IST Workers Protest At Ministry Of Finance

IST Workers Protest At Ministry Of Finance

 

Staff of the Investments and Securities Tribunal (IST) have protested against the alleged poor welfare and mal-administration by the chairman of the institution.

The workers of the IST, which is an agency under the Federal Ministry of Finance, staged the protest on Monday at the ministry in Abuja.

They barricaded the gate of the ministry, carrying placards with various inscriptions demanding the sack of the chairman of the institution.

Some of the concerns raised by the protesters include the failure to promote workers, as well as what they described as ‘reckless’ transfer of members.

After a demonstration which lasted for about two hours, the Director of Home Finance, Olubunmi Siyanbola, addressed the protesters on behalf of the permanent secretary of the ministry.

Siyanbola also assured the workers that the Minister of Finance would investigate the issues raised by them.

The protest is the latest in the series of demonstrations by the workers over an industrial dispute with the management of the Investments and Securities Tribunal.

Adeosun’s Resignation: Zainab Ahmed To Oversee Ministry Of Finance

Minister of State Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed

 

The Minister of State Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed has been asked to oversee the Ministry of Finance with immediate effect.

This comes after the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun tendered her resignation letter on Friday.

Mrs Adeosun who found herself in a scandal after online media organisation Premium Times published a report alleging that she forged her NYSC exemption certificate explained how she secured the certificate in her resignation letter to the President.

President Muhammadu Buhari after accepting her resignation letter appointed Ahmed to hold the position temporarily until the National Assembly reconvenes and he (Buhari) is able to send a replacement for Senate screening.

Ahmed was born in Kaduna State. She got her first degree in Accounting from Ahmadu Bello University in 1981, she proceeded to Ogun State University for her MBA.

Paris Club Refund: FG Insists States Must Pay Salaries Before Accessing Balance

FG Disburses N668.898b For May Despite FAAC Deadlock
Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun (file photo)

 

The Federal Government has said that states must pay outstanding salaries to workers before they can receive their balance of the Paris Club Refund.

The Federal Ministry of Finance said this in a statement on Tuesday while listing other conditions for the collection of the remaining funds.

It said, “The final approval of US$2.689 billion is subject to the following conditions:

“Salary and staff related arrears must be paid as a priority; Commitment to the commencement of the repayment of Budget Support Loans granted in 2016, to be made by all States; Clearing of amounts due to the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative”.

The Ministry further asked the states to “clear matching grants from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC)”.

It said some states have available funds which could be used to improve primary education and learning outcomes.

Issues of over-deduction of the Paris Club loan had caused a long-standing dispute between the Federal Government and the State Governments, dating as far back as 1995.

But in 2016 the President directed that the claims of over-deduction be formally and individually reconciled by the Debt Management Office (DMO) – a process which commenced in November that year.

As an interim measure to alleviate the financial challenges of the states during the 2016 recession, the President approved that 50% of the amounts claimed by states be paid, to enable them clear salary and pension arrears.

The funds were then released between December 1, 2016 and September 29, 2017.

However, the ministry says full payments will only be made after the aforementioned conditions are met and that the Federal Government would make the payment in phases.

FG Extends 2016 Capital Budget Implementation

min-of-financeThe Federal Government has extended the implementation of the capital component of the 2016 budget from March 31 to May 5, or till the passage of the 2017 budget.

The Ministry of Finance confirmed in a statement that the Accountant-General of the Federation, Idris Ahmed, had issued a circular to all ministries, departments and agencies of government to inform them of the extension.

According to the ministry, the extension is to enable the MDAS utilise the 1 trillion Naira so far released for capital expenditure.

FG Denies Withholding Statutory Allocation To Ekiti State

FInance Ministry, Ekiti State, Statutory AllocationThe Ministry of Finance has refuted claims by the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, that it is withholding statutory allocation to the state.

The ministry described the claims as incorrect while stating that it has not withheld any statutory allocation due to Ekiti State, or any other state in Nigeria.

A statement issued on Thursday by the spokesman for the ministry, Salisu Dambatta, said that the Ekiti State government failed to comply with the necessary requirements for participating in the Budget Support Facility (BSF).

Mr Dambatta explained that BSF was a conditional loan programme to state governments introduced with the view to enhancing fiscal prudence.

He added that the programme was also designed particularly to enhance transparency and efficiency in public expenditure and payment of salaries.

The statement read: “This is not the first time of non-compliance by the Ekiti State Government.

“His (Fayose’s) administration defaulted in meeting the conditions specified and agreed upon by the 35 State Governments that are participating in the programme, as contained in the Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP).

“The Ekiti State government was warned formally of its failure to comply with the full requirements via a letter on August 5, 2016, with reference number HMF/FMF/ASG/1/2016.

“The failure of Ekiti State Government to comply with the requirements and conditions for the Budget Support Facility (BSF) resulted in a letter sent to the Chief of Staff, to notify him of the suspension of BSF for Ekiti State and it was conveyed to Mr President before payment to the Ekiti State government was reinstated.

“The Ekiti State government and all the other participating states are aware of the consequence of failure to comply with the full conditions and it is not the first time that a state would be stopped from accessing the facility due to non-compliance.

“In the course of its normal duties, the Ministry of Finance has the right to query, suspend or withhold funds as part of the conditions of the Budget Support Facility.

“The process is for the Commissioner of Finance of any state or the governor having issues to contact the Federal Ministry of Finance and resolve the issues without resorting to the media, because such issues are of a financial nature and therefore, confidential; they are routinely resolved amicably by the parties involved.”

The Finance Ministry maintained that the Budget Support Facility is a conditional programme and that the Federal Government would not be intimidated in the discharge of its duties.

Ondo Poll: Police Boss Probes Delay Of Officials’ Entitlements

IGP Warns Against Police BrutalityThe Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, has ordered an investigation into the delay, omission and discrepancies in payment of allowances to officers who deployed to Ondo State for the Governorship election.

Mr Idris expressed deep concern about the situation and said the investigation would enable the force streamline and enhance payment of entitlements of the force personnel who engage in ad-hoc duties

There have been reports of complaints and even protests by police officers over alleged irregularities and discoveries of possible anomalies and plausible foul play, an uproar that made the police boss set up a special panel to investigate the issue.

The special panel is empowered to launch an investigation into the entire payment system, thoroughly looking at the recent payment of allowances to personnel of the force to determine if the money released for the payment of the allowances was utilised accordingly, providing bank records as evidence.

It will also liaise with the Ministry of Finance on the perennial problematic nature of paying allowances and set up standard modalities that would be adopted by the force to address payment of allowances given by the Federal Government for the conduct of subsequent elections in the country.

The Police boss also wants the panel to recommend where appropriate disciplinary actions against erring officers both within and outside the force.

The SIP at the end of the investigation will recommend professional modalities for payment of allowances in line with government due process for subsequent payment of allowances to personnel of the force engaged in ad-hoc duties.

A statement by a spokesman for the police, DCP Don N. Awunah, said the development was pursuant to the policy of the Inspector General of Police for transparency and accountability in all aspects of the Nigeria Police Force and in readiness for the establishment of a standard template that would be used in the conduct of subsequent elections.

The investigation panel will be chaired by Retired AIG Ali Ahmadu and has as members a representative from the office of Police Account and Budget, a representative from the office of Director of Finance, a representative from the office of DIG Operations, a representative from the office of IGP Project Monitoring Unit, a member from the office of the Special Investigation Panel to assist the chairman in conducting the investigation and a representative from the office of Police Legal Section to serve as secretary.

The Inspector General of Police further urged officers who are yet to receive their payment to exercise a little more patience, as the issue was already being looked into, assuring them that no one would be cheated of his due.

He further asked persons with useful information that could assist the panel in their investigation not to hesitate in coming forward with such.

Mr Idris assured the Nigerian public that the police would always uphold transparency and due process in all her affairs.

Nigerian Government Urged To Embrace Disaster Risk Insurance

Risk Insurance, Nigerian Government, national disasterThe African Risk Capacity, a specialized agency of the African Union is asking the Federal Government of Nigeria to take advantage of the regional insurance scheme to reduce the burden of a national disaster risks financing.

African Heads of States and Ministers of Finance in 2012 called for the establishment of a specialized agency that will provide disaster risk insurance coverage for member states.

Four years after its establishment in July 2012, the agency is urging the Nigerian Government to take advantage of its provision to lighten the burden of disaster risk financing.

Although Nigeria had become signatory to this initiative since four years, it has been unable to benefit from the coverage it provides.

The Director, Risk and Rehabilitation at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Kayode Fagbemi, explained the reasons why the government has not benefited from the scheme.

He highlighted the country’s failure to fulfill its financial obligations as a major factor.

Both the Director of Policy and Technical Services for the African Risk Capacity, Ehosuehi Iyahen and a representative of the Ministry of Finance emphasized the need for Nigeria to actively take advantage of the scheme.

Nigeria has had a fair share of natural and man-made disasters since 2012, with huge financial burden resting on the shoulders of the government and the individuals affected.

The disaster financing experts argued that such burden can be lightened if the government take advantage of the regional insurance scheme that the African Risk Capacity provides.

Since inception, the African Risk Capacity has provided 26.3 million Dollars as disaster risk insurance coverage to Senegal, Niger and Mauritania.

NLC Demands Fair Tax Justice System In Nigeria

NLC, Tax, Nigeria
NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba,

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has demanded a fair tax justice system that will make it mandatory for business organisations to pay tax that is equal to their investment.

The union says at least 50 billion Naira is taken out of Africa annually and that the time to arrest the trend is now.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, believes Africa is being impoverished by the local and multi-national companies which enjoy a tax haven without contributing their profits to the development of the continent.

He urged the Federal Government to reduce the burden of taxation imposed on the average Nigerian worker who ‘compulsorily pays tax regularly’.

Mr Wabba made the call on Wednesday at the Unity Fountain in Abuja, where he led some workers to submit a letter of protest at the Federal Ministry of Finance.

He asked the Nigerian Government to protect Africa’s wealth through an effective tax regime that would provide a tax haven for some people.

The Director of Special Duties at the ministry, Mohammed Dikur, received the protest letter with a promise to ensure it gets to the Minister of Finance.

No Vendetta Against Past Leaders, Nigeria’s Presidency Says

garba Shehu, London Telegraph, Boko Haram,Nigeria’s presidency on Friday denied allegation by demonstrators in Bayelsa State on Thursday that allowances due to a former President have been stopped and his bank accounts frozen.

An official of Aso Rock Villa said the allegation was false.

“It is patently untrue.

“We have confirmed with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) that the former President and the other past leaders were paid their allowances up to the second quarter.

“The past leaders have not been paid third quarter allowances but will get their dues when remittances are received by the SGF from the Ministry of Finance.

“Also, the story of account closure is false. It is not known to the investigation agencies,” a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Garba Shehu, said in a statement.

A Picture Of Vendetta

He stated that the National Security Adviser to the President, the Director General of the State Security Service, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Inspector General of Police were not aware of the bank account closure.

“With all of these agencies not being involved, how then could a thing like that happen? In a dream perhaps!

“To put it starkly, we believe there is a clear motive for the demonstration that is different from that which was being canvassed.

“This is a premeditated attempt to blame President Muhammadu Buhari for something he knows nothing about.

“These claims are false and poorly sourced to present a picture of vendetta; and they should be disregarded by well-meaning members of the public,” the statement further read.

Mr Shehu also stated that President Buhari remained committed to the ideals of justice and fairness to all irrespective of creed, religion and political leanings.

“His administration will not engage in vendetta,” he added.

FG To Restructure YouWin Programme

Minister-of-Finance-Mrs-Kemi-Adeosun-PayrollThe Nigerian government is set to begin the restructuring and refocusing of the multi-billion Naira Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin) programme.

Consultations with beneficiaries and other stakeholders on the restructuring has started with the objective of injecting new ideas for its sustainability, a statement by a director with the Ministry of Finance, Salisu Dambatta, said.

The Ministry, which has been running the programme from inception, has scheduled the consultation for July 22 in Abuja, where representatives of the beneficiaries drawn from the six-geo-political zones and other stakeholders would chart a way forward for the programme.

Under the programme, which took off under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, a total of 18, 000 young entrepreneurs have been trained in various aspects of Small and Medium Enterprises management and business skills.

At least 3, 900 of them, including 1, 200 women, were each given non-repayable take-off grants for businesses of their choice ranging from one million Naira up to a maximum of 10 million Naira.

The statement read: “The third edition of the programme, which is still running with 1,500 beneficiaries, has received the sum of 11.2 billion Naira in funding, and so far grants totaling 7.4 billion Naira have been disbursed to the awardees. In June 2016 alone, the sum of 1.687 billion Naira was paid to 638 awardees”.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said that as part of the change agenda of the current administration, the YouWin programme had to be restructured to ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability in investing the capital grants given to the beneficiaries by the Federal Government.

Mrs Adeosun confirmed that all government’s commitments under the YouWIN programme would be fully met, but stressed that due diligence would be carried out on every beneficiary, using tools like the Bank Verification Number (BVN), and before disbursements.

FAAC Distributes 305.1bn Naira To FG, States, LGs

FAACA total of 305.12 billion Naira has been distributed to the federal, state and local governments for the month of May.

At the end of the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting on Wednesday night, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, stated that the distributed amount was 23.62 billion Naira higher than what was doled out in April.

She explained that this was owing to a slight improvement in non-oil revenues.

Federal, State and Local government received N122.83bn, N57.22bn and N44.12bn respectively.

The Minster further explained that the revenue from companies’ income tax rose marginally despite the fact that the period when corporate organisations usually filed their tax returns was not due yet.

Mrs Adeosun added that an additional amount of N16.73bn was allocated to oil-producing states based on the 13% derivation principle.

The meeting, which was scheduled for Tuesday, held on Wednesday because of the protest by workers of the Ministry of Finance.

The Finance Minister refused to respond to journalists’ questions about her Ministry workers’ protest.