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Agbakoba Urges Buhari To Review Banks’ Lending Policy

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A maritime lawyer and rights
activist, Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has urged the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, to review the lending policy of banks.
Agbakoba made the plea in an interview with newsmen in Lagos on Thursday.
“The heartbeat of any economy is the financial services sector, but because the financial services sector is pursuing the wrong agenda, it is not growing.
The financial services sector namely banks, lend money to big men but banks are known to lend money to the average Nigerian.
“The lending policy of banks is something the Nigerian president must correct. It is not enough to identify two or three billionaires and one bank gives all the money.
“The country cannot grow that way. It will just simply make one man rich, but when lending is done on a consumer basis, what we call consumer banking, then, 175 million Nigerians potentially can be borrowing and that is the only way that the banks can really, truly grow and become giant.
“This is the model that banks follow abroad. Lend money to everybody across the board, but the problem with lending money across the board here is that the banks are interested in getting their money back.
“Which means that the institutions supporting the financial services sector, the laws, must be strong.
“No bank would give money; you cannot pay and then to take you 10 years in court.
“The two things in the financial services sector would be a change in the lending procedure but strengthen the recovery procedure.’’
According to him, banks prefer to give secured credits.
Agbakoba said the incoming administration should be bothered about how to raise revenues in view of dwindling resources.
He said that the business community had a lot of business ideas, but no financial capacity.
“Development is driven by national guarantees. You will find that the business community would have a lot of ideas but no financial capacity.
“It is the government that provides the guarantee. This is standard practice everywhere across the world. You would have an Export-Import Guarantee Bank (NEXIM).
“So, if they approve what you are doing; so, I want to set up an airline. It will cost me 100 million dollars.
“I don’t have it, I have this.
“The government looks at my papers; they give Boeing a guarantee. So, Boeing knows that if there is a default, they go against the government.
The maritime lawyer said the final challenge for the president-elect “is planning’’.
According to Agbakoba, without planning, all these suggestions will not be achieved as the president-elect needs professionals and right pegs in the right hole in his cabinet.
He suggested that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) should now revert to its real function of development agenda for Nigerians and not a contract-awarding body.
The maritime lawyer said that if all the measures “are put in place, government will be looking toward saving between 30 to 40 per cent of the national income’’.
Agbakoba said the savings could be ploughed into sectors like education, infrastructure and housing, among others.

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Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA

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Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” 
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million. 
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge. 
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
 Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million. 
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise. 
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Expert Wants Farmers To Grow Plant Produce For Export

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An expert in Quarantine Agriculture, Dr Vincent Ozuru, has advised Nigerian farmers to give more attention to growing plants produce that could be exported.
He said that plant like the hibiscus, popularly known as Zobo is on high demand in some countries around the world, today.
Ozuru who gave the advice while speaking to aviation correspondents at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, noted that some plants produce, particularly hibiscus, had yielded huge revenue to the Federal Government through export.
According to him, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone in 2017 and earned $35 million within nine months of that year.
The agricultural quarantine expert explained that the export of the plant had a setback as a result of storage pest discovered by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service in some consignments.
“The issue has now been taken care of and the export is resuming again, and all matters have been resolved with the stakeholders across the value chain.
“Mexico is the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus, and our farmers should brace up to the challenge.
“The good news is that Nigeria has a vast growing belt in hibiscus, and the harvest is available all year round.
“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to earn foreign exchange for ourselves and for the country at large, even with the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy”, he said.
Ozuru called on Nigerian farmers to show more commitment to the growing of export produce and also endeavor to get ready information on it in order to increase their income.

By: Corlins Walter

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