- Borrowers Groan as MfBs Demand Loan Repayment
Some borrowers from microfinance banks have decried their exemption from loan tenor extension in the banking industry, which some commercial banks introduced for their borrowers to soften the effect of the lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the borrowers, who spoke to media complained that the MfBs had been mounting pressure on them to repay their loans immediately, despite the lockdown which lasted in some parts of the country for weeks.
A borrower, Mr Kayode Ajala, said, “My microfinance bank has been harassing me to repay my loan. They come to my house and shout on me but there was lockdown for weeks and I could not open my shop to sell anything.
“When I told them that the commercial banks were giving loan tenor extension after the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced measures to lighten the challenges of coronavirus on the economy, they asked if it was CBN that was funding them?”
Another borrower, Ranti Ekundayo, said, “The microfinance banks are not even considering our plight or customer relations. They just want us to pay by force now irrespective of the hardship, even when we had not been operating because of the lockdown.”
When our correspondent contacted some of the microfinance banks, they denied harassing the customers to repay their loans.
During the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said to mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 on the economy, the bank took decisive action to safeguard the Nigerian financial system and the economy from the emerging headwinds.
He said, “The key policies include provision of extended moratorium on loans by an additional one year beginning from March 2020.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank Plc, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, said the bank understood that a lot of businesses had to shut down their operations to curb the spread of the virus, and that it made provision for the extension of the repayment of loan obligations that were due.
The Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria, Lamin Manjang, stated that part of the measures by the bank to ease financial pressure on its clients was “a three-month payment holiday on personal loans and retail mortgages including business mortgages.”
A source in CBN however said that, “The moral suasion that the CBN governor gave to the industry was not only to the commercial banks but also to all the lending institutions including the MfBs.
“Even, landlords in Abuja are giving their tenants one month or more extension to pay their rent because of COVID-19 hardship,” he said.
Lagos Introduces Fuel Station on Inland Waterways to Enhance Ferry Operations
Lagos State Waterways Intrdouces Fuel Station for Ferries Operators
The Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) on Tuesday said it has introduced the first-ever fuel state on the Lagos inland waterways.
The fuel station was introduced to boost activities across Lagos waterways and increase transportation activities, according to a statement released by Nkechi Ajayi, the Public Relations Officer, LASWA.
Speaking at the five cowries terminal in Lagos during an event, Mr. Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, the General manager, LASWA, lauded the fueling station project, adding that it would boost ferry operators’ activities and help them expand.
Emmanuel was quoted as saying “This project is significant to us at LASWA being a responsible agency of government.
“We are concerned about the hardship and occasional harassment usually faced by ferry operators while using jerry cans to get fuel from filling stations to run their boats.
“With the opening of this fuel pump unit to serve both commercial and private boat owners, the safety of lives and property on the Lagos waterways will be greatly enhanced.
“To further promote the safety of all waterways users, we urge boat operators to desist from moving fuel with kegs.”
Why N-power Beneficiaries Should be Retained Permanently
N-power Beneficiaries Must and Should be Retained Permanently
Poorly paid with little to zero job securities and economic provisions, thousands of Nigerian graduates and non-graduates continue to enroll for the social investment program, N-power, established by the Federal Government in 2016 to alleviate poverty and support the vulnerable.
However, two years later the program is experiencing a downturn with the government planning to throw beneficiaries (batches A and B) of the program back into the street despite the nation’s unemployment rate at a record high of 27.1 percent.
Participants, proudly referred to as beneficiaries by the government and its agents, have had to endure delays in inhumane stipends that can barely meet their daily needs to undefined or uncertain exit package plans for the participants of the program.
Despite all the limitations faced by volunteers, supervisors in schools and other places of assignments have said N-power beneficiaries played key roles in addressing a lot of their existing challenges and on numerous occasions and they have occasioned a new growth direction.
According to a Senior Special Adviser to the President on job creation, “What we have found out is that they are filling a lot of gaps in some places like schools, where they do not have enough teachers.In some schools where the N-Power are posted to, you discovered that it is only the principal and some NYSC members that are teaching students, the Npower teachers have helped to compliment their efforts.”
In Ekiti, a 34-year-old veteran teacher explained that “If not all of them, a majority of the N-Power teachers have mastery of the subject matter. They have not been found wanting also in the theoretical aspect of teaching. Especially the way they make use of teaching aid in classes; and that is actually very impressive.
“There is one of them who is a Physics teacher now, we have to keep deploying from one class to the other just because we don’t have adequate teachers to cover those classes.
“The one that is taking Christian Religious Knowledge is a born teacher, who is very efficient and very punctual in her classes.”
Another principal of Government Secondary School in Daurawa, Kano, Haliru Inuwa, said the eight N-power teachers posted to his school since December 2016 have been saving grace for both himself and the students.
He said “We have eight beneficiaries of N-Power posted to my school here.”
“Most of them are handling core science subjects which most of the schools in Kano state are lacking generally. Yes, subjects like Mathematics, English etc. To our surprise, and against the earlier concern raised that they might not perform well in teaching, the N-Power volunteer teachers are not only committed to their teaching, but are also punctual,” he added.
These much were achieved in spite of the poor salary and working conditions. Graduates and non-graduates of the N-power program have exceeded expectations and raised the bar of dedication and service to the people.
The Nigerian government, just like the private sector operators, continues to take advantage of the high unemployment rate it created to exploit supposed high demand services. What does one expect? when they have been undermined from the onset as ‘privileged beneficiaries’ even with the pivotal role they played in the economy.
N-power volunteers, Batch A and B, as promised are to be absorbed into permanent job positions and their salaries and working conditions reviewed to further enhance their commitments and impacts across the board.
Tanker Drivers Suspend Strike as NNPC and DSS Intervene
NARTO Called Off Strike as NNPC and DSS Intervene
The Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) on Tuesday said it has called off its two-day warning strike that began on Tuesday.
On Monday NARTO had directed all its members to halt operations following the new policy of the federal government that restricted truck above 45,000 litres from plying Nigerian road.
The National President of the association, Yusuf Othman, said the directive was sudden with little to no time for affected tanker drivers to make adjustments.
However, on Tuesday in Abuja, Othman said the association had to call off the strike following the intervention of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Department of State Services.
He said “Yesterday (Monday), following an emergency meeting of the National Executive Council of our association, it was resolved that transport owners would park their trucks from 22nd to 23rd September, 2020.
“This was in protest of the Federal Government’s decision to ban all trucks of over 45,000 litres capacity from loading petroleum products from all depots throughout the country.”
He added, “However, following the intervention of the Group Managing Director of NNPC and the Director-General of the DSS, we are hereby directing all our members to resume operation nationwide.
“This is a directive that we revert to status quo until January 2021 to allow for wider consultation.”
NARTO president said the association now await peaceful resolution and hope that the agreed time would be enough for affected members to re-engineer their trucks in accordance with the 45,000 litres directive.
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