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Lagos Assembly threatens to impeach Ambode, summons governor

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Bus purchase probe: Ambode’s suit incompetent, lawmakers tell court

…As Regulators blame shareholders for asset losses***

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday threatened to impeach Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for allegedly spending funds which were not appropriated for.

The Assembly subsequently asked Ambode to appear before it within one week over the 2019 budget, which has caused disagreement between the two arms of government.

Ambode had sent the 2019 budget to the House in December against the tradition of laying the budget before the House.

The Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, told the lawmakers that it was important to give the governor a fair hearing over the issue.

He said the governor’s action was in violation of the constitution.

Obasa said, “The attorney general, finance commissioner and commissioner for budget and economic planning that ought to have advised the governor did not do so.

“The most important thing is that we should let the people know that a budget that has yet to be approved was being spent, which was why we could not attend to the governor on the budget on Monday 21, January.

“We must give them a fair hearing to come and explain what happened.

“The point has been made that there must be something before the House before you can commence expenditure. We want to call on the governor to come within a week to explain himself…”

“We can start gathering signatures for impeachment. We can wait till another time,” he said.

The discussion was sequel to a report presented by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, who is the chairman of an ad hoc committee set up to look into the issues surrounding the 2019 budget during a parliamentary meeting of the lawmakers.

The deputy speaker revealed that the committee met with relevant commissioners and heads of agencies which revealed several infractions.

He said the committee discovered that the 2019 Budget was already being implemented by the executive without being laid on the floor of the House. He also noted that 2018 budget, as of the 3rd quarter of 2018 had not performed up to 50 per cent.

Another legislator, Akeem Bello, called on Ambode and his deputy to resign.

Another lawmaker, Dayo Saka-Fafunmi, said, “Public funds do not belong to any of us, it belongs to the people of Lagos State. Section 120 subsection 2 states that no money should be withdrawn from the accounts of the states unless it is approved by the House.

“All the violations amount to gross misconduct. Section 188 subsection defines gross misconduct. We strongly believe that essential services that ought to be met are missing in the state. I am in line with the statement and decisions of the members that if the executive members are not ready for governance, they should resign or should be impeached.”

In the meantime, capital market regulators have blamed shareholders for their investment losses, urging them to report corporate governance lapses perpetrated by the boards of listed firms, and collaborate with management to create sustainable wealth through profitability.

From the loss of over N700 billion in private placement scams during the era of stock market boom, to the sale of three nationalised banks, where investments estimated at N83 billion were lost, and another N10 billion lost to the recent Skye Bank takeover, readily come to mind.

Indeed for over 10 years after the 2007-2008 global financial crisis, which triggered a worldwide economic recession, bringing to a halt more than a decade of increasing prosperity for western economies, Nigerian investors are still recounting their losses, even as they battle with perennial issues bedevilling the nation’s capital market.

The situation, which has created significant liquidity problem for the equities segment, has further depressed the market, as retail investors do not have the purchasing power to patronise the market.

But to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), blamed such losses on the failure of shareholders are to blame for not speaking out against corporate governance lapses among board members of listed firms.

According to them, when such cases are reported, the regulators will carry out appropriate investigations, while sanctions are subsequently applied where necessary, to correct the anomaly.

Specifically, the Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Oscar Onyema, said: “One of the things we pride ourselves in doing at the Exchange is the protection of investors. We know that when something goes wrong, the first person you want to shoot is the Exchange, and possibly the SEC, because we are in the front line.

“If I take Skye bank specifically, the Exchange has done a lot to protect the interest of shareholders, but please let us understand that we are operating in the market place where shareholders themselves have some responsibilities.”

He continued: “We operate within legal boundaries, and if you take banks, the primary regulator for banks is the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and their own limits is different from ours, and we cannot say we will stop the CBN from taking regulatory actions against the bank. But we can encourage shareholders to make sure they keep their eyes on the board, and make sure that they ask the pertinent questions and hold the board and their management accountable.

“We will make sure that disclosures are done, and we will not allow companies that are not disclosing to continue to be in the market. We will work with other regulators to make sure that if there is any way we can protect and preserve value for shareholders, that would be done,” he added.

The Head, Registration, Exchanges and Market Infrastructure Department, SEC, Emomotimi Agama, said: “Corporate governance is important for every institution. The monitors of corporate governance incidentally are the shareholders. So if the shareholders do not monitor the corporate governance of the institutions where they are investing or have invested, it is as good as throwing their money into the well.”

He continued: “The private placements are limited liability companies that do not fall within the regulation of SEC, and that is why investors must make inquiry. They must take their time to find out the nature of these companies, what do they do, what is the future of these companies? Also find advisers to do these for them, as no adviser worth its salt will review an account or a company and the company is bad and would tell the investor to invest in it.”

A stockbroker and Managing Director, Sofunix Investment Limited, Sola Oni, described shareholders as the highest risk takers, noting that investors must stay ahead of events in listed companies.

“The trend we are facing today is a challenge to shareholders that they should not be docile. They have the duty to know what is going on where they put their money. For quoted companies, shareholders are supposed to be very close to stockbrokers who are supposed to be their advisers. Shareholders are supposed to know what is happening and keep the board members on check. But what do we notice, people will buy shares, and they do not even know what is going on in the company.”

Punch with additional report from Guardian NG

Economy

Eid-el-Fitr: Tinubu Urges Sacrifice, Integrity For National Rebirth

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Eid-el-Fitr: Tinubu urges sacrifice, integrity for national rebirth

 President Bola Tinubu has urged Nigerians to continue to make sacrifices and exhibit integrity for national development.

Tinubu said this after observing the Eid-el-Fitr prayer at the Eid Ground at Dodon Barracks on Wednesday in Lagos.

The President also called on Nigerians to continue to have faith in his government and remain patriotic citizens.

Tinubu said that the Renewed Hope Agenda of his administration, aimed at bringing prosperity to Nigerians, was being diligently implemented.

Encouraging Muslims to extend the values of sacrifice and resilience beyond the fasting period, Tinubu emphasised the need for Nigerians to prioritise the exhibition of love for their country.

‘’The resilience and sacrifice that we have shown and made during these months should be preserved.

“Be a kind and cheerful giver. We must love our country more than any other country because this is the only one we have.

‘’We must continue to protect the integrity of our government and leadership. The Renewed Hope Agenda is alive, well and fine, and Nigerians should continue to be very hopeful. Without hope, there is no salvation.

“Without hope, there is no development. Without hope, there is no life. Eid Mubarak,’’ the President said at the end of the prayers led by the Chief Imam of Lagos State, Sheikh Sulaiman Abou-Nolla.

Earlier in his sermon, the Chief Imam urged Nigerians to shun all acts of violence, ensure peaceful co-existence, and continue to have faith in the country.

He asked those in leadership positions to remain faithful to their oaths of office and work towards alleviating the suffering of the less privileged.

‘‘Let us not forget our brothers and sisters in Gaza and other areas of conflict,’’ the Chief Imam said.

He offered prayers of God’s guidance, wisdom, and protection for the President and the Lagos State government, as well as for peace and stability in the country.

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Economy

Lawmaker Secures Release of 4 Persons Involved in Illegal Arms Manufacturing in Delta

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Lawmaker Secures Release of 4 Persons Involved in Illegal Arms Manufacturing in Delta

Sen. Ned Nwoko (PDP-Delta), on Wednesday, disclosed that he had secured the release of four family members involved in manufacturing arms at the Onicha-Olona Illegal Arms Factory in Delta.

Nwoko representing Delta North Senatorial District, who disclosed this in an interview in Abuja, said that the release of the four persons was through collaborative efforts.

On March 12, troops of 63 Brigade, Asaba, uncovered an illegal arms manufacturing factory in Onicha-Olona, Delta North Senatorial District and arrested eight family members in connection with the crime.

Nwoko disclosed that efforts have been made to ensure fair treatment for those involved, balancing justice with the opportunity for rehabilitation and contribution to society.

“Following my recent visit to the headquarters of 63 Brigade, Asaba and productive discussions with the Brigade Commander, I am pleased to announce progress in addressing the situation regarding the illegal arms factory discovered in the Onicha-Olona community, Delta.

“Efforts have been made to ensure fair treatment for those involved, balancing justice with the opportunity for rehabilitation and contribution to society.

“I am pleased to reveal that through collaborative efforts, I have successfully secured the release of four family members implicated in the illegal activity.

“However, our commitment to upholding the law remains unwavering, and endeavours continue for fair judgment and potential pardon for the remaining four individuals,” he said.

The lawmaker stressed that the underlying issue highlighted by the discovery, however, remained of paramount importance.

“We must seize the opportunity to redirect the talents demonstrated by those involved towards lawful and productive endeavours.

“The young man in the family, known for his passion and ability to build drones, exemplifies this potential.

“His skills should be harnessed and put to good use,” he said.

Nwoko added that the Industrial Revolution served as a pertinent historical precedent where individual efforts catalysed transformative change and made possible by governments that created conducive environments.

“We can emulate this model here. We can provide support and opportunities for talented individuals like the young drone builder, and stimulate a new wave of innovation and economic growth in Nigeria.

“As previously stated, Nigeria’s economy faces significant challenges exacerbated by escalating imports, particularly in the realm of arms and weaponry.

“Therefore, we must harness our indigenous talents for the greater good and bolster our local industries,” he said.

Nwoko further said that the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), as well as the Ministry of Science and Technology, have crucial roles to play in this regard.

According to him, by engaging with individuals possessing such skills, we can offer them legal avenues for their expertise to flourish.

“The aim is not only to prevent the proliferation of illegal arms or other weapons manufacturing but also to channel these talents towards legitimate industries for national development.

“I reiterate the need for the government to support and integrate such offenders with specialised skills and talents into the formal economy.

“This initiative should focus on recognising their capabilities and providing opportunities for them to contribute to the development of our local indigenous technology.

“As noted earlier, an individual capable of modifying an AK-47 magazine, originally designed to hold 30 rounds, to accommodate 60 rounds using rudimentary equipment, holds immense potential for greater achievements.

”Such individual can do more with proper legal support and access to adequate resources.”

He disclosed that he was committed to proposing or supporting a new law aimed at assisting talented and skilful individuals involved in illegal activities and also partnering with law enforcement agencies in these endeavours.

“I am committed to proposing or supporting a new law aimed at assisting talented and skilful individuals involved in illegal activities and also partner with law enforcement agencies in these endeavours.”

“They have the intelligence and insights of the potential beneficiaries of this “amnesty” drive towards creating a new cadre of indigenous technologists.

“This law would establish an agency dedicated to providing government support and resources to rehabilitate and engage these individuals in legal and productive activities.

“I tentatively suggest naming this proposed law the “National Talent Rehabilitation and Integration Act”.

“This legislation will not only focus on rehabilitation but also on harnessing the skills and talents of offenders for the benefit of society.

“By providing a structured environment and necessary support, this agency will facilitate the transition of individuals from illicit activities to lawful and productive ventures.

”And they will be contributing to both their personal rehabilitation and national development,” Nwoko added.

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Economy

NGX Market Capitalisation Gains N836bn

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Stock Market Gains N18bn; FTN Cocoa Processors, Prestige Assurance lead Losers’ Chart 

…Tantalizers, NASCON lead the losers’ chart 

The Nigerian Exchange Ltd.(NGX) market capitalisation, which opened at N57.697 trillion on Tuesday, gained N836 billion or 1.45 percent closing at N58.533 trillion.

Also, the All-Share Index rose by 1.45 percent or 1,480 points to close at 103,524.44, as against 102,044.84 recorded on Monday.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return rose to 38.45 percent.

Interest in Telco heavyweight and Tier-one banks such as MTN Nigeria, UBA, Access Corporation, Guaranty Trust Holding Company(GTCO), and sustained interest in Transcorp Power(TransPower) kept the market in the green.

Market breadth closed positive with 35 gainers and 14 losers.

On the gainer’s chart, UBA led in percentage terms of 10 to close at N25.30, followed by MTN by 9.98 percent to close at N243.50 per share.

Julius Berger also gained 9.71 percent to close at N61, While Access Corporation rose by 9.51 percent to close at N22.45 per share.

Veritas Kapital Assurance went up by 9.38 percent to close at 70k per share.

Conversely, Tantalizers led the loser’s chart by 7.89 percent to close at 35k, and National Salt Company of Nigeria(NASCON) trailed by 6.77 percent to close at N53.70.

Morison Industries Plc shed 6.62 percent to close at N1.41, C&I Leasing lost 6.45 percent to close at N3.48, while Cutix Plc dropped 6.30 percent to close at N2.53 per share.

However, analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled lower, relative to the previous session.

The value of transactions was also down by 16.76 percent.

A total of 565.79 million shares valued at N14.23 billion were exchanged in 11,519 deals,  compared to 436.90 million shares valued at N17.09 billion exchanged in 11,344 deals traded on Monday.

On the activity chart, Transcorp led in volume with 170.72 million shares traded at a value of N3.13 billion, Access Corporation followed by 48.57 million shares valued at N1.06 billion.

GTCO sold 39.04 million shares worth N165.80 million, Jaiz Bank traded 36.78 million shares valued at N72.51 million and UBA transacted 31.96 million shares valued at N796.24 million

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