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S’South Govs Canvass New Revenue Formula

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The governors of the six South-South states, have called for the restructuring and unbundling of the Federal Government’s existing revenue sharing formula.

They said that the “shedding of weight” at the federal level would give states in the federation more powers and responsibilities.

The governors added that more funds would be needed by the states and local governments for developmental programmes.

In a communiqué at the end of the second South-South Economic Summit in Asaba, Delta, last Saturday, the governors said that the new structure would leave the Federal Government to handle issues of security.

The communiqué was signed by Governors Seriake Dickson, Chibuike Amechi, Godswill Akpabio, Liyel Imoke, Adams Oshiomohle and Emmanuel Uduaghan of Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta, respectively.

In the 13-point communiqué, read by Mr Joe Keshi, Director-General of the BRACED Commission, the governors urged the Federal Government to urgently address the problems of power and energy in the country.

According to the communiqué, the federation should be restructured and unbundled including the review of the current revenue allocation formula, to give more powers, responsibilities and funding to the states and LGAs as centres of growth.

It said that the nascent governance structure in the region should incorporate private sector and other non-state actors with a view to creating favourable policy, legal and regulatory environment.

“This will stimulate greater private sector participation in the development initiatives of the region,’’ it said.

The communiqué also called for the review of current policies and regulations on power and gas to enable the states generate, transmit and distribute power to complement the efforts of the Federal Government.

The communiqué said that the summit accepted the development of a Niger Delta Energy Corridor, noting that the project had the potentials for connecting the people, industry and natural resources and creating jobs.

It said that the summit would accelerate the implementation of agriculture development initiatives as the region’s priority focal area to complement the Federal Government’s transformation agenda on Agriculture.

The summit, it stated, also planned to develop integrated transport facilities in the region, through a balanced development of rail, roads, waterways and airport facilities.

According to the communiqué, the region would also partner the Federal Government and the private sector in the development of the Lagos-Calabar railway lines project.

It called for urgent completion of the East-West highway.

The communiqué added that the BRACED Commission had been directed to translate the recommendations of the summit into a measurable and achievable plan of action and to engage the appropriate stakeholders.

It expressed appreciation to everyone who participated in the programme and urged the governors to continue to show their exemplary leadership and commitment to good governance.

Meanwhile, no fewer than 6,000 people participated in the South-South Economic Summit which ended on Saturday in Asaba.

Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, said that the number of participants recorded at the summit was 300 per cent more than the organising committee’s projection of 2,000 persons.

On hitches over registration of participants which led to a stampede and made most persons to attend without identification tags for the period, he attributed it to refusal of people to register online ahead of the summit.

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DPR Plans Maximum Economic Recovery Strategy For Oil, Gas Industry

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The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says it is formulating a Maximum Economic Recovery (MER) strategy for Nigeria to attain maximum value delivery from its oil and gas resources.

The Director, DPR, Mr Sarki Auwalu, made the announcement during a keynote address at the 2021 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE), yesterday, in Lagos.

The conference has as its theme, “The Future of Energy –A Trilogy of Determinants: Climate Change, Public Health, and the Global Oil Market.”

Auwalu said the industry initiative was one of the outcomes of the work of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC), Lagos inaugurated in January by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said, “Following an in-depth assessment of the status of the industry, the department identified the need to formulate the ‘Maximum Economic Recovery Strategy for Nigeria’.

“This is to guarantee the actualisation of sustainable resource optimisation and the economic benefits arising therefrom.

“The framework for this industry action plan outlines six pillars or building blocks.”

Auwalu said the pillars were: Reserves Maturation and Production Optimisation, Exploration and Resources Maturation, Improved Oil Recovery and Enhanced Oil Recovery, Implementation Asset Stewardship, Performance Evaluation and Rewards Risk Management.

According to him, the draft framework has been shared with the industry, including professional associations like the SPE and the National Association of Petroleum Explorationists.

He said this was in preparation for an industry collaborative workshop to co-develop and enunciate this strategy for immediate execution.

“We count on the contributions and buy-in of all stakeholders on this crucial national assignment for our overall benefit and industry sustainability,“he said.

Auwalu said Nigeria was rising to the occasion as the ‘trigger’ for continental growth and economic transformation using its oil and gas resources to drive value for national development.

He said the DPR would continue to foster innovative ideas and create opportunities for investments and sustainability in the industry.

Auwalu said, “As always, we are enthusiastic to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders, including the SPE, toward the realisation of government’s aspirations for the oil and gas sector.

“In our role as business enablers and opportunity providers, DPR will continue to promote efficiency to meet the needs of the industry, creating value, enhancing transparency, reducing barriers and transaction costs.”

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Pensioners Urge PenCom To Implement Unpaid 15% Increment

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Pensioners under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) have appealed to the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to implement their 15 and 33 per cent pension increment and other benefits.

The Contributory Pensioners Union of Nigeria (CPUN), South-West Zone, made the appeal,yesterday, during a peaceful protest held in Ibadan.

The CPUN President, Mr Joseph Idowu, while addressing newsmen said that PenCom has yet to implement the increment since 2007 and 2010 in spite of various promises.

Idowu said that their counterparts, under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), had been enjoying the increment through the proactive stand of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).

“The new consequential adjustment in pension due to the latest increase in workers’ salaries and wages are also being enjoyed by pensioners under DBS, neglecting the CPS pensioners.

“No CPS pensioner has received any interest on their accrued benefits since 2007 till date.

“We require your urgent attention to ensure that arrears on this are calculated and paid at the Federal Government official rate, as at the time of retirement,” Idowu said.

The president said that his members were suffering as some of them collect as low as N3, 000 as their monthly pension which was not accepted.

Idowu also said that his members were not happy with the delay in the payment of their retirement benefits, which the commission now paid after one year of retirement, contrary to PRA Act 2004 (Amended).

He said that Section 16 (5) of PRA Act 2004 says pensioners should be paid not more than three months after retirement.

Idowu, however, commended the commission for prompt payment of their monthly pension, urging them to prioritise welfare of pensioners under the CPS.

Also, a member of the union, Mrs Clara Fumilayo, called on the Federal Government to assist the pensioners,

Fumilayo said that their monthly pension could no more buy any tangible things based on the situation in the country.

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‘Only 29% Of Babies Breastfed Due To Reliance On Breast Milk Substitute’

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A professor of Paediatric and Child Health, Alice Romoke-Nte, says the aggressive marketing of breast milk substitute by manufacturers was responsible for the gap in breastfeeding of children by mothers in Nigeria.

Nte, who is also the coordinator, Baby Friendly Initiative at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) said the advertising of these baby food weakens the confidence of the mothers and makes them feel that these breast milk substitutes are better off.

She said this has left only 29 percent of Nigerian babies breastfed as a result.

Nte said the UPTH, Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt and other stakeholders were using this year’s World Breastfeeding Week to carry out aggressive campaigns to raise awareness for the need of exclusive breastfeeding.

She said the international code of marketing of breast milk substitutes would be included in steps to ensure full compliance of marketing these artificial body foods.

Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt that joined in the rally yesterday morning for exclusive breastfeeding to mark the World Breastfeeding Week includes, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Garden City, Top Health, Seaport, Eco, Atlantic City, and Golf Estate.

Others include, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Gateway, City Valley, Passport, Creek View, Sky Waves, and Rotary Club of Port Harcourt.

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