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China okays $2.6bn loan for Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline

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China has approved $2.6bn loan for Nigeria’s Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline project.

This was announced by the Federal Government announced on Tuesday with a plan to disburse the 85 per cent loan required to fund the project.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, announced this during the inspection of the project in Ajaokuta, Kogi State.

The project whose construction was inaugurated in July this year, is 85 per cent funded by the Bank of China and Sinosure, a Chinese export and credit insurance corporation, while the Federal Government, represented by the NNPC, will provide 15 per cent equity.

Brentex/China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau-CPP Consortia and Oilserve/China First Highway Engineering Company-CFHEC Consortia were also named as the engineering procurement and construction contractors for the project.

Ahmed said, “We have to give a sovereign guarantee to the lender so that the loan is concluded.

“I’m glad to say that the loan has been concluded and very soon, the disbursement will start.”

She said the project was being delivered on time and on course, adding that despite the slowdown in economic activities, the project had not slowed down and work had not stopped for one day.

 “We are glad that gas is being piped across this line from Ajaokuta to Kaduna to Kano. This will help to revive industries in those parts of the country and create jobs,” Ahmed said.

Kyari also said nothing would stop the project except force majeure.

This, he said, was because the Bank of China had approved the loan and the project would continue till its financial close.

“This project has not stopped for one day since it started. We will complete this project on time, on schedule and on cost. We will deliver this project,” he said.

He also said, “The 85 per cent that will come from our Chinese partners will be available for draw down.”

He said security was being built around the pipeline, which would include the deployment of optic fibre lines running parallel to the pipeline such that at any infraction, the corporation would know about it and respond.

 “More importantly we are using the best of technology so that we will bury the pipes deeper than normal and we don’t think that there is any high level of risk associated with this pipeline,” Kyari said.

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N5bn Debt: AMCON Takes Over Mansions Of Ex-Gov Abdulfatah Ahmed

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The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has taken over some houses belonging to former Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed of Kwara State over a N5 billion debt.

The property is located at No. 9A Abdulrazaq Street, GRA, Ilorin.

Jude Nwazor, spokesman of AMCON, confirmed this to Daily Trust in a telephone chat.

He, however, said the debt was a personal one by the former governor.

Nwazor said all efforts to peacefully resolve the loan had been frustrated by the former governor which left AMCON no other choice than to seek justice in court.

In a statement, he later issued, Nwazor said, “AMCON had taken over the Non-Performing Loans of the former governor and his companies… from the former Intercontinental Bank, FinBank and Bank PHB during the first phase of EBA purchases, in line with its mandate under the AMCON Act.
“All efforts to peacefully resolve the loan had been frustrated by the former Governor who remained recalcitrant, which left AMCON no other choice than to seek justice in court.”

Ahmed, who succeeded former Senate President Bukola Saraki, governed Kwara between 2011 and 2019.

Currently, he is not holding any political office.

But some hours ago, he joined forces with some prominent Nigerians to establish a Third Force known as the Rescue Nigeria Project (RNP).

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Buhari Orders FIRS To Tax Digital Transactions

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President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the deployment of technology to tax all digital transactions carried out across the country.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha disclosed this at the 17th General Assembly and 10th anniversary of the West Africa Tax Administration Forum (WATAF) in Abuja Tuesday.

The assembly is a high-level policy dialogue on taxation of the digital economy, organised by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The SGF  said the President gave the order to tax authority to ensure digital transactions were taxed digitally,  and the goal of their efforts was to achieve seamless digital collection and remittance of tax revenue accrued from the digital economy.

He said the President had directed the deployment of technology to good effect in revenue collection and remittance as a matter of government policy.

The SGF said this is supported by the amendment to the tax laws and empowering the tax authority to deploy technology in tax.

Mustapha said: “Our definition of what to collect- whether we call it income tax, Digital Service Tax or Value Added Tax, must address the issue of redefining who a taxable person or entity is, to accommodate the fact that digital transactions side-track the ordinary and traditional understanding of jurisdiction.”

In his remarks, the Chairman of FIRS, Mr Mohammed Nami called for collaborative efforts among African states to generate income from digital-oriented businesses.

He said: “Tax regulators and other industry stakeholders must therefore rise up to the challenge of being in a position to tap into the stream of opportunity that advancements in science and technology afford us. Science and Technology is not only about rockets going to space, it is also about effective tax collection and we must maximize it in every possible way we can.”

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Buhari wants petroleum, finance ministers removed from NNPC board

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President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the National Assembly to remove the  ministers of Finance and Petroleum from the board of the soon-to-be incorporated board of the Nigerian  National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.)

The request is contained in his letter seeking an amendment to the recently enacted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

He also asked the Senate to confirm appointments made for the boards of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and two other federal agencies.

These are the Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority..

The President on Sunday named a nine-member board for the NNPC Ltd headed by Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.

The President’s letter titled  “Forwarding administrative structure amendments to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 was read to   Senators by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during yesterday’s plenary.

He listed three sections of the PIA that he wants to be amended as 11(2)(b) and 34(2)(b);  11(2)(f-g) and 34(2)(f-g);  as well as   11(3).

The President explained in the letter that amendments to the sections were needed to make for seamless administrative structure in the Act.

He also cited unbalanced geo-political representation as a reason for his request to remove the ministers of Finance and Petroleum from the NNPC Ltd. board.

A part of the letter reads, “I wish to forward to the Senate the attached Administrative Structure Amendments of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 for your kind consideration and approval.

“Having carefully reviewed the administrative structure of both the Commission and the Authority; I would like to propose the following amendments to the PIA 2021:

“Appointment of non-executive board members: The Petroleum Industry Act 2021 provided for the appointment of two non-executive members for the board of the two regulatory institutions.

“I am of the view that this membership limitation has not addressed the principle of balanced geopolitical representation of the country, therefore, I pray for the intervention of the 9th Assembly to correct this oversight in the interest of our national unity.

“Needless to add that this amendment will provide a sense of participation and inclusion to almost every section of the country in the decision-making of strategic institutions such as the oil industry.

“If this amendment is approved, it will now increase the number of the non-executive members from two to six that is one person from each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.

“Removal of the Ministries of Petroleum and Finance from the board of the two institutions:

The proposed amendment will increase the membership of the board from nine to 13 that is representing a 44 percent expansion of the board site.

“This composition would strengthen the institutions and guarantee national spread and also achieve he expected policy contributions.

“The two ministries already have constitutional responsibilities of either supervision or inter-governmental relations. They can continue to perform such roles without being on the board.

“It is also important to note that administratively, the representatives of the ministries in the board will be Directors – being the same rank with the Directors in the institution. This may bring some complications in some decision making especially on issues of staff-related matters.

“Appointment of Executive Directors: The Act has made provision for seven Departmental Heads in the Authority to be known as Executive Directors. Their appointment will also be subject to Senate confirmation. This category of officers is civil servants and not political appointees.

“The Senate is invited to note the need to exempt serving public officers from the established confirmation process for political appointments.

“This will ensure effective management of the regulatory Institutions through the uniform implementation of public service rules for employees of the Authority. In the future, these positions will obviously be filled by the workers in the authority.”

Also yesterday, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said in a statement  that the names of the EFCC, the  Upstream Regulatory Commission, and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority board members were contained in another letter to the Senate

Adesina’s statement partly read,  “Nominees for the EFCC board are George Abang Ekpungu from Cross River State (secretary);  Lukman Muhammed, (Edo);  Anumba Adaeze (Enugu);  Alhaji Kola Adesina (Kwara);  and Alhaji Yahaya Muhammad (Yobe).

“For the upstream Regulatory Commission, Isa Ibrahim Modibbo is nominated as chairman; Gbenga Komolafe, chief executive; Hassan Gambo, executive commissioner in charge of  Finance and Accounts; and  Rose C. Ndong, executive commissioner, Exploration and Acreage Management.

“Chairman nominee of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority is Idaere Gogo Ogan;  Sarki Auwalu, chief executive; Abiodun  Adeniji, executive director in charge of  Finance and Accounts; and Ogbugo Ukoha, executive director, Distributions Systems, Storage and Retail Infrastructure.”

The Nation

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