Category Archives: BREAKING NEWS

Oil price tumbles to $72 per barrel

Global oil benchmark , Brent crude , fell further on Monday amid talk of a possible release from global crude reserves , according to data from the International Monetary Fund showing a slowdown in global economic growth and the potential for United States waivers on Iran oil sanctions .
Brent , against which Nigeria’ s oil is priced , dropped by $ 3 . 18 to $ 72 . 15 per barrel as of 8 :30 pm Nigerian time .
“ The market is on the defensive because of the potential release of oil from global reserves , ” said a senior market analyst at Price Futures Group , Phil Flynn , according to MarketWatch .
The President Donald Trump administration is considering a release from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve , though a draw down from the stockpile of crude is not imminent , The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday , citing people familiar with the matter .
The US government is “ coming under increased pressure as a result of rising gasoline prices , with national average gasoline prices up almost 16 per cent since the start of the year , ” according to analysts at ING Bank .
The Director of the International Energy Agency , Fatih Birol , also said at a private dinner last month that a release from global oil reserves was an option if supply outages worsen , the WSJ reported , citing dinner attendees .
Traders also fretted over a potential slowdown in the global economy , which could hurt demand for oil . The IMF on Monday said that growth was slowing in the euro area , Japan and the United Kingdom and warned that a further escalation of trade tensions stood as the greatest near – term threat to global growth .
Meanwhile , a highly anticipated meeting between Trump and his Russian counterpart , Vladimir Putin , did not appear to offer any significant news for the oil market, despite expectations that Trump would push for stronger oil production from Russia to help ease crude prices .
During a press conference , Putin suggested that Russia and the US, as major oil and gas powers, could work together on regulation of international markets .

Nigeria’s unused electricity volume projected to rise by 2,130MW

Nigeria’s unused electricity volume projected to rise by 2,130MW: The total volume of unused electricity from Nigeria’s national grid will rise by 2,130 megawatts (MW), to add to an existing 2000MW idle volume that power distribution companies (DisCos) are unable to take up, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has disclosed.

He explained that the additional volume will come from 455MW Azura-Edo plant, 215MW Kaduna plant, 240MW Afam III Fast Power, and the 40MW Kashimbilla hydro plant in 2018. In 2019, the 700MW Zungeru hydro plant and the 480MW Okpai II power plant will come on stream to complete the equation. (Source: Thisday)

IMF upgrades Nigeria’s 2019 GDP growth forecast to 2.3%:

IMF upgrades Nigeria’s 2019 GDP growth forecast to 2.3%

IMF upgrades Nigeria’s 2019 GDP growth forecast to 2.3%: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday upgraded its growth rate forecast for Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019 to 2.3%, while retaining 2.1% for 2018, citing improved crude oil prices.

The IMF announced the upgrade in its World Economic Outlook (WEO) July 2018 update titled, ‘Less Even Expansion, and Rising Trade Tensions’. (Source: Vanguard)

 

Kayode Fayemi’s victory an endorsement of Buhari administration, says FG

 

• PDP rejects outcome, vows to reclaim ‘stolen mandate’
• Tinubu lauds Fayemi, commends Eleka, Fayose for non-violence
• IGP Ibrahim Idris gives pass mark to police personnel, others

 

Fayemi’s victory an endorsement of Buhari administration, says FG

Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Badaru, Kebbi State Governor/Chairman All Progressives Congress (APC)’s National Campaign Council for Ekiti State, Atiku Bagudu, Governor-Elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, his wife, Bisi, and Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, at Fayemi’s Isan Ekiti home, shortly after his declaration as winner of the governorship election… 

 

The Federal Government yesterday described the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday’s Ekiti governorship election as a referendum on the performance of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, declaring: “Nigerians have given their verdict.”The keenly contested election had pitted APC contestant and former Minster of Solid Minerals Development Kayode Fayemi against Deputy Governor Olusola-Eleka.

Making the disclosure at a press conference in Lagos, Minister of Information Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the outcome was also a “death knell for fake news.” According to him, “Anyone who monitored the social media before and during the election would think it would be a landslide for the PDP. But the reality is different.”Mohammed, who thanked Ekiti people for ensuring the election was credible, accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of rigging the 2014 poll in the state.

He added: “They barred two serving governors from travelling to Ekiti to support their fellow governor. They willfully shut the Akure airport. We, leaders of then opposition APC, were forced to return to Lagos by road in the night. With the roles reversed in 2018, we did not pay the PDP back in its own coin, because of our strong belief in the rule of law. The rest is history.”

Buhari, earlier, commended the governor-elect and party supporters, urging them to be magnanimous in victory, as the incoming administration prepares to unfold a new lease of life for the people of Ekiti through purposeful and responsible governance.

In a statement through Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina, Buhari urged the losers to be gallant in conceding defeat and use constitutional means to settle their grievances.He also appealed to stakeholders in Ekiti to work towards a successful transition to a new administration. “The people of Ekiti State have spoken loud and clear and democracy has won again,” he said

APC National Leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu also congratulated Fayemi, saying the triumph opens a new chapter to the people of the state, who voted for a path different from the one they had trodden.

In a statement, ‘Ekiti Election: A Victory for the People’, which he personally signed, he expressed confidence that Fayemi would keep faith with the programmes and policies of the APC to improve the lives of Ekiti people. “I know Dr. Fayemi will establish an all-inclusive government that involves all stakeholders in his administration and in the governance of the state,” he said.

Tinubu praised Olusola-Eleka and Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose for putting up a determined contest without resorting to violence and urged them, “as prominent citizens and leaders of Ekiti, to move forward in that same spirit. Let there be an orderly transition from the outgoing to the incoming government.”He assured Fayose: “Fayemi is a man of integrity and his government will not be one of recrimination. It is a government of the people and as such will focus its attention on helping the people, not suppressing yesterday’s political opponents.”He also commended the people of Ekiti State for embracing peace and mutual respect for each other rather than “turning things upside down.”

The PDP however rejected the outcome of the election, alleging the results were “concocted” by the APC, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies.

It vowed: “Surely, this electoral banditry will not stand. The PDP is already collating all the infractions in this election and within the possible timeframe, we shall make our next step to reclaim our stolen mandate public.”

The party said it “rejects the falsified results and declaration” of Fayemi as winner. It described the election as “daylight robbery, a brazen subversion of the will of the people and direct assault on our democracy.”

It noted: “From authentic results flowing directly from the polling centres across the state, it is clear that the PDP candidate, Prof. Kolapo Olusola-Eleka, incontrovertibly won the election with a very comfortable margin over the APC candidate, only for INEC to allow the alteration of results at the collation centres.”

PDP spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan told journalists at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja: “The people of Ekiti State were pillaged, openly brutalised, confronted with the worst form of cruelty and intimidation from security agencies, and their mandate, which they freely gave to the PDP, was snatched at ‘gun point’ by enemies of democracy, who are parading themselves as icons of anti-corruption.”

“We have the detail of the discrepancies between the authentic results from the polling units and the false figures eventually announced by INEC. We know how APC conspired with INEC to bring in card reader machines belonging to Kogi, Lagos, Ondo, Oyo and Ogun into Ekiti to enable APC members from these states vote with ease.”

The PDP said it has details of how APC state governors and federal ministers allegedly diverted huge sums of money from their states and ministries “to bribe top officials of INEC, particularly, those in the ICT Department as well as security agencies”It noted: “There is no way our democracy can survive with an electoral process as witnessed in Ekiti State under President Muhammadu Buhari and the current INEC leadership. This bare-faced subversion of the will of the people is a clear recipe for crisis and we invite Nigerians and the international community to hold President Buhari, the APC, the INEC Chairman and heads of security agencies in Nigeria responsible should there be any breakdown of law and order in Ekiti State as a result of this election.

“This robbery of the franchise of Ekiti people is a horrible rape of our democracy and it is most uncharitable that it could happen under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari as well as the participation of the APC, who hugely benefitted from the credible electoral process midwifed by the PDP in 2015.”

The outcome of the election also drew criticism from Rivers State Governor and PDP stalwart Nyesom Wike who described it as political robbery.

He warned that the people of Rivers State were prepared to forestall a repeat of the scenario.At a thanksgiving service marking the end of his administration’s third year in Port Harcourt, Wike told the congregation: “Don’t be worried about what happened in Ekiti State. We are prepared. It will not happen here in Rivers State. I have never experienced that kind of robbery in politics. I told my colleagues, ‘Do not give them any chance.’ Most of them in APC are happy that they will repeat the same thing in Rivers State. We are waiting. Let your spirit not be down. Work hard and victory will be ours.”

Joined in part condemnation was pro-democracy group, YIAGA Africa, which decried vote-buying and voter-inducement. According to head of the group, Samson Itodo, the practice undermines political legitimacy and mocks the country’s democracy.

Volpi to pay 60% of $600m: London Court of International Arbitration Rules

Gabriele Volpi

Gabrielle Volpi to pay 60% of $600m: London Court of International Arbitration Rules

Lawyers representing Wale Tinubu and Mofe Boyo the Group Chief Executive and Deputy Group Chief Executive of Oando PLC and co-owners of Whitmore Asset Management Limited, have come out to say that contrary to a statement issued by the Legal Counsel to Ansbury
Investment, Mr. Andrea Moja, the amounts owed to Ansbury Investments Inc, owned by Mr. Gabriele Volpi, is in fact $80m owed by Whitmore Asset Management Limited, while the balance
$600m is owed by Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) BVI.

Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) BVI Ltd, is owned by all three parties Wale Tinubu, Mofe Boyo and Gabriele Volpi, hence the judgement by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) implies that Volpi as part owner of OODP BVI owes himself by
virtue of his ownership in the company.

This was made in a ruling on July 6, 2018 by the LCIA. OODP British Virgin Islands owns 99.99% of OODP Nigeria which in turn owns 55.96% of Oando PLC.

The principals have chosen to speak as there were concerns that Volpi’s press release implied that they, Whitmore Limited, had a total indebtedness of $680 million.

Sources have indicated that payment terms for the personal debt are being ironed out by both parties whils payment terms for the $600 million owed by OODP will be determined by the LCIA which is reputed to be one of the world’s leading international institutions for commercial dispute resolution.

The dispute between Gabrielle Volpi and the principals of Oando has been ongoing for over a year and has been a cause of concern for companies and individuals alike who look for investments to grow their business via individuals in the form of equity or debt.
Gabrielle Volpi, a significant shareholder in OODP invested in the company during Oando’s acquisition of ConocoPhillips Nigeria assets. At the time it would have seemed like the investment of a lifetime, unfortunately shortly after the price of oil crashed and saw many oil and gas companies fold. That Oando is still alive today is testament to its principals resilience and hard work.

The assumption would be that against this backdrop Gabrielle Volpi would wait for OODP to start to reap the rewards of its investment however he has faced near financial ruin in his home country Italy and it seems is now by any means necessary trying to recoup his investments.

Since the upturn in commodity prices, Oando has recorded 6 consecutive quarters of profits. The company kicked off 2018 on a positive note also, through continued restoration of value to its shareholders via profits in the first quarter of the year.

IKEJA ELECTRIC DEPLOYS TECHNOLOGY TO REDUCE DOWNTIME

IKEJA ELECTRIC DEPLOYS TECHNOLOGY TO REDUCE DOWNTIME

….Installs Automatic Circuit Recloser Mechanism In its Network

In line with its commitment to continually deliver excellent service experience to customers, Nigeria’s leading Electricity Distribution Company, Ikeja Electric Plc, has deployed Automatic Circuit Recloser Mechanisms around its Akute network axis, in a bid to improve the turn-around time for resolving faults on the network

The device, which is used in overhead distribution systems maintenance to interrupt the circuit and clear faults, is considered a game changer in reducing downtime. The Automatic Reclosers have electronic control sensors and vacuum interrupters that automatically recloses to restore service if a fault is temporary.

According to the Chief Technical Coordinator of Ikeja Electric, Engr. Sunday Oyewole, any interruption on the network or line would cause the network to open a safety trigger or fail safe that cuts off supply to customers. This disruption generally requires a manual patrol of the network by a Technical Team, which may take several hours or days, as the case may be, for the fault to be detected and rectified before supply can be restored.

However, with the installation of the device, Engr. Oyewole confirmed that ‘the recloser automatically restores supply where a fault is temporary, which in practical terms means that instead of the extended timeframe that it may take for the lines to be patrolled and the system closed manually for customers to enjoy supply, the system automatically attempts to close and restore after a few minutes. It is vital and safe, especially in this season where power is often interrupted by storms and the rain when branches and other debris interfere with the network”.

He also pointed out that the newly acquired mechanisms were part of IE’s approved network technical expansion plan, though requiring significant financial investments. He commended customers who dutifully settled their financial obligations to IE, noting that without the inflow of funds, such investments towards strengthening and expanding the network would be hampered.

The Automated Recloser Mechanism will pilot in Akute network area following which it will be deployed on a graduated basis across the entire business network.

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe Arrested By DSS

Senator Abaribe Enyinnaya

The Department of State Servicves (DSS) on Friday arrested Eyinnaya Abaribe, the senator representing Abia South at the National Assembly.

SaharaReporters can confirm that Abaribe was arrested at a popular hotel in the Maitama District of Abuja.

The senator is believed to have come under the watch of the DSS since standing as surety for Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who hasn’t been seen or heard in public since the ARmy invaded his home last year.

Also, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, had complained only on Thursday that about the “illegal addition” of N30 billion into the budget of power.

“The amount never passed through the senate power committee. Where did such huge sum of N30 billion come from? Let the budget office and other relevant bodies conduct self-examination. Such self-examination will go a long way to clear gray areas.”

The senator had said he was unhappy that the budget allocation for the Enugu airport terminal was reduced by N500 million from the 2 billion that was first submitted by the executive.

According to him, “no right-thinking Igbo man would support any cut on allocation for projects in the south-east region”.

Seventh NASS: N17bn wasn’t a bribe, says Okonjo-Iweala

A former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Sunday, said that she never claimed in her book that the increase in the 2015 budget by the National Assembly was used to bribe the lawmakers.

The former minister said this in a statement on Sunday by her Media Adviser, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu.

There have been reports that the minister in her book, ‘Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines,’ revealed the blackmail and arm-twisting that characterized budget passage by the National Assembly during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The minister, according to the report, had cited an instance in 2015 when the National Assembly leadership forced the executive arm to part with N17bn for the federal lawmakers before passing that year’s budget.

The N17bn alleged bribe, according to the reports, was beside the National Assembly’s N150bn annual budget.

Reacting to the reports, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, told reporters that he was not aware that lawmakers took a bribe.

Gbajabiamila, who was the Minority Leader in the 7th Assembly, admitted that lawmakers had a running battle with Okonjo-Iweala and her aides over the budget because they fused in their own projects to the detriment of some lawmakers.

He had said, “My hunch is that being an election year, members might have wanted several projects sited in their constituencies so that they could have something to campaign on. It is wrong to portray that members were given money for the passage of the budget.”

But in the statement issued on Sunday, Okonjo-Iweala said that the book didn’t talk about bribes, adding that it indicated that lawmakers increased the budget by N17bn and such practice needed to be changed.

She said, “One more time, it is important that people read the book for themselves. In the case of the N17bn, the book does not talk of bribe.

“It indicates that lawmakers increased the budget by N17bn and we had to accept that to move on; hence, the term ‘price to pay’.

“The reason for discussing what happened is that this approach needs to change. The country must clear up and clarify its budget process for the future to improve.”

She said in the statement that the claim by Gbajabiamila that she and her aides inserted their own projects in the budget was untrue.

“Those like honourable Gbajabiamila trying to introduce lies that myself and my aides put in our own projects and lawmakers were fighting with me on that basis are playing their usual cynical games and Nigerians are tired of that!”

 

Nigeria tax base surges yet 1 in 4 work-age people registered

Nigeria tax base surges yet 1 in 4 work-age people registered: Nigeria’s tax base has surged 36% to 19 million taxpayers from 14 million in 2016, according to the Federal Ministry of Finance. However, only one in four working-age people is registered. The country has a tax to GDP ratio of 5.9%, the lowest among sub-Saharan countries the IMF has measured. (Source: Bloomberg)

 

Nigeria may begin mass exportation of fertilisers: The Chairman, Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria, Thomas Etuh, has said that Nigeria will be in a position to export fertiliser within the next two years if current gains of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative are sustained. Etuh said the country was currently selling the important agro input to some of its neighbours such as Benin Republic, Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic. (Source: Punch)

SON inaugurates surveillance, investigation, and monitoring unit

SON inaugurates surveillance, investigation, and monitoring unit: The Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) has inaugurated a 16-man Surveillance, Investigation and Monitoring (SIM) unit targeted at strengthening its data gathering capacity and bridging information gaps in its operations.

The team, in concert with the Federal Operations unit, the Nigerians Customs Service and other security agencies, will undertake quality assurance activities, enforcement and regulatory actions to curb unbridled influx of substandard products. (Source: The Nation)

FIRS-EFCC collaboration recovers N29bn Withholding Tax, VAT in five months.

FIRS-EFCC collaboration recovers N29bn Withholding Tax, VAT in five months: The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are to deepen their collaboration to track both individuals and organisations who refuse to pay the right amount of taxes.

Already, the FIRS-EFCC partnership has led to the recovery of N29bn (US$81m) withholding tax from banks and other financial institutions in the country between November 2017 and March 2018, a statement disclosed on Wednesday. (Source: Thisday)

Lagos shuts major routes, declares work-free day for Buhari’s visit on 29th March

Lagos State Government has declared Thursday, March 29, a work-free day in the State ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s two-day visit to the state.

It was done to enable residents come out en masse to welcome President Buhari.

Also, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Imohimi Edgal, on Tuesday, said there would be temporary road closure and diversions in some areas.

The routes to be closed are Ikeja, Agege, Maryland, Ikoyi, and Victoria Island.

Edgal made the announcement at a news conference in Lagos to update the public on security plans for the President’s visit.

He said that President Muhammadu Buhari would be in Lagos on a two-day official visit on Thursday, March 29 and Friday, March 30.

Read also: FGN’s total domestic debt service payments have doubled in five years, from N701bn in 2012 to N1.48trn last year

The Police commissioner said that President Buhari would be attending a colloquium marking the 66th birthday of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu at Victoria Island, and also be at the official flag-off ceremony for the construction of the Lekki Deep Sea Port Project in Epe.

Security engagements are in top gear, as we are working with the Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency.

Edgal expressed deep regrets for any inconveniences, saying the listed roads would be reopened immediately after the President’s motorcade passes.
He advised motorists, commercial bus operators and commercial motorcycle riders to observe road diversions or use alternative routes.

IKEJA ELECTRIC RESTATES COMMITMENT TO SAFETY WITH LAUNCH OF POWER PLAY

IKEJA ELECTRIC RESTATES COMMITMENT TO SAFETY WITH LAUNCH OF POWER PLAY

Ikeja Electric Plc (IE), Nigeria’s largest electricity distribution company, has taken its safety enlightenment campaign a notch higher with the unveiling of its proprietary board game tagged Power Play©.

The game, which is novel in the electricity industry is designed as an education and entertainment tool, which provides information relating to hazards and common violations as well as other operational aspects of the business, to customers in IE network, in a family-friendly format.

During the unveiling ceremony, which was held today at the Estate Junior Grammar School, Ijaiye-Ogba, Lagos, the company’s Head of Corporate Communications, Felix Ofulue, noted that the risks and hazards of the electricity sector needed to be communicated in a creative way, such that all customers including family units could embrace tenets of safety and care, while enjoying fun time.

“The changing communications landscape, is a major factor in IE’s quest to seek new and very innovative ways of sharing important messaging that cuts across all customer segment.

We have to find creative ways to communicate to all stakeholders in a manner that is both fun and factual.

This is why we have createdPower Play©and we hope it will provide helpful information that will reduce accidents, protect from hazards, help provide operational information and even save lives”, he said.
The game which is a registered trademark of Ikeja Electric, is conceptualized and manufactured locally.

It comprises a segmented board, dice, tokens and labelled cards with instructions on how to play.
Ofulue pointed out that the choice of the launch location was strategic because it provide a platform to share the educational tool with the students with a view to stimulating their interest to become champions of safety education.
“We are beginning with our secondary school children aswe believe that they will best embrace the knowledge embedded in the game and of course they will champion the fun-learning process in their various families, being at a significant time of their lives where board games are still a thing of interest and adventure”, he pointed out.

Dignitaries present at the ceremony include the Director General of Lagos State Safety Commission, Hon. Hakeem Dickson; Director, HR & Admin for Lagos State Ministry of Education and CDC Chairman of Ifako/Ijaiye LG, Chief A.Onifade

Ikeja Electric continues to innovatively bridge service and communication gaps between the company and their various publics. Recent awards have followed stellar performances in the area of safety as well, an area Ikeja Electric has made giant strides, acquiring the much coveted OHSAS 18001 and the ISO 9001Certifications- the first of its kind in the industry.

Zinox acquires Konga in landmark industry deal

Zinox acquires Konga in landmark industry deal: Zinox Group, an integrated Information Communication Technology (ICT) solutions conglomerate and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), has concluded the acquisition of e-commerce giant, Konga, in a move that is expected to raise the profile of e-commerce in the country. (Source: Thisday)

Taxation – banks set to release customers’ information to FG: The Deposit Money Banks in the country are about installing appropriate technologies that will enable them to submit the information of wealthy customers and other taxpayers to the federal government (FG) under the Common Reporting Standard programme, which Nigeria signed up to last August. (Source: Punch)

Lagos pays N723m to 149 retirees: The Lagos State Government said it had paid N723m (US$2.0m) accrued pension rights into the Retirement savings Accounts of 149 retirees of the public sector during its 47th retirement benefit bond certificate presentation ceremony in Lagos.(Source: Punch)

Akwa Ibom, Dangote, others to establish new power plant

Akwa Ibom, Dangote, others to establish new power plant:

A new electricity generating company, Qua Iboe Power Plant, expected to gulp more than US$1bn is to be set up at the Qua Iboe Onshore Terminal in Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

Budget – FG votes N46bn for manufacturing zones: The Federal Government is planning to spend a total of N46bn (US$128m) this year on the construction of special economic zones for the manufacturing sector in all the six geo-political zones in the country. The amount is part of the 2018 proposed budget sent to a joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari last year.

PenCom recovers N13.58bn from defaulting employers: The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has recovered N13.58bn (US$37.7m) from employers that deducted pension contributions from their employees’ salaries but failed to remit the amount to the workers’ respective Retirement Savings Accounts, investigation has revealed