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Nigerian press focuses on commencement of new debt recovery by banks, others

The commencement of the new debt recovery policy by banks and the position of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers on the imposition of stamp duties ranging from 0.78 percent to six percent of the value of rents and leases by the Federal Government are the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Monday.The Punch reports that the Deposit Money Banks on August 1 commenced the implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Global Standing Instruction which allows them to recover outstanding debts of debtors from other banks.

The experts who spoke to the newspaper said that the implementation would help to differentiate real wealthy businessmen from debtor businessmen.

A former President, Trade Union Congress, Peter Esele, said the guideline was long overdue, but added that it was better late than never.

He said, “The financial system has been abused and it is baffling that one man would be owing six banks in the same country; it can’t happen anywhere else.

The newspaper says that the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers has expressed disappointment over the imposition of stamp duties ranging from 0.78 percent to six percent of the value of rents and leases by the Federal Government.

The President, NIESV, Emmanuel Wike, who gave the stand of the institute at a press briefing held in Lagos on Friday, expressed disappointment with the Federal Inland Revenue Service’s decision to impose extra tax burden on Nigerians despite the catastrophic consequences of COVID-19 on the economy.

“While property is universally acknowledged as a veritable vehicle of recovery from recession, albeit economic depression, it is a gross anathema to introduce a tax regime that will frustrate land and property transactions and development,” Wike said.

He noted the 1.5 percent ad valorem charges on Deeds, Power of Attorney and Memorandum of Understanding documents would stifle investments in housing and real estate and called for a flat rate stamp duty charge at a maximum rate of N1,000.

ThisDay reports that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has clarified that it did not lose 48 million barrels of crude oil to theft, describing an allegation that such quantity of crude oil was stolen and shipped to China as a failed attempt by officials of a Mexican firm to extort, intimidate and defraud the corporation.

In fact, it said, there was no stolen Nigerian crude oil anywhere in China. Consequently, lawyers to the state-owned oil firm, Afe Babalola and Co., had said the corporation had concluded arrangements to sue an oil trading firm, Samano Sa De CV, for making several unsubstantiated claims against it.

The NNPC has also described the company that made the allegation of stolen crude oil as “an international crime syndicate.

”The company had written the NNPC demanding a five per cent reward for ‘exposing’ the alleged diversion and theft of 48 million barrels of crude oil valued at over $2 billion.

The newspaper also reports that concerns were raised at the weekend over the rising trend of government officials signing loan agreements with a clause that waives the sovereign immunity of the country if it defaults in its repayment plan.

Last week, the House of Representatives summoned the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed; and Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Alhaji Isa Pantami; over a loan agreement with China, which contained the waiver clause.

According to the House, Article 8(1) of the commercial loan agreement signed between Nigeria and Export-Import Bank of China concedes Nigeria’s sovereignty to China.

The lawmakers had picked holes in the $400 million loan agreement for Nigeria National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Infrastructure Backbone Phase II Project, signed in 2018.

The Sun reports that the dust raised by the controversy surrounding the 461MW Azura-Edo Independent Power Project (IPP) is yet to settle as the Federal Government says it is not liable to pay $1.2 billion to the promoters of the project.

The Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, Ahmed Rufa’i Zakari, said the Azura-Edo IPP is a functional 461 MW power plant owned by a group of investors led by an international firm, Actis, and includes the Edo State government as part of the investment consortium.

According to him, the plant supplies over 8 percent of the power on national grid, adding that the controversy as to who signed the agreements has no real basis, if indeed the only quest is for the plain truth.

‘‘Those who argue that the signing of the World Bank guarantees make the Federal Government under Buhari responsible for contracting Azura need only to look at the two basic transaction documents. Another curious mischief in this controversy is the assertion that Nigeria will become liable in the sum of $1.2 billion if it defaults on the Azura contract. Nowhere in any of the documents signed from 2013 to 2015 is any such figure mentioned.


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Published on 28.04.2020

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