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Pension Thieves: Stakeholders Want Enforcement Of 10-Year Jail Term

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Stakeholders in the labour sec
tor have called for the enforcement of the 10 years imprisonment for pension fund thieves as recommended in the new Pension Bill passed by the Senate.
In an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, some of the stakeholders said sending pension fund thieves to prison was long overdue.
The National President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Malam Bobboi Kaigama, said that pensioners in the country were always passing through a lot of hardships.
He expressed regrets that pensioners, who had served the nation for many years, had little or no resources to take care of their daily needs.
Kaigama said that the punishment could even be more biting, considering the sufferings the pensioners passed through.
“ It is only in this country that you see old men and women waiting in line for verification, yet they go home empty handed or probably fall and die on queue.
“It is only in Nigeria that you will hear cases of non-payment of entitlements, omission of pensioners’ names from payroll and under-payment of pensioners.
“You need to see the pitiful sight of some of these pensioners who daily suffer from either delay in pension payment, non-payment of arrears or gratuities.
“ So, tell me how this punishment can be equated to their pains but we still thank the Senate for the bold move,’’ Kaigama said.
Similarly, Mr Ibrahim Khaleel, the President, National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), expressed the hope that the new bill would turn around the administration of pension system in the country.
“It is a welcome development and l have a strong conviction that the issue of corruption in pension system will be resolved.
“I know that until a serious sanction is issued on corrupt officers in Nigeria, this country will not be where it should be.
“To us in NULGE, if the law will say more than this punishment, we are comfortable with it.
“This development is a great one and NULGE is happy because it is a right step in the right direction,’’ Khaleel said.
He appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to sign the bill into law so that it could be enforced.
In his comments, Mr Sunday Alhassan, the President, National Union of Postal and Telecommunications Employees (NUPTE), said the union was happy with the decision of the Senate.
He expressed fear that the bill might not see the light of the day if the president did not sign it.
“In other parts of the world, workers usually look forward to their retirement benefits but the opposite is the case in Nigeria as workers usually dread retirement.
“‘Most cases, some civil servants usually falsify their ages to stay longer in service as life after retirement is not something to look forward to.
“Pension fund administration has been rocked with fraud and embezzlement of funds in recent times in this country, and the only thing that can save it is drastic action from to the authorities,’’ Alhassan said.
The Tide reports that the Senate on April 9 endorsed a 10-year jail for anybody convicted of stealing or misappropriating pension funds, apart from refunding three times higher the amount embezzled.
The Act also imposed a N10 million fine on any pension fund administrator who failed to meet the obligations of the contributors, while each of the directors of the firm would pay N5 million each as fines.
The Senate, after an exhaustive debate on the bill at its Committee of the Whole House, voted for its passage and urged President Jonathan to sign it as soon as possible.
However, if President Jonathan signs the bill, the Pension Reform Act 2004 is automatically repealed.

Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Mr Eze Onyekpere (left), with Legal Officer, Mr Kingsley Nnajiaka, at a briefing on the proposed scrapping of Fiscal Responsibility Commission in Abuja, last Wednesday.

Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Mr Eze Onyekpere (left), with Legal Officer, Mr Kingsley Nnajiaka, at a briefing on the proposed scrapping of Fiscal Responsibility Commission in Abuja, last Wednesday.

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Osinbajo Solicits Support For FG’s Housing Scheme

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged financial market experts to support the Federal Government’s efforts by developing an appropriate housing finance model that will significantly transform the housing sector on a large scale.
Osinbajo stated this on Monday when he received, on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa, a delegation from the Financial Markets Dealers Quotations Group (FMDQ) led by its Chief Executive Officer, Bola Onadele; who came alongside a delegation from the Independent Petroleum Producers Group.
Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement titled ‘Let’s unlock Nigeria’s housing deficit, Osinbajo tasks financial market experts.’
Economic experts posit that the housing deficit in Nigeria is estimated between 18-22 million housing units, while the ratio of mortgage finance to GDP in the country is only 0.5 per cent, it is 31 per cent in South Africa and two per cent in Ghana and Botswana.
In his address, the Vice President said, “I like the point you made about the National Housing Blueprint. I very strongly believe that if we can unlock the conundrum in the sector, we can get things working.
“In our ESP, we have something on social housing but one of the critical issues there is how to market these houses, how we can provide the finance so that people can afford to buy them. These are houses that are in the order of about N2 million or N2.5 million.
“But there are still constraints on account of the fact that we just do not have anything like a feasible housing finance model, I think it is time for us to do so. It just looks like it has always escaped our capacity to find a real solution to the problem”.
Speaking on the possibility of having a model that will work, Osinbajo noted that “everyone recognises that we are in very challenging times. But I agree with you that the sheer range and vastness of our potentials make it seem almost intuitive that we are bound to succeed.
“I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever, that given the right mix of policy initiatives, we can get these things done. And your characterization of what needs to be done like attracting capital and sustaining it is so important because ultimately, capital will go where it is best treated.
“And if we are able to attract it (because we have the market, we have everything going for us), even in the worst of times, despite the situation, you find that there is still a great deal of interest.”
Speaking earlier, Onadele said the visit was to inform the Vice President about the transformation taking place in the FMDQ and the need for government support in growing the financial market for the benefit of Nigerians and the economy.

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Nigerians Spent N2.33trn On Petrol In 13 Months – NNPC

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Monday said that the total revenue generated from the sale of petroleum products for the period of May 2020 to May 2021 stood at N2.35tn.
Out of this amount, the corporation disclosed, Premium Motor Spirit contributed about 99.61 per cent of the total sales with a value of N2.34tn.
A statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the Corporation, Garba-Deen Muhammad, said the figures were contained in the May 2021 edition of the NNPC Monthly Financial and Operations Report.
The statement was titled, “NNPC records crude oil, gas sales of $219.75m in May …posts N295.72bn from sale of petroleum products”
It read in part, “Total revenues generated from the sale of petroleum products for the period of May 2020 to May 2021 stood at N2.345tn where Premium Motor Spirit contributed about 99.61 per cent of the total sales with a value of N2.336 trillion.
“In terms of volume, the figure translates to a total of 2.241 billion litres of white products sold and distributed by PPMC in the month of May 2021 compared with 1.673billion litres in the month of April 2021.”
Total sales of petroleum products for the period May 2020 to May 2021 stood at 18.65 billion litres and PMS accounted for 99.69 per cent of total volume.
The corporation also recorded a total crude oil and gas export sales of $219.75m in May this year.
The $219.75m represents an increase in sales of 180.29 per cent when compared to the previous month of April this year.
The report stated that crude oil export sales contributed $181.19m (82.45 per cent) of the dollar transactions compared with $4.22m contribution in the previous month, while the export gas sales component stood at $38.56m in May 2021.

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Forex: CBN To Engage Crime Agencies To Fight Fraudsters

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has vowed to engage financial crime fighting agencies to pursue fraudsters who have been deceiving the banks with fake documents to buy foreign exchange at cheap rates and sell at higher rates at the black market.
The apex bank had, few weeks ago, stopped selling forex to Bureau De Change operators and asked legitimate travellers to approach the banks to access cheap forex.
This is against the backdrop that many customers have been deceiving commercial banks with fake documents to obtain the forex at cheaper rate, and prevented genuine travellers from gaining access to forex.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had in an earlier statement, said that the BDCs defeated their purpose of existence to provide forex to retail users and had become wholesale and illegal dealers.
“They have remained renegade and so greedy, recalcitrant with abnormally high profit from these sales, while ordinary Nigerians have been left to feel the pain and therefore suffer,” the CBN boss said. 
Emiefele had posited that the CBN had maintained its stand to discontinue the sale of forex to the BDCs.
He urged Nigerians with legitimate business to approach the banks for cheap forex.
According to him, travellers could access up to $4,000 for personal travelling allowance and $5,000 for business travelling allowance.
Findings, however, showed that commercial banks have been reporting fraudulent forex demands to the CBN.
Confirming this, the CBN governor said, “We conducted a study; one of the banks in one day sold to 52 people who said they wanted to travel. After two weeks, they went to check, 40 out of the 52 had cancelled their tickets.
“How could you have a situation where about 70 per cent or 80 per cent who went to bank to buy BTA on the reason that they want to travel, banks sold to them, they turned back and went and sold to the black market. They were asked to return it and we are going to pursue you if you are involved in these nefarious activities.
“If you go to bank with fake visa, fake passport, we have told them not to sell to you. If they sell to you mistakenly, and after two weeks, we check and find that you cancelled your ticket or your visa is fake, they will call you because you are their customer.
“They have your BVN, they have your number, they will call you to return the dollars. If you do not return it, they will place your name on their website, your BVN on their website, we will pick those details.
“We will send them to EFCC and other crime agencies, they will pursue you and you must return the dollars because you cannot acquire it illegally. That is our position”.

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