Nigeria lost a total N4.57 trillion to crude oil theft between 2015 and 2018, according to estimates of the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter.
This figure, according to the charter, meant that the country lost 43 per cent of its revenue in four years to oil theft.
Highlighting the impact of crude oil theft on the country, the Deputy Director of Programmes at New Nigeria Foundation, Mrs Bunmi Olatunde, at a workshop on Creating Innovative Technology for Artisanal Refineries in Lagos last Tuesday, said the illegal activities had caused severe revenue shortages to the government.
According to her, activities of illegal refiners are causing environmental degradation, loss of livelihoods and lives, violence and health challenges to the surrounding communities.
Petroleum engineers, who spoke at the workshop organised by the NNF in collaboration with the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, called on the Federal Government to play its role in the development of communities in the Niger Delta region.
According to them, the international oil companies have invested a lot in developing the communities where they operate.
An engineering consultant with Dangote Refineries, Babajide Soyode, stated that only the government could make sustainable social investment in Niger Delta communities and hold agencies charged with the responsibility of developing the communities accountable.
According to him, modular refinery is not the solution to youth restiveness and crude oil theft in the region.
“How does Niger Delta Development Commission spend the money allocated to it? The agencies of the government should be held accountable. What alternative services can be provided for the youths in the Niger Delta region? The solution is not modular refinery,” he added.
Olatunde noted that there were too many agencies of the government working in silos on the crude oil theft, calling for collaboration among the ministries, department and agencies.
“Crude oil theft has grown into a multibillion-dollar enterprise with a lot of actors at various levels. Therefore, no single approach can solve the problems. Interventions should be multifaceted at different levels,” he said.
The Vice President, Nigeria Academy of Engineering, Alex Ogedegbe, reiterated that the development of artisanal refinery was not the solution to crude oil theft and illegal refining in the region as it presented life-threatening dangers to the operators.
He recommended alternative employment opportunities for the militants who were currently involved in crude oil theft.
Piracy, A Threat To NNPC Operations -GMD
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has described piracy and other criminal vices in the nation’s waterways as a threat to the corporation.
This is as the corporation said the nation lost about $750 million to oil theft in 2019.
The amount is about N230 billion at the official CBN exchange rate of N306 to $1.
This was contained in a statement by the NNPC Acting spokesman, Samson Makoji, on Wednesday.
The Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, was quoted to have stated this during a presentation to members of the Executive Intelligence Management Course 13 of the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS) who visited his office.
Kyari noted that any threat to the corporation’s operations was a direct threat to the very survival of Nigeria as a nation because of the strategic role of the corporation as an enabler of the economy.
The GMD listed other security challenges facing the corporation to include vandalism of oil and gas infrastructure and kidnapping of personnel, adding that there was a deep connection between the various shades of insecurity challenges as they are all linked to what was happening in the Gulf of Guinea and the entire maritime environment.
He called for a concerted effort and synergy to secure oil and gas operations for the economic survival of the country.
Also speaking, the NNPC Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, Engr Yemi Adetunji, said in 2016, the Gulf of Guinea accounted for more than half of the global kidnappings for ransom.
He noted that out of 62 kidnap cases globally, 34 involved seafarers.
Adetunji, however, stated that the NNPC was working closely with security agencies to tackle the security challenges, and cited the “Operation Kurombe” that was recently conducted by the Nigerian Navy at the Atlas Cove as an example of such collaborative efforts.
FIRS Targets 17% Tax To GDP Ratio By 2023
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), says it will raise Nigeria’s tax ratio to Gross Domestic Product ratio from the current six per cent to 17 per cent by 2023.
The FIRS Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami, said this during a meeting with traders in Lagos.
A statement from the FIRS stated that the objective of the meeting was to sensitise Lagos traders and market unions on the 2019 Finance Act.
Over 100 officials of traders’ associations and unions attended the meeting.
He listed the benefits of the new Finance Act to include reduction of the Company Income Tax from 30 per cent to 20 per cent.
Nami urged the entrepreneurs to register their businesses officially rather than operate informally in order to access the benefits from the Act.
He urged the traders to separate their personal finances from their business capital in order not to lose their working capital to state tax bodies.
The FIRS stated that doing so would help their businesses to grow as they pay less tax.
He urged the traders to endeavour to charge value added tax on applicable goods and services, especially consumption, and remit it to the FIRS promptly.
Nami also disclosed that more FIRS tax offices would be opened in markets nationwide to bring the service nearer to traders and make tax compliance easier for them.
He said the FIRS under his watch would reposition its corporate social responsibility activities to benefit the informal sector, including markets, in order to create a conducive business environment for them.
SON Opens Talks With China Over Sub-Standard Products
In a bid to check the menace of substandard goods in the country, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has opened talks with Chinese trade authorities.
Special Assistant to the Chief Executive of SON and Head of Public Relations, Mr Bola Fashina, disclosed this in an interactive session with newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday.
Fashina said the deal with China would ensure that Chinese factories that produce items for Nigerian manufacturers implement at least the minimum Nigerian standards for goods destined for the nation.
According to him, discussion with the Chinese authorities was opened in June 2019 and had reached advanced stages.
He disclosed that another meeting that had been fixed for the first week of February could not hold because of the current coronavirus ravaging some parts of China.
The deal with China would ensure that factories in the Asian country reject orders from Nigeria that do not meet Nigerian standards.
Fashina said, “The authorities are not happy that some of their manufacturers are giving their country a bad name. That is why we are working with them to nip the problem in the bud.”
Generally, on the menace of substandard products, Fashina said that the regulatory body was having more challenges with imported goods than with the ones manufactured in the country.
He said for goods made in Nigeria, they could be taken back to the factory while it is difficult to make amends for goods that were manufactured abroad.
“Our major problem is with imports. That is also because it is difficult to catch them from the source. We have been out of the ports since 2011.
“Sometimes we work on information from Interpol. We follow them when they are out of the ports and sometimes we miss them,” he stated.
Fashina said that importers of substandard products prefer taking their goods from the ports during weekends and public holidays.
He said the facilities and centres of the organisation across the country had been strengthened to rein in substandard products throughout the federation.
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