The Executive’s Emergency Powers Bill. Really?

Omolulu Ogunmade reports in ThisDay that President Muhammadu Buhari and the Executive branch of Government seek to secure emergency powers aimed at addressing Nigeria’s economic crisis.

The Bill entitled, ‘Emergency Economy Stabilization Bill, 2016’, according to the report, will be sent to the National Assembly after resumption by the National Assembly from its summer vacation.

The objectives of the Bill include shoring up the value of the Naira; job creation; boosting foreign exchange reserves; reviving the manufacturing sector and improving power supply.

According to the report, the Bill is the initiative of the economic team, headed by the vice-president, which has the responsibility of reviewing various policies in the country and their effect on the recovery of the economy.

Apparently, the rationale behind the Bill is to ensure that the Executive arm of government be enthroned with the powers to take some drastic decisions not currently provided for by extant laws.

The Bill, inter alia, seeks to give the president sweeping powers to set aside extant laws and use executive orders to roll out an economic recovery package within the next year to:

  • abridge the procurement process with a view to guaranteeing stimulus spending on critical sectors of the economy;

  • make orders to favour local contractors/suppliers in the award of contracts;

  • abridge the process of sale and lease of government assets to generate revenue and allow virement of budgetary allocations to projects that are urgent without recourse to the National Assembly;

  • amend certain laws such as the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Act so that states that cannot access their cash trapped in the account of the UBEC as a result of their failure to meet a counterpart funding, can do;

  • reform visa issuance at Nigeria’s consular offices and on entry into Nigeria and to compel some agencies of government, like the Corporate Affairs Commission, the National Agency for Food Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and others to improve on their turn around operation time for the benefit of business.

The extant procurement laws in Nigeria allows the award of a contract six months after the decision. This is because of the requirement for mandatory advertisement of the contract for six weeks.

The draft Bill also intends to ease the cumbersome and long procedure for the sale or lease of government assets to raise cash.

About N58 Billion is trapped in the UBEC’s coffers. Consequently, states cannot access the funds as a result of the requirement that the states provide 50% counterpart funding. The Executive is seeking an amendment to the law so that states will pay only 10% as counterpart funding. The Bill also seeks to increase the mobilization fee to contracts from a minimum of 15% to 50% of the contract sum.

In addition to the above, the consular offices will be expected to make visas available within 48hours and visitors, especially tourists, who intend to pick up visas at the entry point, will be able to do so. The Bill also seeks to eliminate the duplication of agencies screening incoming passengers into Nigeria.

Undoubtedly, the challenges identified and sought to be resolved by the Bill are real and worrisome. While the intent behind the Bill is commendable, the Bill itself undermines the very basis of our alleged democratic government. Hence, the public outcry of the members of the National Assembly can, on this occasion, be understandable.

The better approach would be to achieve the object of the Bill by either amending the various laws (such as the Immigration Act, Appropriation Act etc)  responsible for the red-tape and bureaucracy  or pass an Executive Order within the limits of the law or adopt some of the measures suggested in Proshare to wit:

  • Laws and measures dealing with the bureaucracy and red tape as seen in Bill Clinton’s government adoption of the National Partnership for Reinventing Government and more recently, India.

  • Changes in laws and trade/procurement agreements;

  • Changes in use of budgeted funds, .i.e appropriation amendments;

  • Policy changes done via trade, tariff and tax adjustment.

Protecting your ideas from Imposters and Competition: An Eaz(s)yhire Case Study

Hello,

Its being a long time…i will try to post more regularly here…..

Here is a post published in TechPoint…for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

According to the original article, the founder of Eazyhire alleged that Easyhire adopted his idea (i.e. to provide a platform that allows anyone to rent, lease or hire anything as long as the object of the rent, lease or hire is legal), employed a similar colour scheme in the design of its website, motto, Facebook and Twitter tagline. Apparently, the only difference between both brands is the replacement of the word, ‘z’ with the word ‘s’ in the name of both brands. The above scenario demonstrates the need for companies, particularly startups seeking to build a brand in their chosen industry, to take the necessary legal steps to protect their intellectual property and consequently, their brand.

Without dwelling on the legal ramifications or moral repercussions of the allegations of the founder of Eazyhire, the article attempts to explore the legal issues that could arise from the above scenario.

Enjoy!!!

Temasek comes to Nigeria with Seven Energy Deal

Bloomberg reports that Singapore’s state-owned investment company, Temasek Holdings Pte, plans to buy a stake in Seven Energy International Ltd. for $150 million.

This follows an announcement in November of a $1.3 billion investment in three gas blocks offshore Tanzania by Temasek’s liquefied natural gas unit Pavilion Energy Pte.

Song Seng Wun, a Singapore-based economist at CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. (CIMB) said “It(the deal) ticks all the right Temasek boxes as it is an investment in a fast-growing emerging economy and it is an investment in resources.”

Temasek joins other investors including Carlyle Group LP and Robert Diamond’s Atlas Mara Co-Nvest Ltd. (ATMA) that are seeking to profit from Africa’s development.
“We are interested in investment opportunities in Africa where they fit our investment themes; in particular, around the transformation of economies and the demand for consumption by growing populations,” Temasek spokesman Stephen Forshaw said.

Ahead of the most recent investments in Africa, Temasek’s assets in the continent, central Asia and the Middle East accounted for just 2% of its total holdings as of March 31, 2013, according to its latest annual report published in July. That’s on a par with investments in Latin America and compares to 13% in Australia and New Zealand, and 12% in North America and Europe.

Investing as little as $150 million in a Seven Energy makes sense as Nigeria is still politically unstable, Song said.

“One has to have a very high-risk appetite to invest in a failed state like Nigeria,” Friedrich Wu, an adjunct associate professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore said in an e-mail. “After the BRIC economies, investors are chasing the next frontier markets to pour their money in. Africa has been talked up by various analysts and the media, but it could turn out to be a nightmare or quagmire.”

Founded in 2004, Seven Energy focuses on the emerging Nigerian domestic gas market.

Apart from Temasek, International Finance Corp., a unit of the World Bank will invest $75 million and the IFC African, Latin American and Caribbean Fund $30 million.

NSE to expand product offerings

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is to increase its product offerings with plans to list Vetiva Griffin 30 Exchange Traded Fund this month.

According to the NSE, Vetiva Griffin 30 Exchange Traded Fund (VG 30 ETF) is an open-ended fund to be listed on the Exchange.

The NSE 30 Index comprises of the top 30 companies listed on the NSE in terms of market capitalization and liquidity and is a price index weighted by adjusted market capitalisation. The VG 30 ETF is designed to track the performance of the constituent companies of the NSE 30 Index and to replicate the price and yield performance of the Index.

Listing of the VG 30 ETF is anticipated to help advance investor market in Nigeria by further broadening the choice of asset classes open to local investors.

See more Here

FG reserves N5billion contracts to wholly owned Nigerian companies

The Federal Government, in line with the Nigerian Content Act,2010, will now award, to only wholly owned Nigerian companies, contracts for projects within the range of N5 billion.

Against this backdrop, 15 wholly owned Nigerian companies were recently awarded the contracts for 21 Category C projects that range from N5 billion and below.

The Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen, made this pledge when he received members of Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, led by its president, Engr.  Ademola Olorunfemi.

For More Here

 

CPC lists guidelines to protect telecom subscribers

To improve consumer education and protect subscribers’ from the exploitative activities of some telecommunications operators, the Consumer Protection Council has inaugurated a Compendium of the Rights of Telecommunication Subscribers in Nigeria.

The Minister of Communications Technology inaugurated the compendium in Abuja on Monday at the Consumer Roundtable on Phone Rights put together by the CPC.

She called for the NCC to strengthen its collaboration with the CPC to address subscribers’ complaints bordering on poor telecoms service delivery.

The Director-General, CPC, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, noted that users of telecoms services in Nigeria have not asserted their rights against telecoms operators due to ignorance of these rights and lack of an avenue to complain. Therefore, the CPC has codified the rights of telecommunications subscribers so that they can access, read and understand these rights.

These rights include poor network, unsolicited services, unlawful deductions/non-transparent billing, exploitative automated services, unauthorised SIM swaps/line disconnection, poor internet services and poor customer service.

The Compendium was launched as part of the commemoration of the World Consumer Rights Day.

 

NSE awaits SEC’s approval on rules for operating Investor Protection Fund

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema, at the NSE’s 2013 market review and outlook for 2014 said the Investor Protection Fund (IPF) would start as soon as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approves the rules.

Onyema said that the IPF, established to give investors a statutory backed avenue for reducing losses they suffer as a result of bankruptcy, insolvency, negligence or wrongdoing by dealing members, would strengthen the confidence of domestic investors and sustain the attraction of foreign investors in the Nigerian capital market.

He also revealed that quoted companies and brokers were sanctioned N61.21 million and N43.5 million in 2013 for various market violations, noting that the NSE would continue with its zero tolerance to irregularities.

Onyema said that the market capitalisation of listed equities grew by N4.25 trillion in 2013 to N13.23 trillion, against the N8.98 trillion posted in 2012 while the value of traded equities appreciated by 58.66 per cent to N1.04 trillion in 2013.

Meanwhile, the NSE within the period under review recorded two listings and 19 new bond listings.

The Vanguard-NSE awaits SEC’s approval on rules for operating Investor Protection Fund