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TSA: Reps Query Buhari’s Exemption of N50bn NNPC Accounts



  • TSA: Reps Query Buhari’s Exemption of N50bn NNPC Accounts

The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, raised questions over a “purported” presidential approval exempting some special Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation accounts from the Treasury Single Account.

The accounts, with funds worth N50bn, are still being kept by commercial banks in breach of the TSA policy.

The policy provides that all accounts belonging to Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government should be transferred to the TSA.

The TSA, a centralised Federal Government revenue account, is kept by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

A Nigerian firm, SystemSpecs, provides the Remita electronic platform for running the TSA, saving the Federal Government revenue that could ordinarily have been lost.

An ad hoc committee of the House, chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Kano State, Mr. Abubakar Danburam-Nuhu, found out that the NNPC directed some commercial banks to keep the accounts outside the TSA.

The CBN confirmed to the committee that it was aware of the excluded accounts, pointing to a document tendered by the NNPC, indicating that there was a presidential approval.

The said approval was a memo written by the Chief Staff to the President, Mr. Abba Kyari, authorising the NNPC to exclude the accounts from the TSA.

Expressing surprise over the discovery, Danburam-Nuhu stated, “Banks are still holding accounts with funds up to N50bn outside the TSA.

“The banks claim that there is an approval by the President for the accounts to operate outside the TSA.

“These are NNPC accounts and the corporation must produce evidence of the presidential approval.”

A senior official of the CBN, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, confirmed to the committee that the NNPC indeed wrote to inform the apex bank of the exemptions.

However, he specifically mentioned accounts relating to JV operations as the NNPC accounts covered by the exemptions.

“The banks are actually holding some accounts. We are aware. It’s not yet a case of 100 per cent transfer to the TSA,” he explained.

He also informed the committee that some accounts, still being kept by the banks, had legal limitations, while others were accounts owned by the judiciary and the National Assembly.

A memo by Kyari, purporting to convey President Muhammadu Buhari’s exemption directive, was analysed by members of the committee and was rejected as not convincing.

One of the members, Mr. Edward Pwajok (SAN), said the memo did not say much other than opening with the line, “I have been directed.”

Pwajok added that in the circumstances, the proper thing to do was to summon Kyari to convince the committee that Buhari indeed granted the exemptions.

“Let him come here to show us the evidence of the directive given to him by Mr. President,” he said.

Another member, Mr. Simon Arabo, noted that Kyari’s memo appeared to be an “Executive Order”, which had to be further examined by the committee.

The committee made two rulings: that the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, be summoned to produce the presidential approval within 48 hours.

It also directed the CBN to submit a reconciliation report on the accounts still with commercial banks before the end of this month.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership and the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, have criticised President Buhari over the exemption of the NNPC’s N50bn from the Treasury Single Account.

The groups said the allegation of N50bn NNPC accounts’ exemption from TSA was capable of destroying the Buhari administration, if found to be true.

This is also as a Second Republic lawmaker and a northern elder statesman, Dr. Junaid Muhammed, said the National Assembly must “immediately begin impeachment procedures against the President” if the allegation of exemption was found to be true.

The CACOL Director, Debo Adeniran, said, “This allegation is beyond just indicting the government; it will amount to a statement of contradictory principles. It will mean that this administration is working on ambiguous principles which fall short of the hallmark of good governance. It will amount to an abuse of office and conflict of interests. We should still believe that it cannot be true and that the President will condescend to engaging in under-the-hand dealings.”

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


Gov Emmanuel Attracts $1.4b Fertilizer Plant to Akwa Ibom




The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has signed an agreement for the citing of a multi billion fertilizer plant in his State.

Governor Emmanuel was part of a Nigerian delegation led by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, that visited Morocco to set out the next steps of the $1.4 Bln fertilizer production plant project launched in June 2018.

The agreement between the OCP Africa, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and the Akwa Ibom State Government will birth one of the biggest investments in the fertilizer production industry worldwide.

The signing ceremony took place at the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UMP6).

Mr. Emmanuel signed one of the agreements of the partnership, which covers a memorandum of understanding between OCP Africa, the Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria and the NSIA on land acquisition, administrative facilitation, and common agricultural development projects in the Akwa Ibom State.

Speaking while signing the agreement, Governor Emmanuel said, “Our state is receptive to investments and we are prepared to offer the necessary support to make the project a reality.

“With a site that is suitably located to enable operational logistics and an abundance of gas resources, all that is left is for the parties to accelerate the project development process”, Mr. Udom said.

The agreement reached between the Nigerian Government and the OCP further links OCP, Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), the NNPC, the Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria (GACN), and the NSIA.

The two partners agreed to strengthen further their solid partnership leveraging Nigerian gas and the Moroccan phosphate.

This project will lead to a multipurpose industrial platform in Nigeria, which will use Nigerian gas and Moroccan phosphate to produce 750,000 tons of ammonia and 1 million tons of phosphate fertilizers annually by 2025.

The visit of the Nigerian delegation to Morocco takes place within the frame of the partnership sealed between OCP Group and the Nigerian Government to support and develop Nigeria’s agriculture industry.

Following the success of the first phase of Nigeria‘s Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) and the progress of the fertilizer production plant project launched in 2018 by OCP and NSIA, the Moroccan phosphates group and the Nigerian government delegation have agreed on the next steps of their joint project which is rapidly taking shape.

Several cooperation agreements were inked on Tuesday at the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) by OCP Africa and the Nigerian delegation. Through these deals, OCP reaffirms its unwavering support of agricultural development initiatives in Nigeria including PFI.

OCP Africa and the NSIA have agreed, inter alia, to set up a joint venture which will oversee the development of the industrial platform that will produce ammonia and fertilizers in Nigeria.

The OCP has also pledged to supply Nigerian famers with quality fertilizers adapted to the needs of their soil at competitive prices and produced locally.

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ICPC Says Nigeria Loses $10bn to Illicit Financial Flows 



Naira Dollar Exchange Rate

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says Nigeria accounts for 20 per cent or 10 billion dollars (N3.8 trillion) of the estimated 50 billion dollars that Africa loses to Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).

Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, said this during a virtual meeting to review a report on IFFs in relation to tax, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, spokesperson for ICPC, said in a statement released in Abuja on Friday.

The ICPC Chairman said, “the African Union Illicit Financial Flow Report estimated that Africa is losing nearly 50 billion dollars through profit shifting by multinational corporations and about 20 per cent of this figure is from Nigeria alone.”

The ICPC boss explained that taxes played “very strategic role in the nation’s political economy.”

He said the objective of the meeting was to improve on the awareness on IFFs, especially in the areas of taxation.

The ICPC boss added that the meeting would give participants the opportunity to openly discuss how to effectively use the instrumentality of taxation to curb IFFs through risk-based approach.

“Risk-based approach, that is: monitoring and audit; due process in tax collection; structured tax amnesty framework skewed in public interest; data privacy; timely resolution of audits and payment of tax refunds and intelligence sharing among revenue generating, regulatory and law enforcement agencies,” he said.

Owasanoye also stated that for the contemporary tax man to remain relevant, he must build his capacity in areas of technology management, solution architects and an astute relationship manager.

The Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Mr Muhammad Nani, expressed concerns that IFFs posed a serious threat to the Nigerian economy as the act robbed the nation of resources that were needed for development.

Nani declared that tackling IFFs would expand the country’s tax base and improve revenue generation, which was required for development.

He consequently pushed for policy reforms that would make it difficult for “capital flights” from occurring so that the country would be placed on the path of growth.

Other discussants at the event identified weak regulatory framework, opacity of financial system and lack of capacity amongst others as some of the factors that fuelled IFFs.

The discussants emphasised the need for capacity building of relevant stakeholders as one of the ways to stamp out illicit financial flows.

They commended ICPC for leveraging its corruption prevention mandate to open a new vista in IFFs discourse in Nigeria. (NAN)

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African Development Bank, Egypt Signs Agreements Worth €109 Million to Transform Sewage Coverage in Rural Areas




The African Development Bank Group has signed financing agreements of €109 million with the Government of Egypt to improve sanitation infrastructure and services for rural communities in Luxor Governorate in Egypt’s Upper Nile region.

The financing consists of a €108 million loan from the Bank, and a grant of €1 million from the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) – an Africa-wide initiative hosted by the African Development Bank.

The funding, provided in a challenging global context, will help meet the Egyptian government’s financing requirements in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and support a sound water and sanitation infrastructure base, a key enabler for the country’s inclusive development.

The Integrated Rural Sanitation in Upper Egypt-Luxor (IRSUE-Luxor) project is set to boost sewage coverage in the region from 6% to 55%, improving the quality of life of citizens, including women and children, who are most affected by poor sanitation.

“Promoting efficient, equitable and sustainable economic development through integrated water resources management is a priority for the Government of Egypt. The IRSUE-Luxor initiative unlocks the socio-economic development potential for inclusive and green growth,” said Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, who signed the agreements on behalf of the Egyptian government.

About 22,000 households (240,000 inhabitants) will benefit from on-site and off-site facilities, through an integrated system of sewerage networks, sludge treatment and wastewater treatment plants.

IRSUE-Luxor contributes to the National Rural Sanitation Program established by the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities, which aims to expand nationwide access to sanitation services from 34% currently to 60% in 2030.

The project also complements the national Haya Karima (Decent Life) initiative that aims to help rural communities across Egypt access essential infrastructure services to improve their living conditions and livelihoods.

Furthermore, the project includes a staff training component to strengthen performance within the Luxor Water and Wastewater Company.

“This intervention is not just about infrastructure development. An essential part of the project is supporting ongoing sector reforms,” said Malinne Blomberg, the Bank’s Deputy Director General for North Africa.

One of several initiatives supported by the African Development Bank in Egypt to optimize the use of the country’s water resources, IRSUE-Luxor will enable about 30,000 cubic meters of treated wastewater per day to be discharged into drainage and irrigation canals and re-used to enhance agricultural output.

The initiative is in line with the Bank’s water sector policy, which promotes efficient, equitable and sustainable development through integrated water resources management. In addition, the operation supports tariff regulation to achieve full cost recovery, which is one of the basic principles of the Bank’s water sector policy.

The partnership between Egypt and the African Development Bank Group dates back more than half a century. More than 100 operations have been deployed, mobilizing more than $6 billion across multiple strategic sectors.

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