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World Bank, El-Rufai applaud Kyari, as NNPC intensifies petroleum sector reform

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Kaduna Govt earmarks N1bn for rural feeder roads in 2022

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited started its activities for the week at the World Bank Nigeria Development Update in Abuja, with a fresh commitment to the ongoing reform in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.

The event which was held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja saw the Group Managing Director (GMD)/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NNPC, Malam Mele Kyari insisting that the reforms in the oil and gas sector were unstoppable.

Kyari noted that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) had provided a clear legal framework for the process.

He explained that the PIA was very comprehensive in its provisions on the operations and responsibilities of the industry players as well as allocation of timelines for the categories of various activities.

“There is a reform going on particularly in the energy sector and no one can stop it,” he said.

The NNPC CEO continued: “For instance, the issue of removal of subsidy is now guided by law and you have to go back to the National Assembly to stop it.

“Also the Act provides for issues around the relationship between the national oil company and other institutions of government in relation to timelines, which is a clear departure from the past,” the Kyari said.

On the issue of subsidy, he noted that it was no longer realistic for the Federal Government to continue to bear the burden of the monthly provision of the sum of N250billion for petrol subsidy.

This, he said was in spite of the government’s intention and efforts to continue with the subsidy in the interest of Nigerians.

He added that the new NNPC as established under the PIA would soon resort to invoicing the government to enable it to recover the cost of providing the petrol.

On their part, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, and World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Mr Shaudhuri Chaudhuri, said that the removal of petrol subsidy had become inevitable as the government requires the funds used for subsidy to invest in other critical sectors of the economy that would make life easier for Nigerians.

Speaking at the event, the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai and the World Bank’s Lead Economist for Nigeria, Mr Marco Hernandez commended the GMD for his forthright leadership in the execution of the oil and gas sector reforms.

Gov. Nasir El-Rufai

Meanwhile, the NNPC has called on members of the Independent Petroleum Producers (IPPG) to recommend new strategies to tackle the challenges facing the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

The NNPC GMD/CEO, Malam Mele Kyari, gave the charge while hosting the new executive of the IPPG in his office at the NNPC Towers, Abuja, on Tuesday.

The GMD said that the current reality in the petroleum industry called for a clear understanding and commitment of all players in order to reposition the industry for enhanced performance.

He said though the PIA had eliminated the uncertainty and lack of clarity that had bedeviled the industry in the last 25 years, there was need for practical steps by players in the industry to redress the situation.

“There are immediate problems which we know.

“We found ourselves in this situation because everybody failed, so we have to bring everyone to the table to accept this reality and come up with an intervention that is different, not what we have always done,” Kyari said.

He disclosed that significant progress had been made in reducing the incidences of crude oil theft and called for all hands to be on deck to work towards eliminating the menace.

On gas pricing, he said though the country was undersupplied, the PIA had created an enabling environment for producers to recover their cost through a flexible structure that had been put in place by the government.

He assured the group of NNPC’s readiness to collaborate with them.

Speaking earlier, Mr Isah Abdulrasaq, Chairman of the IPPG which is a group of indigenous oil companies operating in the Upstream sector, commended the GMD for his role in the passage of the PIA and his appointment as the CEO of the NNPC Limited.

He said that as a limited liability company under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) the new members of IPPG can engage both parties to learn from each other.

Abdulrasaq called for the inclusion of IPPG on the PIA Implementation Steering Committee in order to facilitate and achieve a collaborative and inclusive approach to the reforms.

In the absence of funding as a result of the global energy transition, Abdulrasaq called for the establishment of an energy bank to provide funding for the petroleum industry.

He disclosed that indigenous players in the industry currently produce 252,000 barrels of crude oil per day and 650million standard cubic feet of gas per day, amounting to about 50 per cent of the nation’s gas requirement.

The IPPG leader called on the government to undertake international advocacy for the consideration and recognition of gas as a transition fuel in order to attract investment into the sector.

The chairman was accompanied on the visit by the executive members of the group, including the immediate past chairman, Engr. Ademola Bero.

Also on Tuesday, the Federal Government dismissed reports on plans to hike fuel prices.

Chief Executive Officer of the Midstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Farouk Ahmed, who made this position known in Abuja on Tuesday, reassured that there were no plans to increase the official price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), as being speculated in some quarters.

Ahmed spoke when he fielded questions from State House Correspondents, after he along with the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, were officially presented to President Muhammadu Buhari.

This came just as the government through the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, promised to do something drastic concerning the rising cost of cooking gas to address the pains Nigerians were going through, especially this Yuletide season.

The newsmen report that the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, presented the two Chief Executive Officers to the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.

NNPC GMD/CEO, Malam Mele Kyari

Ahmed maintained that the marginal queues being witnessed at filling stations in Abuja and some parts of the country had nothing to do with any supposed plan by the government to hike PMS prices.

He, however, stated that the queues were caused by the payment logistics in U.S. Dollars by depot owners, and the issue is being addressed by relevant authorities.

“Basically, what happened is that some of the depot owners selling Premium Motor Spirit above the official ex-depot price of N148 are selling at N156 or N157.

“The reason is that they are paying for their logistics like shipping and Port charges and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) charges in US Dollars and they have to go to the parallel market to source for the Dollars.

“The differential between the official exchange rate and the parallel market is their reason for adding between N9 and N10.

“But we had a meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 9, and the heads of the Nigeria Ports Authority and NIMASA, as well as other stakeholders, were all there and it was resolved that NNPC excess capacity vessels would be chartered to oil marketing companies and they would be charging in Naira.

“NIMASA and the Ports Authority will also revert back to their supervising ministries and get directives to collect their charges in Naira rather than US Dollars.

“I believe with these, there will be no reason for the depot owners to increase their price beyond the official selling price of N148,” he explained.

Also addressing the State House Correspondents, Sylva said the president was happy with the level of implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.

According to him, President Buhari urged the regulators in the petroleum industry to do what is best for Nigeria.

He said: “The President is happy with the level of implementation of the PIA. A lot is going on, already the agencies created by the law are now in place.

“The President charged us to ensure that we use our best experience to ensure that the industry is on track.

“Luckily for us, we have very experienced people on the saddle, both in the authority and the commission and the President asked us to go ahead and do what is best in the interest of Nigeria at all times.”

On the recent increase in the price of cooking gas in the country, the Minister said “the President is worried over the situation just like all other Nigerians.”

Sylva further said although the price of the essential commodity was not regulated by Nigeria, some steps would be taken internally to provide some relief, ahead of the yuletide season.

On the transition of cars from the use of petrol to gas, he said the government needed about N6 billion for the procurement of kits to convert the first one million cars as well as facilitate the procurement of equipment that will enable gas pump stations to come on board.

Still in the week under review, the Nigerian Pipelines and Storage Company (NPSC), a subsidiary of the NNPC Limited, donated a block of four classrooms and headmaster’s office to one of its Benin Depot host communities, Ohovbe Community in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State.

Speaking at the inauguration and official handover of the project, the Managing Director of NPSC, Engr. Mansur Sambo, expressed the company’s commitment to giving back to its host communities through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects.

Sambo, who was represented by the Manager Public Affairs, Mrs Ebika Onyema, noted that it had been NNPC-NPSC tradition to always positively impact lives in its host communities.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Enogie of Ohovbe, His Royal Highness, Dr Iduriase Oyenmwensere, expressed gratitude to NNPC Management for the laudable gesture.

Also speaking, the Acting Chairman, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area, represented by the Director of Administration and General Services, Mrs B.E. Uhunmwangho, stated that the Lcouncil would do all in its capacity to partner with NPSC in sustaining the project.

She urged members of the community to see the project as a donation towards improving the yearnings and aspirations of children within the community and tasked them to contribute their quota towards protecting the project from vandalism.

The Edo State Commissioner for Education, represented by the Education Secretary, Mrs Osarogiagbon Isokpan, who officially handed over the project thanked the Management of NNPC- NPSC and prayed that the pupils who would use the classrooms would grow up to become excellent examples in their different career paths.

The Current drive by the NNPC Limited to strengthen gas penetration and utilisation across the country received a major boost within the week with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the supply of gas to industries and investors in Nasarawa state.

The MoU which was designed to ensure that the state derives maximum value from the Ajaokuta-Kaduna Kano (AKK) gas pipeline network was signed in Lafia by the NNPC, Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria Limited (GACN) and the Nasarawa State Government, at the Nasarawa Business Roundtable organised to explore investment in opportunities in the gas sector.

The signing of the MoU which was the climax of the Nasarawa Business Roundtable was witnessed by the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule and the GMD/CEO NNPC Limited, Malam Mele Kyari.

Others in attendance were the Group Executive Director Gas & Power, NNPC Ltd. Mr Mohammed Ahmed, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs NNPC, Malam Garba Deen Muhammad, the MD of Nigerian Gas Marketing Company, Eze Justin Ezeala, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Axxela, Mr Bolaji Osunsanya.

The event also had in attendance: Malam Isa Modibo, Chairman, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Justice Sidi Moh’d, the first, Emir of Lafia and Chairman State Council of Chiefs and HRM Alhaji Dr Ahmed Hassan, the Yakanajie of Uke Kingdom, Karu LGC, Nasarawa State.

Providing a status update on the ongoing construction of the 614km AKK pipeline project, Kyari emphasised that Nasarawa State was uniquely positioned to maximise value from the AKK Pipeline as well as gas-based business opportunities.

Kyari highlighted and appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari’s unwavering commitment to utilise gas as a major tool to drive economic development.

Also speaking, Gov. Abdullahi Sule appealed to the indigenes of the state to key into the respective opportunities across the gas value chain such as gas distribution, CNG Stations, captive/embedded power generation, LPG marketing, gas flare commercialisation, etc.

Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of GACN, Mr Olalekan Ogunleye, said the Gas Supply Collaboration by the Nasarawa Government, NNPC Ltd. and GACN had set out a clear framework through which investors and projects in the state would access gas immediately via Virtual Pipeline Solutions (CNG & LNG) ahead of the completion of the AKK Pipeline project.

“This is a major step in the Federal Government’s gas utilisation expansion drive being facilitated vigorously by NNPC and GACN.

“This MoU sets out clear deliverables that are time-bound based on securing gas both on short, medium and long term basis on competitive terms,” Ogunleye said.

Managing Director of Nigerian Gas Marketing Company (NGMC), Eze Justine Ezeala also spoke on the marketing perspective of the project.

 

 

Economy

Eid-el-Fitr: Tinubu Urges Sacrifice, Integrity For National Rebirth

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Eid-el-Fitr: Tinubu urges sacrifice, integrity for national rebirth

 President Bola Tinubu has urged Nigerians to continue to make sacrifices and exhibit integrity for national development.

Tinubu said this after observing the Eid-el-Fitr prayer at the Eid Ground at Dodon Barracks on Wednesday in Lagos.

The President also called on Nigerians to continue to have faith in his government and remain patriotic citizens.

Tinubu said that the Renewed Hope Agenda of his administration, aimed at bringing prosperity to Nigerians, was being diligently implemented.

Encouraging Muslims to extend the values of sacrifice and resilience beyond the fasting period, Tinubu emphasised the need for Nigerians to prioritise the exhibition of love for their country.

‘’The resilience and sacrifice that we have shown and made during these months should be preserved.

“Be a kind and cheerful giver. We must love our country more than any other country because this is the only one we have.

‘’We must continue to protect the integrity of our government and leadership. The Renewed Hope Agenda is alive, well and fine, and Nigerians should continue to be very hopeful. Without hope, there is no salvation.

“Without hope, there is no development. Without hope, there is no life. Eid Mubarak,’’ the President said at the end of the prayers led by the Chief Imam of Lagos State, Sheikh Sulaiman Abou-Nolla.

Earlier in his sermon, the Chief Imam urged Nigerians to shun all acts of violence, ensure peaceful co-existence, and continue to have faith in the country.

He asked those in leadership positions to remain faithful to their oaths of office and work towards alleviating the suffering of the less privileged.

‘‘Let us not forget our brothers and sisters in Gaza and other areas of conflict,’’ the Chief Imam said.

He offered prayers of God’s guidance, wisdom, and protection for the President and the Lagos State government, as well as for peace and stability in the country.

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Lawmaker Secures Release of 4 Persons Involved in Illegal Arms Manufacturing in Delta

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Lawmaker Secures Release of 4 Persons Involved in Illegal Arms Manufacturing in Delta

Sen. Ned Nwoko (PDP-Delta), on Wednesday, disclosed that he had secured the release of four family members involved in manufacturing arms at the Onicha-Olona Illegal Arms Factory in Delta.

Nwoko representing Delta North Senatorial District, who disclosed this in an interview in Abuja, said that the release of the four persons was through collaborative efforts.

On March 12, troops of 63 Brigade, Asaba, uncovered an illegal arms manufacturing factory in Onicha-Olona, Delta North Senatorial District and arrested eight family members in connection with the crime.

Nwoko disclosed that efforts have been made to ensure fair treatment for those involved, balancing justice with the opportunity for rehabilitation and contribution to society.

“Following my recent visit to the headquarters of 63 Brigade, Asaba and productive discussions with the Brigade Commander, I am pleased to announce progress in addressing the situation regarding the illegal arms factory discovered in the Onicha-Olona community, Delta.

“Efforts have been made to ensure fair treatment for those involved, balancing justice with the opportunity for rehabilitation and contribution to society.

“I am pleased to reveal that through collaborative efforts, I have successfully secured the release of four family members implicated in the illegal activity.

“However, our commitment to upholding the law remains unwavering, and endeavours continue for fair judgment and potential pardon for the remaining four individuals,” he said.

The lawmaker stressed that the underlying issue highlighted by the discovery, however, remained of paramount importance.

“We must seize the opportunity to redirect the talents demonstrated by those involved towards lawful and productive endeavours.

“The young man in the family, known for his passion and ability to build drones, exemplifies this potential.

“His skills should be harnessed and put to good use,” he said.

Nwoko added that the Industrial Revolution served as a pertinent historical precedent where individual efforts catalysed transformative change and made possible by governments that created conducive environments.

“We can emulate this model here. We can provide support and opportunities for talented individuals like the young drone builder, and stimulate a new wave of innovation and economic growth in Nigeria.

“As previously stated, Nigeria’s economy faces significant challenges exacerbated by escalating imports, particularly in the realm of arms and weaponry.

“Therefore, we must harness our indigenous talents for the greater good and bolster our local industries,” he said.

Nwoko further said that the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), as well as the Ministry of Science and Technology, have crucial roles to play in this regard.

According to him, by engaging with individuals possessing such skills, we can offer them legal avenues for their expertise to flourish.

“The aim is not only to prevent the proliferation of illegal arms or other weapons manufacturing but also to channel these talents towards legitimate industries for national development.

“I reiterate the need for the government to support and integrate such offenders with specialised skills and talents into the formal economy.

“This initiative should focus on recognising their capabilities and providing opportunities for them to contribute to the development of our local indigenous technology.

“As noted earlier, an individual capable of modifying an AK-47 magazine, originally designed to hold 30 rounds, to accommodate 60 rounds using rudimentary equipment, holds immense potential for greater achievements.

”Such individual can do more with proper legal support and access to adequate resources.”

He disclosed that he was committed to proposing or supporting a new law aimed at assisting talented and skilful individuals involved in illegal activities and also partnering with law enforcement agencies in these endeavours.

“I am committed to proposing or supporting a new law aimed at assisting talented and skilful individuals involved in illegal activities and also partner with law enforcement agencies in these endeavours.”

“They have the intelligence and insights of the potential beneficiaries of this “amnesty” drive towards creating a new cadre of indigenous technologists.

“This law would establish an agency dedicated to providing government support and resources to rehabilitate and engage these individuals in legal and productive activities.

“I tentatively suggest naming this proposed law the “National Talent Rehabilitation and Integration Act”.

“This legislation will not only focus on rehabilitation but also on harnessing the skills and talents of offenders for the benefit of society.

“By providing a structured environment and necessary support, this agency will facilitate the transition of individuals from illicit activities to lawful and productive ventures.

”And they will be contributing to both their personal rehabilitation and national development,” Nwoko added.

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Economy

NGX Market Capitalisation Gains N836bn

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Stock Market Gains N18bn; FTN Cocoa Processors, Prestige Assurance lead Losers’ Chart 

…Tantalizers, NASCON lead the losers’ chart 

The Nigerian Exchange Ltd.(NGX) market capitalisation, which opened at N57.697 trillion on Tuesday, gained N836 billion or 1.45 percent closing at N58.533 trillion.

Also, the All-Share Index rose by 1.45 percent or 1,480 points to close at 103,524.44, as against 102,044.84 recorded on Monday.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return rose to 38.45 percent.

Interest in Telco heavyweight and Tier-one banks such as MTN Nigeria, UBA, Access Corporation, Guaranty Trust Holding Company(GTCO), and sustained interest in Transcorp Power(TransPower) kept the market in the green.

Market breadth closed positive with 35 gainers and 14 losers.

On the gainer’s chart, UBA led in percentage terms of 10 to close at N25.30, followed by MTN by 9.98 percent to close at N243.50 per share.

Julius Berger also gained 9.71 percent to close at N61, While Access Corporation rose by 9.51 percent to close at N22.45 per share.

Veritas Kapital Assurance went up by 9.38 percent to close at 70k per share.

Conversely, Tantalizers led the loser’s chart by 7.89 percent to close at 35k, and National Salt Company of Nigeria(NASCON) trailed by 6.77 percent to close at N53.70.

Morison Industries Plc shed 6.62 percent to close at N1.41, C&I Leasing lost 6.45 percent to close at N3.48, while Cutix Plc dropped 6.30 percent to close at N2.53 per share.

However, analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled lower, relative to the previous session.

The value of transactions was also down by 16.76 percent.

A total of 565.79 million shares valued at N14.23 billion were exchanged in 11,519 deals,  compared to 436.90 million shares valued at N17.09 billion exchanged in 11,344 deals traded on Monday.

On the activity chart, Transcorp led in volume with 170.72 million shares traded at a value of N3.13 billion, Access Corporation followed by 48.57 million shares valued at N1.06 billion.

GTCO sold 39.04 million shares worth N165.80 million, Jaiz Bank traded 36.78 million shares valued at N72.51 million and UBA transacted 31.96 million shares valued at N796.24 million

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