Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Abia non-indigenes sack: Ebonyi waits for official confirmation

GOVERNOR Martin Elechi is yet to make
any official statement with regards to
the sack of non-indigenes by Abia State
Speculation has it that the Governor still
sees the expulsion of non-indigenes
from Abia State as a rumour and has so
far refused to take any official stand on
the matter, pending when Abia State
Governor would communicate him
officially and or the state executive
council decides unanimously on the
Although, some sacked Ebonyi State
indigenes from Abia State Civil Service
have staged a protest in Abakaliki, the
state government appears to be waiting
for an appropriate time to react on the
However, major stakeholders in the state
are not happy with the development,
stressing that such actions were capable
of disintegrating the unity, collective
responsibility and cultural affinity of the
Ndigbo both in the country and in the
Diaspora. While others are of the view
that the Ndigbo Presidency, 2015, would
remain a mirage if the issue of sacked
non-indigenes was not carefully
It is also feared in some quarters, that
some South-East governors may sack
non-indigenes in their states, a
development that may completely erode
Ndigbo unity.
In an exclusive chat with Vanguard, the
Commissioner for Information, Hon.
Chike Onwe noted that the state
government was yet to be
communicated officially on such
proposition, adding that it would at this
stage be considered as a mere rumour
except proven otherwise in due course.
He however noted that if implemented
that it would threaten the corporate
existence of Ndigbo and also the well
being of Nigerians.
“Disengaging people from service on
account of place of origin is backward
thinking. But as I said, it is still on the
plane of rumour and we don’t react to
rumours but to substance. For now it is
not true, when it is true the issue will be
addressed. I think the Ndigbo is a united
people and we shall not allow anything
to disintegrate this unity. I think it will
be unfortunate if such a thing happens.”
He stressed that the state government
would not be part of any process that
would cause disaffection among citizens
because of indigenization. He added that
non-indigenes in the state were
gainfully occupying sensitive positions,
even in the state executive council.
His words:“Since we talking about true
federalism, we cannot achieve much by
being sectional or calling some
‘indigenes’ and some others ‘non
indigenes.’ So, for us to achieve true
federalism, we must get people to feel at
home wherever they are. We looking at
a situation where an individual from
Kaduna comes to Ebonyi State and
stands for any election and the man
from Ebonyi goes to Lagos, stands for
an election and gets elected and serves
his term.
“The position of Abia State government
is yet to be made available to the Ebonyi
State Government but as I said it is still a
rumour. But if that turns out to be true,
the matter will be looked at collectively
by the state executive council and a
position will be taken. In the interim, it is
still a rumour and we shall treat it as
such. But I want to inform that there are
Abians and people who are from other
states that work in Ebonyi unhindered
and unmarginalized, not witch hunted
and we see ourselves as brothers and

Despite Gaddafi’s fate, Africa’s despotstrudge on

which has further decimated the rank of
Africa's despots, the continent's remaining
dictators show no sign of relinquishing
power even after being in the saddle for
AT the initial stage of his 42-year reign in
Libya, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was the
common man's hero as he pandered to the
whims of the people. He brought visible
changes to the country and made life
meaningful to the average citizens. He was
said to have provided electricity, housing,
education, infrastructure, health care,
employment, executed world's largest
irrigation project, shared part of the oil
receipts with the people and more. But he
ran into problem with his people because
he denied them their fundamental right; the
right to choose their own leaders.
Throughout his 42-year reign, he
successfully reined in opposition. He
brooked no contrary opinion; everyone
who voiced a converse concern was treated
as an enemy because dissent was
pronounced illegal in 1973 and those found
guilty of the law either ended up six feet
below the ground level or hundreds of
miles away in foreign lands. In 1974, the
former Libyan ruler also declared that
anyone found guilty of forming a political
party would be executed. Thus, Gaddafi
steadily depleted opposition groups until he
came to see himself as Lord over Libya. By
then, he had reached the peak as Libya's
maximum ruler, but that also was the
beginning of his decline.
As more people who Gaddafi perceived as
enemies escaped from Libya, the exiles
began to gather outside their homeland to
form a force against Gaddafi. The exiles,
working in concert with dissatisfied Libyans
within the country, formed an interim
government known as the National
Transition Council (NTC), which capitalised
on the delay in the delivery of housing
units promised by the government to cause
unrest by staging series of protests in
January this year. The government
promptly reacted to this by floating a
20billion euro investment fund to provide
housing and development.
Though the government's gesture scaled
down the level of protest, it did not last as
there were fresh outbreaks of violence in
February. Aided by the North Atlantic Treaty
Organisation (NATO) forces, the Libyan crisis
escalated daily until it became a civil war.
Initially, Gaddafi discountenanced the
protesters, but with the fall of Benghazi in
February, followed by Tobruk, Misrata,
Bayda and other cities, the heat became
very fierce on the maximum ruler. But there
was no respite until he eventually lost
Tripoli to the rebels and was later captured
in his home town of Sirte before being
Gaddafi was the hero of many African
despots because he was seen to be firmly in
control of his country and had enough
resources to ward off unwanted foreign
meddling even as he helped many
dissidents to power in other countries.
Therefore, his conquer should have sent a
signal to other dictators that they cannot
have their way perpetually. However, this
has not been the case as many of them
believe they are invincible and stubbornly
hold on to power despite rebellion in their
Teodore Obiang Mbasogo
The Equatorial Guinea strongman became
the country's president in 1979 after
staging a coup that ousted Francisco Macia
Nguema. With the coming of a new
constitution in 1982, he was elected in an
election where he was the sole candidate as
president for a term of seven years and
was re-elected in 1989 also as a sole
candidate. Even after other political parties
were allowed to participate in the election,
he was re-elected in 1996, 2002 and 2009.
One of the rationales for the coup that
brought Mbasogo to power was that his
predecessor was brutal and had embarked
on genocide. Though, initially Mbasogo was
seen to be moderate, in order to have
absolute control on the state, he is also said
to have embarked on “unlawful killings
using security forces, government-
sanctioned kidnappings, systematic torture
of prisoners and detainees by security
forces, life threatening conditions in prisons
and detention facilities, impunity, arbitrary
arrest, detention, and incommunicado

Monday, 31 October 2011

Nationalised banks AMCON namesAjekigbe, Onwuka, Bello as heads •CBNmay peg naira at N155 per dollar

Tuesday, 01 November 2011
IN exercise of part of its responsibilities, the
Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria
(AMCON) has appointed non-executive
directors for the three banks that were
nationalised recently.
However, these appointments are subject to
final regulatory approval from the Central
Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
According to a statement from the
corporation on Monday, these nominees
emerged from an exhaustive process,
which involved wide consultation and
review, stressing that it is confident that the
prospective directors are well qualified to
add significant value to their institutions.
For Keystone Bank, the chairman is Moyo
Ajekigbe. The non-executive directors are
Prince Niyi Akenzua; Adolphus Ekpe; Charles
Chidebe Umolu; Yakubu Shehu; Mustapha
Ibrahim; Brigadier-General Aminu-Kano;
Maria Olateju Phillips; Yusufu Pam and
Jacob Olusegun Olusanya.
The Mainstreet Bank is headed by Falalu
Bello. The non-executive directors are
Yabawa Wabi; Mohammed Gulani Shuaibu;
Professor Osita Ogbu; Joshua Ogunlowo;
Abdullahi Sarki Mahmoud; Shuaib Idris;
Shehu Saad; Chris Osiomha Itede and Mr Ayo
On the other hand, the Enterprise Bank has
Emeka Onwuka as the chairman. The non-
executive directors are Sanusi Monguno;
Ebenezer Foby; Asmau Sani Maikudi; Lamis
Dikko; John Aderibigbe; Garba Imam; Ogala
Osaka; Ismaila Shuaibu and Ezekiel Gomos.
The statement noted that with these
appointments, the boards of these banks
were now fully constituted, urging them to
set a standard for good governance and
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance
Corporation (NDIC) disclosed in Abuja on
Monday that it had so far recovered over
N22.158 billion debt from liquidated banks.
Senate heard from NDIC that as of August
this year, the cumulated debt recovery from
liquidated banks stood at N22.158 billion.
The Managing Director of NDIC, Umaru
Ibrahim, who appeared before the Senate
Committee on Banking, Insurance and other
Financial Institutions, added that the
depositors’ fund in the 24 operating banks
in Nigeria was N12.15 trillion.
He briefed the committee chaired by
Senator Ayoade Adeseun that the sum of
N8.33 million had been recovered to date, in
respect of closed micro finance banks
whose number is now 882.
According to him, “the total assets of the 24
deposit money banks in operation as at
September 2011 stood at about N18.40
trillion, while total deposits amounted to
N12.15 trillion.
“For the 24 operating banks, as at
September 2011, the total insured deposits
stood at N1.65 trillion, while the deposit
insurance fund was N347 billion.”
On the micro finance banks he said “their
assets as at June 2011 stood at N154.34
billion, while their total deposits amounted
to N68.60 billion. The insured deposits for
the reporting MFBS as at June 2011 stood at
N51.45 billion, indicating that about 75 per
cent of funds in the MFBs are fully covered.”
Ibrahim revealed that the cumulative
liquidation divi-dend paid to the depositors
and other claimants of the affected banks
was N6.161 billion out of N16.85 billion,
representing about 37 per cent, saying that
“so far, the corporation has paid a total sum
of N1.28 million as liquidation dividends to
shareholders of three banks in-liquidation.”
He informed that NDIC had established the
exi-stence of 560,882 claims by members
of the public against 440 illegal banks
known as wonder banks and which
amounted to N106.94 billion, saying that
“the situation had implica-tion for financial
From the figures pre-sented before the
committee, total assets of existing banks
were put at N18.40 trillion; total depositors,
44.218 million and total number of insured
depositors fully covered was put at
NDIC put the figure of non-performing loans
at N688 trillion; total insider credits,
N559.58 billion; non-performing, N21.19
billion and gave the figure of female
borrowers and amount owed at 130,885
and N22.62 billion.
The total number of male borrowers and
the amount owed was put at 118,373 and
N25.53 billion respectively, shareholders’
funds put at N38.05 billion, while the total
loans figure was put at N48.15 billion.
In another development, as part of
measures to check volatility in the foreign
exchange market, the Central Bank of
Nigeria (CBN) Governor has concluded plans
to review its target band for the naira in the
next few days.
In an interview with a foreign news media
organisation in Abuja, on Monday, CBN
Governor, Lamido Sanusi, said the review
would depend on where the exchange rate
settled, as it might be moved to midpoint of
N155/N156 to the dollar, compared to its
current N150.
According to Sanusi, the apex bank’s policy
is currently to maintain the naira within
around three per cent either side of the
N150 level.

Tension in Jonathan’s, Buhari’s camps•As Appeal Court declares winnertoday •Supreme Court dismissesJonathan’s case

Tuesday, 01 November 2011
THE presidential election tribunal sitting at
the Court of Appeal, Abuja, will today deliver
judgment in the petition brought by the
Congress for Progressive Change (CPC)
challenging the declaration of President
Goodluck Jonathan as the winner of the
April 16 presidential election in the country.
In a notice to counsel in the matter obtained
by Nigerian Tribune, the tribunal has
scheduled judgment in the matter for 9.00
The tribunal had, on October 20, ended its
sitting on the CPC petition after taking all the
witnesses and all parties adopted their
At the last hearing of the matter, counsel for
the CPC, Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN), had, while
adopting his final address, told the court
that he filed a preliminary objection against
the defendants’ written addresses to the
effect that INEC abandoned its pleading
having not called witnesses to substantiate
He said that the INEC had called only three
witnesses out of the 36 states of the
federation and the Federal Capital Territory
and, as such, had abandoned its defence.
He pointed out that INEC had not provided
any evidence before the tribunal to defend
the victory of President Jonathan, who it
returned on April 18, 2011 as the winner of
the presidential election.
Okpeseyi said: "We submit that the
confusion epitomises what we are saying
about INEC and that is why we have asked
them to bring those documents which it
used in conducting the presidential election
to court,” even as he urged the court to
nullify the election.”
Counsel for President Jonathan and Vice-
President Namadi Sambo, Wole Olanipekun
(SAN), in his final address, said "we have
referred to earlier ruling of this court on
July 14, 2011, where the court struck out
relief number six.”
Olanipekun said the tribunal had refused to
grant relief six, which sought for a conduct
of a fresh presidential election between the
CPC candidate, Muhammadu Buhari and
President Jonathan on the grounds that
Buhari was not a party to the petition.
Olanipekun added that, notwithstanding,
that evidence had been taken on the
petition, the hearing amounted to a mere
academic exercise.
He consequently urged the court to dismiss
this petition, which he said had been
abandoned against President Jonathan and
his deputy.
In his own submission while adopting his
address, counsel for INEC, Adegboyega
Awomolo (SAN) said, "a party is supposed to
rely on evidence presented before court
and also authorities cited. But in this case,
the petitioners tendered as evidence
documents that belong to INEC.
“These are documents that are meant to
support INEC and its chairman, Professor
Attahiru Jega’s position that the election
was conducted in full compliance with the
Electoral Act 2010."
He, therefore, asked the court to dismiss the
In adopting his address, counsel for the PDP,
Amaechi Nwaiwu (SAN), said outside the
criminal allegation made, what was left
could not sustain the petition and that the
criminal allegation was on the basis of non-
compliance with the Electoral Act.
He added that what CPC filed as a
preliminary objection did not merit to be
called a preliminary objection, hence he
asked the court to dismiss both the petition
and the preliminary objection.
Buhari, who had stormed the tribunal
alongside his running mate, Tunde Bakare,
CPC chairman, Tony Momoh and the party’s
National Secretary, Buba Galadima, among
other party faithful, told journalists after the
court session that he was in court as a
member of the CPC.
It will be recalled that before the CPC filed
the petition, Buhari was reported as saying
that he would not go to court to challenge
the victory of the PDP but when he was
spotted in court among his party loyalists,
journalists confronted him on the issue and
he replied that he was in court like any
other member of the CPC.
According to the former head of state, who
has contested the presidential poll three
consecutive times but lost: “I have never
distanced myself from the CPC petition. I am
part of the party and subscribed to the
petition. I have confidence in the judiciary. I
have never said I don’t have confidence in
the judiciary."
Also speaking to journalists, the National
Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Rufai Ahmed
Alkali, said he had been so happy with the
proceedings at the tribunal as, according to
him, “except that the opponent
overdramatised the situation. Quite a
number of times, our opponent has
overdramatised the situation in an attempt
to achieve a predetermined political
“The presiding justice reminded everybody
in court that we do not have any other
country except Nigeria. Each and every
citizen of this country has a responsibility
to pursue goals and actions and other
strategies to protect our institutions. If you
destroy our institutions, you are invariably
destroying our country.
“We are confident that with the
submissions of our counsel, who asked the
court to dismiss the petition of CPC, that we
would win the case."
He pointed out that what has happened to
the CPC national publicity secretary “is what
we have earlier expected him to do, that is
to apologise to the court about the
publication he authored.”
The PDP spokesman slammed the CPC for
allegedly failing to allow morality to take
centre stage in the way and manner it had
been playing politics since the party came
into existence.
Alkali accused the CPC of desecrating the
judiciary and ridiculing judges with
impunity and cautioned that the party
leadership should learn how to play politics
with morals.
The PDP national publicity secretary insisted
that it was a big shame for the CPC to cast
aspersions on the judiciary in the public
only to come before open court to swallow
his pride with apology.
The PDP chieftain maintained that the
judiciary today, irrespective of any person’s
opinion, remained the vibrant hope of the
common man and a strong pillar for
democracy in the country.
He thanked the appeal court justices sitting
in the panel for accepting the apology of
Fasakin, but appealed that the CPC
leadership should learn to be cautious and
learn how to respect institutions.
Alkali said those aspiring to lead the nation
must protect and preserve the integrity of
the judiciary, for the sake of the nation.
The party also expressed confidence that it
would emerge victorious in the judgment
billed to be delivered in the CPC petition.
Alkali said the entire proceedings had been
evaluated by the PDP and its team of
lawyers and was confident that there was
no cause for Nigerians who voted
massively for the president to panic.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court had, on
Monday, struck out the appeal filed by
President Jonathan, INEC and the PDP, over a
ruling delivered by the presidential election
petitions tribunal on July 14, which held that
the petition filed on a Sunday by the CPC,
seeking to upturn Jonathan's election is
competent and proper in law.
The five-man panel of the apex court,
headed by Justice Walter Onnoghen, while
dismissing the appeal, held that it was no
longer alive, because it had stayed more
than 60 days, contrary to Section 285 (7) of
the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
He further held that since the appeal was
dead, it had become an academic exercise.
The justice said Section 285 (7) mandated
the appeal to be determined within 60 days,
but it was coming after the specified
number of days, hence it could not be
regarded as being alive.
The court, therefore, struck out the appeal
for lacking in merit.
President Jonathan and PDP had, last week,
expressed divergent views on whether the
appeal filed against the hearing of the
petition of the CPC should be heard or not.
While the PDP, which filed the appeal, stood
its ground that the case was still alive, the
president said it was dead and should not
be heard, having been filed outside the
mandatory 60 days provided by the
The appeal arose from the July 14 ruling by
the suspended president of the Court of
Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, to the effect
that CPC petition was in order, though it was
filed on a Sunday, a non-working day for
government institutions.

Olubadan blasts Ajimobi over Obas’council

IBADAN – OLUBADAN of Ibadan, Oba
Samuel Odulana Odugade, has expressed
displeasure with Oyo state government
over alleged indefinite suspension of
the meetings of the Oyo state Council of
Obas and Chiefs. Ajimobi, a native of
Ibadan, is one of the Oba’s subjects.
But Governor Abiola Ajimobi, said he had
great regards for the traditional stool of
the Olubadan of Ibadan, all traditional
institutions in the state and would not
look down on the ancient stool, saying
“the case under consideration is in
To the monarch, the action of the
governor is tantamount to illegality
since the law of the state recognizes
holding of the meeting being presided
over by him.
It will be recalled that the immediate past
governor of the state, Adebayo Alao-
Akala signed into law a bill forwarded to
him by the then state House of Assembly
amending the laws of the council which
recognized the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba
Lamidi Adeyemi as the permanent
chairman of the council.
The amended law recognizes rotation of
the chairmanship among the Alaafin,
Olubadan and the Soun of Ogbomoso,
Oba Jimoh Oyewumi. Upon the
amended law, the Olubadan of Ibadan
summoned a maiden meeting about
three months ago but the development
triggered fresh controversy between
those that prefer rotation of the seat
and Alaafin who prefers the permanent
chairmanship to be his exclusive
Olubadan who spoke through Osi
Olubadan, High Chief Lekan Balogun at
the 10th anniversary of the Premier FM
held in Ibadan, said “The governor has
suspended the Council of Obas. I don’t
think he has the power to do so, but he
has done it. I don’t know what he is
doing about it. Olubadan is the
Chairman, and that is the law. As at
today, that is the law. The governor
must have thought otherwise and that
must have informed the suspension of
the Council. We wish him luck and we
are not rocking the boat. But he is
wrong and his action is illegal.”
Reacting to the Olubadan, Ajimobi, said,
“the governor of Oyo State, Senator
Abiola Ajimobi, has great regards for the
traditional stool of the Olubadan of
Ibadan, all traditional institutions in the
state and would not look down on the
ancient stool.
However, the case under consideration
is in court. Indeed, the Alaafin of Oyo
went to court before the Council of Oba
meeting was convened. It would thus be
an affront on the authority of the court
to allow the meeting to hold while the
state government was aware of the
court process.
“Indeed, it is common jurisprudential
knowledge that no party to a case shall
take any action during the pendency of
a case as this may prejudice judgment.
As a government that swore to uphold
the integrity of the judiciary, Governor
Ajimobi had no option than to abide by
the law. We are not a lawless
government,” the governor said.
Also speaking at the event, Senator
Olufemi Lanlehin representing Oyo
South in the National Assembly, faulted
the way federalism is being practised in
the country.
Senator Lanlehin, who was the chairman
of the occasion commented on the topic
of the lecture entitled: “Peace as Panacea
for National Development” said:
“Federal Government has no business
handling matters relating to agriculture,
transportation, labour and so on. This
should be the major concern of State
and local governments because they
have direct link with major players in
those sectors.”

Making Nigeria ’s stable outlookmeaningful to citizens

Last week, Nigeria ’s sovereign ratings
outlook was revised to stable, from
negative, by Fitch Ratings, citing fiscal
consolidation and reforms in the various
sectors of the economy as responsible for
the new disposition.
“The revision of the Outlook on Nigeria ‘s
ratings to Stable, from Negative, reflects an
improved outlook for reforms, following
elections in April and the appointment of a
strong economic team. In addition, tighter
monetary policy and slightly better fiscal
discipline have arrested the rapid pace of
reserves decline seen in the first three
quarters of 2010, which had prompted the
Negative Outlook in October last year,” says
Veronica Kalema, a Director in Fitch’s
Sovereign group.
The Stable Outlook anticipates continued
reforms progress, a tighter budget for
2012, including progress towards scrapping
the petroleum subsidy and making Nigeria
Sovereign Investment Authority, the
sovereign wealth fund, operational.”
Nigeria ‘s key credit indicators - strong
growth, low public debt and a strong
external balance sheet - continue to provide
strong support to the rating. Fitch expects
Nigeria to sustain its high growth rates of
7%-8%, which are far higher than the ‘BB’
five-year median of 4.4%, as a result of the
planned reforms, continued recovery of oil
production and strong domestic demand.
Since then government and analysts have
been celebrating, saying it is a sign of
confidence in the ongoing reforms and also
that it is capable of increasing foreign fund
managers’ interests in her financial
Rated entities in a number of sectors,
including financial and non-financial
corporations, sovereigns and insurance
companies, are generally assigned Issuer
Default Ratings (IDRs) on the entity’s relative
vulnerability to default on financial
obligations. The “threshold” default risk
addressed by the IDR is generally that of the
financial obligations whose non-payment
would best reflect the uncured failure of
that entity.
Fitch Ratings had lowered Nigeria ’s
sovereign credit outlook to Negative last
October from Stable, citing the depletion of
its windfall oil savings and heightened
political uncertainty, ahead of elections at
the time.
But, even as government and some analysts
are celebrating, others are asking of the
relevance of the upgrade to the citizens, in
terms of disposable income, cost of doing
business, exchange rate and interest rate
among others.
“The upgrsde is okay, but how has this
translated into improved living standard,
how has government’s large spending
positively affected my life of how have the
banking sector reforms improved access to
credit by the private sector or citizens, apart
from big corporations and high networth
individuals?”, querries Mustapha Sulaiman, a
chartered stock broker. Wale Abe, Executive
Secretary, Financial Market Dealers
Association of Nigeria commended the
upgrade but worried whether those
indicators used by Fitch would finally
translate into a better Nigerian economy.
Abe was optimistic that the finance minister,
based on her past records, would likely pull
through the implementation of those
economic reforms, but noted government’s
plans to cut down recurrent expenditure by
just 4 percent within four years, as not “just
exciting.” Ngozi Okonj-Iweala, the
Coordinating Minister for the Economy/
Minister of Finance, attributed the upgrade
to government’s determination to embark
on some strategic structural reforms,
particularly fiscal consolidation.
Okonjo-Iweala, described the upgrading
as“Great news for the country and a strong
foundation for the country to keep building
the ongoing economic reforms”.
“Fitch did this because of the medium term
budget of fiscal consolidation proposed by
the Ministry of Finance, in line with the
transformation agenda,” the economic
coordinating minister commented.
“We have to keep working hard to realise
the key priorities of the transformation
agenda – job creation and building key
infrastructure. But this positive
development gives us a strong foundation
to build on,” she added. But, some
stakeholders are of the opinion that a lot
needs to be done to make Nigerians benefit
from the positive outlook. They posited that
Nigeria should leverage on her natural
endowments to improve productivity in
other sectors and competitiveness,adding
that the current cost of doing business in
the country is still prohibitive and therefore
does not in any way make the positive
outlook to Nigerians.
Apart from the positive outlook, the agency
also affirmed Nigeria ’s long-term foreign
currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘BB-’
and Long-term local currency IDR at ‘BB’. The
agency also affirmed the Short-term rating
at ‘B’ and Country Ceiling at ‘BB’. Fitch
Ratings had lowered Nigeria ’s sovereign
credit outlook to Negative last October from
Stable, citing the depletion of its windfall oil
savings and heightened political uncertainty
ahead of elections at the time.
The ratings agency had also indicated that it
would further lower its assessment of
Nigeria ’s economic prospects if the country
did not follow through with post-election
reforms to put the economy on a
sustainable path.
Johnson Chukwu, managing director/chief
executive officer, Cowry Asset management
limited said the rating is a good
development saying that by the time fuel
subsidy is removed and power sector
reforms take shape, Nigeria’s rating will
improve and that there are signs to agree
with the report that the outlook is stable.
Oby Ezekwesili, vice president, World Bank,
said although it progress of some sort, it
does not call for celebration when other
countries are getting triple As.
Ezekwesili, a former minister of education
and solid minerals, was of the opinion that a
lot needs to be done to make Nigrians feel
part of the upgrade.
She said, for instance, that private sector
cannot come into an economy where there
is negative rating; it cannot come into a
country where there is infrastructure
deficiency and where the cost of
transaction is too high. They will not come
into a country that has a key bottleneck and
in an environment with many hurdles in
doing business.
And so government has to focus on things
that will improve the business climate. Some
of those things include the bulk
bureaucratic reforms that have been going
on, but the most important is having a
macro economic stability that will ensure
that your fiscal activities are well ordered,
prudential and your monetary policy is such
that checks inflation, guaranty stability and
prohibits exchange rate volatility, so that
such stability will make investors take you
serious when making investment decision.
So, in order to address the infrastructure
deficit, the role of government and private
sector will become complementary.
“In terms of additional financing in an
annual basis that is needed, at least more
than $25 billion is needed to address
infrastructure; you can find private sector
and government sharing the risk that is
involved in it.”
Commenting on the fiscal problem facing
the country, Ezekwesili, said: “Well, it has to
do with fiscal consolidation of the budget.
By fiscal consolidation, we mean taking
hard fiscal responsibility in our budget. The
entire budget has to be looked at, not just
the size alone but the quality and structure
of the budget.
“There is urgent need to reduce the portion
of the recurrent expenditure of the
government, it is really urgent for
government to do so because no economy
can develop its infrastructure with the kind
of budget we have. It does not create the
basis of economic growth. The bride of
economic growth is the investment in
infrastructure and human capital for an
overall economic growth.
The part of fiscal consolidation really must
be considered. The government must live
within its means and it should not crowd
out the private sector by borrowing from
the domestic market where resources are
available for the development of the real
sector that has potentials for employment.
Commenting on the banking sector reforms
which the agency said was one of the
reasons for the upgrade, she said, “these
are early days we have to focus on both
monetary and fiscal policies. The monetary
authority has to keep focus on improving
the performance of the banking sector. The
most important thing is to ensure that credit
is revitalized in the system to reactivate the
real sector, because that is where the job
creation has to come from.
Some of the measures that are being taken
are on course but the high cost of doing
business by the Small Medium Scale
Enterprises (SMEs) is not just from the
lending aspect but from other transaction
costs, such as transport, energy, etc. So by
the time you reduce all the transaction costs
then there will be a balance when you
consider the cost of borrowing.”
MONDAY, 31 OCTOBER 2011 00:00

LAPO to issue N4bn loan in Q12012

Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO)
Microfinance bank limited has disclosed that
by March next year, it would disburse about
N4 billion to its customers.
The bank in September 2011 disbursed a
total of N3.2 billion. Godwin Ehigiamusoe,
managing director of the bank who
disclosed this in an interview with
BusinessDay also said by the end of October
this year, the bank would disburse about
N3.3 billion to low income people it is
He said there are lots of poverty alleviation
initiatives in the pipeline which the bank
wishes to implement in no distant time.
Ehigiamusoe who is an acknowledged
microfinance practitioner and founder of
LAPO has concluded plans to officially lunch
a book titled, “Issues in Microfinance:
Enhancing Financial Inclusion” in Lagos.
The book which contains 15 chapters would
be presented to the public on Thursday at
the Nigerian Institute of Management at 10
The event will feature Hayford Alile …… as
the chairman of the occasion, Fola Adiola,
founder of …..as the presenter and Segun
Ogidan, microfinance consultant as the
In the book, Godwin provides an insight
into the essential elements of microfinance.
The book examines microfinance schemes
and initiatives in Nigeria, such as the
indigenous savings and credit group, non-
profit credit scheme, so-operative financing,
government and private sector
interventions. It also explores the key
provisions of microfinance policy and
regulatory framework.
He relied on his several years of
engagement in the sector to address central
operational issues such as product
development, risk and delinquency
management, client relationship and
performance indicators management.
The author was careful to address key
issues of interest to a range of stakeholders
in the sector. These issues include the
nature and emerging features identifiable
with microfinance practice across the world,
history of microfinance initiatives in Nigeria
and common operational issues.