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NEITI Lauds Buhari’s Reform Initiatives, NNPC Restructuring

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The Nigerian Extractive
Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), has commended the steps taken by President Muhammadu Buhari to reposition the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for greater efficiency.
A  statement by its Director of Communications, Dr Emmanuel Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, in Abuja on Sunday said the measures inspire hope and confidence in the future of the nation.
He said that the measures were consistent with the findings and recommendations of NEITI in its various independent audit reports.
Orji said NEITI was delighted that the much-needed political will required to implement its recommendations had been summoned by Buhari.
He applauded the appointment of Dr Ibe Kachikwu, `a renowned oil industry expert with the needed global exposure, competence and integrity as Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC.’
“It is our hope that new NNPC GMD and his new team will consider it a priority to carefully study the findings and recommendations outlined in NEITI independent reports of the sector.
“This is with a view to implementing the pending remedial issues under a plan already developed by NEITI and the Inter Ministerial Task Team (IMTT),“ he said.
According to him, some of the recommendations in the plan included the addressing of  inadequate metering infrastructure for accurate measurement of crude, the onerous cash call regime.
He said, also needed to be addressed, included inefficient cost determination, pricing issues related to expired MoUs, legal agreements with oil companies.
Orji said areas that deserved urgent attention were huge costs of fuel subsidy, crude oil swap and products exchange agreements and repair of the refineries and oil theft, among others.
He said NEITI was ready and willing to provide further details on the recommendation if required.
Orji said NEITI was encouraged by the recent pronouncement of the NNPC GMD on remittances of all Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) dividends to the Federation Account as required by law.
“By implementation, a total of 11.6 billion dollars as paid by NLNG to NNPC but not remitted by the NNPC to the Federation account could be recovered into government coffers.“ he said.
He said NEITI welcomed the Presidential directive on operation of a single treasury account system.
Orji said the singly treasury account policy would help eliminate fraudulent practices created by multiple revenue accounts by government agencies.
He said NEITI identified with the Ad hoc Committee of the National Economic Council to investigate the inflows and outflows of funds from the Federation account by revenue generating government agencies.
Orji said the decision was consistent with NEITI’s principles on efficient fiscal allocation, disbursement and value for money through prudent utilisation of resources.
He said the agency also welcomed Buhari’s decision to set up a Presidential Committee on Anti-Corruption led by Prof. Itsay Sagay.
The statement expressed optimism that the Sagay committee would provide NEITI and all the agencies under the Inter – Agency Task Team (IATT) the opportunity to make presentations.
“One important issue that NEITI will be bringing to the table if given opportunity is how the committee can assist the government to recover over 7 billion dollars owned by oil companies.
“These disclosures are contained in NEITI audit reports as cases of under payments, under assessment’s arising from subjective interpretation of MoUs and tax laws”, he said.
The statement also urged President Buhari to extend the reform to the mining and solid minerals sector, in view of the enormous potentials in the sector.
“ One urgent step required now is to immediately check the activities of illegal miners many of whom are foreigners that have taken over the solid minerals sector without authorization,“ he said.

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Bayelsa Seeks China’s Partnership To Boost Dev

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The governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, has sought the assistance of the People’s Republic of China for infrastructure, agriculture, technology and education development in the state.
A statement made available to newsmen at the weekend quoted Diri as making the request last Friday when he visited the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Cui Jianchun, at its embassy in Abuja.
Diri, who recalled the Chinese President’s statement that his country was willing to partner with Nigeria to reduce poverty, said Bayelsa would be the right destination for such intervention.
He commended the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation for its work on the Yenagoa-Oporoma and Gloryland Drive road projects.
The governor was quoted to have said, “We believe Bayelsa State offers a considerable window to the world and will be a spectacular platform to showcase the BRI in the building of roads that traverse several water bodies as well as providing access to inexhaustible reserves of resources in the coasts of Bayelsa.
“Our state’s expansive coastline is ideal for fishing, tourism and wind energy. Our government has identified agriculture as the main sector within which it will achieve sustainable development and growth. We have already identified four areas to substantially invest in, which are fish farming, rice, cassava and plantain cultivation”.
Diri stressed that with the requisite legal framework in place and available human resources, Bayelsa was ready to welcome investors and industry experts for the collaborative development of a centre for machine learning and artificial intelligence.
“The technological revolution that this would engender would be a force to improve and empower thousands of people across Nigeria and Africa in general.
 ”There are opportunities to establish new tech hubs across all the eight-local government headquarters in the state,” he added.
In his remarks, Ambassador Cui Jianchun said China and Nigeria had a lot in common. The envoy noted that 12 years ago, China had over 87 million people living below the poverty line but that by February this year, they had all crossed above the line.
Presenting an economic strategy document to the governor, Jianchun said if China with its large population could overcome poverty, Nigeria could also do by adopting the right policies.

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Currency In Circulation Rises To N2.84trn  – CBN

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that the currency in circulation (CIC) rose by N58.36 billion within one month. 
The latest figures which were made available by the CBN on Sunday showed that the currency in circulation rose from N2.79 trillion in August to N2.84 trillion in September, this year. 
From the end of June, the currency in circulation rose from N2.74 trillion to N2.81 trillion in July. It fell to N2.79 trillion in May from about N2.80 trillion at the end of April.
According to the CBN, the broad money supply rose to 5.83 per cent in August from 2.91 per cent in July.
The apex bank said the rise in currency circulation was largely driven by the growth of net foreign assets and net domestic assets by 12.35 and 4.30 per cent respectively in August 2021, compared to 1.84 and 3.17 per cent in July.
According to the bank, the growth in net foreign assets was largely driven by an increase in foreign asset holdings of commercial and merchant banks.
It said the increase in net domestic assets reflected the boost to aggregate credit net, which increased to 8.14 per cent in August from 5.71 per cent in July.
In the money market, the monthly weighted average interbank call and open buyback rates increased to 13.45 and 12.97 per cent in August respectively from 10.72 and 11.60 per cent in July.
This increase reflected the tight liquidity conditions in the banking system during the review period as the bank curtailed excess system liquidity, according to the CBN. 
Currency in circulation is defined as the currency outside the vaults of the Central Bank – that is, all legal tender currency in the hands of the general public and in the vaults of the Deposit Money Banks (DMB). 
The CBN said it employed the “accounting/statistical/withdrawals and deposits approach” to compute the currency in circulation in the country.
It said this approach involved tracking the movements in currency in circulation on a transaction-by-transaction basis.
According to the CBN, for every withdrawal made by a DMB at one of CBN’s branches, an increase in CIC is recorded; and for every deposit made by a DMB at one of CBN’s branches, a decrease in CIC is recorded.
The transactions are all recorded in the CBN’s CIC account, and the balance on the account at any point in time represents the country’s currency in circulation.

By: Corlins Walter

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Large Expenditure Responsible For Nigeria’s High Debt Service  -Minister

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The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has blamed Nigeria’s high debt service-to-revenue ratio on the country’s large expenditure base.
The minister who disclosed this during a live television interview with Bloomberg TV at the weekend, noted that a huge chunk of Nigeria’s budget was dedicated to the recurrent expenditure.
“Our debt service to overall revenue is high because we have a very large expenditure base. We have a large proportion of our budget dedicated to payroll, and Mr President had decided from the beginning of his administration that we were not going to disengage staff.
“So, you have to pay salaries, you have to pay pensions. And also, we have to fund the other arms of government, which are the judiciary and the legislature”, she said.
Ahmed, however, expressed hope in oil prices, stating that the current rise would help the country earn more revenue from the sale to other countries.
According to her, high price of oil means that we would be able to earn more revenue, and that $85 per barrel is way above the $40 per barrel that we have on our 2021 fiscal projections.
She, however, noted that buying back petroleum products from other countries due to moribund refineries affected Nigeria’s revenue profile.

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