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FG Okays 5% of Recovered Loot for Whistleblowers

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Kemi Adeosun
  • FG Okays 5% of Recovered Loot for Whistleblowers

The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved the Ministry of Finance Whistleblowing Programme that may see individuals, who voluntarily volunteers credible information on stolen or concealed funds, smiling home with between 2.5 per cent and five per cent of the funds when recovered.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Adeosun said the programme was designed to encourage anyone with information about a violation, misconduct or improper activity that impacted negatively on Nigerians and government, to report such.

She said, “If there is a voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets on the account of the information provided, the whistleblower may be entitled to anywhere between 2.5 per cent (minimum) and 5.0 per cent (maximum) of the total amount recovered.

“You must have provided the government with information it does not already have and could not otherwise obtain from any other publicly available source to the government.”

The minister said the programme would serve as a stop-gap till a bill on the same matter, presently before the National Assembly, was passed into law.

She explained that there would be a secure online portal where the information could be submitted.

After submitting such information, she said the whistleblower could also check the status of his report on the portal.

Examples of information that could be submitted, according to the minister, are mismanagement or misappropriation of public funds and assets, including properties and vehicles; financial malpractice or fraud; collecting/soliciting bribes; and corruption.

Others infraction, the minister said, included diversion of revenues; fraudulent and unapproved payments; splitting of contracts; and procurement fraud that included kickbacks and over-invoicing among others.

Adeosun, however, warned that under the programme, personal matters, concerning private contracts or agreements, would not be allowed.

She explained that the information could be submitted through the online portal by e-mail or by phone.

The finance minister added that the information, which could be submitted on condition of anonymity, could be submitted through documentary evidence and provision of specific and fact-based information such as what occurred, amount involved, who was involved and dates of occurrence on the portal.

Adeosun added, “Confidentiality will be maintained to the fullest extent within the limitations of the law. If you choose not to disclose your identity, there will be no record of who you are. If you choose to disclose your identity, it will be fully protected.

“If you ‘whistleblow’ in public spirit and in good faith, you will be protected. If you feel that you have been treated badly because of your report, you can file a formal complaint.

“If you have suffered harassment, intimidation or victimisation for sharing your concerns, restitution will be made for any loss suffered.”

Adeosun added that the information provided would be reviewed and analysed to determine whether or not to open an investigation into the matter.

In matters that are criminal in nature, she said such cases would be referred to relevant agencies such as the police, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The minister explained that apart from possible prosecution, those found guilty would be blacklisted from working with or doing business with the government.

Adeosun, however, warned that false information could attract prosecution.

She said, “A first-level review will always be carried out to determine credibility and sufficiency of information received.

“If you report false or misleading information, it will be referred to the enforcement agents for investigation and possible prosecution.”

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.

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Personal Finance

Don’t Let Lifestyle Inflation Jeopardize Your Financial Future – FBNQuest

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Investors King

A phenomenon that is often less obvious to most people is lifestyle inflation, otherwise known as “lifestyle creep”. It occurs when a rise in discretionary income, the amount available to an individual after making essential expenses, prompts an increase in living standards as luxuries become new necessities.

Financial literacy is an important aspect of learning what strongly impacts your quality of life. It affects your ability to navigate through economic downturns and your response to unexpected financial windfalls. Changes in financial fortunes happen to us in varying measures, influencing how we save, spend and invest. Without a plan, it becomes more difficult to resist increased spending: the urge to upgrade your cable subscription, enjoy fine dining, add more items to your cart, and add a few more luxuries to your travel experience. The list of possibilities is endless when you have more money to spend on optional items.  It all adds up quickly and when you adapt to your new lifestyle, it becomes more challenging to give up former luxuries that now feel like necessities.

It’s not all bad though. A measure of lifestyle inflation is unavoidable and not entirely unacceptable. It is okay to reward yourself, however, you must avoid situations where subtle increases in your expenses become obstacles on your path to achieving your financial goals.

The younger population, in particular, should pay more attention to lifestyle inflation given its potential long-term impact on investment goals. Research in the United States indicates that most inflation-adjusted wage growth occurs in the early working years of the population. It is likely that a similar pattern occurs in Nigeria. This implies that failure to keep lifestyle inflation under control in your early working life may cost you the opportunity to make investments that will be more valuable later in your career.

Lifestyle inflation can be best managed by creating a system that makes it easy to save and invest your money. Here are two simple recommendations that could help you build habits to limit the impact on your financial goals.

  1. Create a reverse budget that treats your goals as bills:  This is a simple spending plan where your primary focus is on saving and investing first, before taking care of any other expense.
  2. Automate your finances, especially your savings and investments: Few people find a way to increase their savings over time, however, modern technology has provided platforms that make it easy to escalate savings and investments routinely. The great thing about automating your finances is that it offers an opportunity to seamlessly create a new habit. Research shows that you are more likely to succeed at things that become habits than at things that require change because we are wired as humans to resist change.

FBNQuest Asset Management offers you the opportunity to automate investments in one of a series of products that best fit your financial goal. If you are a conservative investor, you may consider making regular investments in the FBNQuest Money Market Fund. If you are more risk-tolerant, you may decide to seek higher returns by investing in the FBNQuest Equity Fund. Automatic debits could be made monthly from your bank account.

Creating a system for financial success is all about making intentional choices with our money. A good system will direct your money to the things that matter most and keep you on track to handling lifestyle inflation.

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Finance

FG to Earn N462 Billion from Electronic Money Transfer Levy in 2021 – World Bank

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Money Transfer - Investors King

The World Bank has said the Federal Government of Nigeria will earn an estimated N462 billion from electronic money transfer levy in 2021.

The leading multilateral financial institution disclosed in its ‘Resilience through Reforms’ report.

The Federal Government had introduced a levy on electronic money transfer in the Finance Act 2020 to take advantage of the growing electronic transfer in the country and up revenue generation.

The electronic money transfer levy is a single one-off charge of N50 on electronic fund transfer in any deposit money bank or financial institution on any type of account on sums of N10,000 or more.

Akpan Ekpo, the Chairman of the Foundation for Economic Research and Training, who spoke in a telephone interview voiced his concerns on the levy.

He said, “The levy is remitted to the government, which is fine. But I think the savers, the people who use the transfer channels, are over-levied. You pay maintenance fee, transfer fee, and I think if this level of levying continues, it will discourage people from using electronic channels.

“Personally, I think the EMT levy should be out of the Finance Act. There is too much burden on the citizens, although the government is making great money from it. Let us hope they use the money wisely, but it shouldn’t have been put there in the first place.

“It is a law now; there is nothing that can be done about it. But I hope it is used wisely, and they would be transparent about how the money is being used.”

Akpan said the EMT levy would discourage individuals outside the formal banking net.

He said, “With the EMT levy, more people are discouraged from using the banks and its services. A lot of Nigerians sell in rural areas, and are outside the financial system net.

“With the EMT, more people are further excluded. There really was no need to introduce the EMT; it will discourage those who are not already in the formal banking sector from even coming into it. It is likely to further deepen the financial exclusion of many Nigerians.”

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Banking Sector

Hope PSBANK Collaborates With FG To Create 100 Jobs In Each Local Government

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Hope PSBank- Investors King

Hope Payment Service Bank, a subsidiary of Unified Payment Services Limited and Nigeria’s premier digital bank is collaborating with the Federal Government through the Ministry of Labour and Productivity to create jobs for no fewer than 77,400 people across the country.

The employment opportunity is part of the exit strategy of the Federal Government’s Special Public Works Programme being executed alongside the bank by empowering 100 Nigerians in each of the 774 local governments.

Speaking at the official kick-off of the collaboration, the Managing Director, Hope Payment Service Bank, Mr. Ayotunde Kuponiyi noted that the digital bank serves as an enabling platform that would interface with 77,400 beneficiaries selected from the Special Works Programme of the FG to exit them into self-employment.

Kuponiyi stressed that the focus of the collaboration is geared towards empowering beneficiaries through the agency banking platform in carrying out financial services such as account opening, bills payments, fund transfer, cash in/cash for Nigerians while they earn commission in return with just the use of their smartphones.

According to him, this initiative comes at no cost to the beneficiaries as they can use their phones to carry out agency banking activities for which they earn commissions on each activity carried out. “Once on board, these beneficiaries will become HOPE PSBANK agents. They will undergo training on the various activities by the bank at no cost to them”, he added.

“We are very excited about this collaboration with the Ministry, which is in line with the thrust of the social objectives of Hope Payment Service Bank – poverty reduction through financial inclusion and diffusion of digital financial services”, he said.

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