistic, and unsustainable, and by all means our refusal over the years to listen.

“We are surprised that we have an economic recession; we are actually surprised that we are in recession? We created the recession.”

The former Governor of the CBN, who commented on the issue of the removal of fuel subsidy, said that it was a scam designed to benefit a few in the country.

He faulted the claims that that subsidy was meant to benefit the poor.

The emir said that the country was losing $20m on every 30,000 metric tonnes of kerosene imported into the country.

Credit: Punch

Buhari Approves Funds For Abuja Airport Runway

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved funds for the repair of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, runway.

The Federal Government said the repair would be handled by local contractors after the conclusion of a bid process.

The runway, which was designed and built in 1982 and expected to last for 20 years, is yet to witness any repair about 34 years after it was designed.

Speaking in Abuja after an inspection of the runway, Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika said: “Government has responded and Mr. President has approved that funds be released for major repairs in the interim before a complete overhaul and rehabilitation of the runway is carried out.

“We have gone to BPP and sought their approval to short-circuit the system to address this national emergency. They have given approval and we have invited local contractors we can mobilise quickly to the site to carry out the repairs. The contractors that were invited include but are not limited to Julius Berger, PW, CCECC, Dantata and Sawoe, CGC, Reynolds and CRGC.

“The contractors came and were given access to the runway; they carried out research, inspected with a view to bringing their quotation from which we will select the best that can give us the best to restore the runway to a good degree that it can be used before major repairs and overhaul would be carried out.”

The minister noted that the repairs will give more strength to the runway.

Credit: Nation

FG To Revive National Endowment Funds For Arts

The Federal Government has pledged to revive the moribund National Endowment Funds for the Arts in order to have a sustain system for funding of creative industry.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Saturday in Port Harcourt at the African Movie Academy (AMA) Awards night.
Mohammed said that the step was parts of government efforts to strengthen the creative industry and assist practitioners in the sector.
He said government would also develop regulatory bodies that would address challenges and promote service delivery in the sector.
The minister reiterated government commitment to encouraging and ensuring a vibrant motion picture industry that would positively respond to social, political and economic realities.
“Already we have taken some positive steps in this direction, one of which is our desire to assist practitioners in instituting the structure like the Motion Picture Practitioners Council of Nigeria (MOPPICON).
“The council will device and supervise regulations to protect and enhance professional excellence and existence of viable indigenous filmmakers.
“We have also resolved to curb the menace of piracy and to help institute an equitable distribution mechanism.’’
Mohammed appealed to filmmakers across Africa to tell more stories that would project positive image of respective nation and the continent to the outside world.
He stressed that such stories should correct some of the prejudices, perceptions and the negative narratives about Africa.
The minister noted that as a powerful medium of communication, practitioners must leverage on the power of film to change the negative narratives and promote African culture and values in all its richness and diversity.
He expressed delight that AMA Awards had become recognised in Africa and the globe as reflected in the growing number of visiting filmmakers and film entries submitted for the award from all over the world.
He commended the organisers for showcasing and recognising African talents in the film industries for over a decade, and assured government’s willingness to partner with AMAA in the efforts to boost the industry.
“AMAA is our baby and we must do everything to make it succeed,’’ he said.
Mohammed also promised to host the Nigerian winners of the AMAA 2016 at a later date.
The host governor, Nyesom Wike, said he was delighted that the event was held in Port Harcourt, “the leading commercial enclave in Nigeria’’.
Wike said that Rivers was safe for tourists and investors contrary to reports in some quarters, and urged movie practitioners to tell the stories of investment and business opportunities in the state.
In a presentation by a 12-member jury of the awards, 485 movie entries were received from 60 countries for the 2016 edition among which 65 were considered in 26 categories.
The panel observed that there were more women participation in front and behind the camera in the 2016 edition, but decried the decline in children movies and actors.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that awards were presented to the winners in the 26 categories.
Dignitaries at the event included former Senate President David Mark, Majority leader in the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, and former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Edem Duke.
NAN reports that AMA Awards was founded by Peace Anyiam-Osigwe in 2005 and run through the Africa Film Academy.
The awards are aimed at honouring and promoting excellence in the African filmmaking as well as uniting the continent through arts and culture.



Zuma Promises To Return Confiscated Funds To Nigeria

South African President, Jacob Zuma, says his government will do everything possible to ensure that the monies confiscated by South Africa during Goodluck Jonathan’s regime are returned to Nigeria.

Mr Zuma made the promise while addressing reporters after bilateral talks with President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said the Nigerian and South African governments were working on the matter and that the relevant structures were already recovering some of the loots.

Th South African leader also told reporters that investigations were ongoing to ensure that anything that was illegally taken to South Africa would be returned.

On the issue of xenophobia, the South African President described it as unfortunate, promising to address it ones and for all.

“Africans should realise that they are the same and should avoid conflicts and attacks on each other,” he stressed.

The Nigerian leader also addressed reporters, touching different issues.

Credit: ChannelsTv

Naughty By Nature Looking For Money For Their 25th Anniversary Album …Asks Fans To Donate $100k

Naughty By Nature, one of the hottest rap groups in the 90’s, have launched a KickStarter Campaign to fund their 25th anniversary album…They are hoping to raise $100k to put out their 25th anniversary album and are going directly to the fans. They are offering fan experiences for whoever donates. So far, they’ve raised $23,000

Woman Spends All Her Money On Powerball Tickets Then Creates A Go Fund Me Page To Ask For Funds

A woman by the name of Cinnamon Nicole from Cordova, has raised a little more than $800 in seven hours via her Powerball Reimbursement Go Fund Me page. Nicole alleges to have spent all of her money on purchasing tickets with the assumption she would win the $1.6 billion jackpot, but soon realized the winning tickets were sold in Los Angeles, Florida and Tennessee suburbs.
Despite the chances of anyone winning the jackpot being 1 in 292.2 million, Nicole still decided to go big, and unfortunately now can’t go home because she allegedly doesn’t have any money.
She wrote:

Please help me and my family as we have exhausted all of our funds. We spent all of our money on lottery tickets (expecting to win the 1.5 billion) and are now in dire need of cash. With your small donation of at least $1.00, a like  and one share, I’m certain that we will be able to pick ourselves up from the trenches of this lost and spend another fortune trying to hit it big again! PLEASE, won’t you help a family in need. DONATE NOW.

For your charitable donations, Nicole promised to make givers her #MCM or #WCW. Yet, despite the gall of the Go Fund Me Page, some users simply weren’t in support of her attempts.
Sonya Hagans quoted new viral internet star, Michelle Dobyne and wrote “Not tuhday” while Kenyatta Gibson was a bit more spirited in her response.
The page has since been taken down.

Okonjo-Iweala Opens Up On Funds To Dasuki

Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been explaining the transfer of 300 million US dollars and 5.5 million pounds to the former National Security Adviser, Retired Col. Sambo Dasuki.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, in a statement by her media adviser, Mr Paul Nwachukwu, condemned what she described as a campaign of falsehood being carried out against her by the Edo State Governor and others who have called on the federal government to probe her in connection with the arms procurement scandal.

He added that the allegations are a distortion of the contents of a memo in which the former minister responded to a request by the former NSA.

In the memo to former President Goodluck Jonathan requesting his approval to transfer the funds to Mr. Dasuki, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala stated that as explained by the former NSA, the money was to be used to procure ammunition, security and other intelligence equipment for the security agencies to enable them fight the war against Boko Haram.

Part of the memo reads: “They have distorted the contents of the January 20 memo in which she responded to a request by the former National Security Adviser and quoted selectively from the document to make their false allegations of “illegal diversion” of funds.

“For your information and a fuller understanding of the issues, please see the attached January 20 memo by Dr Okonjo-Iweala as published by some online sites. It confirms that Dr Okonjo-Iweala is a transparent person of integrity and patriotic professional who worked hard to protect the interest of the country and that her accusers are purveyors of falsehood on a political mission to tarnish an innocent patriot,” Paul Nwachukwu wrote.

Credit: ChannelsTV

Govs Move To Access $500m World Bank Funds

Nigeria Governors Forum has begun steps to access $500 million dollars from the World Bank to improve infrastructure and other development activities in the 36 states of the federation.

Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar disclosed this yesterday after receiving briefing alongside other governors from some international and local agencies on the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, at the State House, Abuja.

According to him, the governors received assurances from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, that it was fully ready to fund the country’s economy through efficient delivery of its mandate.

“There are funds from the World Bank which states cannot access because we don’t know how to move forward as a result of lack of expertise. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health briefed us on how we can access the $500 million in that area.

“Second, we used to complain of the NNPC, but with the facts we have got today, it is different in the sense that the NNPC is going to be a different organisation. It is going to fund the economy fully in the sense that there won’t be any question of pipeline breaking or stealing of oil. We have taken care of that Instead of using the military only, why don’t we use technology to safeguard our pipelines?” he said.

Read More: nigerianpilot

CBN To Channel Funds To Boost Power Supply

Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, said its N213bn Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility, NEMSF, would improve generation, distribution and transmission of power in the country.

Special Assistant to CBN Governor on Energy Sector, Mr. Yinka Balogun, said this in Abuja on Monday at a roundtable on “Releasing Private Sector Capital for Investment in the Power Sector”.

He said the intervention fund would ensure that the power sector delivered tangible improvement in power supply for the benefit of all Nigerians.

“CBN will disburse these funds in partnership with “deposit money banks” to address the shortfalls in revenue for operators to boost power supply and settle legacy gas debt.

“We believe that once the power sector issues are fixed, Nigeria will return to the path of sustainability at other sectors,” he said.

Read More: nationalmirroronline

Jonathan’s Govt. Didn’t Give Us $200m Nollywood Funds- Bank Of Industry

The Bank of Industry (BoI) has denied receiving $200 million Entertainment/Nollywood Fund from the former administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, for the development of Nigeria’s entertainment industry.

The bank described as untrue a news report calling for the probe of the bank on the premise that the former president had released the money to it, clarifying that the bank never received such money.

“The attention of the bank has been drawn to a news report titled “Probe Jonathan’s $200 million Nollywood Fund, Lari Williams tells Buhari” wherein Mr. Lari alluded to the domiciliation of $200 million with the Bank of Industry Limited for eventual disbursement to artists who are able to come up with viable business plans…”

Read More: premiumtimesng

Buhari Orders EFCC To Trace Funds Stolen Under Jonathan

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission to compile documents on funds stolen under President Goodluck Jonathan.

Reports reliably provided on Sunday that the directive was part of efforts to know the exact amount stolen under the Jonathan administration with a view to tracing them to foreign countries.

It was learnt that such documents would be needed by the international community, which had expressed readiness to assist Nigeria to recover the funds.

Buhari, had in a live programme, Good Morning Nigeria, on the Nigerian Television Authority, on July 27, said the international community was willing to assist Nigeria to recover stolen money.

He had said that his administration had started compiling necessary documents that would enable the international community to assist Nigeria recover the funds.

The President had stated, “We are trying to get these documents; we are getting cooperation from the international community. We are going very soon to make sure that those who perpetrated this crime against Nigeria will be faced with facts and be taken to our courts.”

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Rivers APC Supports Plan To Recover Looted Funds

The All Progressives Congress in the Rivers State welcomed the announcement by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate and recover the funds allegedly looted by the immediate past administration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

“We received with great joy news of the resolution by President Buhari to go after those who stole Nigeria blind and virtually grounded the country’s economy,” Rivers APC Chairman, Dr Davis Ibiamu Ikanya, said.

“For six years we shouted ourselves hoarse that Jonathan’s administration was the most corrupt in the history of this nation and sadly nobody believed us but the recent revelations have proved us right.”

Ikanya added, “If not by the grace of God and the resolve of Nigerians to vote out that visionless government, the ship of our nation would have been grounded by now.”

Ikanya, speaking from Port Harcourt, said the impending recovery of stolen funds and stoppage of systemic leakages as the beginning of the journey towards building the ideal Nigerian nation.

He said the ruling party commended the governments of USA and Britain for supporting the APC Government in its efforts to recover Nigeria’s looted funds stashed in foreign banks by “agents of wickedness.”

Ikanya pleaded with Nigerians to see reason and support the administration of President Buhari in his efforts to clean the rot of the past administration and put our nation on a sound footing.

“The next three months may be hard as predicted by Mr. President but we wish to assure our fellow countrymen and women that these are necessary steps and for the good of our dear country,” Ikanya said.

Credit: CAJ News

Saudi King’s Nephew Admits to Riyadh Support for ISIS

Billionaire Saudi businessman Alwaleed bin Talal has admitted to the kingdom’s support for the ISIS Takfiri terrorists who fight against the Iraqi and Syrian governments.

The Saudi business tycoon, who is a member of the Saudi royal family, told CNN on Monday that “some extremists in Saudi Arabia” provided financial support for the terrorists.

Alwaleed, however, claimed that the oil-rich monarchy has now stopped funding the militants.

“Unfortunately, some extremists in Saudi Arabia… did fund certain extremist elements in Syria,” said Alwaleed, a nephew of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. “But Saudi Arabia has taken very strict rules to stop that from happening. And yes, right now all this has been stopped completely,” he added.

The ISIS Takfiri terrorists, who currently control parts of Syria and Iraq, have committed widespread acts of violence, including mass executions, abductions, torture and forcing women into slavery in the areas they have seized in the two countries.

Read More: http://www.presstv.ir

UN Launches Urgent Appeal for Ebola Donations

UN chief, Ban Ki- moon, has launched yet another emergency appeal for funds to fight Ebola because the UN ran short of its target. He said a $1bn trust fund he launched in September has received just $100,000 (£62,000) so far. He joins a growing chorus of world leaders criticising the global effort to tackle the Ebola outbreak.

Donors have given almost $400m (£250m) to other UN agencies and aid organisations directly but the UN trust fund, intended to act as a flexible spending reserve, has itself only received pledges of just $20m (£12m). Of those countries that have pledged money to the trust fund, only Colombia has paid, giving $100,000 (£62,000).

The UN special envoy on Ebola, David Nabarro, said the fund was intended to offer “flexibility in responding to a crisis which every day brings new challenges… It allows the areas of greatest need to be identified and funds to be directed accordingly,” he added.

Ban said, said it was time for the countries “who really have capacity” to provide financial and other logistical support. “