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Omo-Agege Faults Sale Of Zamfara Gold To CBN For N5b

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Deputy Senate President Ovie Ọmọ-Agege has faulted the arrangement that allows Zamfara state to sell a bar of good to the Federal Government at N5 billion, describing the sale as a breach of the laws guiding exploitation of mineral resources in the country.

The Deputy Senate President spoke while contributing to a debate on the 2021 Appropriations Bill at yesterday’s Senate plenary.

He told the lawmakers that his constituents and other Niger Deltan people were worried about the development since all proceeds from oil in their territory solely go to the Federation Account.
The senator insisted that the proceeds from the sale ought to be remitted to the federation account and not credited to the account of the Zamfara State government.
Omo-Agege said: “There is also something that is troubling our people which I think I should also bring up here.
“It is clear that the only two sources identified in the budget for the funding of the budget is the revenue from oil on the most part and borrowings, both local and foreign.
“But, we also have other sources or potential sources of revenue that is not being looked at.
“We often talk of leakages (in the system) but why even go into leakages when we can go directly to the solid mineral sector?
“Not too long ago, we saw the Governor of Zamfara State come before the CBN to present a gold bar worth close to about N5 billion.
“The gold bar was presented for sale to the CBN. Our people are beginning to wonder who owns this gold that is being sold to the CBN.
“They don’t sell oil in any of the Niger Delta states. I am wondering why a governor of a state should be selling gold bar from Zamfara to the CBN.
“There are two problems with that. We believe that whatever revenue that ought to come from that transaction belong to the entire country and not belonging to the state government.
“That is number one and we should actually look into that. That is an area we really need to develop.
“There is a lot of revenue that could come from there that will take the burden from this international borrowing.”
In a similar vein, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), also reacted to the development, accusing the Federal Government of double standard and injustice.

The IYC accused the Federal Government of injustice by allowing artisanal mining of gold in the North, especially in Zamafara State, and forbidding a similar practice on crude oil in the Niger Delta.
In a statement, IYC President Timothy Igbifa observed that in the North where there are gold and precious stones, the locals and indigenes were mining them unmolested to enrich themselves.
The statement reads in part: “But it is illegal in the Niger Delta to engage in artisanal exploration of the vast hydrocarbon deposits in their area. If you say, it is double standard, applying two different set of rules in the same country, it is an understatement.
“It is the height of injustice that the people of Niger Delta have been forced to live with since 1914. Several attempts have been made to re-negotiate our continuous existence has an indivisible entity but to no avail.”

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Banks’ CEOs Hold Emergency Meeting Over BDCs’ Forex Ban 

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Bank Chief Executive Officers on Thursday, held an emergency meeting on how to ensure compliance with the new forex directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

After the meeting, they spoke during a webinar organised to give an update on the banks’ preparedness to be the main channel of forex distribution, following the recent discontinuity of forex supply to the BDC operators by the CBN.

The executives assured the public that banks would make forex available to customers in accordance with the CBN’s directives.

After the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had ordered all Deposit Money Banks to set up teller points at designated branches across the country to fulfil legitimate FX request for personal travel allowance, business travel allowance, tuition fees, medical payments and SMEs transactions, among others.

Speaking at the webinar, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, said, “The banking industry as a whole was willing and ready to carry out this function. The banks have very strict compliance measures, in terms of verification and making sure that people who do apply are eligible.

“All Nigerian banks will be able to meet these requirements. If you look at all the branches nationwide, you will know that the banks have more than enough capacity to do this.”

He said if the banks saw any compliance issues, or people attempting to do things cunning, they would be reported to the CBN because the banks would ensure full compliance with the order.

The Group Chief Executive Officer, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, while speaking on the capacity of the banks to meet the customers demand, said, “It is not only the CBN that has the ability to fund the market; the banks also have the resources to meet the demand, and we have agreed collectively that it will start immediately.”

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NERC: Over 1m Electricity Consumers Have Received Prepaid Meters

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Labour Warns FG Against Electricity Tariff Hike 

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The Nigeria Labour Congress faulted plans to allegedly sell the Transmission Company of Nigeria, saying it will lead to an increase in electricity tariff.

The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, said this in a statement titled, “This Kite will not Fly’’ on Friday.

Wabba explained that instead of allegedly planning to sell the transmission company, FG should focus on improving the electricity supply.

He described the attempt to hand over the TCN to a few ‘privileged’ Nigerians as self-serving, obtuse, odious, morally reprehensible and criminal.

The NLC president said, “The TCN is a strategic economic asset of immense national security implications. This is because the TCN traverses all nooks and crannies of Nigeria.

“It will be wrong that our country will be deliberately exposed to an avoidable vulnerability and thus, provide an opportunity to others to restrain the Nigerian state.

“We apprehend that the planned sale of the TCN is only an attempt to further confound the people and concurrently raise electricity tariff. Unfortunately, this time around, Nigerians have had enough.

“The government cannot promise improved power supply to consumers by the planned sale of TCN. The under-the-table scheming as transparent privatisation cannot pass muster.

“It is an unsavoury narrative for our country, that even the privatised assets, which have survived the rapacity of the new owners, have been turned into unrealisable collaterals for unpayable loans.

“This constitutes a bone stuck in the throat of financial institutions and sundry creditors.”

Wabba explained that the plan would “fundamentally weaken the security of the nation and above all, deprive the people of their age-old investments in the commanding heights of the Nigerian economy”.

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