Watch How Gambian Ruler, Jammeh, Called President Elect, Barrow, To Concede Defeat

Gambian ruler Yayah Jammeh has conceded defeat to rival Adama Barrow after the presidential polls.

Gambia’s electoral commission says opposition candidate Adama Barrow won an upset victory in the country’s presidential poll, beating longtime ruler Jammeh after 22-year reign.

The Independent Electoral Commission announced on Friday that Barrow won 263,000 votes, or 45 percent of the total, while Jammeh took 212,000 votes, about 36 percent. A third candidate, Mama Kandeh, won 17 percent.

Nigerians borrow more as domestic debt of banks hit N13.8trn

Borrowings by individuals and corporate entities from banking institutions have increased due to the economic recession, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Many now find it difficult to purchase their usual consumables, leading to increased demand for personal loans.

Topping the list of the increased borrowing are housing and personal loans to support basic necessities like feeding, school fees, repairs and other household miscellaneous.

“Households’ demand for house purchase lending, unsecured credit card lending and unsecured overdraft/personal loans increased in Q3. Corporate lending also increased across all firms’ sizes. These are expected to increase further in the Q4,” the report said.

Secured loan performance, as measured by default rates worsened in Q3, with attendant losses to banks and expectations of improvement in Q4.

Meanwhile, the oil and gas sector’s indebtedness to the banks increased from a N3.2 billion level during the first quarter of 2015 to N4.9 billion in the third quarter of 2016.

This is just a part of private sector indebtedness to the banking sector in the period under review.

The NBS, in its third quarter 2016 Private Sector Banking Credit, showed that banking debt portfolio at the end of the third quarter (Q3) of 2016 is N13.8 trillion. Power and energy industry and services, which are currently struggling to fund their projects, are also increasing their respective obligations.

Private sector credit flow represents the net amount of liabilities (for the instruments debt securities and loans) that have been incurred in various sectors.

Specifically, the oil and gas industry indebtedness rose by N3.6 billion, while the service segment increase was put at N1.2 billion in the period under review. Other high-profile debt increases include the manufacturing, N2.2 billion; mining and quarrying, N27.3 million; construction, N631.5 million; trade/general commerce, N973 million; and real estate, N760.2 million.

Finance, insurance and capital market debt recorded N933.4 million; education N89.3 million; information and communication, N957 million; and transport and storage, N459.2 million.

For example, about 15 energy companies in the country collectively owed bank a total of N380.76 billion, which has translated to a non-performing loan.

Speaking on his company’s indebtedness to banks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Egbin Power Plc, Dallas Peavey Jr., said the company owes banks $325 million (N99.13 billion).

He noted that the scarcity of dollars had continued to take a toll on the company’s operations.

Speaking on the implication of such bank exposure to the oil and gas companies, an economic expert and Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf yesterday said that the credit risk outlook for these two sectors were not positive due to attacks on oil installations.

The LCCI chief noted that the recovery of the oil and gas sector would depend largely on the progress made in the curbing of the attacks on oil installations as well as the outlook for oil price.

Professor of Economics and Director, Centre for Petroleum, Energy Economics and Law, University of Ibadan, Adeola Adenikinju, blamed the power sector’s indebtedness to banks on the technical and economic losses that remained unacceptably high in the sector.

The don maintained that many government agencies, powerful individuals and organisations were also indebted to the power companies, thereby, worsening the plight of the industry and limiting their ability to meet their obligations to the banks.

Senate Rejects Buhari’s Request To Borrow $30 Billion

The Senate has rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for authorisation to borrow about $30 billion.

The president, last Tuesday, forwarded a request to the National Assembly to approve external borrowing plan of $29.960 billion to execute key infrastructural projects across the country between 2016 and 2018.

He made the requests in two separate letters to the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.

Mr. Buhari said the external loan, the biggest in Nigeria’s history, will fund targeted projects cutting across all sectors with special emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, growth and employment generation.

Other sectors, he said, included poverty reduction through social safety net programmes and governance and financial management reforms, among others.

According to him, the cost of the projects and programmes under the borrowing (rolling) plan is $29.960 billion.

This is made up of proposed projects and programmes loan of $11.274 billion, special national infrastructure projects $10.686 billion, Euro bonds of $4.5 billion and Federal Government budget support of $3.5 billion.

The Majority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, was quoted on Monday as saying that the House would approve the loan.

 But The Senate considered the request on Tuesday and refused to give its approval.

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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.”

Government May Borrow N165b To Pay Civil Servants

With fast declining revenue, the Federal Government said yesterday it is now faced with the prospect of borrowing to meet the monthly civil service wage bill of N165 billion.

Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who had met with protesting workers of her ministry on Wednesday, said in a statement in Abuja yesterday that she does not have any power to pay N1.2 billion, which was not in the budget of the Ministry.

The minister said she had put all government departments to real squeeze in finances as the country grapples with the financial crisis inherited from previous administrations.Pointing out that many people across the country are now struggling to find work, with some losing theirs, while civil servants in many states are not getting their salaries, the minister urged her ministry workers to be grateful for getting their salaries on consistent basis and work together to get the whole economy back on its feet.

At the meeting to reconcile all parties involved in the workers’ protest, it was agreed that the ministry’s management would meet with unions to consider the issues raised and map out ways to reach resolutions on of before today.

The minister had met with staff unions at the ministry on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing dispute over additional payments, where she urged them to present their grievances in a structured and articulated manner so that each issue would be formally presented and addressed on its merit.

While she expressed understanding for their demand for additional bonuses, based on their past dealings with the previous administration, she explained that she does not have any power to pay N1.2 billion, especially the one that is not in the budget.

The minister added that while government is determined to end the ongoing impasse over bonus and allowance with the workers, the labour unions should propose modalities that would increase revenue generation and structure to pay the bonuses.

Credit: Guardian

PDP Accuses Buhari Of Planning To Borrow N5 Billion Daily In 2016

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of planning to borrow at least N5 billion per day to finance the N6.08 trillion 2016 budget.

The spokesperson of the party, Olisa Metuh, who spoke with reporters on Tuesday in Abuja, said a breakdown of the N1.84 trillion to be borrowed by Mr. Buhari to fund the budget shows that Nigeria would be borrowing N5 billion a day for the next 365 days, starting from January I, 2016, without corresponding provision for economic production and a clear repayment plan.

“Some people may be wondering why we raised an alarm about the budget. The reason is simple. When we analysed the budget, we discovered it is a misshapen attempt at a Keynesian economics of applying deficit spending to stimulate growth even when studies have proven that GDP growth rates decrease by over 50% when debt goes from low or moderate to high. But then we know the borrowing here is to pay huge campaign debt and fund a political war chest.

“By every standard, this budget is a booby trap against the nation. When you break down the proposed N1.84 trillion borrowing, you discover that it amounts to borrowing N5 billion every day for the 365 days in 2016. The questions are: for what specific projects are they borrowing N5 billion per day and how do they intend to pay back?” Mr. Metuh said.

The PDP spokespersons said Mr. Buhari should explain to Nigerians how his government intends to pay back the loan.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Benue To Borrow N10bn For Salaries, Projects

The Benue House of Assembly on Thursday approved the request of the state’s executive arm to borrow N10 billion. The House gave the approval in Makurdi during a plenary session.

The letter, seeking the approval of the House to borrow the amount, was signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Targema Takema. The letter said that the governor of the state, Samuel Ortom, inherited an empty treasury.

Reading the letter, the Speaker, Terkimbi Ikyange, said that reliable information from the state Ministry of Finance indicated that the state treasury was empty. Mr. Ikyange said that the state workers were owed five months salaries.

He said that many state-owned agencies were on strike thereby grounding government activities as a result of non-payment of salaries.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Benue Must Borrow To Pay Salaries – Gov Suswam

Benue State governor Gabriel Suswam yesterday said the state is left with no option than to borrow money to clear the salary arrears owed workers in the agrarian state.

The governor, however, condemned in strong terms the politicisation of the issue of non-payment of salaries by the opposition, saying their campaign is not issues-based but mere propaganda and cheap blackmail.

Suswam who stated this at Adikpo in Kwande local government area of the state said his administration would not be indebted to workers by the end of his tenure. He said the non-payment of salaries is a national problem propelled by the global economic crunch.

Wondering why the opposition APC would not base their local government campaigns on development-driven issues, Suswam said such unguarded utterances are targetted at smearing the image of his administration and advised the party to consider modern democratic tenets.

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