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Economy

NNPC, MRS engage in blame game over importation of toxic fuel

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) and MRS, a Major oil marketer, have engaged in a blame game over the importation of adulterated fuel into the country.
The two organisations were locked in trading of accusations and counter-accusations over who was responsible for the importation of the toxic fuel.
Curiously, the NNPC, the sole importer of petroleum products into the country, in an attempt to absolve itself of the national embarrassment, fingered some major oil marketers in the sordid transaction.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, at a press conference on Wednesday, revealed that MRS, Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium, Oando and Duke Oil are the importers of the adulterated fuel.
However,MRS countered the position of the NNPC, accusing the oil corporation of importing the toxic fuel.
In its rebuttal statement on Wednesday, MRS  accused Panama-based Duke Oil, an NNPC agent, of being the direct importer of the adulterated fuel.
The Major Oil marketer denied importing the substandard PMS, stating that importation of fuel into Nigeria was solely the responsibility of Duke Oil on behalf of NNPC, and the contaminated fuel was distributed to various retailing companies.
How the toxic fuel was imported and distributed in Nigeria

Investigation revealed that Duke Oil is a subsidiary of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), acting as the government agency’s trading arm, which makes the firm the only importer of PMS into Nigeria.

The company was established about 32 years ago during the administration of Gen Ibrahim Babangida, with a registered designation of Sociedad Anonima, which means Anonymous Society.

Sociedad Anonima implies that shareholders of Duke Oil are largely unknown or secret, and its registered base is in Panama, a Central American country known for providing safe haven to money launderers.

Stakeholders have however queried why a government agency such as NNPC should be running a sole trading arm that is operating out of a money laundering country with secret shareholders.

After the importation of the contaminated fuel, it was gathered that OVH, MRS, NIPCO, ARDOVA and TOTAL  received the contaminated fuel from NNPC, after landing in Apapa between the 24th and 30th of January, 2022.

Sources claimed the adulterated fuel was bought by Duke Oil from the international trader, Litasco, and it has 20% methanol, an illegal substance in Nigeria after it was delivered with Motor Tanker (MT) Nord Gainer.

“Following delivery into the tank, it was observed that the product appeared hazy and dark,” MRS claimed.

adding “the product analysis revealed that the PMS discharged by MT Nord Ganier had 20% methanol, which is an illegal substance in Nigeria.

“As a Company, we are aware that alcohol/ethanol is not permitted to be mixed in PMS specification.” The oil and gas company wrote in the filing at the Exchange on Wednesday.

MRS said it has now halted further sales of fuel from its retailing stations and awaits NNPC’s decision on replacing the contaminated fuel.

However, Kyari said the efforts of the NNPC have been to hold back the affected fuel some of which came from Antwerp in Belgium.
He also explained that petrol imported into the country does not include tests to ascertain the level of methanol content.
The NNPC boss however said that the quality of the products as shown in the certificates issues at port of loading in Belgium showed the fuel was in compliance with Nigerian specifications.
Apart from this, he added that GMO, SGS, GeoChem and G&G working as NNPC quality inspectors had carried out tests before the products were discharged showing Nigeria’s standard.

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Economy

CBN succumbs  to pressure, extends use of old naira notes to February 10

The Eyewitness reporter
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has finally caved in to Public outcry over the February 1st deadline for the use of old naira notes when on Sunday, the apex bank announced February 10 as the new date.
Announcing the new deadline in a statement, Governor Central Bank Of Nigeria(CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said the decision to add extra 10 days was “to allow for the collection of more old notes”

Up till Saturday, CBN had insisted on the 31st January deadline for the validity of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 despite overwhelming complaints that the notes are either not available or in short supply in the banks or their Automated Teller Machines.

Last October, Emefiele announced the Naira redesign policy which entails the issuance of new notes to replace the existing N200, N500 and N1,000 series.

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Economy

CBN reverses itself on cash withdrawal limits as Emefiele succumbs to pressure

Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele

 

—now pegs weekly withdrawal for individual to N500,000, Corporate N5million

The Eyewitness Reporter

The Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) may have succumbed to pressure from the National Assembly and other rich Nigerians as it has reversed itself on its earlier cash withdrawal limits for individuals and corporate organisations.

In a circular number BSD/DIR/PUB/LAB/015/073 dated December 21st, 2022 and addressed to all Deposit Money Banks(DMBS) and other financial institutions, the apex bank disclosed that the new weekly cash withdrawal limits for both the individuals and corporate organisations have now been reviewed to N500,000 and N5million respectively.

The new weekly cash withdrawal limits now superseded the earlier one released on December 6th, 2022 which were put at N100,000 for individuals and N500,000 for corporate organisations.

In the new revised cash withdrawal limits, the CBN claimed the revision of the policy was in response to feedback from the stakeholders.

The new revised policy also slashed the processing fees for amounts above the approved threshold from an initial 5 percent for individuals to 3 percent and for corporate organisations from 10 percent to 5 percent.

The circular, which was signed by Haruna Mustafa, the Director of Banking supervision, the CBN said the new revised cash withdrawal policy takes effect from January, 9th,2022.

”Following our circular BSD/DIR/PUB/LAB/015/069 dated December 6, 2022, on the above subject and based on feedback received from stakeholders, the Central Bank Of Nigeria(CBN) hereby makes the following reviews;

–the maximum weekly limit for cash withdrawal across all channels by individuals and corporate organisations shall be N500,000 and N5 million respectively.

–In compelling circumstances where cash withdrawal above the limits in (1) above is required for legitimate purposes, such requests shall be subject to a processing fee of 3 percent and 5 percent for individuals and corporate organisations respectively.

–Futrher to (2) above, the financial institution shall obtain the following information from the Customer, at the minimum,and upload same on the CBN portal created for the purpose

a. Valid means of identification of the payee(National ID, International passport, or driver’s license)

b.Bank Verification Number(BVN) of the payee.

c.Tax Identification Number(TIN) of both the payee and the payer.

d. Approval in writing by the MD/CEO of the financial institution authorising the withdrawal.

–Third-party cheques above N100,000 shall not be eligible for payment over the counter, while the extant limit of N10 million on clearing cheques still subsists.

—Monthly returns on cash withdrawal transactions above the specified limits should be rendered to the banking supervision, Other financial institution supervision and Payment System Management  Departments as applicable

—Compliance with extant AML/CFT regulations relating to KYC, ongoing customer due diligence, currency and suspicious transaction reporting, etc is mandatory in all circumstances.

—Customers should be encouraged to use alternative channels(internet banking, mobile banking apps, USSD, cards/POS, eNaira,gets) to conduct their banking transactions”, the circular reads.

The CBN however warned all the banks and OFIS that aiding and abetting the circumvention of this policy will attract severe sanctions.

It could be recalled that the policy, which was first announced on December 6th, 2022, generated mixed reactions, especially from the members of the National Assembly who invited the CBN Governor. Godwin Emefiele to come and explain the rationale behind the cash withdrawal limits.

Twice, the National Assembly invited Mr. Emefiele, but twice, he did not appear, citing national assignment engagement as the reason for his non-appearance.

The review may, however, be as a result of the intense pressure that the CBN governor has lately been subjected to as a result of this policy which analysts believed does not favour the elites, the politicians and the rich Nigerians, especially giving the forthcoming elections.

 

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Economy

ICT media chiefs launch foundation to drive advocacy, development

Bimbo Tooki
Abiodun Bayo
Top ICT media practitioners and pioneers in Nigeria have launched a Foundation known as Cloud Network Foundation, (CNF), to drive advocacy for skills acquisition and capacity building among youths and push for policy that encourages local content in ICT development in Nigeria.
The Foundation, made of the first eleven in ICT journalism in Nigeria, is worried that, among others, policy direction and implementation in the country has primarily neglected local content development and the creation of the requisite skills and enablement for Nigeria’s teeming youth to excel in the ICT ecosystem.
Chairman of the Foundation, Mr. Abimbola Tooki, who remarked at the body’s inaugural meeting, said Nigeria has so much untapped potential that, when harnessed by the provision of the right policies and strategies, could replicate another Silicon Valley in California, the United States to Bangalore in India.
“We can move from a consuming nation to a producing one in a few years in the ICT ecosystem, and over 20 million of our youths can be lifted out of poverty every year if they have the right information, guidance, enabling environment and skills at their disposal if we take the right steps”, Tooki said.
 He said if the government prioritised integrating technology (ICT) infrastructure into public service delivery to promote growth-oriented policies, it would be easier for all tiers and arms of government to collaborate to pull Nigerians out of poverty.
The Cloud Network Foundation promises to provide an influential voice for stakeholders in the media, business community and government on the benefits of ICT in economic growth and national development.
It will also promote multidisciplinary collaboration and interdisciplinary initiatives on ICT to foster the creation, usage and sharing of knowledge in the fields of ICT for national development.
Also speaking at the body’s inauguration, Vice Chairman of the Foundation, Mr. Don Pedro Aganbi further said industry stakeholders should look forward to the Foundation’s resolve to ensure a more active ICT industry in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the CNF announced in the statement that as the election produced the Chairman and Vice Chairman, the group also elected the following officials: Olubayo Abiodun (Secretary); Ufuoma Emuophedaro, (Treasurer) and Ayo Makinde, as  Publicity Secretary.
Aganbi said CNF would ensure that all operators wake up to their responsibilities of delivering quality services to Nigerians while fostering a friendly environment for all.
Other members of the fully registered non-political, non-religious and non-profit organisation include award-winning and pioneering ICT journalists such as Mr. Aaron Ukodie, Mkpe Abang, Bayero Agabi, Bunmi Idowu, Enyi Moses, Ken Nwogbo, Shina Badaru, Biyi Fasoyin, Tayo Adewusi, and Otunba Biodun Ajiboye, among others.
The CNF stated that it will also work with educational institutions at all levels in advancing the usage and adoption of ICT in learning and educational endeavours, and providing an effective voice for stakeholders in the media, business community and government on the benefits of ICT in economic growth and national development.
It will also promote research in diverse segments of ICT, develop professionals in ICT Journalism, and promote multidisciplinary collaboration and interdisciplinary initiatives on ICT to foster the creation, usage and sharing of knowledge in the fields of ICT for national development.
Cloud Network Foundation has an active online presence, with a dedicated website (cloudnetwork.ng), twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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