General news

Hamalai tasks NASS on dormant accounts in banking sector



Hamalai tasks NASS on dormant accounts in banking sector


Abuja, Dec.1, 2019 Prof. Ladi Hamalai, former Director General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILS), has urged the National Assembly to enact laws that would empower the Federal Government to utilise monies in dormant accounts in banks.

Hamalai, currently serving at the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), who disclosed this while speaking at a monthly Policy Dialogue on funding Next Level in Abuja, said this would help the government fund critical projects in the country.

She said Nigeria must copy from advanced countries of the world, which often used such monies to develop critical infrastructure in the country.

“The banking industry has been taking advantage of huge sums left in dormant accounts across the country to declare huge profits.

“In advanced countries, the situation is different because such monies are usually forfeited to government instead of the banks.

“I think we should follow suit by making similar laws to transfer those monies to government accounts. These little money that we leave in our dormant accounts, turn out to be huge sums when added together.

“We could use them to fund critical development projects in the country,’’ Hamalai said.

She said attempt was made during her tenure as NILS DG, to sponsor a bill on the subject at the National Assembly, but it failed.

“We drafted a bill while I was at the National Institute for Legislative Studies on the issue, unfortunately, it was killed midway.

“I think our current lawmakers owe us a duty to enact such laws to move the country forward,” she stressed.

She also urged government to strengthen anti corruption agencies towards enhancing their operations.

Participants at the event included university lecturers, entrepreneurs, NGOs, representatives of anti corruption agencies, the media, labour unions and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

Edited & Vetted By: Ali Inuwa/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

General news

FEC approves establishment of Agency for management of recovered assets



The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the transmission of a Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill to the National Assembly to facilitate the establishment of an Agency for recovered assets.

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, stated this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the 15th virtual meeting of the Council, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said the bill when approved by NASS, would ensure the establishment of the agency which would be saddled with the responsibility of managing all recovered assets across the country.

He said: “The Office of the Attorney General and the Federal of Ministry of Justice presented a Council memo today.

“The Council memo is about a bill which will seek the approval of the Council to transmit to the National Assembly for passage

“It is a Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill. It is in essence a bill that is targeted at intended to have in place a legal and institutional framework.

“The legal component of it is having a law and the institutional component of it is to have an agency that will be saddled with the responsibility of managing the assets that constitute the proceeds of crime in Nigeria.

“What happened before now was that the proceeds of crime were scattered all over and mostly in the hands of different and multiple agencies of government inclusive of the Police, the DSS, EFCC, ICPC.

“So, with that kind of arrangements, which is adhoc, there is no agency of government that is saddled with the responsibility of data generation, an agency that can give you off head the number of landed assets, number of immovable assets, the amount in cash that are recovered by the Federal Government by way of interim forfeiture over weigh of a final forfeiture.

“So it is indeed over time a kind of arrangement that is not uniform and consistent.

“So, what this law seeks to do is to move the fight against corruption to the next level; next level of transparency; next level of accountability and in essence have in place an agency of government that is exclusively responsible for anything proceeds of crime.

“So, a one-stop-shop arrangement by which all assets that are recovered arising from crimes that are indeed vested in the federal government – you have a one-stop-shop arrangement where you can have an information.’’

Malami dismissed the assertion that the proposed agency was informed by the fallout of the ongoing investigation of the activities of the suspended acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, who also spoke on the outcome of the meeting, said she presented a memo to council in respect of the second quarter GDP report.

The report was earlier released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Aug. 24.

She said: “The GDP report shows that the economy went into negative growth of -6.10 per cent in the second quarter but that the aggregate performance for half year 2020 is -2.1per cent.

“This performance of -6.10per cent is a good performance in the sense that it is better than what we have projected second quarter performance to be at -7.2per cent.

“This performance also is a good performance because it outperformed the projections that had been done by the Brentwood institutions but it also outperformed very developed economies of the world and also economies that are comparable to us.

“The US for example went into negative growth of 33per cent for the second quarter 2020 and 19per cent half year 2020.

“Similarly, the UK, Canada, Italy and several countries of the world all went into very significant negative growth.’’

The minister, therefore, noted that Nigeria’s economy had shown some level of resilience in this level of performance.

She disclosed that the ministry also reported to Council that even though out of the 46 sectors of the economy, 30 of these sectors showed negative growth but there were still some sectors that were growing on the positive territory.

According to the minister, these sectors include agriculture as well as financial services and the ICT services.

“This is actually showing that even during the COVID-19 era, there were still some sectors that stood firm and indeed were growing.

“The inflation was also reported to be moving up gradually, capital Information did not dry up despite the lockdown and the difficulties all countries experienced.

“But this is reflected by the significant decline in capital importation into the country.’’

She also noted that the exchange rate had moved up from 326 dollars at the beginning of the quarter to 367dollars.

Other interventions meant to stabilize the economy, according to her, include intervention funds for small, medium enterprises to be able to borrow; intervention funds for health sector as well as intervention funds for infrastructure.

“All of these are designed to ensure continuous economic activities help to stabilize the economy.

“We are lucky that these things were rolled out early reducing the impact of the negative growth,’’ she added.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Source: NAN
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We shall support upgrade of FMC Yenagoa to teaching hospital — House of Reps committee



The House of Representatives Committee on Federal Medical Facilities has pledged to support the upgrade of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yenagoa, to a teaching hospital.

Rep. Pascal Obi made the pledge on Tuesday, when he led the committee to inspect projects at the facility as part of its oversight function on the 2020 fiscal year budget cycle.

He was responding to a request by the Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Dennis Alagoa, who said that the centre had met the criteria of at least 500-bed capacity for an upgrade.

Obi said that beyond meeting the minimum requirements, the upgrade also required a legislation by the National Assembly (NASS).

He, therefore, urged the hospital management to liaise with NASS members from Bayelsa to sponsor a bill for the upgrade of the hospital.

Obi said: “The upgrade of the centre to a teaching hospital requires legislative action apart from meeting the minimum requirements in terms of bed capacity.

“From the way you have deployed the limited resources appropriated, we have no option than to support you.

“The first step is to get NASS members from this constituency to sponsor a bill and after the first and second readings the bill will be referred to our committee.

“And since we will be there till 2023, when the bill comes, we will do the needful.”

The lawmaker lauded the management of the hospital for the prudent utilisation of available resources to execute capital projects.

Earlier, Alagoa said that the hospital rose from 40-bed facility at inception in 1999 to 230-bed capacity in 2015 and now 530 beds under his administration.

He said that the hospital, which had 39 consultant physicians in 2015, could now boast of 105 consultants to boost its Residency Training programme.

Also, Alagoa said that the hospital’s internally generated revenue had hit N48 million monthly.

He said that the facility had achieved a 24-hour power supply, while the cost of electricity came down from N10 million monthly to N2 million.

He said that the hospital presently had five functional dialysis units.

He also spoke on the successes recorded in the management of COVID-19 cases, saying that the hospital had not recorded any deaths in its isolation centre.

Edited By: Benson Iziama/Sam Oditah
Source: NAN


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Disability Commission: Familiarise with oversight committee — NASS advises PWDs



The National Assembly (NASS), has advised various disability organisations in the country to be closer to the National Assembly committee on National Commission for Disabilities for useful oversight functions.

Mr Mohammed Hassan, Director of Legislative Drafting, NASS, gave the advice on Tuesday in Abuja at a one-day stakeholders’ forum on the convening of the next level for the disability advocacy in Nigeria.

At the forum, organised by Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), Hassan urged the groups to begin to submit their budgetary estimates to the appropriate committee for early consideration and input.

He noted that early familiarisation with the appropriate committees and its members was paramount for quick take-off of the disability commission and for measurable progress and achievements.

“It is very important for disability groups to begin to engage the NASS either officially or privately in order to identify and gather relevant information that can be helpful for the smooth take-off of the commission.

CCD and other disability organisations should identify the appropriate committee to oversee the commission because it is the major ladder to the success of the commission.

“It is the committee that will aid and facilitate majority of the measurable progress that will be recorded in the commission, and now is the right time to begin to familiarise.

“It is also the right time to begin to draw out and submit budgetary estimate to the committee for early consideration and input,” he said.

He, however, urged the groups not to bombard those who would be appointed to stir the affairs of the commission but to give them the benefit of doubt and set probationary period to have a smooth and proper take-off.

Mr Sam Amadi, a former Chairman of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory commission (NERC), urged the group and other disability organisations to hold the commission and its appointees when constituted accountable on every aspect.

Amadi also said that it was paramount for the commission to take-off on a very high note and without compromise in order to gain the trust of the people.

“It is very important that the commission starts at a very high note, full of energy and without any compromise or biases.

“PWDs must also ensure that certain conditions are put in place to checkmate the activities of the commission before it begins to take any strong decision.

“These conditions should include consultation of PWDs groups across the country before any major action or decision is taken by the commission,’’ he said.

He also advised disability groups across the country to come together as a unified and non contradictory coalition in order to achieve any form of success.

“When the disability body is united nationwide, any positive demand they make to the commission will be easily granted and it will be very difficult for the board to do contrary to their interests.

“It is also important for PWDs to build their own capacity in order to be able to give intelligent advice where necessary to the board of the commission when consulted.

“If any of the persons to be appointed lacks adequate knowledge or experience in relation to disability matters, it is the PWDs themselves that will guide the decisions of such a person where need be,’’ he said.

He, however, urged PWDs not to antagonise or give advise solely based on sentiment and emotion but to ensure that any advice given is based on the overall interest of the commission and the no fewer than 25 million PWDs.

Mr David Anyaele, the Executive Director of CCD, advised PWDs across the country not to relent in ensuring that the commission lived up to the expectations of the no fewer than 25million PWDs in the country.

According to him, in the country paper policies and plans without actions are usually the order of the day and as such stakeholders need to put in more efforts to ensure that policies and plans are actualised.

CCD will not fold its hand to watch any person or group of persons treat the commission and the affairs of the commission as a personal property or as a hand-carrying organisation.

“We would also not watch the NASS undermine the activities of the commission by neglecting its oversight duties to the commission.

“We would strive to ensure that both the key players of the commission and the NASS would work tirelessly to ensure that the commission is exactly what PWDs envisaged,’’ he said.

He urged the media not to relent in main streaming disability issues and especially the process of appointment of its board members for the awareness of all across board.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Donald Ugwu
Source: NAN
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Ekiti PDP faction adopts Gov. Makinde as party’s Southwest leader



A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), faction, loyal to Sen. Biodun Olujimi has restated its adoption of Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State as the party’s Southwest zonal leader.

The faction stated this in Omuo-Ekiti in Ekiti-East Local Government Area on Thursday at the distribution of working tools to some constituents sponsored by Olujimi.

Olujimi represents Ekiti South Senatorial District at the National Assembly.

Materials distributed were: 480 deep freezers, 250 sewing machines, 220 motorcycles, carrier machines, solar panels, 250 drying machines, 220 laptops, six carry-go tricycles, and cash.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the state PDP factional chairman, Mr Kehinde Odebunmi, was among the dignitaries at the event.

The PDP faction described as an “empty threat” an alleged declaration by a former governor of Ekiti State that Makinde should not visit Ekiti, urging the Oyo state governor to ignore such threat.

Sen. Olujimi in her remarks, at the presentation of the working tools, said the empowerment gesture was part of the efforts toward entrenching the dividend of democracy in the district.

She  maintained that Makinde remained the indisputable leader of the party in the Southwest zone and free to visit Ekiti at will.

“I thank all of you for adopting Gov. Makinde as the leader of the party in the Southwest.

“That was what we did when Ayodele Fayose was the only governor in the zone.

“Former Gov. Fayose is a leader of the PDP and one of the many of the PDP leaders that we have in the Southwest.

“He is not the only leader and former governor, there are many.

“So, Gov. Makinde was adopted, because he is a decent, understanding and knowledgeable person.

“The Southwest NASS caucus had adopted him.

“What has Makinde done? He said we should wait and resolve this crisis before conducting the congresses because no individual can run Ekiti and deliver,” she said. 

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Donald Ugwu
Source: NAN
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