Only Presidential Approval Is Needed To Award Contracts – NNPC (Full Statement)

File Photo: NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has stated that no law mandates the oil company to discuss with the Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Ibe Kachikwu before contract approval.

The NNPC in a letter titled ‘Re: Allegations of Lack of Adherence to Due Process in NNPC Contract Awards’ and signed by the General Manager Public Affairs,  Ndu Ughamadu, states that the law and rules of NNPC do not require discussion with the Minister of state before awarding contracts.

Read Full Statement below…

Re: Allegations of Lack of Adherence to Due Process in NNPC Contract Awards
Following the publication of alleged lack of adherence to due process in the award of NNPC contracts, the President ordered the Group Managing Director (GMD) and Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to consider and respond expeditiously to the allegations.

The substance of the allegations made by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, in a letter to the President, dated 30th of August 2017, is that a number of “major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with me (sic) the NNPC Board.”

It is important to note from the outset that the law and the rules do not require a review or discussion with the Minister of State or the NNPC Board on contractual matters. What is required is the processing and approval of contracts by the NNPC Tenders Board, the President in his executive capacity or as Minister of Petroleum, or the Federal Executive Council (FEC), as the case may be. There are therefore situations where all that is required is the approval of the NNPC Tenders Board while, in other cases, based on the threshold, the award must be submitted for presidential approval. Likewise, in some instances, it is FEC approval that is required.

It should be noted that for both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase (DSDP) agreements, there are no specific values attached to each transaction to warrant the values of $10billion and $5billion respectively placed on them in the claim of Dr. Kachikwu. It is therefore inappropriate to attach arbitrary values to the shortlists with the aim of classifying the transactions as contracts above NNPC Tenders Board limit. They are merely the shortlisting of prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum products under agreed terms. These transactions were not required to be presented as contracts to the Board of NNPC and, of course, the monetary value of any crude oil eventually lifted by any of the companies goes straight into the federation account and not to the company.

Furthermore, contrary to the assertion of Dr. Kachikwu that he was never involved in the 2017/2018 contracting process for the Crude Oil Term Contracts, Dr. Kachikwu was in fact expressly consulted by the GMD and his recommendations were taken into account in following through the laid down procedure. Thus, for him to turn around and claim that “…these major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with me…” is most unfortunate to say the least.

THE NNPC CONTRACTING PROCESS

The contracting process in NNPC is governed by the following:

i.    Provisions of the NNPC Act

ii.   The Public Procurement Act, 2007 (PPA)

iii.  Procurement method and thresholds of application and the composition of Tenders Board as provided by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Circular reference no. SGF/OP/1/S.3/VIII/57, dated 11th March, 2009.

iv.   NNPC Delegation of Authority Guide

v.    Supply Chain Management Policy & Procedure documents

vi.   NNPC Ethics Guide

Approving Authority for Contracts

The SGF Circular (iii above) on procurement threshold provided the following authority limits for NNPC transactions as well as the composition of the NNPC Tenders Board:

Table 1: Financial Authority Threshold (SGF Circular (iii) above)

Approving Authority/No Objection to AwardSpecial Works (NNPC)
BPP issues  “No objection to award”/FEC approvesN2.70 billion (USD 20M) and above
NNPC Tenders BoardUp to N2.7 billion (USD20M)

 

Table 2: Composition of Tenders Board (SGF Circular (iii) above)

MinistryChairmanPermanent Secretary
MembersHeads of Departments
ParastatalsChairmanChief Executive
MembersHeads of Departments

NNPC had cause to clarify severally from Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) as to the composition of NNPC Tenders Board and the role of NNPC Board appointed by Government. The following clarifications were made.

a. The BPP expressly clarified that NNPC Tenders Board (NTB) is NOT the same as NNPC Board. The governing board (NNPC Board) is responsible for approval of work programmes, corporate plans and budgets, while the NTB is responsible for approval of day-to-day procurement implementation.

b. BPP referred to the SGF circular for the composition of the NTB to compose of the Accounting Officer (GMD NNPC) as the Chairman, with Heads of Department (GEDs) as members with the Head of procurement (GGM SCM) serving as the Secretary of the NNPC Tenders Board.

The above clarifications of the provisions of the procurement process show that approvals reside within the NTB and where thresholds are exceeded, the NNPC refers to FEC for approval. Therefore, the NNPC Board has no role in contracts approval process as advised by BPP.

As can be seen, all these clarifications were sought and obtained prior to August 2015 and were implemented by Dr. Kachikwu as the GMD of NNPC. Dr. Kachikwu also constituted the first NNPC Tenders Board on 8th September 2015 and continued to chair it until his exit in June 2016.

Typical NNPC Contracting Process

1. Approval of project proposal and contracting strategy by NTB.

2. Placement of adverts for expression of interest in electronic and print media.

3. Soliciting for tender (Technical and Commercial)

4. Tender evaluation

5. Tender approval by NTB for contracts within its threshold; otherwise

6. Obtain BPP certificate of no objection before presentation to FEC.

7. Present to FEC for approval.

All Contracts in NNPC follow the above procedure.

SPECIFIC CONTRACTS MENTIONED IN THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PETROLEUM RESOURCES’ (HMSPR) LETTER TO MR. PRESIDENT

1. Crude Oil Term Contract (COTC)- valued at over $10bn

It is important to state that the COTC is not a contract for procurement of goods, works or services; rather it is simply a list of approved off-takers of Nigerian crude oil of all grades. This list does not carry any value, but simply state the terms and conditions for the lifting. It is therefore inappropriate to attach a value to it with the aim of classifying it as contract above Management limit.

In arriving at the off-takers list for 2017/2018 COTC, the following steps were followed:

a. Adverts were placed in National and International print media on Monday, 17th October 2016.

b. The bids were publicly opened in the presence of all stakeholders (NIETI, DPR, BPP, Civil Society Organisations, NNPC SCM Division and the press as well as live broadcasts by the NTA and other TV stations).
c. Detailed evaluation was carried out and the short list of the successful off-takers was presented to the approving authority (Mr. President) for consideration and approval.
d. Thereafter, NNPC published the list of the successful off-takers in newspapers and NNPC’s official website.
This has been the standard procedure and it is the same process adopted during the 2016/2017 COTC when the HMSPR was the GMD.

In conclusion, due process has been fully followed in the shortlisting of the off-takers of the Nigerian crude oil for the current term 2017/2018.

2. The Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) Contract- valued at over $5bn

Like the COTC, the DSDP is not a contract for any procurement of goods, works or services, rather it is simply a list of off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum products of equivalent value.

This list does not carry any value, but simply state the terms and conditions for the lifting and supply of petroleum products. It is therefore mischievous to classify it as contract and attach a value to it that is above Management’s limit.

In arriving at the off-takers list for 2017/2018 DSDP, the following steps were followed:

a. Work plans and execution strategy for the DSDP was granted by the approving authority (Mr. President).

b. Adverts were placed in National and International print media and NNPC website on Thursday, 22nd December 2016.

c. The bids were publicly opened in the presence of all stakeholders (NIETI, DPR, BPP, Civil Society Organisations, NNPC’s SCM Division and the press as well as live broadcast by the NTA and some TV stations).
d. Detailed evaluation was carried out and the short list of the successful off-takers was presented to the approving authority (Mr. President) for consideration and approval.
This has been the standard procedure and it is the same process adopted during the 2016/2017 DSDP when the HMSPR was the GMD.

In conclusion, it has been confirmed that due process has been followed in arriving at the shortlist of the DSDP partners for the 2017/2018 cycle.

3. The Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Contract

The AKK Gas pipeline project is a contractor financed contract. The process adopted for this contract is as follows:

1. Approval of project proposal and contracting strategy was given by NTB.

2. Placement of adverts for expression of interest in some National and International print media and NNPC’s website.

3. Expression of interest for pre-qualification received and evaluated.

4. Technical and Commercial tenders issued and evaluated

5. NTB considered and endorsed tender evaluation result for FEC approval since this contract is above NTB’s threshold subject to obtaining the following certificates of no objections:

a. BPP certificate of no objection (obtained).
b. Certificate of no objection from Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) (obtained).
c. Certificate of no objection from Nigerian Content Monitoring & Development Board (NCMDB) (being awaited)
BPP and ICRC certificates have been obtained, while that of NCDMB is being awaited after which the contract will be presented to FEC for consideration and approval.

Thus, due process is being followed in the processing of this contract.

4. Various Financing Arrangements Considered With IOCs;

The financing arrangements reported as contracts are part of the process of exiting Cash Call approved by the FEC. It entails negotiations with JV Partners on alternative funding of some selected projects through third-party financing to bridge the funding gap associated with Federal Government’s inability to meet its cash call contributions.

The third-party financing option emanates from the appropriation act provisions that allow sourcing of financing outside regular cash call contributions. Upon approval of the calendar year’s operating budget, the NNPC in conjunction with its JV partners commence the necessary process for accessing financing to bridge the funding gap.
Section 8 sub-sections (1) and (4) of the NNPC Act CAP N123 requires that all NNPC borrowings must be approved by Mr. President. Specifically, it provides that:

(1) Subject to the other provisions of this section, the Corporation may, from time to time, borrow by overdraft or otherwise howsoever such sums as it may require in the exercise of its functions under this Act.
(4) Where any sum required aforesaid –
a) Is to be in currency other than Naira; and
b) Is to be borrowed by the Corporation otherwise than temporarily,
c) The Corporation shall not borrow the sum without the prior approval of the President.

Due Process:

1. NAPIMS and JV partner identify bankable projects that require financing and sends to NNPC Corporate Finance to assist in procuring financing.
2. Constitution of Joint Financing Team (JFT) between NNPC and the JV Partner.
3. JFT NNPC invites Request For Proposals (RFPs) from Financial Institutions.
4. Submitted RFPs are evaluated and beauty parade conducted to determine most cost-efficient proposal.
5. Negotiated Financing Strategy, Term-sheets, Structures, and pricing are presented for NNPC Management’s (NTB) approvals.
6. NNPC presents the renegotiated terms for approval of Mr. President.
7. NNPC executes the resultant Agreement.

Financings taken under this Administration: Approx. $3bn are as follows:
All established due process as enumerated above has been observed leading to the securing of financing for the following projects in 2016/2017:

·         SN·         PROJECT·         Amount (US$mn)APPROVALS·         LOAN EXECUTED BY
NTBPRESIDENTIAL
·         1.·         NNPC/CNL JV Project Cheetah1,200.00·         16/04/15·         01/09/15·         Dr. E. I. Kachikwu
·         2.·         NNPC/CNL JV Project Falcon780.00·         26/04/17·         31/07/17·         Dr. M. K. Baru
·         3.·         NNPC/SPDC JV Project Santolina1,000.00·         26/04/17·         10/07/17·         Dr. M. K. Baru
·TOTAL2,980.00···

These are not procurement projects as described by the PPA, 2007. However, all established due processes as enumerated above were followed.

The NPDC Integrity Upgrade and Development Projects

All the NPDC procurement contracts were subjected to the approved procurement procedures as described in respect of the AKK Gas Pipeline project above. There were no breaches of any extant procurement processes. For the benefit of doubt, it is confirmed that there is no single NPDC contract that has been approved by the relevant Tenders Board beyond its limit of financial authority and there is no single contract that is in the $3Bn to $4Bn range claimed in the write-up.

Conclusions

From the foregoing, the allegations were baseless and due process has been followed in the various activities.

Furthermore, it is established that apart from the AKK project and NPDC production service contracts, all the other transactions mentioned were not procurement contracts. The NPDC production service contracts have undergone due process, while the AKK contract that requires FEC approval has not reached the stage of contract award.

Ndu Ughamadu

Group General Manager

Group Public Affairs Division,

NNPC, Abuja.

FG Activates $20bn Gas Industrial Park In Delta

Yemi Osinbajo, Gas Industrial Park, DeltaEfforts by the Federal Government to fast track the development of the Niger Delta appear to be in full swing, as it plans to site a $20 billion gas industrial park in the region through a public-private partnership.

This was made known on Monday by Nigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, during a meeting with a group of international investors and developers on the project at the Presidential Villa.

The consortium is made up of fortune 500 companies which include the GSE&C of South Korea, the China Development Bank, Power China and several other global operators from Asia and the United Arab Emirates in the Middle-East.

A statement from the Vice President’s office explained that the project, tagged the Gas Revolution Industrial Park (GRIP), would be located in Ogidigben, Delta State, and is envisaged to be a regional hub for all gas-based industries.

According to the Acting President, the project would cover 2700 hectares with fertiliser, methanol, petrochemicals, and aluminium plants located in the park which has already been designated as a Tax Free Zone by the Federal Government.

He said the government “is committed to the development of the Niger Delta, and the importance of this project is underlined by the presidential attention it is attracting. The presidency is very interested”.

We Are Unwavering

Professor Osinbajo added that the Federal Government takes the project very seriously, just as it is ready to make several other commitments to change the fortune of the oil-producing states.

“We already have a steering committee in place, chaired by the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and that shows the level of our commitment. We are unwavering.

“We take the project very seriously and glad to see you are committed and ready to make several other commitments. This is a process that we intend to see happen,” he said.

On his part, Dr. Kachikwu expressed confidence that the GRIP would bring the much needed succour to the people of the Niger Delta and the oil-producing states.

Speaking earlier, the leader of the group of investors and developers, Sheikh Mohamed Bayorh, stated the commitment of the consortium, stressing the importance of the project to solving the Niger Delta crisis.

The development comes against the backdrop of the recent visit by the Acting President to the oil-producing communities, to demonstrate the resolve of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to pursue a new vision for the Niger Delta.

Kachikwu Expresses Hope For A Better 2017

Ibe Kachikwu Expresses Hope For A Better 2017The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu has urged Nigerians to face the challenges posed by recession and make the best of it in 2017, observing that the recession has brought out the ingenuity in Nigerians to look within.

According to the Minister who spoke at a musical event which took place at his residence at Onicha-Ugbo, Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State as part of celebration for the yuletide, “we must make sense out of our situation”.

“Everywhere I go, opportunities abound, the difficulties of today, should challenge us for a better tomorrow,” he said, observing that God has endowed Nigeria with a lot of gifts that should be tapped to make the country greater in 2017.

He emphasised, “God gave us energy to energise the environment; He gave us a beautiful environment and gave us food in abundance if we can use our hands to work on the soil.”

Dr Kachikwu contined, “As much as we may hate what is happening in the country, let the pains of today not frustrate you; let the challenges of today make you better for tomorrow because, in one year’s time, it will go well. We will create a Nigeria we all will be proud of.”

Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, was among dignitaries that graced the ‘Night of Soulful Music’ organised by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu.

In a brief sermon at the event which was spiced up by renowned gospel musicians, Rev. Fr. Peter Mobuogwu of the Catholic Diocese of Issele-Uku disclosed that Christmas is about celebrating the love of God.

He sued for peace among Nigerians, asserting, “what we desire now is the peace that comes with Christmas, we are celebrating the great love of God and there is hope that life will continue after now because, God stooped down to take the form of man for our sake”.

NNPC, IOC Sign Cash-Call Exit Agreement

NNPC, IOC, Cash-Call AgreementThe Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and International Oil Companies (IOC) have signed an agreement to exit the Joint Venture Cash-Call Arrangement.

This brings to an end, the NNPC’s counterpart funding for 60% equity shareholding it owns in various oil and gas fields in international and indigenous oil firms.

The agreement was signed on Thursday in Abuja between the national oil company and Shell Petroleum, Nigeria Agip Oil, Total, Chevron and Exxon Mobil.

It is coming barely 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the Federal Government would cut provisions for the Joint Venture Cash-Calls, starting from January 2017.

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, noted that a governance process would be set up with immediate effect, to manage a new funding mechanism that would provide for cost recovery.

The NNPC Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, on his part, explained that the exit has set the stage for a review of the cash-call agreement.

He added that it has also created an opportunity for the adoption of a more sustainable funding arrangement with international oil companies’ joint venture operations.

Cash-calls is a counterpart funding the NNPC pays annually for the 60% equity shareholding it owns in various oil and gas fields operated by IOC and indigenous oil firms.

In 2016, underfunding for cash-calls amounted to $2.5 billion, bringing the national oil firm’s total cash-call arrears over the years to $8.5 billion.

FG Will Sustain Petroleum Products Pricing Template – Kachikwu

Petroleum Products Pricing Template, Ibe KachikwuNigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, says the Federal Government will work to maintain the new petroleum products pricing template which pegs the price of petrol between 135 and 145 Naira per litre.

The Minister said that the government is presently unable to consider fixing a new price for petrol without considering some of the market variables that gave rise to the current petroleum pricing template.

He made the remarks in Abuja on the sideline of an event organised by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) as well as the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).

“Obviously as you look at foreign exchange differentiation, it will impact and the worst thing you could do is to go back to the era when we unilaterally fix prices.

“What we’ve also been doing is to watch the prices and make sure that they do not take advantage of the common man, making sure the template is maintained,” Kachikwu told the gathering.

In her remarks, the acting Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Sotonye Iyoyo, explained how the new petroleum products pricing template has stabilised products distribution in Nigeria.

“The appropriate pricing framework policy put in place by the Minister for Petroleum Resources in May 11, 2016 has gone a long way in achieving key deregulatory pre-conditions such as full cost recovery, free entrance and free exit of players.

“Global competitive product pricing policy, limited government intervention and control of pricing (as well as) distribution and creation of the enabling environment attracts private sector capital,” she stated.

On his part, PENGASSAN President, Francis Johnson, expressed satisfaction with the new pricing template.

He, however, appealed to the legislature to quickly pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law to address other issues in the sector.

“We want to commend and also advise that the National Assembly should see how they can pass this bill (PIB).

“It’s very important that we have that bill because it’s the legal framework and when we also have the bill passed into law, definitely the issue of pipeline vandalism and so many issues embedded in the industry will also be taken care of so that we can know that yes, the industry is moving forward,” he said.

Nigeria Targets 60% Drop In Petroleum Products Import By 2018

Kachikwu, Niger DeltaThe Nigerian government says it is targeting at least 60% drop in importation of petroleum products by 2018 and export increase by 2019.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, told a gathering in Lagos that current reforms initiated by the government would ensure the reduction in importation and subsequently position the country for net export by 2019.

The Minister, who announced the planned reduction in importation in Lagos on Monday at the 10th Oil Trading and Logistics Africa Downstream Expo, was represented by his Senior Technical Adviser on Upstream and Gas, Mr Gbite Adeniji.

He, however, says there is need to fully liberalise and deregulate the midstream and downstream sub-sectors in a way that the open market prices of petroleum products would be cost-reflective and market-driven.

Dr Kachikwu also called for a strong independent regulator to monitor activities in the sub-sector, whose role is not price-setting, but to develop and enforce open, fair and transparent rules in the downstream oil and gas sector.

Foreign Exchange Availability

He stressed the need to build refineries and run them as profit centres that would purchase crude at international prices and deliver products at export parity prices.

“This is the only viable basis for financing new infrastructure. This ensures that pricing will be conducted on a market-derived basis. We need to establish an oil and gas infrastructure protection squad, with the responsibility for dealing with crude and products theft, vandalism and general criminality, which is currently on an upsurge in the entire industry,” he told the gathering.

On his part, the Group General Manager of the Crude Oil Marketing Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, told the gathering that the government had resolved the challenge of foreign exchange availability facing marketers.

Stranded Forex

He, however, noted that some of the marketers were rejecting the dollar supply provided by the government to facilitate the importation of the products.

Explaining the foreign exchange issues which the cost of petroleum products had been linked to, he said: “There is no way today you can take petrol to the retail outlets and sell it at 145 Naira. So, if that is true, and I believe that is true because we all go to the market and we know what is going on, why can’t we sell above 145 Naira?

“And I know today that it is impossible to announce tomorrow that petrol price is 150 Naira. This government cannot sustain it. It is unfair even to expect it to do that today. That is the truth. But all of us, including myself, are not ready to take that number. That is why Vitol, Northwest, Petrocam, and others, are not importing; it is not forex”.

Kyari further stated that the government had created a niche market for forex, saying, “we have ring-fenced all forex from the upstream such that the forex will be available at a fixed price – a price that the CBN has agreed. I am part of the people who are involved in making sure that the forex is available.

He further stated that the 145 Naira per litre price band had scared importers away from importing petroleum products.

“I am part of the committee allocating those forex, and I know and I can see some of you here; we gave you forex, but you returned it. And the reason that was given was that the forex was not enough to import. But that is not the truth. The truth is that if you go to the market today and buy products and land here, you are required to sell it at N145 maximum. That is the main reason why people are not importing.

“As I speak to you today, we have stranded forex that nobody is ready to pick up. So, we have closed the chapter on forex,” he explained.

Kyari, however, said the NNPC was very comfortable and could sell petrol at N145 per litre.

Nigeria To Get $4bn Loan Facility In Oil Sector Investment – Kachikwu

KachikwuThe Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, says Nigeria expects as much as four billion dollars in loan facilities for infrastructure development in the oil and gas sector.

Dr. Kachikwu gave the hint on Wednesday ahead of a 40-member Chinese investment team’s visit to Nigeria at the end of October.

He told journalists after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday that the loan facility was independent of the $75.6 billion oil sector investment Memorandum of Understanding signed at Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s China Road Show in July.

The Minister said $40 billion was the original target, being the total cost of Nigeria’s oil infrastructural gap.

He further told reporters that despite an expected gestation period of one year for the hatching of business incentives and terms of investment arising from different agreements the nation had entered into, the country would take advantage of some readily available facility lines.

Nigeria’s oil sector had witnessed lesser activities, since the price of crude oil dropped, dipping the nation’s revenue.

Nigeria largely depends on crude oil sales for its revenue, but the government has reiterated the need for a shift from crude oil to other sectors to raise money and reflate the economy in recession.

Dr. Kachikwu had at the roadshow described Nigeria as a reservoir of natural resources waiting to be tapped.

The Minister urged the Chinese investors to join their counterparts who have invested in Nigeria and were doing well in various sectors of the economy.

Liberal Policies

Dr Kachikwu stated that Nigeria was a preferred investor’s destination because of its liberal policies and quick returns on investments.

The Minister also signed an agreement worth $30 million.

A top official of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Anibor Kragha, who presented the areas of investments to the businessmen, described Nigeria’s oil company as the biggest investment in the African continent looking for partners that will be part of Nigeria’s oil and gas revolution.

Kragba assured the businessmen of a friendly environment and quick returns on investments in Nigeria’s oil industry.

Also at the roadshow, an indigenous investor in the industry, Dr Bryant Orjiakor, lent his voice to the attraction in the nation’s oil and gas industry.

According to Orjiakor, Nigeria’s oil and gas industry was a major platform on which the country aim to expand its economy.

He identified Nigeria’s population as an advantage for quick yields on investments.

Nigeria is targeting about $15 billion foreign investments from China and the Gulf States to replace and expand its ageing infrastructure in the oil industry.

The NNPC also targets $50 million investment from its roadshows and its major target of investors are in China, India and the Gulf Countries.

Nigerian Government Responds To Call For Petrol Price Increase

Nigerian government on petrol price and increase demandThe Nigerian government says it will not increase the pump price of petrol despite a demand that it should consider the removal of the price cap.

This is coming as a reaction to a request made by the forum of former Group Managing Directors of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Sunday.

They had called for the removal of the price cap of 145 Naira per litre, which was set in May by the Minister of Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, insisting that it was not harmonious with the liberalisation policy of the Federal Government.

A statement by the NNPC’S spokesman, Mr Garba Mohammed, said the 145 Naira per litre price cap did not go well together with the liberalisation policy when factors such as the foreign exchange rate, crude cost and Nigerian Ports Authority charges remain uncapped.

The price cap had been set when the dollar exchange rate at the parallel market was less than 300 Naira, with the government saying the decision was to ensure that marketers do not sell petrol at their desired price.

Giving the government’s position on the request for price review, the acting Executive Secretary the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Sotonye Iyoyo, said that the agency would not accept the advice.

Mrs Iyoyo pointed out that the proposal was the personal opinion of the former Group Managing Directors of the NNPC.

“I am not aware that the government is planning any fuel price increase. We are in a liberalised market already,” she insisted.

On his part, the spokesman for the NNPC, Garba Mohammed, also described the advice, saying it was just an “opinion”.

The former Group Managing Directors of the NNPC  also expressed concern over the declining production level of crude oil in Nigeria and its consequences on the environment and the nation’s revenue.

They fear that if the current situation is left unchecked, it could lead to the crippling of the NNPC and the nation’s oil and gas sector.

Nigeria’s crude oil production had dipped by 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.56 million bpd in the last few months due to attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta region.

A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.

It had, however, few weeks ago, said it had agreed to a ceasefire and was ready for negotiations with the Federal Government.

JTF Kills Five Militants In Rivers State

Army, Militants, JTF, RiversThe Nigerian Army says it is making progress in the Niger Delta as it reveals that the Joint Task Force has killed five militants in Rivers State.

This is coming barely 24 hours after the military announced that it has begun mopping up of arms in the Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.

The militants were killed during an exchange of gun fire with the troops, and a cache of arms and ammunition recovered from them.

The troops intercepted the hoodlums after they had kidnapped an unidentified person before the gun battle ensued.

A statement by the Army spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman, stated that the exercise would continue this weekend in the 82 Division and part of the Two Division of the Nigerian Army.

The army explained that the operations in the riverine environment was to check criminal activities such as kidnapping, militancy and piracy among others.

The Commander of “Operation Delta Safe”, Major General Joseph Irabor, had told journalists in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State that the military would not relent in its determination to rid the Niger Delta of illegal arms.

This latest killing of five militants and one kidnapper occurred in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital this weekend and is considered a major breakthrough by the Nigerian military.

However, there are reports that the Federal Government is ready to dialogue with the Niger Delta militants, to resolve the crisis in the region.

The Petroleum Minister, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said at the weekend that over $40 billion have been spent in the Niger Delta in the past 12 years without any significant results.

Nigeria’s Economy Should Be Built To Adapt To Current Trends – Osinbajo

Yemi Osinbajo on NigeriaNigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, says there is need to ensure that the economy of the nation is built to adapt to the physical, social and technological trends of the present generation.

Professor Osinbajo made the statement on Friday during a two-day economic and investment summit in Delta State, south-south Nigeria.

He further stressed the need for Nigerian leaders to build relationships based on trust with the citizenry.

“Truth on the part of a leader, plays a critical role in the development and prosperity of Nigeria,” he stated.

The summit was organised by the Delta State government, as part of the activities to mark the 25th anniversary since Delta State was created.

Speaking to delegates at the event, the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, emphasised the need to build a strong, robust and resilient economy.

Present at the summit are the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Charles Soludo among others.

Pipeline Vandalism Will Affect Funding Of 2016 Budget – Kachikwu

Kachikwu, Niger DeltaThe Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, on Thursday said there might be no money to fund the 2016 budget going by the spate of pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region.

Dr. Kachikwu, who said this at the 2016 Annual Conference of National Association of Energy Correspondents in Lagos, warned that militancy in the Niger Delta has destabilised the country’s oil industry, adding that Nigeria needs to increase its production by 1.1 million barrels per day to meet its target.

Dr Kachikwu revealed that has recorded 1,600 cases of pipeline vandalism since January, and over 3, 000 pipeline vandalism cases from 2010 to 2015.

Dr. Kachikwu urged the militants to stop and set aside every aggression and come to the altar of engagements, insisting that the solution to the Niger Delta problem is not militancy but extensive dialogue.

He further noted that domestic gas supply to power has declined by 60%, maintaining that refineries are still averaging 50% – 60% capacity.

He called on the need to ramp up production, affirming that “we must do whatever is required as a people to proffer solutions to our collective challenges as a nation”.

He stated that his dream is to ensure that by 2018 “we exit importation of petroleum products and by 2019, begin exportation. He also stated that the China Road-trip was focused on attracting investments to the sector.

Dr Kachikwu maintained that a review of the regulations affecting the oil and gas sector in Nigeria in the past 30 years is in progress, adding that polices such as National Gas Policy, National Oil Policy, Fiscal Policy and National Downstream Policy, will also be developed.

He further maintained that the liberalization of the downstream sector has led to the reduction of truck-out from 1,500 about 10 months ago to 850, presently, daily consumption of ±45 million litres (10 months ago) to ±38 million litres and drastic reduction of petroleum products massive diversion to West African countries.

He, however, assured Nigerians that government is stepping up efforts to make robust policies that would finalise and gazette a comprehensive gas policy, unlock gas potential and ensure effective development of Nigeria’s gas market.

President Buhari Decries ‘Blackmail’ Of Senior Government Officials

Buhari, President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to discerning Nigerians to ignore orchestrated attempts to sully the integrity of ministers and other senior government officials, who are being tarred with the brush of corruption without any concrete evidence.

The President was reacting to reports, particularly by online media, that the immediate past Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), who is also Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, is being investigated over crude oil swap deals and gas liftings during his tenure as GMD of the petroleum corporation.

President Buhari appealed for decent and civilized comments, particularly when it has to do with the integrity of those who are serving the country.

“Terrible and unfounded comments about other people’s integrity are not good.

“We are not going to spare anybody who soils his hands, but people should please wait till such individuals are indicted,” the President said.

President Buhari reiterated the administration’s commitment to probity, accountability and integrity, promising that transparency remains a watchword, which would never be trifled with.