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FG Clarifies Management Of External Reserve

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The Federal Ministry of Finance has said President Jonathan’s administration did not in anyway squander the national reserve.
This is contained in a statement issued by the ministry in Abuja, on Wednesday.
“ it is absolutely not true that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has squandered the nation’s reserves.
“The facts are clear and indisputable. At the end of May 2007, Nigeria’s gross reserves stood at 43.13 billion dollars, comprising the CBN’s external reserves of 31.5 billion dollars, 9.43 billion dollars in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) and 2.18 billion dollars in Federal Government’s savings.
“These figures can be independently verified from the CBN’s records,” it said.
According to the statement, the figure of 67 billion dollars cited in some recent commentary is factually incorrect.
It added that it was a misconception to think that reserves are immutable or cast in stone.
It added that since May 2007, the reserves had fluctuated in line with developments in the international oil market, rising from 43.13 billion dollars at that time, peaking at 62 billion dollars in September 2008 during the Yar’adua and Jonathan’s administration.
It said that then, the oil prices reached a peak of 147 dollars per barrel, and falling subsequently to as low of 31.7 billion dollars in September 2011.
“This fall in reserves was largely a result of the vicissitudes of the global economy and oil market which caused the CBN to intervene, using some of the reserves, to defend the value of the naira.
“ The Excess Crude savings, which it should be noted is a component of the reserves, was largely used to cushion the economy at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008-2009.
“ As a result, Nigeria was one of the few countries in the world that did not seek assistance from international financial institutions at that time.
“ The fiscal stimulus used to shore up the economy during that period was shared by all three-tiers of government.
“Similarly, savings in the ECA were also used to pay for fuel subsidies for the entire nation and that sharing continued after the crisis ended,” he said.
It noted that from 2012, such payments had been published each time they were made.
It blamed the quest by the governors to the depletion of ECA, adding that most of them kicked against continuous building up of the account.
The statement noted that it was on record that states even took the Federal Government to court on this matter, and the case was still pending at the Supreme Court.
It added that the present administration had established the first ever Sovereign Wealth Fund for the nation in which savings were being made for future generations of Nigerians and important infrastructure investments were being supported.
“ It is also a matter of public knowledge that the fund would have generated more savings and investments if the same sort of opposition that blocked savings in the ECA had also not been at work,” it said.

It further explained that the Federal Government and states, had in 2009 in common agreement, took 5.5 billion dollars from the ECA to invest in Independent Power project.
Today, various state governments are shareholders in the projects and hold share certificates confirming their stake in the projects.
It stated that it was not correct to say that the nation’s external reserves were dipped into or misapplied by the administration.
“ Anyone familiar with foreign reserves management will be aware that the Federal Government cannot dip its hands into the external reserves.
“ Like in other countries, the management of external reserves is one of the statutory mandates of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Section 2 sub-section (c) of the CBN Act (2007) states that the Bank shall “maintain external reserves to safeguard the international value of the legal tender.
“No President since the democratic dispensation has contravened this Act.

Rivers State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Hon. Chuma C. Chinye (right) in handshake with Administrative Director MCC, Mr. Nelson Jaja (left) in the public presentation of the Yellow Pages Directory, orgnaised by Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Port Harcourt recently. Photo: Egberi A. Sampson

Rivers State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Hon. Chuma C. Chinye (right) in handshake with Administrative Director MCC, Mr. Nelson Jaja (left) in the public presentation of the Yellow Pages Directory, orgnaised by Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Port Harcourt recently. Photo: Egberi A. Sampson

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Eradiri Faults NDDC Leadership Structure Wants Agric As Top Priority

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The Special Adviser to the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Youths, Udens Eradiri, has faulted the leadership structure of the commission, saying it has not helped the cause of the Niger Delta in the last 25 years.
Describing the leadership structure of the NDDC as faulty, he said that the faulty leadership structure was the reason why President Muhammadu Buhari ordered for a forensic audit in the commission.
Eradiri who is the former president of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC)
disclosed this while speaking to aviation correspondents, last Friday, shortly on arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, from Abuja. 
He said the outcome of the forensic audit would be used to do a wholistic reorganisation of the organogram of the commission.
According to him, the wholistic review of the organogram of the NDDC will help in putting the leadership structure in order, and enable things to function properly.
“The leadership structure of NDDC in the past years had been faulty, and that was why the President said there should be forensic audit, which would be used to do a wholistic review of the organogram of NDDC, so that it can function properly.
“The new board is coming soon, but the whole process will pass through the National Assembly to be cleared”, Eradiri said.
On the achievement of the present NDDC management, the special adviser said that the Effiong Akwa led administration had recorded some landmark achievements compared to the last 25 years. 
He said that the present interim management within two years completed and commissioned the headquarters of the NDDC, which had been left for over 25 years.
He also said that the completion of the East-West road project had intensified under the present management, adding that NDDC has also supported states on sanitation through donation of trucks.
Eradiri, however, admitted that the present interim management had not taken a firm stand on agricultural development even though it has been working with the Central Bank of Nigeria on the Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
“I believe that the only tool to use and get ourselves out of the quagmire we find ourselves is agriculture, and I think that the NDDC can design its own scheme on how to grow agriculture as a deliberate policy.
“This will bring change that will grow the region’s economy. We must talk about agricultural processing, and we can put palm oil into sachet, and even students can be buying them,” he said.

By: Corlins Walter

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Nigeria Lost N851bn To Oil Theft, Sabotage   – NEITI

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Nigeria lost N851.84bn ($2.78bn) to oil theft and pipeline sabotage in 2019, the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI)   has said.
NEITI said this in its latest oil and gas industry audit report.
NEITI stated that it arrived at the estimate after using an average price of $65.61 per barrel and an average exchange rate of N306.42/$ .
It, however, noted that there was a significant reduction of 21 per cent from the previous year, where 53.28 million barrels were lost.
Losses such as these are recorded by companies whose crude volumes are carried through pipelines easily compromised by saboteurs.
The report also stated that some oil terminals recorded no production. These included Aja operated by Bayelsa Oil, whose license was revoked by the government.
Others were Asaramatoru and Oyo managed by Prime and Allied/CAMAC who were reportedly inactive for the year.
Nigeria earned a total of N10.49tn ($34.22bn) from crude oil and gas sales. This was a marginal 4.88 per cent increase from 2018 revenues of N9.99tn ($32.63bn).
The total crude oil production recorded was 735.24 million barrels, a 4.87per cent increase from 701.10 million barrels reported in 2018.
A total of N2.145tn ($7.011bn) was the domestic sales proceeds in 2019 from 107.24 million barrels of crude oil. This was 0.36 per cent lower than the domestic crude sales of 107.63 million barrels in 2018.

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Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies

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Some residents in the 23 local government areas of Rivers State have urged the newly sworn-in council chairmen in the state to come up with good agricultural and developmental policies that will transform the grassroots.
They also urged the council boss to take pragmatic steps and actions towards tackling security challenges to encourage business activities thrive in their domains. 
Some of the residents who spoke with The Tide at the weekend, noted that the local government administration in the state had not faired well in terms of real development in recent times, and urged the new council helmsmen to change the narratives. 
A resident of Emohua Local Government Area, Mr Charles Amadi, noted that no real development had taken place in the area, lamenting the dearth of companies and small scale industries in the area.
He, therefore, called on the new chairman, Dr. Chidi Lyoid, not to solely depend on the monthly allocation, but to go all out to attract small scale companies to the area so as to create employment opportunities as well as generate revenue for the council.
He also urged the new chairman to invest in agriculture, especially farming and fishing.
On his part, Mr Ebenezer Otamiri who lives in Etche, urged the Etche council boss, Obinna Ayanwu, to consolidate on the achievements recorded in his first tenure, especially by building more markets for the people, as well as initiate good agricultural policy to drive the economy of the area.
He also urged the council boss to tackle the issue of electricity and security in the area, saying electricity and security are key to the development of the area. 
In his own charge, Mr Mene Geoffrey Dekaa who hails from Bori in Khana Local Government Area of the state, called on his new council chairman, Bariere Thomas, to show capacity and competence in the area of security.
He noted that the issue of security has left native imprint in the development of the area, saying many investors have left Bori, the headquarters of the council, for other places.
“Because of security challenges, many people have left Bori to build houses and invest in Nonwa- Tai, and Eleme.
“Areas like Kono-Boweeh communities are no go areas, as people there can hardly sleep. So if the chairman can work with government recognised traditional rulers and security agents, security issues will be tackled, and people’s confidence will be restored, and business activities will move on”, he said.

By: Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies

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