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Dangote Refinery: Stakeholders, Unemployed Nigerians excited about Job Opportunities

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Dangote: Maritime Can Strengthen Nigeria’s Economy

…As Osinbajo says No $25 billion contract was awarded by NNPC***

The fast pace of work at the Dangote refinery may have begun to tickle and excite Nigerians, particularly the stakeholders as well as the unemployed.

The Dangote Refinery is an integrated petro-chemical complex which will, apart from refining crude oil to petroleum products, have petrochemical and fertiliser plants. It is expected to slash the pump price of fuel in addition to offer jobs to several thousands of people.

A cross section of Nigerians in the FCT, said they they were hopeful the mogul’s words that petroleum products would begin to see a significant drop in prices would soon be actualised.

Mrs Anyalewa Okewu, a business woman who brings yams into the FCT from Benue, said ”if the refinery takes off and the price of petrol can drop, food prices will drop too”.

”If this happens, everyone will begin to sing praises of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Once food is cheap, I believe life will be a lot easier,” she added.

Mr Kwame Mathews, a science teacher, said ”the news that the refinery will also have extra volume for export to other countries is good.

”Nigeria is the big brother of the continent and should live by example.

All the incessant fuel shortages is a big embarrassment but I’m expecting that this refinery will address those issues once it begins operations”.

An unemployed graduate, Kafila Ogunturoti, expressed the hope that the refinery would directly impact on employment opportunities by creating jobs;  while appealing to others in the private sector to emulate such ‘laudable projects’ to aid the unemployed.

”If the refinery will generate over 100,000 employment opportunities like you said, then there is hope for the unemployed. That is great news.

“I say kudos to Dangote and pray the handlers will employ based on merit,” Ogunturoti added.

An independent petroleum products marketer on the Suleja-Kaduna highway, who preferred anonymity, said the refinery’s take-off would bring relief to dealers, who had shut down operations due to shortage of products.

”I had to lay off my staff for a while. This recession, coupled with other pressing reasons, had caused many of us to shut down.

”With this good news, 650,000 barrels of refined products is huge and we can begin to take loans to begin again.

”I think it’s a good project and I commend Buhari for giving us hope again,” he said.

The project is located in Lekki Free Trade Zone on a vast land mass of 2,200 hectares, an area eight times bigger than the entire Victoria Island in Lagos.

The refinery is expected to produce 650,000 barrels per day of refined petroleum products to meet all the country’s refined petroleum products needs.

The first phase of the plant is expected to be ready by the end of 2017, the second phase by the end of 2018, while the third and the commencement of its operation  would be in 2019.

In the meantime, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday maintained that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) did not award $25b contracts.

In a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ibe Kachikwu made the allegations, stressing that the contracts did not follow due process.

A statement  by his Senior Special Assistant, Laolu Akande,  titled ”It is Important to set the records straight”, said: “Claims on social and traditional media that $25b worth of oil contracts were awarded by the NNPC or that $25b in NNPC funds is missing are both false.

“No contracts were procured by the NNPC based on the leaked memo of the Petroleum Resources Minister of State, even though such impressions have been maliciously created in the past few weeks.”

He said that a closer look at each of the said projects indicated clearly that “these are not procurement contracts”.

He added “When I tweeted on Thursday morning last week, I had indicated that the Vice President, while acting as President approved Joint Venture Financing arrangements. But for some curious reasons, a few media reports used that tweet to report that I said the then Acting President approved N640 billion worth of oil contracts. Such reporting is both false and misleading and therefore ought to be completely ignored by all seekers of truth.”

“What is more important is that when you look diligently at the referenced projects/transactions one by one, you will see, as NNPC has shown, that none of them was actually a procurement contract.”

“Take both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale, Direct Purchase (DSDP) agreements, for instance; these are not procurement contracts involving the expenditure of public funds. Both transactions are simply a shortlisting process, in which prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum are selected under agreed terms, and in accordance with due process.

“It is therefore wrong and misleading to refer to them as though they’re contracts involving the expenditure of NNPC funds, or public funds of any sort. As you now know, the Honorable Minister of Petroleum Resources himself has in fact clarified that he meant to focus on administrative and governance issues, not red-flag any fraud – because no fraud exists in this matter.”

For both transactions, Akande said it was not true and also inaccurate to attach $10b and $5b values on them.

“Attaching monetary values to these contracts is an arbitrary act that completely distorts understanding of the situation.” he said

According to him, Nigerians ought to be informed clearly that “whenever there is a monetary value on any consignment of crude oil lifted in this country by any firm, the proceeds go directly to the Federation Account and not to any company. In fact, the Buhari administration in the implementation of the TSA has closed down multiple NNPC accounts in order to promote transparency and probity.”

Akande also explained that even in compiling the shortlisting for the prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum under agreed terms, “there were public placements of advert in the mass media seeking Expressions of Interest (EoI). Bids were publicly opened in the presence of NEITI, DPR, BPP, Civil Society groups and the press. In some cases even, these events were televised live.”

“For the sake of emphasis, let me state clearly that both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase agreements are not contracts for any procurement of goods, works or services, and therefore do not involve the use of public funds. Instead, they are simply a shortlisting of off-takers. And unlike what has been reported in the media so far, it is important to set the records straight that the list of approved off-takers does not carry any financial values but simply states the terms and conditions for the lifting and supply of petroleum products.”

He also disclosed that the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Contract “is a contractor-financed contract which has not yet been finalized or awarded; it is still making its way to the Federal Executive Council, FEC.”

He noted that there were also three presidential approvals given on Joint Venture financing arrangements, meaning loans to cater for cash call obligations. One of these was okayed by the President in 2015, and two by the then Acting President in 2017.

Lastly, on the NPDC, he said there is no contract in the $3BN to $4BN range as reported in the media.

“You can then see from the foregoing that the $25BN being bandied in the media does not exist. There is no $25BN missing,” Akande concluded.

Additional report from Nation

 

Economy

Sanitary Pads: Reps Query Minister Over N65m Spent On New Year Party, Others

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 The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye has drawn the ire of the House of Representatives following the unguarded manner she allegedly spent monies which included expenditures of N45 million for a New Year party and, N20 million for sanitary pads.

The House of Representatives which has now queried the minister, also frowned on her other unrelated expenditure which includes N1.5 million for vehicle fuel.

Rep. Kafilat Ogbara, Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, led the interrogation of the Minister, over the non-payment of N1.5 billion to contractors despite the fund release in Abuja.

She said that the investigative hearing was aimed at uncovering the truth and not witch-hunting the Minister and the officials of the ministry.

The committee also investigated the alleged diversion of funds meant for contractor payments, following a petition from contractors.

The committee also sought clarification on funds appropriated for the African First Lady’s mission and the whereabouts of the N1.5 billion meant for contractor payments.

The minister however denied the allegations of misappropriation, overspending, and non-payment to contractors.

The procurement officer confirmed contractors’ claims, and the Director of Finance and Administration acknowledged only paying approved contracts.

It would be recalled that the committee had at its last sitting summoned the minister to appear before it to explain the rationale behind the non-payment.

The committee also ordered the stoppage of all 2024 contract processes by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs until the whereabouts of the money for the said contracts are determined

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Economy

LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaningful

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LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaning

…NRC Boss, Engr. Okhiria is Pointman

The Town and the Gown will on Tuesday converge at the Lagos State University (LASU), in a mutual fusion of quality and sustainable ideas, as the Managing Director, Nigeria Railways Corporation speaks on where the eggheads necessarily need to intervene, for the overall benefit of the nation.

NRC Boosts Passenger- Safety With  Strong Armed Forces Collaboration 
Engr. Fidet-Okhiria

Prof. Bamidele Badejo who is now back in LASU, confirmed this to the Maritime First, highlighting that Engr. Freeborn Okhiria would meticulously dissect a critical issue, titled: ‘From Exclusive Clause To Concurrent List: Potency for sustainable rail infrastructure development in Nigeria and the Lagos State example.

Oluwaseun Osiyemi, the Lagos State Commissioner of Transport, will be in attendance; at an event which will flag off by noon prompt, Tuesday 16th, July 2024, at the Femi Gbajabiamila Conference Centre.

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Economy

Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan

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Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan

The House of Representatives has ordered probes into the N1.12 trillion anchor borrowers scheme, an initiative of the Federal Government’s interventions and agricultural funding through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Also included in the probe are the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), the Bank of Industry (BoI) and other agencies.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Chike Okafor (APC-Imo) on the floor of the House in Abuja on Tuesday.

Presenting his motion, Okafor linked the growing food scarcity and malnutrition in Nigeria to the alleged mismanagement of agricultural funds intended for agricultural development in the country.

He said the Federal Government had expended N8 trillion in 8 years on various schemes and interventions in the last eight years with the view of making food available for millions of Nigerians.

He added that the alleged mismanagement, misapplication of funds and abuse of the programmes had left Nigeria with the twin challenges of food scarcity and malnutrition.

Okafor said that funds advanced to end users of the various Federal Government interventions had also been allegedly misused, misapplied and channelled to non-farming and non-agricultural purposes.

This, he said, was responsible for the current acute scarcity of food in the country.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated the Committee on Nutrition and Food Security as well as the Committee on Agricultural Production and Services; Agricultural Colleges and Institutions and Finance, to probe

The Committees were mandated to thoroughly investigate CBN’s alleged mismanagement of the Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) for which ₦1.12 trillion was to be disbursed to 4.67 million farmers.

The farmers were said to be involved in either maize, rice or wheat farming through 563 anchors.

The committees are to look into NIRSAL’s disbursement of ₦215,066,980,274.52, to facilitate agriculture and agribusinesses.

The House gave the committees four weeks to report back to the House.

The house also mandated the committees to equally assess how the Bank of Industry (BOI) disbursed N3 billion to 22,120 smallholder farmers through the Agriculture Value Chain Financing (AVCF) Programme.

The committee is also to investigate the handling of the N5 billion loan facility to the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) for livestock farmers across the country.

This will include the management of the National Agricultural Development N1.6 billion Recovery Fund for the Ginger Blight Epidemics Central Taskforce (GBECT).

This is for the control of Blight disease in Ginger, among other interventions. 

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