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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.”

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World Bank blacklists 17 Nigerians, firms over corrupt practices

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The World Bank has disqualified nine Nigerian individuals and firms from executing any contract with it for engaging in corrupt, fraudulent and collusive practices.

Eight Nigerian companies debarred by the African Development Bank (AfDB) were also recognised by World Bank under the cross-debarment policy.

Cross-debarment is the recognition of debarment decisions by signatories to the Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions on the same terms as the initial decision.

This is contained in its recent report titled ‘Sanctions System Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2021’.

This report covers the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) — from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 — and was prepared by the offices of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) sanctions system.

The report stated, “In the fiscal year 2021, the World Bank Group sanctioned 57 firms and individuals, of which 54 were debarred with conditional release, making them ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by institutions of the World Bank Group. In addition, three firms were sanctioned with conditional non-debarment, leaving them eligible to participate in World Bank Group-financed operations after meeting certain agreed-upon conditions.

“The institution also recognised 92 cross-debarments from other multilateral development banks (MDBs), while 45 World Bank Group debarments were eligible for recognition by other MDB.”

They are Sangtech International Services Limited, Sangar & Associates (Nigeria) Limited, Mashad Integrated And Investment Co Limited, and Medniza Global Merchants Limited — all banned for two years.

Others are ALG Global Concept Nigeria Limited, Abuharaira Labaran Gero, Qualitrends Global Solutions Nigeria Limited, and Maxicare Company Nigeria Limited. These firms are ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by institutions of the World Bank for three years.

Commenting on the report, World Bank President, David Malpass, said; “The World Bank Group is firmly committed to placing governance, anti-corruption and transparency front and centre in our work. A stable, respected rule of law is essential to good development outcomes. An important piece of our anti-corruption efforts is the World Bank Group’s sanctions system.”

He said that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group had deployed more than $157 billion in critical assistance to developing countries.

“Yet, for these resources to have the needed development impact on the hundreds of millions of people who live in extreme poverty, we must ensure that resources are used efficiently, effectively and for their intended purposes,” he said.

“And that means remaining vigilant to the scourge of corruption and ensuring that we promote the highest integrity and transparency standards in public finance.”

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eNaira: FG targets $29bn from blockchain, digital currency

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Digital currency and its underlying technology, blockchain, can increase Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product by $29 billion in the next 10 years, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.

He stated this in Abuja on Monday at the unveiling of eNaira, stressing that Nigeria’s digital currency would help move people and businesses from the informal into the formal sector and increase the tax base of the country.

He said eNaira would cater for businesses and households seeking faster and cheaper means of payment instead of “private currencies” that have gained popularity and acceptance across the world, including Nigeria.

The President said, “In recent times, Your Excellencies, the use of physical cash in conducting business and making payments has been on the decline. This trend has been exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resurgence of a new Digital Economy.

“Alongside these developments, businesses, households, and other economic agents have sought new means of making payments in the new circumstances.

“The absence of a swift and effective solution to these requirements, as well as fears that Central Banks’ actions sometimes lead to hyperinflation created the space for non-government entities to establish new forms of ‘private currencies’ that seemed to have gained popularity and acceptance across the world, including here in Nigeria.

“In response to these developments, an overwhelming majority of Central Banks across the world have started to consider issuing digital currencies in order to cater for businesses and households seeking faster, safer, easier and cheaper means of payments.”

Buhari added that the benefits of digital currencies cut across different sectors of and concerns of the economy.

He said, “Let me note that aside from the global trend to create Digital Currencies, we believe that there are Nigeria-specific benefits that cut across different sectors of and concerns of the economy.

“Alongside digital innovations, Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) can foster economic growth through better economic activities. Indeed, some estimates indicate that the adoption of CBDC and its underlying technology, called blockchain, can increase Nigeria’s GDP by US$29 billion over the next 10 years.

“CBDCs can also help increase remittances, foster cross border trade, improve financial inclusion, make Monetary Policy more effective, and enable the government to send direct payments to citizens eligible for specific welfare programmes.

“It is on this basis that I am delighted to officially launch the Central Bank of Nigeria Digital Currency, called the eNaira, and in so doing, we have become the first country in Africa and one of the first in the world to introduce a Digital Currency to her citizens.”

governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, said the eNaira would make a significant positive difference to Nigeria and Nigerians.

The apex bank rolled out two applications for the digital currency on Monday — eNaira speed wallet and eNaira merchant wallet.

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As Buhari launches eNaira, CBN unveils 100 for 100 financial instrument

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President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) digital currency, the e-Naira.
While launching the digital currency, at the State House,Abuja, this afternoon, the president commended the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, for his efforts towards ensuring a more efficient payment system in the country.
In his address, Emefiele announced a new financial instrument titled “The 100 for 100 PPP – Policy on Production and Productivity,” to reduce the nation’s overdependence on imports.
According to the governor, the instrument, “will be anchored in our Development Finance Department under my direct supervision.
“Under this policy the CBN will advertise, screen, scrutinize and financially support 100 targeted private sector companies in 100 days, beginning from 01 November 2021, and rolling over every 100 days with new set of 100 companies, whose names will be published in National Dailies for Nigerians to verify and confirm.

“The purpose of this instrument is to take further steps to reverse our over reliance on imports.”

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