- Buhari to Launch $10bn Niger Delta Reconstruction Fund
The federal government under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari plans a $10 billion infrastructure development fund for the oil-rich but restive Niger Delta, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said yesterday in Abuja.
“We are launching $10 billion infrastructural rebirth investment programmes in the Niger Delta region. This is not money that is going to come strictly from the federal government. It is going to come from investors, individuals who are ready to do private sector infrastructure, obviously states and federal governments as the case may be and international organisations who have shown interest to help,” he said at the unveiling of the Roadmap for the Petroleum Industry tagged “7 Big Wins to Grow Nigeria’s Oil and Gas.”
Before Kachikwu’s revelation of the mouth-watering goodies for the long suffering region, Buhari had, while launching the roadmap, said notwithstanding his administration’s much talked about diversification as the main tool for putting the economy on the path of sustainable growth, Nigeria would have to depend on oil and gas revenue to get out of the current economic recession, contending that despite the fall in oil price, oil and gas resources remained the most immediate and practical keys out of the country’s present economic crisis.
“As important as it is to ensure that agriculture, solid minerals and other critical sectors of the economy are supported to grow and contribute more to the nation’s economy, we still need a virile and efficient oil and gas industry to take care of our foreign exchange requirements,” he said.
According to him, an efficient oil and gas sector remains a national imperative and a core thrust of his economic policy, adding that the petroleum industry remained critical to the Nigerian economy of today and the future, despite current challenges.
The president also admitted that oil and gas still remained a critical enabler for the successful implementation of his budget as well as the source of funds for laying a strong foundation for a new and more diversified economy.
The president said the task before the Ministry of Petroleum Resources was to maximise the potentials and opportunities across the whole range of the oil and gas industry to stimulate the economy in spite of the current challenges.
He said: “There is also a dire need to instil a new culture of transparency and efficiency in the industry, streamline operations along best practices by championing and implementing strategic reforms at every layer of the industry.
“This will help us improve oil and gas production, explore our frontier basins, improve our local refining capacity and above all build sustainable partnerships with the oil producing communities.”
Buhari said that if Nigeria was able to plug the leakages, and tighten loose systems that characterised the industry in the days of high oil prices, the country could do more with the little that it is getting at the moment than in the time of plenty.
The president noted that recent developments in the Niger Delta had temporarily limited the nation’s oil and gas production and supplies.
He however reaffirmed that, “whatever challenges we are currently facing in the region, our resolve and capability to work with all stakeholders to restore normalcy will guarantee success.”
The president acknowledged the importance of the public, the media, local and foreign investors and other critical stakeholders in the oil and gas industry and appealed for their support and cooperation.
Buhari said creativity, innovation, technology and robust partnership amongst various stakeholders were required to get the best from the industry.
He said: “This Roadmap reflects the vision and aspiration of this administration for this sector and urge you all to deliver on the expectations contained in the Petroleum Industry Roadmap.”
Speaking more elaborately on the plan for the Niger Delta, Kachikwu said the federal government would be launching a $10 billion infrastructure rebirth programme for the Niger Delta region, but that its implementation would be on instalment and its funding not exclusively from the federal purse.
He said that the Niger Delta state governors would have to meet to decide which cross boarder infrastructure the fund would be expended on.
According to him, “What is more important is not the number but the conceptualisation of the process. It is a fact that governors will have to come together from the region to begin to look at cross-state investments whether there will be railways, whether there will be power facilities, whether there will be specialist hospitals or whatever.
“But right now, there is a slowing down of investment in the region and that is not helping the region. So, we are going to be pulling in NNPC and groups like that and ensure that we look at cross boarder investment in the region,” he stated.
He said Buhari would also seek to review the way 13 per cent derivation allocation to the oil producing states is applied by beneficiary states.
According to him, the government would be appealing to the state governors, who have now taken the allocations as their main budgeting tool, to channel the funds to the core areas where oil is produced.
He said: “The president is also reviewing the proposal we gave him to look at how the 13 per cent derivation is applied. Right now it is a budgeting tool for state governments. We are going to be appealing to them to begin to put that into the core areas of the oil producing communities. And not just see it as a budgeting number.”
On transparency in the oil sector, he said that the adoption of Treasury Single Account (TSA) had assisted to tackle corruption in the industry by bringing all its funds into one account.
The minister also spoke on the expected impact of the new roadmap and said that investments in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, which took a downturn in the recent past would soon pick up following the conclusion of a review of the country’s Joint Venture Cash Call (JV) framework.
According to him, on the back of the review, a lot of oil and gas investors are pushing to come back and invest heavily in the country’s oil and gas sector.
He said that there would be an explosion of investment in the sector soon.
Kachikwu also said there were plans by the government to review the mechanism of securing oil and gas installations in the country to conform with standard practices as obtained in other oil and gas producing climes.
The launched policy document is couched in ‘The 7 Big Wins,’ theme, which borders on policy and regulation, business environment and investment drive, gas revolution, refineries and local production capacity, Niger Delta and security, transparency and efficiency, as well as stakeholder management and international co-ordination.
He said each time he projected a rise in the country’s oil production to 2.2 million barrels per day (mbpd) and 3mbpd, they were based on the fact that the JV structure had been reviewed and funding issues sorted out.
“On the issue of JV cash call. We have done a yeoman’s job. We are nearing completion of those negotiations, it would go to the FEC and it does not require a law. Those things are basically MoUs,” he said, adding: “We are going to structure the MoUs to enable them find the funding they require. There is even a budgeting process in terms of what we approved should be done, but how you now sequence the distribution of the funding is where the catch is.”
He said the government had made a lot of progress on funding, explaining that over $1.2 billion would be saved.
The minister projected an explosion of investment, saying oil companies were planning to make a big splash with projects and backed by huge money as they return to the country.
In The Fight Against Corruption, No Individual is Bigger Than The State – Buhari
In response to the suspended acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, President Muhammed Buhari, lamented that the anti-corruption war becomes endangered “when persons entrusted with the responsibility of that magnitude become suspects themselves.”
Buhari, whose vision is to put an end to corruption in Nigeria, believed that every aspect of the nation’s life is enshrined in corruption and it’s of major concern when leaders of institutions saddled with the mandate to fight the menace are found in the waves of the corruption they claimed to be fighting.
This act is a great abomination not only because it strikes at the root but it also trivialises and undermines the anti-corruption crusade itself, the President explained.
He further said that in a bid to put an end to this great abomination, he had set up Ayo Salami Panel to unravel the mystery behind the mystique of Magu’s alleged involvement in corruption that his administration is fighting.
Buhari said that his administration is ready and willing to go all out in the fight against corruption, and no one is too big nor above the law to become a victim of anti-graft’s sledgehammer.
The president said, “However, the stark reality of widespread corruption becomes poignant when allegations of corruption touch on the leadership of an institution set up by law to coordinate and enforce all economic and financial crimes.
“It is an abomination that strikes at the root and undermines the government’s anti-corruption programme.
“It was in response to the serious allegations against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that I set up a panel headed by the Honourable Justice Isa Ayo Salami, retired President of the Court of Appeal, via an Instrument dated 3rd July 2020 pursuant to the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004).
“We recognise that there are more grounds to cover in the war against corruption, and we are prepared to go out to possess those lands by cutting off any stream that nourishes the seed of corruption and supports its growth.
“Let it be known that in the fight against corruption, no one is too big to tackle, as no individual is bigger than the Nigerian State!”
In Search For The New EFCC Chairman, Justice Ayo Salami Panel Advises Buhari to Look Outside The Police Force
Justice Ayo Salami’s panel advised President Muhammadu Buhari to look outside the Nigerian Police Force for the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
A credible source confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari may have decided to follow the panel recommendation to avoid a similar fate to that of Magu, the former chairman.
The source also confirmed that the panel recommendation was a result of sleaze allegations against suspended acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu. Also, that search team would be constituted in the next few days to slim down the possibilities of finding the right candidate to bring into reality the President’s vision of a corrupt-free anti-graft agency.
The source further confirmed that “the sleaze and abuse of office allegations against Magu, a commissioner of police, were overwhelming,” and that he may be put on trial.
As advised by the panel, the new EFCC chairman should be in interim position for two years.
It was suggested that the recommendation from the Justice Ayo Salami panel might have pinned Magu, according to Femi Adesina, the presidential spokesman, he advised president Buhari to consider looking into other law enforcement or security agencies, as well as considering important and diligent staff of EFCC in his plans to appoint the next EFCC chairman, as s provided in the EFCC Establishment Act of 2004.
Following the Justice Ayo Salami panel recommendation, Salami said “Your Excellency, permit me to say that four successive chairmen of the EFCC from inception have been drawn from the police. Therefore, in appointing a new chairman of EFCC, consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and qualified core staff of EFCC as provided in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment Act 2004).
“It is also important to point out that at the moment, 970 policemen (114 drivers, 641 mobile policemen and 215 operations), are on secondment in the EFCC.
“Therefore, an exit plan for the disengagement of the police and other personnel within two years from now should be considered. This will address the issue of non-promotion of core staff for over nine years.
“Your Excellency, our thinking here is that whoever you are appointing other than a core EFCC staff, should be in transitional capacity of two years during which period, the arrangement would be made for the appointment of any of the core staff who has been commended by National Crime Agency, UK and other international law enforcement for their professionalism”.
Justice Ayo Salami appreciated the president for giving members of the panel an avenue to serve the country.
Ezekwesili Presents Research Findings on Fixing Nigeria’s Politics
She stated this at the public launch of #FixPolitics, where she presented findings from her fellowship research on how to fix politics in Nigeria and Africa more broadly.
Ezekwesili invited 124 Nigerians from diverse fields of endeavour and geopolitical zones to collaborate on designing the research findings over the last one year as a Work Study Group. The group is the co-leadership organ responsible for an integrated citizens-led actions to fix the broken political system.
She pointed out that politics in Nigeria was not fulfilling the core requirement of a democratic system, which was to provide good governance for the common wellbeing of citizens.
“My research findings primarily reinforce that the poor state of affairs in Nigeria is the consequence of the quality of politics at play. Politics is at the heart of everything any society can or will become. The essential process of democracy is not complete without politics,” the 2019 Nigerian Presidential candidate said.
In her study, she established primarily that in a democratic system, “there are three triangular pillars which determine the kind of outcomes that politics will produce for the people.
Explaining the concept, the former World Bank vice president said, “On the right angle or demand side of the triangle is the electorate; on the left or supply side is the politicians, political class and parties; and at the top is the regulatory – constitutional, legal, electoral and institutional context within which the politics happen.”
According to her, these tripod pillars create an interconnecting network of actions that determine the outcomes of every political system.
“Every pillar or angle of the triangle must function effectively and concurrently with the other two to enable the right quality of politics that will deliver strong economic performance for a people.
“In evaluating the outcome of politics in Nigeria and Africa, my study established that the quality of the electorate, quality of political class and quality and lack of independence and capacity of political institutions constitute a structural and systemic problem for democracy and must therefore be fixed by citizens,” Ezekwesili said.
She also said, “The research found that Nigeria is ridden with politicians without competing ideas of how to solve the problems of citizens, who lack a culture of public service and subordinate the common good to their personal and narrow interests.
“The constitutional, legal, institutional and regulatory environment is compromised by the political class to more frequently act without independence, fairness and adherence to the rule of law. The political space is thus completely monopolised by the supply side of governance, that is the political class, thereby causing political, economic and social stagnation for the nation and people.
“Currently in our politics, voters generally lack the level of influence necessary to compel the right political processes and good outcomes that serve the good of all in society.
“The bright prospect is that evidence from the #FixPolitics research shows that citizens are the only angle of the triangle that can act and propel systemic change by collectively and decisively acting for their common good.”
To alter the status quo, Ezekwesili said only the electorate “have the incentive to correct the abnormality in a political system.”
She added, “It is the collective effort of citizens that can change the quality of political class and compel the kind of constitutional and electoral changes required to achieve good governance.”
Delivering a keynote address, former President Felipe Calderon of Mexico said there was an enormous gap between the interests of the citizens and that of the politicians, which he saw as a major problem to a democratic setting.
“To fix politics in Nigeria, the citizens and the politicians must work together and represent the same in practical life,” he said.
Calderon further said that “citizens must change their perception of politics and political participation rather than holding to a view that politics is for corrupt and dishonest people.”
According to him, corrupt people are quite the opposite of what politics stands. “To fix politics is what happens when the people participate and take responsibility to provide political participation with ethical sense and ethical parameters,” Calderon added.
In a goodwill message, former President of Malawi, Dr. Joyce Banda, said politics should be seen as an inclusive love affair and if institutionally implemented, “Africa will witness a great change in its democratic system.”
While dissecting the dynamics of democracy, three intergenerational panels with discussants like Prof. Atahiru Jega, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Aisha Yesufu, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Jude Abaga(also known as M.I Abaga), Cynthia Mbamalu, Yemi Adamolekun, Samson Itodo, among others, agreed that there was an emerging consensus to fix politics in Nigeria as the status quo was untenable and unsustainable.
Speakers like Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Ayo Sogunro, Ndi Kato, Adewunmi Emoruwa, and Dr. Usman Bugaje highlighted that “there is a need for young people and women to fully engage in partisan politics, create platforms for political engagement, use politics as a tool for framing a shared vision based on a new dominant value orientation of public service, connect the elite with the grassroots and mobilise the Nigerian public to mount pressure on the legislature for the right constitutional and electoral changes.”
Alibaba Merchants Sell $40B in First Half Hour of Singles Day 2020, More than 2019 Event Full Sales
COVID-19 Vaccine: Crude Oil Extends Gain to $48 Per Barrel on Wednesday
MTN Nigeria, Gameloft Partner to Increase Access to Variety of Exciting Games
Business2 months ago
Npower News on Permanency for Batch A, B
Forex2 months ago
Naira Improves Against Global Counterparts on Black Market
Business1 month ago
Buhari Budgets N420 Billion for Npower, Other Social Investment Programmes in 2021 Budget
Forex3 months ago
Zenith Bank Joins Other Banks to Cap International Spend Limit at $100/Month
Cryptocurrency2 months ago
Bitcoin Gains 1.67 Percent to $11,050 Per Coin Amid Liquidity Issue
Business3 months ago
Again, UBA Reduces International Spending Limit on Naira Card as Forex Scarcity Persists
Business3 months ago
FG Approves Stipends for Exited N-Power Beneficiaries
Stock Market3 months ago
Zenith Bank Declares 30 Kobo Interim Dividend for H1 2020