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PDP Cautions Buhari On Fuel Price Hike …NNPC Dispels Rumours

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has cautioned federal government and the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) against increasing pump price of fuel from the existing N145 per litre.
The party said its position is predicated on its unwavering commitment to the welfare of Nigerians, stressing that any increase in fuel price will result in upsurge in cost of goods and services thereby worsening the biting hardship being faced by Nigerians.
A statement by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, said that “at a time like this, rather than musing an increase in the price of such essential commodity, a responsive leadership ought to be engaging stakeholders and seeking ways to achieve a reduction in the interest of the people.”
The statement said: “Our party insists that the price comparison being contemplated by the APC-controlled Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to warrant an increase, is untenable and further demonstrates that the APC is a party of selfish, unfeeling and insensitive individuals, who relish in inflicting pain and anguish on Nigerians for their selfish desires.
“Moreover, in arguing that petrol price is cheap in Nigeria without also comparing our market and production variables as well as social and economic infrastructure, with those obtainable in other countries, the APC-controlled NNPC is trying to play on the intelligence of Nigerians to pave way for further fleecing of our citizens.
“Such anti-people position can only come from leaders who do not have the mandate of the people and as such think that they are not answerable or accountable to the citizenry
“This is the same APC, which, in 2015, promised to reduce fuel pump price, only for it to jerk it up from N87 per liter, stabilised by the PDP, to an exorbitant N145, from which it now seeks a further increase.
“Moreover, the APC-led Federal Government has no justification whatsoever to contemplate any increase in pump price of fuel, when President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to recover the N9trillion ($25billion) oil money stolen under his watch, through sleazy contracts, as detailed in the leaked NNPC memo.
“President Buhari had also failed to recover the N1.1trillion worth of crude oil allegedly stolen, using 18 unregistered companies, reportedly linked to APC interests.
“It is therefore unacceptable that rather than recovering the over N10trillion stolen oil money and channelling same to our domestic energy needs, the APC-led Federal Government is seeking to shift the burden of the humongous corruption in the NNPC, as confirmed by the new Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, on our already deprived and impoverished compatriots.
“It is saddening that at a time Nigerians should have been enjoying the benefits of Atiku Abubakar’s economic recovery plan, they are still being faced with apprehensions of more economic hardship under the hypocritical and unfeeling APC”.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), yesterday, advised motorists and other petroleum product consumers to disregard the trending rumour of a planned hike in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol.
It explained that the statement of the corporation’s Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, at the National Assembly, last Wednesday, did not suggest any plan to increase the price of the white product.
The NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, clarified that what the NNPC GMD stated during his engagement with the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, was that the price of petrol was abysmally low in Nigeria compared to what obtained in neighbouring West African countries.
Ughamadu noted that Kyari had observed at the event that the huge disparity in the pump price of petrol between Nigeria on the one hand and her neighbouring countries, on the other hand, tended to encourage cross-border smuggling.
This, according to Ughamadu, was why the NNPC boss sought the support of the leadership of the National Assembly to curb the malaise of smuggling.
The oil firm advised Nigerians to disregard the insinuation of a planned hike in the price of petrol by NNPC.
It stated that statutorily, NNPC was not even in a position to regulate the price of petroleum products, adding that the corporation’s role as an operator must be differentiated from that of any of the industry regulators.
Ughamadu stated that as directed by relevant agencies of government, the pump price of petrol remains N145 per litre.
The NNPC cautioned petroleum products’ marketers not to sell petrol above N145 per litre following the disclaimed rumour.
It advised Nigerians to remain vigilant and volunteer information to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the industry regulator, or to any law enforcement agency around them, on any station which sells petrol beyond N145 per litre.
Earlier, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, had last Wednesday, lamented at the Senate over the N145 per litre fuel price in Nigeria.
The Management of NNPC told the Senate that its fuel was the cheapest in the entire West African sub region.
Kyari, spoke last Wednesday, during a courtesy call on the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan in his office to make submissions on revenue generation by the agency, along with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Speaking further, the NNPC GMD who noted that the low fuel price and smuggling, are the two key factors hampering high revenue generation of the agency, said, “The N145 per litre fuel price regime Nigeria runs against the N350 per litre most of the other west African countries operate, encourages smuggling, which invariably affected revenue generation for the agency and by extension the country.”
Kyari, who noted that Nigeria is not benefiting optimally from gas production, however, informed the Senate leadership that as far as projected daily production level was concerned, remarkable achievement has been made with the 2.3million barrel daily production being recorded as against 1.6m barrel recorded on daily basis in 2016.
He, however, assured that before the year runs out, the corporation would meet the revenue projection of the appropriations act since the NNPC was working tirelessly with the customs and security agencies in controlling and containing cross border activities of the oil smugglers.
In his submission, the Director of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Rufai Ahmed Ishaku, however, called on the National Assembly to speed up the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, saying that doing so will significantly transform the oil and gas industry and attract revenues.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan told the executives of the revenue agencies that the purpose of the collaboration was to gear them up in making more revenues for the government for effective and efficient budget implementation.
Lawan said: “It is very worrisome that the country within the last few years , have been resorting to borrowing from external lenders for implementation of capital components of the yearly budget.
“This is not good for the country economically when we have agencies that can assist in generating revenues at home for execution of such projects.
“What is happening today is not healthy and must be critically addressed by all stakeholders involved.”

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Rivers State Needs College of Education-Don

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Following the upgrade of the former College of Education to a university, a university teacher has sued for the establishment of a new college of education to replace the old one.
The plea was made by a lecturer in the political Science Department of the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Dr. Iwarimie Uranta.
Uranta who made his views known in an interview with The Tide pointed out that College of Education if established will address the middle manpower in the educational system of the state.
For now, Uranta said “there is a vacuum,” National Certificate of Education (NCE) will help bridge the gap of middle manpower in the teaching profession.”
He continued”, it will boost the teaching of core courses, because NCE teachers are trained as teachers in those courses”.
The university don pointed out that currently there is a limited number of people who wants to do education. It reduce pressure on the universities and reduce social vices by the youths, Uranta stressed.
Besides, he said the current reforms in the educational system will benefit as many private schools will have manpower to recruit instead of engaging quacks in their schools.
In a similar vein, Head of Educational Psychology/ Guidance and Counselling in the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Dr. Sunday Ordu has commended the State Government
for the policy to sanitise privately schools in the state.
“A lot of private schools don not have professional teachers so the policy is in the right direction.
It will improve manpower faculties to enhance educational growth. The environment must be conducive” he added.

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RSG Implements TSA To Block Revenue Leakages, Soon …Tasks State Internal Revenue Service To Grow Monthly IGR To N10bn …Seeks Informal Sector’s Support Through Payment Of Prescribed Taxes

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has announced that the state government would soon commence the operation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) to boost its revenue base.
Wike also charged the Rivers Internal Revenue Service (RIRS) to grow the state’s monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to N10billion.
He spoke during the flag off of Informal Sector Tax Drive with vehicles donated by Access Bank Limited at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor said: “We will initiate the Treasury Single Account to block revenue leakages. I assure that very soon, the Treasury Single Account will become operational.
“The Treasury Single Account will be implemented to checkmate what is presently going on. It is not good to have several accounts which lead to unnecessary leakages.
“Our revenue base fluctuates. The board has been directed to expedite action for the state to hit N10billion Internally Generated Revenue every month.”
Wike explained that the Treasury Single Account will be diligently implemented in the interest of Rivers State, and restated that his allegiance was to Rivers people who voted him, because he was not sponsored by any group.
He urged the informal sector to support the Rivers State Government by paying their taxes as prescribed by the Rivers Internal Revenue Service (RIRS).
“The drive for informal sector tax is key. I believe it will boost our revenue base, and we need it”, he said, and thanked Access Bank Limited for supporting the revenue drive of the state with the donation of 10 buses.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Rivers State Internal Revenue Service (RIRS), Mr Adoage Norte said that the flag off of the informal sector tax drive would ensure that informal sector entrepreneurs pay their taxes.
He said that at present, the informal sector has not been paying taxes, explaining that the flag off would unlock the tax potentials of the informal sector.
Norte lauded Access Bank Plc for supporting the informal tax drive of the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service with the donation of 10 buses, pointing out that the buses would be used across the state.
He added that the service was also in dire need of branded kiosks for point of sales transactions, and suggested the operation of Treasury Single Account to optimize revenue generation in the state.
Representative of the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Mr David Tinad, thanked the Rivers State Government for the opportunity to partner on revenue generation.
He assured the Rivers State Government that Access Bank Plc would continue to support efforts by the state government to improve its revenue base.

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Fake Policemen Disrupted Polls In Bayelsa, Kogi, IGP Admits …Says We’re Aware People Planned To Wear Police Uniforms …As Senate Moves To Okay E-Voting For Future Polls

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The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, has said that ‘policemen’ alleged to have disrupted Saturday’s governorship polls in parts of Bayelsa and Kogi States were “fake” and not the personnel officially deployed for election duties.
Adamu stated that all security personnel, who worked during the polls had “special identification tags”, adding that anyone without the tags was on illegal duty.
He spoke with State House correspondents after President Muhammadu Buhari and security chiefs held a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.
However, he said an investigation was ongoing, while 11 arrests had been made.
Similarly, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, yesterday, said that the police were aware of the plan by politicians to sew police uniforms for their supporters during the Kogi and Bayelsa States governorship elections.
The IGP also said that ‘policemen’ alleged to have disrupted the November 16 governorship polls in parts of the two states were “fake” and not the personnel officially deployed for election duties.
Briefing State House correspondents after a security meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, Adamu stated that all security personnel, who worked during the elections were given “special identification tags”, adding that anyone without the tags was on illegal duty.
The IGP, who said that the security situation in the country was stable, however, said investigation was ongoing to unravel the identities of those that caused violence during the elections, adding that 11 arrests had been made.
On the alleged police extortion of motorists in South East by police officers at checkpoints, he advised that people should always copy the names of such police officers and report them to the police hierarchy in the area.
Meanwhile, the Senate has begun a fresh electoral reform which has mandated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt the much-awaited electronic voting method for future polls.
The lawmakers also compelled INEC to operate an electronic database into which all results in an election should be transmitted.
A bill to amend the Electoral Act 2010 through which the reform would be achieved has already been published in an official gazette and debate on its general principles may begin on the floor of the Senate during the week.
A copy of the bill, made available to newsmen, also stipulates that data of accredited voters must be transmitted to the central data base upon the conclusion of the accreditation of voters which would be done through the use of the card reader.
“At the end of accreditation of voters, the presiding officer shall transmit the voter accreditation data by secure mobile electronic communication to the central database of the commission kept at the national headquarters of the commission.
“Any presiding officer who contravenes this provision shall be liable, on conviction, to a minimum of imprisonment of at least five years without an option of fine,” the bill also stipulates.
It prevents INEC from shutting down the central data base until all petitions arising from the elections are determined by a tribunal or court.
“In respect of data of accreditation of voters, including polling unit results, for an election, the commission shall not shut down its central database kept at its national headquarters until all election petitions and appeals pertaining to that election are heard and determined by a tribunal or court.”
On the specific provisions for the adoption of the central database, the bill, which is being sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege and Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno State), seeks amendment of Section 65 of the Electoral Act 2010 by introducing a “National Electronic Register of Election Results.”
It states: “The commission shall compile, maintain and update on a continuous basis, a register of election results to be known as the National Electronic Register of Election Results which shall be a database of election results from each polling unit, including collated results of each election conducted by the commission.
“National Electronic Register of Election Results shall be kept by the commission at its national headquarters and any person or political party may obtain from the commission, on payment of reasonable fees as may be determined by the commission, a certified true copy of any election result kept in the National Electronic Register of Election Results for the federation, a state, local government, area council, ward or polling unit, as the case may be and the certified true copy may be in printed or electronic format.”
On electronic voting, the Electoral Reform Bill seeks amendment of Section 52 (2) of the 2010 Electoral Act and introduced a new provision stating that “the commission may adopt electronic voting or any other method of voting in any election it conducts as it may deem fit.”
It was learned that many lawmakers are not comfortable with the additional clause which permits INEC to use any other method it deems fit and may delete that option during the consideration of the bill.
The current law completely prohibits the use of electronic voting as it states: “The use of the electronic voting machine, for the time being, is prohibited.”
The reform bill has also slashed the nomination fees charged by political parties.
Presidential aspirants are to pay not more than N10million while governorship aspirants are to pay N5million.
Specifically, the bill states: “For the purpose of nomination of candidates for election, the total fees, charges, dues and any payment howsoever named imposed by a political party on an aspirant shall not exceed: N150,000 for a ward councillorship aspirant in the FCT; N250,000 for an area council chairmanship aspirant in the FCT; N500,000 for a House of Assembly aspirant; N1,000,000 for a House of Representatives aspirant; N2,000,000 for a senatorial aspirant; N5,000,000 for a governorship aspirant; and N10,000,000 for a presidential aspirant.”
The Bukola Saraki-led National Assembly had attempted the electoral reform but failed to get the presidential approval at the end.
The bill sought to strengthen internal democracy, reduce the cost of politics, widen political participation and the conduct of free fair and credible elections through technological innovations and an electronic database.
However, there were concerns raised over the enforceability of some of its provisions.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in refusing to sign that bill, had said: “I am declining assent to the bill principally because I am concerned that passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general election, which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act, could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process.
“Any real or apparent change to the rules this close to the election may provide an opportunity for disruption and confusion in respect of which law governs the electoral process.”

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