Category Archives: Finance
Abuja – Finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Monday again forcefully denied granting import duty waivers to cover the two armoured cars purchased by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, for the aviation minister, Stella Oduah, distancing herself from blame in a scandal that has smeared many government officials.
Speaking before the House of Representatives aviation committee investigating the car purchase, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala repeated her earlier claim — made in a statement last week — that the approval for a waiver granted by her office was for 300 cars required by the Lagos state government for the National Sports Festival, and that it did not cover “any” armoured cars.
She said she never knew Ibori before she was made the EFCC chair.
WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama on Wednesday lauded his next national security advisor Susan Rice as an “exemplary public servant,” implicitly shrugging off Republican criticism of her qualifications.
Obama formally announced that Rice, currently ambassador to the UN, would take over from Tom Donilon in July, in an appointment which defies Republican claims that she misled Americans over the attack on the US mission in Benghazi.
He said that Rice, an “exemplary public servant,” was a trusted advisor who understands that “there is no substitute for American leadership.”
Switzerland – Politicians and military dictators who before now found a safe haven in Switzerland for their stolen funds may start looking elsewhere for such loots as the Swiss Government yesterday proposed a law to block such transactions and return the looted fund to its country of origin.
Described as the first of its kind by the Swiss Foreign Ministry, the new law will “make it easier to freeze assets stolen and salted away by foreign leaders and return them to their countries of origin” Reuters reported.
The report explained that the draft law would allow Switzerland to freeze the assets of so-called politically exposed persons, or PEPs, as a preventative measure and would set up a framework to confiscate and return assets to the countries from which they were taken.
“The focus is on making the restitution of stolen assets more efficient,” the Swiss Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying, adding “The draft Act – the first of its kind in the world – contains a set of clear provisions that will be helpful in this effort.”
MADRID (Reuters) – Spain paid higher rates on medium-term debt for the first time since early February, at an auction on Thursday, a sign that a global liquidity flows into countries on the periphery of the euro zone could be drying up.
Spain sold 4 billion euros ($5.15 billion) at a triple-bond sale, meeting its issuance target, and yields rose on bonds maturing in three, five and 13 years.
Spanish yields had fallen steadily for months as investors hunted for higher returns amid loose monetary policy, encouraging them to ignore the nation’s sickly economy and focus on the European Central Bank’s promise to protect the euro.
The pressure on Spain’s liquidity situation has eased since it peaked last summer, said Raj Badiani of IHS Global Insight but economic problems showed no signs of abating. The economy is slumping for a second year and joblessness continues to rise.
Business News – The gross earnings of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Skye Bank and Enterprise Bank rose to N388.9 billion last year, according to data compiled by The Nation.
GTB’s gross earnings were N221.9 billion and profit after tax was N87.3 billion, indicating 68.7 per cent leap from N51.7 billion in 2011. Further review shows that the bank recorded a slight growth in risk assets, with its loan book expanding by 11 per cent year on year – almost flat at 0.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter.
The bank grew deposits by 11.9 per cent last year despite what is believed to be the restrictive monetary policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Business News – Despite its N60 billion potentials, microfinance banks (MfBs) in Nigeria are not showing interest in micro-finance insurance (MfI), it has been learnt.
Last year, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) unveiled plans to exploit the MfI potentials using the MfBs.
According to operators, the inability of underwriters to have well-defined and simple products may mar the success of the initiative.
Managing Director, LAPO Microfinance Bank Limited, Mr Godwin Ehigiamusoe, said some operators were sceptical about the terms and conditions of various products offered by insurance firms and may not be obliged to patronise them.
Ehigiamusoe said the products were too complex, adding that they are too high for a sub-sector that is struggling to make profit.
Insurance firms, he said, had not done enough to convince the banks on the need to buy into the initiative.
Deposits and lending rates fell between January and March this year because of improved liquidity in the banking sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said.
The total Standing Lending Facility (SLF), an overnight fund provided by the CBN to support banks’ sliquidity, granted during the period was N1.1 trillion, compared with N6.5 trillion in the previous quarter.
A CBN Economic Report for the quarter indicated mixed developments in the banks’ deposit and lending rates. With the headline inflation rate at nine per cent per cent in January ending, most rates, with the exception of the lending and the average interbank call rates were negative in real term.
Business News – Shareholders of Skye Bank Nigeria Plc yesterday overwhelmingly approved resolutions empowering the directors of the bank to raise more than N81 billion in new equity and debt capital as the bank seeks to consolidate its competitive edge within the industry.
At the annual general meeting (AGM) of the bank in Lagos, shareholders approved a resolution to enable the board raise N50 billion in new equity funds and as much as $200 million in tier 2 capital, otherwise known as debt or quasi-debt issuance. Shareholders also empowered the board to absorb over-subscriptions, which implies the bank could access more than face target of N81 billion.
The head of the IRS office that oversees non-profit groups refused to testify at a congressional panel probing abuse at the US tax agency, but defiantly declared she had done nothing wrong.
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations, invoked her Fifth Amendment constitutional rights against self-incrimination, citing accusations by lawmakers that she had earlier provided false testimony.
The Internal Revenue Service is at the core of a swirling scandal that has cast a shadow over President Barack Obama’s second term. Agents under Lerner’s management were found to have inappropriately scrutinized conservative organizations, including Tea Party groups applying for non-profit status.