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Rivers State Microfinance Agency In Tune With The New Rivers Vision

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Governor Wike

Governor Wike

In order to put the record
straight and in line with the New Rivers Vision, the policy of the present administration, the facts must be laid bare for public  observation, scrutiny, analysis and inference to be drawn to gauge the growth of the Rivers State Microfinance Agency, its capacity building structure and contribution to the overall economic development of the state.
Presently, the new leadership of RIMA has provided a template for total departure from the usual pattern of inconclusive policy initiative and defective accounting reports, which has beset the organization from inception and has thereby, created liability and losses for the Agency’s bottom line mandate.
A juxtaposition of previous financial report by the past administration in RIMA is totally incomparable with the new financial reports posted and the achievements of the present leadership.
This is a swift reaction to the misguided and unfounded assertion credited to an article published in a National Newspaper “Rivers State Microfinance agency gives Kudos to Wike for CBN =N=2B MSME Loan- but past finance commissioner says Amaechi did most of the job”.
It is with great dismay that the management of RIMA views such distorted and ambiguous issues raised by this ill-informed writer capable of misleading the general public on the transactions and operations of RIMA in carrying out its dual functions /responsibility – Double Bottom Line strategy. This is to say, fostering wealth creation – bottom up and capacity building. It is a misleading, ill-conceived and mischievous write-up meant to paint the Agency in questionable pictures and bringing it to disrepute.
The integrity of the management and board is of unblemished antecedent and impeccable record. This unparalled quality marks the team of management and board as distinguished persons.
RIMA has put in place modalities to cut down high operational cost. RIMA has also initiated methodologies to tackle low banking culture in the rural areas and among the urban poor, by taking banking to their door steps. In spite of these factors militating against the progress of Microfinance Banks, RIMA is thorough and selective in its approach in carrying out the double bottom financial line. The rascality of the previous management is epitomized by the losses incurred throughout the duration of the administration between 2010- 2015.
Traditionally, our rural folks borrow money from friends and relatives and repay the same amount of money borrowed at very exhorbitant rate with disregard to measured tenure for the loan repayment. This is why RIMA is working assiduously to bridge that gap and lift modern standards in adherence to International Microfinance Banking best practices.
RIMA is evolving policies to cushion the paucity of human and institutional capacity building. RIMA is not in inordinate competition with commercial banks but braces the task of leveraging Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises into profiteering institutions through single digit interest rate borrowing.
RIMA has decided to take it more seriously, its core objective of reaching the poorest households through sustainable business approach using loan not as grants and for charity driven projects but loans repayable with not more than 9% interest rate all inclusive.
The success of RIMA is associated with its financial loan outcome through the loan portfolio quality to beneficiaries CFI (City Finance Institution), RFI (Rural Finance Institution) and other categories of beneficiaries. This is the management of loans for benefiting Institutions and its recovery.
RIMA is striving to achieve social and financial goals. This is managing a double bottom line. Candidly, strong financial performance underpins the agency’s ability to pursue its social objectives, and conversely, achieving goals generally enhances financial performance. This is exactly why this present leadership in RIMA is determined to succeed.
In the said publication, it was erroneously insinuated that the Rivers State Micro Finance Agency (RIMA) had posted a profit of one billion naira accruing from the seed capital of two billion naira generated through the management of SME funding. This is not true and totally unrealistic. It is unimaginable that at a time the Agency was in a comatose position, it was posting positive result and surprisingly profit.
A clear indication shows the pointer to losses incurred from the financial statement of RIMA for five years (2010-2015) buttressing the fact that the Agency was operating at loss and heading for a catastrophic end.
A summary of the financial details between the period 2010-2015 (the period under review) from auditing shows that RIMA incurred losses to the tune of :
=N= 144, 170, 114.00 K (2011) Loss
=N= 273, 708, 948.00 K (2012) Loss
=N= 163, 146, 712.00 K (2013) Loss
=N= 197, 314, 118.00 K (2014) Loss
=N= 194, 584, 973.00 K (2015) Loss
Which brings the total amount to :
=N= 972, 924, 865.00K
It is also not true that the previous administration was at the verge of securing the Central Bank of Nigeria MSME fund for onward lending to end users in the various categories of micro, small, medium entrepreneurs at a single digit interest rate. Amaechi’s administration found it very difficult to access the loan. It would have been for political intent and purposes. This is as exemplified by the previous loans secured. The dubious and unscrupulous nature of the documentation of the application alerted the CBN of the underlying interests behind the loan.
This prompted action, the Central Bank of Nigeria in halting the process of accessing the loan by former Governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi. Of what use was the three billion naira Agricultural loan from the federal government put into by the Rotimi Amaechi administration? Who were the beneficiaries of these loan? This was a clear indication that if the (CBN) had granted the loan as earlier applied, it would have been yet another largesse for diversion and political patronage. The erstwhile administration never provided the required framework and conditionality by which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would have allowed that administration to access her own quota of the two billion naira of the two hundred and twenty billion naira targeted for the scheme by the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
The loan application as prepared by the Amaechi administration to access the two billion naira SMEs, was fraught with irregularities and discrepancies, which therefore necessitated the CBN in carrying out a thorough verification and formal examination of the true identity of the would be beneficiaries. It was found to be a sham and a bogus accounting procedure meant to divert the fund into purposes for which it was not originally meant for. A clear example of the dubious and diversionary tactics employed in accessing other federal government funds was the three billion naira Agricultural loan earlier secured and put forward.
It was quite obvious, that any money further released to the previous administration by the (CBN) was bound to be diverted for political patronage and election purposes. Just like the previous efforts for the Agricultural loans.
This was why the Central Bank halted the further payments to the previous administration.
It is surprising that after the processing of all the documentations, by the previous administration the money was not released. This was a result of that administration’s inability to provide the necessary platform, which has been met by the Wike’s administration in so short a time.
The state Governor, Chief (Barrister) Nyesom Wike has pledged its resolve in ensuring transparency and accountability in the management of the two billion naira SME fund. It has already mobilized beneficiaries across the 23 Local Government Area councils to show the workability and spread through the different strata.
Governor Wike has assured the people of the state that his administration will take proactive measures in ensuring that (SMSE) will grow. He further stated that his vision is for entrepreneurship development, poverty reduction, creation of jobs and ensuring food security.
The condition for issuing out the loan by (RIMA) would be friendly enough for beneficiaries. To show the magnanimity, honesty and sensitivity by the present administration led by  Nyesom Wike, the Rivers state Government would serve as a collateral for the SMSE in order for these entrepreneurs to play very active roles in the growth and economic development of the state to create opportunities.
Obomanu is of Radio Rivers, Port Harcourt.

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Customs Intercepts N6, 974m Worth PMS

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Barely two weeks after seizing a tank-full equivalent of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), known locally as petrol, the  Seme Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has intercepted 1005 jerry cans of the same product.
The product, amounting to 3000 litres, is with Duty Paid Value (DPV) worth  of N6,974,750.00.
A statement signed by the Command’s Spokesman, DSC Hussaini Abdullahi, and made available to our correspondent in Lagos at the weekend, said the seizure was made during a routine check of the adjoining creeks, beaches, and flash points.
The statement quoted the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Bello Mohammed Jibo, as saying that “as long as unrepentant and undesirable elements engage in acts of economic sabotage and smuggling, so shall officers and men remain a step ahead to counter their illicit trades”.
The statement further reads: “In continuation of our efforts to suppress smuggling of petroleum products within the nooks and crannies of the command, officers and men of the Seme Area Command on a routine patrol along the creeks within Seme and Badagry intercepted another large quantity of petroleum products in sacks.
“After successful evacuation of the said item to the command’s premises where examination was conducted, one thousand and five (1005)x 30 litres of jerry cans of petroleum products each, equivalent to thirty thousand, one hundred and fifty (30,150) litres  were discovered. The Duty Paid Value (DPV) is Six million, nine hundred and seventy four thousand, seven hundred and fifty naira (N6,974,750.00), only”.
While showcasing the seized products, Jibo commended the doggedness, patriotism, dedication and high level of professionalism exhibited by his men, noting that the new Land Cruiser patrol vehicles (Buffalo) recently donated to commands by the Management of the NCS has aided the operation of the command, as the vehicles enhance access to a wider circle.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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NASS, MDAs’ Non-Remittance Of Taxes Cost FIRS N5.8bn …NCAA Tops Defaulters With N2,984bn

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Non-remittance of tax deductions by the National Assembly, comprising the Senate and House of Representatives, as well as Federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies has resulted in a loss of tax revenue amounting to N5.8 billion by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in 2019.
Disclosing this in its 2019 Annual Report on non-compliance, internal control, and weakness issues in MDAs of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation said it is for the year ended December 31, 2019.
The MDAs, according to the Report, are the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Federal College of Freshwater Fisheries Technology, New Bussa; Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria; Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority; Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited; Hussaini Adamu Federal Polytechnic, Jigawa State; Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, Nasarawa State; Department of Petroleum Resources; National Assembly Service Commission; and Nigerian Correctional Services.
It stated that between 2018 and 2019, the MDAs failed to either remit one per cent stamp duty, value added tax, withholding tax or Pay As You Earn tax deducted from awarded contracts, thereby contravening sections of the Financial Regulations and Treasury Circular issued on December 29, 2015.
The Report further stated that Paragraph 234(I) of the Financial Regulations states that “it is mandatory for accounting officers to ensure full compliance with the dual roles of making provision for the Value Added Tax and withholding tax due on supply and services contract and actual remittance of same”.
Specifically, it quoted Paragraph 235, saying, “Deduction of VAT, WHT, and PAYE shall be remitted to Federal Inland Revenue Service at the same time the payee who is the subject of deduction is paid”.
It continued that the Treasury circular Ref No. TRY/A12&B12/2015 and OAGF/CAD/VOL.II/390, dated December 29, 2015, states that “1% Stamp Duty chargeable on contract awards and the remittance be made to the relevant tax authority (Federal Inland Revenue Service)”.
The Report also stated: “The audit observed that the sum of N5,828,621,715.06 was the amount of taxes not remitted by 12 Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has the highest amount of N2,984,887,250.00, while Federal College of Freshwater Fisheries Technology, New Bussa has the least amount of N1,021,011.13”.

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NCS, Apapa Records N870,39bn Revenue Boost

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The Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) recorded an impressive performance in its revenue generation and anti-smuggling campaign in 2021.
Disclosing this recently during a review of its activities in 2021, the Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Yusuf Malanta, said the sum of N870.38 billion of the N2.24 trillion announced recently by the Service was collected in Apapa Command in 2021.
Giving an insight into the command’s revenue profile, Malanta told newsmen that the  N870.38 billion collected by the command was 68 percent more than what was collected in 2020 which was N518.4 billion.
He stayed that the Command recorded 103 seizures worth N31 billion in 2021.
Malanta identified the seizures as 46.55kg of cocaine, which was concealed on board MV Karteria and MV Chayanee Naree laden with raw sugar; containers of foreign parboiled rice, tomato paste, secondhand clothes, unregistered pharmaceuticals such as captagon pills, tramadol, codeine syrup, etc.
“These were seizures made in accordance with the provisions of sections 46, 47, and 161 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) CAP C45 LFN 2004. These seizures are condemned by a competent court of law and the suspects are still undergoing investigation and interrogation”, the Customs boss said.
He continued that 5.38 metric tons of non-oil commodities were exported through the command as against 1.3 million metric tons in 2020.
According to him, the Free on Board (FOB) value for the exported items rose from $340 million (N140 billion) in 2020 to $641 million (N264 billion) last year.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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