MINISTER OF FINANCE CLARIFIES ACTIONS TAKEN ON ALLEGED FRAUD IN YOUWIN PROGRAMME

The attention of the management of the Federal Ministry of Finance has been drawn to a story in The Punch newspaper of Tuesday, March 28, 2017 entitled, “Probe Uncovers Massive Fraud in YouWin Programme.”

It will be recalled that the current administration inherited YouWin as an ongoing programme, which had made legally binding commitments of grants to 1, 500 entrepreneurs. The administration decided that those commitments should be honoured. It was in that regard that a batch of awardees under YouWin 3 was submitted to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, for cash disbursement totaling N611,821,910.

Allegations were received from an anonymous whistleblower, which provided documentary evidence of irregularities in 10 cases out of the batch. The Minister immediately directed that an internal investigation be conducted to determine the veracity of the alleged fraud and report the findings to her for necessary action.

The substance of the allegations was that an awardee was the child of a former Director in the Ministry and there were a number of cases where married couples each benefitted. This raised concerns about the integrity of the original selection process, which took place in 2014.

The position of the Ministry is that investigations are ongoing under the Presidential Initiative on Continues Audit (PICA) who will review each suspected case to determine whether any irregularity occurred.  In the interim, disbursements of this batch have been suspended.

It is on record that the original YouWin programme midwife 3,900 enterprises within four years, and was just one of the multiple intervention programmes to create jobs at the time.

This administration initiated a review of the YouWin programme with a view to ensuring sustainability.  That review acknowledged the success of the original YouWin programme but also found among other limitations, that awardees were overly focused on the grant aspect of the programme and few had been able to secure other forms of funding to grow their businesses despite each receiving up to 10 million in grants.  In that regard, the Ministry redesigned the programme and relaunched it as YouWinConnect to focus more on continuous enterprise education which will build the capacity of young entrepreneurs across range of disciplines.

By so doing, YouWinConnect expects to develop entrepreneurs who can attract funding from wide range of sources currently available and take advantage of new funding sources.  The funding element of YouWinConnect will now take the form of a Venture Fund which will take equity stakes in new and growing businesses.

FINANCE MINISTRY UNVEILS MANAGEMENT AND BOARD MEMBERS OF DBN

The Federal Ministry of Finance on Thursday, announced details of members of the board and management of the newly licensed Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN).

The Management team is led by Mr. Tony Okpanachi, a banker and erstwhile Deputy Managing Director/Deputy CEO, Ecobank Nigeria Limited.

Before his appointment as Managing Director/ CEO of Development Bank of Nigeria, he was the Deputy Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria Limited. Prior to that, he was the Managing Director, Ecobank Kenya and Cluster Managing Director for East Africa (comprising Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Ethiopia). He was also at various times Managing Director of Ecobank Malawi and Regional Coordinator for Lagos and South West of Ecobank Nigeria. 

A seasoned Banker with over 26 years’ experience, He holds a Master degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Manchester Business School UK and a Master of Science degree in Economics from University of Lagos.

Mr Okpanachi will be supported by the Chief Financial Officer, Mrs. Ijeoma Ozulumba and Chief Risk Officer, Mr. Olu Adegbola. 

The Board members include:  Chairman, Dr. Shehu Yahaya (who was the interim MD of DBN and former Executive Director, AfDB); Managing Director/Chief Executive, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Uche Orji and Mohammed  Kalif, of the African Development Bank.

Independent Directors of the DBN are former Group Managing Director/CEO of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr. Philips Oduoza; President and CEO, African  Finance Corporation,  Mr. Andrew Alli; Chairman, FBN Merchant Bank, Alhaji Bello Maccido; Founder/Managing Director, JNC International Limited, Mrs Clare Omatseye and the Managing Director, CEO Excel Professional Service Limited, Mr. Oladimeji Alo.

The Finance Ministry had on Wednesday received notice from the regulator that it was free to commence operations of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSME) focused Development Bank of Nigeria.

Speaking at a recent strategy retreat with the management team, board members, and other key stakeholders of DBN in attendance, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun reaffirmed the importance of the DBN’s mandate and assured them of the public sector support needed to ensure the DBN’s success.  According to Adeosun, “despite limited access to financing, MSMEs contribute a significant 45% to the national economy.  If these institutions could have reliable access to working and investment capital at low cost, the multiplier effect on economic growth and job creation would be significant”.

CBN APPROVES LICENCE FOR DBN

The Central bank of Nigeria has approved the grant of a Wholesale Development Finance Institution Licence with national authorization to the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) Plc, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has confirmed.

The approval was conveyed in a letter addressed to the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Officer of DBN dated March 28, 2017.  The letter was signed by the Deputy Governor of the CBN in charge of Financial System Stability. The approval was subject to meeting the minimum capital requirement of N100 billion and the reconstitution of the Board of the Bank and reviewing its organogram.

The DBN, was conceived in 2014 however, its take-off had been fraught with delays. The President Muhammadu Buhari led administration inherited the project with a determination to resolve all outstanding issues and set a target of 2017 for its take-off.

It could be recalled that the Minister of Finance said that the DBN will have access to US$1.3bn (N396.5 billion) which has been jointly provided by the World Bank (WB), KfW (German Development Bank), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Agence Française de Development (French Development Agency). The Bank was also finalising agreements with the European Investment Bank (EIB).

She also stated that the DBN, will provide loans to all sectors of the economy including, manufacturing, services and other industries not currently served by existing development banks thereby filling an important gap in the provision of finance to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

As a wholesale bank, the DBN will lend wholesale to Microfinance Banks which will on-lend medium to long-term loans to MSMEs. The MSMEs contribute about 48.47 percent to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of Nigeria but have access to only about 5 percent of lending from Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).

The Federal Government expects that the influx of additional capital from the DBN will lower borrowing rates and the longer tenure of the loans, will provide the required flexibility in the management of cash flows, giving businesses the opportunity to make capital improvements, and acquire equipment or supplies.

NIGERIA PRICED ITS US500 MILLION NOTES AT A YIELD OF 7.5 PER CENT

Announcement of pricing of US$500 million notes by the Federal Republic of Nigeria under its US$1.5 billion Global Medium Term Note programme to be consolidated and form a single series with the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s existing US$1,000,000,000 Notes due 2032

The Federal Republic of Nigeria (the “Republic”) today announces that it has priced its offering of US$500 million aggregate principal amount of notes (the “Notes”) at a yield of 7.5% under its US$1.5 billion (increased from US$1 billion) Global Medium Term Note Programme, which will be consolidated and form a single series with the Republic’s existing US$1,000,000,000 7.875 per cent. Notes due 2032 issued on 16 February 2017 (the “Original Notes”).  The terms and conditions of the Notes will be identical to those of the Original Notes, paying a coupon of 7.875% per annum, maturing on 16 February 2032 and repayable by way of bullet repayment of the principal together with the Original Notes. As with the Original Notes, the Republic intends to use the proceeds of the Notes to fund capital expenditures in the 2016 budget.

The successful pricing, which is priced 37.5bps inside the original coupon rate, demonstrates continued strong market appetite for Nigerian securities. This, despite continued volatility in emerging and frontier markets and shows confidence by the international investment community in Nigeria’s economic reform agenda.

When issued, the Notes will be admitted alongside the Original Notes to the official list of the UK Listing Authority and to trading on the London Stock Exchange’s regulated market. The Republic may apply for the Notes to be eligible for trading or listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and Financial Markets Dealers Quotations Over-the-Counter Securities Exchange.

Pricing of the Notes comes shortly after Nigeria launched its National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020 on 7 March 2017. The plan focuses on policy objectives in five core areas; macroeconomic policy, economic diversification and growth drivers, competitiveness, social inclusion and jobs, and governance and other enablers. Key targets of the NERGP include reaching single-digit inflation, further growth in the agricultural sector, reducing unemployment, increasing operational energy capacity and domestic refining capacity, improving transportation infrastructure and stabilising the exchange rate, with an emphasis on implementation, monitoring and evaluation of these economic goals.

Commenting following the successful pricing, the Honorable Minister of Finance Mrs Kemi Adeosun said:

“The proceeds from this additional note issuance will go towards funding capital projects in the 2016 budget. Infrastructure spending is at the heart of our National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which was released earlier this month and guides how we will deliver the urgent reform our economy needs between now and 2020. Resetting the Nigerian economy is essential in order for us to deliver sustainable long term growth.”

Commenting on the Notes’ pricing, the DMO Director General, Dr Abraham Nwankwo said:

"Following the success of our US$1 billion note issuance in February, Nigeria is delighted to have increased our 2017 Eurobond programme to US$1.5 billion and to have secured the additional US$500 million. Nigeria was keen to take advantage of favorable market conditions and investor appetite for Nigerian debt to complete our foreign borrowing programme for the 2016 budget and deliver further funds for vital capital projects.”

Citi, and Standard Chartered acted as Joint Lead Managers and Stanbic IBTC, as Financial Advisers on this Issue.

The information contained in this communication shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of the securities referred to herein in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration, exemption from registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. The Republic has not registered, and does not intend to register, any portion of the securities in any of these jurisdictions.

This communication is not an offer of securities for sale in the United States. The securities referred to herein have not been registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an exemption from registration under the Securities Act, and the rules and regulations thereunder. The Republic does not intend to register any of the securities in the United States or to conduct a public offering of the securities in the United States or elsewhere.  

This communication does not constitute an offer of the Securities to the public in the United Kingdom.  This communication is being distributed to and is directed only at (i) persons who are outside the United Kingdom or (ii) persons who are investment professionals within the meaning of Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (the “Order”), and (iii) high net worth entities, and other persons to whom it may lawfully be communicated, falling within Article 49(2)(a) to (d) of the Order, and (iv) any other persons to whom it may otherwise lawfully be communicated or caused to be communicated (all such persons in (i) to (iv) together being referred to as “Relevant Persons”).  Any investment activity to which this communication relates will only be available to and will only be engaged with, Relevant Persons.  Any person who is not a Relevant Person should not act or rely on this document or any of its contents.

The approval of the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission is not required for primary offerings of securities issued by the Republic. Any securities referred to herein have not been registered with the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission. Where securities issued by the Republic are listed on any securities exchange in Nigeria, the securities shall be subject to the relevant regulatory requirements relating to secondary market transactions of securities issued by the Republic.  In such circumstances, offering participants will be required to comply with applicable rules and regulations in Nigeria in order to offer the relevant securities to the public in Nigeria.

UPDATE ON WHISTLEBLOWER PROGRAMME (as at 24th March, 2017)

    I.         TOTAL COMMUNICATION RECEIVED – 2,251

 Communication includes enquiries, tips, compliments and general advice from the public.

 a.     Website (www.whistle.finance.gov.ng)  – 95

b.     Calls – (09098067946) – 1,550

c.     SMS – 412

d.     Emails ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) - 194 

     II.         TOTAL NUMBER OF TIPS RECEIVED – 282

 a.     Tips received through Calls – 49

b.     Tips received through SMS – 87

c.     Tips received through Website – 95

d.     Tips received through E-mail – 51

   III.         ACTIONABLE TIPS RECEIVED – 154

  Some of the tip types include:

                        i.         Contract Inflation and Conversion of Government Assets to Personal 

                                   use 

                       ii.         Ghost workers

                     iii.         Payment of unapproved funds

                      iv.         Embezzlement of salaries of terminated personnel

                       v.         Improper reduction of financial penalties

                      vi.         Diversion of Funds meant for distribution to a particular group of         

                                   people (farmers)

                    vii.         Diversion of funds to personal commercial Bank Accounts to earn 

                                   interest

                   viii.         Non-Remittance of Pension & NHIS Deductions

                      ix.         Failure to Implement projects for which funds have been provided

                       x.         Embezzlement of funds received from Donor agencies

                      xi.         Embezzlement of funds meant for payment of Personnel emoluments

                    xii.         Violation of TSA regulations by keeping funds in Commercial banks

                   xiii.         Violation of FIRS (VAT) regulation by adjusting Value Added Tax 

                                   payment

                   xiv.         Non-procurement of equipment required for Aviation Safety

                     xv.         Money laundering and Diversion of funds meant for approved projects

                   xvi.         Illegal Sale of Government Assets

                  xvii.         Diversion of Revenue (IGR)

                xviii.          Financial misappropriations (embezzlement)

                   xix.         Concealed bailout funds

                     xx.         Mismanagement of Microfinance banks

                   xxi.         Illegal Recruitments