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N2.5bn debt: CBN contests order to pay 110 disengaged ABU staff

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… As 2 labourers docked over alleged theft of iron sheets worth N6.4m***

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday before the National Industrial Court, contested the court’s order to pay 110 disengaged staff of the Ahmadu Bello University ( ABU), Zaria, that was sacked in 1996 their entitlements.

Joined in the suit as respondents are the  110 disengaged staff, ABU, Zaria, the Minister, Federal Ministry of Education and the Attorney General of the Federation & Minister of Justice, as first, second, third and fourth respondents respectively.

Also read: CBN confirms ‘minor fire’ outbreak at its Makurdi Branch

When the matter was called before Justice Rakiya Hasstrup, counsel to CBN, Matthias Agboni informed the court that he had an application for a stay of execution before the court.

He however proceeded to withdraw an earlier motion dated and filed on March 8 and replaced it with another of April 14.

Mr Femi Adedeji, counsel to the first respondent on his part informed the court that he was not opposing the withdrawal.

Adedeji however stated that he was opposing the Written Address that accompanied the new application.

Also, Mr Kashim Idi, counsel to the third respondent equally did not oppose Agboni’s application for withdrawal.

He further said that he had not filed any process because he had just been served processes by Adedeji.

The judge, therefore, said that the CBN’s application dated March 8 was duly struck out.

She directed Adedeji to respond to the new application he was opposing and serve parties

Adedeji however objected and said that the appellant was trying to delay the proceeding by frustrating and wasting the time of the court

In addition, he said he was ready to respond to the appellant’s application on Point of Law

Agboni then proceeded to take his application dated and filed on April 14 brought pursuant to order 64, rules 8 and 13 of the NICN Civil Procedure of 2017.

The applications prayed for three orders of the court.

The first prayer was for an order of stay of execution of the earlier judgment of the court delivered on Jan.27, spending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

The second prayer of the appellant was an order of the court setting aside the garnishee order made absolute and any order initiated any other orders made against it.

The CBN also had as its final prayer, any order the court may deem fit in the suit.

The application was accompanied by an 18-paragraphs affidavit and supported by three exhibits.

Agboni further stated that the first exhibit was a copy of the judgment delivered by the court on Jan.27.

He added that the second exhibit was for notice of stay of execution and the last exhibit was a proposed notice of appeal.

He urged the court to grant the order of stay of execution in order not to render the appeal nugatory.

The counsel concluded by stating his application was proper and in order because a garnishee of absolute order is a final decision that an appellant had the right to appeal within 90 days.

Adedeji replying on Point of Law raised two arguments.

He submitted that he was not opposing the application to stay of execution on the condition that the appellant complies to order 64, rule 8 (3) of the court by depositing the judgment sum with the court Registrar.

He said the above rule stated that when appealing a monetary judgment, the judgment sum must be deposited in an interest-yielding account by the court Registrar.

Adedeji said that his second reply in Point of Law was on the appellant’s application praying for a stay of execution at the same time when there was a notice of appeal before the Court of Appeal.

Agboni replied that there was no need for his client to make such a deposit because it could cater for the judgment sum after the Court of Appeal determined the suit in the first respondent’s favour

He added that the authority cited by Adedeji was at the discretion of the court in cases where the court perceives that a judgment debtor may tamper with judgment sum before the final determination of a matter.

The judge after listening to the submissions of the counsel adjourned until May 17 for ruling.

The newsmen report that the appointments of 110 ABU staff were terminated in 1996 when the institution was run by a Sole Administrator.

They approached the court in 2012, after the failure of the institution to implement the recommendations of various visitation panels, which recommended that they be reinstated and all their entitlements paid.

The court ruled in favour of the staff in 2015 and ordered the university to reinstate them and pay their entitlements, which amounted to N2.5 billion.

Non-compliance with the court judgment necessitated the garnishee order on the institution’s bank accounts in 2017.

However, when the garnishee proceeding was ongoing, the judgment debtors filed for a stay of proceeding as they had filed an appeal before the Appeal Court in Nov.2018, contesting the 2015 judgment.

The Court of Appeal on its part on May 24, 2021, dismissed the appeal and affirmed the decision of the lower court.

The NICN then on Jan. 27 through a ruling made an order absolute in a garnishee proceeding ordering the CBN the pay the disengaged staff.

In the meantime, two labourers were on Tuesday brought before a Yaba Chief Magistrates Court in Lagos for allegedly stealing iron sheets valued N6.4million from a construction site.

The defendants are Peter Akah, 23; and Austine Opara, 28.

They are facing a two-count charge of conspiracy and theft.

The duo, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Police prosecutor, ASP Rita Momah, told the court that the defendants committed the offences on June 4, 2021, at Beamco company in the Apapa area of Lagos.

She said that the defendants were labourers at a nearby site, and they entered the company that was under reconstruction to steal flat iron sheets.

Momah said that some of the other workers who knew the defendants saw them carry the iron sheets and reported to their building manager who made the complaint at the Police Station.

According to her, the total value of the iron sheets stolen was N6.4million, and they were yet to be recovered.

She said that the offences contravene sections 411 and 287 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2015 (Revised).

The newsmen report that Section 287 stipulates a three-year jail term for the offence of stealing, while Section 411 provides two years for conspiracy.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Adeola Adedayo, admitted the defendants to bail of N2million each with two responsible sureties in like sum.

She said that all the sureties must be gainfully employed with evidence of three years tax payment to the Lagos State Government, and have their addresses verified by the court.

Adedayo adjourned the case until May 17, for mention.

 

Banking & Finance

Nigeria’s debt sustainable, says DMO, as Stock Debts Soars

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Nigeria’s debt sustainable, says DMO, as Stock Debts Soars

Against the backdrop of verbal attacks on the soaring Government stock-debts profile, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has declared that Nigeria’s debt remains sustainable.

The Director-General of DMO, Patience Oniha, said this on Monday in Abuja, noting that Nigeria’s total debt stock as of June was N103 billion.

Oniha, however, insisted that there was an urgent need to boost the country’s revenue to further ameliorate the debt burden.

She suggested an efficient tax administration that would ensure greater compliance with remittances, and be devoid of all forms of evasions in the system.

According to her, most countries place more emphasis on taxation as a principal source of funding for the government.

She advised that new borrowings should be tied to projects that would generate commensurate revenues to service loans used to finance them.

She also said that physical assets such as idle or under-utilised properties could be redeveloped for commercialisation to generate revenue.

According to Oniha, the current revenue problem is compounded by leakages like oil theft and petrol subsidy.

“These have significantly reduced the revenue from crude oil sales that used to account for the bulk of government revenue,” she said.

She said that the outlooks of both the local and international markets were becoming tighter with rising interest rates.

She called for moderation in new borrowings and accelerated revenue growth to shore up non-oil revenue.

She, however, said that the country’s total public debt-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio was still within reasonable limits.

“At 23.06 percent, the debt-to-GDP ratio is still within Nigeria’s self-imposed limit of 40 percent.

“It is also within the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommended limit of 55 percent for countries within Nigeria’s peer group and 70 percent for ECOWAS countries,” she said.

She said that debt service-to-revenue was high, adding that urgent steps needed to be taken to boost revenue and further enhance public debt sustainability.

“Nigeria’s public debt stock has grown consistently over the past decades and even faster in recent years, and debt service has continued to grow.

“The country’s low revenue base compounded by dependence on crude oil receipts resulted in budget deficits over the past decades.

“Efforts at increasing non-oil revenue are, however, yielding positive results,” she said.

According to her, with a low debt-to-GDP ratio, the debt service-to-revenue ratio would have been low if revenue were strong.

She said that Nigeria was deploying debt management tools of the World Bank and IMF to ensure debt sustainability.

“These tools include an annual Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA) and a Medium Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS) every four years,” she said.

Oniha listed other initiatives to ensure debt sustainability as the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), Infrastructure for Tax Credit, Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria Limited (InfraCorp) and Off-Balance Sheet Financing.

“The PIDF is managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). The fund is to be invested in critical road and power projects across the country.

“The Infrastructure for Tax Credit initiative encourages companies to commit their resources to the construction of new roads or rehabilitating old ones with the assurance that such expended resources would be recouped from company tax.

“InfraCorp is a Public Private Partnership promoted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and NSIA, to catalyse and accelerate investment in Nigeria’s Infrastructure sector.

“InfraCorp has a seed funding of One trillion Naira as equity from the promoters,” she said.

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Banking & Finance

Equity Market Extends Gains by N63bn; Geregu, SCOA Lead Laggards’ Table

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Equity Market Extends Gains by N63bn; Geregu, SCOA Lead Laggards’ Table

The equity market opened the week on a positive note, gaining N63 billion, 0.24 percent, as market capitalisation closed at N26.291 trillion on Monday, compared with N26.228 trillion recorded on Friday.

Also, the All-Share Index rose by 115.58 points or 0.24 percent to close at 48,270.23 from 48,154.65 on Friday.

The market’s performance was primarily driven by gains in stocks of Nigerian Breweries and BUA Cement.

Consequently, the year-to-date (YTD) return rose to 12.96 percent.

Market breadth closed positive as 15 stocks were on the leaders’ table, with 13 on the laggards’ log.

Guinness led the gainers’ table with 10 percent to close at N69.30 per share.

Eternal oil followed with a gain of 8.75 percent to close at N6.44, while Royal Exchange grew by percent to close at 78k per share.

Linkage Assurance advanced by 7.50 percent to close a 43k per share Presco gained by 6.64 percent to close at N120.50 per share.

Conversely, Geregu led the laggards’ table, depreciating by 9.85 percent to close at N110.70 per share.

Scoa Nigeria followed with a loss of 9.43 percent to close at 96k, while Thomas Wyatt Nigeria declined by 9.09 percent to close at 40k.

Also, LASSACO depreciated by 7.41 percent to close at 25k per share. Chams fell by 4.49 percent to close at 85k.

Analysis of today’s market activities showed trade turnover settled lower relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions down by 18.69 percent.

A total of 633.74 million units of shares valued at N4.10 billion were exchanged in 3,398 deals.

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Banking & Finance

NGX: Market Slides, sheds N2bn; Naira Slumps, exchanges N445.83 to Dollar 

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NGX: Market Slides, sheds N2bn; Naira Slumps, exchanges N445.83 to Dollar 

…Honeywell Flour Mill, RT Briscoe lead Losers’ Chart*** 

Key performance indicators of the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. (NGX) declined marginally on Thursday as market capitalisation which open with N25.959 trillion, lost N2 billion or 0.01 percent to close at N25.957 trillion.

Also, the All-Share Index (ASI) closed lower by 3.4 points or 0.01 percent to settle at 47,656.64 points compared with 47,660.04 recorded on Wednesday.

Consequently, the year-to-date (YTD) return stood at 11.57 percent.

Sell-offs in MTN Nigeria Stock led to a downturn in the performance of the market.

However, market sentiment, as measured by market breadth, was positive, as 11 stocks gained relative to nine losers.

UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust recorded the highest price gain of 9.09 percent to close at N3 per share.

McNichols followed with a gain of 8.93 percent to close at 61k, while Japual Gold and Ventures appreciated by 7.41 percent to close at 29k per share.

Nigerian Breweries went up by 7.14 percent to close at 45k per share.

Also, Royal Exchange Assurance rose by 4.76 percent to close at 66k per share.

On the other hand, Honeywell Flour Mill led the losers’ chart by 7.89 percent to close at N2.10, RT Briscoe followed with a decline of 7.41 percent to close at 25k and Wema Bank shed 5.45 percent to close at N3.12 per share.

FCMB Group lost 4.18 percent to close at N3.21, while Cutix Plc shed 3.46 percent to close at N2.5 per share.

Analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled higher relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions up by 115.63 percent.

A total of 172.90 million shares valued at N2.84 billion were exchanged in 3,073 

In another development, the Naira on Thursday exchanged at 445.83 to the dollar at the Investors and Exporters window, a depreciation of 0.12 percent, compared with the 445.30 it exchanged on Wednesday.

The open indicative rate closed at N444.60 to the dollar on Thursday.

An exchange rate of N447 to the dollar was the highest rate recorded within the day’s trading before it settled at N445.83.

The Naira sold for as low as 422 to the dollar within the day’s trading.

A total of N99.50 million was traded at the official Investors and Exporters window on Thursday

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