Jan 28, 2020

Finance Archives - Daily Mail Online


January 3, 2020160

An estimated 26,039 babies will be born in Nigeria on New Year’s Day, UNICEF said today.

Nigerian babies will account for almost 7 per cent of the estimated 392,078 babies to be born on New Year’s Day globally – the third highest number of babies in the world, after India and China.

“The beginning of a new year – and this year, a new decade – is a chance for us to reflect on our hopes and dreams for the future of Nigeria – especially for those who stand to inherit this country; its children,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative. “As we start each new year, we are reminded of the potential of each and every Nigerian child embarking on her or his life’s journey—if only they are given that chance to survive and thrive.”

Fiji in the Pacific will most likely deliver 2020’s first baby. The United States, its last. Globally, over half of these births are estimated to take place in eight countries:

  1. India — 67,385
  2. China — 46,299
  3. Nigeria — 26,039
  4. Pakistan — 16,787
  5. Indonesia — 13,020
  6. The United States of America — 10,452
  7. The Democratic Republic of Congo — 10,247
  8. Ethiopia — 8,493

Each January, UNICEF celebrates babies born on New Year’s Day, an auspicious day for child birth around the world.

However, for millions of newborns around the world, including in Nigeria, the day of their birth is far less auspicious, and sadly is often their last.

In 2018, 2.5 million newborns died in just their first month of life around the world; about a third of them on the first day of life. In Nigeria, this was 318,522 deaths. Among those children, most died from preventable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis. In addition, more than 2.5 million babies are born dead each year – with more than 400,000 stillborn deaths taking place in Nigeria annually.

Over the past three decades, the world – including Nigeria – has seen remarkable progress in child survival, cutting the number of children worldwide who die before their fifth birthday by more than half. In Nigeria, this number has been cut by about 500,000 between 1990 and 2018. But there has been slower progress for newborns. Babies dying in their first month of life accounted for 47 per cent of all deaths among children under five in 2018, up from 40 per cent in 1990. In Nigeria, these figures are 29 per cent, up from 21 per cent in 1990.

UNICEF’s Every Child Alive campaign calls for immediate investment in health workers with the right training, who are equipped with the right medicines to ensure every mother and newborn is cared for by a safe pair of hands to prevent and treat complications during pregnancy, delivery and birth.

“Too many mothers and newborns are not being cared for by a trained and equipped midwife or nurse, and the results are devastating,” said Peter Hawkins. “We can ensure that millions of babies survive their first day and live into this decade and beyond if every mother has good pregnancy care and every baby is born into a safe pair of hands.

“That means having well-equipped facilities with well-trained staff who can be there to welcome every Nigerian child into this world safely and healthily. This is especially critical as we now only have 10 years to deliver on the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”


December 17, 20192310


Senate President, Ahmed Lawan has been fingered for supervising and giving tacit approval for the insertion of a whopping N264 billion into the 2020 appropriation bill before President Mohammadu Buhari for his assent.
This revelation came to light by one of the aggrieved senators who said recent happenings in the Senate “bear” the hallmark of recklessness and “a desire to fleece the country for 2023 political ambition .”
This is coming on the heels of another unilateral approval by Lawan to enable President Buhari obtain future purse draining loan of $30 billion.
In return, Lawan has obtained N37 billion from the president for the renovation of a section of the National Assembly as a quid pro quo. That was equally tacitly approved by the executive.
Nigeria’s total external debt stands at $27.16 billion and domestic debt stands at $56.72 billion according to Debt Management Office.
National Bureau of Statistics has urged every time in its reports to curb excessive borrowing and taste for borrowing for consumption, pointing out that it is also responsible for poor showing infrastructural investment due to excessive servicing.
The International Monetary Fund, IMF, had few years ago denied Nigerian government loan for fear of it inability to properly service it due to slowing revenue.
If the Lawan-led National Assembly approved the loan request, the nation’s total debt stock would rise to about $97billion (about N30 trillion) thus serving as a cliffhanger for Nigeria’s economy.
In the main, details of the illegal insertions into 2020 budget showed that, “supply of goods to Katsina,” would cost N6 billion.
The goods described here are, fertilizers, N500 million,  rice also allocated N500 million and “maize and beans in Katsina,” all got allocations of N500 million each.
Also, the lawmakers used general term in vague form as “supply of tricycles, motorcycles, sewing machines” with each to cost ₦500 million or “supply of new Toyota Hiace buses, utility vehicles SDG intervention” which is to gulp ₦1.92 billion.
This allocations were inserted into the budget of the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs (OSSAP–MDGs), an office under the presidency, which had an initial proposal of ₦34,006,614 as its budget.
In order to “take something home for themselves,” the lawmakers increased the budget vaguely from that  ₦34,006,614 to
₦5.106 billion, showing a stupendous difference of ₦5.072 billion.
Also, the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Investment, had its budget increased to ₦14.85 billion from ₦11.02 billion.
The increase was justified to be spent on similar vague projects such as “rehabilitation, surface dressing and construction of drainages of rural roads in selected locations in Isuiwato/Umunneochi federal constituency” for ₦500 million.
Also the lawmakers proposed the “supply of mobile kiosks, mobile kitchen and modern SME tools entrepreneurial training for prospective entrepreneurs in Nigeria” for ₦730 million.
Even the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), which is under the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation had its budget raised from the ₦3.73 billion to ₦5.46billion under similar vague and fake projects.
Similarly, another vague allocation was inserted into the BCDA appropriation. ₦100 million was inserted for “youth empowerment in Yobe East Senatorial District” while “supply of tricycles and sewing machines in Yobe East Senatorial District” would gulp ₦50 million.
Premium Times had reported, copiously quoting an ICPC report, titled Constituency Projects Tracking Group (CPTG), which tracked 424 projects from 2015–2018 zonal intervention projects between June and August, 2019, across 12 states and the FCT, describing the budgets of SMEDAN and BCDA — two agencies fingered for budget overwriting  — as “conduits for embezzling funds.”
The lawmakers cleverly used such fictitious descriptions to denote the insertions and duplicated them across ministries and agencies too numerous to mention and track down.
Senate Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Ibrahim Barau, notoriously known for his recklessness and ‘playing balls’ as a willing tool justified the budget increase during presentation before the lawmakers when he said the top-up would offset the infrastructural deficit in the country.
But it has long been proven by ICPC and other budget monitoring groups as well as aggrieved lawmakers that no such thing was intended when the president presented the budget before them.
Besides, the budget would be wholly financed from external borrowing and so the makers of the budget walked on tight rope to get a near finish appropriation document before the lawmakers.
The president’s initial proposal was ₦10.33 trillion. Not a few Nigerians raised eyebrows when the lawmakers passed the bill
after inserting “new projects” increasing it up to ₦10.594 trillion (₦10,594,362,364,830) with curious justifications.
An aggrieved lawmakers told Daily Mail Online upon enquiries that not everyone in the committee was carried along as Barau imposed himself because he was working under the orders of the Senate president.
In fact, the insertions were done in Barau’s house after collecting it from Lawan.
Daily Mail Online could not independently verify these claims but efforts to reach Barau proved unsuccessful as his phone rang out without response.
There was also no response from the office of the Senate president when enquiries were made through text messages as at the time of going to press.
Already the tacit approval of N37 billion for the renovation of the section of the National Assembly complex is causing ripples among the senators as they compete for projects in the name of their companies.


December 16, 2019220

The trial of Mohammed Dangana, a staff of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, continued on December 16 before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja with the third witness, Adedeji Adelabu, a bureau de change operator, telling the court that he purchased dollars to the tune of $9.8 million from the defendant.

Dangana, an executive assistant to the Financial Controller, ECOWAS Commission Secretariat, Abuja, is under prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 15-count charge, bordering on criminal diversion of funds, misappropriation and money laundering to the tune of over N587.7 million.

According to Adelabu, all the naira payments made for the purchase of the estimated $9.8 million were done at the agreed rates to the various accounts provided by the defendant. He said the payments were dully confirmed received as instructed, with the dollar proceeds given to them accordingly.

The witness gave details of some of the transactions involving the defendant to the tune of $1 million on June 30, 2016 and another transaction of $1 million on July 4, 2019 at the prevailing rate of N347 to a dollar.

Adelabu added that other transactions were done afterwards and that in total, an approximate sum of $9.8 million was purchased and all payments were made as directed by the defendant.

When asked about his relationship with Cactus Facility Management Company, into which several millions were paid, he said he had no relationship outside the instructions given to make payments to the account.

The witness told the court that payments were made into various accounts, including Dashad & Co, Rite Option Ventures Ltd, Crossgains Trading and Investment Ltd, Cactus Facility Management Company, Saldano Chambers, ECOWAS account and others.

The matter was adjourned until December 17, 2019, for continuation of trial.


October 17, 20191670


October 16, 2019640

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) plans to, in 2020, spend about N4 billion on procurement of land for offices and fencing of hectares of land acquired in different parts of the country.

The 2020 Appropriation Bill, which President Muhammadu Buhari presented to the National Assembly last week, shows that a large chunk of the EFCC’s capital allocation would be expended on the procurement and fencing of large hectares of land in different parts of the country.
If approved, the EFCC would use N63,612,773 to fence its 1.8 hectares of land at Pwoyi village in the Federal Capital Territory;  N141, 127,926 to fence 50 hectares of land for its proposed Academy at Orozo , a Nasarawa State community and another N3,371,940 for the fencing of land for its proposed office in Benin, Edo State.

The EFCC has also proposed to procure an expanse of land for its exhibit park at Maiduguri, Borno State, for N7,225,585 and an unspecified size of land for “future development” at its Gombe office for N12,042,6421. It also intends to purchase office buildings at its Port Harcourt Zonal office for N115, 609,385. The EFCC also plans to spend  N22, 265,818 on procurement of land for what it termed “permanent development in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital while also proposing the sum of N20,472,492 to compensate locals at Piwoyi village in the FCT to “cover cost of economic trees, farmlands, etc.”

The anti-graft agency further proposes to spend N24, 085,284 to compensate locals at Orozo village in the FCT to cover cost of economic trees, farmlands, and the same amount (N24,085,284) for the same purpose at Kwandere, a community near Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.

With agency report


October 15, 2019620

Again with no visible capital project to point to, Nigeria has been accused of borrowing a whopping N3.3 trillion in  12 months to eat.

This was revealed by the Debt Management Office, which on Tuesday said that Nigeria’s total public debt rose by N3.32 trillion in 12 months to N25.7 trillion as at the end of June 2019.

According to the agency, the Nigerian Government owed N20.42 trillion as of June 30, 2019 while the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory had a total debt profile of N5.28 trillion.

It said the debt stock is made up of N8.32 trillion ($27.16bn) external debt and N17.38trn borrowed domestically.

The nation’s public debt, which stood at N22.38 trillion as of June 2018, increased to N24.39 trillion in December 2018 and N24.95 trillion in March 2019, the DMO added.


September 21, 2019230

FG, States and LGCs shares N740.880 billion for the month of August, 2019
The Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC). today in Abuja at its meeting, shared to the Federal Government, States and Local Government Councils a sum total of  N740.880 billion as federal allocation for the month of August 2019.

From this amount, the Federal Government received N301.804 billion, representing 52.68 per cent, the States received N188.925 billion representing 26.72 per cent and Local government councils got N142.654 billion, representing 20.60 per cent, while the oil producing states received N43.513 billion as 13 per cent derivation revenue.

However, cost of collection/Transfers/ FIRS, refund was N43.984 billion.

A communiqué issued by the FAAC indicated that the Gross Revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) for August 2019 was N88.082 billion as against the N94.159 billion distributed in the previous month of July, 2019, resulting in a decrease of N6.077 billion.

The distributed Statutory Revenue of N631.796 billion received for the month of August was lower than the N674.365 billion received in the previous month by N42.569 billion.

The communiqué further disclosed that, revenues from Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Companies Income Tax (CIT) increased considerably, while Value Added Tax (VAT), Royalties, Import and Excise duties recorded decreases.

However, additional N20 billion from the Forex Equalization Account shall be shared accordingly among the three tiers of government, which brings the total distributable revenue to N740.880 billion.

Furthermore, the committee stated that as at August 19th, 2019, the Excess Crude Account (ECA) is $328.122m.

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