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EFCC Recovers N46b From Oil Marketers

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EFCC

Oil marketers have refunded N46 billion in a probe of massive fraud in the sector.

It is all part of the ongoing probe of the rot in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) source said yesterday.

The marketers, who are not named because “the investigation is yet to be concluded”, lifted products without paying a dime to the defunct Petroleum Products and Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the NNPC now known as the National Petroleum Marketing Company(NPMC).

The anti-graft agency busted the fraud after going through the company’s records.

A top source in EFCC, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, claimed that some of the marketers conspired with some staff of PPMC and NNPC to perpetrate the fraud.

The source said: “When we conducted our investigation, we discovered that the affected marketers sourced products from NNPC through PPMC  without paying for them.

“In some instances, these marketers got two or three supplies and paid for one. Through connivance, they cooked the books.

“We discovered that products worth about N100billion were lifted and unpaid for by marketers leading to the invitation and interaction with some of them.

“So far, we have been able to recover N46billion out of the N100billion which the nation had purportedly lost.”

The source expressed concern that the some forces within and outside NNPC and PPMC behind the syndicate almost frustrated the EFCC team probing the “fraud”.

“The cartel wielded enormous influence in the sector and it almost frustrated the investigation and the recovery. As a matter of fact, some forces in NNPC and PPMC did not want us to go this far.

In spite of the liberalisation of the process of obtaining foreign exchange, most marketers still rely on the NNPC for their supplies.

Our correspondent’s was unsuccessful in getting the response of the Managing Director of NPMC( former PPMC), Mr. Farouk Ahmed, to the recovery made by EFCC.

Apart from calls, a text message was sent to Ahmed.

He did not acknowledge  the calls and the  text message.

The EFCC in April quizzed a former Managing Director of PPMC over  some transactions and alleged purchase of houses  valued at N1.3 billion off Amazon in Maitama, Asokoro and Wuse districts in Abuja.

The petitioners alleged that the ex-MD acquired the houses in less than six months in office.

An ex-Officio member of the Kaduna chapter of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN),  Bako Abdullahi Yelwa, had in February alleged that a cabal had been at work in PPMC.

He said:   ”PPMC members of staff are frustrating Independent Marketers. Why will they ask for a percentage of our profit before giving us allocation? And when we refuse, they frustrate the process of getting our allocation. They only give product allocation to marketers that have given them a share of their profit upfront.

“For example, an Independent marketer gets an average of two allocations of Petrol (PMS) monthly and the profit from each truck is 80 thousand Naira. How can 160 thousand naira pay all my staff, service and maintain the stations and still keep me in business?”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Government

FG Resumes Conditional Cash Transfer Programme Across Six Local Govt. In Kebbi

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NAIRA - Investors King

The Federal Government has resumed the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme in Kebbi State, commencing with a payment of N9.24bn to 76,107 CCT beneficiaries.

The National Coordinator of the programme, Hajiya Halima Shehu, made the announcement during a state visit to Governor Atiku Bagudu in Birnin Kebbi.

“As at now, payment to CCT beneficiaries is ongoing in the state. A total number of 76,107 beneficiaries across six local government areas of Bagudu, Danko, Wasagu, Dandi, Jega, and Shanga, will be receiving the payment. The beneficiaries will be receiving 26 months of payment circles, starting from January to February 2020.

“The payment will be in two batches of those 60,000 beneficiaries for four payment cycles, using the virtual account. The second batch has 70,107 beneficiaries for nine payment cycles through the debit cards. The total amount for the two batches in the state, according to Shehu, was over N9.24 billion.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria, in partnership with the World Bank in 2016, designed and developed a safety net programme for Nigeria under the platform of National Social Safety Net Programme (NASSP).

“One of the components of NASSP is the national conditional cash transfer office responsible for implementing the household uplifting- conditional cash transfer to the poor and the vulnerable households across the country,” she said.

Shehu commended the governor for providing her an audience and the chance to update him on the commencement of payments and the state’s successful implementation of the program.

Responding, Gov. Bagudu, represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Samaila Yombe-Dabai, thanked the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, headed by Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, for actualising the programme in the state.

“I assure you that the state government will do all it takes to support the success of the programme in the state.

“We are looking forward to getting more local governments to be involved in the cash transfer programme,” Bagudu said.

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Ukraine/Russian War: Twitter Heightens Fight Against Misinformation 

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Twitter - Investor sking

In the wake of the Russia-Ukarine crisis, Twitter has stepped up its effort to put an end to misleading tweets from official accounts about the war.

Investors King gathered that Twitter has already limited content from more than 300 Russian government accounts, including President Putin. The new change will be effected under the company’s new “crisis” policies.

Twitter will also prioritise labelling false posts from accounts with wide reach, like state media or official government accounts, while preserving them for “accountability” reasons.

Twitter users will now be required to click through the warning notice to view the post and Twitter will disable the ability to like, retweet or share the content. The company said it would also change its search and explore features to avoid amplifying false tweets.

Twitter’s head of security and safety, Yoel Roth, wrote in a blog post announcing the changes saying “Today, we’re introducing our crisis misinformation policy – a global policy that will guide our efforts to elevate credible, authoritative information, and will help to ensure viral misinformation isn’t amplified or recommended by us during crises. In times of crisis, misleading information can undermine public trust and cause further harm to already vulnerable communities. 

“Alongside our existing work to make reliable information more accessible during crisis events, this new approach will help to slow the spread by us of the most visible, misleading content, particularly that which could lead to severe harms. 

“While this first iteration is focused on international armed conflict, starting with the war in Ukraine, we plan to update and expand the policy to include additional forms of crisis,” Twitter said examples of problematic posts included false or misleading allegations of war crimes, false information regarding the international response and false allegations regarding use of force.

The company said it would rely on multiple sources to determine when claims are misleading. Strong commentary and first person accounts are among the types of tweets that would not be challenged by the policy, it said.

Twitter has approved a $44bn takeover by billionaire Elon Musk, who has criticised its content moderation policies

The new policies come just weeks after Twitter’s board agreed to a $44bn (£34.5bn) takeover offer from billionaire businessman Elon Musk, who has called for less moderated speech on the platform.

Musk had said in the past week that he would revoke Twitter’s suspension of former United States president, Donald Trump. 

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Modest Increase in the FAAC Payout – Coronation Economic Note

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FAAC

The gross monthly distribution by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) to the three tiers of government and public agencies amounted to N725.6bn in April (from March revenue). This shows an increase of 4.4% or N30.6bn from the previous payout.

Based on data in the local media, it was observed that companies’ income tax (CIT), petroleum profit tax (PPT), value-added tax (VAT), oil and gas royalties, import and excise duties recorded increases over the previous month. The FGN received a total of N277.1bn and state governments received N227.2bn, including N53.4bn representing the 13% derivation for the few oil producing states.

The headline figure consists of N337.4bn in gross statutory distribution, N165.6bn from the VAT Pool, and excess bank charges of N7.5bn was recovered. The total deductions for cost of collection was N44.4bn and the total deductions for statutory transfers, refunds and savings was N382.8bn.

The committee disclosed that the balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) is USD35.4m.

The average monthly FAAC distribution (N665.1bn in Q1 ‘22) declined from an average of N682.5bn in Q4 ’21 but is slightly above the average of N647.0bn recorded in Q1 ’21.

Based on local newswires, the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) has not made any remittance to the federation account this year due to the high fuel subsidy costs. The NNPC spent N210.4bn (USD500.1m), N219.8bn (USD522.9m) and N245.8bn (USD584.8m) as subsidies on petrol in January, February, and March respectively. This is a total of N675.9bn (USD1.6bn) in Q1 ’22.

The NNPC is expected to deduct N671.9bn from its remittance to FAAC for April which is due for sharing at the May ‘22 FAAC meeting. The estimated total shortfall of N671.9bn comprises of shortfalls recorded in February (N152bn) and March (N519bn).

Money markets saw an inflow of N391bn in early-May ‘22, representing the net distribution to state and local governments. The FGN’s share is directly to the treasury single account.

Analysts at Coronation expect continuous strain with regards to FAAC payouts. According to them, it is imperative for states that depend solely on the inadequate monthly FAAC distribution to seek ways to boost their internally generated revenue. The FGN’s primary objective should be to create a conducive business environment as IGR sustainability is a by-product of an enabling environment.

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