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Ex-CBN director urges FG to reduce cost of governance

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Dr Titus Okunrounmu, Former Director of CBN

Last Updated on August 17, 2023 by Fellow Press

Dr Titus Okunrounmu, former Director, Budgetary Department at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has advised the Federal Government to reduce the cost of governance in order to stem the country’s debt profile.

Okunrounmu, who gave the advice while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Ota, Ogun, described the list of ministerial portfolio on Wednesday as over bloated for a country with huge debt profile.

According to him, funding the nation’s recurrent budget with borrowing does not need these large number of ministers and bloated special assistants, which inevitably must allow for allowances and official vehicles.

“These excess baggage was not projected for in the 2023 Federal Budget and the revenue estimates could not cover the recurrent budget.

“In addition, the federal government needs financial discipline to curb corruption in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to reduce debt profile in the country,” he said.

Okunrounmu advised the federal government to redouble its efforts and work against policy somersault to encourage influx of foreign investors into the country.

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Dangote to venture into steel production

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Last Updated on June 14, 2024 by Fellow Press

Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has mooted plans to delve into steel production in the near future stating that he wants to ensure that every steel used in West Africa comes from Nigeria.

The industrial mogul stated this during an interview at the ongoing Afreximbank Afro-Caribbean Trade & Investment Forum in Nassau, The Bahamas.

When asked if he is taking a break after the refinery, he noted that the next venture after the refinery project would be in Steel manufacturing and ensure that all Steel products used in West Africa comes from Nigeria.

He also encouraged African leaders to take agriculture and solid mineral development seriously lamenting the fact that food imports cost the continent dearly by increasing unemployment and poverty.

He said, “What we need to do that is missing is actually to concentrate and pay more attention to agriculture and solid minerals.
I don’t like people coming to take our solid minerals to process and bring the finished product.
We should try and industrialise our continent and take it to the next level.”

“I told somebody we are not going to take any break. What we are trying to do is to make sure at least in West Africa, we want to make sure that every single steel that we use will come from Nigeria”

Nigeria has tried unsuccessfully to become a leader in the steel manufacturing industry with a handful of failed projects like the Ajaokuta steel plant, Delta Steel Company, Osogbo and Jos rolling mills even under government and private ownership.

Like the oil refineries, the federal government under different administrations has spent billions trying to put the local steel plants to work but has been unsuccessful.
The administration of President Bola Tinubu had promised during the campaigns to ensure steel production starts in the multi-billion-dollar Ajaokuta steel complex.

The federal government in the 2024 appropriation act budgeted around N4.45 billion for the plant but hopes to raise around N35 billion from private investors to bring the plant to life for the first time in its history.

However, the Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu has also stated that reviving the plant could cost around $2 billion to $5 billion.

According to the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency (NSRMEA), total steel consumption in the country averages around 10 million metric tonnes of which 70% is imported.
The current Minister of Steel Development had earlier stated that Nigeria spends around $4 billion on steel imports annually despite having around 74 steel plants and fabricators across the country.

Nigeria is home to significant iron-ore deposit- a critical raw material in steel production found in Kogi state.

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CBN speaks on plan to revoke licences of more banks

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Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Fellow Press

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has no plans to revoke the licences of Unity, Polaris, and Keystone banks.

Online reports had claimed the apex bank would terminate the licences of the three banks, following the revocation of Heritage Bank’s licence.

However, in a post on its social media pages on Tuesday, the bank said the content was not authentic.

“The content is fake and not from the CBN,” the post reads

On June 4, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revoked the banking licence of Heritage Bank.

According to the CBN, the decision was made due to the bank’s inability to improve its financial performance.

“The Board and Management of the bank have not been able to improve the bank’s financial performance, a situation which constitutes a threat to financial stability,” the bank said.

However, the apex said Heritage Bank had not improved and “has no reasonable prospects of recovery”, thereby making revoking the licence the next necessary step.

The bank said the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) is as a result of this appointed as the liquidator of the bank per Section 12 (3) of the Banks and Other Financial Act (BOFIA) 2020.

The revocation, according to the apex bank, reflects its continued dedication to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety and soundness of Nigeria’s financial system.

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