The jobs of 4,904 civil servants, who were recruited by the Federal Civil Service Commission in the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, are under threat as the Federal Character Commission has queried the exercise.
It was learnt on Monday that moves by the Federal Civil Service Commission to sack the workers had led to a crisis in the civil service.
No fewer than 247 of the affected workers had petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission over a plan by the FCSC to sack them.
The Acting Executive Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Dr. Shettima Abba, had queried the Chairman of the FCSC, Mrs. Joan Ayo, for alleged violation of the principle of federal character in the employment of the civil servants in a letter dated May 3, 2016.
He said the recruitment, which took place between 2013 and 2015, was characterised by a flagrant abuse of the Federal Character principle.
Abba alleged that the recruitment was tilted in favour of the South-South geopolitical zone against other parts of the country.
He pointed out that the South-South got 33.6 per cent of those employed as against the 26.2 per cent allotted to applicants from for the North-East, North-West and North-Central geopolitical zones.
He directed the civil service commission’s boss to ensure that the perceived inequality was addressed in the 2016 recruitment by the commission in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Character Commission.
Abba stated, “The Federal Character Commission has viewed and observed with concern the recruitment exercises undertaken by the Federal Civil Service between 2013 and 2015, which glaringly is lopsided and grossly abused the principle of Federal Character to which all institution have subscribed.
“The recruitment which recorded the engagement of about 4,904 workers, threw away all common sense and wisdom of national cohesion and integration by favouring some states to the detriment of others.
“We are worried that if this trend is allowed to continue, then some sections of the country may not only feel alienated but may feel insecure by the action of people in authority.
“It is inconceivable and a gross injustice for a geopolitical zone to be allocated 33.6 per cent of the total candidates recruited as against 26.2 per cent for three zones combined, North-East, North-West and North-Central.
“We further request without prejudice that all processes must involve the Federal Character Commission for advice and strict adherence to the principle of federal character as contained in our circular on guidelines and procedure for recruitment.”
Investigations revealed that the ICPC intervened in the matter following a protest by 247 of the workers whose jobs were allegedly declared irregular, null and void by the chairman of the FCSC.
A top source at the commission said the ICPC interrogated the chairman of the commission and other top officials to defend allegations that they violated the federal character principle in the last recruitment.
The ICPC had intervened following a staff audit by the FCSC in which it took a decision to sack the affected federal workers.
Consequently, agitated workers wrote the ICPC, alleging that the move to sack them was based on ethnic consideration and a plot to cover up fraud and irregularities in previous employments undertaken by the commission.
The workers showed documentary evidence of exchange of letters between the commission and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation in which the appointments were authenticated.
But the spokesperson for the FCSC, Dr. Abel Oruche, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that only those employed irregularly would be removed.
He also said he was not aware of the interrogation of the chairman or any other officer of the commission by the ICPC.
He stated, “I’m not aware that anybody was interrogated by the ICPC or whether the chairman was invited. Nobody interrogated the chairman of the FCSC, any commissioner or any official.”
Oruche explained that some people were employed without vacancies, adding that the staff audit was aimed at fishing out such people.
He stated, “The press statement we sent was not reactive, but to explain to people what we have done and what we are doing to avoid rumour or insinuations.
“It is an ongoing audit to make sure that all those people, who were employed irregularly without existing vacancies, are removed. We didn’t issue the statement because somebody called us.”
Also, in an electronic mail sent to one of our correspondents on Sunday, Oruche stated that the FCSC chairman had said the staff audit at the federal civil service had revealed some unauthorised appointments.
Such appointments, the chairman said, had been declared null and void.
According to him, the chairman explained that the staff audit was aimed at fishing out irregular appointees and delisting them from the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System.
He stated, “The chairman maintained that this action is necessary because the appointments are not backed by any vacancy from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and as such, were not budgeted for.
Besides, they are in gross violation of the Federal Character principle.”
Africa Renewable Energy Fund II Secures €125 Million First Close With SEFA and CTF Investments
The Africa Renewable Energy Fund II has achieved its first close at €125 million, following a joint investment of €17.5 million from The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa and the Climate Technology Fund through the African Development Bank.
AREF II, a successor to the original Fund, is a 10-year closed-ended renewable energy Private Equity Fund with a $300 million target capitalization. The Africa Renewable Energy Fund II, managed by Berkeley Energy, invests in early-stage renewable energy projects, thereby not only de-risking the most uncertain phase of power projects, but also promoting increased green baseload in Africa’s generation mix.
The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa and the Climate Technology Fund will each contribute roughly €8.7 million to mobilize private-sector investment into Africa’s renewable energy sector. The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa will also contribute financing to the AREF II Project Support Facility, which funds technical assistance and early-stage project support to improve bankability.
Other investors include the U.K’s CDC Group, Italy’s CDP, the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) and SwedFund.
“We are proud to be associated with Berkeley Energy and other like-minded investors, and look forward to AREF’s continued success and leadership in promoting sustainable power development on the continent,” said Dr. Kevin Kariuki, the African Development Bank’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.
In 2012, the African Development Bank selected Berkeley Energy, a seasoned fund manager of clean energy projects in global emerging markets to set up AREF. AREF II has a sharper strategic focus than its predecessor on “green baseload” projects that will deliver firm and dispatchable power to African power systems through hydro, solar, wind and battery storage technologies.
Luka Buljan, Berkeley Energy’s Managing Director, said: “We are very excited to have reached this milestone with strong support from our backers. The catalytic tranche from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa and the Climate Technology Fund will assist in mobilising private institutional investors up to full fund size of €300 million. We now look forward to concluding the fundraising and delivering projects that will provide clean, reliable and affordable energy across African markets.”
“AREF is intertwined with the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa’s history and success, and we have worked closely over the last decade to create precedents in difficult markets and challenging technologies. We look forward to continued collaboration to accelerate the energy transition in Africa,” said Joao Duarte Cunha, Manager for Renewable Energy Initiatives at the African Development Bank and Coordinator of the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa.
FG Earned $34.22B From Crude Oil and Gas in 2019 – NEITI
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) on Thursday released its 2019 oil and gas industry audit report, which shows that Nigeria earned N34.22 billion from the oil and gas industry in 2019.
The audit, conducted by Adeshile Adedeji & Co. (Chartered Accountants), an indigenous accounting and auditing firm, reconciled payments from 98 entities. They include 88 oil and gas companies, nine government agencies and the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG).
The 2019 figure is an increase of 4.88 percent over the $32.63billion revenue realised from the sector in 2018. A breakdown of the earnings showed that payments by companies accounted for $18.90billion, while flows from federation sales of crude oil and gas accounted for $15.32billion.
The report further showed that 10 years (2010-2019) aggregate financial flows from the oil and gas sector to government amounted to $418.544billion, with the highest revenue flow of $68.442 recorded in 2011, while the lowest revenue flow of $17.055 was recorded in 2016.
According to NEITI, the total crude oil production in 2019 was 735.244mmbbls, representing an increase of 4.87 percent over the 701.101mmbbls recorded in 2018. Production sharing contracts (PSCs) contributed the highest volumes of 312.042mmbbls followed by Joint Venture (JV) and Sole Risk (SR) which recorded 310,284mmbbls and 89.824mmbbls respectively. Others are Marginal Fields (MFs) and Service Contracts (SCs) which accounted for 21,762mmbbls and 1,330mmbbls respectively.
The report also showed that total crude oil lifted in 2019 was 735.661mmbbls, indicating a 4.93 percent increase to the 701.090 mmbbls recorded in 2018, with companies lifting 469.010mmbbls, while 266.650mmbbls was lifted by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on behalf of the federation.
Analysis of crude oil lifted by NNPC showed that 159.411mmbbls was for export, while 107.239mmbbls was for domestic refining. 97 percent of the volumes for domestic refining (104.475mmbbls) was utilised for the Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) programme while the remaining 3 percent (2.764mmbbls) was delivered to the refineries.
NEITI reported that the value of the 2019 domestic crude oil earnings was N2.722 trillion. Of this figure, N518.074billion was deducted for Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) under-recovery by the NNPC.
This figure was N213.074billon above the approved sum of N305billion for under-recovery in 2019. Similarly, the sum of N126.664billion was incurred by the Corporation as costs for pipeline repairs and maintenances which showed a difference of N96.378billion from the approved sum of N30.287billion for that purpose.
The report also pointed out that N31.844billion was also deducted for crude and product losses due to theft.
Oil Prices Drop on Stronger U.S Dollar
The strong U.S Dollar pressured global crude oil prices on Thursday despite the big drop in U.S crude oil inventories.
The Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped by 74 cents or 1 percent to settle at $73.65 a barrel at 4.03 am Nigerian time on Thursday.
The U.S West Texas Intermediate crude oil depreciated by 69 cents or 1 percent to $71.46 a barrel after reaching its highest since October 2018 on Wednesday.
“Energy markets became so fixated over a robust summer travel season and Iran nuclear deal talks that they somewhat got blindsided by the Fed’s hawkish surprise,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
“The Fed was expected to be on hold and punt this meeting, but they sent a clear message they are ready to start talking about tapering and that means the dollar is ripe for a rebound which should be a headwind for all commodities.”
The U.S. dollar boasted its strongest single day gain in 15 months after the Federal Reserve signaled it might raise interest rates at a much faster pace than assumed.
A firmer greenback makes oil priced in dollars more expensive in other currencies, potentially weighing on demand.
Still, oil price losses were limited as data from the Energy Information Administration showed that U.S. crude oil stockpiles dropped sharply last week as refineries boosted operations to their highest since January 2020, signaling continued improvement in demand.
Also boosting prices, refinery throughput in China, the world’s second largest oil consumer, rose 4.4% in May from the same month a year ago to a record high.
“This pullback in oil prices should be temporary as the fundamentals on both the supply and demand side should easily be able to compensate for a rebounding dollar,” Moya said.
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