Kogi State Government introduces Whistle Blower Policy with immediate effect.

As part of its probity and accountability mandate, the Bello-led Kogi State Government has promised a cash reward of five hundred thousand naira to any person with useful information that will lead to the arrest of criminals and people who spread false Information capable of disrupting public peace.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mrs Petra Akinti Onyegbule, today in Lokoja said the move is aimed at consolidating the security efforts of the present administration in the State and ensuring peace and harmonious relationship amongst the good people of Kogi.

The statement noted that Governor Yahaya Bello administration is out to ensure the reduction of crime and criminality in the State and to also curb the attitude of some politically sponsored persons who spread false information against the government with a view to causing disquiet and rancour amongst the citizenry.

According to the statement, every information given will be treated with utmost confidentiality and called on the people to comply as the issue of security is the collective responsibility of everyone and vigilance should remain our watchword. The State government therefore enjoins everyone to muster their efforts at sustaining the peace and security currently experienced in the State by their continued cooperation.

BREAKING: Central Bank of Nigeria announces new foreign exchange policy

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has released a new foreign exchange policy in the country that will be enacted with immediate effect.

The new policy is sequel to last Thursday’s directive by the National Economic Council, NEC, for immediate review to stem the widening gap between the inter-bank foreign exchange and parallel market rates.

The CBN said in order to ease the difficulties encountered by Nigerians in obtaining funds for foreign exchange transactions, it would henceforth be providing direct additional funding to banks to meet the needs of Nigerians for personal and business travel, medical needs, and school fees, effective immediately.

The CBN said such retail transactions would be settled at a rate not exceeding 20 per cent above the interbank market rate.

Details later …

LASG plans policy implementation against child abuse

The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has announced ratification of Executive Order establishing a Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy as a catalyst for driving awareness and commitment of all stakeholders towards protection of children.

The State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem, in a statement on Thursday, disclosed that the Programme was developed to prescribe management systems in place to create and maintain a safe environment for children, adding that the policy also articulates procedures to be adopted when disclosures of abuse are made.

Kazeem said the Executive Order which was signed by the Governor on December 16, 2016 highlighted emphasis which present administration placed on protecting lives of all children in the State.

The Commissioner for Justice, who said the order applies to state government organisations, public and private schools, child-centred institutions, and orphanages in the state, stressed that the policy also provides steps that must be followed in case of a disclosure, role of Designated Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer, and process of reporting and dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff.

He said the Executive Order now makes it mandatory for Child Protection policy to be integrated into the induction programme of newly recruited staff into child-centred institutions.

“As regards employment of staff, it is now mandatory for all child-centred institutions to conduct detailed background checks.

“Ultimately, the ratification of this Executive Order, would reduce and possibly eliminate incidences of child abuse, establish a culture of early identification of trends and effective intervention to limit the occurrence of cases,” he said.

The Attorney General added that in the next coming months, the state government would drive adoption of the policy to ensure that all child-centred institutions adopt and adhere strictly to provisions of the Order, while electronic copies would be made available on the State’s Website and other relevant social media platforms to ensure proper dissemination.

“The State Government therefore uses this medium to sound a very clear warning to all child-centred institutions both public and private, that it would no longer tolerate negligence in ensuring safety of children under their supervision.

“Failure to adhere to the content of the policy would warrant significant repercussions varying from withdrawal of licenses to filing of criminal charges due to negligence,” Kazeem warned.

Expose corruption and make money as FG adopts new whistle blowing policy.

The Federal Government has approved a new policy on whistle blowing that aims to encourage Nigerians to report financial and other related crimes to relevant authorities.

The highlight of the policy is that whistleblowers whose revelations lead to recovery of money will be entitled to as much as 5 per cent of the recovered sum.

The new policy was approved Wednesday at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council , chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari inside the Council Chamber of the Aso Rock Villa.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who announced the new policy to State House correspondents, said it is being put in place “in conjunction with the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice”.

She said the policy is a stop gap initiative until the National Assembly formally passes a law on whistle blowing.

She said the new programme encourages Nigerians with information on financial crimes to disclose it.

She said the aim is to strengthen the fight against corruption by the Buhari administration.

She said anyone who provides information leading to the recovery of fund will be entitled to not more than five per cent of the recovered sum.

Ms. Adeosun said the government will set up a website and provide a phone number and email for people to use.

She said anonymity and protection of whistleblowers will also be guaranteed.

Lawmakers Blame Poor Policy, Coordination for IDPs Crisis.

The Chairman, House Committee on IDPs Refugees and Initiatives on the Northeast, Rep Sani Zorro, said this while speaking with journalists in Osogbo, the Osun state capital.

Zorro said that proper coordination has been discovered to be missing in the operations and management of the IDP camps which has opened doors for an all-comers affairs in the sector.

This, he said, has resulted to negative activities which has placed the country in bad perception globally.

According to Zoro “if policies were to be available, that policy would have clearly spelled out the roles, responsibilities and obligations of state institutions, nongovernmental organisations and so on.

“That will make it easier for everybody to operate within the space available; but now it is free for all, there is no coordination, and there is no communication among all the actors in the humanitarian Sector.”

He believes “there is also no effective collaboration among agencies of government and that is why you hear about abuses in the camp, you hear about corruption like diversion of food items meant for IDPs”.

“We have investigated and visited camps to ascertain the extent of this unfortunate situation.

“The recent report by Human Rights Watch which says there are cases of rape, unwanted pregnancies and general abuses of displaced persons, especially women, now I have read the report very carefully and I endorsed it but there are some explanations that need to be tendered, which probably the Human Rights Watch didn’t consider.?

“Peculiarities in terms of culture and tradition need to be taken into account. What can constitute an abuse in one country may not be considered so in some other environment because of the tradition,” he said.

He, however, affirmed that steps would be taken on revising the security and operational setups across the IDP camps.

“They have taken their time to investigate. We have not only recognised the content of the report, we are working hard to address them,?” he said.

FG needs to link fiscal, monetary policies – Adesina

The Federal Government needs to coordinate its fiscal and monetary policies more closely, the President, African Development Bank, Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, has said.

Adesina, who spoke during a panel discussion at the Financial Times Africa Summit in London on Monday, said the move was necessary to improve the economic fortunes of the country.

“I think the naira is devalued, but…monetary policy and fiscal policy need synchronisation; that is very important,” Adesina said.

“There is a lot of pressure on the naira,” he added.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, brought the need for coordination between fiscal and monetary policies to the front burner about two weeks ago when the Central Bank of Nigeria rejected calls for rate cuts.

Adeosun had urged the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee to reduce the lending rate in order to reduce the Federal Government’s domestic borrowing costs.

Ahead of the MPC meeting, economic and financial experts had predicted that the committee would reduce the benchmark interest rate to complement the N350bn stimulus introduced into the economy by the fiscal authority the previous week.

Experts said unless the nation’s fiscal and monetary policies aligned, the process of bringing the economy out of recession might not be enhanced.

Highlighting this, the Executive Director, FCMB Capital Markets Limited, Mr. Tolu Osinibi, said, “So far, there seems to be a silo approach to the way government is doing things.

“There isn’t joint thinking, so the question you are asking is where the alignment is? There are various issues that the government has to grapple with, but various ministries seem to be working in isolation. It so far hasn’t appeared that there is tight coordination between the CBN and the ministry of finance.”

He added, “The coordination should be taking place at the level of the economic management team, which is headed by the Vice-President. I haven’t heard much about the policy positions and how they all link together.”

Your anti-corruption policy scaring investors – Sen. Bruce tells Buhari

Senator Ben Bruce (PDP Bayelsa East) on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to adjust his approach to the anti-corruption crusade, saying the policy was scaring investors.

Bruce, who disclosed this while contributing to the Senate’s debate on the economic recession in the country, said Nigeria should not expect foreign investments as even local investors had stopped investing.

He said that people who had money to invest were no longer doing so because the anti-graft agencies were harassing any person with cash transactions running into millions.

He said: “Buhari’s approach to anti-corruption is wrong.

“Let us forget the foreign investors.

“What about the local investors?

“If people are afraid, they will not invest.

“Fear will not be a policy to grow the economy.

“Money is a coward.

“It only goes to places where there is peace and tranquillity.

“I have a friend who paid legitimate N50 million into his account and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission came and picked him up.

“We cannot be afraid to be Nigerians, we cannot be afraid to live in our country.”

Bruce recalled that former President Olusegun Obasanjo also fought corruption but that his anti-corruption fight was not one that put fear in the minds of real investors.

He said he supported Buhari’s anti-corruption fight but insisted that the approach should be changed to encourage investments.

On the prices of food in the market, Bruce said that poor Nigerians were feeling the brunt far more than the rich.

He said the prices of bags of rice, beans and garri had risen by over 50 per cent, while the retail prices of the same commodity rose by over 150 per cent.

The lawmaker said that while the rich bought the commodities in bags, the poor, whose minimum wage had not changed, had to buy at 150 per cent increased rate.

He attributed the increase in retail prices of items to the cost of transportation and called for a transport policy to check transportation costs.

“President Buhari’s Economic Reforms Are Bold” – President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama of the United States of America on Tuesday commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic reforms, describing them as “bold”.

Obama made the commendation when he met with Buhari on the sidelines of the ongoing 71st UN General Assembly in New York.

He said America would continue to offer support to Nigeria in the areas of agricultural development, recovery of stolen funds and the fight against Boko Haram.

He said America would put things on ground to sustain partnership and cooperation between the two countries.

He said: “We discussed broader issues on development and the President is taking some very bold economic reforms in allowing for a flexible exchange rate.
“We are focusing on agriculture and we pledged to offer all the assistance that we can in that area and as the president is trying to stamp out corruption and to recover external funds that may have been illegally obtained and are sitting in bank accounts around the world.

“As he continues to work to see that the security forces inside Nigeria are abiding professional and human right standards, what we have pledged is that we will partner in any way that we can be helpful.”

Obama, who spoke at a briefing after the bilateral talks, said his administration was carefully coordinating additional ways to make further progress in not only destroying Boko Haram but to ensure that the region fully recovered.

He said America was also willing to assist Nigeria to facilitate a reduction of the conflict in
the Niger Delta region.

He said: “America is willing to help in any way it can to facilitate a reduction of conflict in the Niger Delta region, a major oil-producing region, but one that has been mired by a number of militant organisations that have appropriated or siphoned off the oil revenues.

“The President, I think, is wisely heading a delegation to bring varying stakeholders together and try to make progress on that front. We want to be helpful in any way that we can.”

In his remarks, Buhari thanked Obama for the assistance rendered so far in the fight against terrorism, especially in the training of Nigerian military in both hard and software.

He said steady progress was being made towards resolving the problem in the Niger Delta region, which led to economic sabotage on a grand scale.

CBN’s New Policy Pushes Up Investments In Fixed Income

Money and equity markets have recorded divergent policy outcome arising from upward review of Monetary Policy Rate, MPR, by Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, as huge cash inflow is recorded in fixed income market, while bonds and equity markets suffer adverse outflows.


In the last week of July 2016, CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, raised its benchmark rate to 14 per cent from 12, in a bid to attract foreign investors and narrow the widening gap between MPR and inflation rate.


Investigations revealed that net inflows to fixed income market in the first week of the new policy rose to N134 billion from N32 billion recorded throughout June and had continued to rise since then, with money market dealers indicating that August net inflow may exceed N500 billion. This came as yield rose dramatically on the heels of the policy change.


However, the dealers explained that the inflows represented outflows from other segments of the financial instruments, including equities market, indicating an adverse policy impact on them.


Consequently, while yields in fixed income market have trended up steadily, returns at the equity market have trended downwards with year-to-date, at negative of -4.4 per cent, as market capitalization plummeted to N9.2 trillion yesterday, down from N9.4 trillion as at date of new policy.


Financial institutions are expecting this trend to continue through the life span of the current MPR which may last till October or beyond.


Analysts at FSDH Merchant Bank said they expected that interest rate and yield would rise further in the month of August, compared with July 2016 because of the desire of the CBN to achieve positive real yield on fixed income securities.


Though they noted that CBN’s intention was to attract foreign exchange inflows into the Nigerian economy to shore up external reserves for the defence of the value of the Naira, they, however, stated: “We do not expect a significant attraction of the intended foreign exchange inflows because of the weakness of the Nigerian economy, particularly the current account in the balance of payment and balance from foreign trade.”


On the outlook down the month of August, they stated: “The rising yields on fixed income securities may continue to have negative impact on the equity market.”

They, therefore, recommended that investors should maintain a medium-to-long term position in the market while reiterating that long-term investors should take long positions in stocks that had strong fundamentals.


For analysts at FBN Merchant Bank, an arm of First Bank of Nigeria Plc, describing the policy as bold explained that bolder steps would be required in the form of further rate hikes, if the foreign exchange market was to attract sizeable autonomous flows and the exchange rate was to settle.

They also added that monetary tightening, rising inflation and, more importantly, FGN’s unprecedented issuance programme for its treasury bills, pointed to a widening of bond yields, which they said would breach the 16 per cent threshold in the weeks ahead.


Speaking on this development, Senior Analyst at CardinalStone Partners, a Lagos- based investment house, Tiffany Odugwe, said “given the currently high interest rate environment following the MPC’s decision to hike the MPR to attract foreign investments, yields may rise throughout August.


“However, at currently attractive levels, healthy demand for these securities may drive yields down but not to significantly lower levels. Also, given the need to manage foreign exchange rate, we do not see the CBN relaxing its tight grip on system liquidity soon, which implies that fixed income yields will likely remain high.


“If yields continue to inch upward or even remain at current levels, there will be a crowd out effect on the equities market. Investors will gravitate towards the relatively safer returns that fixed income securities offer and that will mean a continued dismal performance for the equities market”.


Analysts at WSTC Financial Services Limited, another Lagos based investment house, stated: “we expect the tightening effect of the increase in benchmark rate to drive yields upwards to a level that will deliver positive real return to investors in the fixed income market. We expect attractive yields in the fixed income market to shift investors’ focus from equities”.


In their reactions analysts at Greenwich Trust Limited, another Lagos based financial institution, said “we expect an uptick in lending rates to the real sector from deposit money banks as the MPC has completely reversed course after monetary easing in November 2015, when the MPR was cut from 13.0% to 11.0% failed to generate the credit growth the CBN anticipated”.

Speed-limiting Device Policy To Begin October 1- FRSC

The Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, on Wednesday said it would commence implementation of speed-limiting device on commercial vehicles in the country.

The announcement was made on Wednesday at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.

Boboye Oyeyemi, the Corps Marshal of the FRSC, said he was happy to formally announce the commencement despite numerous obstacles faced by officials while analysing the technology and trying to convince Nigerians about the benefits of its acceptance.

Mr. Oyeyemi said the obstacles forced the agency to shift the launching date from initial June 1, 2015, schedule to the new date.

“The final directive from the presidency is clear; the enforcement date for the implementation of the speed limiting device is on Oct. 1 and we have had series of stakeholders meeting,” Mr. Oyeyemi said.

“The essence of today’s meeting is to finally convey the directive of the federal government to the stakeholders that with effect from Oct. 1, the implementation and enforcement would commence.”

Mr. Oyeyemi said a platform that will serve as monitoring system for total compliance of the policy had been put in place as well as punitive measures for errant drivers.

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Imo Workers Defy Govt’s 3-day Workweek Policy

Workers in Imo State yesterday reported for work in disobedience to a directive by the government that they take off Thursday and Friday every week from their respective offices after working Monday to Wednesday.
Imo State government recently announced the new policy introducing a three-day workweek effective Monday through Wednesday, a policy which officially commenced Monday, August 1st.

Government said it meant the two work-free days, Thursday and Friday, to enable the workers engage in farming.
But yesterday which should have been the workers’ first free day, workers at various ministries and parsstatals were in their usual offices working.
In a response to the development, Governor Rochas Okorocha has appealed to the leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state to show understanding over the new policy.
The NLC leaders were reported to have ordered the workers to ignore the directive.
The governor in a statement issued in Owerri by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, urged them to appreciate that the policy was meant to allow workers to use Thursdays and Fridays to farm, except workers on essential duties like teachers, nurses, doctors, political appointees and IGR personnel.
He said the workers were not asked to go home to stay idle but to dutifully engage in farming, which would not only help their individual economies but would also boost the economy of the state.
The governor declared that the development was in the best interest of everyone and would not affect the salaries of the workers.

Credit: DailyTrust