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FG Borrows N473Bn in 4 Months to Finance Budget

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Federal government has borrowed the sum of N473 billion in the past four months to finance this year’s budget and not released any funds for capital expenditure, as lower oil prices eat into its revenues.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, minister of Finance, who stated this during a media briefing on the budget, which was passed by the National Assembly last week said that despite the fact that the budget had not been signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan, the constitution allowed the Executive to incur expenditure within the first six months into the fiscal year.

Later in an emailed statement to Reuters, the minister said that “We have serious challenges,”

“Things have been tough since the beginning of the year and they are likely to remain so till the end of the year.”

The borrowed money has been spent to cover overhead, including salaries, the minister said.

Lawmakers in Africa’s biggest economy and oil producer last week passed a 4.49 trillion naira ($23 billion) budget for 2015, 3.2 percent lower than last year’s spending plans. It was forced to cut spending after global oil prices slumped.

The budget took longer than usual getting through parliament, worsening the cash squeeze, because of the closely fought general elections in March, which saw incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan defeated.

“As a result of the 50 percent decline in oil revenues, the country has faced a difficult cash crunch … Out of the 882 billon naira budgetary provision for borrowing, the government has borrowed 473 billion naira to meet up with recurrent expenditure,” the finance ministry said.

Okonjo-Iweala had projected annual domestic borrowing last year would fall to below 500 billion naira from 577 billion naira in 2013.

The borrowing requirement this year could crowd out lending to the real economy, raising domestic interest rates and yields on government bonds, which could hurt growth. Forecasts for growth have already been lowered twice this year.

The ministry said that inflation is still in single digits and that the Nigerian economy is projected to grow by 4.8 percent this year.

Government revenues have shrunk sharply since oil sales account for up to 80 percent of them and its currency, the naira, has weakened drastically, despite the central bank’s spending billions of U.S. dollars to prop it up.

The lack of funds for capital expenditure means badly needed infrastructure development will be put on hold. Funding for large projects such as bridges and roads had already begun to dry up in 2014, forcing construction firms companies with government contracts to cut back and fire thousands of workers.


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E-Financial

CBN Investigates 55 Companies over Forex Infractions

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Amidst sustained pressures on Nigeria’s official foreign exchange resources, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has opened investigations into foreign exchange transactions of 55 companies and individuals.

The apex bank linked them to foreign exchange deals outside the official Investors & Exporters (I&E) window.

CBN Investigates 55 Companies over Forex Infractions

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor

The I&E window was created by the CBN as the legitimate platform for buying and selling of foreign currencies.

Some of the major corporate organisations in the list include Stallion Nigeria Limited, a conglomerate involved in several sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The list also includes Nigeria’s leading electronic payment company, Interswitch Nigeria Limited, as well as a leading global shipping line, CMA CGM Nigeria Shipping Limited.

Other big names in the list include Petro-Afrique Energy Services Limited, Steel Force Far East Limited, Auto Petroleum Company Limited, Cavendish Mechanicals Limited, Aquashield Oil & Marine Limited, Haitch & Elf Integrated Services Limited, Fenog Nigeria Limited, and Promasidor Nigeria Limited.


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FG Makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

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Federal government on Friday apologised for asking all account holders in financial institutions in the country to re-register their personal details.

FG makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

Recall that the federal government had on Thursday ‎ordered that all persons holding accounts across financial institutions and insurance firms should complete and submit self-certification forms to their respective financial institutions.

The notice issued by the government to that effect read, ‎“This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc.) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions.

“Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of the institutions. The forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures, in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019.‎”

The directive raised eyebrows, as account holders already possessed Bank Verification Numbers.

Following widespread condemnation that trailed the directive, the Federal Government backtracked on Friday, saying the fresh guidelin‎e was not for all Nigerians.

The government attributed the development to misinformation.

The clarification issued by the government on Friday read, ‎“We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the notice does not apply to everybody. ‎FIRS will clarify Nigerians on the objectives of the directive.”

Also on Friday, FIRS, in a statement posted on Twitter, explained that the guidelines were only for non-residents, as well as people paying tax in more than one country.

Parts of the FIRS statement read, “The Self Certification Form is basically to be administered on Reportable Persons, holding accounts in Financial institutions, that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.

“Reportable persons are often non-residents and other persons, who have residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or country.”

“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during account opening processes, for the KYC and AML purpose.”


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Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

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Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has disowned Tope Olajide, 22-year-old fraudster arraigned for theft of customers deposits.

Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

The Bank said this in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement said: “The attention of the management of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has been drawn to news currently circulating in the media, about the alleged arraignment of staff of the Bank on charges bordering on the theft of customers deposits.

“The Bank would like to clarify that the defendant, a 22-year-old Tope Olajide, IS NOT, and was at no point in time an employee of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC.

“The alleged culprit was apprehended around 7:30 am, on Thursday, 27 August 2020, by security operatives after he was exposed by CCTV footage using ATM cards he had allegedly stolen and converted, to make withdrawals from the accounts tied to the stolen ATMs.

“The CCTV footage also showed the alleged culprit pretending to assist customers at ATMs whilst also attempting to fraudulently dispossess the customers of their ATMs.

“He was subsequently arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate Court on Monday, 14 September, for stealing the debit cards of two customers and using them to unlawfully withdraw the sum of N427,000.

“The Bank would also like to implore members of the public to be security conscious when conducting transactions at ATMs. Customers are advised to report any suspicious actions around them to security operatives who are usually stationed around the Bank’s ATMs, when carrying out transactions at any of our ATM locations.

“As an organisation, we hold dear the values of integrity, and we will continue to prioritise the safety of our customers effectively.”


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