Safety Nets Can Cushion Deregulation Effects – Atedo Peterside

Atedo-PetersideAn economist, Atedo Peterside, has suggested that the government should provide safety nets for poorest Nigerians to cushion the effect of the increase in the price on petrol on the masses.

Mr Peterside, however, supported the deregulation of the petroleum sector, saying “the need for deregulation is a bit stronger now than in 2012”.

Giving reasons the sector should be deregulated, he said: “The price of crude oil is somewhere around $45 and it will probably stay in that region or get to $55 thereafter.

“I am among those who believe that crude oil market has changed for almost forever with the advent of shale producers.

“If this government has shown that they are ready to take some pains, from the President, Vice President and others, if they do not do it now, I don’t know when they will ever do it.

“I like the word deregulation. It exists in aviation fuel and diesel, but in petrol and kerosene it is a problem,” he said.

The economist stressed that the payment of Petrol subsidy to marketers had become a means for few Nigerians to enrich themselves, suggesting that such funds could be paid directly to specific Nigerians, in a way it would get to all families.

Mr Peterside believes that the government could boost participation of Nigerians in the Bank Verification Number and the National ID card scheme with the direct subsidy payment if considered.

He also pointed out that the government had no business with fixing the price of petrol, explaining that a better approach would have been an announcement of a pegged price by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) downstream sector, leaving other marketers to choose their prices.

Mr Peterside further called for unity of purpose in solving the nation’s problems.

“As a nation, we are facing a crisis and we should forget about partisan differences and come together. We have to free the economy of the burden of the distortion called fuel subsidy.

“If government wants to give a price, I think the NNPC should be the one to announce what its current price is and leave the rest downstream marketers to fix their own prices.

“If the ruling party controls the Federal Government and some states and it cannot harness that to deregulate, realising the poor revenue era, I don’t know when they will deregulate,” he emphasised.

Stanbic IBTC vs. FRCN: Court Fails To Sit 

StanbicThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday failed to sit to hear a suit instituted by Stanbic IBTC against the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, and National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion, NOTAP.

Presiding Justice Ibrahim Buba was absent and the proceedings had to be adjourned to Wednesday, November 4.

In the suit, Stanbic IBTC Bank is asking the court to determine, among others, whether FRCN has the power to impose a fine of 1 billion Naira on it.

FRCN had last week sanctioned Stanbic IBTC over its audited accounts for 2013 and 2014 and suspended the financial reporting numbers of the bank’s Chairman, Mr. Atedo Peterside, and its Chief Executive, Mrs Sola David-Borha, and also barred them from vouching for the integrity of any financial statements in Nigeria.

The body also suspended two other directors – Mr. Arthur Oginga and Dr. Daru Owei – for attesting to what it termed the “misleading”  2013 and 2014 financial accounts of the bank, as well as Ayodele Othihiwa of KPMG professional services for his firm’s alleged complicity in the infractions highlighted in the financial reports for the two-year period.

It based its sanctions on issues raised by the bank’s minority shareholders led by the Mahtani brothers who own the Churchgate conglomerate, to some other regulatory agencies such as NOTAP, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), among others.

Stanbic IBTC Says It Has Met Financial Reporting Standards

StanbicStanbic IBTC Holdings says it has met the disclosure requirements of the International Financial Reporting Standards.

The company was responding to what it called “inaccurate and unseemly allegations” made against Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN).

The company, in a statement said that although the matter was in court, it was constrained to respond to certain aspects of the report for the benefit of its stakeholders and the general public.

It said, “FRCN’s allegations are inaccurate and unfortunate, and the manner in which it has chosen to make them is procedurally defective.

“Whilst FRCN takes refuge in Regulation 21 of the Directorate of Inspection and Monitoring Guidelines Regulations 2014 for the wide publicity that it has given to its regulatory decision, Regulation 21 only applies ‘Where the Panel and the entity agree that accounts are to be rectified by way of revision or restatement’.

“That is not the case here, because Stanbic IBTC does not agree that its accounts are defective or require rectification.  Moreover, Regulation 27 makes clear that where a reporting entity does not accept FRCN’s position, FRCN ‘shall institute a legal action against the entity’.

“FRCN has ignored this laid down process in preference for self-help and media publicity,” it said.

The company further explained that the matters that FRCN alleged to be wrong were not wrong “in any material respect” and many are not matters of financial reporting, but matters of business decision and judgment for Stanbic IBTC and its board of directors.

“For example, the decision whether to enter into a sale and lease back, whether in relation to intellectual property or any other asset, is a business decision and entirely a matter for the board of directors of Stanbic IBTC and certainly not a matter for FRCN.

“In the same vein, NOTAP’s refusal to register a franchise agreement does not render the agreement null or void, or indeed relieve Stanbic IBTC of its liability. It merely means that any foreign currency payment due to the foreign counterparty under the unregistered agreement cannot be remitted. Stanbic IBTC has not and will not make any remittance which is subject to NOTAP approval without obtaining such approval.

“Stanbic IBTC is a very responsible organisation and fully complies with all extant laws and regulations in Nigeria and international best practices applicable to the conduct of its business.”

The statement added that contrary to media reports, the Directors of Stanbic IBTC have not been ousted, “The directors, who are from Nigeria and elsewhere, are reputable individuals who uphold the best corporate governance practices and whose credibility, integrity and proven track record are impeccable.”

FRC Directs Stanbic IBTC To Give Financial Details For 2013/2014 Year

ibtc-frcThe Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has directed Stanbic IBTC Plc to withdraw and restate their financial statements for years ended December 31 2013 and 2014.

The Council, in a statement, also suspended the FRC registration numbers of four of its Directors who signed the misleading statement of financial positions of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc for the years under review, until the investigations are completed.

These persons include Atedo Peterside, Sola David Borha, Arthur Oginga and Dr. Daru Owei.

The FRC number of the audit engagement partner, Mr. Ayodele Othihiwa, was also suspended.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have been requested to assist in the effort and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has also been requested to ensure related taxes are paid and the government is not unduly short changed.

N200 Million FG Donation To LASG Distinct From N1.9 billion Intervention Fund

Onyebuchi Chukwu on EbolaThe Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Thursday said the N200 million donated to Lagos State by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) will not be withdrawn from the N1.9 billion Ebola Intervention Fund.

The Minister, in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media and Communication, Dan Nwomeh, said the “ The N200 million is a distinct and direct Federal Government support to Lagos State and does not preclude other assistance that may be rendered to the State through the Federal Ministry of Health”.

The Minister also listed corporate organizations that have made contributions to the Federal Government’s control measures against Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria

These are:
*Aliko Dangote Foundation donated N152 million to sponsor the Ebola Emergency Operation Centre in Lagos.

*The ANAP Foundation founded by Mr. Atedo Peterside informed the Minister of Health that the foundation would be supporting affected private hospitals to the tune of N100,000 (one hundred thousand naira) per bed space. He also disclosed to the Minister that the First Consultant Hospital in Lagos where the index case was managed would be the first beneficiary and that the hospital would receive N4 million since its bed capacity is forty.

*The Tony Elumelu Foundation has pledged a donation of N50 million to support the Federal Government’s containment efforts.

*Shell Petroleum Limited donated an ambulance to the Ebola Emergency Operation Centre in Lagos.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the sum of 200 million Naira to support the Lagos State government in tackling the Ebola Virus Disease that has killed at least 1,200 persons since its outbreak in the West African region early this year, while President Goodluck Jonathan declared the control and containment of the Ebola virus in Nigeria, a National Emergency and set up an intervention plan with N1.9 billion approved for the control of the disease.

National Conference Committees Begin Work

National-Conference-delegatesThe 20 committees of the National Conference holding in Nigeria have commenced their sitting and consideration of the different themes the conference hopes to make key recommendations on.

Some of the committees immediately started outlining their work plan, with a few planning to invite different agencies of the Nigerian government to make presentations before them.

Other committees have also taken steps to ensure they complete their work within the two weeks given for committee work like deciding to sit on Friday and Saturday.

The conference delegates are entering into a more critical part of their assignment aimed at finding solutions to some challenges and making the country’s future better.

Extension of Conference Period

But the issue of the amount of work on ground and the time available is another one that the conference would have to decide on.

The conference has three months to deliberate on issues, but the possibility of extending the period of the conference has been mentioned by some delegates of the conference, as almost one month had been spent on discussing the issues that President Goodluck Jonathan mentioned in his inaugural speech.

Debate on how resolutions can be reached on issues and other administrative issues also took the delegates time to decide on.

Now that the committees have started work, the issue of extension will depend on their resolve to sit on Friday and Saturday.

A delegate, Atedo Peterside, had said that an extension of the conference period would amount to additional pay for the delegates, a development he said Nigerians would not welcome. he said that the conference would do all it could to ensure that all issues were discussed and concluded before the end of the three-month period.

According to the approved work plan for the conference, the committees have two weeks to complete their work.

The weeks ahead will determine if the time given will be sufficient or not.

Peterside says no winner yet for Benin Disco

The Chairman of the Technical Committee on power sector reforms, Atedo Peterside has denied allegation of corruption in the privatisation of the power sector by governors of Delta, Edo and Ekiti states.

The governors had on Thursday rejected the announcement of Vigeo Power Distribution as the successful bidder for the Benin Distribution Company by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).

The states are investors in the Southern Electricity Distribution Company which lost out in the bidding process.

Governors Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State insisted that the process that led to the emergence of Vigeo Consortium lacks transparency.

However, briefing newsmen on the privatization process in Lagos, Mr Peterside said the allegation of fraud by Misters Oshiomhole, Fayemi and Uduaghan were pre-emptive as the Disco has not been handed to any of the bidders.

He said: “The 3 Governors appeared to be making their “complaint” because they feared that the Southern Electricity Distribution Company Consortium (Southern Consortium), which they favoured, might be edged out of the race to be declared as preferred bidder for Benin Disco by Vigeo Power Consortium (Vigeo). Obviously they presumed the latter to be the likely winner based on the outcome of the televised Commercial Bid Opening Ceremony which took place in Abuja on Tuesday 16th October, which event I presided over.

“It is pertinent to mention here that the NCP has not even declared a result yet and so no consortium has been announced as being the preferred bidder for any of the 11 Discos in Nigeria. At the end of the Commercial Bid Opening Ceremony, I explained that we still had to subject all the bids to a “material consistency/feasibility test” before making recommendations to the NCP.”

Mr Peterside, who said his team needed to clarify on the four allegations made by the governors, noted that “Southern Consortium is the only one of the 16 consortia that participated in the bid opening to have submitted multiple commercial bids for the same Disco.

“Their envelope contained two different commercial bids, both of which were signed by a Mr. Matthew Edevbie. The first bid was dubbed the ‘primary’ bid, while the other was dubbed an ‘alternate’ bid.”

He added that the alleged fraud was “a clear contravention of the Request for Proposal, RFP. We did not make a big issue of this on live TV because both the primary and the alternate bids fell below the bid submitted by Vigeo, and so neither bid would alter Southern Consortium’s ranking on the large screen. Instead, this matter was brought to the attention of the Technical Committee of NCP, which considered the breach and made recommendations to the NCP.”

25 companies submit bids for power distribution centres

A total of 25 companies have expressed interest to bid for 10 power distribution companies in the country.

Speaking at the opening of the bid in Abuja, a member of the National Council on Privatization (NCP), Mr. Atedo Peterside listed Jos Distribution Company, Kano, Portharcourt, Yola, Abuja, Benin, Enugu, Ibadan,Eko and Ikeja  distribution company as the successor companies.

Mr. Peterside said that the interest of the companies will be subject to the ratification of the NCP.

The Minister of State for Power, Mr Darius Ishaku appealed to distribution companies, who emerged as winners of the successor companies, to ensure adequate power supply for all Nigerians.

I would print N10, 000 notes if I was in charge – Peterside Atedo

The Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Bank and a member of the Economic Management Team, Peterside Atedo on Tuesday said that he supports the move by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to introduce the N5000 note in the country.

Speaking to journalists after this week’s Economic Management Team’s meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, Mr Peterside said “Last year Nigeria spent N47 billion printing these small notes.”

The renowned banker said if the country was printing bigger notes “you will print a fewer number of the notes and you will make a phenomenal saving.

“If I was the one in charge, I will print N10, 000 notes,” he declared.

Reacting to questions on the relationship between inflation and printing of higher denominations, Mr Peterside said printing higher currency does not result in inflation.

“There is no inflationary impact,”” he said. He describes as “Voodoo economics” the argument by some critics that the introduction of the proposed N5000 note will result in inflation in the Nigerian economy.

Meanwhile, Business mogul and another member of the Economic Management Team, Aliko Dangote said “the introduction of the N5000 really has nothing to do with inflation as people have been saying.”

He said the CBN has explained and convinced the Federal government on the need to print the N5000 notes.

“Actually it is just to protect the currency. It is not going to cause any inflation. The cost of printing the N5000 is not different from that of printing the other currencies.

“Fuel Subsidy is for the Poor”: Atedo Peterside

Atedo peterside

More reactions continue to follow the controversial deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector in the country. Mr. Atedo peterside, a member of the National Economic Management team, today on our breakfast show opined that government’s withdrawal of the subsidy on petrol is in the best interest of the poor.

Mr. Peterside, who stressed that he is a believer in subsidy when it is targeted at the poor, said that the current subsidy on petrol is mostly enjoyed by the rich hence the withdrawal will ensure that these resources are redirected to the poor.