Loans Repayment Default: DMO Exonerates Nigeria
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has refuted the claim by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that Nigeria has defaulted in repaying its Chinese loans.
SERAP had in an earlier statement hailed the judgement that ordered the present regime led by President Muhammadu Buhari to account for how it spent $460 million obtained from China to fund the Abuja Closed-Circuit Television project which later was not implemented.
The NGO also quoted a report in its statement saying “Nigeria has failed to repay loans for which penalties stand at N41.31bn”.
But DMO in its refuttal said the statement is ‘false’ as Nigeria has not defaulted in its loan repayment.
It said, “Nigeria is fully committed to housing its debt obligations and has not defaulted on any of its debt service obligations”, DMO said on Monday.
SERAP had sued the Federal Government following a 2019 disclosure by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed that “Nigeria was servicing the loan”, adding that she had “no explanations on the status of the project”.
She reportedly said, “We are servicing the loan. I have no information on the status of the CCTV project”.
Giving his judgement, Justice Nwite agreed with SERAP that “there is a reasonable cause of action against the government. Accounting for the spending of the $460 million Chinese loan is in the interest of the public. It will be inimical for the court to refuse SERAP’s application for judicial review of the government’s action”.
The presiding justice also said the Minister of Finance is in charge of the finance of the country and “cannot by any stretch of imagination be oblivious of the amount of money paid to the contractors for the Abuja CCTV contract and the money meant for the construction of the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB)”, SERAP said.
Infrastructure Deficit, Insecurity, Limit Maritime Contribution To GDP – Expert
A Maritime stake holder, and Chairman of Sifax Group, Taiwo Afolabi, has attributed maritime industry’s minimal contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to infrastructure deficit, insecurity on the nation’s waterways, low level of technology adoption, and deployment in the sector.
Afolabi made this known at the 5th Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) conference organised by the Maritime Forum of the faculty of law, University of Lagos.
Afolabi noted that other hindrances are foreign exchange bottleneck and inconsistent policies.
“These have limited the ability of the sector to contribute significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product GDP.
“If well harnessed, the maritime industry has the potential to become a major revenue earner for the country, particularly with the declining oil revenue.
“The lessons of the last few years as a nation should not be lost on us. The non-oil sector is increasingly becoming the mainstay of the country’s economy. We have funded our national budget in the last few years majorly without proceeds from oil but from other sectors.
“The days of our over reliance on oil is behind us now and it’s about time we focused on transitioning from an oil-dependent economy to non-oil reliance.
“The maritime sector, I can say without any fear of contradiction, will play a crucial role in this economic transitioning if more attention is committed to the industry.
“Judging by the potentials of the industry, we are of the opinion and belief that Nigeria’s maritime industry can rank among the best in the world.
“It will only take careful planning, progressive policies, generous funding, enabling environment, friendly economic policies, manpower development and massive infrastructural development”, he noted.
CBN Names Four Firms To Print Cheques
Nigeria’s apex banking institution, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has named four local firms for the printing of cheques, excluding the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NPSMC) PLC.
The list of the approved firms for the printing of cheques was contained in a circular issued by CBN.
The circular, which was signed by the Director of Banking Services, Sam Okojere, said the approved firms include Superflux International Limited, Tripple Gee and Company, Yaliam Press Limited, and Marvelous Mike Press.
“The re-accreditation of Cheques Printers and Cheque Personalisers is in line with the relevant qualification criteria”, CBN stated.
The circular also revealed that seven banks were approved as personalisers of cheques: they are Zenith Bank Plc, Ecobank Plc, First Bank Ltd, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Keystone Bank Ltd, Providus Bank Ltd and Wema Bank Plc.
It further disclosed that all accredited printers and personalisers had been duly notified and certificates issued.
The Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc is the sole printer of N200, N500, and N1000 new notes.
Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc and Euphoria Group Limited were accredited and approved on Thursday, 04 December 2014, in a letter REF: BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/02/033.
NAMA Installs Radar At Abuja, Lagos Airports For Monitoring
As part of efforts to enhance safety and monitoring of aircraft, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has installed surface radar system at both the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The Acting Managing Director, NAMA, Matthew Lawrence Pwajok, made the disclosure during his speech at an event in Abuja.
NAMA in a statement made available to aviation correspondents said the site acceptance tests for the facilities had been completed.
The statement from the NAMA boss noted that newly installed surface movement radar and ground control systems were deployed in Abuja and Lagos airports.
The new systems, it said, “will allow air traffic controllers to monitor aircraft and vehicular movement during low visibility or nighttime conditions, improving safety and efficiency”.
Pwajok said NAMA representatives expressed satisfaction with the radar equipment’s performance and demonstrated confidence in its ability to enhance the agency’s operations.
This development is expected to bolster Nigeria’s aviation industry and ensure seamless air travel for passengers.
“The surface movement radar can be used when aircraft land in poor weather conditions. In most cases the airport is shut down because pilots can’t see and can’t taxi so they would have to wait until there is weather improvement.
“But with the surface movement radar, we can guide aircraft on landing, to the parking gate, and, on departure; we can guide them from the parking gate to the runway for takeoff as everything is displayed on the console.
“The same way the radar sees aircraft in the air, this one will see aircraft and vehicles as they are moving on the ground.
“Surface movement radar would therefore enable the controller to see clearly that the aircraft is in the right link. It would enhance safety on the ground by preventing collisions between aircraft.
“The issue of delaying aircraft by waiting for the weather to improve will be a thing of the past”, he said.
According to the statement, the surface movement radar, would boost Category III Instrument Landing Systems operations.
It also said with CAT III, aircraft can land at zero visibility while the surface movement radar will enable the air traffic controllers to separate and control aircraft to the gate, and those taxiing from the gate to takeoff very efficiently.
“In Lagos, we had a major challenge of the tower being blocked by the Legend Hotel, Executive Jet, and aviation terminal. And that necessitated the deployment of the surface movement radar”.
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