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ICPC recovers N53bn from real estate developer for FMBN

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ICPC Headquarters Abuja
ICPC Headquarters Abuja
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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has recovered N53 billion from a real estate developer for the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.

The Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye disclosed this during a meeting with the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee Investigating the Operations of Real Estate Developers in FCT.

Owasanoye said that the developer took the money without providing houses for its subscribers.

He stressed that the Commission would always deploy its mandates against developers who took public funds with the promise to provide houses for public or civil servants without doing so.

The ICPC chairman  also lamented the rising housing deficit in the country.

He noted that unscrupulous real estate developers in the FCT took advantage of desperate civil servants to scam them of their hard-earned money in the name of housing projects.

Owasanoye said that the Commission was desirous of partnering with the ad-hoc committee to bring sanity to the housing sector because of its critical nature to the government.

He told the committee that one of the ways to tackle housing deficit and fraudulent real estate developers in the country was for government to completely deploy technology as well as grant easy access to information.

“The lack of openness is also creating problems.

“Government should at least put information in the public domain where people can easily verify details of land.

“A lot of people are scammed from fake layout, double allocations and others”.

Earlier, the Chairman of the House Ad-hoc Committee, Rep. Blessing Onoh, observed that cases of developers defrauding would-be house owners was becoming rampant.

Onoh maintained that it was common for real estate developers to start projects, later abandon them and move on to other cites after collecting monies from subscribers.

She said that the committee was set up to proffer solutions to the anomalies and ensure that Nigerians who subscribed to housing projects end up owning them in accordance with the terms of agreement they entered. (NAN)

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Business & Economy

NAICOM unveils real-time platform for deep penetration, efficiency

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The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), has automated insurance industry activities with the unveiling of a new platform to deepen the insurance market and increase the penetration.

NAICOM had in July 2009, embarked on a comprehensive computerization effort tagged ‘project e-regulation’ which was meant to transform its operational procedures and the conduct of its regulatory responsibilities by providing a robust, world class ICT Infrastructure to help implement automated business processes internally and for industry wide supervision via an integrated platform.

Prior to this development, the processing of applications required that applicants physically drop off their applications at the Commission with the attendant challenges of delays in processing times, wasted manpower hours due to back-and-forth in application processing as well as ineffective application tracking system.

Speaking at the unveiling of the new platform in Abuja, Sunday Thomas, Commissioner for Insurance, said “with the completion of the portal there will be process efficiency and faster processing time as applications and supporting documents are submitted online, applicant’s account is updated with the status of the application as it progresses and there is effective Real-time communication between NAICOM and the applicant.

“The Portal also provides a Platform for interconnectivity by all industry stakeholders to support real-time aggregation of data on policies at the time of underwriting and policy issuance. Each policy will be issued with a unique policy identification that will be associated with the policy for the lifetime of the policy.

“The Portal is presently made up of four systems which include, The Policy System that captures all insurance policies issued in Nigeria online real time via Application Programming Interface (APIs).

“This helps to generate a unique policy identification number for all issued policies necessary to ensure fidelity and validity of all policies in the country and manages information on all insurance policies and premiums and also enables insurance customers and third-party entities such as Law Enforcement Agencies to query and validate insurance policies.

“Also, with the Licensing System, the Portal automates the core business processes of Registration/Renewal of Licenses, New Products, AIP no objection & Attestation approvals at NAICOM.

“All of these application processes will proceed digitally from the application stage where all supporting documents are provided, to the review stage, the approval stage and license generation where applicable.

Thomas appreciated the African Reinsurance Corporation (African Re) for its funding of this critical software that would improve efficiency and effectiveness in supervisory and regulatory oversight of the Nigerian Insurance Industry.

“Indeed, this is a welcome development and further demonstration of commitment by development partners to the transformation of the Nigerian economy and the change agenda of the current administration,” he said.

The Commissioner expected that the challenges of poor insurance penetration, public trust and confidence in insurance, and inadequate real time statistical data of the insurance industry will be resolved through the efficient deployment of the portal.

“Also the direct interface with the Industry provided by the portal will ensure greater accountability and transparency while the digital platform will provide a single point of Contact between NAICOM and the Insurance Industry.

“In addition it facilitates the Complaints Management System. This is a customized solution designed to help the Commission manage complaints and handle issues seamlessly as well as ensure that insurance companies are performing highly and clients are serviced adequately.

“The system is also designed to integrate directly with NAICOM existing database, utilizing existing records of customers and insurance companies; it incorporates multiple channels for initiation of complaints including Social media applications (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter),Direct action on the complaint portal, Walk-in complainants, Regular media, Emails &SMS (Short Code)and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD).

“The Portal also ensures Regulatory Returns and Financial Analysis,” he added

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ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisation re-elects Dr. Ezra, as president

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Dr. Ezra Yakusak - MD/CEO NEPC
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Dr. Ezra Yakusak, the Executive Director/CEO of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has been reelected as the President of ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisations (TPOs) Network in Accra Ghana.

Dr. Yakusat, will serve another One-year tenure and will lead 15 other member ECOWAS countries in driving trade within the sub-region.

His re-election is also in line with Article 11 of the ECOWAS TPO Network. The ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organization is a network of all Trade Promotion Organizations in West Africa established by the decisions of Council of Ministers at the Ordinary Session.

Nigeria became the pioneer president in April 2021. Dr. Yakusat, became the president following the expiration of the tenure of Mr. Awolowo as ED/ CEO of NEPC.

A statement by the council said the re-election of Dr. Ezra was at the end of 2nd Annual General Meeting of the Network held at Alisa hotel, Accra, Ghana from 19th – 20th May, 2022.

He was re-elected along with the vice president, Mr. Ben Guy Mbangue from Cote’ D’ivoire.

The duo constitute the Executive Bureau of the Network and the tenure expires after one year. All members present unanimously re-elected the President and Vice President respectively.

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World Bank projects Nigeria’s Diaspora remittances to increase in 2022

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World Bank has projected Nigeria’s Diaspora remittance inflow to increase to $29bn in 2022 because of higher food prices and the continued adoption of official bank channels.

The bank said, migrants from the country are likely to send more money home to help with the hike in the prices of staples.

A report titled, ‘Migration and Development Brief (May 2022): A War in a Pandemic: Implications of the Ukraine crisis and COVID-19 on the global governance of migration and remittance flows,’ the bank stated that remittance flows to low and middle-income countries are expected to increase by 4.2 per cent to $630bn in 2022.

It said: “With risks weighted to the downside, there are several factors that support a view for continued—though more moderate—7.1 per cent gain inflows to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022.

“Momentum for the use of official channels in Nigeria should sustain an uptrend in the year, within flows reaching $21bn.

“Though economic activity is likely to ease in the United States and Europe, fundamentals remain positive for continued gains in remittance flows to the remainder of Africa, as the influence of ‘altruistic’ motivations that were demonstrated in Africa and South Asia during the peak pandemic years will likely carry over to the period of sharp increases in staple food prices.”

The global bank further said remittance inflow to Sub-Saharan Africa was $49bn in 2021, with Nigerian contributing $19.2bn to the total inflow, adding that the use of informal channels to transfer money to the region caused a 28 per cent reduction in inflows in 2020.

“In 2022, remittance inflows are projected to grow by 7.1 per cent driven by continued shift to the use of official channels in Nigeria and higher food prices – migrants will likely send more money to home countries that are now suffering extraordinary increases in prices of staples,” the bank said.

The World Bank stated that the Naira-4-Dollar policy, which was an attempt to return remittance to formal channels, of the Central Bank of Nigeria helped boost inflows by 11.2 per cent in 2021, adding that the stabilisation of the naira against the dollar within a range of 410-415 per dollar over the last year also contributed to the pickup in recorded inflows.

It noted that the increased stability of the Naira and increased use of the e-Naira would help boost the nation’s chances of achieving $21bn in remittance for 2022.

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