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FG Moves Against Agencies Over Financial Abuse

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  • FG Moves Against Agencies Over Financial Abuse

The Federal Government has decided to come down hard on some its revenue-generating agencies accused of engaging in activities that are considered to be abuse of the revenues they generate.

Instead of remitting the revenues to the Federation Account, the agencies were said to be diverting them through several illegal means and ploys.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, was said to have briefed a meeting of the National Economic Council presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on the development.

Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano; Bauchi State Governor, Muhammed Abubakar; and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting held inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Obiano said the council was told that the Ministry of Finance and the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission were working together to stop the financial abuse said to have been going on for a decade.

He, however, did not name the agencies involved in the said sharp practices.

Obiano said, “The Minister of Finance detailed to the council certain activities of some revenue-generating agencies that amounted to financial abuse of the revenues they generate, which are meant to have been remitted to the Federation Account, but diverted through several undue and illegal means and ploys.

“The activities include paying salaries above the specifications of the RMAFC; converting official cars to personal ownership under 48 hours of purchase; inappropriate and arbitrary monetisation of medical allowances; undue and excessive overseas travels, lavish training allowances and conference spending; and excessive and personal loan approvals, including unapproved mortgages, among others.”

The governor added, “The Ministry of Finance and the RMFAC are working together to rein in this abuse as these revenue agencies raise as much as N1.5tn yearly and spend almost 90 per cent of it on recurrent expenditure in clear violation of due process and the Constitution.

“The minister added that this financial abuse has been going on for a decade, whereby the agencies hide revenues that ought to go into the Federation Account, but assured the council that such activities will now be exposed and terminated as directed by the President.”

Although Obiano did not mention the names of the affected government agencies, a source who attended the meeting told our correspondent that the agencies were the same as those that were recently indicted for collecting revenues in foreign currencies but remitting to the Federation Account the naira equivalents.

He said, “This revelation is a continuation of the searchlight being beamed on the country’s revenue-generating agencies. You know there was a time some of them were accused of collecting revenues in foreign currencies but remitting to the Federation Account the naira equivalents.

“They are the same set of agencies. They include the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigeria Ports Authority, among others.”

Another source, who also attended the meeting, said Adeosun mentioned federal hospitals and schools as others engaged in the act.

The source, however, said the minister was not specific on the federal hospitals and schools involved.

“The Minister of Finance specifically mentioned hospitals and schools in her presentation,” the source added.

Obiano also said Adeosun put the balance in the Excess Crude Account at the moment at $2.4bn.

On the budget support loan facility, the governor said N1.1bn was disbursed in October to 35 states and that a total of N6.3bn had now been disbursed to each of the 35 states.

He added that governors brought up the alleged N2bn ecological fund said to have been paid to some states by the last administration under unclear circumstances and criteria.

“There were complaints that state governments did not have equal access to the fund amid allegations of political preferences. Vice President Osinbajo assured the council that the matter would be properly investigated, broadly reviewed and that forthright counsel would be made to the President regarding the matter,” Obiano stated.

Abubakar said the council was also briefed on measures being put in place to energise Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises to drive economic growth.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Finance

Ghana/Kenya: Eurobonds to Decouple as Fiscal Challenges Come to Fore

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Ghana and Kenya, two of the sub-Saharan African sovereigns with the highest amount of outstanding Eurobonds, could see a widening of their risk premiums over 2021, according to a Senior Credit Analyst at Redd Intelligence, Mark Bohlund.

Faced with fiscal challenges, the two African nations are expected to return to the Eurobond market in the first quarter of 2021, but this time with bigger risk premiums as investors are expected to incorporate a higher likelihood of frontier-market issuers being pushed into debt restructuring.

Mark Bohlund said, “Ghana and Kenya are likely to return to the Eurobond market in 1Q21 but see a widening of their risk premiums over 2021 as investors incorporate a higher likelihood of frontier-market issuers being pushed into debt restructuring.”

With Ghana’s outstanding Eurobonds presently estimated at US$10.3 billion and Kenya’s outstanding Eurobonds put at US$6.1 billion, spreads on Ghana’s Eurobonds will increase over those of Kenya in 2021.

It is likely that spreads on Ghana’s eurobonds over those of Kenya will increase over 2021 as concerns rise over its weak fiscal position and high reliance on commercial overseas financing,” Bohlund stated.

Commenting on the countries’ fiscal positions, Bohlund said both countries are likely to post double-digit fiscal deficits this year, as contracting economies add to already faltering government revenue.

“With interest costs absorbing close to 50% of government revenue, Ghana will struggle to find sufficient cost- savings in other areas to reduce the fiscal deficit substantially in 2021.”

“In contrast to Kenya, Ghana has already cut back its capital expenditure to a bare minimum. The Bank of Ghana stepped up its purchases of government bonds sharply in September and we expect this to continue during 2021.

“In Kenya, part of the solution should be to encourage county governments to raise more revenue, but this will be challenging to implement before the August 2022 elections.

“Having shied away from bi- and multilateral creditors in favor of commercial borrowing, Ghana is likely to struggle to secure sufficient external financing in 2021. This makes increased central bank financing likely and poses downside risks to the cedi.

“Neither Ghana nor Kenya is likely to seek DSSI participation in 1H21 even if they deem that international bond issuance will not be possible.

“We have changed our view and now expect both Ghana and Kenya to issue Eurobonds in 1H21.

“Kenya is likely to continue to draw on funding from the IMF, the World Bank and other multilateral creditors, as well as bilateral financial support from China as the Standard Gauge Railway, continues to bleed funds.”

Bohlund added that the spreads between Ghana and Kenya Eurobonds are likely to widen further as a higher risk of a debt restructuring is priced into Ghanaian assets.

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Finance

Insider Dealing: Paul Miyonmide Gbededo Adds Another 612,326 Shares of Flour Mills to His Stake

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Paul Miyonmide Gbededo, the Group Managing Director, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc bought an additional 612,326 shares of the company.

The management stated this in a disclosure statement sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Monday.

The managing director purchased the shares at N27.75 per share on November 20, 2020 at the Nigerian Stock Exchange in Lagos, Nigeria. Meaning, Gbededo has invested another N16,992,046.5 into the company.

This was in addition to the 3,284,867 shares valued at N91,642,269 and 4,200,852 shares worth N117.62 million purchased by Gbededo earlier in the month of November. Bringing his recent purchases to 8,098,045 million shares worth N226,254,315.5. See the details of the latest transaction below.

 

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FCMB Reports 16.4 Percent Increase in Profit After Tax in Q3 2020

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FCMB Group Plc, one of the leading financial institutions in Nigeria, reported a 16.4 percent increase in profit after tax for the third quarter of the year.

In the unaudited financial statements released through the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the lender’s profit before tax grew by 10.2 percent year-on-year to N4.8 billion while profit after tax increased by 16.4 percent to N4.2 billion.

FCBMB Group Plc expanded gross earnings by 4.8 percent to N48.3 billion during the period under review. Similarly, the bank’s net interest income rose by 30.03 percent year-on-year to N22.7 billion.

The strong performance continued across the board as net fee and commission income increased by 0.29 percent to N5.2 billion. Net trading income rose by 39.4 percent year-on-year to N1.82 billion.

Personnel expenses dropped by 7.9 percent to N6.9 billion during the quarter while general and administrative expenses declined by 7.52 percent year-on-year to N7.6 billion. Largely due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Loans and advances to customers rose by 10.8 percent to N793.14 billion between December 2019 and September 2020. Total desposits from customers during the same period grew by 26.7 percent to N1.2 trillion.

The bank’s total assets increased by 22.12 percent to N2.04 trillion.

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