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INSIDE PRESIDENCY: Why Tinubu suspended CBN governor Emefiele

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The suspension yesterday of Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele by President Bola Tinubu may have been triggered by the probe instituted against him last week by the House of Representatives, The Nation learnt last night.

News of the CBN governor’s suspension was broken by the Director of Information in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation OSGF (OSGF), Willie Bassey.

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has suspended the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, CFR, from office with immediate effect,” Bassey said in a statement.

“This is sequel to the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy.

“Emefiele has been directed to immediately hand over the affairs of his office to the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), who will act as the Central Bank Governor pending the conclusion of investigation and the reforms,” he added.

The apex bank’s deputy governor in charge of Operations, Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, was asked to take over in an acting capacity.

Sources in Abuja told The Nation that sequel to Emefiele’s suspension he has been barred from leaving the Federal Capital and may be probed by the Department of State Services (DSS) for alleged terrorism financing.

It was gathered that the House of Representatives’ inquisition into the activities of the CBN under Emefiele has opened many cans of worms, such that the authorities felt compelled to send him home to allow for proper investigation.

“There is a lot of dossier on him (Emefiele), so it is only proper that he should step aside in order to allow for proper investigation into the allegations preferred against him,” the source said.

Another source familiar with the development said: “The CBN governor’s probe by the Reps is just a prelude to what may follow in a few days.”

An ad hoc committee of the House investigating the alleged missing 48 million barrels of Bonny Light crude had summoned Emefiele to provide details on the N32.5 billion said to have been paid to two companies — Messrs GSCL Consulting and Bizplus — without formal records.

The Green Chamber is also investigating an alleged payment of $200 million to the firms for “consultancy service.”

Speaking at the investigative hearing, Mark Gbillah, chairman of the ad hoc committee, said available records showed that the CBN paid N16.5 billion to each of the two companies on the same day.

Gbillah added that the amount was withdrawn by the companies within two months.

The lawmaker said it was important for Nigerians to know why the apex bank paid the said amount to the companies, especially when Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, denied knowledge of the payments.

Embattled Emefiele barred from leaving Abuja

Emefiele, according to sources, has been restricted to Abuja for now and there were indications last night that the DSS might revisit its investigation of him for alleged terrorism financing.

It was also learnt that Emefiele may not return to his office and the Presidency technically removed the CBN Governor through suspension instead of outright sack because Tinubu was constrained by the law.

By the CBN Act, Emefiele can only be removed by two-thirds majority of the Senate, which will hold its 9th valedictory session today.

A source claimed that although Emefiele was advised by some forces to resign, he underrated the signal.

The source said Emefiele assumed he could earn the confidence of the new government.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that Emefiele has many pending allegations against him but DSS probe was “crucial and interesting.”

A reliable source said: “Since it was a security matter, former President Muhammadu Buhari did not stop DSS from investigating Emefiele. But some members of the cabal in the Presidency frustrated the DSS.

“Now it is obvious the DSS may probe him because the encumbrances are no longer there. He had gone to the DSS headquarters for grilling before pressure came from some influential forces to halt the move.”

His suspension last night was soon followed by speculations that he had been arrested by the DSS.

But the spokesman for the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya, could not immediately confirm the arrest.

In a chat with our correspondent, he wrote: “Inundated. I may not be able to make any confirmations NOW, please.”

On the likely recall of Emefiele from suspension, a government source said “it is remote. He has been technically removed like the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan did to a former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

“By the provision of Section 11 of the CBN Act 2007, the President cannot unilaterally remove a CBN Governor, Deputy Governor or a director.

The section says that a CBN Governor can be sacked “provided that the removal of the Governor shall be supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate praying that he be so removed.”

“With the 9th Senate holding its valedictory session today, the legal advice available to President Bola Tinubu was suspension.

“But the curtain is already drawn on Emefiele’s tenure. Apart from the DSS factor, there are other issues he may need to clarify.”

The government source claimed that “the CBN Governor was prevailed upon by many sources but he underrated the advice. He assumed he could earn the confidence of this administration.”

A source said Emefiele “has not been arrested but I know he will not be allowed to venture out of Abuja.”

The source recalled how the DSS had, last December, sought to file charges of money laundering and terrorism financing against him.

The department said at the time that it was investigating Emefiele for “various acts of terrorism financing, fraudulent activities and his involvement in economic crimes of national security dimension.”

It claimed he was involved in “fraud, mismanagement of interventionist funds, round tripping and conferment of financial benefit to self and others.”

The DSS had averred, in the suit: FHC/ABJ/CS/2255/2022 that its preliminary investigation showed various acts of terrorism financing, fraudulent activities perpetrated by Emefiele and his involvement in economic crimes of national security dimension.

‘An end to a turbulent era’

Reacting to Emefiele’s suspension, Uche Uwaleke, a financial economist and Professor of Finance and Capital Market in the Department of Banking and Finance of Nasarawa State University Keffi, said: “The Suspension of Godwin Emefelie was long foretold. But this announcement caught not a few by surprise.

“The President cannot sack the CBN Governor, but he can suspend, which is what the President has done. Recall that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was equally suspended from office by the Jonathan administration. This Suspension will mark an end to a turbulent era.”

He added: “Godwin Emefiele will be remembered for implementing big ideas such as the Anchor Borrower Programme, the RT200, the eNaira and a raft of interventions which helped to stimulate the economy during periods of economic recession.”

Uwaleke stated that “Emefelie, to a large extent, succeeded in ensuring financial sector stability going by the prudential ratios. His FOREX demand management policies, especially the 41 items not qualified for FOREX, promoted import substitution, conserved external reserves and ensured relative stability in exchange rates.

“It would be unfair to blame him for the current high inflation rate since most of the causative factors are beyond the control of the CBN.

“On the flip side, he will also be remembered for the currency redesign exercise which didn’t go down well with Nigerians, and the CBN Ways and Means, which grew astronomically during his tenure.

“His greatest mis-step was his attempt to join the list of presidential candidates. All said, I think he deserves some rest now.

He was said to have applied for overseas study leave in the twilight of the Buhari administration

Aviation

DANA Incident :Tukur warns against stripping NCAA’s autonomy

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The Nigerian Government has suspended the operations of Dana Air. The order followed an incident involving a Dana Air plane at Lagos airport

Former Assistant General Secretary of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Alhaji Mohammed Tukur
has warned against the danger of undermining the autonomy of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA).

Alhaji Tukur in a statement described the the grounding of all the fleet of the DANA by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace, Barrister Festus Keyamo as a usurpation of the powers of the NCAA.

“The action of the Minister is like putting our civil aviation on a reverse to the era between the late eighties and the early time of the present democratic dispensation when President Obasanjo for no just course ordered the grounding of the entire Chanchangi fleet over Bellview crash.”

He noted that the development was a dangerous signal that must be repealed so that the civil aviation authority would not be relegated to an appendage of the Ministry.

The former AON scribe further described the grounding of DANA, an airline that just scaled through the economic audit of the NCAA as unfortunate stressing that it was also happening at the wake of the authority’s successful safety audit and FAA’s category one.

“It’s ironic for Keyamo who recently complained of high insurance rates and leasing costs faced by the Nigerian operators to come up with such hammer on DANA which gives an impression that our CAA lacks independence and oversight capability”.

Alhaji Tukur further observed that there was likely an aqua plain on the runway because of the rain saying that it was necessary to have waited for the investigators to come up with the plenary report while only the aircraft involved should have been grounded.

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 ‘Multichoice, a scam’ – Nigerians react to new prices for DStv, GOtv

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There has been growing concerns among Nigerians over the recent increase in subscription fees for Multichoice products, specifically

There has been growing concerns among Nigerians over the recent increase in subscription fees for Multichoice products, specifically Gotv and Dstv. Many Nigerians have expressed their dissatisfaction with the company’s decision to raise prices annually, claiming that it is becoming excessive and burdensome for consumers.

Multichoice on Wednesday jacked up the prices of its offerings in Nigeria four months after its last increment. The company reviewed prices in its packages across the board. The new prices will take effect from May 1, 2024.

With the latest price hike, the DStv Premium package increased from N29,500 to N37,000. Similarly, the DStv Compact+ went up from N19,800 to N25,000 while the Compact package increased from N12,500 to N15,700.

The Comfam package moved from N7,400 to N9,300. Yanga package moved up from 4,200 to N5,100 while Padi package increased from N2,950 to N3,600. HDPVR was increased from N4,000 to N5,000, the Access Fees package from N4,000 to N5,000, and XtraView moved from N4,000 to N5,000.

Meanwhile, the Gotv Supa+ package moved from N12,500 to N15,700, Supa package from N7,600 to N9,600, and Max package from N5,700 to N7,200.

While the Jolli package was jacked up from N3,950 to N4,850, the Jinja package moved from N2,700 to N3,300, and Smallie package from N1,300 to N1,575.

The company implemented an upward review of prices in December 2023, days after announcing a $72m loss in its financial statement for the third quarter of the year.

Checks on the company’s reviewed price list then showed a 20 per cent per cent hike in the company’s packages across the board.

In April 2023, the broadcasting company also announced an upward review of prices on its DStv and GOtv packages by 17 per cent.

This was confirmed in a text message sent to customers that the new rates will take effect on May 1, 2023.

The pay-tv firm said the price adjustment was due to the rising costs of business operations.

“Please note that from May 1, your monthly subscription (premium) will be N24,500. To retain your old price of N21,000 for up to 12 months ensure you are active by April 30,” the text message reads.

Also, in March 22, MultiChoice increased the prices of its DStv and GOtv packages.

Announcing the increase in a statement, the company said the rising costs of inflation and business operations led to the increment in the prices of the packages.

As a result, there have been calls for the government, represented by the National Assembly leaders, to intervene and possibly even ban the usage of Multichoice products in the country.

The rationale behind this move is to safeguard the interests of Nigerian consumers who are grappling with the escalating cost of living in the country. The situation has led to heightened tensions between the company and its customers, with many calling for a more equitable and transparent pricing model.

Businesses need to respond to the concerns of their customers, particularly in a highly competitive market such as the media and entertainment industry. Multichoice’s current pricing policy has been met with significant resistance from Nigerian consumers, and the company must take proactive steps to address these concerns. Failure to do so may result in a loss of customer loyalty, decreased revenue, and reputational damage.

The PAPERS speaks with some consumers about the latest Multichoice products prices.

A civil engineer, Mr. Albert Ihedioha said: “It is not their fault; our government gave them the audacity to be scamming us deliberately. The government is not doing enough to protect the citizen of this country from scamming company like Multichoice. What stops this company from operating pay-as-you-go?  As for me, I have stopped using my DStv, I will look into anther cable for cheaper rate, enough is enough for DStv.

Another consumer, Mr. Kazzem Olaonipekun who operates lounge business also speaks against the hike and called it ‘scam’.

“This is not acceptable, I want call on the government to checkmate this South African company, we can’t accept this. This is like a daylight robbery and scam, imagine the inflation, look at the price and how they have been consistently doing it for three years. These are the people running down our economy, president Tinubu must intervene to this act with urgency.”

Speaking in the same vein, Mrs. Nkechi Sinat, a bar owner in Owerri said it is over to the Nigeria government to call Multichoice to order.

She said: “The truth of the matter is that those who are supposed to checkmate them have taken bribes, and that is why they feel they can do anyhow in our own country. Can we go to South Africa to do such? The kind of leverages they have here, can we have it there? As for me and my family, no more GOtv or DStv, and I want to confirm to you that I am selling off my dish once the current subscription expires next week.”

Mr. Michael Ighodalo from Belgium questions the manner at which some companies operate in Nigeria which is different from the way they operate in their own countries.

Hear him: “In a democratic country like Nigeria, such nonsense should stop. I think the Senate needs to look into this, especially this time when people are facing hardship, Multichoice is not reasonable at all. Is that the way they behave in their own country? I am calling on every Nigerian to stand up and say NO to MULTICHOICE and its products. They should stop the extortion. We have other products in the country why can’t we patronize them and dump these Multichoice products?”

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NGX: Investors lose N673bn in five hours

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Investors in the Nigerian equities market endured another bearish session on Wednesday as they lost N673 billion at the end of trading.

Investors in the Nigerian equities market endured another bearish session on Wednesday as they lost N673 billion at the end of trading.

This followed the dip in the share value of MTNN, Transcorp Hotel, Oando and FBNH on the trading floor today.

After five hours of trading at the capital market, the equity capitalization decreased to N55.4 trillion from N56.1 trillion posted by the bourse on Tuesday.

Similarly, the All-Share Index (ASI) decreased to 98,121.30 from 99,311.54 achieved by the bourse the previous day.

The market breadth was positive as 20 stocks advanced, 19 declined, while 78 others remained unchanged in 7,907 deals.

Sunu Assurances Nigeria, Neimeth International Pharmaceutical, and The Initiate led other gainers with 10% growth each in share price to close at N1.21, N1.98, and N1.98 from their previous price of N1.10, N1.80, and N1.80 per share.

UPDC, CAP, and McNichol also increased their share prices by 9.90%, 9.90%, and 9.57% respectively.

On the flip side, MTN Nigeria Communications and Transcorp Hotels led other price decliners as they shed 10% each off their share prices to close at N201.60 and N87.93 from their previous N224.00 and N97.70 per share.

Oando, First Bank of Nigeria Holdings (FBNH), and Fidson Healthcare equally shed their share prices by 9.90%, 9.82%, and 9.75% respectively.

On the volume index, Guaranty Trust Holding Company traded 81.407 million shares valued at N2.9 billion in 444 deals followed by Zenith Bank which traded 46.156 million shares worth N1.69 billion in 650 deals.

United Bank for Africa (UBA) traded 41.600 million shares valued at N953.5 million in 717 deals.

On the value index, GTCO recorded the highest value for the day trading stocks worth N2.93 billion in 444 deals followed by Zenith Bank which traded equities worth N1.69 billion in 650 deals.

UBA traded stocks worth N953 million in 717 deals.

Source: RipplesNigeria

 

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FULL LIST: Multichoice hikes DStv, GOtv prices

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Broadcasting company Multichoice has jacked up the prices of its offerings in Nigeria four months after its last increment.

Broadcasting company Multichoice has jacked up the prices of its offerings in Nigeria four months after its last increment.

The company reviewed prices in its packages across the board. The new prices will take effect from May 1, 2024.

With the latest price hike, the DStv Premium package increased from N29,500 to N37,000. Similarly, the DStv Compact+ went up from N19,800 to N25,000 while the Compact package increased from N12,500 to N15,700.

The Comfam package moved from N7,400 to N9,300. Yanga package moved up from 4,200 to N5,100 while Padi package increased from N2,950 to N3,600. HDPVR was increased from N4,000 to N5,000, the Access Fees package from N4,000 to N5,000, and XtraView moved from N4,000 to N5,000.

Meanwhile, the Gotv Supa+ package moved from N12,500 to N15,700, Supa package from N7,600 to N9,600, and Max package from N5,700 to N7,200.

While the Jolli package was jacked up from N3,950 to N4,850, the Jinja package moved from N2,700 to N3,300, and Smallie package from N1,300 to N1,575.

The PAPERS reports that the company implemented an upward review of prices in December 2023, days after announcing a $72m loss in its financial statement for the third quarter of the year.

Checks on the company’s reviewed price list then showed a 20 per cent per cent hike in the company’s packages across the board.

 

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UBA branches sealed over alleged N14.3 million unpaid tax

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The Kaduna Internal Revenue Service, KADIRS, on Wednesday sealed the United Bank for Africa branches in the state metropolis over

The Kaduna Internal Revenue Service, KADIRS, on Wednesday sealed the United Bank for Africa branches in the state metropolis over alleged N14.3million unpaid tax.

Speaking to newsmen after the excercise, Aysha Ahmad, the KADIRS Board Secretary/Legal Adviser, said the enforcement was to ensure tax compliance in the whole state in respect of withholding taxes and money agents.

“We sent so many demand notices to them. We have asked them to pay the money but they refused, we are left with no other option but to enforce,” she said.

Mrs Ahmad added that the service wants voluntary compliance of tax payment, while lamenting that the defaulter had been recalcitrant.

She, however, said when the defaulters pay, the service would unseal the premises.

Speaking further, the board secretary said the the enforcement was part of a rocess to achieve the N120billion revenue target set by the Kaduna state government.

“To achieve a target, there is always a starting point. Sealing UBA branches in the state for tax default is our start. We are also going after all other defaulters to get what is due for the state government.

“We served them with demand notices . We have been communicating with their consultant and Headquarters. Infact, they even took us to court and the outcome was like a win-win situation at the tax appeal tribunal.

“The court gave us directives to review our assessment which we did and they did not still comply. It is on the reviewed assessment we are enforcing this morning,” she said.

Mrs Ahmad called on the people of the state to ensure voluntary tax compliance, describing it as a civic responsibility.

NAN

 

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MTN records highest number of subscribers porting to other networks

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Telecommunications giant, MTN, has recorded the highest number of subscribers porting out of its network since inception to December 2022.

Telecommunications giant, MTN, has recorded the highest number of subscribers porting out of its network since inception to December 2022.

This is according to the Nigerian Communications Commission in its newly published 2022 Subscriber/Network Data Annual Report.

The report represents the analysis of the Subscriber and Service Data – Porting Trend in Nigeria, from May 2013 to December 2022.

The analysis revealed that of the four major GSM operators in the country, 444,226 subscribers ported out of MTN to other network providers, as against Airtel, Glo and EMTS that respectively recorded 351,422; 277,527; and 190,724 customers porting out.

The analysis also revealed that EMTS recorded 676,944 port-ins, representing the highest number of subscribers porting into its network, followed by AIRTEL with 331,837; MTN with 181,301; and Glo with 105,746 port-ins.

A segment of the report titled, ‘C. subscriber & service data – porting trend in Nigeria as at December 2022’, highlighted the number of GSM porting activities across the four major network providers in the country.

It read, “Table 14 below shows the trend of Nigeria’s porting activities from inception (May, 2013 to December, 2022) for the four (4) major GSM Operators. The analysis illustrates that EMTS had the highest count of Port-in subscribers [676,944] while Airtel, MTN and Glo respectively recorded the following counts of port-in as follows [331,837]; [181,301] & [105,746].”

“Similarly, our analysis from May, 2013 to December, 2022, reveals that MTN had the highest number of subscribers that ported-out [444,226] to other networks while Airtel, Glo & EMTS are as follows [351,422]; [277,527] & [190,742] respectively.”

 

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