Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has inaugurated an electronic platform for collection of National Housing Fund (NHF) deductions from employers of labour.
Simply called the NHF e-collection platform, the device makes it possible for NHF deduction, collection and remittance to be done electronically by all designated commercial banks in Nigeria through their existing information technology structures.
A statement by the bank on Sunday quoted the Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, FMBN, Mr. Gimba Ya’u Kumo, as saying in Abuja that once a designated NHF collection bank had issued instructions by an employer to pay monthly salaries to its employees’ bank accounts, the corresponding NHF components of the salaries would be automatically deducted and instantly channelled into a dedicated NHF collection account.
He added that a payment schedule indicating the identity of each employee and amount contributed by the employee was also automatically generated and FMBN immediately credits each contributor’s NHF contribution account with the corresponding amount remitted for that month.
Kumo said, “The e-collection platform will address a number of problems facing the NHF scheme, such as refusal of some employers to deduct their employees’ NHF contributions, failure of some employers to remit NHF contributions after deducting such contributions from their employees and failure of some employers to provide remittance schedules to FMBN. All these sharp practices enable some unscrupulous employers of labour to misappropriate NHF monies or even embezzle such funds.”
Essentially, the NHF e-collection platform, according to the statement, will help promote transparency and accountability in the collection of NHF and make it possible for more eligible Nigerians to access NHF loans for building, renovation or purchase of residential houses.
“The platform, for example, will make it easy for NHF contributors to check their NHF contributions using the NHF e-cards on any ATM machines nationwide, the amount of money they have contributed to the NHF scheme and thus be in a position to know if their employers are making the appropriate NHF remittances as and when due,” he added.
Kumo assured the general public that the NHF e-collection platform would go a long way in ensuring accountability on the part of employers as their workers could easily track remittance records based on the embedded system of instant alerts and on-line access to record of contributions that the NHF e-collection platform provides.
The FMBN boss said, “This will achieve the ultimate goal of transparency, sustainability, reliability and acceptance regarding National Housing Fund transactions for the benefit of contributors nationwide.”
Julius Berger shareholders get N2.88bn dividend
Shareholders of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, have approved N2.88bn dividend to be paid to them for the 2011 financial period.
The approval was given in Abuja on Thursday during the company’s 42nd Annual General Meeting.
The amount represents a dividend pay-out of N2.40 per share and it is 20 per cent higher than the N2.00 paid in the 2010 financial period.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Company, Dr. Mohammed Imam, said that despite the challenging operating environment, the company was still able to maintain a consistent level of turnover.
This, he said, was made possible owing to the consolidation of resources as well as the successful implementation of a diversified business strategy.
For instance, he said the company recorded a profit after tax of N4.87bn, indicating an increase of 74 per cent over the N2.79bn recorded in 2010.
He said, “While our project portfolio in 2011 remained robust, we must also recognise that there was a slowdown in project acquisition within the public sector.
“In addition, increased security concerns put pressure on investment decision of potential clients. Despite these circumstances, Julius Berger was still able to maintain a consistent level of turnover and lower operational costs.”
He said the economic reforms being carried out by the Federal Government in key sectors of the economy was an indication that the country was on the right path to achieving more stable investment environment.
On the implication of the security challenges on projects being handled by the company, he said, “I can report that Julius Berger has experienced no serious security incidents in 2011.
“Nevertheless, we cannot ignore that security issues require our company to remain vigilant. While the Niger Delta amnesty programme continues to prove effective, Boko Haram’s activities are an increasing concern.
“In the light of this, Julius Berger has implemented further risks assessment structures within our security management system, which allow for continuous review of threats and adjustment of security plans.”
FG To Eradicate Multiple Taxation In Mining Sector – Adegbite
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, says the Federal Government is setting in place various measures to eradicate multiple taxation for miners.
At the flagship Forum last Tuesday in Abuja, Adegbite said the ministry was engaging with the three tiers of government to resolve this issue.
He said that this informed the recent webinars and advocacy engagements by the ministry with all stakeholders in the country involved in the mining industry.
He said that though the constitution vested control of mineral resources in Nigeria in the Federal Government, the fund goes into the Federation Account, of which everybody participates.
He added that all the 774 local governments got money from that account but if they cut corners by disturbing the miners with unnecessary local taxes they get discouraged.
“So, it is double jeopardy when you go and do all these illegal taxes, or you go and disturb the miners, when you will benefit from what is derived in your place, you get a 13 per cent derivation.
“You also get your share of the federal accounts as of course laid down statutorily. So, it is a continuous process, we educate everybody and I think we are getting good results.”
The minister said there was a Mineral Resource Committee (MIRENCO) in every state and the chairman was nominated by the governor of that state, so that he would be in the know about everything going on about mining in that state.
He said that the chairman of that committee was to oversee all the activities between the miners, the community, the state government and the Federal Government.
“So, on that committee, the Federal Government has representatives, the local government has representatives, the governor chooses the chairman and then Ministry of Environment and other stakeholders bring in representatives as well.
“So, through this committee, everybody can participate, and make sure that we work in harmony, bake a bigger pie so everybody can share.
“So, it is continuous advocacy, we let them know what we are doing and of course they can also participate, where they do not understand or where the governor has any problem he can always ask the chairman.”
On the issue of rock blasting, he said cities had expanded to meet quarries.
According to him, quarrying is a necessity, because stones are needed to make concrete when building roads and houses.
Nigeria Lost N53.26bn To Gas Flaring In Two Months – NNPC
Nigeria lost an estimated N53.26billion in the first two months of this year as international oil companies and local players flared a total of 33.04 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas.
The oil companies wasted 17.53 billion scf of gas in February, compared to 15.51 billion scf in January, according to data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
With the price of natural gas put at $3.93 per 1,000scf as of Wednesday, the 33.04 billion scf flared translates to an estimated loss of $129.85million or N53.26billion (using the official exchange rate of N410.13/dollar).
The NNPC, in its latest monthly report, said out of the 206.05 billion scf produced in February, a total of 133.06 billion scf was commercialised, consisting of 40.15 billion scf and 92.91 billion scf for the domestic and export market respectively.
It said this implied that 64.48 per cent of the average daily gas produced was commercialised while the balance of 35.52 per cent was re-injected, used as upstream fuel gas or flared.
Gas flare rate was 7.67 per cent in February (i.e. 565.52 million standard cubic feet per day), compared to 7.73 per cent in January (i.e. 554.01 million scfd).
In January, a total of 223.55 billion scf of natural gas was produced, translating to an average daily production of 7,220.22 million scfd.
Out of the total gas output in January, a total of 149.24 billion scf was commercialised, consisting of 44.29 billion scf and 104.95 billion scf for the domestic and export markets respectively.
Firms producing less than 10,000 barrels of oil per day will pay a gas flare penalty of $0.5 per 1,000 scf.
The penalties paid by oil and gas companies for flaring gas in the country will be invested to build midstream gas infrastructure in host communities, according to a new provision introduced into the Petroleum Industry Bill by the National Assembly.
“Moneys received from gas flaring penalties by the commission (Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission) pursuant to this subsection, shall be transferred to the Midstream Gas Infrastructure Fund for investment in midstream gas infrastructure within the host communities of the settlor on which the penalties are levied,” the Senate and House of Representatives said in subsection (4) of section 104 of the bill.
Nigeria To Boost Trade Volume Through ECOWAS TPOs
Nigeria is poised to boost its non-oil exports following the official launch of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Promotion Organisations (PTOs).
With Executive Director /CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Segun Awolowo, as the inaugural president of the ECOWAS TPOs, the NEPC is repositioning the nation’s export through the implementation of its N50 billion Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP), a part of the Economic Sustainability Plan whose development and implementation is being led by the Vice President.
EEFP is expected to significantly raise the volume of non-oil exports in Nigeria, and it’s a spin-off of the Zero Oil Plan developed by Awolowo and approved by the President.
Besides providing financial support for the average Nigerian exporter, EEFP is also going to see the establishment of top-notch warehouses close to airports where Nigerian goods meant for export would be packaged to globally competitive standards ahead of their exportation.
The EEFP, in line with the FG’sEconomic Sustainability Plan (ESP), is focused on cushioning the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on non-oil export businesses,thereby safeguarding jobs and creating new ones.
In March, Minister of Industry,Tradeand Investment (MITI), Niyi Adebayo, officially flagged off the EEFP and launched the first online Grant Management Portal (GMP) for non-oil exports.
While the EEFP is being implemented by the NEPC, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is the supervisory body over the agency and its operations.
It was learnt although the programme anticipated 500 beneficiaries, since the launch, it has received over 3,500 applications for the grant, out of which over 2,000 were verified after meeting the eligibility criteria.
Federal Government officials said further details and plans on disbursement to final successful beneficiaries are being awaited.
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