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N’Delta: Unpaid Debts Threaten N230bn Projects

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The non-payment of outstanding debts is threatening high priority road projects worth N230bn in Niger Delta, as three major construction companies handling the projects have threatened to pull out.

The construction companies-Setraco Nigeria Limited, Reynolds construction company-have threatened to abandon the road projects due to non-payment of outstanding debts by the Federal Government.

Hon. Olaka Nwogu, chairman House committee in N’Delta, revealed this in Abuja at the weekend, explaining that the contractors are requesting for supplementary budget of N28b to enable them complete the project on time.

For the project, Reynolds construction company (RCC) was paid N5,684,881,518.18 out of N35.66 for the dualisation of the East-West Road (section III) Port Harcourt from Eleme Junction to Eket in Akwa Ibom State.

Selraco Nigeria Limited was given a contact of N74,806, 197,097.37 for the dualisation of the East-West Road from Port Harcourt Ahoada and Kaima-Ahoada as well as dualisation of East West Road from Warri-Kaiama (section i and ii) following the decision of julious Berger to quit the Niger- Delta region.

On its own part, Gitto construction company got a contract of N26n for the dualisation of East-west Road (Section IV) from Eket-oron road, Akwa Ibom State.

According to Nwogu, the projects were parts of the priority projects embarked in by Federal Government to stem the lingering crisis in the Niger Delta.

Julius Berger construction company recently terminated a contract of N11bn due to insecurity in the region.

Nwogu revealed that Julius Berger refunded N66, out of the N11bn, as against N8bn, being outstanding money for the work executed.

His words: “Julius Berger left the project after which it was re-awarded to Setraco. Julius Berger sent a letter that they have spent N3b out of the N11bn for the Port Harcourt, Section, 1, East-West Road, but we later found out that the company only returned N66. so they have a refund N2b to pay.

So we want to find out why the disparity.”

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Ufot Ekaette, and minister of state for Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, were not present at the interactive session with the construction companies to shed more light on the issue.

However, another meeting has been scheduled with the Minister for Thursday, July 23, to find out the reason for the delay in the release of the fund to the construction companies.

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Economic Growth, Determining Factor For Policies In 2023  – Stockbrokers

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Chairman of Research and Technology at the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Mr. Akeem Oyewale, has said that economic growth and development should be the determining factor in policies ahead of 2023.
Oyewale, who said this recently at the institute’s Annual National Economic Review and Outlook 2022 webinar  in Lagos, urged policy makers to act in a spirit of justice and tolerance to avoid acts that could lead to violence in the run-up to the 2023.
Speaking on the topic: “Global Dynamics Shaping Nigeria‘s Economic Future”, Oyewale listed factors such as the process leading up to the 2023 general elections, the response to Omicron, and the effects of COVID-19, as what would also determine the growth of the nation’s economic development.
He used the fora to urge the Federal Government to intensify its engagement with Nigeria’s capital market to better smoothly finance the 2022 budget deficit without increasing borrowing.
Oyewale also directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to fully consider the effects on the capital market when making monetary and fiscal policies.
According to him, the philosophy of building an economy led by the private sector enshrined in the National Development Plan must be strictly adhered to.
On the need for new listings, Oyewale said Nigeria National Petroleum Company’s trading should continue with the public listing of its shares on the stock market.
This, he explained, would give Nigerians the opportunity to co-own one of the country’s commanding heights.
“The CBN and banks should grant trading facilities to securities trading firms in the country to maintain optimism in the capital market”, he said.
Speaking further, he urged pension funds and other institutional investors to increase their investment in the stock market to create much-needed stability and encourage new investment.
Earlier, President of the CIS Council, Mr Olatunde Amolegbe,  said the institute would continue with initiatives that would enhance its growth and development in 2022.
Amolegbe stated that CIS would undertake activities that would promote capital market literacy in all geopolitical zones of the country, saying that he would strengthen collaboration with international professional bodies such as CISI UK and others for the benefit of their members.
He continued that the institute was working to increase the number of Nigerian universities offering graduate and undergraduate courses in securities and investment/capital market studies.
“Our vision by 2023 is to see the Securities and Investments profession registered in the hearts of young Nigerian academics as their preferred career path and CIS as the model to be followed by other professional bodies,” he concluded.

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PenCom Completes Review Of Pension Reform Act 2014

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The regulatory body of the Nigerian Pension Industry, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) says it has deliberated on the review of the Pension Reform Act 2014 (PRA 2014).
This was contained in a statement to newsmen signed by Peter Aghahowa, Head, Corporate Communications of PenCom, who disclosed that the regulator organised the retreat on the review of PRA 2014 in Abuja between January 12 and 14.
According to Aghahowa, the retreat was aimed at identifying salient issues to be reviewed in the PRA 2014 as a prelude to advancing legislative action on the bill.
Aghahowa said it is expected that the National Assembly would subsequently organise a public hearing to provide an avenue for stakeholders to formally make input into the proposed amendments.
He also said that the PRA 2014 was enacted following a review of the initial PRA of 2004, which introduced legal and institutional frameworks of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) and established PenCom to regulate and supervise all pension matters in Nigeria.
According to him, the Director-General of PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, during the opening ceremony of the retreat, had informed the participants that the PRA 2014 codified one of the most important socio-economic reform initiatives of the Federal Government.
He continued that she said this has brought about a pension industry that has accumulated pension assets in excess of N13 trillion invested in various aspects of the Nigerian economy.
He quoted her as saying that “the review is a corollary to some implementation challenges encountered with certain sections of the Act not long after its enactment in July 2014.
“This was also an addition to persistent calls from stakeholders for the amendment of some sections of the Act, which resulted in several legislative initiatives through the sponsorship of Bills for amendment of the PRA 2014 by the National Assembly.
“Consequently, the Commission as the regulator of the pension industry, decided to coordinate and harmonize the various efforts in order to achieve a comprehensive and constructive exercise for the review of PRA 2014”, he concluded.

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Speed Up Resolutions On Tax Disputes, FIRS Urges Tribunals

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The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Mamman Nami, has called on chairmen and commissioners of the Tax Appeals Tribunals (TAT) to devise appropriate mechanisms to achieve early and speedy resolution of tax disputes.
Nami made the appeal in Abuja recently at the opening of a two-day retreat on the new TAT ‘Procedure’ Rules and e-Filing platform.
He advised members of the tribunal to also pay attention to the public concern on the inconsistency in Order III (6) of the new TAT (Procedure) Rules and Paragraph 15(7) of the 5th Schedule to the FIRS (Establishment) Act to avoid litigations.
“I commend the commissioners for contributing to the development of the tax jurisprudence through the delivery of sound judgments.
According to him, from available reports, they have always exhibited a high level of commitment, probity and transparency in the discharge of their responsibilities.
“I want to also use this medium to appreciate and thank the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and all those who contributed to the development of the new TAT (Procedure Rules) and the e-filling platform.
“These two landmark achievements are expected to improve the efficiency of the tribunals for timely and quicker delivery of judgments, which in turn, will improve compliance and collection,” he said.

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