- IGP Collects N120bn Annually From Firms, VIPs –Senator Misau
The senator representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, Isah Misau, has taken a swipe at the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, alleging that Idris collected about N120bn annually as payment for special security services rendered by the police to corporate organisations and very important personalities.
He, however, added that over 50,000 personnel involved in such act had not been benefitting from the money.
Misau, who is a retired Deputy Superintendent of Police, had also alleged that the special promotion of officers by the force was fraught with corruption, an allegation the IGP subsequently set a panel to investigate.
But in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday evening, the senator said he would not honour the invitation of the IGP’s probe panel because the police could not be a judge in a case involving them.
He said the Department of State Services or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission should be given the task of investigating his claims.
However, speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Friday, the lawmaker, who denied the allegation by police authorities that he was on a vendetta against the force due to his dismissal from the service, alleged that posting of senior officers such as commissioners and mobile police commanders attracted between N10m and N15m bribe.
Misau said, “Based on available records, series of petitions and reports from insiders, the incumbent IGP has no capacity to run the police, just like the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mike Okiro (retd.), a former IGP, who also lacks similar capacity going by the N300m scam and others hanging on his neck since 2011 during the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party, where he served as the head of the security committee.
“Specifically, the IGP, on good authority from within the force, collects over N10bn on monthly basis as money for special security provided by men of the force to corporate bodies and highly placed individuals, including criminals, running to N120bn on a yearly basis without any reflection in the police’ annual budget or internally generated revenue.”
“On nepotism, the IGP is scoring high marks by making almost half of the mobile commanders in the country people of his Nupe extraction.”
According to the senator, such postings have not helped the police in their war against crime in the country.
“Police is not a political outfit and should not be allowed to be turned into one by IGP Idris,” he stated.
Misau also dismissed the allegation made by the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Jimoh Moshhod, that he (Misau) was dismissed for misconduct while displaying his letter of retirement issued by the Police Service Commission.
The letter, dated March 5, 2014, and signed by one Mrs. Garos Logams, on behalf of the then Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the PSC, read in part, “I wish to inform you that the commission has approved your retirement from the service of the Nigeria Police Force with effect from 1st December, 2010, after 10 years of meritorious service.”
Speaking further on why he would not honour the invitation by the IGP’s probe panel, Misau, in a telephone interview, stated, “You cannot be the judge in your own case. If really their hands are clean, they should bring an independent body. They brought the invitation (to me) because of fear.
“Under the Freedom of Information Act, they should make something like that public. It means they are not fair in what they are doing. If there is no corruption (in the process), they should make it public.
“They set up a panel led by one retired judge but the allegation is against them (police) and you cannot be the judge in your own case.”
Misau further alleged that there was more corruption in the Nigeria Police and the Police Service Commission apart from those in the promotion exercise.
He said, “Let me give you an example of the so many corruption cases that are taking place. More than 10,000 policemen are working with the oil companies and every month the companies are paying money. Where is the money going? Is the money going into the Federal Government’s coffers or into some people’s pockets?
“We have over 10,000 officers working in banks. Are they paying money to the Federal Government? Who are they paying the money to? Where is the money? We have policemen in thousands working for companies and private individuals. Go to the airports and you will see that people of questionable character have policemen attached to them. Are they paying money to the Federal Government?
“Why should the Federal Government train a policeman, give him uniform and gun; and then he is passed to an individual who will not pay anything to the Federal Government. Is that right under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration?
“Last week, an organisation accused the Nigeria Police of bribery amounting to N400bn. Am I the person who said it?”
The senator said before he received the panel’s invitation, he had written the police authorities in which he invoked the Freedom of Information Act to compel the force to provide details of promotions since 2009, including the beneficiaries and reasons for their promotion.
He said police’s response was that he was not the chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs and was not eligible to request for the information.
“I replied them again that I wrote not as chairman of the committee but as a citizen of Nigeria and as a senator who made an allegation and who wants to further show them that what he is saying is true,” he said.
The lawmaker alleged that although police were at the forefront of anti-corruption campaigns in developed countries, corruption had prevented Nigeria Police from leading the anti-graft war by the Buhari-led administration.
Okiro is performing well – PSC
When contacted, the PSC spokesman, Ikechukwu Ani, said Misau was entitled to his opinion about Okiro, but added that the commission’s chairman was performing well.
He cautioned the senator against making unsubstantiated allegations, stressing that he should present evidence on his allegations if he had any.
In a telephone interview, Ani said, “What has the promotion issue got to do with Okiro’s role in the PDP? The police have set up a panel. The commission too is investigating his allegations, and if he has evidence, he should present it before either of the panels. If he has issues with the IGP, he should leave the commission out of it; Okiro is doing well as chairman of the commission and this was attested to by everyone,” he stated.
Misau is a habitual liar –Police
While reacting to the allegations, the police described Misau as “a habitual liar and police deserter who would be brought to justice for his crimes.”
The Force spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, said Misau was parading a forged retirement letter and called on the Senate to direct the former police officer to return to the force to face the disciplinary committee.
He said, “Everything Misau said is false; he is a habitual and unrepentant liar. DSP Isa Hamma is still a police officer, he is not a senator, his real name is Isa Hamma and his name is still on the police staff list.
“He deserted the force and didn’t fill the emolument form; he forged and paraded a retirement letter dated 2014 while he contested in the House of Representatives election in Bauchi State in 2011 and lost. He exited the force unceremoniously in 2010, but he is parading a letter dated 2014.”
Moshood said the police would give the Senate Ethics and Privileges Committee some time to deal with Misau, adding that if they failed, the police would have no choice than to arrest him and charge him for desertion and forgery.
He added, “He (Misau) should know that desertion and forgery are criminal offences and the police are going to pursue that. The Senate should ask DSP Hamma to return to the police to face a disciplinary committee for the various offenses he had committed. He is not qualified to be a senator and we are going to bring him to justice.”
Okonjo-Iweala, Zainab Ahmed, Others Speaks On Nigeria’s Debt
On Wednesday, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and the Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, differs on experts opinion on the nation’s debt-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio.
Recently, experts have shown continuous concerns on the nation’s endless borrowings and rising debt profile.
The Minister of finance, Ahmed puts the debt-to-GDP ratio at 29 percent, While Okojo-Iweala said it had risen to 35 percent.
Both the minister and the WTO boss spoke at the African Development Bank High-Level Knowledge Event with the theme: ‘From Debt Resolution to Growth: The Road Ahead for Africa’ which held virtually on Wednesday.
Ahmed also disclosed that Nigeria planned to borrow more money to fund its infrastructure capacity.
This is in spite of voices calling on the government to halt borrowing and concentrate on other means of raising funds for the infrastructure needs of the country.
According to the Debt Management Office, Nigeria’s total public debt portfolio rose from N12.12tn in June 2015 to N33.11tn as of March 31.
Ahmed said the government was enforcing fiscal discipline to expand its fiscal space so that it could continue to service its debts and borrow more to build the nation’s infrastructure capacity.
She said, “As of Q1 2021, we have about a 29 percent debt-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio. In terms of the level of debt, we are still very healthy, and sustainable.
“We are struggling with revenues, which is what we need to pay our debts. We have put in place a number of measures to enhance domestic revenue.
“We are cutting costs, we are improving the ease of doing business, trying to leverage private sector resource capacity to invest in infrastructure to reduce government spending.
“We are working on increased transparency in public financial management; we are enforcing fiscal discipline to expand our fiscal space so that we can continue to service our debt and borrow more to build our infrastructure capacity.”
Ahmed also said that the total debt profile did not include that of some states and that the federal government was making moves to correct that.
“In Nigeria, we’ve been making a lot of effort on a quarterly basis to disclose all the debts that we have and to also indicate what the debt service is.
“Currently, we are working on including other state-owned debts that have not been included in public debt for the purpose of transparency. It is important and will help us going forward.”
However, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who also attended the AfDB’s event, differed with Ahmed on the nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio.
The WTO boss who had been Nigeria’s Minister of Finance in the past said the nation’s debt to GDP ratio had risen from 29 percent to 35 percent.
She said, “Middle-income African countries have also seen their debt burdens increase sharply. Amid falling prices and demand for oil worldwide, Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio rose from 29 to 35 percent; Algeria from 46 to 53 percent, and Egypt from 84 to 90 percent, Angola from 107 to 127 percent.
“Debt to GDP ratios also increased for non-oil exporters including South Africa from 62 to 77 percent. Morocco from 65 to 76 percent.”
Okonjo-Iweala also said that scarce foreign exchange in certain African countries was creating scenarios where the governments were using scarce Forex to fund the fund debt repayment rather than on capital investment.
“Even where debt to GDP or where debt to export ratios was not very high, tighter access to dollar financing because of the COVID-19 crisis means we are already seeing places where scarce foreign exchange is going to fund debt repayment instead of capital investment,” she added.
A professor of economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Sheriffdeen Tella, described as a cause for worry the amount being spent by the government on debt servicing.
He said, “What is important is not even the debt-to-GDP ratio but the ability to pay, and we are presently in serious problem with payments.
“If they want to borrow money from internal sources, that could be understood. But if they are going international again, I think it is not proper because presently the level of international borrowing is what is giving them problem now.
“We are selling oil and making money but we are using that money to service the debts that we owe, and that is unfortunate.
“So, one cannot but be worry. So, the government should think about creating wealth rather than continue borrowing. If they need money badly, they should borrow domestically.”
Prof. Akpan Ekpo told one of our correspondents that there was an urgent need for the government to be more transparent concerning borrowing.
He said, “There is nothing bad in borrowing but you need to borrow to fund infrastructural projects that will pay their way.
“Looking at debt-to-GDP ratio can be quite misleading because we debased our GDP making the denominator very large compared to the numerator. Instead, we should use debt servicing to GDP ratio and debt to revenue ratio, which at the current rates are disturbing.”
Ekpo added, “FG needs to do more feasibility studies on these infrastructural projects before borrowing to fund them.
“Infrastructural projects like power and others have positive multiplier effects in the long run. For the debt acquisition, they also need to be more transparent on it too.”
President of the AfDB, Akinwumi Adesina, said that cumulative total debt in Africa was higher than cumulative government revenue.
According to him, in 2019, Africa’s total outstanding debt was $841.9bn, while total government annual revenue was $501bn.
Adesina said, “Africa’s GDP declined by 2.1 percent in 2021. Growth is projected to recover to 3.4 percent by 2021 and 2022. Africa’s cumulative GDP declined by $145bn to $190bn.
“Millions fell into extreme poverty on the continent. Thirty-nine million Africans could fall into poverty by the end of 2021.”
Adesina said debt-to-GDP ratios on the continent were expected to rise to 10 to 15 percentage points, rising from 60 percent in 2020 to 75 percent in 2021.
He added that as of 2021, 17 out of 38 African countries for which debt sustainability was available were in dire distress.
Twelve countries were at moderate risk of debt distress, while six were already in dire distress, and one country had a low risk of debt distress, he added.
Trade Expert Calls For Increased Investments In AfCFTA to Boost The African Economy
There have been calls for more investments in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to boost the African economy.
At a recent virtual conference organised by the African Public Relations Association (APRA), an expert on trade and finance, Mr. Jesuseun Fatoyinbo, Head of Trade, Transactional Products and Services at Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, highlighted the benefits of increasing investments in the AfCFTA agreement during one of the sessions held as part of the three-day virtual conference.
Jesuseun stated that the AfCFTA agreement will allow African-owned enterprises to enter new markets, expand their customer base and create new commodities and services in the continent. The agreement was created in 2018, and a total of 54 African countries have signed up. Of these, 30 countries have ratified the agreement and 28 countries have deposited their instruments of ratification.
AfCFTA holds great promise for the African economy as it seeks to eliminate tariffs on intra-African trade, making it easier for businesses to trade within Africa and benefit from its emerging markets.
Speaking on the impact of trade on economic development, Jesuseun said: “The status of intra-regional trade within the European, North American and Asian economic corridors is currently estimated at 64 percent, 50 percent and 60 percent respectively.
“However, the status of intra-African trade currently stands at 17 percent, which is significantly lower than other continental regions. This limits business investments within the African continent while increasing trade dependence on foreign markets.” He emphasised the need for improvement in order to expand the African economy.
According to him, increased investments between African countries will trigger trade growth in Africa which will, in turn, promote industrialisation, economic development and subsequently lead to increased employment opportunities across the continent.
Jesuseun advised stakeholders on the need to observe other continental trade trends, as continental trade usually yields positive results. He said, “All sectors need to be involved in AfCFTA to promote industrial development and sustainable socio-economic growth in order to deepen the economic integration of Africa.”
The Stanbic IBTC Head of Trade cited some nations in East Africa which were insulated from economic recession as a result of intra-trade activities. He noted that “despite the severe issues caused by the COVID -19 pandemic in 2020, Tanzania and Ethiopia avoided economic recession, due to their ever-improving trade policies.”
Jesuseun advocated the replication of their strategies across other African nations, to boost Africa’s income and lift millions of Africans out of poverty. Speaking on Stanbic IBTC’s capabilities to boost trade, he said, “Stanbic IBTC is leveraging world-class digital technologies to make commercial imports and exports easier. The organisation is committed to making trade processes seamless and easier with technology.”
The trade expert stated that the pandemic unearthed the possibility of remote verification as against the prevalent practice of physical documentation. He cited examples of African trade’s past experiences, where many trade processes had experienced inefficacies and bottlenecks because of physical documentation.
Jesuseun concluded that trade processes need to be digitized, to enable seamless multilateral trade between African countries. He urged other stakeholders to create awareness about the usefulness of the AfCFTA agreement.
Ogun Records N13.3B Internally Generated Revenue Monthly in Q1 of 2021
Ogun State Government has recorded an average of N13.3billion monthly as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the first quarter of 2021.
The government said it is also planning to raise its yearly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate from the current single digit by 25 percent.
The Commissioner for Finance, Dapo Okubadejo disclosed this to newsmen in Abeokuta ahead of the state’s investment summit tagged: ‘OgunIseya21: Becoming Africa’s Model Industrial and Logistics Hub’, slated for July 13th-14th, 2021.
Okubadejo who doubles as the State’s Chief Economic Adviser noted that the state’s IGR had experienced an upward movement after last year’s shortfall due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the attendant lockdown.
“We had a significant turnaround in the first quarter of this year. In fact, as of April, we have done almost N40bn in the Internally Generated Revenue. Our target this year is to exceed all the previous records we have set in IGR. That’s why we have put in place, all these transformation initiatives, friendly policies and also facilitate this investment summit to further showcase Ogun State as the preferred industrial destination,” he said.
The Finance Commissioner was supported in highlighting the investment potentials of the summit by his counterparts from the Ministries of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Kikelomo Longe; Works and Infrastructure, Ade Adesanya; Culture and Tourism, Toyin Taiwo; Budget and Planning, Olaolu Olabimtan and the Director-General, Public-Private Partnership, Dapo Oduwole.
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