FX Market: Naira May Trade At N350 To Dollar

Naira, Market, dollarThe Nigerian currency is expected to trade around 350 Naira to the dollar in the coming days as uncertainty over the implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s planned new flexible exchange rate policy persists.

A meeting between the CBN Governor and local currency traders over the policy has failed to yield desired results.

Dealers say the financial market dealers association initiated the meeting with Mr Godwin Emefiele to discuss the policy which seeks to abandon the naira’s 15-month peg to the dollar.

The CBN says it would issue the guidelines for the flexible exchange rate policy at the appropriate time.

The local currency retreated to 350 to the dollar on the parallel market on Thursday from 360 Naira to the dollar last week.

Fuel Scarcity Bites Harder In Adamawa

fuel scarcityAs fuel scarcity continues to bite harder in Nigeria, Adamawa State is not left out of the lack of the product.

A litre of petrol which before the scarcity sold at 150 Naira at the black market has risen to 250 Naira per litre.

The fuel situation has continued to deteriorate as fewer filling station have the commodity.

Only the NNPC retail outlets have been attending to customers but they have had to endure staying for hours or days on long queues to buy the fuel.

Some Adamawa residents who spoke to Channels Television believe that a shortage in the supply of the product is responsible for the fuel scarcity in the state.

Some also attributed the scarcity to the activities of black marketers and those who smuggle the product to the neighbouring Cameroon.

Investigations by Channels Television reveal that only three NNPC filling stations are dispensing to customers as they continue to spend hours to obtain the product.

$5.7 Mln Arms Deal, Case Of Money Laundering – Jiti Ogunye

Jiti OgunyeA lawyer, Jiti Ogunye, on Wednesday ruled out the argument that the Federal Government’s failed second attempt to purchase arms was a legitimate effort, insisting that an official seal on the deal did not rule out a case of money laundering.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Ogunye noted that the “South African authorities have every right and power to carry out investigations and they are doing so. When they conclude the investigations, we’ll have the benefit of the outcome”.

He argued that the two cases of botched arms deal involving Nigeria and South Africa would be investigated, noting that”“there’s a sequence”.

Although the first $9.3 million, which was seized aboard a private jet, was alleged to be a black operation, and the $5.7 million transferred legally via a bank, Ogunje insisted that both transactions were illegal.

“When you’re committing money laundering, what do you do it through? You do it through the banks,” he said, adding that “the fact that this money was paid through the bank allegedly, and that the NSA signed off on it, do not mean it doesn’t have the taint of money laundering.

“Doesn’t a governor sign-off a budget before stealing the money?” he asked, implying that the official signature was a means to launder state funds.

“The fact that you sign-off on something does not mean that you’re not committing a crime,” he argued, adding that the country’s seal had been used severally to commit monstrosities.

He countered arguments that the South African government did not wish Nigeria, recalling the incarceration on Henry Okah, a case he said Nigeria was the chief beneficiary. “Nigeria did not complain at the time,” he said.

“It’s shameful enough for this kind of thing to be happening but it’s doubly shameful for us to be rationalising by offering implausibilities,” he concluded.

We’re not going on strike for oil marketers but for workers – NUPENG

The president of  the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Achese Igwe has argued that the industrial action threatened by the union is not for the payment of oil subsidies to fraudulent oil marketers but to secure the payment of  salaries to workers in the sector.

Mr. Igwe was on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, to explain the reasons for the impending strike which has already grounded the Federal Capital Territory, leaving the residents to resort to black market for fuel.

The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, recently alleged that the oil workers union was working in connivance with the oil marketers to blackmail the federal government over the payment of fuel subsidy.

The union leader however accused the federal government of non-compliance to earlier agreements with the union which included agreement on subsidy payments, repair of bad roads across the country plied by oil distributing trucks and refinery maintenance.

According to Mr Igwe, some of the workers in the sector are currently being owed salaries for over three months.

Reacting to the planned strike by NUPENG, the spokesman for the Civil Liberty Organsation, Abah Ejembi speaking from Channels Television’s Abuja studio, urged the union not to put the lives of over 160 million Nigerians at risk with the struggle for their union members,  that number about 15,000 by compelling the federal government to pay the subsidy claims that are shrouded in fraud.

Mr. Abah Ejembi claimed that NUPENG is fighting the battle for their ‘bosses’-the oil marketers who are entangled in allegations of fraudulent claims in the management of the nation’s fuel subsidy regime with the Ministry of Finance.

SUNRISE DAILY PART 1

SUNRISE DAILY PART 2

SUNRISE DAILY PART 3

SUNRISE DAILY PART 4

SUNRISE DAILY PART 5

FG set to resolve fuel, PHCN, labour crisis this week-Okupe

The Federal Government has made clear its intention to resolve the lingering crises with the different union of workers threatening to embark on industrial action, before the week ends.

Abuja is already witnessing days of fuel scarcity with residents now resorting to black market.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), is leading the threat to embark on a nationwide strike over the severance package of Nigerian Union of Electrical Employees (NUEE) with the on-going privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria. The electricity workers threatened to shut down the nation’s power grid in their protest.

Also the union of oil marketers and the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) are also on the brink of ceasing the supply of fuel to the nation’s economy over the delay in payment of fuel subsidies. The Federal Capital territory is already witnessing days of fuel scarcity with residents now resorting to black market.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Dr Doyin Okupe on Monday, stated that the Federal Government “is making serious and intense efforts at averting what may seem to be a looming industrial crises involving NUPENG, oil marketers, PHCN staff and the NLC.”

According to Dr. Okupe, “The approach taken by government at resolving this crisis is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional.”

He further explained that the Ministers of Labour, Power, and other Federal Government officials met with the aggrieved PHCN workers and “virtually all their demands have been agreed upon except for the issue of severance benefits of workers” he claimed.

He however noted that “While the workers (PHCN) insist on their terms of employment, government’s proposition is based on the Pension Act of 2004. However, this matter will most probably be resolved favourably within the coming week by the Presidency.”

Dr. Okupe also stated that, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance minister, Dr. Ngozi  Okonjo – Iweala has shifted  her base temporarily to Lagos, in spite of the Sallah holidays, where she has been engaged intensively also with the aggrieved oil marketers , union members and other stakeholders in the downstream sector.

“All indications are to the effect that favourable resolutions are being reached and all matters are likely to be resolved within this week” he stated.

Dr Okupe on behalf of the Federal Government, therefore “Urged Nigerians to be calm, as all hands are on deck to ensure that normalcy returns soonest”.

N42.666 billion paid to oil marketers in 4months-Finance Ministry

The federal government has again restated its claim that indicted oil marketers are behind the industrial action being embarked by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers, (NUPENG).

The union has stopped the delivery of petrol to the FCT in protest over the alleged non-payment of subsidy claims causing severe fuel shortages in the nation’s capital.

But the Federal Ministry of Finance in a statement on Friday stated that the federal government has already paid out the sum of N42.666 billion in subsidy claims between the months of April – August this year to ‘genuine oil marketers.’

The statement which sought to apprise Nigerians on key developments in the management of fuel subsidy payments, claimed that “marketers with legitimate and unencumbered claims have been paid and will continue to be paid.”

Giving a breakdown of the payment made so far, the statement revealed that:

-Between April and May 2012, Batches D/12 and E/12 involving 14 oil marketers with a claim of N17 billion were fully settled.

– In addition, since early July 2012, N25.6 billion worth of claims have been fully settled.

– In all, between April – August this year, in respect of 2012 PMS claims, N42.666 billion have been paid to 31 oil marketers.

Affirming that the fuel scarcity in Abuja is a ploy by the indicted marketers to provoke Nigerians against the government, the Ministry of Finance alleged that “it is clear that those behind the strikes are marketers being investigated for possible fraud.”

“These elements have now resorted to hiding behind the unions to unnecessarily antagonize government and create hardship for Nigerians” the statement adds.

Companies under investigation for fuel subsidy fraud

The statement further revealed the names of 20 companies that are currently under-going investigation based on their indictment by the Presidential Committee on Fuel Subsidy Payments led by Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.

According to the Ministry, the companies are been investigated “based on evidence that they may have engaged in fraudulent activities under the fuel subsidy regime.”

The report of the committee recommended that the oil marketers must refund various amounts to the national treasury.

1. ALMINNUR RESOURCES LTD

2. BRILLA ENERGY LED

3. CAADES OIL AND GAS LTD

4. CAPITAL OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY LTD

5. CONNOIL PLC

6. DOWNSTREAM ENERGY SOURCE LTD

7. ETERNA PLC

8. EURAAFRIC OIL AND GAS LTD

9. LUMEN SKIES LTD

10. MAJOPE INVESTMENT LTD

11. MATRIX ENERGY LTD

12. MENON OIL AND GAS LTD

13. MOB INTERNATIONAL SERVICES

14. M.R.S OIL AND GAS LTD

15. NASAMAN OIL SERVICES LTD

16. NATACEL PETROLEUM LTD

17. OCEAN ENERGY TRADING AND SERVICES

18. PINNACLE CONTRACTORS LTD

19. SIFAX OIL AND GAS COMPANY

20. TONIQUE OIL SERVICES LTD

Less indictment

The Finance Ministry also noted that there are other oil marketing companies with less severe cases to answer, adding that “these (companies) are in discussion with government for a quick resolution of their issues.”

Explaining the terms under which funds owed these companies will  be sorted out, the statement said, that oil marketers under investigation for possible refunds to the government, will have their 2012 outstanding claims “netted out against their expected refunds to government and those with a positive net balance, i.e outstanding claims greater than expected refunds will be processed and paid.”

“For marketers with a negative balance with government, i.e they owe government more in refunds than government owes them, the Aig-imoukhuede committee will accelerate review of their documents after the Sallah break so that their claims can be processed and settled, if cleared, without further delay.”

“For others that may not be in the above categories but who have other issues or claims, their claims will also be attended to with the same despatch.”

In conclusion the Ministry of Finance vowed to investigation the alleged role of the oil marketers in the on-going crisis stating that “we want to make it clear that Government will fully investigate their activities and if found guilty, bring them to book and recover all public funds fraudulently obtained, in the guise of fuel subsidy claims.”

“No degree of blackmail will stop the Government from doing its work. Government will, therefore, pursue justice and ensure that those who are found guilty are appropriately sanctioned” it concluded.