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PHCN Accuses Power Ministry Of Hiding Report

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Employees of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), have accused the Ministry of Power deliberately hiding the report of the negotiations between the Federal Government and the union in the sector from the presidency.

The workers alleged that both the Vice-President, Namadi Sambo who is the Chairman of the National Council of Privatisation and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim are yet to see the report one month after its submission by the Chief Negotiator /Councillator, Hassan Sunmonu.

Speaking under the umbrella of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC), they maintained that some powerful persons in the ministry are blocking the chances of peaceful resolution of labour issues in the sector even when President Goodluck Jonathan is desirous of settling the workers’ liabilities.

President of the union, Mr. Bede Opara, who made the allegations at an interactive session in Lagos, wondered why the ministry was preventing the presidency from seeing the report given the fact that it was the federal government it self that set up the committee in the first place.

According to him, the presidency should be more inclined to the implementation of the recommendations of Sunmonu since it is committed to put the interest of the sector above any personal interest.

The attempt to shield the report from the Presidency, he pointed out may not be unconnected with the Sunmonu’s recommendation that gratuity should be paid in accordance with the extent PHCN conditions of service. The report, he explained is contrary to the views of government, which upheld that workers are entitled to pension and gratuity up to June 30, 2004 but thereafter, the provisions of Pensions Reform Act 2004 would apply.

He warned that the ongoing privatisation by the government would be inconclusive should government fail to implement the recommendations of the report.

“Government set up a negotiation team led by the Chief Negotiator in the person of Hassan Sunmonu who was acclaimed a renowned labour leader in order to have credibility in the resolution of the industrial dispute in the power sector. The negotiation lasted for 14 months and the Chief Negotiator recommended that gratuity be paid according to the condition of service which is not against the Pension Reform Act 2004. Why is it that the secretary to the government of the federation and the president  are blocked from seeing the report submitted by Sunmonu.

“We have  information that the presidency is not aware of the recommendations. The report was supposed to be presented to the Vice-President, but it was stopped at the ministry level. If Sambo was aware of the report then we will not be where we are today. We want to State categorically that as long as labour issues are not resolved, let nobody think of success of the ongoing privatisation,” Opara said.

Speaking further, he explained that the unions were no longer against the privatisation of PHCN, but rather interested in making sure that the global best practices are strictly adhered to given the role that the sector will play in the development of the country.

He advised President Jonathan to put the national interest and the interest of the sector above every other interest if the ongoing reform programme must succeed. He added that labour was concerned with the way and manner in which the biding processes were handled by the Buraeu of Public Enterprises (BPE) noting that the process was flawed.

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Oil & Energy

BUA Group, A’Ibom Sign MoU For Refinery’s Access Road

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Bua Group has signed a memorandum of understanding, (MoU), with Akwa Ibom State Government, and the host communities in Ibeno Local Government Area, for the construction of access road to the proposed Bua Refinery and Petrochemical plant site in Ibeno, last week.
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Power and Petroleum Development, Dr. John Etim, who presided over the signing of the MoU, applauded BUA for their commitment to the project, prompt documentation and the preparation of the site towards the construction of the refinery.
Etim said that the refinery project will bridge the gap between host communities and Akwa Ibom State, thereby bringing about more developments in the oil and gas sector of the State.
The Commissioner called on all parties concerned to be committed to the terms of agreement and to ensure that peace dominates their relationship, while appealing to the host communities to protect the facilities which is now in their custody
“The refinery and petrochemical project is in line with the Governor’s vision to industrialise the State, develop local capacity in key industries where value can be added and raw materials sourced locally.”
Speaking shortly after the MoU signing, the Chairman of Ibeno local government, Williams Mkpa, expressed delight over the development, describing it as a giant stride in the industrialisation vision of the Akwa Ibom State Government.
The paramount ruler of the area, Owong Effiong Archianga, assured the company of his people’s unalloyed support and cooperation to see to the actualisation of the project.

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Oil & Energy

CSO Urges Oil Communities To Challenge PIA In Court

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A Civil Society Organisation, Policy Alert, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, urging communities to test the provisions of the Act before the courts.
President Buhari had signed the erstwhile Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, into law last Monday amidst protests from community groups and many other stakeholders that the Bill do not adequately cover the rights and interests of the host communities.
In a statement signed by its Communications and Stakeholders Engagement Officer, Mrs. Nneka Luke-Ndumere, Policy Alert, which is working for economic and ecological justice, described the presidential assent to the PIB as “grossly insensitive and problematic.
“It is sad that the bill has been assented to in the most controversial manner despite its many obvious flaws and its rejection by many stakeholders,” the statement read.
It added: “For example, the controversial provision for a direct payment of 30 percent profit oil and profit gas to the Frontier Exploration Fund potentially shortchanges the oil producing states and local governments of some of its thirteen percent derivation as it bypasses the requirement in section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which provides that all revenues be channeled through the federation account.
“This is most unfair, viewed against the ceding of only three percent of previous years’ operating expenses to the Host Communities Development Trust Fund and the punitive provision to charge costs of any damage to facilities against the community’s Fund, among other obnoxious provisions.
“That Mr. President has gone ahead to give assent to these vexing provisions only reinforces the politics of exclusion and expropriation that has for long characterised the relationship between the Nigerian state and the oil producing communities.
“We are also concerned that the host communities’ component of the legislation flies in the face of one of its stated objectives to address tensions between host communities and companies as it has all the ingredients for escalating rather than abating such conflicts.
“At a time when fossil fuel investments are being deprioritised elsewhere as a result of the global energy transition, it is unfortunate that this Act failed to provide a bridge between the current era of fossil fuel dependency and the low-carbon energy future that Nigeria aspires to within the framework of government’s much vaunted commitments under the Paris Agreement.”
The statement also said: “Granted, the new legal framework introduces some predictability and clarity to the governance and fiscal arrangements in the oil and gas industry. We are also not oblivious to certain clauses that respond to some of our earlier demands, such as those providing that the Board of Trustees of the Host Communities Development Trust will now be determined in consultation with the host communities, with  membership drawn from community members. But that is just as far as it goes.
“As a tool for improved benefit sharing to host communities, the Act falls flat on its face. It actually ridicules the exertions of the host communities and advocacy groups that have clamoured over the years for a law that yields some space for participation, direct socio-economic benefits and environmental remediation for oil-rich communities.
“The theatre of action will now have to move to the communities and the courts of law. As implementation of the Act gets underway over the next 12 months, we urge host communities and civil society groups to begin to seek interpretation of some of its more controversial provisions before the courts.”

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Oil & Energy

Kyari Tasks Greenfield Refinery On Fuel Importation

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The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has charged members of the Board of the NNPC Greenfield Refinery Limited (NGRL), to explore all available options to bring an end to the current challenge of petroleum products importation.
Mallam Kyari gave the charge Thursday while inaugurating the Board of the newly incorporated subsidiary of the Corporation, NNPC Greenfield Refinery Limited (NGRL), at the NNPC Towers, Abuja.
The NNPC Greenfield Refinery Limited is a subsidiary of the Corporation set up in December 2020 with a mandate to oversee the establishment and operation of new refineries.
The GMD, who is also the Chairman of the NGRL Board, challenged members of the Board to focus on profitability in order to remain afloat and avoid liquidation.
“As a business, this is a big opportunity for us and this company’s balance sheet must change positively. Going forward, with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), I can tell you that if you continue to post negative for three years, you are out. So, there is really no excuse”, Mallam Kyari stated.
He urged the Board and Management Team of the new company to set up a proper structure with the required skills, technology and financing to drive the company’s operations, adding that he was optimistic that the company would be able to achieve its mandate.
“Our company must grow and we can’t do well except we are able to process our production whether it is the liquid or gas. If we don’t monetise it then we have done nothing. This is really a new chapter and we are committed to making it work,” he said.
The NNPC helmsman stated that all the Corporation’s initiatives in the areas of new refineries, condensate refineries and equity acquisition in credible private refineries were geared towards ensuring energy security for the country.
In his remarks, the Alternate Chairman of the Board and Group Executive Director, Refinery and Petrochemicals, Engr. Mustapha Yakubu, declared that the operations of the company would be guided by the principles of cost effectiveness in line with the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), noting that profitability would be the key focus.
Speaking in similar vein, the Group General Manager, Greenfield Refineries and Project Division (GRPD) and Managing Director of the NGRL, Engr. Bege Talson, disclosed that the Division was working with third party investors to establish greenfield, modular and condensate refineries with a combined capacity of 250,000barrels per stream day (bpsd).

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