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Poor Implementation Of Audit Reports, Bane Of Extractive Sector – Mitee

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Poor implementation of
independent audit reports in oil and gas sector is hampering prudent management of the extractive sub-sector’s revenue, Mr Ledum Mitee has said.
Mitee, who is the Chairman of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) National Stakeholders Working Group, stated this in a statement issued in Abuja.
The statement, signed by NEITI’s Director of Communications, Mr Orji Ogbonnaya,  and made available to journalists said that Mitee spoke at a workshop organised by NEITI in Lagos.
He said that the workshop marked the commencement of NEITI’s comprehensive audit of the oil and gas sector activities in 2012.
“If NEITI reports were given the attention they deserved, such issues as confirmation remittances of funds to the Federation Account will not be a subject of controversy,’’ Mitee said.
According to him, the current controversy over allegation of unremitted funds should underscore the need by all relevant agencies to give NEITI audit recommendations the deserved seriousness and support.
He said that with adequate funding and support, the data collection processes of NEITI would be automated, adding that it would enable the organisation to get real time data which could be resorted to in time of controversy.
“A properly resourced NEITI whose audit recommendations are promptly addressed remains vital not only to our economic wellbeing, but enable the citizens derive needed benefits from our extractive resources,’’ Mitee said.
He said that in auditing the oil and gas sector, NEITI was providing critical and reliable information required for the massive reforms in the sector.
He said that the audit was being done at a time when the issues of transparency and accountability were attracting increasing attention in the country.
“It is the first audit that could be conducted under the new set of NEITI requirement and standards that were approved in May, 2013.
“It is coming at a time in our national history that the nation is embroiled in a very unfortunate allegation of non-remittance of oil revenues to the Federation Account,’’ he said.
Mitee said that the remittances controversy would not have arisen had relevant government agencies and institutions taken NEITI recommendations seriously.
He said the workshop would expose all the 88 oil and gas companies in the country and more than 24 agencies covered by the audit to information and data NEITI required for the audit.
“Specifically, this audit will establish the quantities of hydrocarbons produced, exported or imported, and how the licensing processes and agreements were reached and implemented between government agencies and the companies,’’ he explained.
Mitte also said the exercise would examine and validate accuracy of royalties, tax payments, product importation, fuel subsidy management, measurement processes and pricing of federation equity crude.
According to him, it will also check remittances of funds due to government to the Federation Account, among others.
Mitee said that the audit would cover key areas as hydrocarbon flows, volumetric analysis and technical assessment of hydrocarbons streams and examination of procedural system.
“The audit involves data reconciliation, aggregate reporting of hydrocarbons produced and computation of financial implications as well as value analysis during the period under review,’’ he said.
Representatives of 88 companies and government agencies including Shell, Chevron, Mobil, Agip, NNPC, CBN, FIRS, DPR and Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation participated at the workshop.

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Traders Protest FG’s Move To Restore Festac Town

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The move by the Federal Government to restore Festac Town in Lagos to its original status has sparked up protest among traders occupying Agboju Amuwo Planks and Building Materials Market.
The traders on Wednesday, protested at the FHA office in Festac Town against the demolition of their market, following the demolition of illegal structures by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) ahead of the restoration. 
The Tide recalls that there was a petition to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, in 2020 about illegal structures that had taken over Festac Town.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the restoration of Festac town organised by FHA, last year, its South-West Zonal Manager, Mr Akintola Olagbemiro, said, “This year, we commenced the restoration of Festac town, following the consent judgement from the court against illegal occupants of Festac land.
“Our action is to save the residents from the insecurity that has taken over the entire Festac town as a result of illegal structures everywhere”.
The chairman of allottees of First Gate to Third Gate, Mr Kole Olatunji, in his remarks at the meeting said the land from First Gate to Third Gate was allocated between 1985 and 1999, noting that with the consent judgment, original owners of the land as allocated should take over their plots.
But the chairman of plank market, Muhammed Bello, protested the seven-day notice given to traders to vacate the place without alternative arrangements.  
Bello said: “How do they expect us to remove our wares in seven days?
“What we want is that they should allow us to remain there and we will pay whatever amount they ask us to pay”.
Speaking in the same vein, the chairman of Cane Chair and Furniture Association, Emmanuel Okoye said: “We need freedom. Let them tell us where they want us to stay. That place was swampy. We filled the place with several millions of Naira which we got as loans.
“We also rely on loans to do our business. Whatever the government wants us to pay; we are ready to pay to remain there. We have been there for 27 years. What we lost to the demolition is over N300 million”.

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Fuel Tanker Explosion Kills Five, Injures Two In Ogun

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No fewer than five persons were on Wednesday burnt to death, while two others sustained first degree of injury in a fuel tanker explosion at Ajilete, along Owode-Idiroko road, in Yewa South local government area of Ogun State.
Eyewitness accounts revealed that a truck bearing 33,000 litres of petroleum product was descending the steep portion of the road when its tank suddenly detached from truck’s body and tumbled to the ground with a bang.
The explosion, the witnesses said, killed five persons on the spot, while two other persons were injured.
The Tide learnt that the seven victims were all residents of the area where the accident occurred.
Confirming the incident, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Commander, Idiroko Unit, Akinwunmi Olaluwoye, said five deaths were recorded in the accident which occurred at about 8.15 am on Wednesday. 
According to him, the remains of the dead had been claimed by their families.
He disclosed that a bus and a motorcycle were also caught in a web of the explosion and razed.
He said, “no vehicle rammed into the tanker. The tank dropped off from the back of the tanker and exploded. The number of persons involved are seven; five dead, two injured.
“The driver had taken away the head of the truck as at the time we got there. But we have allowed the police to take charge and handle that aspect”.

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Travellers To Access $4,000  As CBN Boosts Forex Supplies

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Nigerians travelling abroad can now access a maximum amount of $4,000 foreign exchange from banks following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) announcement to increase forex supplies.
The CBN had said in a recent statement that it had concluded plans to increase the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet legitimate needs.
This followed the warning by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to Deposit Money Banks to desist from denying customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange.
The purposes to access forex included Personal Travel Allowance, Basic Travel Allowance, tuition fees, and medical payments as well as Small and Medium Enterprises transactions or for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment proceeds, the CBN had stated.
Sources from some of the banks said those travelling on business trips could also access a maximum amount of $5,000 for each trip.
At a virtual Bankers’ Committee meeting last week, the bankers discussed how the CBN intended to assist with forex to ensure availability for the upcoming summer period and the return of students to school in September.
The CBN also said the BDCs would continue to have their weekly allocations.
The committee observed that the rates were going up.
It stated, “The CBN has said that all the banks must make availability at all times and anyone who wants to buy BTA, PTA, medical fees, student school fees and all the eligible invisible purchases to ensure that Nigerians are not forced to go and queue in the parallel market.
“So what the Central Bank is doing is to encourage all banks to make sure that there is available forex at all times, and that his information should be communicated on all our platforms.
“We are asking our customers to come to the branches and for BTA, for example, present the required documents, which are basically your international passport, your visa, your valid ticket and fill up the form in the bank.
“And what we have been instructed to do is ensure that we don’t turn anybody back and that we should request from the Central Bank once we exhaust the forex that we have.
“The idea is to have a hitch-free summer period and the resumption for children to go back to school. The idea is to ensure there is less pressure on the forex and then the rates will come down”.
Speaking during the virtual meeting, the Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said, “I think again as part of the Central Bank’s role in terms of price stability and the need to support small and medium enterprises, there was highlight of the need for banks to go and support SMEs who import small raw materials for them to set up their businesses”.
The Managing Director, Ecobank, Patrick Akinwuntan, said, “All banks are available to ensure forex need is met.”
Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, said the CBN had provided sufficient foreign exchange to meet the needs of all legitimate Nigerian travellers and therefore, the idea of going to any other market should not arise at all.

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