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Food Importation: CBN backs President Buhari’s Directive on FOREX

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that foreign exchange should no longer be approved for the importation of food in Nigeria is in line with the bank’s policies.

President Buhari had last week directed the apex bank to stop the issuance of foreign exchange for the importation of food into Nigeria.

The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who spoke to State House correspondents on the side-lines of the Presidential Retreat for ministers designate, federal permanent secretaries and top government functionaries, said “the directive is in the logic of CBN’s management foreign exchange policies that we started since 2016.”

Emefiele said that the CBN started the policy with about 41 items (food and non-food items) because those items could be produced in the country.

“As we stand today, there are about 43 items on that list and I will say substantially most of them are food items.

“We are basically saying, if we have a food item that can be produced in the country, why should we waste scarce foreign exchange importing those items into the country, when those can be produced in the country.

“It is important for me to say that the attempt to misrepresent the comments of Mr. President is very unfair and unfortunate.

“But what we will say from the CBN is that the president has made this comment purely to strengthen the position of the CBN to say that he believes in what the CBN has been doing since 2016 and there is need for us to reinforce that going forward.

“I will say that to be honest we would aggressively go more into the list of items that are being imported into the country, items that can be produced in Nigeria. 

“I will like to stress that we would ensure that more of these items will get on the list of items that are going to be restricted from accessing foreign exchange in Nigerian banking industry, not just from the CBN source.

“I have heard some comments that maybe it’s about the CBN’s source, it is not the CBN’s source, we are saying you will not be able to access foreign exchange from the Nigerian banking industry because it is important for us to produce these items in Nigeria and we will follow through on them.”

No amendment

Insisting that the bank would go ahead with the policy, Emefiele said that there would be no amendment to it because doing so would imply exporting jobs to other countries.

“Today we are complaining that there is a high rate of unemployment, leading to some extent the level of insecurity in the country.

“Why should we allow people to import food that can be produced in the country?

“We need to improve wealth in our rural communities and I am saying we will not change course, we will even be more aggressive on this programme.”

Emefiele was optimistic that the policy on foreign exchange would not affect the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which Nigeria signed at the recent Extra-ordinary Summit of the Africa Union, AU, in Niamey, Niger Republic.

“In any case, the AfCFTA is an agreement that is ongoing; the terms of engagement are still being discussed and negotiated.

“The important thing is that Nigeria needs to stand as the largest economy in Africa and the largest populated country in Africa and we need to stand and dictate the terms under which we want to be in it and this is what we are saying. 

“But what I am saying is that it is wrong, it is inappropriate that an item that can be produced in Nigeria should be imported into Nigeria.

“When we get into the AfCFTA issues we will also look at the details of it, but at this time we are saying we need to create jobs for our country, for the youths and we need to create jobs.

“We yearn for growth and the only way we can really accelerate growth in Nigeria between now and next four years is to see to it that items that can be produced in Nigeria are indeed produced in Nigeria rather than being imported into the country.”

Not scared by judgment debt

Emefiele also spoke on the £9.6billion judgment debt awarded against Nigeria by a British court in a suit brought before it over alleged breach of a gas supply and processing agreement, GSPA, it allegedly signed with a British firm, Process and Industrial Developments Ltd, P&ID, saying he was not scared.

He said that the CBN has been discussing the issue with lawyers and they have advised that there are sufficient and strong grounds on the basis of which Nigeria could file a stay of execution as well as an appeal against that judgment.

“There are certain anomalies in the process leading to the award of that contract which is currently being looked into by the EFCC and I believe that the EFCC themselves have their own investigation reports about that. 

“So, we will follow through and aggressively too on ensuring that the execution of that judgement is stayed and that the appeal succeeds at every level both within Nigeria and abroad. 

“It is important for me to use this opportunity to assure our friends, local and foreign investors who called to express solidarity with us, not to express concern, but to say that there is no need for anybody to worry.

“We know that the implication of that judgment has some impact on monetary policy and that is why the CBN is going to step forward—and very strongly too—to ensure that we defend the country and defend the reserves of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” 

Brilliant initiative

Emefiele described the presidential retreat for ministers designate, permanent secretary and top government functionaries as “a brilliant initiative because it will set the focus.

“Everybody will know what the assignments and responsibilities will be in specific terms between now and the next four years,  he said

He said he was invited to the retreat, as senior government official, to join and listen to the President’s policy thrust for the next four years.

He also said that, as a member of the monetary policy authority, his presence at the retreat was part of attempts to collaborate with the monetary and fiscal authorities in Nigeria.

Source: von

Lafarge Announces $2m Award for Sustainable Construction

A leading Sub-Saharan Africa building materials company, Lafarge Holcim, has begun the sixth cycle of its international competition which will run until February 25, 2020. The awards offer a total of $2m in prize money and foreground projects and concepts from architecture, engineering, urban planning, materials and construction technology and related fields.

Submissions in the Lafarge Holcim awards main category include sustainable construction projects at an advanced stage of design, with a high probability of realisation and construction/fabrication must not have started before January 1, 2019.

The awards Next Generation category seeks visionary design concepts and bold ideas at a preliminary stage of design, including design studio and research work. The company said in a statement that to participate in this category, “Authors may not be older than 30 years.

Students and young professionals are welcome to enter the awards main category with projects that have reached advanced stage of design.” Independent expert juries in five geographic regions of the world evaluate submissions using the comprehensive “target issues” for sustainable construction of the LafargeHolcim Foundation.

The criteria cover innovation and transferability; ethical standards and social inclusion; resource and environmental performance; economic viability and compatibility; and contextual and aesthetic impact. Submitting entries in the competition is free and must be made in English using a web-based form to provide information on authorship, a project summary, technical details, as well as project images and or illustrations.

Source: dailytrust

NSE Moves To Expose Quack Engineers

The Nigeria Society of Engineers, the Ondo State Chapter, says it is empowered to arrest any building professional found to be involved in using substandard materials or linked to a defective construction project.

The NSE called on the builders to engage qualified engineers to supervise their projects in a bid to eradicate cases of building collapse in the state.

The Chairman of the NSE, Ondo Chapter, Mrs Christiana Ijagbemi, stated this during the 40th anniversary of the state chapter of the society. The theme of the anniversary is ‘Sustainable approach to infrastructural development’.

According to her, building collapse is mostly caused by fake engineers.

She said, “We want to advise our people to always engage qualified engineers to do structural analysis on their project. But the problem is that many people don’t involve engineers in the building project.

“It is not only engineers that involve in building collapse, particularly high-rise buildings; we have other building professionals, such as surveyor, architect and quantity surveyor. Errors from anyone of the professionals can cause a building to collapse. But we are trying to put a stop to this.”

Ijagbemi stated that members of the NSE had been going round to monitor building construction in the state, adding that anyone found using substandard materials or involved in defective construction would be arrested and handed over to law enforcement agents.

Source: punchng

Development in focus as Sanwo-Olu inaugurates cabinet

In fulfilling his electioneering promise that his cabinet would be constituted within 100 days of his government, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, recently released the first batch of 25 nominees to occupy cabinet-ranked positions in the state. The list shows an administration that is ready to serve, given the pedigrees of nominees, most of whom are tested individuals with proven records of accomplishment of performance in their various fields of endeavour.

Three weeks after, a new list consisting 13 names of another set of tested and trusted individuals was released making the cabinet positions 38 in all. Expectedly, the two lists generated a lot of interest in the political circle as well as the public domain. Every Lagosian at home and in the diaspora is interested in who occupies what position. You cannot query their interest. First, the Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s government came into power, with an emphasis during electioneering that inclusive governance would be the core of its administration. In addition, Lagosians see the enormous challenges that have confronted the State in the recent years and they know that only a focused, dedicated and forward-looking cabinet can help to deliver Governor Sanwo-Olu’s campaign promises.

Lagos has grown in leaps and bounds, with its population hitting almost 23 million people and still counting. This naturally comes with its challenges; increase in tons of waste generated, rise in the number of patients at various government hospitals and primary health centres, more pressure on the existing infrastructure-roads, schools and housing among numerous social amenities being provided by government. Lagos, therefore, cannot be administered in 2019 using a 1979 template.

The state has undoubtedly benefitted from its population growth-more revenue generation; physical development is recorded in different sectors making it a state on the move. At the last count, Lagos is said to have hit close to N30 billion mark every month in internally generated revenue (IGR), making it the most economically viable state in Nigeria and fifth largest economy in Africa. However, the State government has argued that this feat is still a far cry from what is required to run a megacity such as Lagos. For example, the budgetary allocation of the police department in New York City is $5.6 billion, when compared to the budget of the entire Lagos state, which stands at $2.4 billion; one can safely conclude that there is more to be done by government to get the state running.

Being the nation’s economic nerve-centre, Lagos is a city on the move but with enormous challenges. Apart from poor state of arterial roads that complicate free flow of traffic, commuters spend productive hours in chaotic gridlocks that are caused by failed sections on roads and disorganised traffic management. Many observers have opined that planning the best campaign strategies to win the governorship election was not much of a challenge before Governor Sanwo-Olu, as his party, APC commanded large following and significant popularity in Lagos to ensure his victory. What they say will be the most testing hurdle waiting to be surmounted by him was the strategy to deploy in solving the long-standing and emerging challenges facing the state.

When Sanwo-Olu emerged as APC candidate, Lagos had literally become a dumpsite as heaps of municipal waste littered the streets. The state agency set up for waste disposal had been disengaged in a curious and controversial circumstance, leaving residents to resort to indiscriminate dumping of refuse, which became a daily eyesore, even to the government of the day. The aesthetics of the environment was affected. All of these brought down the pride of Lagos, despite its growing profile as a hub for commerce, technology and innovation.

Sanwo-Olu’s campaign was premised on the need to address these challenges, with the aim of proffering short and long-term solutions to them. Project T.H.E.M.E.S that became the thrust of his campaign slogan was formulated as an operational framework to solve these identified challenges and sustain the profile of Lagos as centre of excellence.

Upon assumption of office as the 15th Governor of Lagos on May 29, 2019, Sanwo-Olu channelled his energy towards a process of scouting for visionary individuals from various areas of human endeavour that will help him midwife his vision and deliver on his campaign promises. He said, during the electioneering that ‘‘as Lagosians, we can’t be like people who cannot solve their problems. Therefore, we must find solutions to our problems because they are created by us’’.

As one who believes in harnessing the capabilities of homegrown professionals, Sanwo-Olu assured Lagosians that his Commissioners and cabinet-ranked Special Advisers would be drawn from local pool of resources and will cut across acceptable demographics. Besides, he promised his cabinet would be constituted within 100 days to set the ball of governance rolling.

In keeping the promise made to Lagosians, Sanwo-Olu announced the names of members of his cabinet exactly 47 days after his swearing-in. This is a rare feat for a governor serving his first term. The Governor said he understood the challenges confronting the state, noting that the selection process was a painstaking and laborious exercise, which aimed at introducing fresh ideas to governance. He said the team of professionals and politicians would be serving Lagosians in line with his administration’s vision of delivering a smart city-state that will rank among the top most liveable cities in the world.

His words: “We took our time to pick the best hands for the tough job Lagosians have elected us to do. The nominees for the twenty five (now thirty eight) Commissioner and Special Adviser positions include women and men who have made their mark and at the zenith of their professional callings.” Tough job? Yes, the tasks ahead are expected to be rigorous as Gov. Sanwo-Olu posited, given the challenges the state is confronted with and the expectations of the people based on the confidence reposed in the administration.

*Infusion of technocracy and political know-how*
Being the centre of innovation, Lagos has raised the bar of excellence with injection of fresh ideas and energy in governance. This tradition has been sustained in the last 20 years, and the young administration of Sanwo-Olu appears to be toeing the path, if the profiles of his nominees are anything to go by.

Of the 38 cabinet members cleared for inauguration by the State House of Assembly are active politicians who are equally professionals in various fields. The infusion of politics and professionalism is perhaps the unique selling point of the Sanwo-Olu Cabinet.
A careful analysis of the nominees showed there is clear departure from the tradition of putting forward only politicians or only technocrats to fill up the state’s Executive Council. A private sector professional himself and having traversed the nook and cranny of the political space in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu understood the arduous task before his government, which possibly prompted him to go for politicians, professionals in politics and technocrats to drive the key areas of the public sector for greater impact.

Having worked closely with the Governor, one can safely say that he is inclined to work with technocrats, because he is a man that’s given to details-someone you can describe as ‘‘prim and proper’’ but one equally knows that he values the roles of experienced politicians, who are fully integrated in the new cabinet arrangement for political balancing.

The Governor is a politician himself and he quite understands the roles of politicians in governance and development process. Despite his inclination to work with professionals, he will not be leaving out politicians, especially those who have garnered ample experience in previous administrations, to join the team of key private sector players he has nominated to his cabinet.

It therefore came as no surprise that the name of Mr. Tunji Bello, the immediate past Secretary to the State Government, who had served three previous administrations, featured in Sanwo-Olu’s list of cabinet members. Aside being an influential figure in Lagos politics, Bello, a trained lawyer cum journalist, possesses vast skill on environmental issues and policies to help the administration have clear direction in this area.

Lagos is confronting fierce challenges of climate change, flooding and municipal waste disposal among other environmental problems. With him in the cabinet, Bello’s wealth of experience in climate issues and the environment would come as a great benefit to the Sanwo-Olu administration.

Gbolahan Lawal is another experienced administrator and politician that will be in the Executive Council. A seasoned development expert and social entrepreneur from the security background, Lawal has deep understanding of political economy for integrated development especially in low and medium-income economies. He has proven his mettle in previous administrations as Commissioner for Housing and in the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.

Same can be said of Wale Ahmed, a medical doctor turned politician. Ahmed is well grounded in the politics of Lagos State having traversed the different political tendencies in the state. He is no doubt a good pick by Mr. Sanwo-Olu to help create the political balancing that is required in today’s democratic governance. There are few other experienced politicians in the list of the new cabinet members.

*Fair representation of women*
Since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, Lagos has been setting the pace for gender balance and women involvement in political process. The state became the first that elevated the status of women in the realms of leadership and politics, producing the first woman Deputy Governor.

The state had sustained the tradition of reserving one of the two topmost leadership positions for women. However, the political horse-trading that trailed the emergence of Dr. Obafemi Hamzat as Sanwo-Olu’s running mate in the build up to the general elections raised concern among womenfolk, giving rise to insinuation that Sanwo-Olu may be nursing an agenda to upset the progress made in the State in the area of women representation in governance.

In his response, Sanwo-Olu allayed the fear of relegation of women, explaining that the choice of his running mate was to display the dynamism of Lagos politics and present a formidable team for the tough job of governing a State with big economy as Lagos. He promised to complement the work of his administration with an improved involvement of women in decision-making positions. True to his words, the Governor, after being sworn in, surprised the womenfolk with his first appointment, picking Mrs. Folashade Jaji, as the Secretary to the State Government.

This was followed by nominations of thirteen women in the cabinet list, signifying the Governor’s conviction of getting women involved in leadership and decision-making. The number showed women make up 32 per cent of cabinet members in the State. This is 3% less of the 35% affirmative action for women in politics and governance. Again, Lagos remains the first and till date the only State that has moved closer to the number advocated.

Sanwo-Olu did not just pick any woman out of gender consideration, the Governor gunned for greater service delivery with the selection of seasoned and highly resourceful women, among who are engineers, lawyers, experienced politicians and development-driven individuals such as first-rate engineering project manager, Mrs Aramide Monsurat Adeyoye.

Mrs. Adeyoye, a University of Lagos (UNILAG)-trained Civil Engineer, cut her professional teeth at Julius Berger Nigeria Plc in 1988 and rose through the ranks to become the multinational engineering firm’s Project Coordinator in Nigeria’s West region.

The list also parades Mrs Adetoke Benson-Awoyinka, a public-spirited legal practitioner with 30 years post call experience in Nigeria and United States. Benson-Adeyinka was among the highly skilled team of the Governor’s transition committee.

Ms Ajibola Ponnle, another nominee, is an accomplished consultant, accountant and entrepreneur, with experience in transformational and result-oriented leadership in start-ups, volunteer/member-led organisations and multinational firms. Mrs. Lola Akande and Mrs Yetunde Arobieke are seasoned politicians who will bring their individual wealth of experience to the new drive to deliver a greater Lagos.

Other women in the list, with enviable track records in public and private sector, include Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, Ms Ruth Bisola Olusanya, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, Ms. Adekemi Ajayi, Mrs. Bolaji Dada and Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, Mrs Shulamite Olufunke Adebolu and Mrs. Sholape Hammond.

*Key roles for the millennial*
Having joined public service as Special Adviser on Economic and Investment at his youthful age, Sanwo-Olu seemed inclined towards engaging the youth with the aim of harnessing their energy to deliver his programmes and vision.

This may have influenced the decision of the Governor to nominate four young people under the age of 37 years for cabinet-ranked positions in his government. By the time the cabinet is constituted, these four millennials will be among those that would be driving the Governor’s policies in key public sector, creating a generational shift in governance.

Olatunbosun Alake, a 35-year-old Product Development and Data Management Executive and three other young administrators will be in the cabinet to infuse youthful vigour into governance by bringing to bear his cognate experience in local and international telecommunications and innovative solutions.

*Ethnic diversity*
Lagos continues to blaze the trail in ethno-religious diversity. The State in 1999 under former Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu appointed non-Yoruba professionals into the Executive Council. This great feat has been sustained and almost becoming a norm. Govenor Sanwo-Olu, during the electioneering, unequivocally promised to reflect ethnic representation in his cabinet. In keeping to his word, erstwhile spokesperson for the APC in Lagos State, Mr. Joe Igbokwe and a strong grassroots politician Architect Kabiru Ahmed made it into the cabinet of Lagos State.

Following their legislative ratification by the Lagos State House of Assembly, the 38 cabinet members will be sworn in on Tuesday. With this, residents of the state will begin to witness dynamic governance being driven by fresh, energetic and passionate team of professionals drafted to the Executive Council by equally adroit game changers – Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat.

Source: thecable

Nigerians to Buhari: Allow your Ministers to Perform

…Say his ‘overbearing influence’ may jeopardise performance

Against the backdrop of allegations that most of the immediate past ministers did not live up to expectation on their various beats because President Muhammadu Buhari did not allow them free hand to do their job, Nigerians have urged the President to trust the incoming ministers by allowing them discharge their duties without encumbrances.

In line with the timetable released by the Presidency, the minister-designates would be having a two-day retreat starting from Monday, August 18,2019.

Observers say that no amount of retreat would do any magic unless there is a remarkable shift from the old order, and the willingness of the President to grant them the latitude to do their job without “suffocating them with his overbearing influence.”

It was alleged that many of the past ministers had no access to the President and that they could only submit proposals through Abba Kyari, chief of staff to the President. These were said to have hindered optimal performances by the ministers.

There were also allegations that some past ministers ran into road blocks with the Office of the Chief of Staff that was said to have been difficult to penetrate. It was also alleged that on many instances, a lot of ministers did not get to see the President one-on-one to discuss important programmes of their ministries.

“I think from what we heard in the last administration, a number of the brilliant ministers failed because they did not have the necessary approval from the President. You may have great idea; if it is not financially backed, it would not fly. That was the situation the other time, or at least, what was alleged,” James Ajayi, a Lagos-based consultant, said.

“If what we heard is anything to go by, it would mean that no amount of retreat and workshop will do. The new orientation that can work is for the President himself to have a change of attitude and set a target for each and every one of them. Those targets must have timelines and must be supervised to put them on their toes. There should be proper communication with the Nigerian people on who is drawing the country back or those doing great. Rumours thrive when there is no proper communication. Those who think it is business as usual should be shown the way out as soon as they show signs of non-performance. Nigerians are in a haste to see real governance. Excuses will no longer be tenable,” Ajayi said.

Recall that the President had said that the incoming ministers would be guided to meet the targets of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government for the people. The President was quoted as saying recently that regular monitoring of their performances and scaling up of targets would be done by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, giving the assurance he would ensure compliance with laid down targets on key sectors of the economy that would directly impact on the livelihood of Nigerians.

The Presidency had also said that among other issues to be discussed at the retreat include acquainting the appointees with the roadmap for delivery of government’s priorities and next level agenda (2019-2023), as well as deepening the understanding of participants on best practices in conducting government business.

Some Nigerians have however, expressed the pessimism that going by Buhari’s penchant to take military-like actions and decisions, he could incapacitate his cabinet by his actions and inactions.

Many Nigerians have raised eye brows over the recent Presidential directive on food import ban, wondering if the President had the power to give such a unilateral order in a democracy.

President Buhari had flatly ordered Godwin Emiefele, the CBN governor: “Don’t give a cent to anybody to import food into the country”!

But Kingsley Moghalu, a professor and a former deputy governor of the CBN, who recently contested the presidential election on the platform of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), said: “The Central Bank Act of 2007 makes it clear that the bank is independent. It is not supposed to be taking direct instructions from politicians. The trajectory in this administration is that we have seen a very clear tendency for the President to direct people. Increasingly, Nigeria’s institutions have lost independence.”

The President, who is yet to inaugurate his 43-member cabinet, has been accused of being in a hurry to take a decision that has far-reaching implication for the country and the people, without adequate and appropriate consultations.

Bismarck Rewane, an economist and the head of consultancy firm, Financial Derivatives, reacting to the forex ban on food import, wondered if the policy emanated from a holistic, cross-pollination of ideas after the rubbing of minds from the relevant stakeholders such as farmers, food processors, marketers, the Customs Service as well as the Ministry of Agriculture across the country?

Rewane, an astute economist, who has in recent times been consulted by the Presidency to render some services, had expected government to be democratic enough in its decisions. He was the Technical Advisory Committee on Implementation of the National Minimum Wage.

Daramola Akinwale, a systems analyst, expressed the optimism that the yet-to-be- inaugurated ministers would perform better than their immediate predecessors, saying that he expects the Buhari administration to be more circumspect this time around than in his first term.

“I think that no matter the posturing in public, government knows its weak points. The drivers of the APC government cannot beat their chests and say they have acquitted themselves well in governance since 2015. However, I see something great coming out of the incoming cabinet through conscious efforts to do things right this time around. It is against this backdrop that I sincerely wish them successful outing in their retreat tomorrow and next,” Akinwale said.

To make an appreciable impact this time around, an insider source in the Presidency told BDSUNDAY that the President would even benefit the more by allowing the ministers unfettered access to discuss with him about their programmes.

“These people are coming from different fields with robust experiences. He must also value their contributions and in his own interest, tap into their wealth of experiences. He can enrich himself through these great ideas. After all, when they succeed, he takes the credit,” the source said, pleading anonymity.

Source: businessdayng

nigeria

‘Lack of transparency in assets declaration, bad governance responsible for corruption in Nigeria’

Participants in a one-day workshop on mobilizing stakeholders for improved accountability and good governance through assets declaration have identified bad governance and lack of transparency in assets declaration as being responsible for the high level of corruption in the country.

“Stakeholders affirm that across the country ,corruption is taking a high toll on human development with increasing devaluation of the quality of living and a decline in access to the essentials of life,’’ the participants noted.

In a communique at the end of the workshop, the stakeholders observers that Nigerians “are becoming despondent in the face of corruption by public officials across the country adding that they “are enthusiastic to see increasing fortunes in the creative ways of tackling corruption one of which is by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

They noted that Corruption cannot be isolated from economic exclusion and lack opportunities especially for younger people, vulnerable communities like people with disability and indigenous communities “who daily face the difficult brunt of redundancy, poverty and associated despair even in the face of reckless display of ill-gotten wealth by public officials.”

According to them, the fight against corruption is undermined by “elements of despondency characterized by ethnicity, religion and parochial divisions fanned by primordial solidarity, while corruption is ethnic and religion neutral.”

They identified declaration of assets is a key component in the fight against corruption as contained in the Fifth schedule of the 1999 Constitution as the CCB in its 14 established rules, provided the legal framework for all public office holders regarding Asset Declaration.

“Nigerians are well known as outstanding custodians of high profile assets in Dubai, Europe, Asia and America whereas many of these asset owners are public officials who may have siphoned public funds for acquisition of private assets.”

It observed that the Code of Conduct Bureau has performed below public expectation in tracking illicit assets and the establishment of the Bureau remains one of the pillars of democracy in Nigeria and expressed dismay that public officials have continued to undermine, subvert and bypass the CCB rules through false declarations, phantom claims linked to questionable loans, in the face of the proceeds of corruption being increasingly used to acquire assets.

“Declaration of Assets through the Code of Conduct Bureau and compliance of public officials is one of the most effective ways of fighting corruption as contained in Schedule 1 of the 1999 Constitution,” the communique noted.

They therefore called on the people including the organised labour, the media, civil society and relevant anti-corruption agencies like the CCB, EFCC, the ICPC and other critical allies like the National Orientation Agency, (NOA), to “ work together to tackle corruption by ensuring public officials comply with transparent, meaningful and effective declaration of assets at all tiers of government. Activities to ensure compliance with the CCB will henceforth be replicated in local areas to ensure grassroots impact.”

While calling on civil society organizations and NOA to strengthen alliances and solidarity by increasing the tempo of collaboration, more than ever before, to promote public awareness and education on the activities of the CCB and the imperative of compliance by public officials, they alleged that the acquisition of illegal assets by public officials is not without the knowledge and collaboration of some bad elements in the civil service and financial institutions.

“While inadequate remuneration and poor conditions of service are not justifications for collaborative corruption in the civil service, participants however recognise the importance of workers’ welfare and therefore call for full implementation of the national minimum wage and improved conditions of service for civil servants.”

They also expressed concern over the unimpressive funding of the CCB in the face of high public expectations and called on the Federal Government to address the funding and service conditions of workers at the CCB for effective performance.

The workshop was organised by Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) in collaboration with National Orientation Agency, (NOA and Code of Conduct Bureau while the communique was endorsed by Olanrewaju Suraju, chairman of HEDA and Shehu Abdullahi, chairman of the workshop.

Source: businessdayng

Let’s support 24 remaining savings & loans companies – Association

The Ghana Association of Savings and Loans Companies (GHASALC) is calling on the public to support Savings and Loans companies that have been cleared to continue operating following the clean-up of the sub-sector by the Bank of Ghana.

The Association says the public must remain calm and continue to do business with the companies that are currently operating.

The Bank of Ghana on Friday, August 16 announced that the licenses of 15 Savings and Loans Companies and eight Finance Houses had been revoked after they were found to be insolvent.

 

Among the 15 are some well-known institutions that hitherto, appeared to be operating normally.

For a few others, their collapse was not surprising as for several months their customers were unable to retrieve their savings.

Key among those whose licenses were revoked was GN Savings and Loans company which several months earlier, known as GN Bank, opted to be downgraded in the Bank of Ghana’s clean-up of the universal banking sub-sector.

According to the Executive Secretary of GHASALC, Tweneboah Kodua Boakye, the development was expected.

“We have been expecting this all this while because there were a number of institutions that were suffering as a result of these uncertainties in the market,” he said in an interview on Eyewitness News.

He said the 24 remaining savings and loans companies that were not affected by the Bank of Ghana’s action must be supported to succeed.

“There was an unfounded list going round but now the central bank has settled this. From the BoG list, it means that there are 24 savings and loans companies left in the market to do business. So we want to encourage the public to remain calm. This has happened and we were all expecting it. Let us support the companies that are left. Let’s support the system and the receivership process. If we are able to do this, I am very confident that the sector will be stronger,” he added.

He said the Association will do its best to ensure that the challenges that saw the 15 savings and loans companies lose their licenses, will be not be encountered by the remaining institutions.

“The issues that the central bank has identified and published, we will make sure that the remaining institutions will not fall into those challenges so that the industry will be stronger to serve the interest of the depositors and general public,” he said.

Mr. Tweneboah Koduah Boakye said training programs have been started for savings and loans companies to ensure that they comply fully with the directives of the Bank of Ghana.

“We have already started training our members and institutions in the law Act (930). We are also training the Board Members of the institution to ensure they comply with the law and directives. We have also been engaging the central bank on what should be should be done to strengthen the industry. So we will continue with all these processes that we have started and so we want to encourage our members to respond to our call.”

List of companies whose licenses were revoked

Licenses revoked

Source: citinewsroom

Okowa Tasks FG on Resuscitation of Warri Port

Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, on Wednesday in Asaba, stressed the need for the Federal Government to resuscitate Warri Port.

Okowa, who gave the charge when the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli I, visited him at the Government House, said Warri Port remained a key factor in the economic development of the state and the country at large.

He said that with the congestion in Lagos ports, reviving the port would ease traffic and boost the country’s economic activities at the ports.

“There is no doubt that the Warri Port is a key economical factor for our state and the nation; the earlier we get it working, the better for us.

“It is in the best interest of this nation to expand, create and develop port facilities because Lagos ports are already congested and more ports mean a higher boost to our economy,” he said.

Okowa assured the monarch of his administration’s commitment to meeting the yearnings of the people through projects that would impact positively on them.

“I want to thank you for the partnership that exists between your kingdom and the state government.

“This partnership has helped the traditional council to grow and work together with the state government and it has made our state a very peaceful state.

 

“I have made it very clear that political appointees must go back home to pay their loyalties to their traditional rulers and work with them.

“Because they cannot work from Asaba and not liaise with traditional rulers and the kingdoms.

“This is very important to our commitment to executing projects in consultation with the monarchs and constituents.

“We are also committed to the construction of the Ogheye floating market. We have gotten the Ministry of Works and Housing to do a complete assessment and budget breakdown so that work can commence as quickly as possible on the market.

“Trans-Warri road is a project that is very dear to me and we will do the best we can to achieve it.

 

“The contractors have been to the site, but there is not much that can be done during the rainy season.

“So, we will utilise the dry season and ensure that work commences,” Okowa said.

Earlier, the monarch had congratulated the governor on his election victory and thanked him for appointing Itsekiri sons and daughters into his administration.

The Olu assured the governor that he would ensure that peace reigned in Itsekiri kingdom for accelerated development.

Source: guardianng

Flooding: Delta Govt Demolishes Structures Built on Waterways

In order to curb the excesses of flooding in the state, the Delta State Government has threatened to demolish houses and structures built on waterways.

The State Governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa, said that he would demolish all structures on waterways in Warri and its environs to address the flooding challenge in the area.

Disclosing this recently in Asaba, the state capital, while receiving the report of a committee studying and advising government on measures required to tackle flooding in Effurun, Warri, and its environs, the governor warned the officials of the Ministry of Lands and Surveys not to issue building approval certificates to property developers without visiting such sites to know whether they were located on roads or waterways.

According to the governor, any official of the Ministry who engages in such action will face sanctions. Okowa said that the challenges were enormous in ensuring that the waters were properly discharged from the towns and cities, stressing that any building without a plan would be pulled down.

“It is more disturbing during the rainy season; our planning department needs to do it right because any building that has no building plan will be pulled down.’’ He said henceforth for any building plan to be approved those in charge of the approvals must go to the site.

He further reiterated that people must be alive to their duties and not just sit in their offices to approve building plans. “If there is any marked building, the people concerned must stop the construction. It is our desire to reduce the level of flooding in Warri, Effurun and environs.

“What we are doing in Warri, Uvwie and environs is as a result of issues raised during the town hall meetings and, as a state government, we are committed to starting the project. We are going to hold proper stakeholders’ meeting because from what I see, the property on the waterways are many and we have to bring them down,’’ he added.

The governor expressed dissatisfaction with how flood had chased people out of their houses. Earlier, Mr John Onwualu, an engineer, while presenting the report, said that the flood challenge in Warri and environs was caused by blocked drains and buildings erected on waterways. He said that 101 flood prone areas and 13 natural water courses had been identified in the area.

According to him, a large part of the flooding in Warri, Uvwie and environs is caused by blocked drains, overgrown weeds on water channels and developers building on the waterways.

Source: sunnewsonline

Protests and Trade War Wipe $50 billion off Hong Kong real Estate Stocks

Weeks of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong are battering shares in the city’s property developers and pushing its benchmark stock index closer to a bear market.

About 446 billion Hong Kong dollars ($56.9 billion) has been wiped off the market value of the nine largest Hong Kong real estate companies since April, according to data from Refinitiv.
The Hang Seng Properties Index, which tracks a bigger pool of real estate developers in Hong Kong, has plunged 19% since its recent peak in April.
The broader Hang Seng index has fallen more than 16% during the same period. Both are at risk of falling into a bear market, which is defined as a drop of 20%.
Hong Kong is the most expensive city in the world to buy a home, with local residents and international investors alike paying huge money for small apartments in the financial hub.
The market slide began earlier this year because of the impact of the trade war on Hong Kong’s economy and China’s slowdown. The city’s political turmoil has piled on the pressure. Some of Hong Kong’s biggest real estate tycoons called Tuesday for the protests to end.
“Recent protests have triggered huge selling pressure for developers’ stocks, because people are jittery about the escalating unrest and no one knows when it could end,” said Louis Wong, director of Phillip Capital Management. “It has already dampened buyers mood on the property market.”
Hong Kong’s economy only grew 0.6% in the second quarter from a year ago, the weakest rate in a decade. Escalating protests have made the outlook even more uncertain, Wong said.
A weakening yuan could also crimp the buying power of mainland Chinese, who are the major buyers of Hong Kong properties. Several developers have postponed sales of luxury home projects this month.
“Developers are turning conservative about the market’s outlook. So they decided to pause and watch,” Wong said.
Sales of new homes plunged 60% in the past three months, compared with the first quarter, partly due to lack of project launches, data from Midland, a real estate agency, showed.
Why are Hong Kong protesters at the airport?
Separately, data from property agency Knight Frank showed Hong Kong’s residential sales volume fell 21% in July from a year prior.
The company predicted prices for mass housing in Hong Kong to drop 5% in the second half of 2019.
Sun Hung Kai Properties (SUHJF), a developer controlled by Asia’s third richest family, has lost HK$115 billion ($14.7 billion) in market value since its peak in April.
That was equivalent to nearly one third of its market value back then.
CK Asset (CHKGF), owned by Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-shing, has also lost more than HK$80 billion ($10.2 billion) in market cap since its highest level this year in early April.
Shares in Swire Properties (SWRAY), Henderson Land Development, Sino Land, New Development Development, Wharf Real Estate, Hysan Development and Great Eagle Holdings have all plunged more than 20%over the same period.
Source: cnn
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