An audit report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is accusing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of refusing to remit 3.8billion dollar and 358.3billion Naira to the federation in 2013.
The Minister of Solid Minerals and Chairman of the NEITI board, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said that the audit showed that total revenue flows into the federation account from the oil and gas sector in 2013 was about $58.07 billion.
This represents about 8% decline when compared to the $62.9 billion realised in 2012.
Fayemi said that the decline was attributed to the drop in oil and gas sales following divestment of federation equity in some oil mining leases (OMLs), crude oil losses as a result of destruction of production facilities, pipelines vandalism and crude oil theft.
The outgoing Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to intensify the reforms in the Oil and Gas sector.
Mrs Ahmed said the reform would ensure transparency in the management of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Speaking at a valedictory briefing sequel to her ministerial appointment confirmation by the Nigerian Senate last week, she was of the opinion that there was need to review all operating agreements in the Oil and Gas sector.
Mrs Ahmed added that the Solid Minerals sector offered an alternative source of funding for government aside from oil, stressing that steps should be taken to improve the sector.
She subsequently named the Director of Communications, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, as acting Executive Secretary of NEITI, as he was the most senior director at the agency.
The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries transparency initiative (NEITI), Mrs Zainab Ahmed has asked the Federal Government to amend the NEITI Act to enable it implement her audit reports on the extractive, oil and gas sector of the economy.
“We are not asking for new powers, we are just asking for provisions to be made more clearly. For example, the NEITI Act has provisions for NEITI to conduct audits; which is what we call reporting.Then it has provisions for NEITI to disseminate the outcome of these audit reports, but there is no provision for remediation, which is the most critical part of the work we are doing.
“Remediation is the act of implementing the recommendations of the NEITI audit reports. That is the much needed reform that we require in our oil and gas and mining sectors.
“So we are pushing for a clear remediation to be put in the Act so that all agencies that are responsible for implementing corrective measures will do so because the Act calls for it and the National Assembly will feel more strengthened in enforcing the recommendations of the Act.
“In the process of implementation we noticed some gaps, that if remedied, will improve the implementation mandate that NEITI has. Some of these gaps have to do with the sanctions that have been provided for the Act”, she said.
According to Mrs Zainab, if the powers to implement the reports of her audit are granted by an Act, corruption in the sector will be reduced.
The Executive Secretary further noted that the agency is also proposing for a review of the funding pattern and the composition of the agency’s governing board with a view to strengthening her operations.
“We are also proposing some new provisions relating to how NEITI is funded. We are looking at some improvements in how the governing board of NEITI is put together”, adding that “there are quite a number of provisions that are targeted at strengthening NEITI as an agency, strengthening its implementation mandate for continuous transparency and accountability in the oil and gas and mining sectors of our country”, she added.
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Deziani Allison-Madueke on Wednesday reacted to reports that she is seeking asylum, following the defeat of the incumbent President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential election.
It was alleged that the Petroleum Minister, who is one of the closest to the administration of President Jonathan will flee the country, to avoid being prosecuted over allegations of fraud, especially in the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC).
Speaking to State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, Mrs Alison-Madueke denied seeking asylum in any part of the world.
According to her, this administration has done a lot in the Oil and Gas industry that cannot be rubbished by such malicious claims.
Speaking on the current fuel scarcity across the nation, she said Marketers are cashing in on the transition process to cause scarcity in fuel, adding that the nation has enough reserve of petrol in the system.
The Chairman, Community of Agricultural Stakeholders of Nigeria, Emmanuel Ijewere, on Thursday suggested new ways for farmers in Nigeria’s growing agricultural sector to obtain long terms loans, including pension funds and Federal Government Bonds.
Mr Ijewere who spoke on Sunrise Daily, at the 2nd edition of the Ogun Investors’ Forum, holding in Abeokuta, the State capital, stressed that the best way to encourage famers and boost growth in the sector is to make long term loans available to farmers.
To this end, Ijewere highlighted the importance of the Forum, which is aimed at promoting agriculture and urban development. According to him , players in the agri-business industry and other stakeholders, including the banking institutions are able to dialogue and resolve issues.
“Historically, we thought agriculture meant farming but we’ve learnt a lot more now,” he said.
Logistics, communication, banking and ready market are some of the issues Ijewere raised concerning the value chain, which he said must be fixed and made to work in synergy for the benefit of all.
“It’s in totality, bringing everybody together on one table, discussing agro-business as one unit of event.”
On issues raised by members of the banking sector, concerning the lack of structure in the agriculture sector, which discourages bankers from granting farmers credit, Ijewere said “if they get their monies from short-term sources, they cannot give it on long-term basis.”
However, he explained that 75 per cent of the farmer’s cost is used in preparing the land.
Hence, “when you prepare the land for the first time, you use that same land for a minimum of about 5 or 6 years, but the sunk cost is already there in the first year. The banks would want their money back within 12 months, whereas you have spread it out over five or six years.
“So, you have this mismatch,” he said, noting that members of the banking sector have no training on the internal workings of the agricultural sector, as they do of the oil and gas sector.
“They have trained their people for those highfalutin worlds and highfalutin businesses. Nobody is going to talk about agriculture.”
Although the Federal Government and some State governments are making efforts to ameliorate this, “the long term solution is looking for long term funds”.
The Community Chairman went further to suggest that pension funds, which are built over a long period of time, be used as credit to farmers. Other suggestions he made were Federal Government Bonds, international funds.
Oil and Gas Expert, Ademola Adedoyin, has said that in the last 4 years, Nigeria’s oil and gas sector has recorded over $5billion investments.
Speaking on Channels Television, Business Morning, he noted that as a result of Nigeria’s participation in procurements and creation of over 38,000 jobs in the industry, “Nigeria’s economy is deepened with these activities.”
Mr. Adedoyin, however, faulted the issues of manufacturing in the sector, as it brings low turnout. He called on the Federal Government to look into the issue of manufacturing to enable the materials used in the oil industry to be manufactured in the country.
Another Oil and Gas Expert, Zik Zulu Okafor, also on the programme, said that in the last 4years, Nigeria has lost a capital flight of about $380b, stating that Nigeria’s content was a courageous attempt by the Federal Government to tackle and address these abnormality.
Mr. Okafor said that in terms of job creation, jobs retained in the country has brought about $287b, $167b worth of procurement have been brought in the country, $20b on engineering jobs and $7b on research and development, adding that if not for Nigeria’s Local Content Law in the Oil and Gas sector, these jobs would have been taken outside.
He further commended the efforts of the government and advised that a lot still needs to be done in the industry.
The 4.4 billion naira in dispute between the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has been reconciled and traced to the petroleum support fund account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The resolution of the disputed amount followed a reconciliatory meeting by the two organisations.
A communique, which was signed by the executive secretaries of NEITI and PPPRA, Mrs Zainab Ahmed and Mister Reginald Stanley, said the meeting evolved strategies for NEITI and PPPRA to address other issues arising from the NEITI report, adding that it used the platform of the inter-ministerial task team set up by president Goodluck Jonathan to address remedial issues arising from NEITI’s report.
The executive secretaries also resolved to ensure the effective communication network between the two agencies for inter-agency cooperation.
The Executive Director of Grassroots Watch, Adeola Soetan has said that the irresponsibility of the Federal Government was what caused the series of industrial actions in Nigeria.
Mr Soetan, who was a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, said that strikes by workers or union is recognised legitimately all over the world and that no labour leader will take the action as an option of first choice.
Though the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) just called off a three-day warning strike several other employee of the government including teachers in the Universities and Polytechnics have down tools owing to unresolved disagreements.
Mr Soetan said for any union to embark on a strike, it simply shows the irresponsibility on the part of its employer because the action is not something easy to plan.
He said other options would have been considered to reach a compromise with the government, hence his reason for hinting that no labour leader would resort to strike action as an option of first choice.
He said, “It shows total irresponsibility on the part of government, because strike is not easy to plan, it’s not a child’s play.
“For any labour leader, they want an option of least cost because to plan a strike action, you hold meetings, organise campaigns, meet up with management and government, you also have to get support and legitimacy from all you councils at different levels.”
The Federal Government is putting in place strategies to encourage investments in the nation’s mining sector.
Specifically, the Nigeria minerals and mining act 2007 and the minerals and metal policy are being reformed to provide the necessary legal framework for private sector investment in the sector.
Speaking at the inauguration of the solid minerals development fund, the minister of mines and steel development, Architect Musa Sada explained that the reform in the sector will provide an alternative to revenue generated from oil and gas.
The chairman of the board, Mr Utsu Adie said that the solid minerals sector contributed 54 billion naira to the country’s gross domestic product between 2007 and 2010.
A Lawyer, Mr Chima Nnaji said Nigeria can be peaceful and better this new year if ‘doers’ in the governance of the country are shown the way out, to give ‘strategic thinkers’ the chance to drive government’s agenda .
He said he believes there will be some measure of peace in 2013 within the context of the civil population if the President keeps to his words of not increasing the price of fuel.
Making reference to the fuel subsidy protest in 2012, the Public Affairs Analyst described it as ‘Unnecessary meddlesomeness’ which gave rise to the agitations.
“Because there will not be any attempt to dabble into increase in price of petroleum products, perhaps there might be some level of quietness in the New year” he stated.
“The agitations that greeted 2012 arose as a result of unnecessary meddlesomeness with the single commodity that is the driver of all economic activities”.
He further said that if the environment is kept relatively peaceful then Nigerians will continue to go about their businesses of fending for themselves on a daily basis.
The public affairs analyst berated the political sector saying he does not foresee any change in the sector because Nigerian politicians only know about ‘taking from the table’ contrary to the objective of serving the people.
“I don’t see so much change, because the Nigerian politicians say they are professional politicians, and that is very dangerous because politics is about rendering services; that means you come to table with something, not take from the table”.
As Scarcity of petroleum persist in some part of the Country, The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) charged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency, put the nation’s four refineries in a fully functional state, if fuel subsidy deduction is in the interest of the people.
NUPENG President; Comrade Igwe Achese was speaking to journalists in Calabar, Cross River state after their week long union meeting alongside the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria(PENGASSAN).
The oil and gas unions said only working and effective refineries can remove the incessant sufferings Nigerians are facing.
Igwe echoed that the only solution to the problem at hand is for the refineries in the country to be functional and effective and that is the position of the union on the matter.
The NUPENG President added that, if the president can not address the issues affecting the union and the nation as whole, the oil workers will be left with no other choice than to down-tools any moment.
PENGASSAN President; Comrade Babatunde Ogun also spoke on the need to improve on the ills in the oil and gas sector saying the insensitivity of government to listen to the union led the oil industry to the present situation it is presently, as most marketers have hiked the price.
Ogun remarked that corruption in the industry calls for proper scrutiny and called on the Federal Government to stop casualization and improve the security of the workers.
Other issues discussed included the unions support for the passage of the petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), deregulation of the downstream sector as well as assessment of the Removal of the fuel subsidy.
The Special Assistant to the President on Publicity, Dr Doyin Okupe was asked by Chamberlain Usoh; the main anchor of ourbreakfast programme ‘Sunrise Daily’ to give an update on the Ribadu report, and he responded saying the President has said the report will not be discarded.
And to fulfil his promise he has setup a white paper committee to look at the report and that he believes it will put an end to several talks on the report.