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Payment of public funds into personal accounts has declined by 94%

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Payment of public funds into personal accounts has declined by 94%
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BudgIT, a civic advocacy organisation focused on budget and public finance issues, says the payment of public funds into personal accounts has declined by 94.75 percent.

Chinwe Umeh-Ujubuonu, BudgIT program manager; and Chinedu Bassey, program manager at Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), released a statement announcing this on Sunday.

The federal government, on December 9, 2019, launched the open treasury portal to increase transparency and accountability in government spending.

A transparency portal and quality assurance and compliance committee were set up in June 2020 to review and resolve issues associated with the platform.

In its statement, BudgIT said it noticed progress in fiscal accountability on the open treasury portal since the committee
Since the committee’s intervention, payments without description have reduced by 50.98 percent from N794,954,335.07 in about 28 transactions in August 2020 to N389,718,618.47 with 24 transactions in January 2021,” the statement read.

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“Likewise, payments to personal accounts which amounted to N2,962,536,395.77 with 190 occurrences in August 2020 rose by 98.40 percent to N5,877,687,578.87 with 336 occurrences in December 2020.

“However, these payments have reduced by 94.75 percent from December 2020 to N308,174,806.84 with 15 occurrences in January 2021.”

The organisation said a list of 44 transactions from 16 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) were handed over to Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) representative for further investigation in October 2020.

“Despite ICPC’s intervention, we observed some consistent trends emerging from the ministry of Niger Delta and humanitarian affairs with both having the largest share of defaulters in the last quarter of 2020,” it said.

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Gabriel Okeowo, BudgIT’s principal lead, advised that a list of those sanctioned should be published to serve as a deterrent to other civil servants and public office holders.

Thecable

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Cryptocurrency: Our Action Was For The Best Interest Of Nigerians- Emefiele

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Cryptocurrency: Our Actions Was For The Best Interest Of Nigerians- Emefiele
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The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said the bank’s decision to prohibit deposit money banks, non-banking institutions and other financial institutions from facilitating trading and dealings in cryptocurrency is in the best interest of Nigerian depositors and the country’s financial system.

Emefiele stated this yesterday while briefing a joint Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions; ICT and Cybercrime and Capital Market, on its directive to institutions under the apex bank’s regulation.

Describing the operations of cryptocurrencies as dangerous and opaque, the CBN Governor said the use of cryptocurrency contravened an existing law. He said given the fact that cryptocurrencies were issued by unregulated and unlicensed entities made it contrary to the mandate of the apex bank as enshrined in the CBN Act (2007) declaring it as the issuer of legal tender in Nigeria.

Emefiele, who also differentiated between digital currencies, which central banks can issue and cryptocurrencies issued by unknown and unregulated entities, stressed that the anonymity, obscurity and concealment of cryptocurrencies made it suitable for those who indulge in illegal activities such as money laundering, terrorism financing, purchase of small arms and light weapons and tax evasion.

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Citing instances of investigated criminal activities that had been linked to cryptocurrencies, he stated that the legitimacy of money and the safety of Nigeria’s financial system was central to the mandate of the CBN, even as he declared that “Cryptocurrency is not legitimate money” because it is not created or backed by any central bank.

“Cryptocurrency has no place in our monetary system at this time and cryptocurrency transactions should not be carried out through the Nigerian banking system,” he added. Emefiele also emphasised that the bank’s actions were not in any way, shape or form inimical to the development of FinTech or a technology-driven payment system. On the contrary, he noted that the Nigerian payment system had evolved significantly over the past decade, surpassing those of many of its counterparts in emerging, frontier and advanced economies boosted by reforms driven by the CBN.

While urging that the issue of cryptocurrency be treated with caution, the CBN Governor assured that the Bank would continue its surveillance and deeper understanding of the digital space, stressing that the ultimate goal of the CBN was to do all within its regulatory powers to educate Nigerians on emerging financial risks and protect our financial system from the activities of currency speculators, money launderers, and international fraudsters.

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• Also speaking, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC), Mr. Lamido Yuguda clarified that there was no policy contradiction between the
CBN directive and the pronouncements made by the SEC on the subject of
cryptocurrencies in Nigeria. He explained that the SEC made its pronouncement at the
time to provide regulatory certainty within the digital asset space due to the growing
volume of reported flaws.

Prior to the CBN directive, he said the SEC had, in 2017, cautioned the public on the
risks involved in investing in digital and cryptocurrency, adding that the CBN, Nigeria
Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the SEC between 2018 and 2020 had also
issued warnings on the lack of protection in investments in cryptocurrency.
Yuguda further disclosed that following the CBN directive, the SEC had put on hold the
admittance of all persons affected by CBN circular into its proposed regulatory
incubatory framework in order to ensure that only operators that are in full compliance
with extant laws and regulations are admitted into the framework for regulating digital
assets.
Similarly, the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related
Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye highlighted the risks inherent in
investing in virtual assets and cryptocurrencies in Nigeria.

ALSO READ:  CBN orders closure of money transfer operators’ naira accounts

He explained that cryptocurrencies posed serious legal and law enforcement risks for
Nigeria due to its opaque nature and illicit financial flows, adding that the current move
by the Federal Government to link National Identification Numbers with SIM cards
attested to the fact that terrorists, kidnappers, bandits and perpetrators in illegal acts
had relied on the shield provided by anonymity to commit heinous crimes.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Chairman of the Joint Senate Committee, and
Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions,
Senator Uba Sani, said the committee was on a fact-finding mission and had no
preemptive recommendation or stand and would make its position known only after it
had reviewed the submissions made by stakeholders.

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Petrol Landing Cost Jumps To ₦186, Oil Hits $64

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Petrol Landing Cost Jumps To ₦186, Oil Hits $64
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Against the backdrop of the rising price of oil prices , the landing cost of Premium Motor Spirit ( petrol) imported into Nigeria has increased to N 186. 33 per litre .

The PUNCH had exclusively reported on February 9 that the landing cost of PMS rose to about N180 per litre on February 5 from N 158 .53 per litre on January 7 .

Crude oil price accounts for a large chunk of the final cost of petrol , and the deregulation of petrol price by the Federal Government last year means that the pump price of the product will reflect changes in the international oil market.

Going by the petrol pricing template of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency , the landing cost of petrol rose to N186 . 33 per litre on February 16 , with the pump price of the product expected to be N209 .33 per litre.

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The international oil benchmark, Brent crude, closed at $ 63 . 96 per barrel on February 16 , up from $ 59 . 34 per barrel on February 5 .

The rising price of crude oil pushed the cost of petrol quoted on Platts to $ 560 .75 per metric tonne (N 163. 08 per litre , using N390 / $ 1 ) on February 16 from $ 543 . 25 per metric tonne ( N157 .99 per litre) on February 5 .

Other cost elements that make up the landing cost include freight ( N10 . 29 ), lightering expenses ( N4 .57 ) , insurance cost ( N0 .25 ) , Nigerian Ports Authority charge (N 2 .38 ) , Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency charge ( N0 . 23 ), jetty throughput charge (N 1 .61 ) , storage charge ( N2 . 58 ), and financing ( N1 . 33 ).

The freight cost increased to $ 35 . 41 per MT ( N10 . 29 per litre) last Wednesday from $ 30 .04 per MT ( N8 .74 per litre ) on February 5 .

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The pump price is the sum of the landing cost, wholesale margin and the distribution margins. The wholesale margin is N4 . 03 while the distribution margins comprise transporters allowance ( N3 . 89 ), retailer ( N6 . 19 ), bridging fund ( N7 . 51 ), marine transport average (N 0 .15 ) , and admin charge (N1 . 23 ).

Apart from the changes in global crude oil prices , the exchange rate of naira to the dollar also affects the cost of imported petrol .

The cost of petrol would be higher if the 410/ $ 1 rate at which the naira closed on Monday at the Investors’ and Exporters’ Foreign Exchange Window was used. The naira closed at 480 / $ 1 at the parallel market.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which has been the sole importer of petrol into the country in recent years, is still being relied upon by marketers for the supply of the product despite the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector .

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Oil marketers said recently that they were ready to resume importation of petrol if the foreign exchange was made available to them at a competitive rate .

“ The discussion we should be having today is how best to maximise the benefits of the removal of price controls and subsidies while minimising the adverse effects of this action on our citizens, ” the Chairman , Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria , Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, said at a virtual press briefing.

Brent crude, against which Nigeria ’ s oil is priced, rose by $ 1 . 67 to $ 64 .58 per barrel as of 6 :08 pm Nigerian time on Monday .

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Elon Musk loses his title of world’s richest person – See How

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Elon Musk loses his title of world's richest person - See How
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Elon Musk is no longer the world’s richest person after Tesla Inc. shares slid 8.6% on Monday, wiping $15.2 billion from his net worth.

Tesla’s biggest decline since September was fueled in part by Musk’s comments over the weekend that the prices of Bitcoin and smaller rival Ether “do seem high.” His message — via his favored medium of Twitter — came two weeks after Tesla announced it added $1.5 billion in Bitcoin to its balance sheet. The cryptocurrency, which has surged more than 400% over the past year, tumbled for a second day on Tuesday, at one point slipping below $50,000 on skepticism over the durability of its rally.

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Musk also tweeted earlier Monday that the company’s Model Y Standard Range SUV would still be available “off the menu,” backing up reports from electric vehicle news site Electrek that the model had been removed from its online configurator.

Musk drops to second on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index of the world’s 500 richest people with a net worth of $183.4 billion — down from a peak of $210 billion in January. Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos reclaimed the top spot even as his fortune fell by $3.7 billion to $186.3 billion Monday.

The two billionaires have been swapping places since January as the value of Tesla fluctuated. The stock surged as much as 25% to start 2021 before wiping off almost all of this year’s gain. Musk briefly overtook Bezos after his rocket company SpaceX raised $850 million earlier this month, valuing the company at $74 billion, a 60% jump from August.

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Bezos occupied the top spot on the ranking for three straight years prior to January, when Musk eclipsed the e-commerce titan thanks to a 794% rally in Tesla shares.

The market selloff on Monday hit many of the world’s ultra-rich. Zhong Shanshan, Asia’s wealthiest person, was the second-biggest decliner on the Bloomberg index, dropping by $5.1 billion as his bottled-water company fell 4.5%. Colin Huang of Pinduoduo Inc., Reliance Industries Ltd.’s Mukesh Ambani and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Pony Ma all lost more than $2.5 billion each.

Bloomberg.com

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