Matters Arising

It is a News and Current Affairs programme that will be beaming searchlights on contemporary issues as it affect us positively or negatively as a corporate entity.

LPG price rises 25% in 3 weeks

The price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, otherwise known as cooking gas, has risen by 25.7 per cent in the last three weeks as 12.5kg now sells at N8,800 from N7000.

Findings reveal that one Kg rose by 11 per cent to N1000 from N900, 3kg rose by 10 per cent to N2,200 from N2,000, 6kg rose by 15.8 per cent to N4,400 from N3,800, while 12.5kg rose by  25.7 per cent to N8,800 from N7,000.

Meanwhile, the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers branch of NUPENG had called on the government to come up with a clear policy direction for the development of LPG in the country to forestall the consistent rise in the price of the product. 

According to the Association, the worrisome aspect of the development is that it has continued to rise on a daily basis for weeks now but began to escalate in the last one week, leading to significant increases in both depots and retail outlets.

The Association said: “A similar price rise occurred in 2021 leading to the sale of 12.5kg gas for up to N10,000 in late November and early December 2021 amidst supply shortages. We expect the government to come up with a clear policy direction for the development of LPG in the country to forestall the ugly situation.”

Meanwhile, the federal government attributed this challenge to shortage of supply of gas from the major oil companies who have refused to allow transportation of third-party gas through their joint pipelines to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, trains.

Appealing for support, Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, urged partners in the NLNG project to allow access through their joint pipelines to increase supply to the plant.

Sylva said: “NLNG is at present only able to produce at about 70 per cent of installed capacity and has been unable to operate at full capacity following the refusal of the joint partners – Shell, Chevron, as well as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and others, to allow third parties to transport gas through their pipelines to the NLNG Trains.

“These challenges have been causing the company’s inability to meet both domestic and international gas obligations.”

He added that  if the NLNG partners relax their rules and allow third parties to supply gas to the NLNG, the company will be able to provide gas to help ease European Union’s gas crisis.

“The issue we have with the existing NLNG Trains is that of insufficient gas supply. The partners are running out of gas and they are refusing third parties to supply gas to the Trains. The partners are insisting that they can only allow third-party supply gas to the plant only if they agree to supply at subsidised rates.

“These people, of course, want to make money and they cannot supply at subsidised rates and that’s why the NLNG Trains cannot produce at full capacity.”

Energy Crisis: Europe turns to Nigeria, others for LNG

European countries, yesterday, continued their quest to have Nigeria export more Liquiefied Natural Gas, LNG, to the European Union, as they seek a move away from Russian energy dependency.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is forcing Europe to diversify its energy supply.

Energy Vanguard gathered that LNG is fast becoming the low carbon alternative fuel of choice for domestic, marine and automotive consumption.

Also, Nigeria terminal currently running on six trains, has an LNG production capacity of 22.2 Million tons per annum, Mtpa, which is expected to increase to 30Mtpa by 2030.

However, the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria, Samuela Isopi, led European delegation which includes, Ambassador of Portugal, Luis Barros; Ambassador of Spain, Juan Sell; Ambassador of Italy, Stefano De Leo and Deputy Head of Mission (France), Olivier Chatelais, on a courtesy call on the Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd to strengthen its partnership with Nigeria in the energy sector.

Isopi noted that the region was ready to strengthen its partnership with Nigeria in the energy sector.

According to Isopi, with the current geopolitical situation in Europe, the continent was interested in strengthening its cooperation with Nigeria particularly in the area of possible increase in the supplies of Liquiefied Natural Gas LNG).

“Nigeria is the fourth gas supplier to Europe. At least 40 percent of the Nigerian LNG is currently exported to Europe. We are not only major clients for Nigeria, we are also major partners in the Oil & Gas Sector because some of the companies that are working with you are from Europe.  So we share the same interest and same objectives,” Isopi added.

On his part, GMD/CEO NNPC Ltd, Mallam Mele Kyari assured the European delegation that the company would continue to deepen its historical relationship with EU companies in Nigeria in order to add more value to its business, particularly towards increasing gas supply to the global market and enhancing domestic gas utilisation.

Osinachi’s death: Dunsin Oyekan reacts, advises couples

Gospel Singer, Dunsin Oyekan has advised Christians to speaks up when going through abuse.

Dunsin made this known in a post on his Instagram page while reacting to the death of popular gospel singer, Osinachi Nwachukwu, who died after allegedly suffering domestic violence from her husband.

According to Osinachi’s sister, the talented singer died as a result of a cluster of blood in the chest from the kicking she got from her husband, Mr Peter Nwachukwu.

Reacting, Dunsin wrote, “Thank God for the life of sister Osinachi and the impact of her ministry which is a tremendous blessing.

“We must all learn not to keep things that we are passing through away from people who can help.

“Friends, please speak up! It is well.”

2023: ‘Only Peter Obi can face Osinbajo’ – Nigerians debate Buhari’s sucessor

The debate of who Nigerians will choose as the next President in 2023 has emerged online as Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo joins the race.

Under the All Progressives Congress, APC, Yemi Osinbajo, Rotimi Amaechi, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Yahaya Bello, Dave Umahi and Rochas Okorocha have declared to run for the presidency.

While under the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi, Bukola Saraki, Nyesom Wike, Pius Anyim, Aminu Tambuwal, Dele Momodu have all declared intention to succeed Buhari in 2023.

One of these men will likely be the next President.

While the PDP struggles to decide where to zone the presidential ticket to, some Nigerians have opined that Peter Obi is the best candidate to go against Yemi Osinbajo if APC decides to give him the ticket.

Here are some comments gathered by from Twitter:

@Nerfetiti “Wike, Atiku, Saraki or Tambuwal cannot win. 2023 is the crossroads. The first time the church and elites will be voting. The RCCG, House On The Rock and Winners are cooking. They’ll be voting massively this time. Should the church endorse Osinbajo or any candidate, PDP will be toast.”

@Chuksudi “If Peter Obi grabs the ticket, trust me people are going to massively vote for PDP. Peter Obi is there only hope in getting back to Aso Rock.”

@Mavoromatthew “The only person in PDP that can face Osibanjo is Peter Obi. If APC picks Osinbajo and Peter Obi is not contesting, landslide victory for APC.”

@Jeffphilips1 “As at today, Atiku cannot beat Osinbajo in any election, Atiku is unelectable as president of Nigeria. I don’t know how many times you people want me to repeat this.”

@Lawyerwaffi “Any youth who votes Atiku or Tinubu over Osinbajo or Obi is an enemy of the state.”

@Odunolasoji “If PDP maintains this position, I can only see Atiku emerging as their candidate, maybe Wike coming a distant second. Peter Obi won’t even come close. And if that happens, they just lost their chance to survive against whoever APC is bringing to the table.”

@MercyUzoho1 “These churches better don’t give APC that opportunity.It’s best if the winner comes from an unknown party. Ain’t you guys tired of PDP and APC? What good do we think we’ll get out of them again? Let’s be wise in our decisions come 2023.”

@Adeyemiaio “The North is playing a long game, if they give osinbajo the ticket, apc will collapse. Then PDP will probably field Atiku (Peter Obi won’t get anything Shar) Atiku will win and the power goes back to the North. Party line is rubbish, ethnic line is the real deal.”

@Ella “God please give us Osinbajo vs Peter Obi in 2023. We’ve suffered too much as a country to have Tambuwal, Atiku, Saraki or Tinubu as President.”

FG inaugurates technical group to monitor women economic empowerment

The federal government is today inaugurating a technical working group for the pilot monitoring and evaluation framework for Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) interventions.

WEE helps women and girls move from limited power, voice, and choice at home and in the economy to having the skills, resources, and opportunities needed to compete equitably in markets as well as the agency to control and benefit from economic gains.

On August 17, the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in collaboration with the Development Research and Project Center (DPRC) had earlier organised a national symposium on the application framework as it relates to the WEE.

It was then participants recommended that a working group be set up to follow up the implementation of the framework.

The group will amongst other things make recommendations to NIPSS, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the DPRC on the development and update of the implementation of WEE policies.

The working group will function under the guidance of these bodies.

At least 10 federal MDAs and 30 WEEs organisations will make up the working group.

The programme is funded by The Gates foundation.

Nigeria Goes for $6.2bn Eurobond Offer, Foreign Borrowings Escalates

OSBC
17 September, 2021

The Federal Government has announced plans for a Eurobond issuance in the International Capital Market, ICM, to raise between $3 billion and $6.2 billion.

The Debt Management Office, DMO, said, yesterday, that virtual meetings with investors have been scheduled for today, September 17 and September 20, 2021.

It stated: “In order to avail local investors the opportunity to invest in the Eurobonds, meetings will also be held with local investors.

“This is the first time local investors will be included in the Roadshows, and this is one of the reasons a Nigerian Bookrunner (Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd) was appointed as one of the Transaction Advisers.

“Through the Eurobond issuance, Nigeria is expected to raise up to $3 billion but not more than $6.2 billion.”

According to the DMO, the issuance for which all statutory approvals have been received, would be to implement the New External Borrowing in the 2021 Appropriation Act and that “Proceeds are for the financing of various projects in the Act.”

The agency gave further insight, saying, “In addition to providing funding to part-finance the deficit in the 2021 Appropriation Act, the issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria benefits the country in many other strategic ways; amongst which are: 1. It is an inflow of foreign exchange, leading to an increase in External Reserves.

“External Reserves help support the Naira Exchange Rate, and Nigeria’s sovereign rating.

“When Nigeria raises funds externally, through Eurobonds, it frees up space in the domestic market for private sector and sub-national borrowers. In effect, it helps the sovereign not to crowd out other borrowers in the domestic market.

“The issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria has opened up opportunities for Nigeria’s corporate sector notably banks, to issue Eurobonds to raise capital in the ICM.

“By so doing, their capital base has been strengthened to provide banking services whilst also meeting regulatory requirements. Nigeria has a sovereign yield curve in the ICM, extending up to 30 years.

“The local listing of Nigeria’s Eurobonds on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. and the FMDQ Securities Exchange Ltd., have increased the range of products on these two exchanges and their respective market capitalization.

“Overall, Eurobond issuances by Nigeria and the investor meetings that precede the pricing have provided a strong global platform for Nigeria to tell its own story and opportunities available in Nigeria for investors.”

The Transaction Advisers appointed by Nigeria for the issuance were: International Bookrunners – JP Morgan, Citigroup Global Markets Limited; Joint Lead Managers -Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs; Nigerian Bookrunner – Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd; Financial Adviser – FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd; while White & Case LLP, was appointed International Legal Adviser; and Banwo & Ighodalo would serve as Nigerian Legal Adviser.

Terrorists flees Sambisa forest to Kaduna- DSS to civil defence

OSBC
15 September, 2021

Satellite Map of Kaduna State

Boko Haram terrorists are fleeing from Sambisa forest to Rijana Forest in the Chikun local government area of Kaduna State, according to a leaked memo.

A memo marked; NSCDC/NHQ/INT&INVST/323/2021 dated September 9, 2021 which was signed by the Acting Deputy Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Intelligence and Investigation, B.O Bassey, civil defence officers were asked to be on the alert.

According to the document titled, ‘Re: Update on Relocation of Boko Haram Terrorist (BHTs) to Rijana General Area in Kaduna State’, the terrorists are planning to team up with one Adamu Yunusu aka Saddiqu and his supporters.

The memo read in part, “Sequel to a memo dated September 2, 2021 received from the Ministry of Interior on the above subject matter, upon an intelligence report from the Office of the Director-General, Department of State Services, National Headquarters, Abuja, dated August 20, 2021 with reference no S.314/31/B/2915.

“It has been uncovered, plans by senior Boko Haram fighter, Ibrahim (FNU) alongside his foot soldiers relocating from ‘Sambisa Forest in Borno State to Rijana Forest in Chikun local government area of Kaduna State with a view to joining their counterpart under the leadership of one Adamu Yunusu (aka Saddiqu).

“In light of the above, you are hereby directed to step up surveillance and intelligence gathering on the aforementioned areas and environs.”

Chikun Local Government Area in Kaduna State is a Christian dominated area which could make it a soft target for terrorists.

Kaduna, which borders Zamfara State, has witnessed a spike in killings and abductions in 2021 with over 545 persons killed and 1, 723 kidnapped between January and June.

Kogi threatens to sue EFCC over alleged diversion of N20bn bailout fund

The Kogi State Government, on Thursday threatened legal action against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over a recent order of court that froze N20billion in its bank account.

Commissioner for Information, Hon. Kingsley Fanwo stated this at a press briefing on the matter.

Fanwo accused the EFCC of having misled the court through presentation of alleged false documents to obtain the court order.

“The EFCC has accused us wrongly and the intent is to drag our image in the mud. We shall challenge the EFCC at the Court to substantiate their blatant allegation.

“We are not fighting the EFCC but we need to test the allegations they have made before a court of competent jurisdiction in the light of verifiable facts at our disposal,” Fanwo said.

The Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on Tuesday ordered the freezing of the Kogi State salary bailout account domiciled in a new generation bank over an alleged N20 billion loan obtained from the bank.

The Presiding Judge, Tijjani Ringim, said the order would subsist pending the conclusion of investigation or possible prosecution by the EFCC.

The Court had based its ruling on an ex-parte application by the EFCC brought pursuant to section 44(2) of the Constitution and section 34(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act and under the court’s jurisdiction.

The EFCC had in its affidavit before the court alleged that the N20 billion loan, meant to augment the salary payment and running cost of Kogi state, was kept in an interest-yielding account with the bank.

Counsel to the EFCC, A. O. Mohammed, had told the Court that instead of using the money for the purpose it was meant for, the bank, while acting on the instruction of the Kogi State Government, transferred the money from the loan account into a fixed deposit account.

FG may consider dropping IPPIS as opposition grows

There were indications on Sunday that the Federal Government might adopt any payment platform developed in universities as an alternative to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, who gave this indication in an interview, however, gave conditions for adopting any payment platform apart from the IPPIS.

According to him, the platform must be capable of eliminating ghost workers’ syndrome and other forms of corruption in payment of salaries.

Akpan stated this as opposition to the IPPIS grew on Sunday when unions including the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) said it was only suitable for the civil service.

Recall that ASUU had on March 23, begun an indefinite strike over the government’s insistence on the IPPIS, among other reasons.

Other university unions, which initially supported the payment system, backed out on the grounds that it contained many irregularities.

As an alternative to the IPPIS, ASUU had presented its University Transparency and Accountability Solution to the Federal Government.  UTAS is currently being tested by the National Information Technology Development Agency, while SSANU and NASU have proposed the University General and Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System.

The President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, in an interview, restated the union’s opposition to the IPPIS, saying the system would localise the university system if adopted.

IPPIS won’t allow non-pensionable appointments needed in universities – ASUU

He stated, “With the IPPIS, lecturers cannot move freely across campuses; across countries.  It is a system that will not allow you to employ people from outside the country, people who are not on pensionable appointments because the IPPIS focuses only on people with pensionable appointments. Contract staff who are needed in scarce areas are shut out. Our colleagues in the Diaspora who could come and give international flavour and enrich our programmes are shut out.   If you have a system that will not allow you to fit into global practices, that system cannot fit into a university.”

He explained further that the IPPIS would erode the autonomy of the university system which was established by an Act in 2003.

Ogunyemi added, “The IPPIS was designed for the civil service, which has a uniform approach to payroll. In the civil service, they have to take permission from the head of civil service before they can employ.  That is not possible in university education because a university operates a flexible payroll system by the virtue that lecturers can come for short employment and sabbaticals.”

IPPIS has many irregularities, it gives the salary of a cleaner to a registrar – SSANU

In the same vein, the newly elected vice president of SSANU, Mr Abdulsobur Salam, explained that the union initially thought the IPPIS would solve some problems in the university system, but it later found out that it added more problems.

He stated, “At the outset, we did not oppose the IPPIS because we have had issues of corruption in the university system which we thought the IPPIS would solve. Government made a request that we should key into the IPPIS and they demonstrated to us that the IPPIS had captured everything on salaries.

“But we have witnessed a lot of irregularities; salaries are not paid, the salary of a cleaner given to a registrar and  outright non-payment of staff salaries when staff have been working for 10 months. It is against this background we are now having a second thought. The IPPIS has created a lot of problems than it has resolved.”

Efforts to speak to the National General Secretary, Mr Peter Adeyemi, NASU, proved abortive as he did not to pick calls to his mobile phone nor replied an SMS sent to him.

However, the Chairman of the University of Lagos’ NASU, Mr Kehinde Ajibade explained that the union found out a lot of irregularities in the IPPIS.

These, he said, included arbitrary deductions, high taxation, high pension rate and delay in payments.

Ajibade stated, “What the Federal Government promised us as university workers is contrary to what we are experiencing now.  It’s like the Federal Government deceived us to join the IPPIS. Our salaries were being paid on a platform before we migrated to the IPPIS. Unfortunately, when we got to the IPPIS, we discovered it was a scam.  It was full of inconsistencies and irregularities that we are still battling with now.

“That is the reason we are opposing the IPPIS . Some of these irregularities are high taxation, non-remittance of some of the deductions and cooperative issues. We have submitted our list for payment. It is either it is delayed or we have to send an emissary to their office before they release our money. All these make it difficult for us.  We embarked on a two-week warning strike and the Federal Government invited our leaders. Our national bodies proposed another platform as ASUU did.  The government accepted our new platform and said they would look into it. That’s where we are now.

Our allowances won’t be paid if IPPIS is adopted – PENGASSAN

On his part, the General Secretary of PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said,  “We are opposed to the IPPIS for the same reason that ASUU is opposed to it.

“Everything that you think is good must be tested. Now if you test it and there are issues with it, of course, you won’t accept it. So there are issues with the IPPIS. It is not a perfect document.”

“For oil workers, we are also not just the regular civil servants and so all the issues about the system must be cleared before we can accept it.

“Another thing is that if you apply the IPPIS, for instance, some of your allowances as  oil workers  will not be paid.”

We are encouraging research; we will adopt any platform better than IPPIS – FG

On Sunday, the spokesman for the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Akpan, said the Federal Government would settle for the best payment platform in universities

He explained that the government wished to save money and would adopt any platform that could help in achieving its goal.

He said, “The aim of the IPPIS is to monitor government finances and salaries of workers and also to eliminate ghost workers’ syndrome. The government is looking to save money and remove corruption from the system.

“So, if an organisation comes up and says it have something that could help you to achieve this purpose, I’m sure government would surely consider it. So, all options are still open to the government.”

Akpan noted that the government would settle for any payment platform that is better than the IPPIS, adding that it was encouraging research and development in the tertiary institutions in the country.

Asked if the government had taken a position on the UTAS developed by ASUU, Akpan stated, “What government has done so far is to evaluate that of ASUU which is going through integrity test.

“But for the ones of NASU and SSANU, they said they just informed the government about it without presenting anything. They are working on their own. What the minister said is that if anyone had what the government could use, the government would always adopt it.

“The government is looking for the very best; if there is something that is better than IPPIS, the government would definitely fall back on it. Government is encouraging research and development in the academia.”

In a related development, a statement on Sunday by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige’s Media Office, titled, ‘SSANU extols labour minister.’ quoted SSANU as saying it would reconsider its position if the IPPIS was updated to accommodate the peculiarities captured by the UGPPPS.

The immediate past President of SSANU, Samson Ugwoke, said this on Saturday while presenting his successor, Mohammed Ibrahim, to Ngige.

In response to Ugwoke, the minister said the Federal Government would look into the payment system as demanded by SSANU.

He, however, pointed out that any of such systems must have  “a handshake with the IPPIS and other payment systems  in use by the Federal Government.”

According to the statement, Ugwoke commended Ngige for “his understanding of various challenges facing Nigerian  workers operating under different unions, the  patience and transparency with which you mediate, reawaken  hope in us  that government is committed to the welfare of workers.”

Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, said only one issue remained to be resolved between the government and ASUU.

Echono who stated this in Abuja on Saturday during the professional examination for teachers, said, “The government is working very closely. We are very concerned and the President is very concerned about this protracted (ASUU) strike which, to so many of us, is unnecessary. We believe there are other ways of getting things done.

“There’s a shared acceptance of so many of the issues and we are at a point that very quickly and soon, it (the strike) will be resolved. There’s only one issue in contention.”