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NNPC Didn’t Award $25bn Contracts, Says Presidency

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  • NNPC Didn’t Award $25bn Contracts, Says Presidency

The Presidency on Sunday said there was no truth in the media reports that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation awarded contracts worth $25bn.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, made the clarification in a statement made available to journalists, adding that the same amount was not missing from the corporation’s account.

Akande said no contracts were procured by the NNPC based on the leaked petition of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to President Muhammadu Buhari, contrary to the impressions being created in the past few weeks.

He said a closer look at each of the said projects would show that they were not “procurement contracts.”

He said, “When you look diligently at the referenced projects/transactions one by one, you will see, as the NNPC has shown, that none of them was actually a procurement contract.

“Take the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale-Direct Purchase agreements, for instance, these are not procurement contracts involving the expenditure of public funds.

“Both transactions are simply a shortlist process, in which prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum are selected under agreed terms, and in accordance with due process.

“It is therefore wrong and misleading to refer to them as though they are contracts involving the expenditure of the NNPC funds, or public funds of any sort.

“As you now know, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources himself has in fact clarified that he meant to focus on administrative and governance issues, not raising a red-flag about any fraud – because no fraud exists in this matter.”

Akande also said it was inaccurate to attach $10bn and $5bn value to both transactions, adding that doing so was an arbitrary act that could completely distort the understanding of the situation.

He explained that whenever there was a monetary value on any consignment of crude oil lifted in the country by any firm, the proceeds would go directly to the Federation Account and not to any company.

He recalled that the present administration, in the implementation of the Treasury Single Account, had closed down multiple NNPC accounts in order to promote transparency and probity.

Akande also explained that even in compiling the shortlist for the prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum under agreed terms, there were public placements of advert in the mass media seeking Expressions of Interest.

He added that bids were publicly opened in the presence of officials of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the Department of Petroleum Resources, the Bureau of Public Procurement, civil society groups and the press while the events were also broadcast live in some cases.

“For the sake of emphasis, let me state clearly that both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale-Direct Purchase agreements are not contracts for any procurement of goods, work or services, and therefore do not involve the use of public funds. Instead, they are simply a shortlist of off-takers.”

He also disclosed that three presidential approvals were given on joint venture financing arrangements, meaning loans to cater for cash call obligations.

One of these, he said, was approved by the President in 2015, and two by the then Acting President (Yemi Osinbajo) in 2017.

Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council on Sunday accused President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of covering some top government officials including the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru, in the alleged $25bn NNPC contracts from being probed.

IYC said it was wrong and unacceptable for President Buhari to have ordered the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the GMD of the NNPC, Baru, to work together without calling for a thorough investigation into the alleged fraud in the nation’s cash cow.

A statement issued by the National President of the IYC, Mr. Eric Omare, said that the present administration was fond of treating serious national issues, especially those of corruption involving top members of the government, as family affairs.

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

Egypt Leads Nigeria, South Africa in Foreign Direct Investment

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Egypt Leads Nigeria, South Africa in Foreign Direct Investment

The United Nations Trade Association has Nigeria recorded a total of $2.6 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2020, below the $3.3 billion posted in the preceeding year.

South Africa, Africa’s most industrialised nation, reported $2.5 billion during the same year, slightly below Africa’s largest economy and 50 percent below the $4.6 billion attracted a year earlier.

The report also noted that Africa recorded a total of $38 billion FDI in the same year, representing a 18 percent decline from the $46 billion posted in the corresponding year of 2019.

However, Egypt led Nigeria and South Africa with $5.5 billion FDI, an increase of 38 percent from the preceeding year.

The report read in part, “FDI flows to Africa declined by 18% to an estimated $38 billion, from $46 billion in 2019. Greenfield project announcements, an indication of future FDI trends, fell 63% to $28 billion, from $77 billion in 2019. The pandemic’s negative impact on FDI was amplified by low prices of and low demand for commodities.

UNCTAD also noted that global foreign direct investment declined by 42 percent to an estimated $859 billion, down from $1.5 trillion in 2019.

The decline was concentrated in developed countries, where FDI flows fell by 69 percent to an estimated $229 billion. Flows to Europe dried up completely to -4 billion (including large negative flows in several countries). A sharp decrease was also recorded in the United States (-49%) to $134 billion.

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FG to Partly Fund Six Rail Projects Connecting All Regions

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FG to Partly Fund Six Rail Projects Connecting All Regions

The Federal Government will pay a total sum of N71 billion to partly fund six rail projects connecting all regions of the country.

In the report obtained from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the six rail projects marked for development this year are Lagos-Kano rail line (ongoing), Calabar-Lagos (ongoing), and Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Aladja (Warri).

Others are the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway, the new Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi line in Niger Republic and the Abuja-Itakpe and Aladja-Warri Port and refinery/Warri new harbour.

The Buhari administration will also spend N15.1 billion on the development of safety and security of critical projects, airport certification, runway construction, terminal building, among others in the aviation sector in 2021.

Last week, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, said the Lagos-Kano line would be connected from the Ibadan end of the Lagos-Ibadan railway and would cost $5.3 billion.

We are waiting for the Chinese government and bank to approve the $5.3bn to construct the Ibadan-Kano. What was approved a year ago was the contract,” the minister said.

He added, “The moment I announced that the Federal Government had awarded a contract of $5.3bn to CCECC (China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation) to construct Ibadan-Kano, people assumed the money had come in; no.

“We have not got the money, which is a year after we applied for the loan. We have almost finished the one of Lagos-Ibadan. If we don’t get the loan now, we can’t commence.”

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Economy

FG Launches E-ticketing Platform to Deepen Train Usage and Convenience

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FG Launches E-ticketing Platform to Deepen Train Usage and Convenience

In a bid to improve the usage and enhance the convenience of train transport in Nigeria, the Federal Government on Thursday announced the launching of the Electronic Ticketing platform for the Kaduna-Abuja rail services.

The N900 million E-ticketing platform was introduced by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike R. Amaechi, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation.

Amaechi said the new platform would improve efficiency, promote accountability, reduce leakage and enhance economic growth, as well as save time.

The E-ticketing platform was a Public-Private Partnership project done in conjunction with Secure ID Solutions, who provide and would manage the system for 10 years in an effort to recoup its investment before the Nigerian Railway Corporation take charge.

Kofo Akinkugbe, the Chief Executive Officer, Secure ID Solutions, said as the new E-platform issued 25,000 tickets after a successful pilot test on Thursday.

Potential Travelers can book via three ways:

1. Mobile app
2. Website
3. POS or Cash at the station

A validator would be used to scan the ticket barcode to ascertain its authenticity before boarding.

Amaechi further announced that self-service ticket vending machines at various train stations would be introduced soon.

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