- Banks Denied us Christmas, New Year Celebrations
The Nigerian Union of Pensioners has accused banks of refusing to pay pensions of its members after reportedly receiving allocation for the payment from the Federal Government, thus denying the retirees the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
The Vice-Chairman, NUP, Federal Branch, Lagos, Arashi Lawal, said the money was specifically meant to settle December 2016 pensions for the federal retirees.
He accused three major banks of holding back the funds and denying the pensioners under them the opportunity of celebrating the Yuletide and New Year festivities with their families.
He said, “This is unfair; some of the banks have paid a few pensioners but three big banks have not paid a larger number of the retirees. And we are aware that our money is with them because the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate told us that the money had been released to them.
“It is sad to see your colleagues getting paid while you are not paid. This means bleak Christmas and New Year for those not paid.”
The Head Corporate Communications, PTAD, Theodora Amechi, said the organisation was “engaging with the relevant authorities to ensure a quick resolution of the problem; I urge the pensioners to please bear with us. The 33 per cent arrears will also be paid as soon as funds are available.”
Some of the affected pensioners who spoke to our correspondent on the issue said they had not been paid for years and had no money to celebrate Christmas and the New Year.
The affected retirees, who expressed worry that undue hardship was sending many of them to their early grave, appealed to the Federal Government to urgently respond to their plight and pay their pensions.
The Chairman, NUP, Lagos, Mr. Dele Joseph, said the rate at which the members were calling the secretariat to lodge pension complaints was becoming worrisome.
He said the union could only plead with the government to come to the aid of the retirees so that they could have money to take care of themselves and their dependants.
COVID-19: World Bank to Support Nigerian Frontline Healthcare Workers With $114.28m
World Bank Strengthens Nigerian Response to COVID-19
The World Bank has once again approved another $114.28 million financing for Nigeria to improve its COVID-19 response time and further curb the spread of the virus in Africa’s most populous nation.
The multilateral financial institution said the money will help Africa’s largest economy prevent, detect and respond to the threat of ravaging COVID-19 better.
In a statement titled “Nigeria to boost states capacity for COVID-19 response” and released on Friday, the lender said the fund includes $100 million credit facility from the International Development Association and $14.28 million grant from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.
The statement reads, “Through the COVID-19 preparedness and response project (CoPREP), the government of Nigeria will provide grants to 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory as immediate support to break the chain of COVID-19 local transmission and limit the spread of coronavirus through containment and mitigation strategies.”
The lender, however, stated that grants for states would be based on the adoption of COVID-19 measures and strategies. In particular, the strategies must be in line with the ones put in place by the Federal Government.
“CoPREP will enhance the institutional and operational capacity for disease detection through provision of technical expertise, coordination support, detection, diagnosis and case management efforts in all states and the FCT as per the WHO guidelines in the strategic response plan,” it stated.
The bank added that it would help the Federal Government in such response capacity through the training of frontline healthcare workers and provision of the necessary equipment to aid their work, strengthen public healthcare network for emergencies and generally improve their response efficiency.
Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank Country Director, Nigeria said, “Nigeria has ramped up its efforts to contain the COVID -19 outbreak, but more needs to be done at the state level, which are at the frontline of the response.”
Mismanagement of Public Funds and Resources Will Destroy Nigeria, Says Stakeholders
Some concerned stakeholders have said the broad-based financial misappropriation, abuse of public office by Public Officeholders and unchecked borrowing will destroy the nation’s present and future if not checked.
According to Auwal Musa, the Executive Director, CISLAC, who spoke at a stakeholders’ dialogue on ‘Policies, Gaps and Alternatives in Fiscal Transparency in Private Sector Governance,’ organised by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), and Transparency International (TI), with support from OXFAM’s country office in Nigeria, abuse of power and financial recklessness as been going on for far too long.
Musa said, “This has been going on for too long, and every singular effort from the citizens is termed as hate or unpatriotic. Meanwhile, the consequences of this anomaly are staring us in the face on a daily basis and are on the increase. Increased poverty; banditry allegedly occasioned by rising unemployment; and unpatriotic citizens trooping into leadership positions to perpetuate the looting and misappropriation due to no oversight and punitive sanctions, not to mention health, infrastructure and societal decay. The list is inexhaustible.”
He also implored the Government that in order to reduce the excessive misuse of public resources, mismanagement of finances and strengthen the financial management system, the holes that encourage people to evade and undermine the collection of taxes must be bridged and in-depth economic improvement devised to close policy gaps.
“There are many areas in which the government can increase its revenue drive. For instance, in the Oil and Gas sector, there are a lot of gaps as a result of lack of a clear legal framework through the PIB, which will enable the sector to be more efficient, transparent and competitive. Again, the oil theft needs to be blocked; other areas like maritime revenue can be harnessed in these sectors.
“Also, the government should block the areas where revenues are supposed to be collected and are not collected. For instance, the audit report clearly shows how the government is losing revenue.” he said.
The stakeholders urge policymakers to look for other sources of revenue that can guarantee development in Nigeria.
Also, speaking at the event was the Programme Manager, Tax, Justice, Environment and Conservation of Nature, CISLAC, Chinedu Bassey, who said one of the reasons to strengthen the Nigerian financial management system is to stop people from stealing and mismanaging resources meant for development.
Iheme Madukairo, the Manager, Large Tax Audit, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), advised Nigerians who evade taxes to stop such act that the law will take its course.
He said “Enforcement is out there, sleeves are rolled up to do the job that we are mandated to do by the act and sooner or later, we will catch up with them. The sanctions have also increased by virtue of the finance act. The penalty has been increased, once it is found out that it is a deliberate act to breach the law, the law will take its course.”
Lai Mohammed Says Buhari Has Recovered Over N800bn in Looted Funds
Buhari Has Recovered Over N800bn in Looted Funds
President Muhammadu Buhari government has recovered over N800 billion looted by corrupt Nigerians since the beginning of this administration in 2015.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, disclosed this on Tuesday at a press conference held in Abuja.
He said, “This administration’s fight against corruption is as strong as ever, and we have the records to back up this claim.
“This administration has recorded over 1,400 convictions, including high profile ones, and recovered funds in excess of N800bn, not to talk of forfeiture of ill-gotten properties.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has made recovery of Nigeria’s stolen assets one of his priorities since he became president in 2015.
Several of Nigeria’s untouchables have been convicted despite political experts and social commentators saying the war against corruption should not be only against opposition but also against those in the ruling party that seems to have been overlooked.
Still, the ruling party has insisted that members of the party have been convicted and one of such is Kalu.
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