The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) does not spend recovered funds, but pays them into Federal Government’s coffers, its Chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, has said.
Owasanoye told the Senate Committee on Finance investigating activities of revenue generating agencies of the Federal Government that ICPC had no retention powers over funds or assets recovered from corrupt people.
ICPC spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, said in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday that Owasanoye told the committee that ICPC had a dedicated account for the recovery of proceeds of crime.
“All recovered funds are paid into the dedicated account called “ICPC Recovery Account’’ for onward payment into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government once there were no encumbrances.
“ICPC is not contemplated as a revenue generating agency. In the course of our work, we do recover funds. However, ICPC does not spend recovered assets. We do not use part of it for our work,’’ he stressed.
He also told the committee that apart from recovering proceeds of crime, ICPC had also helped to boost tax revenue by bringing defaulters to book.
He said ICPC had been able to bring defaulters into the tax net while investigating tax components of some transactions and that recovered funds were paid to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
Committee Chairman, Sen. Solomon Adeola, had earlier expressed concern that the country’s budget was becoming too dependent on loans, partly due to non-compliance to financial regulations by revenue generating agencies of government.
He said the investigative hearing aimed to ensure that all revenue generating agencies complied with the Fiscal Responsibility Act which stipulated that 80 per cent of operational surplus be paid into the CRF.
“Revenue generating agencies of government have taken solace and pleasure in diverting government’s money; taking care of frivolous expenditure and making provisions for them in audited accounts that are fictitious in nature.
“The 2021 budget has a deficit of N6 trillion; government cannot continue this way,’’ Solomon said.
Foundation Donates N6m To Children With Cancer
Okapi Children Cancer Foundation yesterday donated N6 million to children fighting cancer disease in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Ms Kemi Adekanye, Chief Volunteer and Founder of the Foundation, Ms Kemi Adekanye said the gesture was part of its annual events to support children fighting cancer at the National Hospital Abuja (NHA) and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital(UATH) in Abuja.
Adekanye, while decrying the high cost of treatment and management of childhood cancer, stressed the need for the government and other philanthropists to support the patients and families, which will increase chances of survival for them.
According to her, the organisation, since its inception in 2017, had donated over N14.8 million to support the children.
“We have been able to render support to these children to reduce the cost of treatment, as well as provide emotional support and job opportunities for some of their parents.
“A lot of these children commence treatment and abandon it midway because of the high cost of treatment and other care,”she said.
She, therefore, stressed the need for more awareness and enlightenment on childhood cancer, which will garner more support and initiation of policies to help manage the disease.
Consultant Paedetric Oncologist, UATH, Dr Uduak Offiong, while commending the foundation, said the donation would support parents, whose children were fighting cancer, especially in accessing blood platelets.
According to her, many children abandon cancer treatment due to financial constraints.
She, therefore, appealed to the government to subsidise cost of treating childhood cancer as well as include it in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for less privileged families to access treatment.
Similarly, Head of Unit, Paedetric Oncology, NHA, Dr Oyesakin Adewunmi, represented by Dr Patricia Igoche of the same unit, stressed the need for more support and attention to be given to childhood cancer.
On his part, President, Nigeria Cancer Society, Dr Adamu Umar, while decrying lack of awareness and neglect of childhood cancer in the called on the Federal Governments to include it in the NHIS and funds should be allocated for its management.
Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Dr Margaret Olokpo, called for more emotional supports to both the children suffering from cancer and their parents.
One of the recipients’ parents, Mrs Titilayo Adewunmi, commended the organisation for their unwavering support to them in caring, managing and treating their children fighting cancer.
The organisation recently held a walk and zoom meeting to educate the public on signs, symptoms and appropriate treatment for childhood cancer in the FCT.
Minister Seeks More Funding For Agriculture
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri, has solicited for more financial support to upscale investments in the agricultural sector.
A statement issued by Chief Information Officer in the ministry of Agriculture, in Abuja, Ezeaja Ikemefuna, quoted the minister as saying this at a virtual high-level panel discussion last Friday, to round off activities to celebrate the 2021 World Food Day.
He said that being the focus of government’s diversification agenda, agriculture deserved better funding, to provide credit facilities that would support the sector’s value chain activities.
Shehuri said that the ministry was strongly committed to meeting domestic food requirements, exporting at qualitative levels and creating a favorable business environment that would make agribusiness thrive.
“ There is a deliberate strategic approach to job creation, conserving foreign exchange and attaining national food security,” he said.
The minister pointed out that the seed sub-sector supply chain was being repositioned to ensure that farmers had access to quality seeds to improve yields.
“The National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), under my watch, has been directed to interface with key seed industry stakeholders to ensure that Early Generation Seeds (EGS) are structured, to ensure uninterrupted supply of certified seeds.
“ There is also an on-going awareness campaign by the Council on the importance of using improved seeds to boost production,” he said.
The minister added that the administrative bottlenecks that had previously hindered farmers’ easy access to fertiliser had been addressed, while the partnership with the Government of Brazil to pilot the establishment of 117 mechanisation centres across the country was on- going.
“ When these centres are completed and made operational, farmers will be able to buy mechanisation services for a fee, with relative ease, and without the need to own expensive equipment for farm operations,” he said.
‘’ Nigeria’s agriculture has done well under this administration in areas such as, being the world leading producer of yams with 18.3 million MT, world leader in the production of Cassava that has steadily risen to 70 million MT”, he said.
#EndSARS: LCCI Seeks Strict Adherence To Democratic Ideals
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged leaders in sub-Saharan Africa to embrace the rule of law and democratic ideals to forestall political unrests.
Director-General, LCCI, Dr Chinyere Almona, made the call in an interview with The Tide news yester in Lagos.
She spoke against the backdrop of the one-year anniversary of #EndSARS protests which impacted negatively on businesses across the country.
Almona added that bad governance, forceful takeover of government and extended stay in office may continue to instigate violent protests that disrupt business operations.
She noted that the economic impact of violent protests on the business community globally in 2020 was 14.96 trillion dollars in Purchasing Power Parity terms.
This figure, Almona said, was equivalent to 11.6 per cent of the world’s economic activity or 1,942 dollars per person.
She said that the economic impact of violence increased by 0.2 per cent in 2020.
Almona disclosed that the LCCI estimated the immediate loss from the EndSARS to be above N700 billion in October 2020, with discoveries of more losses after weeks of investigations by the government across the country.
“The 2021 Global Peace Index (GPI) released by the Institute for Economics and Peace ranked Nigeria 146 among 163 independent nations and territories, according to its level of peacefulness in 2020.
“Nigeria moved one step from 147 in 2020 (from 2019 rank), though it still ranked eighth among the least peaceful countries in Africa after South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Central African Republic, Sudan and Mali.
“In 2020, the world witnessed almost 15,000 violent protests and riots.
“The damage it caused came with a hefty price of about 15 trillion dollars or 11.6 per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product.
“Among those, more than 5,000 were pandemic-related and were recorded between January 2020 and April 2020,” she said.
Almona advised that businesses should consider taking various insurance policies to protect their premises and facilities against unforeseen destruction.
She called for enhanced programmes that would address youth unemployment and reduce social vices.
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