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Reps Ask Ministry, CBN to Account for $500m Extra Budgetary Spending

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The House of Representatives is to investigate the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for engaging in extra budgetary spending of over 500 million dollars from Nigeria Export Supervision Scheme Fund.

Reps Ask Ministry, CBN to Account for $500 Extra Budgetary Spending

The House is also to investigate the spending by the CBN and the Ministry of Finance over another extra-budgetary spending of about N700 billion from the same fund in contravention of section 80 of the constitution which stipulates that such funds must be appropriated before being utilised.

Adopting a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Rep. Abdullahi Sa’ad Abdulkadir on the need for urgent investigation and audit of the Nigeria Export Supervision Scheme Fund in view of the Joint rendition of account to the Auditor General of the Federation by the Ministry of Finance, the House directs its Committee on Public Account to carry out the investigation and report back within four weeks.

Abdulkadir said that the Pre-shipment Inspection of Export Act of 1966 requires that prior to the export of any goods from Nigeria, it must be inspected by an Inspection Agent, which in turn is required to issue, where appropriate, a Clean Certificate of inspection to the overseas buyer of the goods.

He said that both oil and non-oil export are liable to pre shipment inspection in respect of their quality, quantity and price while the Inspection Agent is required to issue to the Exporter a Provisional Certificate of inspection.

He said further that upon loading of the goods and conduct of a final inspection, where the goods satisfy the required thresholds as to quantity, quality and price, the inspection Agent will issue a Clean Certificate of inspection.

The lawmaker who is also the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Public Account stressed that in order to engender transparency in the administration of the Pre shipment inspection programme, the Act requires the Inspection Agent to send an original copy of the Clean Certificate of Inspection to the Federal Ministry of Finance (Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning’, referred as ‘Federal Ministry of Finance) the Nigeria Customs Service, the Nigerian Ports Authority, the exporter, the exporter’s bank for transmission to the buyer’s bank overseas and the Central Bank of Nigeria.

In the spirit of transparency and public accountability he said, the inspection Agent is obligated to furnish, weekly reports of successfully conducted pre shipment inspection to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Commerce (now Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment) and the Central Bank of Nigeria

The Act he said further requires the payment of a levy by exporters of goods as pre shipment inspection levy, which will be paid into a special fund from which the remuneration, fees and other charges of the inspection Agents are to be defrayed. in addition, section 14(3) “of the Act requires that any balance remaining in the special fund is to be used for funding the pre-shipment inspection programme.

He said further that section 80(1) & (2) of the Constitution requires revenue that accrue to the Federation, which is not constitutionally required to be paid into a specific fund, must be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, while the Act creates a Special Fund, the balances in that Fund is exempted from being paid to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

He explained that even though the Fund is exempted from being remitted into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, section 80(4) of the Constitution requires that spending/expenditure from such Special Fund cannot be done without any appropriation by the National Assembly.

Section 80(4) of the Constitution states as follows “No moneys shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund 0f the Federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.”

He alleged that for the past10 years, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria have expended from the Fund without the National Assembly appropriating for such spending, saying ‘it is widely known that both the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria utilise the funds in the Special Fund as a sort of slush fund.”

The Action of the Ministry and the CBN he said “constitutes a gross violation of the letters and spirit of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, the transparency intents embedded in the Pre shipment Inspection of Export Act 1966 and the Finance (Control and Management) Act.

“The extra-statutory deductions and illegal expenditure from this fund has cost Nigeria over 700 billion Naira within the last ten years. Recently over 500 million United States Dollar was expended from the Fund without any budgetary appropriation. In addition the Federal Ministry of Finance has failed and refused to render its account in respect of the NESS Fund to the Auditor General for the Federation.

“If urgent steps are not taken to investigate and audit the NESS Fund, Nigeria may risk the strong possibility of losing more money and the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Ministry of Finance may continue to use this Fund as a slush fund with the chances of diverting it to personal use without any public scrutiny.”


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E-Financial

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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Buhari Okays Establishment of CBN-Led Infraco

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President Muhammadu  Buhari has approved the establishment of an   Infrastructure Company (Infraco) to be driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in partnership with the African Finance Corporation (AFC) and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

Buhari Okays Establishment of CBN-Led Infraco

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor

This is coming  on the heels of the foreign reserves’ slump to $36 billion following a cocktail of monetary policy interventions by the apex bank to cushion the scathing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, made these disclosures in Abuja at the annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) with the theme: Facilitating a Sustainable Future: The role of Banking and Finance.

According to him, Infraco would enable the use of private and public capital to support infrastructure investment that will have a multiplier effect on growth across critical sectors.

“This entity would also be able to raise funds from the capital markets and mobilise long term finance to address some of our infrastructure needs, while providing reasonable returns to investors. “We believe this well-structured fund can act as a catalyst for growth in the medium and the long run. The support of the banking community will be important in achieving this objective.

“A well-built infrastructure system, comprising hard infrastructure such as roads and ports, and soft infrastructure such as broadband penetration, can have a multiplier effect on growth by enabling the expansion of business activities in the country”, he explained.

On foreign reserves, Emefiele attributed its crash to the decline in foreign exchange earnings and subsequent adjustments in the value of the naira to the dollar.


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