Alleged Fund Repatriation: Melaye was ‘Mischievous’ Says Expert

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(Last Updated On: 2016-11-21)

Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen

An Economic Expert, Tunji Andrews has said that Senator Dino Melaye was ‘mischievous’ is his allegation against MTN Nigeria on the issue of Certificate of Capital Importation, CCI) in the repatriation of $13.9billion out of the country.

The expert who spoke on a radio programme also described Nigeria as a ‘hostile businesses environment’ in view of the ongoing political interference in business matters.

Authentic Platform News recalls that there is an ongoing investigation by the Senate on a motion by senator Dino Melaye’s alleging MTN Nigeria of connivance with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, and four commercial banks to move the sum $13.9 billion out of the country between 2006 and 2016 without obtaining a CCI as authorised by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Financial and Miscellaneous Act within 24hours.

According to him, the ongoing frustration of a company like MTN is a threat to Foreign Direct Investments in Nigeria which has been on decline in the recent time based on available statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics, (NBS).

He said he was in Abuja recently with a team of expert to create an economic recovery and growth plan for the federal government via the ministry of budget and planning and it was observed that Nigeria is a at hostile environment for businesses.

Andrews explained that issues like this highlighted as part of factors discouraging investors from coming into Nigeria saying that FDI has dropped by 11per cent in the third quarter which is not too good for the economy at a time like this.

He noted that in the last 18 month, security operatives and the national assembly have been sanctioning and conducting hearings which creating fear to potential investors.

This act he said the act, also contradicts the way Nigeria economy is portrayed as a free market system with free flow of demand and supply which allows inflow of investments.

He said, “So, foreign investors look at existing Nigeria foreign investors and ask would you be willing to bring your money at this time? And the answer is you don’t know what is going to happen. Even if you look at the level of foreign investors through Nigerian investors in the Nigerian stock exchange there has always been that 50-50 sometimes they go to 55 and now it is dropped and it is dropping further.”

On the issue of CCI, Andrews said, “Talking about repatriation, we need to understand the whole context which is the issue that a particular telco did not get the certificate of capital importation, (CCI) within 24hrs. CCI doesn’t mean that you steal money and you take money out illegally, it means your money when you take it out or you bring it in, you need to have that certificate but, what most people don’t understand is that CCI doesn’t only track cash it also track asset because it means capital importation so whether it is machinery or whatever it is, as long as it is capital brought into the country and you are taking it out it must be registered and it generally must be 24hrs.

However, in the case of asset, it is always difficult to get it in 24hrs and we know it still happening till now. So, you cannot question their understanding of the issue and when Melaye came out and said stolen money, he was just being very mischievous.”

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He said in more advance countries, Senator Melaye would have been be sued because, “what he did coming out to say that sort of thing affects the share price of the company wherever it is. People won’t understand the issue and kind of worry that oh this guy is in trouble because if I know that and you know the capital importation whether it get in now or whether it get in two years from now, the issue is that I have to present it to the CBN to explain, and tell them why I didn’t get it on time and the CBN will sign the certificate and give it to you it’s not an issue.”

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