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FG’s Infrastructure Development Company Takes off 3rd Quarter – CBN Governor

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Emefiele
… To Attract N15 Trillion Fund

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele yesterday said that the N15 trillion Infrastructure Company Limited (InfraCo) created by the federal government to bridge the huge infrastructure gap will take off this quarter.

Emefiele who spoke at investors’ webinar forum designed to showcase the investment opportunities in Nigeria’s privatisation and economic reforms programmes said the federal government had approved KPMG as the financial adviser to InfraCo.

He stated that for Nigeria to attain meaningful growth, there must be huge investments in key sectors of the economy, including infrastructure such as rail and power, among others.

He further said the COVID-19 pandemic and developments in the global crude oil market had created negatively affected not only the global economy but also the Nigerian economy in the past 18 months.

He said in June 2021, investments in the importers and exporters (I&E) window stood at over N3 trillion at an average rate of N412 to the dollar, adding that this meant that on an average working day of 20 working days, close to $150 million was posted in that market.

“For Nigeria, we witnessed a drop in foreign exchange earnings, government revenues along with supply chain disruptions which ultimately led to the economy falling into a recession during the third quarter of 2020. Significant interventions by the monetary and fiscal authorities in key sectors of our economy such as in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors eventually helped and led to the rebound of growth during the fourth quarter of 2020 as gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.11 per cent.

“The sustenance of these measures has also helped to support growth of 0.51 per cent during the first quarter of 2021. Nonetheless, we consider this growth as fragile and therefore seek the support of those of us here at this webinar to continue to work with us to grow our economy,” he said.

Investors in the N15 trillion InfraCo include the CBN, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).

Emefiele said InfraCo had generated huge interest in deploying private capital to for infrastructure, adding that the approval of the vice president has been secured to appoint KPMG as transaction advisers.

In his keynote address, the vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo aid the seminar was organised to showcase investment opportunities arising from Nigerians economic reforms and privatisation activities.

I think that many who have observed the current Nigerian government would agree with me that an article of faith for this government is the importance of mobilising private capital and participation for improving efficiency and driving economic growth and this really explains why we have this collaboration today between the Bureau of Public Enterprises (which you know is in charge of our sectoral reform programme) with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission and the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) to host this seminar as an important platform drawing attention to investment opportunities to both our local and foreign friends and collaborators,” he added.

He stressed that privatising utilities of the size of the former PHCN “simply calls for deeper intentional consideration of the right models and the right type of investors and also looking at funding for these investors over an extended period of time.

“These are some of the challenges that we have seen, but I think that it’s an excellent lesson and there is so much that we are learning in approaching privatisation, especially our utilities, going forward,” he said.

Also speaking, the director general of the Bureau of Public enterprises, Mr. Alex Okoh, said the agency had listed over 36 assets for sale and giving them out to concessionaires under its 2021 work plan.

He disclosed that about N500 billion is expected to be contributed into the federal government coffers from the privatisation proceeds this year.

He further disclosed that 234 public assets had been sold in the last 32 years while N1 trillion was generated by the agency.

The event was organised by the BPE in collaboration with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX).

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Economy

Dead! Barkindo, OPEC Sec-Gen, Hours After Meeting President Buhari

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Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, secretary-general of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), is dead.

Mele Kyari, group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, announced his demise in a tweet in the early hours of Wednesday.

Kyari said he died at about 11p.m on Tuesday few hours after delivering a speech to oil and gas stakeholders at the ongoing 2022 Nigerian oil and gas conference and exhibition in Abuja.

After the event, he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the statehouse alongside a delegation from the OPEC secretariat.

He was aged 63.

He described his departure as a great loss to his immediate family, NNPC Nigeria, OPEC and the global energy community.

“We lost our esteemed Dr Muhammad Sanusi Barkindo. He died at about 11 pm yesterday 5th July 2022. Certainly a great loss to his immediate family, the NNPC, our country Nigeria, the OPEC and the global energy community,” Kyari tweeted.

“Burial arrangements will be announced shortly.”

Barkindo is the third ex-NNPC GMD to have passed on in two years — Maikanti Baru died in May 2020 and Joseph Dawha in August 2020.

His second term at OPEC ends on July 31, 2022.

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Emefiele Not Sacked – CBN Spokesman

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Contrary to viral reports to the effect that the federal government has sacked the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele,  Head of corporate communications of the Bank, Osita Nwanisiobi has said that rumours of a purported sack are not true.

Osita denied the rumours in a phone conversation with Nairametrics stating that “he is not aware of any sack of the CBN Governor”. Nairametrics also understands the CBN Governor is in Davos on official assignment.

Several online media blogs have published reports of a purported sack of the Governor of the Central Bank of Africa’s largest economy with some mentioning that “it was unconfirmed” even though they went ahead to publish.

Nairametrics also contacted other sources close to the presidency and the CBN Governor to confirm if the rumours are true. All our sources claim no knowledge of a purported sack.

Meanwhile,the CBN Governor has been under pressure since he declared interest in running for president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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NPA : Panel Clears Hadiza Bala Usman of Fraud

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Hadiza Bala Usman, the former managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has been cleared of allegations of failing to remit N165 billion operating surplus to the coffers of the federal government, according to a report by TheCable.

However, the 11-member committee set up by the ministry of transportation to probe the alleged fraud decided to shift its attention to allegations of insubordination to Rotimi Amaechi, the minister.

She was accused of ignoring ministerial directives and communicating directly with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Usman was originally suspended in May 2021 by the minister over an allegedly missing N165 billion but the committee did not find any evidence in its account reconciliation.

TheCable understands that when Amaechi presented the report to Buhari and asked for permission to remove Usman based on to “insubordination”, the president refused to give approval but instead directed the minister to issue a query to the former NPA MD.

Amaechi, presidency sources told TheCable, said Usman had already defended herself before the committee, but Buhari insisted that she be allowed to respond to the report before any further action is taken.

“A visibly disappointed Amaechi then directed Magdalene Ajani, the permanent secretary, to issue the query,” the source said, adding that Buhari refused to be presented with a “fait accompli”.

Conspicuously missing in the 10 items of query is the original reason for her suspension — the allegation that N165 billion was not remitted to the treasure single account (TSA) which made the headlines.

QUERY AND REPLY

An official of the ministry of transportation, who spoke to TheCable but pleaded to be “shielded” for fear of victimisation, said Usman responded to the query within one week as stipulated.

“She said that she did not have access to some important documents because she was on suspension but I would say she did justice to the query,” the official said.

Mohammed Bello-Koko, who acted as NPA MD during her suspension, was a bank’s accounts officer to the Rivers states government when Amaechi was governor.

Bello-Koko was on Tuesday officially appointed the MD.

In the query dated January 26, 2022, Ajani said the committee accused Usman of the following acts of insubordination.

  • Disregard for ministerial directive in respect of the Bonny/Port Harcourt and Lagos port channel management contract
  • Unlawful procurement of the operation of truck transit park for port bound trucks (e-callup) with the non-payment into TSA
  • Unilateral execution of a supplemental agreement in respect of the Lekki Deep Seaport concession project
  • Breach of the channels of the communication in the public service
  • Unilateral and improper use of the emergency procurement mode to procure vehicles
  • Waiver, rebates and tariffs granted by NPA without requisite approval
  • disobedience of court order in respect of pilotage contract between NPA and Intels
  • Disregard of court order in the matter between NPA and BUA ports and terminal limited in respect of the concession of Terminal B Rivers ports complex.
  • Breach of presidential/ministerial directive in the matter of the LADOL/Samsung dispute
  • Lease of Koko Port to Messers Creek Shore Jetty and Terminal Ltd

In her response, she denied all the allegations.

On the renewal of the Bonny/Port Harcourt and Lagos port channel management contract for which she was said to have disregarded ministerial directive, she said she conveyed the directive to the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) which it clarified that it was an extension of an existing contract and such extensions do not require the attention of either the ministerial tenders board or the federal executive council.

Usman said, with regards to the operations of the e-callup system, that “it is practically impossible to have the e-Wallet account domiciled with the TSA as the amount standing to the credit of the transporters’ wallets still belong to the customers. In addition, the owners of the satellite parks and pre-gates used for gating trucks before their callup into the ports need to be paid weekly from the wallet account based on how many bookings were made for their parks”.

She denied unilaterally executing a supplemental agreement in respect of the Lekki Deep Seaport concession project, stating that it was operational in nature and does not alter any major aspect of the concession agreement “as it only rescheduled construction timeframe for a berth and allowed other players to partake in the development of dry bulk since the company was constrained to embark on the construction”.

The former NPA MD said presidency communicated directly with her seeking information and clarifications on the activities of the authority and she responded and she was not at any informed that her responses should have gone through the ministry since presidency did not communicate with her through the ministry.

Usman denied “unilateral and improper use of the emergency procurement” to procure vehicles to replace the ones burnt by the End SARS rioters, quoting public procurement laws to back her decision and pointing out that NPA got a provisional “no objection” certificate for the purchases.

She insisted that she did not disobey court orders on Intels and BUA, and that no presidential or ministerial directive was breached in the LADOL/Samsung dispute.

On the lease of Koko Port to Messrs Creek Shore Jetty and Terminal Ltd, she said she acted the legal limits of NPA as provided by the enabling laws.

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