705 residents get cheap loans worth N1bn from Lagos state government

No fewer than 705 Lagos residents on Thursday, January 26, 2017, received various amounts of cheap loans almost N1bn from the Lagos State Educational Trust Fund, ETF.


The cheques of the loans, ranging from N50,000 to N5,000,000, were presented to some of the beneficiaries by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in Lagos on Thursday.


“The loans were provided at a very affordable rate of 5% per annum, cheaper than the prevailing bank interest,” this is according to a tweet on the official Twitter handle of Gov Ambode.


Speaking on the motive of giving out the cheap loans, the governor tweeted, “This is our modest way of reflating the Lagos economy, creating jobs and getting our youths gainfully occupied”.


The Governor urged all Lagos residents, irrespective of your tribe, religion or gender to apply for this scheme.


See all the tweets below:





Give women loans – Okonjo-Iweala

Former Minister of Finance and co-chair, Women’s World Banking, Africa Advisory Council, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that giving the 70 per cent of women, who are financially excluded in sub-Saharan Africa, access to financial services could spur the next phase of economic growth within the continent and hasten recovery in most parts of Africa.

Speaking at a Banking for Women programme hosted by Diamond Bank in partnership with Women World Banking, Africa Advisory Council in Lagos, Okonjo-Iweala said it was important for governments, central banks and finance ministries to formulate policies that are geared towards empowering women financially.

She noted that globally, two billion people are excluded from financial services and including 1.6 billion of them can raise local GDP by six per cent by 2025. She stated that part of the number to be included, more than half (808 million) are women.

She said: “There is one common theme globally and that is the theme of uncertainty and I think that uncertainty is coming from an unprecedented area of low global growth, the fact that the recovery from the 2008/2009 financial and economic crisis has been slower than expected and that recovery is very fragile. So, you have a situation where global growth has been reversed downwards one more time by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, to 3.1 per cent.

“Demand seems to be low, inflation in the northern countries is low and Africa is not doing as well as it should because of the commodities import and derailment of good policies. World trade is also very slow and you have the political bottlenecks; people don’t know.

“But, I believe that where there is difficulty, there is also opportunity and therefore you have to look at that side and determine where the opportunities are. And that is where the issue of financial inclusion of women and girls and is very important because everyone is searching for what will help spark growth in different economies and even for us here in sub-Saharan Africa. So, it is vitally important for us to look at this issue of financial exclusion of women on the continent.

Seventy per cent of African women are excluded, according to the numbers of access to financial services and if we bring them in, it will present another growth opportunity.

“So, they have done a study to show that including women and people financially can actually raise growth. The study also shows that countries with low women inclusion for example Ethopia, Nigeria etc can even add more to their GDP growth like10- 12 per cent higher than the global number.”

She added to drive the needed growth, government needs to get out the information that including women in businesses improves the bottom-line and that if you bring women into business and empower them, it increases growth of economy.

In his welcome address, the Group Managing Director/CEO, Diamond Bank Plc, Uzoma Dozie, stated that the bank is very passionate about growing and driving financial inclusion.

He said, “We are here today because Diamond Bank is hosting African Advisory Council set up by Women World Banking to promote the financial inclusion of women globally.

“The Women World Banking objective is to by partnership with organisations, donor agencies, banks like Diamond Bank to develop products and services that will enable women to be financially included and add to economic development of countries like Nigeria.”

$30 Billion Loan: Senate Accuses Buhari’s Aides of Incompetence

The Senate on Thursday blamed its rejection of President Muhammadu Buhari’s $29.960 billion external loan bid on the incompetence of presidential aides tasked with preparing the proposal.

This position was given by the Senate spokesperson, Aliyu Abdullahi, when he featured on a Channels TV breakfast program, Sunrise, on Thursday.

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

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, are poverty reduction through social safety net programs and governance and financial management reforms, among others.

But a week after the request was submitted, the Senate on Tuesday threw out the loan request without debate.

The Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, later revealed that the president’s letter had no detailed information about the loan bid, even though the letter made reference to an “attached” breakdown in its first paragraph.

This was admitted by the Presidency through Mr. Buhari’s assistant on the Senate, Ita Enang, who said the government would work with relevant agencies to collate the needed information.

Speaking on the development Thursday morning, the Senate spokesperson, Mr. Abdullahi, said people entrusted with key responsibilities within the Presidency must do their work.
He noted that there was a line in the letter that read “attached”, but lamented “nothing is attached”.

He blamed the anomaly on officials who were responsible for helping the President on matters of communication.
“This is the reality unfortunately. We have to rethink position given to certain persons and people who are not competent should step aside.

“What is the Chief of Staff doing? What is the SGF doing?

“We have said it that some people are working to set the president against the legislature,” said Mr. Abdullahi.

Defending the Senate’s action, the spokesperson said since the president’s letter was not supported by detailed information, the lawmakers had nothing to work with.
Mr. Abdullahi however said “if all these things are addressed, the Senate is more than desirous” to consider the loan authorisation request.

As at June, Nigeria’s debt profile is N16.29 trillion, representing $61.7 billion at N283/$1 exchange rate, according to the Debt Management Office.

In the 2016 budget, N1.48 trillion is meant for debt servicing, far higher than the country’s N221.7 billion budget for health and the N369.6 billion for education.

The proposed 2016-2018 borrowing (rolling) plan of $29.960 billion 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.

Repaying $30bn Loan Won’t Be Difficult – FG

The debt management office (DMO), which is under the finance ministry, says Nigeria will easily repay the loan of $29.9 billion in 30 years if it succeeds in getting it.

In a statement on Tuesday, Festus Akanbi, spokesman for the minister of finance, said Abraham Nwankwo, director-general of the DMO, provided clarifications on the proposed foreign loans while speaking on Sunrise Daily, a Channels TV live program.

Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari sent the proposal to the national assembly for approval, but the senate rejected it on Tuesday.

Nwankwo explained that the loans, which will cover a period of three years, would help in addressing the biting infrastructure deficit in the country.

“When you are in this kind of economic situation, you have to decide where you want to start addressing the problem,” he said.

“You then come to the conclusion that the most critical point to start is to deal with infrastructure problem. If you deal with infrastructure problem, the cost of power will be lower, the cost of transportation will be lower, and the cost of most other services will be lower.”

According to him, one of the features of the proposed loan is the low concessionary nature of the interest rate, which is fixed at 1.5 per cent.

He said this arrangement differed from previous loan arrangements with the Paris Club of creditors, which came with floating interest rates as high as 18 percent.

He also explained that the facility would help to revive infrastructure like railways which will smoothen movement of heavy goods across the country.

He said tackling infrastructure deficit would force down costs of goods and services in the long run, emphasizing that the development would have a significant impact on the price level in the economy.

“That impacts the economy by bringing down the general price level, (they call it the consumer price index, which is a classical measure of the price level and the rate of inflation.),” he said.

“When you do this, the Central Bank of Nigeria will set the monetary policy rate low, because all over the world, the central bank knows it has to put the monetary policy rate high enough to catch up with inflation rate, otherwise we will be talking about negative real rate of interest which destroys the economy.

“So the way to go about it is that you have adequate infrastructure, power road, transportation ICT. All these make the cost of production in the economy much lower and when this happens, the cost of goods and services will be lower and then inflation will start coming down. And if inflation comes down, the monetary policy rate will be lower and this will translate to a lower lending rate. That is the sequence.”

He said, “the $30bn was actually for a three-year-period and that it would run from 2016-2018, and to be repaid in 20-30 years time.”

He said, “with this arrangement, it will not be difficult for the country to repay”.

Speaking on how the $30bn would be spent, Nwankwo stated that $10bn would be spent per annum for three years  and that it would be targeted at building infrastructure in all states of the federation, adding that the main focus would be on power generation, rail and road renovation, and construction.

I Should have Marketed Buhari’s Loan Request – Majority Leader, Ndume

Ali Ndume, the senate leader, says he ought to have marketed the loan request of President Muhammadu Buhari, which was rejected by the upper chamber of the national assembly.

The senate turned down the president’s request to borrow the sum of $29.96 billion from external sources.

But speaking with journalists at the national assembly complex, Ndume said he will appeal to his colleagues to take a second look at the proposal.

He said the proposal had some technical issues, but that they would be resolved.

“I’m going to appeal to my colleagues to see how we will bring the proposal back,” he said.

“I think there were some technical issues; it was supposed to go to the committee where it will be worked on, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.

“But we’ll look at it. But I can’t say when the representation of the? proposal will be.

“I had no idea the proposal would be rejected if I had an idea I would have marketed it.”

The senators kicked out the proposal without a debate

FG floats N25bn loan scheme for mass transit sector

The Federal Government has set up N25 billion revolving loan scheme for transport companies in the country to access funds for purchase of mass transit vehicles.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday at the opening of a two-day national workshop for chief executives of mass transit companies.

Enelamah said the initiative was aimed at boosting the country’s mass transit system as well as encouraging local patronage of local vehicle assembly plants.

He explained that the loan would be administered through the Infrastructure Bank at zero per cent interest rate.

The workshop is organised by the National Automotive Design and Development Council in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Transport Technology, Zaria, Kaduna State.

The theme of the workshop is: “Nigeria Automotive Policy: A National Agenda for Sustainable Mass Transit Operation Development.”

Enelamah said: “Government is determined to develop the automotive industry because of its extensive linkages, impact on job creation, technology transfer as well as foreign exchange savings and earnings.

“The response by investors has been encouraging and we have brought back vehicle assembly and are now focussing on local content development.

“Many of the new assembly plants produce buses and mini-buses. I hereby call on all Nigerians to patronise the products of these assembly plants.”

Enelamah urged the workshop participants to come up with innovative solutions for the development of an efficient and affordable mass transportation system in the country.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, stated that the mass transit sector was one of the major engines driving the nation’s socio-economic and cultural development.

Amaechi, however, said in spite of this, the sector was facing huge challenges, including low operational capacity, broken down vehicles, obsolete facilities and poor maintenance culture.

The minister said a vibrant local automotive industry would significantly address those challenges, while at the same time depending on the mass transit sector for patronage.

He said: “This workshop is, therefore, organised to appraise the mass transit perspective of the Nigeria Automotive Policy.

“It is a platform for stakeholders to meet and exchange ideas on the effective implementation of the policy and make recommendations for realising a sustainable mass transport agenda for Nigeria.

“The dynamic leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is poised to address the challenges facing the transport sector.

“The Federal Government is willing to invest heavily in this sector.

“We are already seeing practical efforts in that regard, especially with the rail transportation system.”

Obasanjo Blames Jonathan For Recession

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday took a swipe at the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, declaring that his advice on the prevailing economic crisis was ignored two years ago.


Obasanjo also blamed Jonathan for lifting the ban on importation of products like toothpick, which he said could have been taken over by local industries without encumbrances.

At the official opening of the National Council on Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) in Abeokuta yesterday, Obasanjo said the only way Nigeria could urgently step out of the current economic recession is for it to seek foreign loan.
Obasanjo, who was the Father of the Day at the opening session, said he had warned the former President on the impending recession in November 26, 2014 When he joined others to celebrate the birthday of retired Justice Akanbi.
I reminded the government that we were spending more than we were earning. that very soon, the country would not be able to fund the budget. Unfortunately, the government then refused to listen to my advice,” he told the gathering.
Obasanjo shocked the gathering when he recalled how it was discovered that the ban on the importation of toothpick was reversed by the Jonathan administration, saying he had visited Jonathan in Abuja to ask why he lifted the ban on toothpick and Jonathan said he did not read before he approved.
Speaking further on the way out for Nigeria, Obasanjo said there were three options, explaining,
“The three options are we have to spend less, we must endeavor to earn and then the last one is to borrow, and this if we must, we do it fast and now. “


He however cautioned against doing the bidding of the World Bank and Inernational Monetary Fund (IMF).

How Boko Haram Lures Youths, Pupils With Interest-Free Loans

New reports by an international aid organisation, Mercy Corps, have revealed how Boko Haram insurgents use informal micro credit schemes and promises of safety to recruit hundreds of youths and pupils as fighters.


The beneficiaries, the reports funded by the Ford Foundation added, received amounts ranging from N10,000 to N1m in order to buy motorcycles, restock their trading stores and grow their small-scale businesses.


The reports, presented on Thursday in Lagos, also highlighted how repression from the military and access to interest-free finance, among others, had perpetuated terrorism and elicited sympathy from communities in the North.


However, the Lead Researcher and Global Director, Conflict Management for Mercy Corps, Rebecca Wolfe, said many of the locals did not know that the credits were from the insurgents.


The reports noted, “Roughly one out of three respondents had completed secular secondary school and about the same number had completed some sort of Islamic schooling.”


Titled, “Motivations and Empty Promises: Voices of former Boko Haram combatants and Nigerian Youth and Gifts and Graft: How Boko Haram uses Financial Services for Recruitment and Support,” the reports revealed that peer pressure and the availability of girls were also incentives to the beneficiaries.


According to Wolfe, 47 former members of the insurgent groups, comprising 21 females and 26 males, 45 community members and seven others, who refused the sect’s incentives were interviewed during the study.


She added, “Sometimes the people did not know. It is usually something like a friend coming to give them money for their business and they later find out that the friend is a member of Boko Haram. I asked them, ‘Don’t you people know?’ But it turned out that sometimes, they did not know what they were getting into.


One male recipient shared how he was complaining to a friend that he wanted a job so he could better provide for his parents. The friend then liaised with Boko Haram leaders to secure a motorcycle to allow the recipient start a business,” she said.


Meanwhile, the reports recommended that the government should, in the post-conflict era, “increase the quality, availability and diversity of financial services, particularly to youths with small, informal businesses. Increase transparency and accessibility to government-led economic programmes. Explore financial services to help youths achieve their ambitions, among other interventions.”


A member of the team, Ballama Mustafa, who urged the government to make its presence felt in remote communities in the region, added that interventions should be interest-free and should not exclude locals, who are not literate.


He added, “There are diverse paths to membership. Some were abducted and some joined because they had friends who were insurgents. Some joined to avenge the deaths of their family members or friends. When the military invades a community after a terrorist attack, you find that the military arrests people indiscriminately. But Boko Haram also does that. When they go into a community, they can kill parents who have prevented their children from joining them. One of our recommendations is that communities and schools should create counter-narratives to dissuade youths and pupils from joining the sect.

Boko Haram Lures, Traps Young Nigerian Entrepreneurs With Business Loans

Boko Haram has lured young entrepreneurs and business owners in northeast Nigeria to join the Islamist militant group by providing or promising capital and loans to boost their businesses, aid agency Mercy Corps said on Monday.

According to Reuters, seeing successful business ownership as a way to escape poverty, many Nigerian youths – ranging from butchers and beauticians to tailors and traders – accepted loans for their businesses in return for joining Boko Haram, Mercy Corps said.

Yet the lure of business support is often a trap, as those who cannot repay their loans are forced to join the militants or be killed, said the report from the U.S.-based aid agency. “Boko Haram is tapping into the yearning of Nigerian youth to get ahead in an environment of massive inequality,” said report author and Mercy Corps peacebuilding adviser Lisa Inks.

“It is incredibly clever – either such loans breed loyalty or Boko Haram use mafia style tactics to trap and force young people to join them,” Inks told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Six in 10 Nigerians live in absolute poverty, on less than one dollar a day, a figure which rises to three quarters of the population in the northeast of the country, according to the latest statistics from Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics.

Many young people told Mercy Corps they would struggle without the support of powerful “godfathers” to provide capital for their businesses, or cash transfers for equipment and goods.

Credit: Thisday

Wike To Use 30Bn Loan To Develop Rivers

The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Governor of Rivers, Mr Opunabo Inko-Tariah, has said that the state government’s N30 billion loan will be used to develop the state. Inko-Tariah told newsmen in Port Harcourt on Thursday that insinuations by the state chapter of All Progressives Congress that Gov. Nyesom Wike intends to borrow N100 billion were untrue.

WIKEHe said there were compelling needs to be attended to and government had no option than to take the loan. “The governor’s actions were based on the necessity, the importance of the project to Rivers people and not whether he will take the credit or not for completing the project,’’ he said.

He said that the courts and assembly complexes were shut for close to two years and there was need to renovate them. “There are so many projects that were abandoned because the contractors were not paid by the previous administration and some of the projects are very important to Rivers people.

“Also, the governor has ordered that the April and May salaries of civil servants be paid,’’ he said. The governor’s spokesman said government was also reviving payment of overheads to ministries and parastatals.

According to him, government needs the money to kick start and that is why the governor is seeking the loan. He said the Wike administration did not inherit money from the previous administration and that it had to meet the needs of the people. “The demands are much greater than the resources available,’’ Inko-Tariah said

Anambra Begins Disbursement Of N2bn Small Business Loans

Anambra State Government has commenced the disbursement of the N2bn Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund.

The state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, believed that small business owners in the state now have an opportunity to make significant progress.

Obiano said this in Awka on Monday following the inauguration of the Anambra Small Business Agency and the commencement of the disbursement of the N2bn scheme.

The fund is Anambra State’s quota of the N220bn MSME fund domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The governor reasoned that lack of fund had been the bane of small businesses, saying this trend would change with the availability of the MSMEs Development Fund, which could be accessed by serious private enterprise operators.

Obiano said, “I am happy that the scheme has taken off in earnest because we worked hard to ensure that we meet the relevant statutory requirements and set up ASBA to superintend over small business activities.

‘Micro Small and Medium Enterprises constitute the major drivers of my administration’s vision to engender aggressive economic growth and touch the lives of the average citizen of the state positively. I have no doubt that their fortunes will turn around for good and that the local economy will feel the positive impact in no distant time.”

The Governor described the exercise as a consummation of his efforts since inception of his government, to devise a means of directly engaging the MSMEs sub-sector in the task of growing the state economy, creating employment and wealth opportunities for the people.

He urged the staff and management of ASBA to ensure effective implementation of the scheme, such that all bottlenecks, militating against easy access to such intervention by SMMEs would be removed.

The fund is divided into two with N1bn being the disbursement to micro enterprises and the other to small and medium scale enterprises at an interest rate of nine percent.

Chairman of the Board of ASBA, Mr. Greg Obi, identified stringent loan conditions as the major stumbling block to SMEs’ development in the country.


Senate Approves Additional $200m Loan for FG, Passes Criminal Justice Bill into Law

The Senate has approved the request of President Goodluck Jonathan to raise additional $200 million Diaspora Bond from the international capital market in addition to an initial $100 million approved by the upper chamber of the national assembly in the 2012-2014 borrowing plan.

In a letter dated February 4, 2015 addressed to Senate President, David Mark, the president explained that the increment being sought was to enable him to address critical infrastructure in the country, while also giving Nigeria’s diaspora citizens the opportunity to invest in the development of the country.

Presenting the report, Senator Ehigie Uzamere, who chaired the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, which held joint meetings with the Committee on Finance said several meetings were held with officials of the Debt Management Office in the course of their assignment.

According to him, the joint committee was guided by Nigeria’s Medium Term Debt Management Strategy (2012-2015); The Debt Sustainability Analysis (2013); Fiscal Responsibility Act (2007); Debt Management Act (2003) and the 2014-2016 MTEF/FSP.

Senate President, David Mark, who presided over the sitting, said he was confident that the funds would be judiciously utilised by the Jonathan-led administration.

The Senate, also on Tuesday, passed the criminal justice bill into law. The bill, which according to the lawmakers, would ensure speedy dispensation of justice in the country has been presented since 2005. During this period, it has been adopted by the Lagos State government and has been amended once.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Umaru Dahiru, said when signed into law, the bill would promote efficient management of criminal justice in the country.

Mark also said that the bill would help in repositioning the criminal justice in the country

We Would Sue Banks Over Loans Granted To Fayemi’s Administration – Fayose

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has said the state was in the process of filing a suit against some banks he said granted loans to the administration of ex-Governor Kayode Fayode without due process.

Fayose, who gave the hint while addressing monarchs in the state during a meeting on Thursday, said “We don’t know where the funds ended or entered”.

At the meeting, it was learnt that the monarchs agreed to pray and work for the revival of the finances of the state while also urging government to increase the drive for internally generated revenue.

Gov. Fayose lamented that dialogue with the affected banks had failed, adding that they had tagged Ekiti as insolvent and wouldn’t grant the state loans.

He said, “We are currently entering legal action against some banks because of some of the loans they gave the state, we don’t know where they entered. They granted some loans without due process. The banks have been approached but they are not willing to cooperate.

“So, what we are doing now is to approach the courts to seek a legal redress”.