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PIB: NNPC won’t be scrapped but fully commercialised, says FG

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation will be fully commercialised in the interest of Nigerians when the Petroleum Industry Bill is signed into law.

He said this did not mean that it would be scrapped, as interpreted by media reports.

Speaking after a closed-door meeting with lawmakers on the PIB Sylva said, “I have heard a lot of noise about the NNPC being scrapped but that is not envisaged by the bill at all. We have said that the NNPC will be commercialised in the interest of Nigerians.

“If we are talking about transforming the industry, the only new thing we are introducing is the development of the mainstream, which is the pipeline sector between the upstream and the downstream.”

He added, “This is because the framework was not there, has not really developed very well. We have adequately provided for the growth of the mainstream sector.

“The host community has the best deal but the details of the bill will be unfolded on the floor of the Senate. The Petroleum Equalisation Fund and the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency will not exist in the same form that they exist today.”

The long-awaited oil reform bill will privatise the NNPC, amend changes to deepwater royalties made late last year and scrap key regulatory agencies in favour of new bodies, a copy of the bill seen by Reuters showed.

President Muhammadu Buhari had sent the bill to the Senate, two sources told Reuters. The Senate, along with the House of Representatives, must sign off on the bill before it can become law.

The legislation has been in the works for the past 20 years and looks to revise laws governing Nigeria’s oil and gas exploration not fully updated since the 1960s because of the contentious nature of any change to oil taxes, terms and revenue-sharing.

The bill proposes creating a limited liability corporation into which the ministers of finance and petroleum would transfer NNPC assets.

The government would then pay cash for shares of the company and it would operate as a commercial entity without access to state funds.

The changes would in theory make it easier for the struggling company to raise funds.

The legislation would also amend controversial changes to deep offshore royalties made late last year by cutting the royalty that companies pay the government for offshore fields producing less than 15,000 barrels per day to 7.5 per cent from 10 per cent.

It would change a price-based royalty too, so that it kicked in when oil prices climbed above $50 per barrel, rather than $35.

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Railway

As Abuja-Kaduna train resumes, NRC gives passengers Nov 6 for unused tickets

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Train operations on the Abuja-Kaduna route resumed on Saturday, after they were suspended on Thursday following an attack that damaged the rail track.

The Nigerian Railway Corporation has given passengers with unused tickets two weekends ending on November to make use of the tickets or forfeit them.

Two reported attacks on Wednesday night and Thursday morning said to have been executed with the use of explosives led to damage on the rail track.

In one of the attacks, the window of the driver compartment of the train was reportedly shattered. This prompted the corporation to suspend the train ride along the route.

But the NRC restored the train services on Saturday after carrying out adequate repairs on the damaged track and beefing up security along the route.

On Saturday when train services resumed along the route, there was a report of low turnout of passengers.

Some of the passengers, who acknowledged improved armed security presence on the train and along the track said they could not use their pre-purchased tickets as the railway officials claimed they had no order to accept them.

A statement issued by the NRC later said customers would have two weeks (ending November 06) to use tickets for rides scheduled during the period operations were cancelled.

The corporation also asked affected customers to give 48-hour notice before their scheduled trips with the unused tickets.

The statement read in part, “Dear esteemed customers, service has been restored on the Abuja-Kaduna service.

“Customers with unused tickets for the 21st and 22nd of October should kindly contact the customer care unit (customercare@tps.ng and 01 888 7741) for rescheduling.

“Kindly give 48-hour notice ahead of new travel date. This offer is open for the next 2 weeks and will expire on the 6th of November, 2021. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience.”

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Abuja-Kaduna train resumes operation Saturday – NRC

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Barely 24 hours after suspending the Abuja-Kaduna trains for safety reasons, the Nigerian Railway Corporation says the services will resume Saturday October 23.

The suspension followed an explosion attack by hoodlums on the Abuja-Kaduna rail track Wednesday evening, which the corporation said affected the locomotive tank of a Kaduna-bound train.

Although there have been conflicting accounts of the attack with some attributing it to bandit or terrorist attack, the Managing Director of the corporation said in an interview on Friday night that the NRC team of engineers and technicians had fixed the problem and was certified that the train service could resume on the route after carrying out extensive an inspection of the line.

The NRC also said in a statement issued Friday evening that the Abuja-Kaduna Train Services (AKTS) would “resume tomorrow, Saturday, 23rd October, 2021 as follows: From IDU, Abuja (AK3) at 0950am. From Rigasa, Kaduna (KA4) at 10.35am.”

The statement read in part, “The board and management of the Nigerian railway corporation (NRC) hereby inform the general public, particularly our valued passengers that Abuja-Kaduna Train Services (AKTS) resume tomorrow, Saturday, 23rd October, 2021 as follows: From IDU, Abuja (AK3) at 0950am. From Rigasa, Kaduna (KA4) at 10.35am. Subsequent train services continue.

“The NRC once again sincerely apologises for the inconvenience.”

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Motorists, travellers stranded as Delta bridge collapses

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There was confusion in part of Delta State on Friday following the collapse of the Umutu Bridge in the Ukwuani Local Government Area of the state, leaving several motorists and travellers on the Agbor-Abraka-Eku road stranded.

The incident reportedly occurred in the early hours of the day, adding that the aged long bridge gave way as a Trailer conveying heavy duty construction bulldozer was passing through it towards the Agbor axis of the state.

The deplorable condition of federal road has been on the news, with report of the road project already awarded for reconstruction by the federal government.

The road link many communities in the state and connect the people with other parts of the country, particularly Northern and South-East states.

Deputy Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Ochor Christopher Ochor who hails from the area, regretted that the federal government had not given such an important road the desired attention.

Ochor who spoke to our Correspondent, described the collapsed of the bridge as unfortunate and sympathized with stranded motorists and travelers for the pains it may have caused them.

He said he had already contacted the Commissioner for Work in charge of Urban and Highways roads in the State, Mr Neol Omodion, who has promised to take necessary steps to address the ugly situation.

Ochor however stressed the need to beef up security in the area to protect the lives and properties of the stranded travelers, calling on the federal government to reconstruct the road due to its strategic position  to the socio economic development of the area.

 

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