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Oil Spill: Coy Decry Unfounded Rumour, Reinstates Commitment To Dev.

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Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has decried the recent media reports on the alleged oil spills caused by NAOC in Orashi River.
The Management of NAOC in a press release made available to The Tide in Port Harcourt said the company moved into action as soon as the rumors  emerged.
The statement said “ a field inspection was performed on July 29, 2020 jointly with community representatives from Obrikom and Omoku, as well as officials from NOSDRA and Rivers State Ministry of Environment.
“No oil leakage point along the Orashi river channel on any NAOC facility was observed. Furthermore, the oil appeared to be weathered, which is not consistent with oil that has just been produced”.
The company said the result of the investigation excludes the possibility of the said oil originating from its facilities.
NAOC noted that during the investigation,  several sources of illegal refineries and oil theft loading points and illegal oil transport boats were observed along Orashi river shoreline.
”This will be hopefully removed and cleaned-up soon with the support of all stakeholders in the area, since they are clearly the source of significant oil pollution in the river and likely the source of this specific oil spill”, the statement said.
The company  reiterated that NAOC remains committed to the sustainability of its business and the well-being of the communities where it operates, expressing dissatisfaction over the spread of unverified news that can tarnish its reputation.

 

By: Lilian Peters

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CRSG To Fund 2021 Budget With $20.4m Grant

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The Cross River State Government is to deploy the $20.4million grant it got from the World Bank funded States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability programme of the Federal Government into funding its 2021 N281billion budget.
This was disclosed by the state Commissioner for Finance, Asuquo Ekpenyong Jr, in Calabar last Friday at a news briefing.
He said since the thrust of the budget was empowerment and employment of youths, especially in the rural areas, the grant would be channelled there.
On how the state got the grant, Ekpenyong said, “Cross River State met the eligibility criteria for the 2019 programme and was accordingly pre-qualified for the detailed annual performance assessment of all qualified Nigerian states under the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability programme.”
He said the assessment exercise was conducted in September 2020 by the Independent Verification Assessors from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation and JFR Consulting and it showed that the state achieved six Disbursement Linked Indicators out of the nine applicable for 2019, and three out of the three for the 2020 additional financing.
The commissioner said the report noted that Cross River State had strengthened its internally generated revenue collection, implemented biometric verification to reduce payroll fraud, improved its procurement practices for increased transparency, strengthened its public debt management and fiscal responsibility framework, improved debt sustainability and instituted a more transparent budgeting process over the course of the fiscal year.

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CBN Issues New Guidelines On e-Payment, Fintech Dev

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued fresh guidelines aimed at strengthening the payment system and development of other disruptive technologies relating to financial services.
The regulatory frame works are contained in two separate documents issued by the apex banks. The documents are created to address challenges in regulatory sandbox and quick response (QR) code payment operations in the country.
The CBN said, “In furtherance of its mandates to ensure the safety and stability of the Nigerian financial system, promote the use and adoption of electronic payments and foster innovation in the payments system, the Central Bank of Nigeria hereby issues the framework for QR code payments in Nigeria.”
In one of the documents that detailed the operational relationships among issuers, acquirers, merchants, other financial service providers and customers, the Bank spelt out risk management issues and the reporting processes while allocating responsibilities to relevant participants in the value chain, warning that it “shall apply appropriate sanctions to any party that fails to comply accordingly”.
It stated: “Issuers and acquirers shall agree to minimum due diligence guidance for merchant onboarding without prejudice to know your customers/anti-money laundering (KYC/AML) requirements of the Bank Issuers and acquirers shall ensure behavioural monitoring and fraud management systems are implemented to prevent, detect and mitigate fraud and money laundering.
“Issuers shall provide quarterly risk management assessment reports to the Director, Payments System Management Department. The risk management assessment report shall include, among others, fraud reports, vulnerabilities assessment and risk-mitigating measures introduced.”
According to the CBN, participants shall ensure full interoperability of QR code scheme in the country and work towards achieving its seamless operation.
The regulator left the determination of transaction limit to issuers alongside customers. It, however, directed that the threshold should be set based on the outcome of a customer’s risk profile assessment.
Merchants are mandated by the regulatory framework to cooperate with acquiring banks or other participants, as the case may be, to investigate reported fraudulent cases. They are also expected to report all suspicious transactions to acquirers for necessary actions.
“QR code payments in Nigeria shall be based on the EMV® QR Code Specification for Payment Systems. The Bank may also approve the implementation of any other QR Code Standard provided it meets the prescribed security requirements within the framework, demonstrates interoperability with other existing implementation in the industry and/or cost benefits to end-users (merchants and customers),” the apex bank said.
QR code is a type of barcode that could be read by a digital device and which is used for financial transactions. QR code merchant payment is a growing innovation in the payment system. On the other hand, a regulatory sandbox is a formal process where firms conduct live tests of new, innovative products, services, delivery channels or business models in a controlled environment. Regulatory oversight, subject to appropriate conditions and safeguards, is an essential component of the process.
The CBN said: “This framework, therefore, defines the establishment, rules and operations of a regulatory sandbox for the Nigerian payment system to promote effective competition, embrace new technology, encourage financial Inclusion and improve customer experience, with a view to engendering public confidence in the financial system.”

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Bayelsa Debunks Participation In N123.34bn 2020 Grant To States

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The Bayelsa State Government has said that the current administration did not participate in the 2020 budget transparency assessment by the Federal Government, and therefore dismissed reports that the state failed to meet set criteria.
Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Mr Ayiba Duba, told newsmen in Yenagoa that the current administration in the state only came into office on Febuary 14, 2020.
He explained that the state was in transition mode as at January 2020 when the assessment was conducted and could not have participated when its 2020 budget was passed in March 2020,after the assessment had been concluded.
Our correspondent recalls that Governor Douye Diri was sworn in on Februry 14, a day after the Supreme Court sacked the erstwhile governor-elect of Bayelsa , David Lyon, and his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo.
Lyon’s election was nullified because his deputy submitted forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commision.
Duba, who described media reports that Bayelsa did not meet the eligibility criteria for the funds as erroneous, noted that Bayelsa government gives priority to transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.
“The report that Bayelsa State did not benefit from the N123.34 billion recently disbursed to thirty-two states under the Federal Governments States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for Result because the state did not meet the eligibility criteria was inaccurate and misleading.
“The claim could not have been the truth because Bayelsa did not participate in the selection process.
“It is an open secret that Bayelsa was in transition for the larger part of 2019.
“The administration assumed office in February, 2020 and the budget was not passed until March long after the SFTAS condition for benefiting in the funds had expired.
“It is therefore impossible to have published the budget online in January.
“However, the 2021 budget was passed in compliance with the SFTAS.
“The citizenry is assured that the prosperity administration of Sen. Douye Diri is committed to fiscal transparency and accountability,” Duba said.
On the outstanding pension liability, Duba said the Diri administration has been offsetting the pension arrears since he came on board, had released an additional sum of N500 million in addition to the N150 million for pensions in January.
“Bayelsa State Government is deeply committed to the welfare and wellbeing of its citizenry particularly those who have invested their productive years in the service of our state and will continue to do things that will ameliorate their condition.
“The people of Bayelsa are encouraged to continue to support the prosperity administration of Gov. Douye Diri as the movement on the path of development has commenced,” Duba said.

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