Nigeria’s GDP records decline in Q3, Q4 2016

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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says the Gross Domestic Product in real terms declined in the third and fourth quarters of 2016.

The NBS made this known in its “Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report on Expenditure and Income Approach for the third and fourth quarter of 2016 released in Abuja.

According to the report, the decline followed the negative growth trend from the first half of 2016.

It explained that the household consumption and government consumption expenditures led to the decrease in GDP in both the third and fourth quarter of the year under review.

The bureau, however, stated that a strong recovery in growth in net exports, particularly in the fourth quarter helped to stem the decline.

According to the report, the National Disposable Income recorded a strong growth in comparison to the GDP in the second half of 2016 in real terms.

This it said was partly as a result of increases in other net transfers from the rest of the World.XE

The report stated that Year on Year growth in Domestic Compensation of Employees in real terms declined.

The bureau further said that the operating surplus declined in the third and fourth quarters but grew overall in real terms in 2016.

Addressing Nigeria’s five-million housing deficit by 2030 difficult – Obasanjo

Image result for Ex-president Olusegun ObasanjoFormer President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for smart policies that can stimulate investment in housing development to address the five million housing deficit in the country.

He said if the nation produced half a million housing units per annum, it would still find it difficult to meet the needs of the populace by 2030 in view of the growing population.

Speaking during the inauguration of River Park Estate and a community police station along the Airport Road, Abuja, on Monday, the ex-President encouraged investors to invest in the housing sector, saying it offered huge returns.

He noted that the development of housing estates could also be fast-tracked through Public-Private-Partnership arrangements as exemplified by the River Park Estate, which was built by two firms, Houses for Africa and Jonah Capital Nigeria, and other partners.

Obasanjo added, “Housing will continue to be a challenge for us till the next two generations; so, if investors want to go into an area where there will be return on their investment, housing must be one of them.

“We will have to think out of the box, bringing greater performance and efficiency to make impact in housing production; it cannot be business as usual. It is part of the problem of demography.”

The elder statesman said the PPP arrangement in estate development was part of the policy adjustment undertaken by his administration in 2007 to boost interest in housing construction in the country.

Obasanjo explained that the approval for mass housing estate schemes was used to introduce the PPP into the real estate sector between the Federal Capital Territory Administration and private developers.

He lauded Prof. Akin Mabogunje, who chaired the Presidential Committee on Mass Housing Projects, which paved the way for the development of mass housing schemes across the nation.

The Chairman, River Park Estate, Paul Odili, commended Obasanjo for the roles his administration played in encouraging private investments in mass housing estates development.

He said the River Park Estate could boast over 3,000 structures, including a divisional police station, shopping mall, petrol station, hotel complex, nursery/primary school, international conference centre and a golf course.

Odili added that 89 employees of ECOWAS Commission, who subscribed to the estate, had occupied their completed apartments while four others, whose homes were not ready, would move in by the end of the year.

AGF authorised Maina’s reinstatement –Documents

Image result for Tweet   Share  Pin it  +1 Abubakar MalamiIndications emerged on Monday that a former head of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on corruption charges, was reinstated based on the advice of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN).

This is contained in two separate letters by the Federal Civil Service Commission addressed to Maina and the Head of Service, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita.

The letters also indicated that Maina was reinstated into the service with effect from February 21, 2013, being the date he was earlier dismissed from service.

The letters also indicated that the FCSC approved Maina to sit for the next promotion examination for the post of Director (Administration), Grade Level 17.

Both letters dated September 18, 2017 were with reference number FC.4029.82/VOL.III/179.

The two letters were signed by Mustapha L. Sulaiman on behalf of the Chairman of the FCSC.

The letter addressed to Maina indicated that Malami, in his letter with reference number HAGF/FCSC/2017/VOL.1/3 and dated April 27, 2017 “requested” the FCSC to reinstate Maina on the basis that the warrant issued for Maina’s arrest had been quashed by a court order.

The letter with the title, ‘Reinstatement into service: Alhaji Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina, Deputy Director (Administration), SGL 16; stated, “Kindly refer to the Attorney General of the Federation/Honourable Minister of Justice letter Ref. No. HAGF/FCSC/2017/VOL.1/3 dated April 27, 2017 requesting the Federal Civil Service Commission to give consequential effect to the judgment that voided the warrant of arrest issued against A. A. Maina which formed the basis for the query and his eventual dismissal.

“Further to the aforementioned letter, the Federal Civil Service Commission at its meeting held on June 14, 2017 deliberated on the Attorney General of the Federation’s letter and requested the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation  vide letter FC.4029/82/VOL.III/160 of June 21, 2017 to advise the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior to consider the AGF’s letter, the officer’s case and make appropriate recommendation to the commission.

“The OHCSF accordingly advised the Ministry of Interior to consider the matter.

“The Ministry of Interior at its Senior Staff Committee meeting held on  June 22, 2017 considered the disciplinary case against the officer and the letter by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice seeking the reinstatement of the officer as a Director (Administration), SGL. 17 in the Federal Civil Service.”

The letter added that the Senior Staff Committee of the Ministry of Interior recommended Maina’s reinstatement and the approval for him to sit for promotion examination.

It read in part, “The Ministry of Interior’s Senior Staff Committee deliberated on the case and recommended that Mr. Maina be reinstated into the Service as Deputy Director, SGL. 16. The Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation vide letter Ref. No. HCSF/LU/COR/FCSC/749/III/135 dated August 14, 2017 forwarded the recommendations of the Senior Staff Committee  of the Ministry on Interior to the FCSC for further necessary action.

“The FCSC at its meeting held on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 considered the letter from the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and the recommendations of the Senior Staff Committee  of the Ministry of Interior on the disciplinary case against Alhaji Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina, Deputy Director (Administration), Salary Grade Level 16. The FCSC, thereafter, approved the reinstatement of the officer into the service with effect from February 21, 2013 (being the date he was earlier dismissed from service). The FCSC, also approved for the officer to sit for the next promotion examination to the post of Director (Administration), SGL. 17.

“I am therefore to convey the approval of the FCSC for the reinstatement into the Service of Alhaji Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina, Deputy Director (Administration), SGL 16.”

The FCSC reproduced the content of letter addressed to Maina in the copy sent to the Head of Service.

But the FCSC, in its letter addressed to the Head of Service, stated, “You are kindly requested to deliver the attached original letter to the officer, please.”

When contacted on Monday, the Special Adviser to the AGF, Mr. Salihu Isah, said he was not aware of the opinion by his boss recommending Maina’s reinstatement.

“Nothing of such has been brought to my attention. I am not aware,” he said.

Metuh’s trial: Court orders Jonathan to appear on Wednesday

Image result for Former President Goodluck JonathanThe Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday ordered President Goodluck Jonathan to appear before it to testify as a witness in defence of a former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olisa Metuh.

A court official confided in our correspondent that Metuh’s legal team filed the draft subpoena before Justice Okon Abang shortly after the Monday’s proceedings.

The court official said the judge signed the subpoena after retiring to his chambers at the end of Monday’s proceedings.

The source, however, indicated that Jonathan’s court appearance on Wednesday would be dependent on whether or not he would be served with the subpoena signed by the judge between Monday and today (Tuesday).

It was learnt that the Abuja home of the ex-President was indicated on the subpoena as his service address.

The source said, “I can authoritatively tell you that Metuh’s legal team filed the subpoena before the judge on Monday and the judge signed the subpoena promptly after the proceedings on Monday.

“The judge indicated in the subpoena that the former President should appear in court on Wednesday.

“But whether or not the former President would appear in court on Wednesday would be dependent on if the court bailiff will be able to serve him at his home in Abuja between Monday and the end of Tuesday.”

Metuh, through his lead counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), told the court on Monday that he would seek to subpoena the ex-President as a witness.

Most of Metuh’s defence witnesses, including Mr. Ben Nwosu, who ended his testimony earlier on Monday, had insisted that the N400m paid to the ex-spokesperson for the PDP from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November 2014, (the money being part of the case against Metuh), was directly authorised by Jonathan.

Metuh’s lawyer, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), told Justice Abang that he had written formally to Jonathan notifying him of his intention to have him testify in court but that the former President did not reply to his letter.

Ikpeazu said this while responding to questions raised by Justice Abang after Nwosu ended his testimony on Monday.

The SAN said he intended to apply for subpoena to be issued on Jonathan after the detained former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, earlier summoned to testify as Metuh’s witness would have ended his testimony.

He said, “We have another witness on subpoena, and at the end of the evidence of this another witness, we will take a decision on whether or not the first defendant (Metuh) will testify.

“The other witness we want to subpoena is Goodluck Jonathan, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Responding to further questions from the judge, Ikpeazu said, “We wrote him a letter but he did not respond and our plan will be to apply for the subpoena after the first application (for subpoena to be issued on Dasuki).”

Although Ikpeazu said Dasuki was scheduled to be the next to testify for the defence, the ex-NSA was absent from court on Monday.

Justice Abang said on Monday that Dasuki was scheduled to appear in court on October 25 (Wednesday).

The judge had earlier refused to grant Metuh’s request to sign the subpoena to be served on Dasuki.

But the Court of Appeal in Abuja on September 29 overruled the judge and ordered him to sign the subpoena.

Justice Abang noted on Monday that he had since October 3 complied with the Court of Appeal’s order by signing the subpoena which was said to have been subsequently served on Dasuki in DSS custody.

But Dasuki’s lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), was however in court to oppose the request to compel the ex-NSA to testify as Metuh’s defence witness.

Raji told Justice Abang that he had on behalf Dasuki filed a motion on October 20, seeking an order setting aside the subpoena served on the ex-NSA  to testify in Metuh’s defence.

While introducing the application on Monday, Raji said Dasuki had asked as an alternative prayer in the application, an order of stay of execution of the subpoena served on the detainee pending  his (Dasuki’s) release from the custody of the DSS.

The DSS has detained Dasuki since December 2015 after the ex-NSA was granted bail in respect of two separate sets of charges instituted against him before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.

Justice Abang fixed Tuesday for the hearing of the application.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja had on September 29, ordered the DSS to produce Dasuki before the court in Abuja to enable him to testify as Metuh’s witness.

It was stated in an affidavit deposed to by a lawyer in Dasuki’s legal team, Mr. David Ogundipe, and  filed in support of the application that the protracted incarceration of the ex-NSA had negatively impacted on his (Dasuki’s) state of mind making him allegedly unfit to stand trial or give evidence in respect of Metuh’s case.

It stated that with his incarceration since 2015, he had been deprived of access to files and records he kept while in office.

He also argued that Dasuki had not been served with the judgment or the enrolled order of the Court of Appeal ordering the ex-NSA to appear in court, adding that “his (Dasuki) state of mind is currently in turmoil, because of the protracted unlawful detention by the DSS.”

Ogundipe stated, “I also know that the protracted and arbitrary detention of the applicant (Metuh) has negatively impacted on his state of mind, such that makes him unfit to stand any trial now or give evidence relating to his actions or omissions in office.

“I am aware as a matter of fact that since 2015 when the applicant was arrested, he has not had access to any of the files or records he kept while in office, for the purpose of preparing his defence, including giving evidence in any case.”

He also noted that his appeals challenging his incarceration while being subjected to trial were pending before the Supreme Court and would come up for hearing before the apex court on January 25, 2018.

He added that compelling him to testify in Metuh’s case would therefore prejudice his right to fair hearing.

“Determination of the pending Appeals in Supreme Court is cardinal to a continued trial of Exhibits A1,A2 and A3, which by extension, squarely affects the purpose for which the subpoena has been issued.

“Applicant’s constitutional right to fair hearing/fair trial will be adversely prejudiced if compelled to testify or give evidence of this court, in disregard of the appeals already set down for hearing at the Supreme Court on January 25, 2018..”

The EFCC, had in January 2016,  arraigned Metuh and his company, Destra Investments Limited, on seven counts of money laundering involving alleged cash transaction of $2m and fraudulent receipt of N400m meant for the procurement of arms from the NSA office on November 22, 2014.

The prosecution alleged in the charges that Metuh and his firm used the N400m for PDP’s campaign activities.

Maina got N22m salary arrears – PDP

 

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party on Monday said it was not surprised by the Federal Government’s controversial decision to reinstate Maina.

The party also alleged that Maina had been paid N22m salary arrears by the Federal Government.

The PDP said the decision was a confirmation of the classical novel by a British author, Jeffery Archer titled, Honour among thieves, where he postulated that criminals do not compromise the actions of other criminals”.

The former ruling party warned that corruption would soon consume the country.

PDP’s position was contained in a statement signed by its spokesman, Dayo Adeyeye, in Abuja on Monday. According to him, Nigerians had expected Maina to be arrested not reinstated.

He said,  “It is in the light of this that the PDP wishes to state that we are not too shocked at the steps taken by the administration of the All Progressives Congress in reinstating a supposed criminal and fugitive, Abdulrasheed Maina, to office instead of getting him arrested. Birds of a feather flock together.

“All people of good conscience will not forget in a hurry that Maina, who was given an assignment by the last administration of the PDP to superintend the now defunct Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, dipped his hands into the jar and helped himself to N100bn of what he was supposed to safeguard.

“With good conscience at fighting corruption, the PDP government then, mandated the anti-corruption agencies to perform their constitutional duty. Maina fled, only to resurface in the country four months ago under the Buhari administration.”

He added, “As a party of good conscience, we wish to condemn in strongest terms the penchant of the administration of President Buhari to giving safe haven to known criminals while hoodwinking Nigerians that it’s fighting corruption.”

Adeyeye also alleged that Maina had been paid N22m salary arrears by the Federal Government.

He said, “We are worried that the APC administration seem to have grown thick skins to constructive criticism; otherwise, no sane government, in spite of the open condemnation the party has received from Nigerians over its shielding of criminals, will repeat another one as done in the case of Maina.

“It is reported that the fugitive has been rewarded with payment of bogus salary arrears amounting to N22m, which he has reportedly collected upon approval and released by the Accountant General of the Federation. We dare the government of the day to deny this with verifiable evidence.”

The party equally demanded the immediate sacking of the Minister of Interior and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice for complicity in Maina’s journey back into the system.

Meanwhile, the National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for ordering Maina’s immediate disengagement from service.

While commending President Buhari for acting promptly, Wabba said, “The manner of Mr. Maina’s re-engagement and posting as Director to the Ministry of Interior is an affront to law and procedure, insult to Nigerians and a mockery of Mr. President’s fight against corruption; indeed, it is the height of arrogance and impunity.”

The labour union also demanded a full investigation into the matter.

Nigeria open to more investment, says Osinbajo

Image result for Nigeria open to more investment, says OsinbajoVice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said Nigeria was open to business and more investment.

Osinbajo who chairs the nation’s Economic Management Team said this at a bilateral meeting he held with his Indonesian counterpart, Vice President Jusuf Kalla, on the sidelines of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Beneficial Ownership Transparency Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, the Vice-President also said Nigeria and Indonesia would work together to increase the level of economic cooperation between both countries.

“We are looking forward to more Indonesian investments especially in the manufacturing sector in Nigeria, trying to exploit our local raw materials,” Osinbajo was quoted as saying.

The Vice-President also informed Kalla that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has implemented reforms that have made the Nigerian business environment “a more favourable environment.”

In his own remarks, the Indonesian Vice President said his country was also ready for more economic cooperation with African countries, especially Nigeria.

Kalla conveyed his greetings to President Muhammadu Buhari and asked after his health, to which Osinbajo responded that the President was doing very well.

The Nigerian Vice President then expressed appreciation to the Indonesian government and extended greetings to President Joko Widodo.

Elumelu outlines roles of MFBs, SMEs in economic growth

Image result for Mr. Tony ElumeluThe Chairman, Heirs Holding, Mr. Tony Elumelu, says microfinance banks and small businesses are crucial to economic growth

He said efforts by the MFBs including Lift Above Poverty Organisation to enhance job creation through lending to small businesses were enhancing economic growth.

He therefore said necessary support in terms of ease of doing business, consistent policy, friendly business climate, among others, must be given to the micro lending sub-sector in order to enhance its growth.

Elumelu spoke in his keynote address at LAPO’s annual development forum held in Lagos.

The forum emphasised the need to chart a new course for the SMEs in order to enhance national development.

The forum, which had the theme “Galvanising SMEs for inclusive development” was chaired by Prof. Pat Utomi.

Elumelu, who was represented by the President/Chief Executive Officer, Transcorp Group, Mr. Adim Jibunoh, noted that SMEs were powerful tools for job creation especially for those at the bottom of the pyramid.

He said, “The only way to reduce dependence on oil or the new area we are looking at, agriculture, is to build up an industries and diversify the economy. The process of that industrialisation can however not begin without the mobilisation of the SMEs to attain that goal.”

The Founder, LAPO, Mr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe, said the SMEs remained the backbone of economic development and industrialisation, saying the sector was the take-off stage of the advanced economies of the world.

FCMB gets recognition in retail banking

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The FCMB Group has got new recognition in the banking space as the group steps up efforts to boost its services.

Two of its subsidiaries, First City Monument Bank and First City Asset Management Limited, emerged as the “Most Improved Retail Bank in Nigeria’’ and the “Best Managed Fund in Equity’’, respectively, at this year’s BusinessDay Banking Awards held in Lagos.

The financial services company said the development was a testimony that the initiatives being driven by the subsidiaries in the areas of service, products offering, operations and value addition to enhance customer experience were yielding the desired results.

While FCMB is the retail, commercial and corporate banking arm of the group, First City Asset Management Limited is the investment management services arm of CSL Stockbrokers Limited, another subsidiary of the group.

The BusinessDay Banking Awards, organised annually by BusinessDay, identify, acknowledge and commend those who have contributed tremendously to the nation’s banking sector and the growth of the nation’s economy in each financial year, according to the group.

In a statement on Monday, the group said the awards committee employed qualitative and quantitative criteria in the process of identifying and selecting winners.

The parameters used for the conferment of the awards on the FCMB and the FCAM included loan growth, loan/deposit ratio, capacity adequacy ratio, analysis of distribution of loans across sectors, return on average assets, performances across business segments, timely release of financial results and presence of investor/analyst’s presentation on corporate website.

Senate indicts Okonjo-Iweala, says her memo caused N1.7tn revenue loss

Image result for Former Minister of Finance, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-IwealaThe Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Alleged Misuse, Under-Remittance and Other Fraudulent Activities has said revenue agencies short-changed the Federal Government to the tune of N1.7tn as unremitted revenue generated between 2012 and 2016.

The panel blamed it on a memo by a former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who allegedly issued the memo to the agencies to remit 25 per cent of revenue they generated to the Federal Government and spend 75 per cent on their expenditures.

This was contained in an interim report by the committee chaired by Senator Olamilekan Adeola, which was laid before the Senate last week Thursday, a copy of which was sighted by our correspondent on Monday.

The panel said the amount to be remitted to the Federal Government during the period by 93 agencies it investigated was N21.5tn.

It alleged that 25 of the 93 agencies covered defrauded the government of a total of N1,695,585,887,406.

The committee said the agencies chose to comply with a directive by Okonjo-Iweala via a memo dated November 11, 2011, with Reference Number BO/RVE/12235/259/VII/201 by the former minister “to remit 25 per cent only from the revenue generated and use the remaining 75 per cent, which is a clear violation of Section 120 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 as well as the establishment acts of some of these institutions.”

According to the panel, in the report, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ran at a deficit of N3.1tn, while the Nigeria Customs Service, which generated N335.855bn, failed to remit N83.963bn during the period under review.

The committee alleged that the nation’s cash cow generated N15.541tn, while its entire expenditure during the period was N18.657tn, exceeding the corporation’s revenue profile by N3.115tn.

The report also indicted the Federal Inland Revenue Service, which generated N455.5bn but allegedly failed to remit N33.83bn.

Also, the Nigerian Ports Authority reportedly remitted N86.636bn to the Consolidated Revenue Fund when it generated N789.104bn.

Others indicted by the panel are the Central Bank of Nigeria, remitting N13.716bn out of N3.098tn; NIMASA, N184.489bn out of N301.160bn; Nigerian Television Authority, N5.567bn out of N56.817bn.

The report read in part, “Most of the revenue generating agencies deny the Auditor General of the Federation access to their financial books and records, which is in conflict with Section 125, Subsection (3) a (i and ii); and Subsection (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“Consequently, the committee recommends as follows: that the Senate should amend the laws where necessary to make it mandatory for all revenue generating agencies to accommodate resident auditors to be posted by the Auditor General of the Federation that will have access to all financial records and books, and to ensure compliance with Section 120(i) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“The Fiscal Responsibility Act should be amended in a way to compel all agencies and institutions of government on compliance with financial regulations regarding income generation, accounting and remittances.

“The Senate should also amend the laws where necessary to make it mandatory for all revenue generating agencies to accommodate resident treasury officers to be posted by the Accountant General of the Federation that will have access to all financial records and books.”

Banks send messages to customers without BVN

Image result for Banks send messages to customers without BVNDeposit Money Banks have started sending text messages and electronic mails to customers without Bank Verification Number, asking them to come and complete the biometric registration process.

Some bank officials told our correspondent on Monday that majority of customers affected by the development were mostly those with names mismatch.

Customers, who have different names order across banks were mostly affected, it was learnt.

Our correspondent observed on Monday that there were no queues in banking halls despite the court ruling directing the Central Bank of Nigeria and 19 Deposit Money Banks to freeze the bank accounts of customers without the BVN.

Bank officials told our correspondent on Monday that the number of customers who had no BVN was very small compared to those who had complied with the directive.

They stressed that efforts were being made to resolve names mismatch problems with their customers who had yet to get the BVN.

“”Efforts are being made to get everyone to comply with the BVN directive. Prior to this directive, we have been freezing the bank accounts of customers to enable them to comply. The customers who are yet to do that are mostly those who have names mismatch problems. This will be resolved soon,” a First Bank official close to the development told our correspondent.

The spokesman for GTBank Plc, Oyinade Adegite, said the bank would comply with the CBN directive to freeze accounts and publish names if there was no contrary order within the stipulated period.

She, however, said that the bank was taking steps to communicate with customers who had yet to do so.

It was learnt on Monday that GTBank had sent mails to affected customers over the weekend asking them to come to the banking hall to complete the BVN process.