By Dipo Olowookere
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has said that his administration is engaging in survival strategies to meet its obligations to the entire citizens and workers of the state, promising that the government would use its share of the Paris Club over deductions funds when it is paid for the workers’ welfare as recommended by the federal government.
Mr Ajimobi, at the 2017 Inter-Faith Service of the Oyo State government held at the Governor’s office, Ibadan, noted that every cost saving measure is a disservice to certain groups of people, adding that his administration is deploying the necessary machinery to survive, by blocking loopholes, restructuring of the public and civil service, improved Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) and cut unnecessary government wastage.
He explained that government as an enterprise requires funds to serve its citizens and the government is looking for ways to cut cost and meet its obligations to the people despite the dwindling revenue being realized by the government.
According to him, “We are looking for ways to reduce our cost and every attempt to reduce it, is disservice to a certain group of people.
“We have suspended car loans, subventions to higher institutions, allowances, assistance to organisations/individuals among others. All these, are without uproar from the people and we are all aware of the criticisms that trailed the withdrawal of subventions to higher institutions.
“Maintenance of our infrastructure and executing new ones have been extremely difficult. Oyo State is a big state. Ibadan alone is bigger than seven states and to govern Oyo state is a big responsibility with big problem and difficult to manage.
“Our IGR is still abysmally low and allocations from federal allocations continue to dwindle. Over 50 percent of our IGR is from PAYEE and our average monthly allocation from FG is N2.5 billion while salaries, subventions, pensions, overhead cost and allowances still stand at about N5.2 billion.
“We need survival strategies to block loopholes, renewed IGR drive and restructuring of the public and civil service for optimal performance so that the government will meet its obligations to the people.”
The Governor reiterated that the state has not collected its share of the Paris Club over excess deduction funds, stressing that the government is hopeful that the state would also get its share and whatever the state gets, would be used for the welfare of the workers.
Mr Ajimobi said that President Muhammad Buhari is passionate about the people, adding, “President Buhari wants to help the people, he wants us to stop the sufferings in the country and he has introduced so many poverty alleviation programmes to ameliorate the sufferings in the country.
“The president has suggested that we use 50 percent of the Paris Club fund for workers’ welfare and we are ready to do that whenever we get our share of the funds as we did with the bailout funds given to us by the federal government.”
He described the workers as the engine room of the government, saying that the government would not renege on its promise to use 100 percent of the allocation from federal government for workers’ salaries and consequently assured that his administration is ready to give the civil servants a percentage of the excesses of its IGR whenever the government reaches the threshold set for good governance in order to appreciate their dedication and commitment to service delivery in uplifting Oyo State.
“If I deliberately punish the workers, God will ask us. We will do everything humanly possible to ensure we give the people of the state the best. I am passionate about Oyo State, I want a state that will be the best in the country. I have nowhere to go, Oyo State is my state and I will continue to strive to make it great,” the Governor emphasized.
Governor Ajimobi tasked the workers to be committed and dedicated to their work and show appreciation to government’s goodness, explaining that the government has started a system that encourages, recognizes and appreciates productive performance by creating an efficiency unit to appraise and grade workers on their output.
The Governor charged the labour leaders in the state to always embrace dialogue and help the government to seek ways to meet its obligations to the workers instead of being confrontational with the government, noting that the era of table banging unionism should be a thing of the past.
Mr Ajimobi appealed to the entire citizens to work with the present administration in the state, promising that his administration would continue to prioritize citizens’ welfare.
Speaking at the service, the Oyo State Head of Service, Mr Soji Eniade commended the state governor for his wise and bold decisions that has kept the state afloat despite the present economic situation in the country.
He said, “Even in the face of the present harsh economic condition, Governor Ajimobi, under no influence and pressure, decided to commit 100% of the monthly allocation from the federation account to pay salaries and pensions.
The Governor even directed that the free bus service for workers among other existing welfare schemes should under no condition be stopped. All the past kind hearted decisions of His Excellency, that were in favour of workers, must be appreciated while we all work hard and pray that the present situation be positively turned around.”
The HOS charged workers in the state to be diligent, dedicated, devoted, committed and work assiduously towards ensuring financial sufficiency for the state, stating that the ongoing restructuring exercise in the civil/public service was embarked upon to clean and sanitize the system.
Highlights of the program included prayers and praise worship from Muslim and Christian leaders as the Chief Imam of the Government House, Sheik Bello Rufai prayed for a successful year for the workers and the Ajimobi-led administration.
Rev. John Adika of the Providence Baptist Church, Iyana Church, Ibadan in his own sermon, reminded the workers that all leaders were chosen by God for the special attributes they possess which according to him would make possible the delivery of succour to their people.
He also prayed for the State and its workforce to be prosperous in the new year while admonishing workers to do their best in delivering their best.
SEC Warns of Possible Loss of Investments via Crowdfunding Platforms
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Nigerians and the investing public have been warned not to stake their funds in unregistered crowdfunding platforms as they could lose their investments.
In a circular last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it was aware of some companies seeking funds from the public to use to finance a project or business, warning that actions would be taken on firms not authorised by the Nigerian government to carry out such transaction.
Recall that in January 2021, the agency, in recognition of the potential and importance of crowdfunding platforms and the need to protect investors through effective regulation, published its crowdfunding rules and requested crowdfunding platforms to register with the commission and comply with the rules by June 30, 2021.
In the rules, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) incorporated as a company in Nigeria with a minimum of two years of operating track record are eligible to raise funds through a crowdfunding portal registered by SEC, with total fees payable to parties to a crowdfunding issue shall not exceed two per cent of the total funds raised.
The commission noted that the maximum amount which might be raised by a medium enterprise shall not exceed N100 million.
“The maximum amount which may be raised by a small enterprise shall not exceed N70 million, and the maximum amount which may be raised by a micro-enterprise shall not exceed N50 million.
“The limits set forth above shall not apply to MSMEs operating as digital commodities investment platforms or such other MSMEs as may be designated by the commission from time to time,” part of the guidelines said.
According to SEC, retail investors might not invest more than 10 per cent of their annual income in a calendar year and only entities registered with the commission as an exchange, dealer, broker, broker/dealer or alternative trading facility as prescribed under the Act and the SEC Rules and Regulations might be registered as a crowdfunding intermediary.
It added that a crowdfunding portal or crowdfunding intermediary that failed to comply with the rules shall be liable to a fine of not less than N1 million and the sum of N10,000 for every day the violation continues.
The rules further stressed that a crowdfunding portal might be registered and operated only by an operator registered with SEC as a crowdfunding intermediary, while a crowdfunding portal that is located outside Nigeria will be considered as actively targeting Nigerian investors, if the operator or the operator’s representative, promotes directly or indirectly the platform in Nigeria.
Worried that some companies are taking advantage of the low financial literacy of Nigeria, SEC advised members of the public “to confirm the registration status of any entity soliciting their participation in any investment scheme by contacting the commission through www.sec.gov.ng, firstname.lastname@example.org or 094621168.”
It warned operators of unregistered crowdfunding platforms of the risk of prosecution if caught.
Crowdfunding is the process of raising funds to finance a project or business from the public through an online platform.
Adamawa Deploys Interswitch’s Paydirect to Check Revenue Leakages
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The services of Interswitch have been contracted by the Adamawa State government to enhance digital revenue collection, payment collections and processing through its Interswitch Collections Solution (Paydirect).
It was gathered that the use of Paydirect by the state government will ensure transparency in revenue collection, and bills payment while checking revenue leakages.
The Interswitch Collections Solution enables government agencies and corporate organisations to collect and monitor revenue across various channels such as banks, Point of Sales (PoS) terminals, Internet banking, and the Quickteller (web, mobile, ATM, and USSD) platform.
With the deployment of Interswitch’s Paydirect, the state government will also benefit from the ease of use the platform offers as well as a centralized view of all revenue collected by its agencies and online real-time reporting and monitoring.
To support the state government’s drive to engender open governance, accountability and strategic planning, the payment platform will reduce reconciliation issues, improve efficiency, and ensure access to detailed business intelligence reports for effective decision-making.
“This strategic collaboration aligns with our overarching goal of facilitating safe, secure, and seamless payment options for Nigerians through our digital payment platforms.
“The robust payment platform was designed to help the governments to achieve strong economic growth and foster sustainable development for Nigeria,” the Managing Director of Interswitch Industry Ecosystems, Ms Chinyere Don-Okhuofu, stated.
Also speaking about the alliance, the Regional Head of Sales, North, Interswitch Group, Mr Thomas Ezeh, said, “Interswitch is committed to empowering the Adamawa government to collect Internally Generated Revenue efficiently and effectively. Our goal, among other things, is to help governments at all levels and agencies to achieve their revenue targets.
“We encourage all government agencies to come on board as we believe that digital revenue collection and payment have the potential to attract investments and boost economic growth.”
Due to the trust in Interswitch’s robust payment solutions, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB), Kaduna and Kano States have partnered with the African payment giant for seamless filing and payment of tax, duties and examination registration.
Unlisted Securities Investors Lose N30bn in One Week
By Adedapo Adesanya
Those who buy and sell stocks via the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange lost about N30 billion last week, which was the 31st week of trading in 2022.
Business Post reports that the market barometers pointed south in the week as a result of the decline in the share price of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc and NASD Plc, with the former losing 13.9 per cent to close at N90.00 per unit in contrast to the preceding week’s N104.50 per unit, while the latter shed 9.8 per cent to trade at N16.19 per share versus the earlier week’s value of N17.95 per share.
The duo erased the 5.8 per cent week-on-week growth posted by Citi Trust Plc, which finished at N11.00 per share compared with the N10.40 per share it quoted the previous week.
Consequently, the market capitalisation went down by 2.8 per cent to N1.000 trillion from the preceding week’s N1.030 trillion as the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) lost 21.7 points to settle at 761.27 points compared with 782.97 points.
In the week, the total value of trades increased by 799.5 per cent to N304.0 million from N33.8 million, while the volume of trades increased by 95.7 per cent to 1.7 million units from 873,608 units, with the number of deals decreasing by 18.9 per cent to 43 trades from 53 trades of the previous week.
A breakdown showed that Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP) Plc was the most traded security by volume with 1.0 million units, Food Concepts Plc traded 348,214 units, Nipco Plc exchanged 140,000 units, CitiTrust Holdings Plc traded 102,000 units, while NASD Plc sold 45,000 units.
In terms of the value of trades in the week, NDEP Plc topped with N287.1 million, Nipco Plc recorded N8.1 million, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc traded N3.9 million, VFD Group Plc posted N2.5 million, while Citi Trust Plc had N1.1 million.
On a year-to-date basis, unlisted securities investors have transacted 3.2 billion units worth N22.4 billion in 1,777 deals at the NASD OTC exchange, with the NSI posting a year-to-date gain of 2.5 per cent.
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