The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday said the Federal Government has slashed its budget by 50 per cent, lamenting that the development has seriously affected its capabilities to fund some financial system initiatives.
Its Director of the Financial System Stability (FSS 2020), Mr Mohammed Suleiman who spoke when members of the FSS 2020 visited the the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) in Abuja, lamented that funding has been a major issue. He said: “The FSS 2020 programme since its inception has always been bankrolled single handedly by the CBN; the CBN is beginning to weary a little bit because the current budget this year was reduced by 50 per cent and that is majorly affecting some of our capabilities to implement some of these strategic objectives.”
Suleiman lamented that 50 per cent of the budget cut is no small measure at all. “We need to agree on the funding approach, we need to have a rethink and get the support of all implementing institutions. The FSS2020 is not a CBN project it is a financial system project, all financial system players have to take ownership of the project and be willing to support it,” he said.
During the exchange of views on the way to move the FS2020 project forward, an official of the NDIC said it costs about N198 billion to fund the FSS2020 project.
Suleiman said: “We will structure the FSS2020 to include dedicated team for monitoring, tracking and reporting and ensure regular quarterly or biannual meeting of stakeholders for the progress and implementation of the strategy.”
He identified some of the challenges the FSS2020 team have had to grapple with to include inadequate financial skills development particularly in the capital market; unavailability of funds for long term financial products; non existence of listing rules for special purpose vehicles (SPVs); increasing cost of transactions and operations and weak risk management.
Other challenges include low level of card usage on point of sale (PoS) terminals and high automated teller machine (ATM) usage for cash transactions; physical insecurities and prevalence of financial fraud; low levels of financial literacy and inclusion; low acceptability of mobile payment and merchant locations; non existence of sound collateral management; inadequate legal and regulatory framework for commodities market and unwillingness of private companies to go public; inadequate foreign direct investment and non existence of integrated credit scoring system.
To ensure that the FSS2020 project does not fail because of lack of funds, Suleiman said the intervention is to advocate that agencies making budgetary provisions provide funds for development because these products need the support of budget to implement them.
He also expressed concern that Nigeria does not “have the required skills for the products. We need to build the capacity of the industry, we have started capacity building at Woodpecker for heads of strategy of implementing institutions who were in attendance at Golden Tulip in Lagos recently.”
According to him, the programme “cost the CBN £144,000 because facilitators were brought in from United Kingdom. We will also build capacities in the bonds markets and
Inflation, Economic Uncertainties Push Price of Palm Oil up 40% in Enugu
Price of Palm Oil rose by 40% in Enugu State
The rising cost of goods and services amid economic uncertainties has pushed the price of a key food ingredient in Nigeria, palm oil, up by around 40 percent in Enugu metropolis, according to a recent report by NAN.
The survey revealed that at Ogbete main market, Garki and Mayor markets, a 5 litre key of palm oil now sells for N2,350, up from N1,800 it was sold in August.
Similarly, the price of a 70cl bottle rose from N280 a few weeks ago to N400.
The survey also revealed that a 20-litre jerry-can of palm oil is now selling between N11,000 and N12,500 as against N9,000 and N9,500, depending on its processing pattern and grade.
Palm oil dealers, who spoke newsmen at the various major markets in the metropolis, attributed the increase to an off-season of the palm fruits for the year.
Mrs Oby Ofordile, a palm oil seller at Ogbete Main Market said that “the price of oil as at January was between N250 and N270 per 70cl bottle, while 20-litre went for between N9,000 and N9,500.
Ofordile noted that scarcity of palm oil fruits had led to low productivity, thereby leading to a hike in the price of the commodity.
According to Miss Onyeka Agu, another seller of palm oil at Ogbete Market, a 25-litre jerry-can in major markets in the metropolis goes for between N13,000 and N14,500 while in the villages, where the oil is produced, the price stands at N12,500.
Mrs Lucy Adindu, a palm oil seller at Garki Market, corroborated Ofodile’s views, hinging the price hike on palm fruits being out of season.
“The price of the commodity will come down when next harvest period sets in,” Adindu said.
Labour Says Nationwide Strike Will Commence on Monday, Shuns Court Order
NLC, TUC to Embark on Nationwide Strike on Monday, Shuns Court Order
Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress has dismissed ruling of the National Industrial Court restraining them from embarking on a Nationwide strike on Monday 28, 2020.
The NLC and TUC disclosed this on Thursday after the meeting held with the Government ended in a deadlock.
Labour had engaged the government to reverse the recent increase in petrol price and the hike in electricity tariffs. However, after failing to get labour unions to back down on planned industrial action, a group likely sponsored by the government or one of it agents approached the industrial court in Abuja on Thursday to secure a restrain order against the planned strike.
Peace and Unity Ambassadors Association through their counsel, Sunusi Musa, had filed an ex-parte application to halt the protest.
But, Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President, dismissed court ruling, saying he has not been served and the group did not employ him.
He asked, “How does that (injunction) affect me if I have not been served? Have I been served? Are they our employers? What relationship do I have with any group?”
Quadri Olaleye, the TUC President, stated that the mobilisation of workers for the strike can not be stopped, noting that the government failed to reverse or suspend the fuel price hike and electricity tariff adjustment.
He stated, “We were not the one that adjourned the meeting; the government adjourned it till Monday. Monday is the expiration of the ultimatum and we are still very much focused on that. It is a deadlock now.
“Of course, that (adjournment) will not stop the action that has been put in place. We have told them to reverse or to suspend, while the discussion goes on Monday. So, labour is left with no option but to go our way.”
Speaking on offers or concessions made by the government’s team, the union leader said, “We are coming with an open mind to find a solution to the problems in the country, especially on the price hike. They have made their proposal, but we are saying let us suspend or reverse, then we can now continue to discuss but they have adjourned. But labour will continue with the mobilisation of workers.”
Access Bank Partners Lagos to Improve Oniru Road Network
Following the improvement of the road network around the Oniru-Victoria Island and Lekki axis, where its head office is located, Access Bank Plc in partnership with the Lagos State government yesterday inaugurated the project.
The road network project measuring around 1.8 kilometers was inaugurated by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and had in attendance his Deputy, Mr. Femi Hamzat, the Oniru of Iruland, Oba Abdul-Wasiu Omogbolahan Lawal and array of distinguished persons.
Speaking during the ceremony, Sanwo-Olu said the most critical challenge being experienced on daily basis by residents and road users along the axis was the heavy traffic, saying delivering the project has improved traffic flow, reduced travel time and eliminated perennial flooding issues.
According to the governor, the Victoria Island – Lekki Traffic Circulation Project commenced in December last year, under a Public Infrastructure Improvement Partnership (PIIP) Programme in conjunction with Access Bank.
It involved the dualisation, expansion, construction and rehabilitation of some roads, junction and turning radius. In addition, it included the provision of new drainage system, re-routing some roads as one way and signalization.
Sanwo-Olu added: “Over the years, one of the critical challenges being experienced on a daily basis by residences and road users along this axis has been heavy traffic, congestion occasioned by the geometric increase by the traffic of this area. The traffic congestion has been responsible for the decline in productivity and it discourages growth in this highly commercial location.
“As a responsible government, we resolved to work in partnership with public spirited corporate organisation to embark on this project and our aim was to improve on the traffic linkage and time of our people. Specifically, we sought to reduce the untold hardship our citizens pass through at this axis and this project was executed through the public infrastructure improvement partnership PIIP arrangement.
“Today I have the pleasure to stand before you and can confirm that we have improved network connectivity and traffic flow and we have reduced travel time. We have eliminated perennial flooding issues, enhanced transportation and we have improved the health and social economic wellbeing of our people through this Victoria island-lekki circulation around the Oniru axis from Muri Okunola extension down to Ligali Ayoyinde and along other 7 junctions.”
Speaking further, he praised the Group Managing Director Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, describing him as, “a true believer of our government, a real partner and somebody you can truly depend on and rely on as a friend.”
Some of the roads delivered under the project are Ligali Ayorinde Muri Okunola – Aboyade Cole, Yesufu Abiodun Oniru, Ligali Ayorinde/Akinbolagbe/Okene amongst others
He said the partnership with Access Bank reinforced the importance of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in delivering public infrastructure.
He said government was willing to give incentives such as tax holidays and branding and advertisement concession to corporate organisations that are ready to partner with government.
Commenting on the project, Wigwe said: “At the heart of Access Bank’s business operations is our commitment to offering ‘More’ to our customers and more extensively, positively affecting the communities in which we operate.
“Our track record speaks for itself as we have successfully executed similar projects in Oyin Jolayemi Street, Danmole Street and other areas. Indeed, community and social impact have become enshrined parts of our DNA as a bank.
“We appreciate the Lagos State Government, led by Dr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for the incredible support received during the execution of this project. Our commitment to facilitating a greater Lagos will not end here and I am truly excited about the infrastructural, technological and social advancements that our partnership will foster.”
“The Victoria Island and Lekki axis are two of the most commercial areas in Lagos State, witnessing a huge daily exchange of economic activities and as a result, commuters. About 40 per cent of the employed population in the formal sector in Lagos work in Victoria Island, and a good percentage of these workers have their offices situated around the Oniru axis.”
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