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FG To Borrow Dormant Account Balances, Unclaimed Dividends

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Unclaimed dividends and bank account balances unattended to for at least six years will be available as special credit to the federal government through the Unclaimed Funds Trust Fund.

According to the Finance Act 2020 recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, the trust fund will be a sub-fund of the Crisis Intervention Fund.

“Any unclaimed dividend of a public limited liability company quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and any unutilised amounts in a dormant bank account maintained in or by a deposit money bank which has remained unclaimed or unutilised for a period of not less than six years from the date of declaring the dividend or domiciling the funds in a bank account shall be transferred immediately to the trust fund,” the act read.

The act exempts official bank accounts owned by the federal government, state government or local governments or any of their ministries, departments or agencies.

According to the act, the monies transferred to the trust fund will be a “special debt owed by the federal government to shareholders and dormant bank account holders”.

It also states that the original owners of the money can claim it at any time.

The operation of the trust fund will be supervised by the Debt Management Office (DMO) and governed by a governing council chaired by the finance minister and a co-chairperson from the private sector appointed by the president.

Other members of the governing council shall include the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), director-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), managing director of the National Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), a representative of the registrars of companies, two representatives of the shareholders’ association, a representative of the Bankers’ Committee and the director-general of the Debt Management Office as the secretary of the trust fund.

This move will make needed funds available to the federal government without foreign exchange worries or conditions attached to loans from multilateral lenders.

According to the Debt Management Office, Nigeria owed $31.98 billion to multilateral lenders like the World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and African Development Bank (AfDB) Group as of September 2020.

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Rakib Idris is a scientist, blogger, entrepreneur, web designer, socioeconomic and political commentator. He loves writing quality contents for readers and presenting to them happenings around the world promptly as they occur. Thank you for visiting pointloaded.com , •••• For Advert Placement Call/WhatsApp: 09054011337 or send an E-mail to info@pointloaded.com

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Bitcoin Market Hits $1 Trillion In Value

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The total value of all bitcoin topped $1.0 trillion on Friday, capping a spectacular record-breaking week for the world’s most popular cryptocurrency.

The digital unit zoomed to another record pinnacle at $54,182, meaning that the combined value of all bitcoin now stands at $1.002 trillion according to data provider Coinmarketcap.com.

More to follow . . .

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CBN Orders Banks To Close All Accounts Transacting In Cryptocurrency

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ordered all banks to close accounts of anyone who transacts in cryptocurrency.

The order was contained in a circular to banks and other financial institutions, signed on Friday by the Director of Banking Supervision, Bello Hassan, and it is expected to take effect immediately.

According to the CBN, dealing in cryptocurrency or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria circular of January 12, 2017, ref FPR/DIR/GEN/CIR/06/010 which cautioned Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs), other Financial Institutions and members of the public on the risk associated with transactions in cryptocurrency refers.

“Further to earlier regulatory directions on the subject, the bank hereby wishes to remind regulated institutions dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited.

“Accordingly, all DMB’s NBFI’s or OFI’s are directed to identify persons and/or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.

“Please, note that breaches of this directive will attract severe regulatory sanctions. This letter is with immediate effect”.

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Sale Of Govt Assets Will Boost Economy And Benefit Nigerians, Says Finance Minister

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The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, on Friday, January 22 said the Federal Government’s planned sale of public assets will benefit Nigerians and help to boost the economy.

In an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mrs Ahmed, who is also the Minister of Budget and National Planning, said some government assets are currently moribund and provide little or no value to Nigerians in their current state.

“There are some government assets that are dead that can be sold to the private sector to be reactivated and put to use for the benefit of Nigerians,” the Minister said.

“So we are looking at different – and I am a member of the National Council on Privatisation – we are looking at different categories of government assets that government has not been able to manage, that are lying down and in some cases even completely rundown, to cede them off to the private sector.

On January 12, Mrs Ahmed had revealed the government’s plan to sell public assets to partly finance the N13.58 trillion 2021 budget.

On Friday, Ms Ahmed stressed that the “intention is not just funding the budget, it is to reactivate these assets and hand it over and have them bring contributions to the growth in the economy.”

She added that the Bureau of Public Enterprises will begin to coordinate with other arms of government on the asset sales in the first quarter of the year.

” . . . in the last week of December, we had a meeting of the National Council on Privatisation where we approved the annual work plan, the 2021 work plan, for that Bureau of Public Enterprises,” she said.

“And I guess it is in this first quarter that the BPE will now be engaging the Senate committee and other committees they work with to say this is our work plan for the year.”

In a statement on Sunday, civil society group SERAP had asked the National Assembly to stop the federal government from selling public assets to fund the 2021 budget.

The group said the government should, instead, look to identify areas in the budget to cut, such as salaries and allowances for public officials.

‘Nothing new’

On Monday, Osun State Lawmaker had defended the federal govrnment’s plan to sell public assets to fund the budgets.

“The issue of the sale of assets is not new,” he said during an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“Even in the previous budgets, there have always been other sources of revenue and the sales of assets is one of such.”

But he stressed that the government must be transparent throughout the process.

“ . . . the critical issue we need to look at, is ‘What assets are we selling?’ Some assets are already liabilities, so what are we keeping them for? That is my humble opinion,” the lawmaker added. “You have to tell us which assets we are looking at.”

A deficit budget

President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2021 budget into law in late December after it had been passed by the National Assembly.

About one-third of the budget is devoted to capital expenditure but critics maintain the government hasn’t done enough to curb unnecessary spending, especially around cuts in salaries and allowances for public officials.

With oil revenues still affected by the pandemic, the government has said it will borrow N5.6 trillion from domestic and foreign lenders to fund the budget.

The sale of moribund assets is expected to provide additional funding.

The National Arts Theatre and the Tafawa Balewa Square are some assets that could be put up for sale by the government.

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