- EFCC to Help NERFUND Recover N17.5bn Loans
The National Economic Reconstruction Fund on Thursday sought the assistance of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the recovery of its non-performing loans, estimated at about N17.5bn.
About 1,143 projects in the Small and Medium Enterprises sector were financed with the loans between 2010 and 2013.
The Acting Managing Director, NERFUND, Dr. Ezekiel Oseni, said during a meeting with the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, that the agency was having difficulties recovering its non-performing loans.
Oseni was appointed as the in August last year following allegations of mismanagement by the interim management team of NERFUND.
He lamented that the inability of debtors to repay loans collected from the agency was making it difficult to achieve its mandate of funding entrepreneurs, creating jobs and supporting the economy.
Oseni said that NERFUND was currently having problems recovering the loans, adding that out of the N17.5bn, the sum of N14.2bn or 80 per cent were borrowed by a few people.
The few people, according to him, were assisted to get the loans without collateral by politicians.
Oseni added that the ratio of non-performing loans was high because many of the loans were not collateralised.
For instance, he said that while some of the huge debtors had no collateral, those who had assets to back up their loans had engaged the services of lawyers to frustrate the takeover of such assets.
He said, “We can no longer support entrepreneurs owing to the fact that we gave huge debts of N17.5bn that are yet to be paid back by customers. While the small customers who collected the sum of N1m and N2m have started repaying, we are having difficulties in recovering these loans from the big customers who took N50m and above.
“Some of these big customers borrowed this money without collateral through the influences of politicians, and they don’t want to pay back because they feel it is government money. We have reported them to the EFCC and we want to plead with you to assist us with a special task force to go after these people who have refused to pay.”
According to him, the inability of the debtors to repay the loans is affecting the operations of NERFUND as some members of staff were relieved of their duties last year due to financial constraints.
He said if the development should continue, more workers would be asked go this year as the agency was not enjoying any budgetary allocation from the Federal Government.
Magu, who was represented at the meeting by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Ola Olukoye, said that the commission would be willing to support NERFUND in its debt recovery drive.
He said that the EFCC had in recent times signed memoranda of understanding with various government agencies as part of efforts to investigate issues of diversion of funds and other financial crimes and prosecute perpetrators.
World Bank Lauds Kogi’s 2020 Financial Statement
The World Bank has heaped praise on the Government of Kogi State concerning the state’s audited financial statement for 2020. The financial institution was said to have described the financial report as a standard to look up to concerning transparency and accountability in the public sector.
In a statement which was dated November 21, 2021 it was said that the bank made the commendation in a letter which was sent to the Accountant General of the state.
As said in the statement, the letter which was taken by the Kogi State Accountant General on November 2025 was signed by Deborah Hannah Isser, the Task Team Leader of the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme (SFTAS), Nigeria Country Office, Western and Central African Region.
SFTAS is a $750 million programme which has been set up to reward states for meeting any or every one of the indicators which demonstrate improvements in fiscal transparency, sustainability and accountability.
The indicators, which are nine in number were a byproduct of the former Fiscal Sustainability Plan of the federal government where States would be rewarded for meeting up to 22 targets.
The World Bank had previously backed the federal government to give incentives to the states in order to properly execute the 22-point Fiscal Sustainability Plan, which has now gone under a revamp as the nine Disbursement Linked Indicators under SFTAS.
Some of the criteria on which judgement will be based on are: improvement in financial reporting and budget reliability, improved cash management, increased openness, citizen participation in the budget process, reduced revenue leakages through the execution of State Treasury Single Account (TSA), a strengthened Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection, biometric registration and Bank Verification Number (BVN) used to reduce payroll fraud.
The World Bank commended the Kogi State government for preparing its audited financial statements in line with the basis of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards.
Nigeria’s Rigid Forex Policy Discouraging Investors, Fueling Inflation – World Bank
The World Bank has blamed the Central Bank of Nigeria’s rigid forex policy for the drop in Nigeria’s capital importation and rising inflation rate.
The bank disclosed in its November report, Nigeria Development Update.
Explaining modalities for its position, the World Bank stated that there had been constant pressure on the Nigerian Naira with the current forex policy, forcing the central bank to consistently increase its nominal official exchange rate in an effort to ease some of the pressure.
This, it blamed on the rigid foreign exchange management system of the Central Bank of Nigeria, saying the system has also been responsible for the rising inflation rate in Nigeria.
The report read in part, “The government’s exchange rate management policies continue to discourage investment and fuel inflation. Exchange rate stability is a key CBN policy objective, and to preserve its external reserves the CBN continues to manage FX demand and limit the supply of FX to the market.
“Pressure on the naira remains intense, and while the CBN has raised the nominal official exchange rate three times since the start of the pandemic (by 15 per cent in March 2020, five per cent in August 2020, and seven per cent in May 2021), FX management remains too rigid to respond to external shocks. Meanwhile, exchange-rate management has emerged as one of the key drivers of inflation.”
The World Bank further stated that the central bank foreign exchange system needs to be more flexible to withstand external shocks, especially given Nigeria’s mono-product nature. It added that the NAFEX rate does not reflect the true market rate but the central bank managed rate.
It read in part, “While the CBN supplied an average of $2.5bn to the Investors and Exporters forex window in the months just prior to the COVID-19 crisis, it only supplied an average of $0.5bn in the months thereafter.
“The NAFEX rate, which is now the guiding exchange rate for the economy, continues to be managed and is not fully reflective of market conditions. The parallel market premium over the NAFEX rate reached 29 per cent in August 2021 after the CBN cut off its weekly supply of $20,000 per bureau de change. The CBN has intermittently supplied forex to BDCs since 2005, providing ample opportunities for currency round-tripping.”
The institution however advised that Nigeria adopt a more predictable, transparent and flexible foreign exchange management system in order to attract and sustain private investment flows.
Nigeria’s Non-oil Revenue Now N1.15 Trillion – Minister of Finance
Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, has said that Nigeria’s non-oil revenue is now N1.15 trillion, representing 15.7 percent above the country’s target. This, she claimed, was a result of the federal government’s efforts at diversifying the nation’s economy.
Mrs. Ahmed disclosed this at the Institute of Directors (IoD) 2021 Annual Directors Conference which was held on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) the event with the theme: “Creating the Future: Deepening the Corporate Governance Practice through Multi-Sectoral and Multi-Generational Collaborations,” was meant to discuss economic development.
Mrs Ahmed added that the recent development was in line with President’s commitment to further diversifying the Nigerian economy which is heavily dependent on oil. She observed that Nigeria was showing resilience in recovery from recession from coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which intensely affected global economies.
The minister said the federal government alongside the private sector had implemented a wide range of monetary measures to stimulate economic recovery, growth and development, job creation and improved standards of living.
She also explained that the government was doing everything to improve and diversify Nigeria’s revenue generation.
“Nigeria was quickly able to exit recession and is on her way to path of sustainable growth and we are intensifying efforts to grow and diversify our revenue sources to grow revenue from the current 8 per cent.”
“Our non-oil revenues have grown to N1.15 trillion, representing 15.7 per cent above set target. We are working on the 2021 finance bill and it’s nearing completion. Also, the recent approval of the medium-term national development plan is an important milestone of Buhari’s commitment to delivering sustainable growth and we require strong support and monitoring during implementation,” she said.
Mrs Ahmed reinforced the government’s decision to do something about infrastructure and reduce the cost of production for businesses in the country.
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