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FCCPC Slams British American Coy $110m Fine over Tobacco Law’s Violation 

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has slammed a fine of $110 million on British American Tobacco (BAT) Nigeria and affiliate companies for multiple violations of the FCCP Act and others.

A statement by the management of the commission in Abuja on Wednesday, said the companies also infringed on the National Tobacco Control Act and sundry legal instruments.

The commission said the amount was agreed after a mutual engagement between the Commission and BAT parties under the FCCPC’s Cooperation/Assistance Rules & Procedure (CARP), 2021.

FCCPC said its Cooperation/Assistance Framework (CAF) provided for benefits such as possible reduced monetary penalties and waiver of the application of the Commission’s Administrative Penalties Regulations 2020, among others.

The Commission said the BAT parties’ would also be subject to compliance and monitoring under the supervision of the FCCPC for 24 months to ensure appropriate behavioral and business practices.

FCCPC said that a mandatory public health and tobacco control advocacy would be done by the companies in a manner compliant with tobacco control legislation and regulations as part of the agreement.

”BAT parties shall provide written assurances to the Commission pursuant to Section 153 of the FCCPA as required.

”In exchange for BAT parties fulfilling their obligations under the Consent Order, the Commission withdrew pending criminal charges against BATN and one employee for attempting to prevent execution of the search warrant and initial lack of cooperation/compliance with steps in the investigation.

”The Commission on August 28, 2020, opened an active investigation with respect to British American Tobacco Nigeria Limited and other affiliated companies (BAT Parties).

”The commencement of the investigation was based on the Commission’s satisfaction that a series of credible pieces of information and intelligence were actionable enough for broader and deeper inquiry.

”Upon satisfying the Federal High Court that there was probable cause and sufficient evidence to exercise advanced statutory regulatory/investigatory tools, the court issued an Order and Warrant of Search and Seizure.

”The Commission on Jan. 25, 2021 executed simultaneous and contemporaneous searches and seizures at multiple BAT parties locations and a location of a service provider.

”The Commission gathered, received and procured substantial evidence from forensic analysis of electronic communications and other information/data obtained during the search, as well as other evidence procured during, and after the search from other legitimate sources.

”Additional investigation, including proffers, hearings, transcripts of sworn testimonies, and continuing analysis of evidence established and supported multiple violations of the FCCPA and other enactments,” the Commission said.

The Commission reiterated its commitment to its mandate to promote and ensure fair markets and protect consumer interests.

According to it, the outcome of the investigation demonstrates that commitment and the Commission’s desire as well as will to enforce the law and hold businesses accountable; even when it takes complex, painstaking and protracted investigations.

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Federation Account Garners N7trn Revenue in Six Months – RMAFC

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) yesterday disclosed that a total sum of N7.31 trillion accrued to the Federation Account between July and Dec. 2023.This was captured in the monthly report to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the caption “CBN Federation Account Component Statement”.

This amount is higher than the sum of N5.
244 trillion realised in the first half of year 2023, according to a statement signed by the RMAFC Chairman, Mr. Mohammed Bello Shehu and made available to the media in Abuja.The chairman disclosed that out of the total gross revenue inflows into the Federation Account, the sum of N1,692 trillion was transferred to the Exchange Gain Differential Account, thus leaving a balance of N5.
475 billion for distribution.He added that from the amount stated above, the sum of N3.26 trillion was deducted as approved statutory deductions by the OAGF, leaving a net balance of N2.2 trillion for distribution to the three tiers of government within the period under review.The chairman explained that out of the N3.267 trillion statutory deduction indicated above, N2.251 trillion was transferred to the Non-Oil Excess Account as savings, thus leaving a net statutory deduction of N1.016 trillion with further augmentations for sharing among the three tiers of government received from some “reserve accounts.”The statement added that within the period under review, the net sum of N4 trillion was shared with the three tiers of government, an amount higher than the total sum of N3.06 trillion.In terms of percentages, the chairman stressed that “the statutory deduction in the second half of the year constituted 44.12 percent of the total gross inflow into the Federation Account in the six-month period, which was higher than the first half deductions of 42.31 percent (inclusive of transfer to the Non-Oil Excess Account).”On remittances by Revenue Generating Agencies (RGAs), the RMAFC chairman disclosed that out of the total gross revenue inflows into the Federation Account, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) remitted N874 64 billion in the second half of the year as against the zero-remittance made in the first half of the year.Similarly, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) remitted the sum of N1.56 trillion while the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) remitted N3.65 trillion

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PDP NEC Meeting Ends with Damagum as Acting Chairman

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By Johnson Eyiangho, Abuja

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 98th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting yesterday ended without a word on the much talked-about replacement of the party’s Acting National Chairman, Amb. Iliya Damagum, an indication that he will continue to function in that position.

In an interview with newsmen after the meeting, the PDP spokesman, Hon.
Debo Ologunagba said for now, the party is focusing on issues of reconciliation and its stability, adding that the issue of the Acting National Chairmanship had been “deferred to the next NEC meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for August 15, 2024″.
Also speaking, the Governor of Bauchi State and Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Bala Mohammed said the party is united as there was no dissension and rancour.
In his words, “It was planned that the party would have an implosion. PDP is more than that. We have gone beyond all that. This party is united, guided by experience and constitutionality.”There were a lot of permutations and mischievous thinking outside there. But we looked at all the issues and we worked along our guidelines and constitution.“There is no problem or dissension and problem among members,” Mohammed said.The well attended NEC meeting was held amid tight security as police and personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) condoned off roads leading to the PDP Secretariat, Abuja and diverted vehicular traffic.It will be recalled that the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) had passed a vote of confidence on Damagum during its meeting on Tuesday.A communique issued at the end of the three hours meeting commended all the organs of the party for their collective resilience, steadfastness and commitment towards the unity, stability and sustenance the party despite daunting challenges.The communique commended the efforts of the NWC in its effort towards rebranding the party and urged all party members to continue to work together for the success of the PDP for the benefit of Nigerians and sustenance of democracy in our country.

The document which was read by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Ologunagba, however, expressed concern over what it described as the ill-implemented policies of the APC administration, leading to worsening insecurity, harrowing economic hardship, soaring unemployment rate, high cost of food and other necessities of life with pervading misery and despondency across the country.”NEC expresses serious apprehension over the spate of acts of terrorism and violence including the escalated cases of mindless killings, mass abduction of innocent Nigerians and marauding of communities in various parts of the country.”NEC condemns the insensitivity, nonchalance, incompetence and arrogance in failure of the APC administration which continues to conduct itself in a manner that shows that it has no iota of interest or commitment towards the wellbeing of Nigerians.”NEC also condemns the creeping totalitarianism and tendencies towards a One-Party State which is inimical to the peace, stability and corporate existence of our nation as well as the development of Democracy and good governance in the country,” it said.The communique demanded that President Bola Tinubu should urgently convene a special National Security Council meeting to proffer a holistic solution and measures to curb the disturbing insecurity with its attendant negative consequences on the nation.It also called on the president to “immediately rejig his Economic Team to bring in persons of proven integrity and competence without bias and vested interest to assist in repositioning the economy.”NEC further demands that the Federal Government should review all policies and programmes which are stifling the economy with suffocating effect on the lives of citizens; including the increase in price of fuel without cushioning measures, hike in electricity tariff, increased taxation and implementation of adverse fiscal policies,” the communique added.Present at the meeting were FCT Minister Nyesom Wike, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and many other past and presently elected members of the PDP.

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CBN Reduces Banks’ Lending Rate to 50 Percent

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday announced a review of the loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) for banks from 65 percent to 50 percent to align with the current monetary tightening.

LDR is used to assess a bank’s liquidity by comparing its total loans to its total deposits.

An increase in the loan-to-deposit ratio allows banks to expand their credits to businesses and individuals, however, a decline in LDR reduces their ability to loan customers from depositors’ funds.

CBN disclosed the increase in a circular titled “Re: Regulatory Measures to Improve Lending to the Sector of the Nigerian Economy”, signed by Adetona Adedeji, CBN Acting Director, Banking Supervision Department.

“Following a shift in the b  ank’s policy stance towards a more contractionary approach, it is imperative to review the loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) policy to align with the current monetary tightening by the CBN,” the apex bank said.

“Accordingly, the CBN has decided to reduce the LDR by 15 percentage points to 50%, in a similar proportion to the increase in the CRR rate for banks.

“All DMBs are required to maintain this level and are further advised that average daily figures shall continue to be applied to assess compliance.”At the last monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting on March 26, the CBN retained the CRR at 45 percent and the liquidity rate at 30 percent.

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