Buhari Directs MDAs To Open Treasury Single Account

Single AccountPaying into treasury other than that approved by the Federal Government is now an offence.

This is because President Muhammadu Buhari has directed Ministries, Departments, Agencies including the CBN, NNPC, NPA and NIMASA, among others to make payments into a Treasury Single Account, TSA.

According to the Federal Government, this directive is meant to promote transparency and facilitate compliance with sections 80 and 162 of the 1999 constitution.

Other agencies are Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the DPR .

According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, “This directive applies to fully funded organs of government like the Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Foreign Missions, as well as the partially funded ones, like Teaching Hospitals, Medical Centres, Federal Tertiary Institutions, etc.

“For any agency that is fully or partially self-funding, Sub-Accounts linked to TSA are to be maintained at CBN and the accounting system will be configured to allow them access to funds based on their approved budgetary provisions.”

The statement explained that the TSA is “a unified structure of government bank accounts enabling consolidation and optimal utilization of government cash resources.

“It is a bank account or a set of linked bank accounts through which the government transacts all its receipts and payments and gets a consolidated view of its cash position at any given time.”

Analyst Says Infrastructural Decay Not Caused By Funds

The MD/CEO Morgan Capital Securities Limited, Ayoleke Adu, has said that the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) plan to raise funds for infrastructure via the capital market is a “good place to start”. However, he emphasised the need for strategy to implement these plans.

“I think the major problem is attracting funding” and “making ourselves as a country to be very attractive as an investment destination,” he said during an interview on Business Morning.

Projects such as those which the Federal Government would embark on would require “a lot of analysis and risk assessment.”

Hence, the country needs to work on these key things which Mr Adu highlighted as

  • Strong institutions and laws
  • Sovereign rating (This he said determines the level of investment the country will attract. He added that “the other thing we need to work on very fast is our sovereign rating” which by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) is BB+ which is below investment grade.
  • Need for FG guarantees on infrastructural projects

2013 Budget: Experts Discuss Matters Arising

Three financial Analysts, Odilim Enwegbara, Eghes Eyienyen and Martin Udogie on Saturday examined some of the challenges and controversies surrounding the 2013 budget that was recently signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.

While speaking as guests on Channels Television’s weekend programme, Sunrise, the analyst examined the effect of the National Assembly stance of ‘no budget’ for the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), the oil benchmark controversy between the lawmakers and the presidency, constituency projects and the issue of economic growth.

Recall that President Jonathan on Tuesday assented to the 2013 Appropriation Bill, ending the long-drawn disagreement between the executive and the legislature over the bill.

The president signed the N4.987 trillion budget passed by the National Assembly into law at a quiet ceremony witnessed by a few government officials.

The budget was transmitted to the presidency on January 15 and since then, the executive and the legislature had been holding meetings to resolve some grey areas identified in the document.

Among the areas of disagreement between the executive and the legislature are the inclusion of constituency projects in the budget and the provision of zero budget for SEC.

In the video below Messrs Enwegbara, Eyienyen and Udogie discuss these issues and what the 2013 means for the Nigerian economy.

2013 Budget: Lawmaker Says Senate May Override Jonathan

An opposition federal lawmaker, Kabiru Gaya has threatened that the Senate would override President Goodluck Jonathan if he failed to sign the 2013 budget.

Briefing journalists in Abuja, Mr. Gaya said the Senate would this week take a final decision on its next action as regards the budget.

President Jonathan is said to be reluctant about assenting to the budget which was forwarded to him on January 14 following claims that the National Assembly increased the budget by moving allocations from Ministries, Departments and Agencies to fund constituency projects.

President Jonathan was alleged to have, based on the promptings of a senior minister, insisted that corrections on the budget be made in details before his assent.

Besides, the President had at a meeting with the National Assembly leadership raised the issue of the benchmark and the non- provision of funds for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on account of the retention of Arunma Oteh as Director-General. The National Assembly leadership had politely declined the request on Ms Oteh and the benchmark, saying that the two issues were non-negotiable but agreed to look again at the mistakes in the details of the budget.

Legislators from the opposition parties had given their intention to initiate moves to override a veto should the president refuses to give his assent to the budget by February 13 which made it 30 days after the budget was forwarded to him.

SEC workers stage another protest; insist Oteh must go

Workers at the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday protested the issuance of query to its leaders for “gross insubordination, disrespect for constituted authority” by the director general of the Commission, Arunma Oteh.

The staff of the commission staged the protest within the premises of the SEC building chanting “Oteh must go!!!” with some of their placards reading “no to sole administrator-ship”, “no to tyranny and highhandedness.”

They gave Ms Oteh two weeks ultimatum to give in to their demands which they said is just for her to do the right thing.

The headquarters of the commission had been besieged by security operatives from Monday, 10th of September 2012 over rumour that the staff of the commission had decided in the congress they held the Friday before that day to stage a protest.

Though no protest was held that day, a letter addressed to Ms Oteh same day by SEC’s branch of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) had advised the “DG to use her good office to address the issues” of her employment of contract staff against the directive of the former Board of the commission.

A report on the periodic check of SEC from the office of Auditor General of the Federation indicated that the rules for engagement of contract staff were not adhered to in the commission’s engagement of 15 contract staff.

The document dated 20th April 2012, “recommended that appointments of these fifteen (15) purportedly engaged staff be reverted as the engagements were not done in accordance with the Public Service Rules.”

In the letter, the union also sought to know the reason for the deployment of security operatives to the headquarters of the commission.

“It is on record that the Board extract of 56 Board meeting directed that if by 31st July, 2012 the contract staff of the commission was not regularized, their appointment should be terminated. This directive has not been complied with, rather a counter directive was given by the DG to the finance and account department to pay up their remuneration up to August 2012 without any directive suppressing the earlier directive of the board,” the letter with the heading “issues of urgent attention” read in part.

The letter signed by Muhammad Salihu, chairman of SEC branch of AUPCTRE and John Briggs, Secretary General of SEC branch of AUPCTRE read in part: “Mr Omotayo who is one of the unregularized staff who once served as a technical adviser to the DG was redeployed to head the Internal Control Department. This in our opinion creates a moral issue as Mr Omotayo by virtue of his former position would not constitute a sufficient check to executive or administrative excesses. His redeployment should therefore be checked.”

Two days later, 12th September 2012 precisely, the DG responded by issuing query to the chairman of the union, Muhammd Salihu and his Secretary John Briggs, according to the unionists.

A copy of the query issued to Muhammad Salihu said his participation in the union’s letter “is tantamount to unbridled insubordination to the constituted authority within the commission.”

The Internal memo signed by the Head of Department, Human Resources in the commission, Husseini Dauda, added that “the correspondence is riddled with discourteous language and contains outright lies, threats and falsification which are unbecoming of staff of the SEC.

“It has also come to the management’s attention that you invited and interacted with media practitioners, encouraging them to report false information that could undermine the commission and sabotage the capital markets and Nigerian economy.”

The memo then asked the union leaders to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against them within 48 hours.

There are lots of dead woods in the SEC–Market Analyst

Capital Market analyst, Zik Obi, has claimed that there are  lots of incompetent hands in the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The Legal Practitioner who was on our breakfast show Sunrise daily said the Director general of SEC, Ms Arunma Oteh is very much qualified for the position even though the House of Representatives are claiming she is not.

According to the market analyst, a lot of workers in the commission would have loved to rise to the exalted position following Ms Oteh’s suspension, “so there is probably a foul play somewhere because a lot of issues will probably be uncovered with her continued stay in the office hence the protection of individual interest” he argued.

Mr Obi further adds that SEC has been in a bad shape and Ms Oteh is doing or has done a job, warning that her removal will/may further damage the commission’

he concluded.

Launching N5000 note can’t work with the cashless policy- Analyst

Mr. Zik Obi a capital market analyst and legal practitioner has described the cashless policy and the proposed N5000 note as ‘coming at a very wrong time’.

According to the him, it is very wrong to launch the two polices without any sensitization of any kind.

He urge the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the proposed introduction of N5000 note.

Mr. Zik decried the failure of the apex bank to work with the National Assembly on the N5000 note proposal and warned there’s a lot of problems economically which remain unsolved for CBN than to bother Nigerians with the introduction of new N500o note.

Oteh resumes at SEC

Despite the controversies surrounding her re-call, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh has resumed SEC today.

Ms Oteh’s resumption was confirmed to Channels Television on the telephone by the commission’s Public Relations Officer.

The embattled SEC DG was, last week,  recalled from a compulsory leave slammed on her following allegations of financial recklessness. A firm of external auditors was subsequently engaged to examine SEC’s books.

The auditors, however, were said to have found nothing against Ms Oteh which prompted the federal government to recall her last week.

But this did not go down well with some members of staff as they staged a protest against  her recall.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister for the economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was said to have met with the commission’s staff on Friday where she told them to sheathe their swords as Ms Oteh has been found to be innocent of allegations against her. It was also gathered that Ms Okonjo-Iweala told the protesting staff that it was illegal for them to form unions at the commission.

The SEC boss, a former top official of the African Development Bank was seen as an outsider by some interests who also were not comfortable with  her hard decisions in the efforts to restore sanity and investor’s confidence in the nation’s battered capital market.

Reps recommend Oteh’s sack, say her appointment is illegal

The House of Representatives on Thursday called for the immediate sack of the Director General of Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh, insisting that her appointment was illegal.

Considering the report of its ad-hoc committee on the probe of the near collapse of the capital market, the lawmakers unanimously approved the recommendation that the Ms Oteh be sacked for incompetence and inadequate qualification for the role she is playing.

Giving a summary of the findings of the investigation before commencement of the clause by clause consideration, The Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi (PDP, Taraba) defended the recommendation, explaining that Ms Oteh’s appointment was in violation of the investment and security act, 2007.

The lawmaker objected to the decision of the presidency to bring back Ms Oteh when an investigation on her was still pending.

The house also approved the recommendation that “in view of the breakdown of corporate governance in SEC, leading to total collapse of cooperation and coordination within its board and top management and since the tenure of the board has expired, top management of SEC should be relieved of their duties so as to give the capital market an opportunity of credible regulation through appointment of a neutral board and top management that will regain the confidence of investors.”

Section 3 ( 2 ) a and Section 38 ( 1 ) ( b ), 2 and 3, Section 315 of the investment and Security Act, 2007 stipulates that anyone that will be appointed as the DG of SEC must possess up to 15 years experience in the Nigerian Capital Market, a requirement the lawmakers said Ms Oteh does not possess.

“She has shown incompetence in the management of human and material resources at her disposal in Security and Exchange Commission.”

The lawmakers also called on the SEC to prevail on the Nigerian Stock Exchange to activate and strengthen the Investor Protection Fund (IPF).

They also urged the Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke to prosecute the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido, Mustafa Chike-Obi, the Managing Director of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, (AMCON) and Ms Oteh, for contempt of the House of Representatives.
According to the lawmakers, the public officers contravened Section 4 and 11 (b) of the legislative House powers by refusing to produce documents as requested by the ad -hoc committee.

Furthermore, the lawmakers asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissions (EFCC) to investigate Ms Oteh and Mr Chike-Obi, and the Managing Director of Union Bank Plc, Funke Osibodu over the missing N8 billion arising from the Union Bank Public Offer.

SEC staff protest as Jonathan recalls Oteh

The Federal government recalled former Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh following the compulsory leave she was sent on by the board of the commission, a presidential spokesman said on Wednesday.
Arunma Oteh

The SEC Board sent Ms Oteh on compulsory leave in order to enable external auditors examine the records of the commission’s transactions covering project 50 which she supervised.

Briefing State House correspondents on Ms Oteh recall the Special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati said that the Federal government have studied the report by the auditors and noted that Ms Oteh was not indicted for fraud nor criminal breach in any form.

Mr Abati said that the government however cautioned Ms Oteh to henceforth endeavour to diligently observe all extant rules and administrative procedures in the conduct of all official transactions.

SEC staff protest

Following the announcement that Ms Oteh has been recalled to her office as DG of SEC, staff of the commission staged a protest at the entrance of SEC headquarters in Abuja to prevent the recalled DG from entering the building.

Defying a downpour, staff of the commission protested against the planned resumption of Ms Oteh from her compulsory leave. Some of them said they had information that the embattled DG plans to resume today.

Though Ms Oteh is yet to show up at the office, heavily armed police officers are in SEC premises to forestall a breakdown of law and order.