Democrats in the United States of America (USA) House of Representatives scrambled on Wednesday to iron out lingering concerns over abortion in a healthcare reform bill that was headed to a close and potentially historic weekend debate.
House Democratic leaders planned a Saturday vote on the sweeping overhaul, which would launch the biggest changes to the U.S. healthcare system since the creation of the Medicare health program for the elderly in 1965.
“We are on the verge of doing something great,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, told reporters.
But with Republicans united in opposition, Democrats struggled to line up the 218 votes needed to pass the bill. “It’s going to be tight,” a Democratic aide said.
Democratic leaders hoped to defuse a potential uprising by moderates within the party who want stronger language to ensure that federal funds are not used to pay for abortions under the bill.
The overhaul, President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority, is designed to, among many others, rein in costs, expand coverage to millions of uninsured and bar insurance practices, such as denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
The House bill would require individuals to buy insurance and all but the smallest employers to offer health coverage to workers. It also provide subsidies to help purchase insurance and would eliminate the industry’s exemption from federal antitrust laws.
House Democratic leaders filed largely technical last-minute changes to the legislation late on Tuesday night, starting a 72-hour waiting period they had promised to Republicans and clearing the way for a Saturday vote.
House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter said she expected the rule-setting guidelines for the healthcare debate would incorporate anti-abortion language proposed by Representative Brad Ellsworth, a moderate Democrat.
His amendment would prohibit the use of federal funds to cover abortions and also guarantee access to insurance plans that would agree to refrain from covering abortion.
“My goal is to ensure that federal taxpayer dollars are not going to abortions, but we aren’t there yet,” he told reporters. “I think it’s still pretty much up in the air.”
Ellsworth’s amendment has been attacked by some anti-abortion Democrats and the National Right to Life Committee, which called it “a political fig leaf” and urged Democrats to vote down any rule that included it.
The group prefers a proposal by Representative Bart Stupak, who leads about 40 moderate Democrats vowing to oppose the bill unless it is changed to their satisfaction on abortion.
Stupak wants to bar any federally subsidized insurance plan from paying for abortions, including government-run public plans created to compete with private insurers.
Partners Execute Shareholder Agreement For Brass Products Terminal
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), along with their partner, the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, NCDMB, and Zed Energy have executed a shareholders’ agreement for the establishment of a 50 million litre Petroleum Products Terminal in Brass, Bayelsa State.
The N10.5 billion Brass Petroleum Products Terminal project is expected to deliver an automated 50 million litre depot with two-way product jetty, automated loading bay, and 6 automated tanks for storage of 30 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS)and 20 million litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK).
While speaking at the signing ceremony, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his giant strides in the Niger Delta which is making a huge impact on the people of the area.
“I make bold to say today without any fear of contradiction that no President has impacted the people of the Niger Delta like President Muhammadu Buhari. Aside from what we are witnessing today, remember there is also the Brass Fertilizer & Petrochemical Company, the Oloibiri Oil and Gas Museum and the Oil & Gas Park in Ogbia, all under Mr. President,” the Minister stated.
Sylva added that the establishment of the Terminal further demonstrates Mr. President’s commitment to the enhancement of the livelihood of the Niger Delta people particularly, the riverine communities in Bayelsa State where people purchase products at exorbitant prices due to logistics challenges associated with transporting products to that area.
Speaking shortly after signing the agreement, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari said the Corporation was proud to be part of the project which aside ensuring products availability in all nooks and crannies of the Niger Delta, will also guarantee the nation’s energy security and generate employment.
“This Terminal will create 1,000 direct jobs during the construction phase, and over 5,000 indirect jobs during its operation. Considering the potential for employment when completed, this will definitely reduce youth restiveness in the Niger Delta area and will also address the problem of illegal refining in the area,” Kyari stated.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote stated that this milestone was as a result of strong interagency collaboration and public-private sector partnership.
“The NCDMB will continue to drive such partnerships across the industry to bring development in Nigeria,” he noted.
Earlier, the Coordinator of the Project and Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Mr. Bala Wunti stated that the project would enhance the economics of marine petroleum products distribution.
Senate Hails NNPC’s Drive Towards Profitability
The senate has commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for its efforts towards attaining profitability and stamping out corruption from its system.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, Suleiman Abdu Kwari, gave the commendation at a hearing which was held at the national assembly complex, Abuja.
Kwari said it was heart-warming to learn that the NNPC was making great strides towards profitability and urged the corporation to sustain the gains recorded so far for the good of the country.
In his presentation at the hearing, Mele Kyari, the group managing director of NNPC, said the corporation was championing the fight against corruption in the oil and gas industry by placing measures to curb incidences of corruption across its various business portfolios and by enlisting as a partner company of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
He also said that the corporation has reported several incidences of infractions such as products diversion and crude oil theft to the police, EFCC and other investigating agencies of the federal government to stem corruption within the oil and gas industry.
In an effort to clampdown on fuel smuggling, the ministry of petroleum resources launched the operation white project in October 2019 to monitor and track the movement of petroleum products in the country.
Also in February 2021, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) launched the downstream remote monitoring system (DRMS) to track the movement of petroleum products from depots to retail outlets.
“We have created an anti-corruption desk in NNPC that engages the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies on a regular basis,” NNPC GMD said.
“The desk ensures that in all our operations, every staff complies to the code of conduct procedures with consequence management.
“We have established a regulatory compliant governance charter and transparency policy; this is a mark of our compliance to the anti-corruption strategy.
“For the first time in 43 years, NNPC, as a part of the evolving culture of transparency and accountability, published its Audited Financial Statements (AFS) for 2018 and 2019. We are going to publish that of 2020.
“The AFS is the only document that tells how a company does its transaction. We are happy that by the time the 2020 AFS will be published, Nigerians will see the dividends of our accountability.”
Chevron Spends $10bn On Nigerian Suppliers, Service Providers
Chairman/Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), Rick Kennedy, said the company has in the last 10 years spent an estimated annual average of $1 billion on Nigerian suppliers and service providers in line with its commitment to Nigerian Content Development.
Highlighting the opportunities and new approaches to the future of hydrocarbons at the ongoing 2021 NIPS in Abuja, Kennedy stressed the need for robust policies and regulations to address and remedy existing challenges in the oil and gas industry; digital technology/innovations; cost efficiency initiatives; sustained social investments as well as continued support for Nigerian Content Development.
Kennedy, who was represented by Monday Ovuede, director, NNPC/CNL Joint Venture, identified opportunities in lowering carbon emissions and harnessing Nigeria’s gas resources as key enablers in complementing the new approaches to future of hydrocarbons in the Nigerian oil and gas industry in the post COVID-19 era.
According to him, the global community has continued to scale up the collaboration towards lower carbon emissions, adding that Chevron supports global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and is actively investing in operations to improve environmental performance while also working with industry to develop new innovative technology and best practices to achieve these objectives.
He emphasised that CNL’s gas strategy is to end routine gas flaring and build a profitable gas business through a portfolio of projects, and stated that in Nigeria, CNL, with its joint venture (JV) partners, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has progressively reduced routine gas flaring by over 95% in the past 10 years and remained ahead in terms of maximising supply of on-spec gas into the Nigerian domestic market.
He also highlighted the NNPC/CNL’s Gas Sales and Aggregation Agreements with Egbin Power Plc, Dangote Fertilizer Limited, and Olorunsogo Generation Company Limited, while mentioning the positive impact of the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) through which Nigeria supplies gas to countries in the West African sub-region – specifically, Ghana, Togo, and Benin – thus, helping to boost economic development in West Africa.
Kennedy also noted that Chevron has joined other energy companies supporting the Methane Guiding Principles to reduce methane emissions from natural gas exploration and production operations through digital innovation and deployment of best practices, which include designing, constructing, and operating its facilities in a manner to reduce emissions from its operations.
- Niger Delta5 days ago
Rep Woos Stakeholders Over FMC Bill
- Business5 days ago
Lawmakers Want CBN To Halt Naira Devaluation
- News4 days ago
Buhari Parries Question On Twitter Ban
- Politics5 days ago
Previewing Nigeria’s New Democracy Day
- Entertainment5 days ago
Nollywood Veteran Actor, Bruno Iwuoha Bows Out
- Politics5 days ago
Senators Rate 9th National Assembly High
- City Crime1 day ago
10 Offenders Convicted Under Anti-Piracy Law – NIMASA DG
- Politics5 days ago
Anambra: INEC Publishes Official Election Notice