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Buhari Asks Senate To Amend PIA, Ignores Oil Areas’ Demand For 5%

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Buhari Asks Senate To Amend PIA, Ignores Oil Areas' Demand For 5%

As President Muhammadu Buhari seeks to amend certain provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), he is silent on the demand of oil communities for five percent equity share.

The joint National Assembly committees that worked on the PIB had proposed a five per cent equity share for the development of the host communities but the Senate led the campaign for its reduction to three per cent while the House of Representatives approved the panel’s recommendation.

The conference committee set up by the presiding officers of both chambers in their recommendation, fixed the equity share at three per cent and was invariably approved by the National Assembly.

The development degenerated into a controversy with senators from the South-South geopolitical zone kicking against it and asked Buhari to resolve the impasse by seeking an amendment to increase the equity share to five per cent.

However, the new amendments proposed by the president did not address the concerns of the South-South stakeholders.

READ ALSO: Why Buhari Govt Won’t Name, Shame Financiers Of Terrorism – Adesina

Rather, Buhari’s fresh request centred basically on the need to review the administrative structure of the Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

Buhari is seeking the senators’ approval to increase the numbers of the non-executive board members of each of the regulatory agencies from two to six, in order to capture the six geopolitical zones.

He said: “The Petroleum Industry Act 2021 provided for the appointment of two non- executive members for the board of the two regulatory institutions.

“I am of the view that this membership limitation has not addressed the principle of balanced geopolitical representation of the country.

“Therefore, I pray for the intervention of the 9th Assembly to correct this oversight in the interest of our national unity.

“Needless to add that this amendment will provide a sense of participation and inclusion to almost every section of the country in the decision making of strategic institutions such as oil industry.

“if this amendment is approved, it will now increase the number of the non-executive members from two to six that is one person from each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.”

The president also removed the ministers of finance and petroleum resources from the board of the two agencies.

According to him, the two ministers already have constitutional responsibilities of either supervision or inter-governmental relations.
He said: “They can continue to perform such roles without being on the board.

“It is also important to note that administratively, the representatives of the ministries on the board will be directors – being the same rank with the directors in the institution

“This may bring some complications in some decision-making especially on staff-related matters.”

READ ALSO: How Buhari’s Panel Sold Six-storey Building For Paltry N100m

Buhari added that the appointments of the executive directors who would be in charge of the seven departments in the NMDPRA should not be subjected to Senate confirmation since they are civil servants who were promoted in the course of their career.

He said :“The Act has made provision for seven departmental heads in the Authority to be known as executive directors.

“Their appointment (according to the PIA) will also be subjected to Senate confirmation. This category of officers are civil servants and not political appointees.

“The Senate is invited to note the need to exempt serving public officers from the established confirmation process for political appointments.

“This will ensure effective management of the regulatory institutions through uniform implementation of public service rules for employees of the Authority.

“In the future, these positions will obviously be filled by the workers in the Authority.”

Buhari said the proposed amendment would also increase the membership of the board from nine to 13 members that is representing 44 per cent expansion of the board site.

He said: “This composition would strengthen the institutions and guarantee national spread and also achieve the expected policy contributions.”

 

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Otedola Not Our Majority Shareholder – FBN

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Otedola Not Our Majority Shareholder - FBN

FBN Holdings Plc has faulted media reports that billionaire businessman, Mr Femi Otedola, has acquired a significant shareholding in the company.

The holding company for First Bank of Nigeria Limited, in a statement by its Company Secretary, Seyi Kosoko, filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited on Friday, said it had not received any notification of such acquisitions.

It said, “The attention of FBN Holdings Plc has been drawn to media reports today (Friday) that a certain individual has acquired significant shareholding interest in FBN Holdings Plc.

READ ALSO: Senate Warns Govt Against Job Embargo, Rise In Recurrent Expenditure

“As a listed company, the shares of FBN Holdings are publicly traded, and sale and acquisition of shares is expected in the normal course of business. We operate in a regulated environment, which requires notification of significant shareholding by shareholders to the company, where shares are held in different vehicles, further to which the company will notify the regulators and the public as appropriate.

“The company is yet to receive any notification from the individual mentioned in the media report, of such acquisitions.”

 

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Senate Warns Govt Against Job Embargo, Rise In Recurrent Expenditure

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Senate Warns Govt Against Job Embargo, Rise In Recurrent Expenditure

The Senate on Thursday criticised the Federal Government for embargoing employment and yearly increase in workers’ salaries.

The Senate Committee on Establishment stated its position during a 2022 budget defence at the National Assembly, Abuja.

The lawmakers’ anger was triggered by yearly increase in the recurrent expenditure component of the budget which was submitted by the Chairman of National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission ( NSIWC), Mr Ekpo Nta before the Senate Committee on Establishment.

The failure of Nta to tell the committee the total amount of salaries and wages the federal government pays its workforce yearly, infuriated many members of the committee who wondered why recurrent expenditure in yearly budget is not decreasing on account of embargo placed on employment, and retirements at the various agencies.

Specifically, Senator Ali Ndume in taking up the NSIWC boss, said he was supposed to know the total wage bill of the Federal Government workers in arresting the dangerous trend of increases in yearly recurrent expenditure component of the budget without new recruitments and even with retirement of workers on a yearly basis.

“Honestly speaking, a time bomb is ticking out there with this policy because of the doors shut out against millions of youths seeking employment without success.

READ ALSO: CBN Plans N500m Grants For Undergraduates

“Making it worrisome is the fact that despite the policy, since 2018 till now, recurrent expenditure components of the yearly budget have been increasing.

“In 2018, it was N3.5trillion, N4trillion in 2019, N4.5trillion in 2020, N5.6trillion 2021 and N6.83trillion in the projected N16.39trillion 2022 budget.

“It is bad for recurrent expenditure to be increasing on yearly basis without an increase in the number of workforce through required recruitments.

“The embargo is turning into a time bomb that can explode at any time as witnessed in some countries in the past.

“Personally, I’m already thinking of where to run to if the avoidable crisis is not averted. I visited Ghana and Niger recently in this regard.”

Other members of the committee like Suleiman Kwari (APC Kaduna North), Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP Ondo Central) and the Chairman of the committee, Ibrahim Shekarau (APC Kano North), aligned themselves with Ndume’s admonition.

Pointedly, the Chairman of the Committee directed the Salaries and Wages Commission Chairman to liaise with the Accountant General of the Federation and other management officials of IPPIS, for required harmonization in arriving at the total amount of salaries /wages the Federal Government pays per annum.

 

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CBN Plans N500m Grants For Undergraduates

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CBN Plans N500m Grants For Undergraduates

To promote entrepreneurship and reduce unemployment, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will support youths in tertiary institutions with N500 million grants.

The apex bank made the disclosure on Wednesday in a report titled ‘Guidelines for the implementation of tertiary institutions entrepreneurship scheme’.

It said, “Five top Nigerian polytechnics and universities with the best entrepreneurial pitches/ideas shall be awarded as follows: first place – N150m; second place – N120m; third place – N100m; fourth place – N80m; and fifth place – N50m.”

The CBN stated that activities to be covered under the scheme would include innovative start-ups and existing businesses owned by graduates of Nigerian polytechnics and universities in areas such as agribusiness, information technology, creative industry, as well as science and technology.

The report said agribusiness would include production, processing, storage and logistics, while information technology would include application/software development, business process outsourcing, robotics and data management.

READ ALSO: How To Know You Will Achieve Financial Freedom

The apex bank added that the creative industry would include entertainment, artwork, publishing, culinary/event management, fashion, photography, beauty/cosmetics; while science and technology would include medical innovation, robotics, ticketing systems, traffic systems, renewable energy, and waste management.

According to the CBN report, the interest rate will be five per cent per annum and nine per cent effective from March 1, 2022 or as may be prescribed by the regulator.

The bank said beneficiaries must apply on the dedicated online portal and provide all requisite documentation to support the application.

It also noted that priority would be given to innovative entrepreneurial activities with high potential for export, job creation and transformational impact.

 

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