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AfDB Approves $10m For W’African Emerging Market Fund

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Groups has approved $10 million investment in the West Africa Emerging Market Fund (WAEMF).  The investment makes the AfDB one of the lead investors in the fund, at par with the CDC (Commonwealth Development Corporation) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The WAEMF is sponsored by three well recognized institutional investors (Colina, NSIA and CNPS) and by Phoenix Capital Management (PCM, a local investment partner.  Both (dina and NSIA are regional insurance companies from West African, while CNPS is the Ivorian National Pension Fund.

The fund targets the SME market and thus helps support non-public companies that demonstrate high growth potential, including in the financial services and infrastructure sectors.  The fund will thus also contribute to government efforts to boost employment opportunities, increase GDP, and  reduce poverty in line with the Millennium Development Goals.

The Bank Group’s participation in the fund plays a catalytic role by attracting other institutional investors to support the mobilization efforts of the sponsors to reach the target capitalisation of  US $50 million.  It will also send a positive signal to the market which will help attract long-term private investors to the region, and may lead to other co-financing opportunities  with other Development Finance Institutions (DFIs).

“I am concerned that we have got banks that are spreading across different African countries and while we sign MOUs with other regulators, we don’t have an African framework for crossborder supervision”, he said, adding: “I think Nigerians, the South Africans, the Ghanains, the BCEAO (West African Central Bank), the Central African regulators can together build a framework that makes sure all banks that operate anywhere in Africa are closely regulated”.

Such framework would make it easier for Africa to deal with regulators such as Britain’s Financial Services Authority, the US Federal Reserve and China’s Central Bank, he said.

He noted that Nigerian banks have branches spread across Africa and  that poses credit and market  risks, as well as risks to the reputation of the country’s banking Industry as a whole.

The CBN last month injected N400 billion into five banks and sacked their chiefs, saying reckless lending and tax governance allowed them to become so weakly capitalized that they posed systematic risk.

The move by Sanusi, two months after he took office, sent shockwaves through the system as the apex bank listed some of the country’s biggest corporate names as bad debtors and pledged to recover the funds.

Sanusi said some N90 billion had so far been recovered while the EFCC has pressed criminal charges against four of the five bank chief executives, with the fifth outside the country and already declared wanted.

The bailout  of Afribank, Finbank , Intercontinental Bank, Oceanic Bank and  Union Bank came after an audit of 10 banks.

The regulator has finished auditing 11 more banks and is currently examining the final three namely Citibank, Stanbic IBTC and Standard Chartered.

The results are expected next month but the Central Bank has said that those 14 appear in better health.

Sanusi revealed that some banks have been told to make provisions and have enough capital and liquidity to do so, though others may be short of capital, but have no other issues, and will be given time to raise capital.

“There are banks that have temporary liquidity problems – they ‘ve got a mismatch in their balance sheets – and ones will get liquidity support”, he said.

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FOI Act Implementation Bothers BPST Boss

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The Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Dasuki Arabi, has expressed regrets that the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has remained very low since the law was enacted.
The BPSR boss made the observation during a workshop held on Wednesday in Abuja on the appraisal of Freedom of Information Act.
Arabi said the Act was meant to entrench transparency and openness in governance through improved compliance to annual reporting obligations of public institutions.
“It is also expected to guide and improve compliance of public institutions in proactive disclosure of mandatory publication requirements, as well as empower citizens, the right to access information held by the state.
“Regrettably, since the introduction of the FOI Act, it is evident that the level of compliance among public institutions still remains low.
“While the level of engagement by citizens still remains insignificant and in some cases fraught with misunderstanding between the State and Non-State actors,” he added.
Arabi, therefore, said that the workshop was to resolve some of the grey areas around FOI, as well as foster a harmonious relationship between the State and Non-State actors towards the implementation of the Act.
He said good governance and transparency would only thrive in the country when citizens access to Information is assured.
The DG emphasised that the FOIA provided platform for inclusiveness that sought to hold leaders to account and feed into the decision making process.
Arabi said that the Bureau had worked assiduously towards the implementation of the Act and was making efforts to ensure that it was institutionalized across the public sector.
He said that the interventions were in the areas of training public service workers and development of feedback mechanism through which a portal for application and responses for FOI request were deployed.
Others, he said, are score-card for ranking the performances of websites of public institutions using specific benchmarks, including FOI portal.
“Creating platforms for citizens engagement with Civil Societies Organizations on topical issues of government through the BPSR flagship programmes such as the monthly Lunchtime Seminar series,” he added.
Arabi said that the Bureau had also deployed information technology to provide innovative means to improve record keeping and management using intranet and Electronic Data Management Systems.
He continued that they were working in conjunction with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group to gauge the perception of citizens on public policies.
In her remarks, the National Coordinator, Open Government Partnership (OGP), Nigeria, Dr Gloria Ahmed, said making information open was a hallmark of democracy and a basic human right.
She said that the FOIA has given citizens the opportunity to access information as regards government policies and reforms.

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FCTA Harmonises Mobile Adverts, Haulage System Against Double Taxation

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The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS), has launched the FCT/State Mobile Advertisement and Haulage permits for 2023 financial year.
Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, while launching the system sought the cooperation of the business owners in the FCT, in order to achieve the objective of the initiative.
Adesola said the move was part of efforts to facilitate the ease of doing business drive in the nation’s capital.
He commended DOAS for the initiative. aimed at improving institutional cooperation and partnerships with the critical stakeholders.
Adesola warned: “FCTA would no longer tolerate acts of thuggery in the collection of taxes, as there are better ways of doing such, which will ensure the attainment of ease of doing business.”
He commended the leadership of Area Councils for resolving to synergise with DOAS to streamline the system.
The Permanent Secretary said the proliferation of collection authorities for mobile advertisements had led to serious loss of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the FCT.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman, Kwali Area Council, Danladi Chiya, said although Area Councils have the constitutional right to collect such advertisements, they have no issue with FCTA over the establishment and mandate of DOAS.

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LASG Begins Vehicle Parking Lanes Demacation

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The Lagos State Parking Authority (LASPA) has revealed it will today commence creating additional Vehicle Parking Lanes in some selected locations across the State.
The Authority stated that all efforts have been geared towards improving the parking system of the State.
Speaking on the planned initiative on Friday in Ikeja, the General Manager of LASPA, Mrs. Adebisi Adelabu, stated that the vehicle parking lane mark exercise, which will begin with designated streets within Surulere, Ikoyi, Lekki, Obalende, Ikeja and Victoria Island axis of the State, is a step towards improving street parking from 2023.
Adelabu noted that the Parking Lane Markings will further guide motorists and pedestrians on appropriate parking regulations and spaces, minimise indiscriminate parking, confusion and uncertainty, while conveying a range of information to residents on parking procedures within each specified environment.
According to her, the lane markings will also include special consideration for people living with disabilities and signposts for parking directives, among other features.
The General Manager, however, solicited the understanding of residents within the locations who might be affected by any inconvenience the process might cause, assuring that the government is working rigorously in regulating and improving the parking culture as part of its Traffic Management and Transportation Agenda to ensure parking is convenient, safe and secure across the state.
Recall that the Authority had recently unveiled plans to begin full implementation of parking policy in the second quarter of 2023 and has continued to sensitise the public on the need to embrace the parking culture.

By; Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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