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Senate Probes Hidden N14.7bn PHCN Privatisation Proceeds

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Power Holding Company of Nigeria PHCN Privatisation

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts has begun the investigation of N14.7 billion proceeds of privatisation of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) allegedly hidden in commercial banks by the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE).

The committee is acting on an audit query in the ‘Auditor-General for the Federation’s Annual Report on Non-Compliance/Internal Control Weaknesses Issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the Year Ended 31st December 2019.’

The Acting Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr Adolphus Aghughu, had presented the report to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Ojo Amos, on September 15, 2021, while the Senate and House Committees on Public Accounts began an investigation of the queries.

The defunct government-owned National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) was privatised and renamed PHCN, which was later unbundled to become the present generation and distribution companies.

The query stated that the funds from the PHCN privatisation were still in the banks as of December 31, 2016, whereas the privatisation of the PHCN had been concluded since 2013.

The query read in part, “Audit verification and reconciliation revealed that the sum of N14,720,396,432.43, being proceeds from the privatisation exercise of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria was reported in the bureau’s trial balance to be in commercial bank accounts as at31st December 2016.

“Whereas the privatisation of the PHCN was concluded in 2013, the proceeds are yet to be remitted to the Central Bank of Nigeria Privatisation Proceeds Accounts.

“The issue has been communicated to the bureau via a letter with reference no. OAuGF/RESAD/05/2016/07, dated 19th April, 2018, and no response has been received.

“Unauthorised funds kept in commercial banks may be diverted for other purposes, thereby leading to loss of revenue available for government programmes.

“The Director-General (of the BPE) is required to recover the sum of N14,720,396,432.43, being proceeds of the PHCN, and remit same to CRF and forward evidence of remittance to my office for audit confirmation.”

The BPE, in its written submission, however, stated that two separate sums of N3,231,984.73 allegedly held in Fidelity Bank Plc and N18,199,520.87 held in Stanbic Bank were “unaudited bank balances that were actually no longer in existence as of the date of the audited financial statements or asked questions, the matter would have been clarified.”

The bureau added, “With respect to the two other bank balances – N4.4bn (Access Bank Plc) and N10.2bn in FCMB, the correct balance in Access Bank as at 31/12/16 was NIL as the bank had transferred a swelled balance of $34.1m to the CBN Domiciliary Account.

“The bank had initially been unable to make the transfer as at September 2015 as required under the TSA policy, owing to the inexistence of designated USD Treasury Single Account for dollar balances

“The balance in the FCMB as of 31/12/2016 was only $36,053.55, following a transfer of $65,088,198.53.

“The residual balance remained until 18/95/17 due to inability of the bank to remit as required under the TSA policy, owing to initial unavailability of designated TSA for USD balances as required under the then newly introduced policy.”

The probe is expected to reveal whether the BPE’s claims are true or not.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Economy

Domestic Market Loses 0.06% on Profit-taking in 26 Stocks

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profit-taking at NSE

By Dipo Olowookere

Profit-taking in 26 stocks on Monday opened the doors of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited wide open to the bears, causing the domestic market to lose 0.06 per cent.

All but one of the key sectors of the market closed bearish yesterday and this was the energy counter, which appreciated by 1.67 per cent, while the insurance, banking, consumer goods and industrial goods sectors declined by 1.44 per cent, 0.45 per cent, 0.23 per cent and 0.01 per cent respectively.

Consequently, the All-Share Index (ASI) was reduced by 29.08 points to 45,928.27 points from 45,957.35 points, while the market capitalisation fell by N12 billion to N24.749 trillion from N24.761 trillion.

Regency Assurance was the worst-performing stock yesterday as its value went down by 9.52 per cent to 38 kobo, followed by FTN Cocoa, which dropped 7.69 per cent to 36 kobo.

NEM Insurance declined by 5.41 per cent to N3.50, Sovereign Trust Insurance lost 4.17 per cent to trade at 23 kobo, while Cutix depreciated by 4.00 per cent to N2.40.

Business Post reports that the exchange closed with 15 price gainers on Monday led by Livingtrust Insurance, which appreciated by 9.62 per cent to quote at N1.14.

Northern Nigerian Flour Mills grew by 9.49 per cent to N8.65, Academy Press improved by 9.09 per cent to 72 kobo, Courtville rose by 8.70 per cent to 50 kobo, while ABC Transport gained 5.88 per cent to trade at 36 kobo.

Yesterday, Chams was the busiest stock, trading 40.6 million units valued at N8.1 million and was trailed by UBA, which exchanged 35.1 million units worth N284.7 million.

Courtville traded 33.3 million units for N16.6 million, Sterling Bank sold 18.8 million units valued at N30.1 million, while Access Bank transacted 17.1 million units worth N166.4 million.

At the close of transactions, the volume of shares traded by investors went down by 1.06 per cent to 278.6 million units from 281.6 million units. The value, however, increased by 19.71 per cent to N2.9 billion from N2.4 billion, while the number of deals rose by 18.94 per cent to 4,447 deals from 3,739 deals.

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Economy

Friesland, CSCS Leave NASD Bourse Bleeding After N8.23bn Loss

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Friesland WAMCO

By Adedapo Adesanya

The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) started the week on a negative note after it bled by 1.3 per cent on Monday as a result of profit-taking, especially in the shares of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc and Central Securities Clearing Systems (CSCS) Plc.

The Peak Milk maker lost N3.3 or 2.9 per cent yesterday to trade at N115.00 per share compared with the previous N118.30 per share, while the Nigerian depository company depreciated by N1.00 or 5.4 per cent to quote at N18.38 per unit as against the preceding session’s value of N19.38 per unit.

The losses posted by the duo decreased the market capitalisation of the bourse by N8.23 billion to N622.23 billion from N630.46 billion and weakened the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) by 9.71 points to wrap the session at 734.83 points compared with 744.54 points recorded at the previous session.

Unfortunately, the market did not record a price gainer yesterday, but the volume of securities traded at the bourse by investors went down by 97.3 per cent to 111,347 units from the 4.1 million units achieved last Friday.

In the same vein, the value of shares that exchanged hands during the trading day depleted by 94.5 per cent to N4.8 million from N86.9 million, while the number of deals executed by traders depreciated by 12.5 per cent to seven deals from the eight deals carried out at the preceding session.

At the close of business, CSCS Plc maintained its position as the most traded security by volume on a year-to-date basis with 653.7 million units of its shares sold for N13.7 billion. VFD Group Plc came next with 916,161 units valued at N331.5 million, while Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria Plc has so far traded 233,766 units valued at N27.5 million.

Also, CSCS Plc ended the day as the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis with the sale of 653.7 million units worth N13.7 billion. VFD Group Plc also came next with 916,161 units worth N331.5 million, while Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria Plc trailed with 233,766 units worth N27.5 million.

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Economy

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Others Appreciate amid Renewed Interest

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Ethereum

By Adedapo Adesanya

Renewed interest in cryptocurrency helped the market regain its feet on Monday after last week’s scare, which forced investors to offload the digital assets.

The selloff witnessed lately was triggered by fears that the United States Federal Reserve would come up with a tighter monetary policy this week.

But yesterday, the market was calm as seven of the 10 tokens monitored by Business Post across the various trading platforms closed positive, with Bitcoin (BTC) gaining 5.9 per cent to close at N21,279,581.03.

Litecoin (LTC) appreciated by 2.9 per cent to sell at N64,092.87, Ethereum (ETH) made a 1.8 per cent appreciation to close at N1,421,449.49, while US Dollar Tether (USDT) improved by 1.5 per cent to sell for N586.56.

In addition, Ripple (XRP) appreciated by 0.6 per cent to close at N352.24, Dogecoin (DOGE) rose by 0.3 per cent to quote at N81.59, while Binance Coin (BNB) recorded a gain of 0.1 per cent to trade at N154,299.88.

On the other hand, Dash (DASH) fell by 3.7 per cent to trade at N52,686.71, Tron (TRX) depreciated by 3.2 per cent to sell at N31.35, while Cardano (ADA) depleted by 1.1 per cent to close at N630.39.

Meanwhile, at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange (FX) market in Nigeria, the Naira traded bearish on the first day of this week, losing 0.09 per cent or 38 kobo to trade exchange against the Dollar at N416.38/$1 compared with the preceding session’s rate of N416/$1.

This occurred amid a decline in the demand for forex at the market window, with the turnover for the day at $136.9 million, 3.8 per cent or $5.5 million lower than the $142.42 million recorded last Friday.

Also, the domestic currency suffered a loss of 11 kobo against the greenback at the interbank segment of the market, trading at N415.53/$1 at the close of business on Monday compared with N415.53/$1 of the previous session.

But against the Pound Sterling, the Naira appreciated by N2.69 yesterday to close at N560.69/£1 in contrast to the previous N563.38/£1, while against the Euro, the local currency gained 88 kobo to close at N470/€1 versus last Friday’s N470.88/€1.

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