The Senate has directed the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelemah; and the acting Managing Director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, Terhemba Nongo, to return N14.3bn to the purse of the Federal Government.
It claimed that the money was diverted from the 2017 budget of NEPZA.
The directive was contained in a letter written by the Chairman of Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, Mohammed Sabo.
Sabo, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress representing Jigawa South-West, in the letter warned the minister and the NEPZA boss to either refund the money immediately or be prepared to face dire consequences.
The senator, while addressing journalists on Monday in Abuja, alleged that the money was transferred from NEPZA’s account into the account of a private company, the Nigerian Special Economic Zone Company.
He said the money was hurriedly transferred between April 8 and 10, despite an earlier warning not to do so.
Sabo claimed that the money was first lodged in NEPZA’s account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2017 budget allocations.
He said the money was thereafter moved into the private firm’s account.
The senator said, “To prevent this fraud, my committee wrote a letter to the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on April 8, asking him not to release the money.
“But we have confirmed that the money has been released and transfered by NEPZA, in collaboration with the minister, into a private company’s account.
“This is unacceptable to us. Hence, we have directed that money be returned.”
Copies of the Senate committee’s letter, addressed to the minister, were made available to journalists.
The letter dated April 25 was tilted “Re: Transfer of N14.3bn from NEPZA Account to Nigeria Special Economic Zone Company.”
It read, “Pursuant to Section 80(2)(3) and (4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and Financial Regulation, sections 313 and 314 and Senate Standing Order 98, 14(a-s) of 2015 as amended, we hereby write to you on the above matter.
“That you should return the N14.3bn that was transferred from NEPZA’s account to the Nigeria Special Economic Zone Company’s account.
“That the transferred money must be returned to the treasury within one week from the date of receipt of this letter.
“The available information shows that the said money is in the account of the Nigerian Special Economic Zone Company unappropriated for.
“That failure to comply with this directive will be visited with appropriate legislative action against your ministry as well as the company.”
FirstBank Rewards Customers in Transact and Win Promo
Getting rewarded for spending money is a dream that is probably going to remain exciting for many people, but not for the Firstmonie Wallet users. In a two month Transact and Win campaign that started on November 22, 2021, First Bank of Nigeria Limited is rewarding several customers for carrying out transactions on its Firstmonie Wallet application.
The e-wallet is useful for conveniently paying utility bills, purchasing airtime and data, transferring and receiving money, and many other digital transactions. Just for using the mobile-friendly wallet app, Customers got rewarded with mouth-watering prizes both in cash and kind. The number of transactions done on the app determines the price a user could win.
100 customers who had done 1-15 transactions through Firstmonie Wallet within the month won N10,000 cash price; 53 25kg bags of rice and 50 units of standing fans were also won by customers who carried out 16 – 30 transactions with the Firstmonie Wallet; 2 units of power generating sets, 1 unit of Air Conditioning systems and 1 unit LED Televisions went to customers who carried 31 – 50 transactions; while 2 units of iPhone 12 were won by customers who had carried out over 50 transactions on the app within the month.
Victor Nnanna Onyedikachi, a student of the University of Abuja was one of the winners of the iPhone 12, and while receiving his gift, he admitted that he did not expect to win the prize. “I used the Firstmonie Wallet App, and just like that, I was told that I had qualified. I did not believe it until I saw it myself. I am truly grateful to FirstBank,” he said.
Other winners also expressed their pleasure at being rewarded for using a completely user-friendly app. “There is no issue of service error when using it for any transaction. The service is seamless and the app is easy to use” one of them said.
The Group Executive, e-Business & Retail products, Mr Chuma Ezirim had noted that the promo was targeted at appreciating customers for their patronage; and in line with the Bank’s December-is-a-Vybe campaign. “This promo is hinged on the need to appreciate our customers for their patronage, especially as we have had an increased engagement and usages of the various services offered by our mobile-friendly wallet product,” Ezirim said when the promo was being launched.
Interestingly, the promo also includes new customers and users of the app. By simply downloading the mobile app from the play store, or using the *894# USSD string to sign up, anyone can qualify for the promo. The promo runs till January 22, 2022, so what are you waiting for as you could be the next winner of any of these fantastic prizes.
As the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 127 years, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has remained at the forefront of promoting digital payment in the country, and the Firstmonie Wallet is one of the channels for digital transactions.
Little wonder FirstBank was named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” and “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International. FirstBank also bagged the Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years.
Culled from Nairametrics
Unity Bank Partners RIFAN Mega Rice Pyramid Display, Pledges More Support for Farmers
Agric-focused lender, Unity Bank Plc has partnered Nigerian rice farmers under the aegis of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN to unveil a mega rice pyramid on the occasion of the National Rice Festival held in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Tuesday.
The event, which coincided with the flag-off of the dry season farming, was used to showcase the gains produced by rice farmers in driving self-sufficiency in rice production through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme, ABP.
Speaking to newsmen at the event, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Unity Bank, Mrs. Tomi Somefun, while going down memory lane on the support of the rice farmers by the Bank since the inception of the Anchor Borrowers Programme, ABP commended the rice farmers for their unwavering belief and collaboration in the implementation of the intervention programme, adding that as the PFI (Preferred Financial Institution) for the ABP transactions, the Bank will continue to support the farmers and ensure that more smallholder farmers get the requisite financial support to boost rice production.
She said: “Our strategic partnership with RIFAN started in 2018 when we financed about 273,000 smallholder farmers. This was the largest single-ticket transaction in that year. This financing cut across 33 states of the Federation including the FCT.
“In 2019, the Bank increased the tally by financing another 146,810 smallholder farmers for the wet and dry season farming. This funding cut across 35 States of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“Additional funding was granted to finance additional 221,450 smallholder farmers of the Association across the 32 states of the Federation including FCT for the wet season and additional 300,000 hectares was financed in sixteen states for the 2020 dry season cropping season.
“As of March 2021, the Bank has financed no fewer than 190,000 smallholder rice farmers across 35 states including the FCT, Abuja.”
Speaking further, she said: “The rice pyramids we see here today is an example of the resilience of the farmers and should be replicated in all states with a focus on the crop they have a competitive advantage.
“As we gear the programme towards deepening its penetration to reach more farmers, we encourage all beneficiaries of the Intervention Programme to always utilize the inputs judiciously in order to key into Federal Government’s goal of attaining food sufficiency, diversification of the economy from oil, job creation for the teeming youth and poverty reduction”.
“We remain optimistic that RIFAN under the able leadership of the National President, Aminu Goronyo, will continue to engage its members to drive higher performance under the ABP.”
Through the strategic initiative of the ABP, Nigeria has made incredible gains in rice production over the past six years raising production to significant levels.
Official reports show that from an average yield of 1.8 metric tonnes per hectare in the pre-ABP era, the initiative has increased the country’s average yield per hectare for rice paddy and maize to about five metric tonnes per hectare.
Similarly, the average capacity utilisation per annum of domestic integrated rice mills has jumped to 90 per cent, from the 30 per cent that was the case in the era preceding the advent of the ABP.
Statistics show that there has been a significant reduction in the country’s rice import bill, from a monstrous $1.05 billion prior to November 2015, to the current figure of $18.50 million, annually. The programme has also created an estimated 12.3 million direct and indirect jobs across the different value chains and food belts of the country.
Wema Bank Affirms Adherence to Best-in-Class Governance Processes
Nigeria’s leading digital bank, Wema Bank Plc, has reassured its stakeholders that it continues to operate with best-in-class governance processes.
The bank also faulted the premise on which a non-governmental organisation, Transparency Nigeria Group, asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to remove its Managing Director/CEO, describing the call as baseless.
The bank reassured its customers and stakeholders that it has and would continue to operate with the highest level of corporate governance, following all rules, policies, and procedures.
“We have no links to any political party and neither are we agents, allies or proxies of any politicians in the country. We are a financial institution solely committed to financial intermediation to enable and fast track the socio-economic development of the country,” the bank said.
The statement further explains that Wema Bank’s observance and strict adherence to due diligence and extant rules and regulations is why it is the oldest surviving indigenous bank in Nigeria.