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$21.686bn NLNG Fund: Reps Angry Over NNPC’s Rejection Of Summons

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The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts says it is not happy by the refusal of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Mele Kyari, to appear before the House over the audit query issued to the corporation by the Auditor General of the Federation on the illegal withdrawals of $20.301 billion from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Dividends account.
Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Rep. Wole Oke and other members who expressed the concern at the weekend, reinstated the need for the NNPC Group Managing Director and other relevant agencies to appear before the Committee to account for the disbursement of the money.
“I, and members of the Committee, are not happy that the GMD (of the NNPC), has failed several times to appear before us and give an account of this money”, Rep. Oke said.
The details of the NLNG transaction are contained in the document submitted to the House Committee on Public Accounts, by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) on the need to ‘investigate the illegal withdrawals from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Dividends account by the management of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’.
According to the document, “from the total sum of $21.686 billion revenue accrued into the NLNG dividend account from 1999 to 2020, NNPC expended a total sum of $20,300,772,850 from the account leaving a credit balance of $1,384,875,073.39 as at 30th June 2020.”
The report stated that the sum of “$100 billion was generated by NLNG in sales revenue since inception. The company also has paid over $18 billion as dividends through NNPC and $6.1 billion as Company Income Tax (CIT) through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
“In addition, the company also said that over $15 billion has been expended by NLNG for the purchase of feedstock gas for its operations.
“Furthermore, between April 2002 and March 2007, the company paid a sum of $450,000 as Licence Fees and as the sum of N28,696,259.30 as NLNG Licence Renewal between the period 1999 and 2017 to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
“With respect to the payment of dividend, the NLNG reported that it has fully paid all dividends due to the Federation Account to NNPC.
“ Breakdown of the NLNG income tax payment from 1999 to 2020 showed that no revenue was paid between 1999 to 2013 (enjoyed pioneer status); sum of $1,301,544,000 was paid in 2014; $1,491,992,000 paid in 2015; $625,331,000 paid in 2016; $304,669,000 [aid in 2017; $704,182,000 paid in 2018; $907,754,000 paid in 2019 and $764,143,387 paid in 2020.
“It may be important to state that, the Commission in the discharge of its monitoring mandate visited the NLNG in August 2008, March 2013 and has consistently requested NNPC to remit all dividends received from NLNG to the Federation Account.
“Information available to the Commission indicates that a sum of $21,685,647,923.39 accrued into the NLNG Dividend Account from inception to 30th June, 2020.
“Details on how NNPC disbursed the $20.3 billion, showed that NLNG secretariat got $1,854,041.47; NLNG scheme 4 top up got $159.250 million; Brass LNG Scheme funding got $574,420,529.92; West African Gas Pipeline got $259,900,409; N-Gas (Takoradi, CEB Account, Gas Monitoring Station got $9,433,400; Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline got $1,278,810.50; Olokola LNG got 216,928,550.55, while security project got $1.520 billion”, the report states in part.

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MWUN Threatens To Down Tools Over Failed Quay Aprons 

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The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) on Friday threatened to shutdown port operations over the dilapidated quay aprons at some of the nation’s seaports.
Speaking in Lagos during a joint press conference put together by the union and Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), President General, MWUN,  Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, reiterated that the lives of labour workers at the affected terminals was at risk, saying that “injury to one is tantamount to injury to all.”
Adeyanju lamented that the union cannot allow the situation consume some dockworkers before protesting against the trend, noting that as a responsible and proactive group, there was the need to down tools for government to do the needful.
Our correspondent gathered that two port terminal, at Tin Can Island Port Complex, Lagos, and another  at Port Harcourt, Rivers Port  Quay wells have been in  dilapidated condition for over five years without any sign of repair works from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Recall that Minister of Transportation, Mu’Azu Sambo, who also inspected the dilapidated portion of the Tin Can Island Port quay apron recently, asked Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the engineers to forward the ‘as-built’ plan of the jetty, alongside other documents to his office for immediate action.
While reacting to questions from the journalists, Adeyanju said the union will also engage management of the NPA in furtherance to address the menacing failed infrastructure of the terminals.
On the recently inked Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the NARTO, the President General noted that the collaboration has been in existence for a long while with the aims to cater for drivers’ welfare and support projects of the NPA in port terminals operations.
He also warned members of the dockworkers branch to cooperate and embrace the agreement with the trucking association, noting that any attempt by the dockers to flout the MoU reached so far would result to sanctions from the national executive of MWUN.
He assured the leadership of NARTO, led by its National President, Alhaji Yusuf Othman, of the Union’s commitment towards ensuring that progress and success is achieved  in the agreement.
According to him, the MoU is binding for members of the dockworkers branch, stressing that the Lagos ports was a test run with plans ahead to extend the agreement to other seaports, including, Warri, Calabar and Port Harcourt ports.
Earlier, President of NARTO, Alhaji Othman, lauded the MoU reached with MWUN, adding that success will be achieved in the merger. Othman said in line with port operations, the merger will bring about free flow of vehicular movement in and out of the ports calling on the parties involved to embrace sincerity and transparency for the benefit of the industry and Nigeria.
He said, “We wish to draw the attention of the general public to the decision for MWUN and NARTO to synergise and collaborate on a basis of common desire to ensure seamless environment to do business in the maritime sub sector of the nation’s economy”.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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PenCom Approves Use Of Pensions For Mortgage

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National Pension Commission (PenCom), has commenced approval for workers to use 25 per cent of their Retirement Savings Accounts for mortgage.
PenCom in a press statement released on Friday, titled ‘PenCom approves guidelines on accessing Retirement Savings Account balance for payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders’, noted that the approval was in line with the Pension Reform Act of 2014.
It stated in part, “PenCom is pleased to inform all stakeholders and the general public, particularly RSA holders, that the commission has approved the issuance and immediate implementation of the guidelines on accessing RSA balance towards payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders.
“The approval is in line with Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014, which allows RSA holders to use a portion of their RSA balance towards payment of equity for residential mortgage”.
According to the PenCom, the guidelines cover pension contributors in active employment, either as a salaried employee or as a self-employed person.
It added that the maximum amount to be withdrawn is 25 per cent of the total mandatory RSA balance as of the date of application, irrespective of the value of equity contribution required by the mortgage lender.
It further stated that where 25 per cent of a contributor’s RSA balance is not sufficient for payment as equity contribution, that RSA holders may utilize the contingency portion of their voluntary contributions (if any).
To qualify as a mortgage lender for the purpose, it stated, the company must be licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, comply with the Contributory Pension Scheme and have valid Pension Clearance Certificate.
“The RSA of the applicant shall have both employer and employee’s mandatory contributions for a cumulative minimum period of 60 months (five years).
“A contributor under the Micro Pension Plan is also eligible, provided he/she has made contributions for at least 60 months (five years) prior to the date of his/her application, and the RSA Holders that have less than three years to retirement are not eligible.
“Married couples, who are RSA holders, are eligible to make a joint application, subject to individually satisfying the eligibility requirements.
“RSA holders, if registered before 1 July 2019, must have their records updated through the RSA data recapture exercise.
“Application for equity contribution for residential mortgage shall be in person and not by proxy.” it stated.

By: Corlins Walter

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Car Hires Operators, Bolt Driver Flex Muscles In PH Airport

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There was pandemonium at the Port Harcourt International Airport Omagwa, Friday, as the Accredited Car Hires operators clashed with a Bolt taxi operator over passengers.
The scenario that played out got to the extent that everyone scampered for safety, as the Bolt driver went wild with his vehicle, and defied everything put in place to stop him, determined to crush anything, including humans, that stool on his way.
Problem started when the suspected Bolt driver was stopped by the Car Hires.  After a heated argument, characterized by abuses, the bolt driver decided to enter his vehicle in anger, after he sensed that his car was in danger of being confiscated.
In the commotion that ensued, the car hires, as usual, used their iron piercing instruments to block the tyres of the vehicle to keep it within their custody, and the uproar attracted  the attention of other airport users.
The Car hires and their allies at the airport had always insisted that no other taxi operator must carry passengers at the airport, since they do not pay any levy to the airport authority.
Consequently, they use every force necessary to stop other outside taxis from carrying passengers from the airport.
Friday’s incident took a new twist, as the Bolt driver over. Powered the forces used by the car hires, and went on a suicide mission, which made people to scamper for safety, including the car hires.
The driver went on a speed spree away from the airport. Even when the piercing instruments cut his tyre, he drove in such reckless manner capable of pulling down a building, thereby setting the entire environment on panic.
Some security agents present had to clear the way for the Bolt driver who drove out of the Airport with the iron piercing instrument obstructing his car, defiling all attempts to stop him.

By: Corlins Walter

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