A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Salary arrears: CBN okays bank loans for 27 States

Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN
Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN

27 August 2015, Abuja – States under the salary debt burden will now have succour as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved the request by deposit money banks to provide financial accommodation to such state governments to enable them pay the backlog of salaries of their workers.

This follows the decision by the National Executive Council (NEC) at its meeting in June requesting the CBN, in collaboration with other stakeholders, to appraise and consider ways of liquidating the outstanding staff salaries owed by state and local governments.

Out of the 27 states involved, funds have been disbursed to two states, namely, Zamfara and Kwara, which met the requirements of their respective banks. The apex bank said efforts will be made in the coming days to conclude disbursements to other states so that all outstanding salaries to civil servants can be cleared.

The conditions for accessing the loan facility, according to the CBN, include resolutions of the State Executive Council authorizing the borrowing and State House of Assembly consenting to the loan package, as well as issuance of Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) to ensure timely repayment.

With slumping oil prices, lower revenue at the federal level and less fund to be distributed by the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), many states went bankrupt and were unable to pay salaries since last year.

By June 30, 2015, well over 20 states were owing over N100 billion in one or more of salary arrears, pension payments, necessary remittances, and other entitlements of workers.

The debtor states, whose wage debt varies from two to 11 months, include Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Cross River, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Yobe, and Zamfara. At least six of these states owe a backlog of salaries for six months and above.

The range and size of indebtedness vary from state to state. Some states owe workers’ salaries across the board, while others owe salaries for workers in particular institutions or parastatals within their states.

Some states pay their workers’ net salaries but fail to remit tax or loan deductions to the appropriate quarters. Yet, other states owe a backlog of pension payments under the old scheme, leaving their senior citizens to suffer untold hardships, while as many as 26 states have yet to implement the new contributory pension scheme, designed to guarantee availability and prompt payments of pension entitlements.

The West African Examination Council (WAEC) had recently withheld the results of hundreds of thousands of government-sponsored candidates from 13 debtor states who sat for the May/June 2015 West African Senior Secondary School Examinations (WASSCE) over their inability to pay the examination fees.

CBN sets 6-year Time Bar On Customer Complaints Resolution

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given a six-year time bar for the resolution of customers’ complaints.

In a circular signed by Udofia A. Obot, for director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, and made available on its website yesterday, the CBN said it had in recent times experienced challenges in ensuring timely resolution of complaints from consumers of financial services against financial institutions under its regulatory purview.

“This development, which has been attributed to non-availability of, or delay in receiving, documentary evidence from both parties, underscores the need to have a policy on time bar for complaints management in the financial services industry.

“Consequently, the CBN, having consulted the relevant stakeholders in the financial services industry, and in line with the provisions of limitations’ legislation, Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2013 and CBN Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Regulation for Banks and Other Financial Institutions in Nigeria, 2013, hereby adopts a time limit of six years, effective from the date of transaction, within which complaints against financial institutions shall be lodged,” the circular said.

The apex bank said the time limitation will, however, not apply to fraud cases, complaints already lodged with the financial institutions and the CBN and international electronic payment transactions whose records are not retained beyond 180 days on the dispute resolution application.

“Please note that this circular supersedes the earlier circular referenced FPR/DIR/GEN/CIR/01/045, dated February 16, 2015 on the same subject,” the CBN added.

Missing N183.7bn: PMB Keeps Mum As NDDC Refutes AGF Report

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday kept his cool as the managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC), Mr. Dan Abia, denied that N183.7 billion was missing from the commission’s coffers.

Abia, who led top officials of the commission to meet with the president at the presidential villa, Abuja, for the first time since the issue was raised, refuted the audit report on the NDDC recently issued by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) about the alleged missing N183.7 billion.

The auditor-general of the federation Mr Ukura had recently alleged that the NDDC had a case to answer following an audit report on it from 2008 to 2012.

LEADERSHIP gathered that after Mr Abia and the team of NDDC officials had finished briefing him on the said missing money yesterday, President Buhari, listened patiently but did not betray any emotion on the missing money.

“The president didn’t say much about the missing N183.7 billion. What he did was to listen patiently without uttering a word because the matter was still under investigation,” a source at the meeting told our correspondent.

After the meeting, the NDDC MD told journalists that the allegation was completely false, just as he distanced himself from issues of contract splitting, saying he was going to straighten out the issues with the office of the AuGF.

“It is only proper that we should come and brief the president. I requested to meet Mr. President in my capacity as the managing director of the NDDC. So, I was not summoned as reported in the media. We briefed the president on our mandate,” he said.

“As far as the audited account of the NDDC is concerned, how many of us know that the audited account under note, under reference, refers to 2008 to 2012. I was not the managing director then. Let’s get that fact clear.

“The second one on not having assets; I don’t know from when to when. On principle, I came to brief Mr. President proper. Let me assure you that even by the admission of the auditor general, no N180 billion is missing because APG, as you know, is governed by advanced payment directives.

“Office of the Auditor General is a government agency; whatever clarification, we shall engage the office and proper record will be straightened out. I said, even before the president, that no N180 billion is missing.”

He also denied the allegation of contract fraud.

“Let me also tell you that I cannot be a party to contract splitting. NDDC is a very unique institution; we have a budgeting process. Those people that are now crying, where were they when NDDC was not having projects up until the end of the year,” he said.

Abia added that contrary to the claims by his detractors, NDDC had performed excellently under his watch in terms of education and road construction.
*Bukola Idowu & George Agba- Leadership

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