NASS Leaders Meets With Finance Minister, Delibrates Over 2022-2024 MTEF/FSP
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Monday evening met with the Minister of Finance, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, over the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
The meeting which started at 5:11 pm lasted till about 7:15 pm, had in attendance the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase and some other principal officers of both chambers, Senators and Members of the House of Representatives.
According to the Senate President, the meeting was convened at the instance of the leadership of the National Assembly to deliberate on projections in the 2022-2024 MTEF/FSP needed to facilitate the early presentation of the 2022 budget by President Muhammadu Buhari in September this year.
Lawan in his welcome address recalled the commitment of the Ninth National Assembly towards the early passage of the nation’s annual budget.
He explained that the development was responsible for the 100 percent implementation of the 2020 Appropriations Act which should be achieved also in 2021.
The Senate President added that the interaction between the National Assembly and the Ministry of Finance on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework would facilitate the early presentation of the 2022 Appropriations Bill in September this year.
He said, “We all recall how this Ninth National Assembly committed itself Ab initio to ensuring the passage of the Appropriations before the end of December of every year, to enable the implementation of the Appropriations Act to start January of every year.
“So far, we have achieved that in the 2020 budget and 2021 budget as well. This has significantly improved the implementation of the Appropriations Act, culminating in the 100 percent implementation of the 2020 budget, and we are optimistic that the implementation of the 2021 budget would also achieve 100 percent.
“The 2022 Appropriations Bill would be predicated on the MTEF/FSP 2022-2024. [And] it is very important that this interaction takes place so that the National Assembly is able to consider the MTEF in very good time to allow the Executive arm of government prepare the Appropriations Bill for 2022.”
Speaking, the Minister of Finance, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, recalled that Nigeria was able to make a quick exit from recession in the third quarter of 2020 despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy.
According to her, this had an attendant “negative growth” on the Nigerian economy as a result of the significant and sudden drop in crude oil price in the international market.
The Finance Minister disclosed that although the Nigerian economy experienced more revenue earnings in 2020 from non-oil sectors, other sectors such as transport still remain in the negative.
“The economy since then has sustained a tepid growth in the first quarter of 2021, with a growth of 0.51 percent consolidating our exit from recession in the fourth quarter.
“The growth of the Nigeria economy, we are pleased to say, is driven largely by the non-oil sector, which has risen to 0.79 percent, masking the deterioration in the oil sector.
“The sectoral growth in the non-oil sector was primarily driven by telecoms and agriculture sectors as well as other sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“Significant concerns still exist in the performance of trade, as well as transport sector which is still in a very strong negative growth”, she said.
Osinbajo Lauds China on Loans Offered to Africans, Repayment System
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has commended the Chinese government for the loans given to African countries and its repayment system.
According to Osinbajo, the Chinese loans have reduced the reliance of Africans on international financial institutions like the World Bank, and International Monetary Fund amongst others.
He stated these at King’s College, London on March 27, 2023 while delivering a public lecture on ‘China’s Investment in Africa, Investors King reports.
The Vice President lauded China for constantly meeting the needs of African countries which has reduced the burden on the western institutions.
He further mentioned that the loan servicing system was made easy to aid the African economies, especially during the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020.
Through its Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), China offered 73 low income economies suspension of principal and interest payments.
“Chinese banks provided 63% of the total debt relief while being only owed 30% of the debt service payments due,” Osinbajo noted.
The VP pointed out that China is the largest provider of foreign direct investment which provides jobs for hundreds of thousands of Africans.
On Chinese investment in Africa, Osinbajo stated that $254 billion was disbursed in 2021 which was calculated as four times the volume of US-Africa trade.
“China remains by far the largest lender to African countries. Chinese companies have also taken the lead in exploiting minerals in Africa, many now in lithium mining in Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, DRC, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Most African countries are rightly unapologetic about their close ties with China. China shows up where and when the west will not or are reluctant.
“And many African countries are of the view that the ‘beware of the Chinese Trojan loans’ advice from the west is wise but probably self serving. Africa needs the loans and the infrastructure. And China offers them.”
“All of Chinese lending to Africa is only 5% of all outstanding public and publicly guaranteed debt in low and middle income countries, compared to 23% held by the World Bank and other multilaterals. Chinese lenders account for 12 per cent of Africa’s private and public external debt,” the vice president stated.
FirstBank Announces a Name Change of its Subsidiaries, Reiterates its Commitment to Boosting Cross-border Payments
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier financial services institution, has announced a phased corporate name change of its subsidiaries in the United Kingdom and Sub-Saharan Africa.
FBNBank UK, FBNBank Sierra Leone, FBNBank Gambia and FBNBank DRC are the first set of subsidiaries effecting the name alignment. They are now known and addressed as FirstBank UK, FirstBank Sierra Leone, FirstBank Gambia and FirstBank DRC. The Ghana, Senegal and Guinea subsidiaries will be next in the phased name change implementation.
The name change is being implemented to align the subsidiaries with the parent brand and to enjoy the strong heritage and brand equity built by FirstBank Nigeria in its 129 years of banking leadership. This will further enhance the quality-of-service delivery resulting in better brand clarity, uniformity and consistency across all the markets where the Bank operates.
A leading financial inclusion services provider, FirstBank Group is committed to its nation-building goal. It has taken giant performance strides on its unique growth trajectory as it continues to build distinctive capabilities through partnerships and the constant drive to reinvent itself.
This performance is evidenced in the numerous awards and recognitions bestowed on the institution. These awards include Best Private Bank for Sustainable Investing in Africa 2023 by Global Finance Awards; Best Corporate Bank in Western Africa 2022 by Global Banking; Finance; Best CSR Bank Africa by International Business Magazine in 2022; and ranked as number one in Nigeria in terms of Overall Performance; Profitability; Efficiency and Return o Risk by the Top 100 African Bank Rankings 2022 released by The Banker Magazine from the stables of Financial Times.
In addition, in Euromoney Market Leaders, an independent global assessment of the leading financial service providers conducted by Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc., the Bank was crowned: Market Leader in Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR); Market Leader in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG); Highly Regarded in Corporate Banking and Digital Solutions and Notable: in SME Banking.
Speaking on the name change, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO of FirstBank Group, said ” the name change which coincides with FirstBank’s 129th founding anniversary (March 31 st , 2023) is indeed a milestone reflective of our resolve to continuously provide the gold standard of excellence and value as we put our customers First. The new identity of the subsidiaries contributes to an enhanced brand presence. It helps our customers and stakeholders better appreciate the value of the diversified products suites, competitive pricing and extensive business networks the FirstBank Group offers. These include our commitment to boosting cross-border businesses including trade and investment opportunities essential to enhancing trade relations amongst countries, thereby strengthening the economies of host communities and reducing poverty,” he concluded.
First Bank Denies Forgery Allegation in Face of Legal Battle with Loan Defaulter
First Bank of Nigeria Limited has issued a denial against the forgery allegation made by Francis Chukwumah Nwufor, the owner of Whiteplains British School.
In the lawsuit marked CR/266/2023, the federal ministry of justice had accused the bank of forging a “tripartite legal mortgage without the consent of Mr Francis Chukwumah Nwufor, with intent to commit fraud.”
In an official statement, First Bank described the accusation as a spurious allegation made by a delinquent debtor, which is aimed at tainting the bank’s loan recovery efforts and legal enforcement of its security collateral interest in line with the terms of the loan.
The bank emphasized that it operates by the highest standards of ethical conduct and will under no circumstances involve itself in any act of illegality. It further assured its numerous customers, stakeholders, and the general public that it remains focused on its mission of providing the best financial services.
The case has been adjourned until May 8th, as the prosecution lawyer stated that all the defendants had yet to be served with the charge.
It is common for loan defaulters to resort to legal battles with banks and this case is no different. However, it is important for both parties to ensure that the matter is handled in a transparent and legal manner.
First Bank’s denial of the allegation is a clear indication that it is standing firm against any attempt by recalcitrant debtors to fritter away depositors’ funds under its custody. The bank’s focus on its mission of providing the best financial services to its numerous customers is commendable and should be the guiding principle for all financial institutions.
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