- NPDC, Seplat Short-changed FG by $1.8bn, N8.8bn —Presidential Panel
The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property says the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd and one of its Joint Venture partners, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, have short-changed the Federal Government by $1.8bn and N8.8bn from 2013 to 2017.
Responding to inquiry on Sunday, the NPDC, which is the flagship subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, admitted the indebtedness but said it was working towards liquidating it.
The Mr Okoi Obono-Obla-led SPIPRPP said in a report obtained on Sunday, that its year-long investigation revealed that the sums of money represented the royalties on oil and gas, concessional rental and gas flaring penalty due to the Federal Government but which the NPDC and Seplat refused to remit.
A copy of the executive summary of the report stated that apart from Seplat, other JV partners operating various Oil Mining Licences had also under-remitted funds to the Federal Government.
As part of the findings of its panel’s investigation, the report stated, “Analysis of recovered records and other documents collected including statements revealed as follows:
“That NPDC has Joint Venture agreements with the following nine companies to operate Oil Mining Leases: Seplat/NPDC JV (OML 4, 38 and 41); ND Western (OML 34); Elcrest /NPDC JV (OML 40); Neconde/NPDC JV (OML 42); NAOC (Nig. Agip Oil Coy)/NPDC JV (OML 60, 63); FHN (First Hydrocarbon Nigeria)/NPDC (OML 26); Abura/Oredo/Oziengbe (OML 65, 111); Okono/Okpoho/NPDC JV; and Shoreline/NPDC JV (OML 30).
“The NPDC and its JV partners have failed to remit to the Federal Government its complete due on royalty (oil); royalty (gas); concessional rental; and gas flared penalty.”
According to the report of the total sum of $1,824,469,208.36 allegedly not remitted to the Federal Government, the NPDC owes $1,791,045,591,18, while Seplat owes $33,423,617.18.
The report added that of the N8,825,778,039.61 due to be paid to the Federal Government, the NPDC was allegedly responsible for N7,523,749,610.15, while Seplat owed N1,302,028,429.46.
The report recommended, “Recovery of $1,824,469,208.36 and N8,825,778,039.61 underpaid assets from NPDC and Seplat Nigeria Limited.
“Recovery of all underpaid assets from regulators and operators of OPLs and OMLs (government and private).”
The report also recommended to the SPIPRPP to follow through “on all further enquiry activities contained in paragraph 4.0 above.”
In the said paragraph, the report stated, among others, that the Department of Petroleum Resources should shed light on the outstanding royalty payments for divested assets amounting to $745,462,045.00.
It added that the DPR would also need to explain the defrayal of Nigeria Agip Oil Company’s royalty oil payments using the balance of NAOC’s ‘good and valuable’ consideration valued at $293,102,181.93
The report stated, “It is imperative for the Managing Directors of all the following regulators, and operators of OMLs to be interviewed by the SPIP and also avail the panel with records of oil and gas royalty payments; gas flaring penalty payments; and concessional rental payment for analysis, among others:
“The regulator – Department of Petroleum Resources; government Operators of OMLs – NAPIMS and NPDC; JV, PSA and PSC Operators of OMLs; NPDC and Seplat are to attend to the SPIP and agree on terms of paying the underpaid assets from 2013 to 2017 to the government.
“The Department of Petroleum Resources is required by the SPIP to shed more light on the agreement and the approval to defray Shell Petroleum Development Company’s outstanding royalty payments for divested assets amounting to $745,462,045.00 (Atlantic Lifting).
“In addition, the DPR should also explain the defrayal of Nigeria Agip Oil Company’s royalty oil payments using the balance of NAOC’s ‘good and valuable’ consideration valued at $293,102,181.93.”
When contacted, the NPDC stated that it was working towards liquidating the debt.
In a document put together by the NPDC and sent to our correspondent by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, the national oil firm stated that appreciable progress had been made but the firm had yet to achieve the remission of the funds to the Federal Government.
Providing a background, the NNPC stated that in August 2010 and April 2011, the federation’s interests in Oil Mining Licences 4, 38 and 41 and OMLs 26, 30, 34, 40 and 42 respectively were assigned on the approval of the Minister of Petroleum Resources to the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of NNPC.
The corporation said, “The good and valuable consideration as advised by DPR on those assets is $1,847,785,233,970. NPDC made an initial deposit of $100m.
“Government had since approved for NNPC/NPDC to source for a third-party loan to finance the payment of the outstanding balance of $1.747bn.
“NNPC has made appreciable progress on this but has yet to achieve financial close. While waiting for the conclusion of the third party loan to pay off the balance, NPDC has since December 2018 stated the allocation of 30,000 barrels per day towards the liquidation of this indebtedness.
“On achievement of financial close and drawdown, NPDC will pay to the federation the lump sum less the value of the crude oil so far allocated; less the value of crude lifted by the federation post assignment of the assets; and less any other federation’s indebtedness to NPDC on the assets.”
India, Spain, the Netherlands, USA, Nigeria’s Major Export Markets -NBS
India, Spain and the Netherland top Nigeria’s export markets in the final quarter of 2020, according to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The Commodity Price Indices and Terms of Trade Q4 2020 report showed that the United States and China trailed the three.
However, the NBS revealed Nigeria exports mainly crude oil and natural gas during the period under review.
It, “The major export and import market of Nigeria in Q4 2020 were India, Spain, the Netherlands, United States and China.
“The major export to these countries were crude petroleum and natural gas. The major imports from the countries were motor spirits, used vehicles, motorcycles and antibiotics.”
The bureau stated that the all-commodity group import index increased by 0.13 per cent between October and December 2020.
“This was driven mainly by an increase in the prices of base metals and articles of base metals (one per cent), boilers, machinery and appliances; parts thereof (1.03 per cent), and products of the chemical and allied industries (0.75 per cent),” it stated.
The NBS, however, noted that the index was negatively affected by animal and vegetable fats and oils and other cleavage products.
Onyeama: Qatar To Invest $5bn In Nigeria’s Economy
The oil-rich state of Qatar is to invest a total of $5 billion in Nigeria’s economy, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Godfrey Onyeama, has disclosed.
Onyeama, who spoke Sunday at a send forth dinner in honour of Nigeria’s Ambassador-designate to the State of Qatar, who is also the outgoing Director of Protocol (DOP) at the State House, Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed, also stated that recent career ambassadorial appointments made by the gederal government was based on merit, experience and professionalism.
The minister further said there had been discussions with Qatar on partnership with Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), for significant investments in the region of $5 billion in the Nigerian economy.
According to him, ‘‘Qatar is a weighty and strategic country and very strategic in that part of the world and we are putting our best feet forward to advance the interest of our country economically and in other areas.”
He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had visited the State of Qatar in 2016 and the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani, reciprocated with a State visit in 2019.
Onyeama also explained that only trusted hands with a track record of diligence, experience and professionalism in the Foreign Service were recently appointed career ambassadors by the federal government.
The minister said the appointment of Ahmed and other career ambassadors were predicated on posting dedicated and keen Foreign Service practitioners to serve as image makers of the country.
He said: ‘‘Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed is a dedicated professional with a penchant for rigour and detail. He is very capable and one of the best in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is personable, affable, extremely friendly, dispassionate and objective.
‘‘He is going to head a very important mission, a very important country, reckoned to be one of the richest countries in the world, per capita, and there’s a lot we will be doing with the State of Qatar.”
Also speaking, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Adeola Rahman Ipaye, described the honoree as a ‘‘perfect gentleman, very even-natured and always well turned out’’.
Ipaye said he had no doubt that the newly appointed ambassador would serve the country well in Qatar, adding that: ‘‘We are further encouraged that when he completes this assignment, he would return to serve Nigeria in a higher capacity.’’
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, while congratulating the outgoing DOP on his appointment, lauded Ahmed for excellent service to the State House and the nation.
‘‘He served this institution and the nation with the deepest sense of responsibility and it is very important that we establish a tradition where the system appreciates those who have served it well and those who will continue to serve it well,’’ he said.
Umar urged the new envoy to keep very fond memories of his time at the Presidential Villa, assuring him of the prayers and goodwill of all the staff.
Responding, Ahmed thanked President Buhari for the great honour and privilege of making him his principal representative in Doha, Qatar.
The Ambassador-designate pledged to deplore his energy and skill to the promotion of the existing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Qatar, particularly in the areas of economic, political, cultural and consular affairs as well as other key areas.
Ahmed, who joined Nigeria’s Foreign Service in 1993, said during his years in public service he had learnt that ‘‘patriotism, selfless service, diligence, determination and perseverance will always result in the achievement of the desired objective’’.
According to him, these virtues would be his ‘‘watchword’’ in the pursuit of Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives and the attainment of national interests.
The Ambassador-designate singled out for appreciation the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and the state Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Lawal Kazaure, saying he had learnt a lot working under their mentorship.
He expressed gratitude to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Secretary, State House for giving him the opportunity of a memorable work experience in the State House.
France, Nigeria to Build New Partnership
France is currently aiming at building a new partnership with Nigeria, with the dispatching of its Minister in charge of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Franck Riester, to Nigeria.
Riester, who was expected at the time of filing this report on Monday, is scheduled to visit Nigeria from 12-14 April, 2021.
A statement from the French Embassy in Nigeria said: “Franck Riester is visiting Nigeria from 12 to 14 April, a visit that follows up on the priorities set by French President Emmanuel Macron during his official visit to Nigeria in July 2018 and his desire to build a new partnership between Africa and France.
“As the largest economy in Africa and the economic engine of West Africa, Nigeria is indeed a major partner for France, the first in sub-Saharan Africa with bilateral trade amounting to a total of 4.5 billion USD in 2019 (2.3 billion USD in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic).”
It disclosed that the minister will have several official meetings in Abuja and Lagos, in order to underline the importance of the bilateral economic relationship and to prepare the summit on the financing of African economies in Paris on 18 May.
It revealed that the objective of the mission is also to further strengthen the links between the French and Nigerian private sectors, and “in this regard, the minister will have in-depth discussions with the main Nigerian economic actors to strengthen bilateral cooperation and investments, both in Nigeria and in France, particularly in the logistics sector”.
It said while in the country, the minister would meet with young Nigerian entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries sector, to discuss the major role of their country in African creativity and the development of the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, with the support of France.
It further said: “The minister will also open the ‘Choose Africa’ conference, a €3.5 billion initiative by President Emmanuel Macron dedicated to supporting the development of start-ups and SMEs in Africa to enable the continent to benefit fully from the opportunities of the digital revolution.”
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