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Why It’s Unwise To Repair Port Harcourt Refinery With $1.5b – Atiku

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Former Vice-president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has condemned the decision of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to rehabilitate the Port Harcourt refinery with $1.5 billion.

Atiku, the former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election, lamented that Nigeria is sinking deeper into debt from N12 trillion to N32.9 trillion today.

FEC had approved $1.5 billion (about N600 billion) for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery at its virtual meeting held Wednesday and presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement Atiku personally signed, he said the approval was suspicious, adding: “That Nigeria’s economy is in dire straits is a fact well known both to the nation and to our international partners. Unemployment has just reached an all-time high of 33%, while inflation has hit another record high of 17%.”

The former vice-president said that at this critical period, Nigeria must, as a nation, be prudent with the use of whatever revenue it could generate and even if Nigeria must borrow, it must do so with the utmost responsibility and discipline.

In view of this, the former vice-president said: “To therefore budget the sum of $1.5 billion to renovate or turn around the Port Harcourt Refinery would appears to be an unwise use of scarce funds at this critical juncture for an assortment of reasons.

READ ALSO: Govt Asks States To Protect Forest Reserves Against Bandits

“First of all, our refineries have been loss-making for multiple years, and indeed, it is questionable wisdom to throw good money after bad. At other times, I have counselled that the best course of action would be to privatise our refineries to be run more effectively and efficiently.

“The cost appears prohibitive. Too prohibitive, especially as Shell Petroleum Development Company last year sold its Martinez Refinery in California, USA, which is of a similar size as the Port Harcourt refinery, for $1.2 billion.

“We must bear in mind that the Shell Martinez Refinery is more profitable than the Port Harcourt Refinery.”

Atiku explained: “Given this discrepancy, might we ask if there was a public tender before this cost was announced? Was due diligence performed? Because we are certainly not getting value for money. Not by a long stretch.

“We cannot as a nation expect to make economic progress if we continue to fund inefficiency, and we are going too deep into the debt trap for unnecessarily overpriced projects.

“Our national debt has grown from N12 trillion in 2015 to N32.9 trillion today. Indeed that is shocking enough to cause us to be more prudent in the way we commit future generations into the bondage of bonds and debt.”

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BREAKING: CBN Increases Weekly Cash Withdrawal Limits

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BREAKING: CBN Increases Weekly Cash Withdrawal Limits

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday reviewed upwards the maximum weekly limit for cash withdrawal across all channels by individuals and corporate organisations to N500,000 and N5 million respectively.

The apex bank stated this in a circular issued Wednesday evening.

In an earlier circular it issued on December 6, the CBN had said that with effect from January 9, 2023, the maximum cash withdrawal over the counter by individuals and corporate organisations per week, will be N100,000 and N500,000 respectively, adding that withdrawals above these limits would attract processing fees of 5 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

READ ALSO: New CBN Policy Imposes Penalties On Withdrawal Above N100,000, N500,000

It further stated that maximum cash withdrawal per week via Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), from January 9, will be N100,000 subject to a maximum of N20,000 cash withdrawal per day.

The apex bank also directed banks to load only N200 and lower denominations into their ATMs.

In addition, the CBN announced that maximum cash withdrawal via Point of Sales (PoS) terminals), from January 9, will be N20,000 daily.

 

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Buhari To Borrow N1tr From CBN, Seeks N819.5b Supplementary Budget

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Buhari To Borrow N1tr From CBN, Seeks N819.5b Supplementary Budget

President Muhmmadu Buhari has informed the House of Representatives that the government will take another N1 trillion loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through ways and means.

He said the additional N1 trillion would take the total obligation to CBN to N23 trillion which the government seeks to convert to bonds.

The letter was referred to Committees on Finance, Banking and Currency, Loans, Aid and Grant.

Buhari also asked the House of Representatives to approve N819.5 billion supplementary budget for 2022.

In a letter read by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila on Wednesday, President Buhari said the budget would be financed with new domestic borrowing.

READ ALSO: Debt Profile Under Buhari Worrisome – CBN

He noted that if the supplementary budget was approved, it would take a total deficit in 2022 to N8.17 trillion.

Buhari explained that the country decided to explore a supplementary budget because of the impact of flood and the need to complete major roads that were at 85% completion.

“The president writes that 2022 has witnessed the worst flood incident in recent history which has caused massive destruction of farmlands at a point already close to harvest season, this may compound the situation of food security and nutrition in this country,” the letter reads.

He added that “The flood also devastated the road infrastructure across the 36 states and the FCT. It has affected several sections of major roads and bridges nationwide that are critical to the movement of goods and services. The water sector was equally affected by the flood, and there is a need to complete some ongoing projects that have achieved 85% completion across the country.”

The letter was referred to the House Committee on Appropriation for further legislative action.

 

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Why We May Withdraw Banks’ Foreign Exchange Dealership Licences – CBN

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Emefiele Sick, Can't Meet With Reps - CBN

Miffed by the violation of its diaspora remittance rules, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has threatened to revoke banks’ foreign exchange dealership licenses.

The CBN’s warning was contained in a circular by the Director, of the Trade and Exchange Department, Ozoemena Nnaji, that waa published on Monday.

In a bid to boost diaspora remittances, especially through the banking system, the CBN, in November 2020 circular to banks, had directed that beneficiaries of such remittances should be paid in dollars through the designated banks of their choice.

However, the apex bank, noted that some International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) engage in illegal activities through banks in violation of this directive, by paying diaspora remittances in Naira.

The circular stated: “The attention of the CBN has been drawn to the increasing illegal activities by Money Transfer Operators in Nigeria, through banks, by terminating payments in Naira contrary to extant regulations.

‘This unwholesome practice has some banks partnering with unlicensed international money transfer operators who disguise their transactions and terminate the same via local inter-bank transfers.

“Henceforth, any bank found to be aiding and abetting any IMTO or unlicensed operator in this activity would be appropriately sanctioned.

READ ALSO: New CBN Policy Imposes Penalties On Withdrawal Above N100,000, N500,000

“We also wish to remind all banks that it is their responsibility to not only Know their Customers (KYC requirements) but also Know their customers’ business (KYCB. requirements).

“For the avoidance of doubt, all banks and IMTOs are to pay out proceeds of diaspora remittance only in US Dollars and comply with the guidelines on International Money Transfer Operations published by the Bank.

“Any bank found to be aiding/collaborating with IMTOs in terminating remittances in naira will have their authorised dealership licence withdrawn.”

 

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