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NNPC Cooperative Members Lament Fraud, Delayed Loans

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  • NNPC Cooperative Members Lament Fraud, Delayed Loans

Some members of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Cooperative Multipurpose Society Limited have expressed dissatisfaction over delay in getting loans applied for from the cooperative.

The cooperators, who blamed the delay on the fraud allegedly perpetrated by former leadership of the society, said they now waited for between six to eight months to get loans.

The past executive ran the society for two terms, from January 1, 2011, to December 2015,.

It was gathered that the former president of the cooperative, Mr. Joseph Ojeyemi, was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission last year for the alleged fraud estimated at millions of naira.

The EFCC had since commenced investigations into the fraud.

At the Annual General Meeting of the cooperative at Regency Hall, Ikeja, Lagos State, on Thursday, August 11, 2017, angry members demanded the outcome of the investigation from the current President, Mr. Akin Akinrera.

The members, who did not want their names in print, lamented that the cooperative had failed in its obligation to provide loans for those who needed them as and when due.

“Many members have applied for loans since March 2017. Up till now, they have not got them. Some submitted their applications since January 2017 without any response. What is the essence of a cooperative if members cannot get loans at appropriate time to carry out one project or another?

“The EFCC should hasten up its investigations on the fraud and let us know what actually transpired,” a member said.

An elderly man stated that the issues in the cooperative had brought hardship to many members.

“Members are suffering and many are sick, yet we don’t have access to loans for treatment,” he added.

Another member said, “We urge the EFCC to also bring some executive members that worked with the former president to book because they were part of the trustees of the society, with Ojeyemi as the President. We heard that Ojeyemi is attempting to use his influence to bring in a new leadership to head our society.”

The current President of the society, Mr. Akin Akinrera, said EFCC operatives had visited the society’s projects in Kaduna and Abuja, carried out during Ojeyemi’s administration to investigate their costs.

He noted that the property of the society in Ikoyi and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, would be sold to generate funds.

Akinrera said, “I am fully aware of the avoidable hardship which our members are experiencing as a result of liquidity problem created for the society, but I plead for patience and understanding, as we are taking active steps to address it. I don’t have any reason to set up the immediate past president or anybody whatsoever.

“Every right thinking person in the NNPC knows that there is no way I could have had a hand in the petition which has thrown up many critical issues.”

However, Ojeyemi denied the fraud allegation against him, saying he had contributed immensely to the development of the society.

He said the truth would be revealed at the end of the EFCC investigations.

He said, “It is a bloody lie. There are always two sides to a story. Just wait until the EFCC concludes its investigation. What is going on is a smear campaign. Whatever the EFCC comes out with will be the final. Anybody can make any allegation. But it is the investigations that will tell.

“The current president is the one causing the problem in that society. Members are not happy with him because he is giving an impression that the society is bankrupt. You don’t wash your dirty linen in the public. People are withdrawing their savings and membership.

“I didn’t embezzle any money. The auditors’ report is not true. I still have a copy of a letter the present president sent to the auditors. What is happening is political, not fraud. I don’t understand why anyone would want to damage my reputation.

“An allegation was made against me; a director at Alausa sent a letter to me, asking me to explain some things. But the current president held unto the letter; he didn’t give it to me until the EFCC came to arrest me. I can account for all the money spent.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Economy

Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

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Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

A total of 611,231 meters have been deployed as at January 31, 2021 under the Meter Asset Provider initiative since its full operation despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other extraneous factors, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said.

NERC disclosed this in a consultation paper on the review of the MAP Regulations.

The proposed review of the MAP scheme is coming nearly four months after the Federal Government launched a new initiative called National Mass Metering Programme aimed at distributing six million meters to consumers free of charge.

“The existence of a huge metering gap and the need to ensure successful implementation of the MYTO 2020 Service-Based Tariff resulted in the approval of the NMMP, a policy of the Federal Government anchored on the provision of long-term low interest financing to the Discos,” NERC said.

The commission had in March 2018 approved the MAP Regulations with the aim of fast-tracking the closure of the metering gap in the sector through the engagement of third-party investors (called meter asset providers) for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of meters.

It set a target of providing meters to all customers within three years, and directed the Discos and the approved MAPs to commence the rollout of meters not later than May 1, 2019.

But in February 2020, NERC said several constraints, including changes in fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding, had led to limited success in meter rollout.

NERC, in the consultation paper, highlighted three proposed options for metering implementation going forward.

The first option is to allow the implementation of both the NMMP and MAP metering frameworks to run concurrently; the second is to continue with the current MAP framework with meters procured under the NMMP supplied only through MAPs (by being off-takers from the local manufacturers/assemblers).

The third option is to wind down the MAP framework and allow the Discos to procure meters directly from local manufacturers/assemblers (or as procured by the World Bank), and enter into new contracts for the installation and maintenance of such meters.

“Customers who choose not to wait to receive meters based on the deployment schedule of the NMMP shall continue to have the option of making upfront payments for meters which will be installed within a maximum period of 10 working days,” NERC said.

The regulator said such customers would be refunded by the Discos through energy credits, adding that there would be no option for meter acquisition through the payment of a monthly meter service charge.

“Where meters have already been deployed under the meter service charge option, Discos shall make one-off repayment to affected customers and associated MAPs. Such meters shall be recognised in the rate base of the Discos,” it added.

NERC urged stakeholders to provide comments, objections, and representations on the proposed amendments within 21 days of the publication of the consultation paper.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed

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Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed

Nigeria is moving in the right direction economically but its movement is not fast, the United Nations stated on Thursday.

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, said this during a meeting at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Abuja.

She said the challenges in Nigeria were huge, its population large but described the country’s economy as great with lots of opportunities.

The UN scribe stated that after traveling by train and through various roads in the Northern parts of Nigeria, she discovered that the roads were motorable, although there were ongoing repairs on some of them.

Mohammed said, “This is a country that is diverse in nature, ethnicity, religious backgrounds and opportunities. But these are its strengths, not weaknesses.

“And I think the narrative for Nigeria has to change to one that is very much the reality.”

Speaking on her trips across parts of Nigeria, she said, “What I saw along the way is really a country that is growing, that is moving in the right direction economically. Is it fast enough? No. Is it in the right direction? Yes it is.

“And the challenges still remain with security, our social cohesion and social contract between government and the people. But I know that people are working on these issues.”

She said the UN recognised the reforms in Nigeria and other nations, adding that the common global agenda was the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mohammad commended Nigeria’s quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as she expressed hope that the arrival of vaccines would be the beginning of the end of COVID-19.

On his part, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, told his guest that the Federal Government was working hard to make Nigeria the entrepreneurial hub of Africa.

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Economy

N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN

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N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN

Nigeria spent a total of N10.7tn on fuel subsidy in the last 10 years, the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, has said.

Oyebanji, who was the guest speaker at the 18th Aret Adams Lecture on Thursday, said N750bn was spent on subsidy in 2019.

He highlighted the need for a transition to a market-driven environment through policy-backed legislative and commercial frameworks, enabling the sustainability of the downstream petroleum sector.

“Total deregulation is more than just the removal of price subsidies; it is aimed at improving business operations, increasing the investments in the oil and gas sector value chain, resulting in the growth in the nation’s downstream petroleum sector as a whole,” he said.

The managing director of 11 Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc) said steps had been taken, “but larger and faster leaps are now required.”

According to him, deregulation requires the creation of a competitive market environment, and will guarantee the supply of products at commercial and market prices.

“It requires unrestricted and profitable investments in infrastructure, earning reasonable returns to investors. It requires a strong regulator to enable transparency and fair competition among players, and not to regulate prices,” Oyebanji said.

He noted that MOMAN had recently called for a national debate by stakeholders to share pragmatic and realistic initiatives to ease the impact of the subsidy removal on society – especially on the most vulnerable.

He said, “A shift from crude oil production to crude oil full value realisation through deliberate investment in domestic refining and refined products distribution, creates the opportunity to transform the dynamics of the downstream sector from one of ‘net importer’ to one of ‘net exporter’, spurring the growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Effective reforms and regulations are key drivers for the growth within the refining sector. Non-functional refineries cost Nigeria over $13bn in 2019. If the NNPC refineries were operating at optimal capacity, Nigeria would have imported only 40 per cent of what it consumed in 2019.”

Full deregulation of the downstream sector remains the most glaring boost to potential investors in this space, according to Oyebanji.

He said, “As crude oil prices will fluctuate depending on the prevailing exchange rates, it will be astute to trade in naira to avoid inevitable price swings.

“There needs to be a balance between ensuring the sustainable growth of the crude oil value chain (upstream through downstream) and providing value for the Nigerian consumer and the Nigerian economy.”

He said the philosophy should be for the government to put the legislative and commercial framework in place and let the market develop by itself.

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