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FG Spends N14.35bn on Ex-presidents, VPs in 12 yrs

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nigeria economy
  • FG Spends N14.35bn on Ex-presidents, VPs in 12 yrs

By the end of this year, the Federal Government would have spent, at least, N14.35 billion on the up-keep of former presidents, vice presidents and their families, over a period of 12 years, according to a Vanguard report.

From a modest N140 million in 2005, funds allocated to entitlements of former presidents/heads of state, former vice presidents or chiefs of general staff have risen rapidly to hit N2.3 billion in 2016 (See table). The peak was in 2012 when the immediate past Dr Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration budgeted N3.185 billion for the welfare of the ex-leaders.

The lowest allocation was in 2008 when N24 million was allocated. The figure for 2007 was not disclosed. Between 2013 and 2016, the allocation was constant at N2.3 billion for each year.

For 2017, the federal government has proposed N2.3bn. The Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, OSGF, has allocated the sum of N432. 193 million for the purchase of cars for the nation’s seven former presidents/heads of state and four vice presidents.

N500, 000 Council of State meeting allowance

Apart from the N14.35 billion welfare package, each of the former leaders, who is an automatic member of the Council of State collects N500,000 whenever he attends the meeting that holds periodically, at least twice yearly, to deliberate and take decisions on crucial issues affecting the country.

The former presidents and heads of state are General Yakubu Gowon, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, General Olusegun Obasanjo, and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

The former vice presidents and chiefs of general staff are Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, General Oladipupo Diya, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku and Alhaji Namadi Sambo.

Deceased ex-presidents, whose families are constitutionally expected to reap from the largesse are Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (prime minister), General Aguiyi-Ironsi, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (ceremonial president), General Murtala Muhammed and General Sani Abacha.

Origins of the welfare package

Adapted from the United States of America, which has an elaborate welfare package for former rulers, Nigeria started paying entitlements to former presidents by Decree 32 of 1999. In 2001, it became the Remuneration of former Presidents, heads of Federal legislative Houses and Chief Justices of the Federation (and other Ancillary Matters) Act.

The Act was further amended by the National Assembly in 2008 and 2010 with the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC mandated to fix the remunerations of the ex-leaders from time to time in line with economic realities especially whenever the salary of the serving president is raised.

RMAFC’s power

The power is provided for in Sections 70 and 84 (4) of the 1999 Constitution and the specific legislation is in the Certain Political Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries, Allowances, etc) Act, 2002 and the Amendment Act of 2008.

The entitlements

At the beginning, the 1999 Law provided that each former President and former Head of state is entitled to N350,000 per month, while former Vice Presidents and former Chiefs of General Staff are entitled to N250,000 per month for their up-keep.

The Act states: “As from the commencement of this Act, all former-Presidents and Heads of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (in this Act referred to as “former Heads of State”) shall be-(i) paid the sum of N350,000 per month as up-keep allowance; and (ii) entitled to the perquisites of office specified in Part I of the Schedule to this Act; and (b)Vice-Presidents and Chiefs of General Staff of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (in this Act referred to as “former Vice-Presidents”) shall be- (i) paid the sum of N250,000 per month as up-keep allowance; and (ii) entitled to the perquisites of office specified in Part II of the Schedule to this Act.’’

There are also provisions for domestic staff, security aides, vehicles and up-keep allowances for families of deceased presidents.

For former presidents

For instance, each former president is entitled to an officer not below the rank of a chief administrative officer; a personal secretary not below Grade Level 12; three to four armed policemen; one Department State Service, DSS officer not below Grade Level 10 as an Aide de Camp to be attached for life and paid by the State Security Agencies; three vehicles to be bought by the Federal Government and liable to be replaced every four years; and drivers to be paid by the Federal Government.

They and their immediate families are also entitled to free medical treatment within Nigeria; treatment abroad where necessary at Federal Government’s expense; a well furnished and equipped office in any location of their choice in Nigeria; a well furnished five-bedroom house in any location of their choice in Nigeria; and 30 days annual vacation at home or abroad.

For former vice presidents

For former vice presidents, the entitlements include: an officer not below the rank of a chief administrative officer; a personal secretary not below Grade Level 10, two to three armed policemen; one DSS officer not below Grade Level 8 as an Aide de Camp to be attached for life and paid by the State Security Agencies; two vehicles to be replaced every four years; drivers shall be selected by the former Vice-President and paid by the Federal Government; free medical treatment for them and their immediate families within Nigeria; treatment abroad where necessary; 30 days annual vacation within and outside Nigeria at Federal Government expense; a modestly well-furnished and equipped office in any location of their choice in Nigeria; a well furnished three-bedroom house in any location of their choice in Nigeria.

According to the 1999 law that has been amended, the remuneration of the former leaders shall be subject to review whenever there is an increase in the salary of the serving President and Vice-President; and the Federal Government shall in its annual budget make provision for the remuneration of former Heads of State and former Vice-Presidents.

In the case of death, the family of an ex-president, at the beginning, was entitled to the payment of the sum of N1,000,000 per annum payable in the sum of N 250,000 per quarter; and deceased former Vice-President was entitled to the payment of the sum of N750,000 per annum payable in the sum of N187, 500 per quarter.

The allowances applied to the up-keep of the spouse and education of the children of deceased former leaders up to the university level. However, the spouse of a former leader shall not be entitled to the allowance, if she re-marries.

Experience in other countries

US ex-president earns $205,700 a year

The United States via the Former Presidents Act, FPA, charges the General Services Administration, GSA, with providing former presidents a pension, support staff, office support, travel funds, and mailing privileges. The FPA was enacted in 1958 to “maintain the dignity” of the Office of the President by giving a former President — and his or her spouse — certain benefits so that he would not have to enter unsuitable occupations after leaving office.

Prior to 1958, former Presidents leaving office received no pension or federal assistance. After leaving office, some former Presidents — including Ulysses S. Grant and Harry S Truman — struggled financially. In 1912, industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie unveiled a plan to pay $25,000 pensions to all future former Presidents and their widows. The pensions were to be funded by the Carnegie Foundation of New York. Some Members of Congress and the public suggested it was inappropriate for a private company to pay pensions to former Presidents, hence the FPA.

Former US presidents also receive a lifetime of Secret Service protection and their children remain protected until they are 16 years old. The pension for former presidents matches the annual pay for senior political officials of the Executive Level 1 ranking and their salary is equal to that of the incumbent. In 2016, the pension was $205,700. Widows of ex-presidents are entitled to $20,000 a year.

For 2017, President Barack Obama has proposed a hike of about 18 per cent in appropriations for expenditures of former presidents.

Ex-president gets $188,000 a year in South Africa

In South Africa, former presidents continue to have all the payments, salaries and other packages that they were receiving the day before they left office, for the rest of their lives. They will also have their medical insurance fully paid.

Indeed, former President Thabo Mbeki enjoys the entitlements, which came through a resolution of the National Assembly that also allows the former president to have annual pay increases based on those recommended by the Remuneration Commission.

The resolution grants 50 per cent of the ex-president’s package to his widow if he should die.

Last March, the South African National Assembly voted to increase President Jacob Zuma’s salary to R2,716,798 per year or $188,000.

Indian experience, ex-president entitled to $13, 248 a year

In India, perks for former Prime ministers include lifetime rent-free accommodation, medical facilities, 14 secretarial staff, six domestic executive-class air tickets, unlimited train travel, office expenses against actual expenditure for five years and vehicles. All former prime ministers are entitled to benefits afforded to a cabinet minister, which includes 270,000 Rupees or $3, 974.

On retirement, a former president gets Rs.75,000 ($1104) a month as pension; a furnished rent free bungalow; medical facilities; unlimited domestic travel reimbursement with a companion by train or air; Delhi Police security; five personal staff including two private secretaries, one peon, one official car; and office maintenance expenses of Rs 60,000 or $883 per annum.

UK’s $515,000 gold-plated pension for ex-prime ministers

In Britain, some of the former prime ministers earn what has been dubbed as ‘’gold plated pension’’ that costs United Kingdom’s tax payers about £435,000 or $515,000 a year.

For instance, ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair is drawing the maximum Prime Ministerial pension – worth about £70,000 a year. The gold-plated pension comes on top of the £115,000 allowance that Mr Blair received, last year, to support his ‘public duties.’ Then there is his security team, which is estimated to cost, at least, £250,000 a year.

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

Niger Insurance to Sell Property Worth N15bn in Recapitalisation Move

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WAPIC

Niger Insurance to Sell Property Worth N15bn in Recapitalisation Move

Niger Insurance Plc said it is working on a plan to sell off N15 billion worth of real estate and investment property to boost its cash flow and meet the liquidity requirements of the insurance industry.

Mr. Edwin Egbiti, the Managing Director of the company disclosed this during the company’s 2019 annual general meetings held virtually in Lagos recently.

He said, “Subsequent to the requisite approvals of the board on behalf of shareholders, a number of the company’s real estate and investment property valued at N15bn have been put on sale in order to improve liquidity/cash flows, ensure reserve adequacy and improve solvency margins.

“We are encouraged by the progress made so far, and confident that both capital restructuring and recapitalisation efforts will be successful in line with National Insurance Commission’s regulatory timelines.”

It added that Niger Insurance recognised that its people were the company’s most critical assets without whom its goals and plans would remain elusive.

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Finance

AMCON Takes Over Inducon Nigeria’s Assets Over N1.3 Billion Debt

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AMCON

AMCON Takes Over Inducon Nigeria’s Assets Over N1.3 Billion Debt

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria has taken over the assets of Dr. John Abebe, the Chief Promoter of Inducon Nigeria Limited over N1.3 billion debt.

According to a statement signed by the Head, Corporate Communications Department, AMCON, Jude Nwauzor, and titled ‘N1.3bn debt: AMCON takes over assets of Inducon Nigeria Limited’ the decision followed the order of Honourable Justice Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

In compliance with the enforcement order, AMCON at the weekend took effective possession of the property situate at Plot12, Block 108, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme, Lagos, through its debt recovery agent – Ogunsola Shonibare L.P.

“The court also ordered that the bank accounts of the company and its directors, Dr. John Abebe, Mr Olawole Fatimilehin and Ademola Buraimoh, be frozen pending the final determination of the suit.

The asset management corporation said the case of Dr. John Abebe and Inducon Nigeria Limited started shortly after the loan was procured by AMCON in 2011 during the first phase of Eligible Bank Asset purchases from the defunct FinBank, Now FCMB.

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CBN Pays N14.35 Billion for 263,860 Meters to End Estimated Billings

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prepaid meter

CBN Pays N14.35 Billion for 263,860 Meters to End Estimated Billings

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it has disbursed a total sum of N14.35 billion to the Distribution Companies of Nigeria (DisCOs) for the payment of 263,860 meters under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).

In November 2020, the Federal Government announced that it would make funds available for 1 million meters in the first phase of President Buhari Mass Metering Initiative at no cost to consumers.

Between November 2020 and January 2021, the Federal Government through the CBN has disbursed N14.35 billion.

However, according to the apex bank DisCOs must pay back the amount disbursed based on the previously agreed amortisation schedule.

The facility disbursed is a loan that must be repaid by the DisCos on the basis of the previously agreed amortisation schedule. The repayment is to be deducted from payments made by consumers into the DisCos accounts with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs),” the CBN stated.

The maximum tenor of the facility is 10 years but not exceeding 2030, while the moratorium on the principal amount is for a period not exceeding 24 months from the date of loan disbursement.

A week ago, the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) announced it has commenced the distribution of 104,0000 free meters in Ibadan, Oyo State.

This, the IBEDC said was under the ongoing National Metering Scheme of president Muhammadu Buhari.

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