Acting President Yemi Osinbajo Redeploys Permanent Secretaries

Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbanjo, has on Wednesday, approved the redeployment of some permanent secretaries in the Federal Civil Service.

This was contained in a circular by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo- Ita.

With the current redeployment, Engr. Abubakar G. Magaji, who was  has been deployed from the Federal Ministry Works & Housing to serve under the Ministry of Interior.

Mohammad Bukar who until now serves in the Office of the Secretary to the  Government of the Federation, has been moved to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.

Also, Dr Roy Ugo who was the Chief Administrative Officer, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, has been deployed to the General Services Office (GSO), in the same office.

Mrs Oyo-Ita in the circular directed that the handing and taking over processes should be completed on or before Friday 30th June 2017.

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Acting President Yemi Osinbajo Urges Northern Leaders To Speak Against Divisive Speech

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has urged traditional rulers to advise their subjects especially young people from making speeches than can leads to destruction of properties and lives.

Osinbajo said this on Tuesday while meeting with the leaders at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa.

The meeting was in continuation of consultations aimed at dousing the tension created by the recent ultimatum given to Igbos by a group of youth from the north, to vacate by October 1, 2017.

Osinbajo, who noted that traditional rulers have a role to play in “countering the voices of divisiveness”, urged them not to relent in playing their unique roles.

“Let us continue to counsel the misguided elements among our youth, who think that ethnic confrontation is a game and that words can be thrown around carelessly without repercussion,” he said.

“Having said this, let me say that we are not deaf to the legitimate concerns and frustrations arising from around the country. Every part of Nigeria has its own grievances. But these have to be expressed graciously and managed with mutuality rather than with scorn and disdain.”

The Acting President warned that the hate hate-filled and divisive rhetoric and agitations in parts of the country are “unjustifiable, unacceptable and often times illegal”.

He also stressed that such agitations were capable of rubbishing the sacrifices made by many Nigerians over the years to keep the country united.

“Nigeria has seen enough violence and bloodshed in its history, the price of our unity has already been paid in the blood and lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians,” he said.

Professor Osinbajo assured the traditional rulers that the Federal Government is committed to keeping the country united, adding that rather than viewing the country’s diversity as a challenge, it should be a source of unity.

“We must never take our diversity for granted; the fullness of our strength actually lies in that diversity. And we must wield that diversity, not as a divisive tool, but instead as a binding agent,” he said.

Traditional rulers present at the meeting include the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara; and the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, were also among those in attendance.

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2017 Budget Series: In Defence Of Ag. President Yemi Osinbajo By Abdulmumin Jibrin

The Ag President made what, in my opinion, was a harmless remark when he observed that the National Assembly has no powers to introduce new projects in the budget. In the same statement, however, he admitted the powers of NASS to allocate resources as that is its core powers of appropriation. I consider his statement very objective. His tone wasn’t confrontational, neither was his body language. Ag President Osinbajo had a day earlier signed the 2017 budget noting that there were grey areas, especially funds lifted from key projects, to introduce new projects by NASS. 
 
He further stated that he agreed to sign the budget after the assurance of commitment from NASS to restore the lifted funds. That demonstration of faith in NASS was unprecedented, and the most generous concession in budget negotiation by a President since 1999. No any President has ever agreed to sign the budget into law on the basis of extracting commitment from NASS to attend to outstanding issues after the budget is signed into law, the reasons being: 
 
I. Once the budget is signed into law, the President MUST implement it, whether NASS makes the correction or not. 
 
II. There are only two ways to achieve such corrections: supplementary budget or Virement, both of which are as good as going through the entire budget process all over again, and will require the Executive to go the full length of lobbying and massaging the ego of NASS, a process they detest so much. 
 
III. The unpredictable nature of the relationship between the Legislature and the Executive, as the state of such relationship at a particular time determines how friendly and expeditiously NASS attends to requests from the Executive. This is not peculiar to Nigeria. A national daily reported today that Osinbajo’s comment threaten Executive, NASS Virement deal but how could such a harmless statement create an uproar of such magnitude. Already an unhealthy prevailing circumstances is being created that will make the process tough and place few people in NASS to negotiate some selfish interest only beneficial to themselves. That has been the name of the game. The NASS should know that how it handles this historic concession granted it by the Executive under the guide of Ag President Osinbajo will determine the approach of the Executive Arm in future budget negotiation.
 
So, the only other way to make corrections in the budget, which is not applicable in this situation, is through corrigendum – a power vested in NASS to make minor corrections to the budget. There are instances where corrigendum has been used to commit budget fraud. I will discuss that and give you such instances in subsequent episodes of this series. 
 
Recall that in 2016, President Buhari returned the budget to NASS on two occasions, to ensure that all the grey areas are resolved before he appended his signature. All the grey areas were resolved, and corrections too effected. In fact, this was done with an unusual tact and dutifully, out of understandable reverence, and yes FEAR, of President Buhari.  
 
In this case of Ag President Osinbajo, perhaps beyond the respect he enjoins, he must strive to also be feared, through resistance to compromising settlements in his relationship with NASS. The reason isn’t far-fetched: all attempts to flatter and hoodwink President Buhari into signing the 2016 budget, by assuring to make corrections later, met an impenetrable brick wall. He saw through the smokescreen, and thus even refused to be blackmailed by threats of possible backlash from NASS if the budget is not signed before corrections are made and also the need to save time.
 
On one occasion, the President said, “If we have waited for six months, we can as well wait for weeks for NASS to correct the grey areas before I sign.” That has been the pattern with successive presidents. No President was ready to take the risk with NASS but Osinbajo did, as it appeared like striking a deal with an untrustworthy partner. Whether this seeming pact is calculated or not, is left for time and the scrutiny of vigilant and critical Nigerians to determine. What is obvious, however, is: the Ag President has played into the hands of NASS. 
 
What the Ag President has given to NASS is a victory it has never had in the budget process since 1999, understandably to strengthen the relationship between the two frequently hostile arms of government. And so, he deserves a reciprocal gesture and unmistakable friendship from the lawmakers, not attacks and threats. This is my position.
 
In the next episodes of this series, which we intend to run for three months, we will do a recap of the 2016 budget fraud with new revelations of facts and key actors involved. We will talk about fraud in 2017 budget, how members of the Executive arm collaborate with NASS in this venture, new strategies to beat vigilant eyes, concealment, abnormality, reckless spending, budget revenue frame work, and 2 dollar extra benchmark.
 
Also to be addressed are N140 billion increment in budget size amidst dwindling revenues (the largest in recent years), poor economics, the “reformed” budget process, public hearing of budget, page by page consideration of details, corrigendum, the lies, facts and half-truths of budgeting, conspiracy of a few members of NASS in the budget process against majority of the 359 Members and 108 Senators and, very importantly, how to stop these infractions. We look forward to beneficial engagements, for a more transparent Nigeria.
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Acting President Yemi Osinbajo Joins Muslim Faithfuls For Iftar

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday evening joined the Muslim faithful to break the fast at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The breaking of fast, organised at the instance of the wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, had Christians and people of different ethnic groups in attendance.

Professor Osinabjo, in his remarks commended Mrs. Buhari for organising the event.

“She thought that it was important that during this occasion of the fast we should come together; this type of gathering is important for us as a nation.”

Osinbajo further expressed dismay at the activities of some people who go about seeking relevance and notoriety by promoting division, hate and parochialism.

“Many are making hate-filled pronouncements, deriding the faith of others and saying things that could incense others,” he said, pointing out that  “the purveyors of hate and division, whether it is along ethnic lines or religious lines generally appeal to the basest instinct of any human being.”

He said such notions that promote ethnicity and religions were hypocritical and used by people to advance personal interests.

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Acting President Yemi Osinbajo Explains IDP Food Distribution Plan

Henceforth, relief materials for Internally Displaced Persons in the North-East will now be delivered to the IDPs at their door-steps in exchange for a pre-issued voucher, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has said.

A statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, made available to pressmen in Abuja, on Thursday said that the new plan is part of the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari for catering to the needs and welfare of IDPs in the North East region of the country.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, had on Thursday, in Maiduguri unveiled a new and more effective distribution plan for delivering relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons in the North-East which departs from the undignified practice of forcing people to queue up for food.

“Unfolding this new strategy, the Acting President disclosed that the plan is part of the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari for catering to the needs and welfare of IDPs in the North East region of the country,” the statement reads.

According to the Acting President, with the new plan  “we are incorporating the voucher system which do not only make the process of relief distribution transparent, it will improve our own data collection and our national capacity to plan for what will be a quarterly exercise.”

He continued: “as we restore and maintain security in the region, we must not lose sight of the need to provide social service, food, education, healthcare, shelter as well as resettlement and livelihood support.

“Today, the Federal Government flags off what will be a quarterly grain distribution programme for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and by this, we are saying to our brothers and sisters in the Northeast that our country does not take their burdens lightly and we are not blind to their difficulties.

“I am particularly pleased to say that the grains that we’ll be distributing, which comprise of Sorghum, Maize, Soya Beans, and Rice, are produced locally; they are produced here in Nigeria by our own farmers.

“This has always been the vision of Mr. President for our country, to grow what we eat, and to eat what we grow and to use what we make. These grains have travelled from various locations across the country, from as far afield as Ibadan, and as close as Gombe; escorted and protected by the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Military and in some cases will be airlifted by the Nigeria Air Force.”

He also added that the Federal Government would work closely with States to provide other assistance including health services to the IDPs.

Prof Osinbajo commended the partnership support from international partners such as the UN, World Food Programme, NEMA, the Military, the Police, other security agencies and State Governments in the region.

The Acting President who on arrival paid a courtesy visit on the Shehu of Borno, Umar Abubakar Gabai Ibn El-Kanemi in his palace, told the traditional ruler and members of his Emirate Council that President Buhari sees the welfare of the IDPs as the responsibility of government.

During his remarks, the Shehu of Borno thanked President Buhari for his commitment to the restoration of peace in the State and entire region. He noted the laudable efforts of the Buhari Presidency at recovering the kidnapped Chibok girls and attending to the welfare of IDPs across the region.

Earlier upon arrival in Maiduguri, the Acting President inspected the consignment of about 30,000 metric tonnes to be delivered across the region by 1,032 trucks. The distribution is for affected persons in of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi and Gombe States.

Prof Osinbajo during the visit also inspected some facilities such as the NEMA warehouse, the Bakassi IDP camp office and the premises of School A located within the camp.

With the Acting President at the event were governors from the region, including Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, and Governor Bindo Jubrilla of Adamawa State. Yobe State Deputy Governor Abubakar D. Ali was also present alongside members of the National Assembly, members of the Federal Executive Council, Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari, the National Security Adviser to the President, General Baba Munguno, Rtd, Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, the Governor of Central Bank Godwin Emefiele amongst several dignitaries.

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Ag. President Osinbajo To Commission Multi-Billion Naira Grains Distribution In North-East

The Federal Government has announced plan to embark on a multi-billion Naira provision and distribution of food grains especially for Internally Displaced Persons in the region.

This initiative, according to a press statement released by spokesman to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, is among the plans of the Buhari administration to address the food crisis fallouts of the insurgency in the North-East.

According to the statment, about 1.8 million people would be reached regularly starting from Thursdaywhen the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, launches the quarterly Special Relief Intervention plan costing about N8B, depending on current commodity prices, the statement said.

“In all, about 40,000 metric tonnes comprising Rice, Maize, Sorghum and Soya beans grown locally by Nigerian farmers would be distributed. Under the distribution model, the Federal Government which is paying for the grains will be giving each family about 50kg of grains per month.

“One of the highlights of this new distribution plan is that it eliminates the undignified practice of long and often problematic queues, replacing it with door-to-door delivery to the IDPs using a pre-issued voucher-system that promotes transparency and accountability. The new plan is also expected to correct many of the lapses observed in delivering relief to the IDPS.

“The food will be distributed by officials of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, in partnership with State Emergency Management Agencies and developmental partners from the International Humanitarian agencies.

“Under the plan, the FG buys local grains from Nigerian farmers and the Nigerian Police, Nigerian Military including the Air Force, are actively involved providing essential and logistical support. The grains to be delivered quarterly would be transported mainly by road through 1032 trucks, while for locations difficult to reach, the Nigeria Air Force will provide air lift support.

“While the Federal Government is providing food assistance, it will work with the State Governments to provide other forms of assistance including health services, education, resettlement and livelihood support.”

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We Will Finish What We Start In Niger Delta, Says Ag. President Yemi Osinbajo

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the federal government is promoting a new way of way of thinking and engagement that will secure the development of the Niger Delta and the entire country.

This was contained in a press statement signed by his spokesperson, Mr. Laolu Akande.

According to Osinbajo, the new approach involves an active and effective collaboration between the government, the private sector and the communities. This approach he stated ensures that “we finish whatever we start.”

Prof. Osinbajo spoke earlier today while meeting with members of a delegation from Bayelsa State regarding the $3.6B Brass Fertilizer & Petro-Chemical Company that is expected to come on steam soon. The delegation which included executives of the company was led by Governor Seriake Dickson.

Lamenting that only 12% completion rate was recorded in several of the projects undertaken by the Niger Delta Development Commission in the past years, while the rest were abandoned, Osinbajo stated that “sometimes projects are designed not to succeed, but just for some people to make money.”

He however noted that “a new way of thinking is emerging,” pointing to effective collaboration with the private sector and citing the example of the NLNG as one instance of such effective collaborations.

“The Buhari administration, this government is committed to finishing whatever we start. At the end of the day, we shall ensure that,” he affirmed, adding that the oil-producing communities have tremendous potentials.

While commending the Bayelsa State Governor for his proactive efforts, the Acting President commended the collaboration that is ongoing regarding the Brass company. Said he: “this is what we describe as the New Vision: partnership between the Federal Government, the States, the communities and the private sector. This is the new way of thinking that is emerging, the New Vision.”

In his own comments, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu described the idea of the Brass Fertilizer & Petro-Chemical firm as “a game changer that we need to encourage, “ adding that such ideas have the potential to change the economic model in the Niger Delta.

The Acting President also received a delegation from the Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria, SEEDAN led by its President Mr. Richard Olafare and the Director-General of the National Agricultural Seed Council, Dr. P.O.Ojo.

In his remarks, Prof. Osinbajo assured the delegation that the Federal Government would do much more in the area of Agriculture, stressing that fertilizer and seed inputs are vital for the “agricultural revolution” that the Buhari administration is delivering.

He told members of the association, “your visit and contributions are very important to us. The President has said we must grow what we eat. We must be able to grow everything we eat. This is very important to us, we are very committed to food security. It is important to hear your views as we shape policy.”

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Buhari Personally Negotiated Lagos-Calabar Rail Project Funding – Osinbajo

The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari personally re-negotiated the funding of the Lagos-Calabar rail project under the China-Exim loan agreement.

Osinbajo, had during a town hall meeting with stakeholders in Calabar, on Thursday, said the Federal Government was desirous of assisting the state after ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon.

He also disclosed that the Odukpani-Ikot Ekpene road was captured in the 2017 budget, adding that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Uguru Usani, was also pressing for the reconstruction of the Calabar-Ogoja Road.

Osinbajo said, “The ceding of Bakassi as a result of the judgment of the International Court of Justice is a development that we all consider a loss. But the President strongly believes that while we ruminate over the legal issues we must not allow Nigerian citizens in Ikang and elsewhere to suffer.

“The Federal Government will certainly do more and engage more with the displaced in Bakassi. This is our duty and our commitment. We will also thoroughly investigate the issues you have raised on the relationship between the military, the militants and the people of Bakassi.

“The Federal Government is certainly interested in Cross Rivers and the President himself re-negotiated the China-Exim loan for the Lagos-Calabar rail.

“In our budget this year, we have provided for the Odukpani/Ikot-Ekpene road and I also know that the Hon. Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru has been negotiating for the Calabar/Ogoja Road.

“There are other environmental projects that this government is working on, am sure you must have heard of the work we are doing in Adiabo-Okrikang Erosion Control, Eastern Naval Command Erosion Control Project Phase 1, among others,” he said.

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Ag. President Yemi Osinbajo Visits Cross River, Commissions Project

Acting President, Prof. ‘Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday, embarked on an official visit to Cross River State to commission milestone projects undertaken by the state government.

Osinbajo was received at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport by Governor Ben Ayade in the company of members of the state executive, before proceeding to the palace of the Obong of Calabar, His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, for a courtesy visit.

Speaking at the commissioning of the projects, Prof. Osinbajo commended the achievements of the present administration under the leadership of Prof. Ben Ayade and his service to the people of Cross River State.

Osinbajo said, “Cross River State is so much an integral part of Nigeria and every part needs the other.  We are greater together than apart. When people speak of Nigeria, it is because of its diversity.  Unity is absolutely important because God wants us to be united.”

He commissioned the Calabar Monorail, the Calabar International Convention Centre, and the Cross River Garment Factory.

“Our vision for Cross River State is to make it a destination for investments in Africa,” said Governor Prof. Ben Ayade. “Acting President ‘Yemi Osinbajo’s visit is a validation of our efforts taken so far to achieve this laudable goal. The government and people of Cross River are grateful for his support as we join hands to move the ship of the state forward.”

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Ag. President Osinbajo Restates FG’s Commitment To Address Plight Of The Displaced In Bakassi

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has assured the people of Bakassi and government of Cross River that the Federal Government remains committed to addressing the plight of the displaced in Bakassi, in line with the Buhari presidency’s policy on serving the interest of all Nigerians regardless of their affiliations.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this while responding to issues raised by stakeholders at the town hall meeting in Calabar, organized in continuation of the series of engagements with leaders in the Niger Delta region.

In a statement signed by his spokesperson, Mr. Laolu Akande, the Acting President said, “the ceding of Bakassi as a result of the judgement of the ICJ is a development that we all consider a loss.’’

“But the President strongly believes that while we ruminate over the legal issues we must not allow Nigerian citizens in Ikang and elsewhere to suffer.

“The Federal Government will certainly do more and engage more with the displaced in Bakassi. This is our duty and our commitment,’’ he added.

Speaking on the relationship between soldiers and some residents of Bakassi, Prof.Osinbajo assured that the Federal Government “will also thoroughly investigate the issues raised on the relationship between the military, the militants and the people of Bakassi’’, with a view to find a lasting solution to the problem.

He said the Buhari administration would not hesitate to support viable programmes and initiatives that would make living better for Nigerians, adding that “the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari for Nigeria is one where the Federal Government partners with the States to create industrial, commercial and professional opportunities for all our citizens.

Prof. Osinbajo further explained that “the Federal Government is certainly interested in Cross River, the President himself re-negotiated the China-EXIM loan for the Lagos-Calabar rail line and in the 2017 budget have provided for the Udokpani/Ikot Ekpene road.’’

He mentioned other projects at different stages of execution in the state to include, the Calabar-Ogoja road, Adiabo-Okurikang Erosion Control, Eastern Naval Command Erosion Control Project Phase 1 and NewMap Erosion Control Project at Ikot Nkebre mass slide Erosion site.

Prof. Osinbajo also urged the people of the state not to relent in ensuring the unity of the state and country as they continue to set the pace in the tourism and hospitality sector in Nigeria.

Before going in for the town hall meeting, Prof. Osinbajo met with owners of small businesses at the ongoing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Clinic after seeing an exhibition of made-in-Nigeria products.

The Acting President was accompanied to the forum by Ministers of Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachukwu, Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Ughuru, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winiefred  Oyo-Ita, the Coordinator of the Amnesty Office, Paul Boroh, Chairman of the NDDC Board, Sen. Ndoma Egba, among other dignitaries.

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Ag. President Yemi Osinbajo Inaugurates Advisory Council

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has on Tuesday, inaugurated the Nigerian Industrial Policy And Competitiveness Advisory Council.

The inauguration, which held at the office of the Ag. President in Aso Rock, Abuja, has Osinbajo as Chairman,  Hon. Minister, Industry Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah (Vice-Chairman, Public Sector); Hon. Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Aisha Abubakar (Alternate Vice-Chairman, Public Sector); President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote (Vice-Chairman, Private Sector) and Chairman, ANAP Business Jets Ltd, Mr. Atedo Peterside (Alternate Vice-Chairman, Private Sector).

Other private sector members are:

1.  Chairman, Nigerian Breweries and PZ Cussons Chief Kola Jamodu

2.   Chairman, BUA Group Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu

3.   Chairman, IVM Innoson Group of Companies Limited Dr. Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma

4.   GMD, Chi Foods Nigeria Mr. Rahul Savara

5.   Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc Mr. John Coumantarous

6.   CEO, Emzor Pharmaceuticals Mrs. Stella Okoli

7.   Country Head, Olam Mr. Mukul Mathur

8. President/CEO Beloxxi Industries Limited Mr. Obi Ezeude

9.    MD/CEO Fidson Healthcare Plc Dr. Fidelis Ayebea

10. Founder, Flutterwave Mr. Iyinoluwa Aboyeji

11. President & CEO, GE Business Operations Nigeria Mr. Lazarus  Angbazo

12. CEO, Jumia Mrs. Juliet Anamah

13. CEO, SecureID Nigeria Ltd Mrs. Kofo Akinkugbe

14. Chairman/C.E.O, AMMASCO International Limited Alhaji Ado      Mustapha

15. Chairman, KAM Industries Alhaji Kamaldeen Yusuf

16. Chairman, United Textiles Plc Alhaji Adamu Atta

17. Chairman Candel Corporation; CEO Swift Networks Mr. Charles  Anudu

18. Chairman, Rumbu Sacks Nigeria Limited Alhaji Ibrahim Salisu Buhari

19. Chairman, Tofa Group Mr. Isiaku Tofa

20. MD/CEO Proforce Limited Mr. Ade Ogundeyin

21. President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs

OTHER PUBLIC SECTOR MEMBERS:

1.   Hon. Minister for Budget & National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma

2.    Hon. Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun

3.   Hon. Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh

4.   Hon. Minister for Power, Works & Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola

5.   Hon. Minister for Transportation, Chief Rotimi Amaechi

6.   Hon. Minister of State, Petroleum Resources Dr. Ibe Kachikwu

7.   Hon. Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi

8.   Hon. Minister for Science & Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu

9.   Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele

 

TECHNICAL COMMITTEE MEMBERS:

1.   Economic Adviser to the President Dr. Yemi Dipeolu

2.   Trade Adviser/Chief Negotiator Amb. Chiedu Osakwe

3.   MD, Bank of Industry Mr. Kayode Pitan

4.   Exec. Director/CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo

5.   Executive Secretary, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission Ms. Yewande Sadiku

6.   Statistician-General, National Bureau of Statistics Dr. Yemi Kale

7.   CEO, Economic Associates Dr. Ayo Teriba

 

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Ag. President Yemi Osinbajo Signs Two New Laws To Ease Access To Credit

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has on Tuesday, signed into law two bills from  the National Assembly that will ultimately facilitate access to more affordable credit for Nigerians.

This was contained in a statement by his spokesperson, Mr. Laolu Akande, delivered to pressmen in Abuja.

The bills which have now become ‘Acts’ are the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Act, 2017 (otherwise known as Collateral Registry Act) and the Credit Reporting Act, 2017.

‘The Collateral Registry Act’ ensures that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria can register their movable assets such as motor vehicles, equipment and accounts receivable in the National Collateral Registry, and use same as collateral for accessing loans. This in turn will increase their chances at accessing financing and tackle one of the major obstacles faced by MSMEs.

“On the other hand, ‘The Credit Reporting Act’ provides for credit information sharing between Credit Bureaus and lenders (such as banks), as well as other institutions that provide services on credit such as telecommunication companies and retailers. (A Credit Bureau is defined as a company that collects information relating to the credit ratings of individuals and makes it available to financial institutions, who need such information to determine an individual’s credit-worthiness and whether or not to grant loan applications to such individuals.)

“Access to credit is critical to economic growth and is considered to be the motor for driving private sector development. However, in Nigeria more than 70% of private enterprises, typically MSMEs, have limited or no access to credit. Credit applications get rejected due to insufficient credit history and information for the lender to use to make a reasonable judgement, as well as unacceptable collateral. The two new Acts remove those obstacles for MSMEs.

“Traditionally, banks only give loans to businesses that can provide fixed land and property as collateral. This shuts out MSMEs which usually own only movable assets like motor vehicles and equipment. The Collateral Registry Bill, 2017, will give confidence to lenders to utilise the Registry and thereby make credit available to MSMEs and individuals through the use of their movable assets as collateral.

“The Credit Reporting Act now enables lenders to make reasonable judgement on whether or not to extend credit to an individual, and reduces the cases of bad loans.

“On February 21st, 2017, the leadership of the National Assembly publicly committed to passing the two bills as part of the 60-Day National Action Plan for Ease of Doing Business initiated by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC). That promise was kept by the National Assembly last week with the Bills forwarded to the Acting President for assent.

With the passage of these Acts, the existing Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Guidelines regulating the operations of the National Collateral Registry and Credit Bureaux have now been replaced by formal legal frameworks,” the statement reads.

Osinbajo stressed that the passage of the Acts would facilitate the achievement of the goals of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) set up by President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2016 and chaired by the Vice-President to progressively make Nigeria an easier place for businesses to start and thrive.

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