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Govt recovers N46b Abuja houses sales cash from banks

Posted by From John Ofikhenua, Abuja on 2008/11/24 | Views: 2617 |

Govt recovers N46b Abuja houses sales cash from banks


Some N46billion has been recovered from 15 commercial banks by the Federal Government as proceeds of the sale of its houses in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), The Nation has learnt.

Some N46billion has been recovered from 15 commercial banks by the Federal Government as proceeds of the sale of its houses in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), The Nation has learnt.
A Presidency source yesterday in Abuja said the recovery of the funds followed a recent directive by President Umaru Yar’Adua.

According to the source, the 15 banks, which had been in custody of the proceeds for over a year, have paid the money into accounts of the Federal Government and the FCT administration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Specifically, 75 per cent of the funds (about N34.5 billion) was paid into the Federal Government’s account. The balance of 25 per cent (N11.5 billion) was remitted to the FCT’s account.

"All the affected banks have complied with the presidential directive to remit the proceeds from the sale of Federal Government houses in FCT. The 15 banks in possession of the money have all paid into the treasury. The amount is over N46 billion," the official said.

President Yar’Adua had two weeks ago, during a meeting with some top government officials, directed the Supervising FCT Minister and Minister of State for Finance, Remi Babalola, to immediately recover the proceeds from the banks into the Treasury.

Following futile attempts in the past 12 months to get the banks to remit the money, it was learnt that the Federal Government had through Minister of Finance Shamsuddeen Usman, in August, directed the FCT administration to recover the money into the Treasury, but the directive was not implemented.

The source said the presidential directive became necessary due to the Federal Government’s decision to wind-up processes relating to the sale of its properties. The proceeds, according to the official, have already been captured in the 2008 budget revenue as a financing item.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had in 2005 approved the sale of Federal Government houses nationwide, including in the FCT – in line with the government’s monetisation policy. The government houses were sold to public servants as well as the public through mortgage from banks.

Findings at the CBN confirmed that the last batch of the proceeds was remitted last week by the commercial banks.

CBN Governor Chukwuma Soludo had recently expressed worry over the high liquidity in the system which according to him, posed a major threat to the government’s single digit inflation target for this year. Recent fiscal disbursements from the Federation Account and domestic excess crude account pushed the country’s inflation rate to over 13 per cent by September, this year.

The apex bank, in a concerted effort to control the effect of the general rise in price level, has frequently hiked its Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) – the nominal benchmark for its lending to banks. The MPR is over 12 per cent, as against 10 per cent in April and 10.25 per cent in June.

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