FG INAUGURATED COMMITTEE ON PENSION LIABILITIES
An inter-ministerial committee to review all pension liabilities of the Federal Government and come up with strategies to offset such liabilities has been inaugurated by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who chairs the Committee.
The Minister said while inaugurating the Committee that the Terms of Reference of the Committee were to review and reconcile all pension liabilities of the Federal Government; make recommendations as to what portion of the liabilities can be funded through budgetary appropriations: and suggest creative ways of funding the balance.
Mrs. Adeosun tasked members of the Committee to equally identify any pension assets that could be in suspense and ensure that such monies are used in offsetting the liabilities and set up a mechanism that will facilitate regular payment of pensions through budgetary allocations and other creative ways.
The Minister lamented the situation of pensioners who were not paid their entitlements and vowed that the Committee would ensure that it creates a mechanism through which pensioners would be paid their entitlements as and when due.
Members of the Committee include the Accountant-General of the Federation, the Executive Secretary, Pension Transitional Arrangement Department, Acting Director-General of the National Pension Commission and the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation. The Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation are also represented on the Committee.
It could be recalled President Muhammadu Buhari approved the constitution of the inter-ministerial committee to reconcile outstanding pension liabilities due to civil servants and offer solutions to the lingering problems in the pension system.
FEC APPROVES US$250m SOFT LOAN TO PROVIDE BASIC SERVICES TO 14 MILLION PEOPLE
The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved a US$150 million soft loan from African Development Bank (AfDB) and US$100 million from African Development Finance (ADF) for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) as well as a Grant of five million Euro to finance Inclusive Basic Service Delivery and Livelihood Empowerment Integrated Programme in five states of the North East.
The approval followed a memo presented to the Council by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who explained that the money would facilitate in improving the quality of life of 14 million people and over 2.3 million internally displaced persons affected by the Boko Haram insurgency by increasing their access to basic social services in the areas of potable water supply, sanitation, health care delivery and education.
Other areas covered by the programme are entrepreneurship development, job creation and livelihoods for youth, women and the vulnerable, social cohesion and physiological support.
It could be recalled that in its social inclusion agenda, the Federal Government has launched a programme for rebuilding and reconstruction for peace and development in the North East, and sought support from the African Development Bank to achieve the goal.
The multi-sectoral programme will be implemented in Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, Bauchi and Taraba States within a span of five years starting from 2017 to December 2021, while Yobe State has already started implementing a similar programme.
The loan would be repayable in 25 years with on a highly concessional interest rate. The five beneficiary states will make a counterpart funding of 6.1 per cent.
FG BANS MDAs FROM TRANSACTING BUSINESS WITH UNREGISTERED FIRMS
The Federal Government has banned Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) from transacting business with companies and other corporate bodies that were not duly registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission.
A circular issued by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation said that the measure is aimed at protecting MDAs from entering contractual obligations with fake or unregistered companies, even as the Minister of Finance warned that payments for contracts by companies that did not comply with the requirements may not be considered.
For companies and other corporate bodies to qualify for business transactions with MDAs, their letterhead must bear the Registration Number (RC) as issued by the Corporate Affairs Commission.
The letter head must also have contact telephone numbers, valid e-mail address and official company address as well as the names and nationalities of the Directors of the company at the bottom of the page.
The Circular said: “This is to ensure transparency in the dealings of Government with corporate entities and to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act.”
To strengthen the enforcement of the circular, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has directed the Accountant-General of the Federation to cause all Directors of Finance and Accounts in Federal MDAs to strictly comply with its contents.
The Minister urged those wishing to engage in transactions with Government entities to comply with the requirements to avoid delay in payment.
NIGERIA READY FOR BUSINESS: JAPANESE FIRMS URGED TO SET UP MANUFACTURING PLANTS IN NIGERIA
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has told a Japanese Trade and Investment Mission to Nigeria that the country is open and ready to continue to do business with the rest of the world and urged the big Japanese companies to invest in the country by setting up manufacturing plants, instead of shipping-in finished products.
The Minister stated this in a discussion with a Japanese Public and Private Joint Mission in promoting Trade and Investment in Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday. The Japanese Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs led the 32 private sector and government organisations to the Ministry of Finance for the engagement.
She said that Nigeria welcomes Japanese investors in banking, insurance, manufacturing and other sectors adding that: “We will assist you to do well. Many companies came into Nigeria and are doing very well and there is nothing to stop Japanese firms from doing very well.”
She said that the Government is vigorously working to improve the country’s business environment by investing in transportation infrastructure and has made doing business in Nigeria easier. “Specific reforms by removing lots of impediments, fiscal incentives to facilitate your coming into Nigeria to invest and drive your businesses, are being put in place,” she assured.
Mrs. Adeosun said that Africa’s biggest economy is now out of recession and wants to grow again, adding that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) articulated by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was designed to stabilize the economy and propel it into growth.
The Minister told the Trade and Investment Mission that the Plan envisages stabilising the macroeconomic environment, boosting agricultural production for food security, ensuring energy sufficiency, improving transportation infrastructure and driving industrialization through manufacturing.
She stated that there are opportunities for the Japanese private sector investors, especially through Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in the development of transportation infrastructure, hydropower and ports
Mrs. Adeosun expressed appreciation to the Japanese Government for supporting and executing many projects through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the Mission, the Japanese Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Shunsuke Takei, said that they were on a Mission to in Nigeria as part of the efforts by the Japanese Government to actualize the US$30 billion Public and Private investment pledge made in August 2016 during the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Nairobi, Kenya, which was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said that given the size of the Nigerian population and market as well as its economic recovery and potential for growth, Japanese investors were desirous of investing in Nigeria, while noting challenges in the areas of security, legal and power environments.
He praised the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the Federal Government and expressed optimism that the foreign exchange situation would improve further.
NIGERIA TO SERVE AS IsDB REGIONAL HUB FOR AFRICA
Nigeria may become the regional operational hub of the 43-year old Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Africa, as the development finance institution is considering a proposal to expand its existing country gateway office in Abuja to serve as a key regional office.
The office, which was opened by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun earlier in the year, will coordinate the operations of the Bank in its West and Central African member-countries, which constitute a majority of the 27 African countries in the Institution.
The Abuja gateway office will serve Nigeria, Gabon, Niger, Mozambique, Barkina Faso, the Republic of Cameroon, Uganda, Senegal, Djibouti, Guinea Bisaau, among others.
The move is part of a five-year reform package unfolded by the President of the Islamic Development Bank, Dr. Bandar Mohammed Hajjar at the opening ceremony of the 42nd meeting of the Bank in Jeddah Tuesday night.
He said that decentralization by opening of regional offices would take the Bank closer to member countries to enhance communication, improve its efficiency and performance in its operations.
“We have completed an extensive study of decentralization that included field visits to some development institutions that applied this approach to maximize benefits and avoid draw-backs. Greater powers would be devolved on regional offices to support them with specialized staff and the transfer there of many operations from the main centre,” he said.
The President of the IsDB explained that the Bank would enhance the development impact of its projects and programmes through comprehensive development solutions that integrate services and products in its member-countries.
Dr. Hajjar said that while financing infrastructure projects (energy, water, universities, ports and airports) is part of the new focus of the Bank, the reform would vigorously “seek new partners and transform competitors into development partners by harnessing strength and comparative advantages of the Bank.”
The Bank took off in 1974 and its main objectives were to finance development projects in various social and economic fields, reduce poverty and ignorance among the 1.7 billion citizens of the 57 member countries of the institution.
Nigeria is an active member of the Bank and had benefitted from its development financing programmes located in various parts of the country, and only recently Governors of the Northern States and the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. O. Onu visited its headquarters in Jeddah where they discussed areas in which the Bank could intervene in different sectors of social and economic development.
The Nigerian delegation to the 2017 meeting of the Bank was led by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse.
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