Nigeria Launches Safe School Initiative With 3.2b Naira

jonathan-goodluck-Nigeria-PresidentPresident Goodluck Jonathan has kicked off the Safe School Initiative programme with a start off fund of 3.2 billion Naira, with half of the amount coming from the private sector. 

After a meeting on the initiative between President Jonathan, former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and governors from the three least educationally developed states, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, told reporters that the fund would help ensure that children in schools in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states got educated in a safe environment.

Explaining the initiative and the fund to journalists, Dr Okonjo-Iweala said Mr Gordon Brown, who was also an envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nation on children, was expected to also assist in raising some funds in addition to the benchmark set for the programme.

She said that a total of 100 million dollars was the targeted amount needed as take-off grant for the Safe School Initiative Programme by the Federal Government and the international community for Nigerian schools.

Forcefully Abducted

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala stated that 20 million dollars had already been raised by the Federal Government and the Private Sector as an  initial capital.

“The trust fund would also include: Emergency relief , Reconstruction and Rehabilitation,” she said.

Over 10 million children are out of school in Nigeria and some in school in the three states are beginning to lose interest in education after series of attacks on schools by a terrorist group, Boko Haram, seeking an end to western education.

Some children that are in school have been forcefully abducted by members of the Boko Haram for the simple reason that they want to be educated.

To help ensure that learning environment in schools in the three states are safe, President Jonathan and members of his cabinet met with former British Prime Minister.

According to Dr Okonjo-Iweala, the initiative will begin with the three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa who have been worst hit by the ugly trend.

The former British Prime Minister has the backing of the United Nation and the international community on the project which will also take care of the Chibok girls abducted by the Boko Haram sect when they are released.

Mr Brown said that the abduction of the Chibok school girls is still a nightmare to the international community.

Brown is in talks with the United kingdom, Norway, the United States  and the European Union to raise additional funds to help in the massive reconstruction work that is expected to kick-off.

The Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim  Gaidam and the Governor of Bornu State, Kashim Shetima, expressed support for the initiative which they said would enable the children feel safe in schools. The development they said would help reduce illiteracy in the north eastern states.

The Federal Government says Nigerian children must have an environment in which they could come back to school and not have anyone truncate their education. The government also called for the support of all Nigerians to make the initiative a success.

The Safe School Initiative is a fall-out of the World Economic Forum on Africa held in May in Nigeria’s capital.

China To Invest $4 Billion To Boost Housing In Nigeria

housing_constructionThe Nigerian housing sector has become one of the first major beneficiaries of the World Economic Forum on Africa with Chinese investors offering the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria $4 billion to boost the nation’s housing sector.

The Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage Bank, Mr Gimba Yau Kumo who announced the offer in Abuja said that part of the 200-man Chinese delegation would meet with his management team and other relevant government officials for final agreement on the deal.

Mr Kumo said the management of the Federal Mortgage Bank has discussed with the Minister Of Finance, Dr Okonjo-Iweala, with a view to obtain approval of the Federal Government to accept the terms of the Chinese.

The World Economic Forum on Africa opened in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on Wednesday with participants, including Heads of Governments, CEOs of global firms, leading financiers and policy and development technocrats, from over 80 countries attending.

It is the first time that the forum is holding in West Africa and Africa’s largest economy is hosting the event that equally attracts global players.

Ahead of the forum, preparations reached top gear on Tuesday with the Nigeria Police Force increasing presence in the capital city and surrounding towns.

Police Pension: Okonjo-Iweala Says No Money Is Missing

Africa-Nigeria-Finance-Minister-Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala-05182012Contrary to media reports, the Nigerian Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, says the sum of 24 billion Naira is not missing from the Police Pension Fund.

The Minister said that the alleged missing money was discovered to be an over-estimation of pension’s arrears.

A statement by the spokesman for the Minister, Paul Nwabuikwu, said that Dr Okonjo-Iweala made the observation while briefing the Senate Joint Committee on Pensions Administration in Nigeria.

The Minister, who is also the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, also said that she had ordered the account frozen to prevent fraud based on reports of suspicious transactions.

“The money was subsequently returned to government coffers as is the standard practice,” the statement read.

The Director General of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Department (PTAD), Mrs Nellie Mayshak, had told the House of Representatives’ Public Accounts Committee during a probe that “no documentary evidence” existed on the whereabouts of 24 billion Naira released from the Service Wide Vote in 2010 for the Police Pension Fund.

Senate Hearing: Okonjo-Iweala Recommends Independent Audit On NNPC Missing Funds

The Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has told members of the Senate Committee on Finance to go a step further by inviting independent auditors to look at the books of the Ministry of Finance as regards remittances made by the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission, NNPC.

This is in view of the lingering controversies surrounding the alleged 10.8 billion dollars missing NNPC funds.

The Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was speaking at the investigative hearing by the Senate Committee on Finance, into the alleged missing $20 billion oil money.

In her testimony, she said, “The budget under the control of the Ministry of Finance is laid out transparently online and has been accessible to all Nigerians and they have been criticizing it. Even though it’s difficult for us, we are proud of it because it means they have information to criticize us with.

“Under those circumstances people say the finances of the country are in a mess, we do not think that is the case on that particular point.

“What is being said here is being made to look like in this country, there has been no accountability, and that is not the case. For two steady years, Federal Allocation after Federal Allocation Committee meeting, the Ministry of Finance chairs a process that reconciles these accounts, and every single Commissioner of Finance in this country has a folder that shows exactly what we’ve done. So the Ministry of Finance is doing its job.

“It is because of that reconciliation that we came to the amount of 10.8billion that everybody is now talking about. When the Central Bank mentioned 49.8billion, we were the first to say we did not think this amount is correct and you can ask the CBN Governor, he is right here.

“After we had done that work, it was proven that 49.8billion is not the right amount and he had the courage to accept that. Without the steady work we have done to account for the resources of this country, we will not be talking about 10.8billion.”

Referring to an earlier comment by a member of the committee, she said, “We have said we want an independent audit in addition; it is precisely because of what the distinguished Senator is saying that we want this independent audit these extraordinary times. A lot of accusations are being made in this country and the only way Nigerians are going to be satisfied is to have an independent opinion on these amounts.”

Senate Hearing: No 10.87billion Dollars Is Seated In NNPC – Group GMD

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu

The Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala have been giving testimonies at the investigative hearing by the Senate Committee on Finance, into the alleged missing $20 billion oil money.

Mr Sanusi told the hearing that regardless of the explanations from the Finance Minister, as far as the CBN was concerned, there is an outstanding $20 billion between what NNPC shipped and what it paid to Government.

Mr Sanusi insisted that the outstanding 6 billion Dollars given to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) should have gone to the Federal Government and that the CBN received 3 legal opinions on that matter while offering to bring lawyers to defend that claim.

The Finance Minister, Okonjo Iweala, however said that the NNPC supplied documents from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulation Agency, PPPRA, showing how the initial outstanding 10.8 billion dollars was spent.

The Group GMD of the NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, who was also at the hearing, however, stuck to his gun, insisting that the state oil company was not in custody of the amount as claimed by the CBN Governor.

“You will recall that we started from 49.8 billion dollars, and after the interagency reconciliation in December, we came down to 10.87, and this was classified as non-remitted funds. The impression all over the place is that 10.87billion dollars is seated in the four towers of NNPC and my staff and myself have been portrayed in very bad light.

“For emphasis I want to tell all Nigerians, that no 10.87billion dollars is seated in NNPC or anywhere within our control.

“The 10.87billion dollars after a series of discussions and presentation of documents and reconciliation meetings was traced to the four major items today. Those items are the subsidy that we have discussed extensively, and that is the reality.”

Having itemized other issues like legalities, budgetary provisions, as among issues realized during reconciliation, he further spoke about the kerosine subsidy.

“The reality today, that I found when I stepped in on the 26th of June 2012, is that subsidy of kerosine was still there and it is still there as we speak. So, the total amount based on our reconciled figure is 8.76billion dollars.

“We also did a detailed material balance of crude oil and product inventories and arrived at 0.76billion for the losses we encountered as a result of the harsh business environment.”

 

NNPC Reacts To Sanusi On $20billion

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has dismissed the $20 billion dollar allegation made by the CBN Governor, calling it baseless.

The Acting Group General Manager Public Affairs, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim said that Nigerians should not take the CBN Governor seriously since this is not the first time he would be making what he calls a wild allegation.

Sanusi had told the Ahmed Markafi Senate Committee probing the allegation of unremitted funds, that the NNPC shipped 67billion dollars in crude and only 47 billion dollars had come back to the Federation. Therefore the NNPC has to proof where the 20billion dollars is.

The NNPC boss expressed surprise that in spite of extensive clarification on the matter, Mallam Sanusi was still confusing the role of NPDC as part of NNPC’s.

According to him, ‘‘Let me make this point clear that CBN is a banking outfit, not a petroleum outfit.

“It is therefore understandable why they keep making unsubstantiated claims, which a little understanding of the technicalities of the oil industry would have saved them from making.

“The CBN is not an auditing outfit but what it is doing now is auditing.”

The Senate committee expects the NNPC to make their own presentation before it, and the meeting has been adjourned till 10am on Thursday, February 13, 2014.

Sanusi Insists NNPC Has 20 Billion Dollars Unaccounted For

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance to discuss the crude oil monies allegedly unaccounted for by the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission, NNPC.

At the meeting, Mr Sanusi provided a summary of funds that have been received by the Central Bank and the irregularities they have identified.

He highlighted that the records from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, showed that the 16 billion dollars paid into the FIRS account was by International Oil Companies, IOCs and not by the NNPC and were proceeds from crude lifted in the name of the NNPC, but sold on behalf of the FIRS.

He also said that the Directorate of Petroleum Resources, DPR, received 1.6 billion dollars from the IOCs, while the NNPC has also repratriated 16 billion dollars out of the 28 billion dollars domestic crude it shipped.

He reminded the committee that the CBN has accounted for all the monies that it has received, which is 47 billion dollars, out of the 67 billion dollars that the NNPC shipped.

He disagreed with the NNPC’s explanation that some of the remaining 20 billion Dollars does not belong to the Federation. He argued that some of the 6 billion dollars crude said to belong to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC) is shipped from oil wells that belong to the Federation.

He also stated that the Central Bank is asking NNPC to provide their authority for buying Kerosine at 150 Naira  from the Federation account and selling at 40 Naira, thereby inflicting a loss on Nigeria, when there had been a presidential directive eliminating subsidy since 2009.

He revealed that the NNPC had always submitted its monthly reports which has consistently shown that it had deducted nothing for PMS subsidy since April 2012. He then wondered how the NNPC came about telling the CBN that deductions were being made.

He maintained that NNPC shipped 67billion dollars in crude and only 47 billion dollars has come back to the Federation. Therefore, the NNPC has to prove where the 20billion dollars is.

The Chairman of the Committee however noted that there was nothing new about the content of the presentation by the CBN Governor, as those details and the stance of the Central Bank were already known.

He however said that every year in the revenue framework, the National Assembly appropriates money for oil subsidy. Therefore, the question of whether the NNPC deducted it or that they did so late is not an indication that there was no money appropriated for subsidy on PMS.

He expected the NNPC to make their own presentation and noted that “the bottomline is that the Federation should not lose one cent.”

The meeting was adjourned till 10am on Thursday February 13, 2014.

NNPC Insists No Funds Missing

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is insisting that there are no funds missing from the un-remitted $49.8bn oil revenue.

The corporation said that despite its efforts at clarifying the issues on the funds based on the allegations, there is still misinformation.

The agency insists 30 billion dollars of the alleged un-remitted oil revenue had been reconciled by all the parties involved and that the Coordinating Minister of The Economy, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, explained last year that the reconciliation was an ongoing process and the balance of $10.8bn is still being reconciled.

The NNPC however stated that the yet to be reconciled $10.8bn can be located in the expenses on some of the responsibilities which the corporation carries out on behalf of the Federal Government with respect to the domestic crude oil utilization.

These include, fixing and management of vandalised pipelines and facilities, also is the unpaid subsidies on kerosine and Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), which for kerosine the NNPC said has been paid since 2007.

The NNPC said that it has about 32 days’ sufficiency of petrol at the rate of 40 million litres of PMS national consumption per day. It says the cost incurred in this mandate is also part of the $10.8bn yet-to-be-reconciled outstanding figure.