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FG Eyes $4.4bn New Loans As Debt Hits N101tn

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The Federal Government has borrowed a total of $4.95bn in loans from the World Bank in the past 12 months, pushing the total public debt to N101tn amidst worries about the increasing costs of servicing external debt.

The nation’s public debt was put at approximately N97tn as of December 2023, according to the Debt Management Office data.

This came as the government still expects fresh loan approval worth $4.4bn from the international lender and the Africa Development Bank over the next one year.

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An analysis by our correspondent showed that the bank approved funding for six projects including $750m for power sector financing, $500m for women empowerment, $700m for girl child education, $750m for renewable energy solutions, $750m on resource mobilisation reforms and $1.5bn for economic stabilisation reforms.

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Findings by The PUNCH showed that on June 9, 2023, the World Bank board approved a loan of $750m to boost Nigeria’s power sector. The bank said the loan would serve as additional financing for the power sector recovery performance-based operation.

It also announced the approval of a loan of $500m on June 27, 2023to help Nigeria drive women’s empowerment. This was the second loan approved by the bank under the current administration. It provided a scale-up financing for the Nigeria for Women Programme.

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In September 2023, the World Bank approved a loan of $700m to bolster educational opportunities and empowerment for adolescent girls in Nigeria. The loan was to support the ongoing ‘Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment project. It aimed to encourage secondary education accessibility for girls residing in specific target states within Nigeria.

While $750m was authorised on December 14, 2023, for the Distributed Access through Renewable Energy Scale-up project in Nigeria, the project aims to provide over 17.5 million Nigerians with better access to electricity via distributed renewable energy solutions and tackle the electricity access deficit.

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The latest was a sum of $2.25bn comprising $1.5bn for reforms on Economic Stabilisation to Enable Transformation Development Policy Financing Programme. It is meant to increase fiscal oil revenues to 2.7 per cent by 2025, boost non-oil fiscal revenues, expand social safety nets to assist 67 million vulnerable Nigerians and raise the import value of previously banned products. $750m was also apportioned to enhance non-oil revenues and protect oil and gas revenue.

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Meanwhile, the government is expecting about $4.4bn in new loans from the World Bank and the AfDB. The government is pursuing a $500m loan to address the need for better connectivity in rural road infrastructure and agricultural marketing, a $750m loan if it reintroduces previously suspended telecom tax and other fiscal measures, and a $500m to address the challenges faced by Internally Displaced Persons nationwide. The government is also expecting about $2.7bn economic and budget support loan from the African Development Bank.

The AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, in an interview with journalists in March said its Board of Directors approved $134m for Nigeria to implement an emergency food production plan, while talks are also ongoing for a $1.7bn economic and budget support loan as well as the launch of a $1bn agro-industrial processes in 28 states.

The World Bank, a prominent international financial institution dedicated to reducing global poverty provides loans and grants to developing countries for a wide range of projects, including infrastructure development, education, healthcare, and environmental sustainability.

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However, for many Nigerians, long years of infrastructure decay and increased unemployment have triggered an increased feeling of bitterness whenever they hear the government’s intention to borrow with past borrowings is not justifiable.

Nigeria has been a top recipient of fresh loans from multilateral lenders, borrowing $2.7bn in 2023 from about $2.9bn released to the country in 2022.

Last week, the Bretton Woods Institution said its technical advisory and financing to support economic growth in Nigeria currently stands at over US$15bn affirming data from the external debt stock report of the Debt Management Office shows that Nigeria owes the World Bank a total of $15.45bn as of December 31, 2023.

President Bola Tinubu had expressed his resolute commitment to breaking the vicious cycle of overreliance on borrowing for public spending, and the resulting burden of debt servicing it places on the management of Nigeria’s limited government revenueHoweververr ver the president may not have matched his words with actions as they have sought to obtain credit facilities from both domestic and external lenders.

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The soaring costs of servicing foreign debt have significant implications for Nigeria’s economy. The increased debt burden could potentially divert resources away from critical sectors such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure, exacerbating socio-economic challenges.

PUNCH

 

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CAC To Cancel Certificates Of BDCs With Revoked Licences

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The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has said it would cancel the certificates of incorporation of Bureaux De Change(BCDs) whose licences have been revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria( CBN).

The Nation reported in February the CBN revoked the licences of 4,173 Bureau De Change operators over their failure to meet regulatory guidelines.

In a statement by its acting Director, Corporate Communications, Sidi Hakama, CBN explained that the regulatory provisions flouted include nonpayment of all necessary fees within the stipulated period.

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CBN said: “The affected institutions failed to observe at least one of the following regulatory provisions: Payment of all necessary fees, including licence renewal, within the stipulated period in line with the guidelines.

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“Rendition of returns in line with the guidelines; compliance with guidelines, directives, and circulars of the CBN, particularly Anti-Money Laundering, Countering the Financing of Terrorism and Counter-Proliferation Financing regulations.”

However, in line with the above directive by the CBN, the CAC in a notice on its website on Wednesday, said the certificates would be cancelled within three months if the affected companies do not change the names and objects of such companies.

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The general public is hereby informed that following the revocation of the operational licenses of 4,173 Bureau De Change companies by the Central Bank of Nigeria vide a Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette (Vol. 111) No. 37 of February 27, 2024 for noncompliance with Regulatory Standards, the Corporate Affairs Commission in the exercise of its powers under section 8(1)(e) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 advises these companies to within three months from the date of this publication, change the names and objects of such companies.

“Failure to change the names and objects within the stipulated time frame shall result in cancellation of certificate of incorporation and dissolution. It is to be noted that it is unlawful for a company whose certificate has been deemed dissolved to carry on business,” the CAC notice reads.

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FG Suspends Taxes On Maize, Wheat, Rice, Others

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The Federal Government has suspended duties, tariffs and taxes on some essential food items imported through land and sea borders.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, announced this at the National Press Centre, Abuja.

Kyari also said the Federal Government has also inaugurated the Renewed Hope National Livestock Transformation Implementation Committee to develop and implement policies that prioritize livestock development and align with the National Livestock Transformation Plan.

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He stated that the listed food items, which include maize, wheat, husked brown rice and cowpeas, will enjoy a 150-day Duty-Free Import Window.

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He added that the move is part of the Presidential Accelerated Stabilization and Advancement Plan, which is aimed at achieving food security and economic stability in the country.

According to him: “The Federal Government has announced a 150-day Duty-Free Import Window for Food Commodities, suspension of duties, tariffs and taxes for the importation of certain food commodities (through land and sea borders). These commodities include maize, husked brown rice, wheat and cowpeas.

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“Under this arrangement, imported food commodities will be subjected to a Recommended Retail Price (RRP).

“I am glad to reiterate that the Government’s position exemplifies standards that would not compromise the safety of the various food items for consumption.

“In addition to the importation by the private sector, the Federal Government will import 250,000MT of wheat and 250,000MT of maize. The imported food commodities in their semi-processed state will target supplies to the small-scale processors and millers across the country.”

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CAC Extends PoS Registration Deadline 

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The Corporate Affairs Commission has announced the approval to extend the mandatory Point of Sales agents, super agents and sole agents registration to September 5th, 2024.

The commission made the announcement in a statement signed by its management and posted on its Facebook page on Saturday, giving a 60-day extension.

It said the extension is to give sufficient time to operators particularly those in remote areas who might have encountered network challenges to so register and continue with their businesses.

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The statement read, “The Corporate Affairs Commission wishes to notify Fintech Operators also known as Point of Sales Operators that the initial deadline of 7th July 2024 given for the registration of sole Agents, Super Agents and Agents has been extended for sixty days beginning from 7th July 2024 to the 5th September 2024.

“This is to give sufficient time to Operators particularly those in remote areas who might have encountered network challenges to so register and continue with their businesses.”

It added operators who continue to disobey after the new deadline will risk losing their businesses and facing prosecution for assisting criminal activities.

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“Operators who fail or refuse to register at the end of the extended deadline run the risk of losing such businesses and prosecution for aiding and abetting criminal activities,” it said.

 

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