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Sylva charges NASS to expedite passage of PIB before Oil becomes worthless

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Sylva charges NASS to expedite passage of PIB before Oil becomes worthless

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva has said Nigeria needs to start making effective utilization of its oil wealth before the commodity becomes worthless.
He therefore charged the leadership of the National Assembly to speedily pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in a manner that would allow the country benefit from Oil availability before it loses relevance in the next 20 years.

He lamented that Nigeria had wasted 20 years in putting in place serious regulatory framework that would have made her to enjoy the benefits of Petroleum.

Sylva spoke at a meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly on Monday, disclosing further that the forecast that Oil would lose over fifty per cent of its relevance across the globe in 2040 is real.

According to him, it is lamentable that for 20 years, Nigeria had been unable to tap from the immense opportunities that the availability of Oil presented.

Sylva said it was regrettable that since year 2000 when the Federal Government began to process the Petroleum industry Bill (PIB), no result had been achieved. 

In his words,

“Let me just say that we all collectively today have a date with history. The PIB is one of the most important pieces of legislation that this country needs now. It has really taken a long time in coming.

 Reviewing the history of PIB, the minister lamentedthat “The process for amending the laws around our oil industry started almost 20 years ago in the year 2000. The OGIC started sitting in 2000. In 2009 a draft of the PIB was submitted to the National Assembly. In 2012 another draft was submitted, 2018, we all are aware of what happened with the PIB and today 2020 we are still for some reason still discussing the PIB”

Drawing attention to specific forcast about the Petroleum sector, the minister said:
“Today there is a forecast in the oil industry sector that oil is going to be playing less and less a role in the global energy usage. Some begin to think that in  10 years the World’s dependence on oil would have reduced to 50%. At OPEC the projection is in 2040. That is, in 20 years from now the World’s dependence on oil would have reduced to 50%.

” So which ever way you look at it, it appears that the days of oil are numbered. I always tell people that coal did not finish, the deposits of coal did not run out before the world moved away from coal. Today the world is talking about alternative forms of energy, and we must also move with that trend but our focus should be in ensuring that we take advantage of our resources while it matters.

 “Let’s make hay while the sun shines. So what we want to achieve with the PIB, I believe one of the central things we should have in mind is to make Nigeria an attractive investment destination” he added. 

But President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, quickly directed Sylva to stop his speech noting that the time had not come for details.

Lawan who immediately urged the meeting go into close session however said the interactive session was for the leadership of National Assembly to know the content of the bill and admitted that the Bill has been jinxed since 2007.

“We want to see an oil industry that is properly regulated and an oil resources that is beneficial to Nigerians.And an oil industry that is very efficient”

In his own remarks, House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed that a crack team of the House of Representatives had already been set up to process the Bill for speedy passage.

In the Bill, President Buhari had anong others proposed the creation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited in addition to proposing the scrapping of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the  Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.

The bill equally provided that “The Minister (of Petroleum) and the Minister of Finance shall determine the assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC to be transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiaries and upon the identification, the minister shall cause such assets, interests and liabilities to be transferred to NNPC Limited.

“Assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC not transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiary under subsection 1 of this section shall remain the assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC until they become extinguished or transferred to the government.

Other provisions include the fact that “NNPC shall cease to exist after its remaining assets, interests and liabilities other than its interests, assets, and liabilities transferred to NNPC Limited or its subsidiaries under subsection 1 of this section shall have been extinguished or transferred to the government.”

The bill also proposed the establishment of an agency known as the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission which will be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of upstream petroleum operations.

“There is established the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (the commission) which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal.

“The commission shall have the power to acquire, hold and dispose of property, sue and be sued in its own time. The commission shall be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of upstream petroleum operations.”

The proposed law also recommends the creation of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority .

“There is established the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (the Authority) which is a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal.

It said vested in the Authority the responsibility for the technical and commercial regulation of midstream and downstream petroleum operations in the petroleum industry.”

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Economy

Post COVID-19: FG explores indirect tax, ICT to shore up revenue says Finance minister

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Post COVID-19: FG explores indirect tax, ICT to shore up revenue says Finance minister

The minister of finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed has reiterated the Federal Governments determination to explore all possible avenues including indirect taxation such as ICT driven tax to shore up the country’s revenue.
She spoke when the chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) Abuja and District Society visited on sensitization to mark the tax week.

The minister who spoke through a director in the ministry Fatima Hayatu said because of the experience during the COVID-19 lockdown the tax drive is being redirected to ICT.
“We have all seen from the COVID-19, we were all in Lock down,  but we were using our phones and technology, that is why we are now going to ICT driven tax and we are going to be taxing more of the digital technology.
She said Post COVID-19 indirect taxation is where most of the taxes will be coming from.
“The theme; ‘Tax, Politics and social contract’ is very apt in the present situation, Nigeria needs all the taxes more than before, as a ministry we will give the CITN all the support it needs to carryout it’s basic duties.
Chairman of FCT Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Alhaji Abdullahi Attah said considering the fact that the country is now seriously looking for money and oil is dwindling the next option is taxation.
Speaking through Director Human Resources in FCT IRS Muhammad Jada, he said there is every need to take taxation seriously and ensure that the trust reposed in them is not be betrayed
“It is an important organization and an important week where the trust and the integrity is the key.”

The chairman CITN Abuja district Dr Nwabuzor M. Emeke said they are organising the annual tax week as a week they lay emphasis on tax advocacy and sensitisation.
“This year we have chosen the topic that has to do with tax, politics and Social Contract
What are we trying to say, we are looking at it from two perspectives, and equally encouraging Government to fulfil their own end of the bargain so that when Nigerians see what the Government is doing with the proceeds from tax they would be encouraged to pay taxes.
He said in so doing they CITN Abuja district is organizing a seminar Tuesday at Merit House, where about four eminent professors will speak on issues about taxation. “The issue of tax cannot be over emphasised because we all know what Nigeria is going through in terms of the dwindling oil revenues, so the Government is deploying more efforts on tax issues and that is on your shoulder as FIRS and we as CITN that regulate tax in Nigeria is partnering with you to ensure that you achieve your target that is given to you by the Federal Government.

The chairman of FIRS Muhammed Nami said they attach importance to the Relationship between FIRS and CITN as many directors in FIRS are also members of CITN
Represented by the coordinating director digital support group of the Federal inland Revenue Service Dr. Achek Maidugu he said,
“The CITN is part and parcel of the FIRS, most of us are members with the Abuja and district society.
“FIRS holds CITN in high esteem as critical stakeholder we appreciated and we always identify with CITN.”
He said they have been supporting CITN adding that they will continue the partnership.

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Economy

AEC urges African Govts. to invest in home-made products as post COVID-19 strategy

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AEC urges African Govts. to invest in home-made products as post COVID-19 strategy

By Mustapha Sumaila

The African Economic Congress (AEC) has urged African Governments to invest in home-made products as a means of fast-tracking development as post COVID-19 strategy to recover economy.

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AEC, Mrs Nancy Nnaji said this in a statement in Abuja on Monday.

Nnaji said this suggestion was part of recommendations of various speakers
at the just concluded 2nd Edition of the annual conference held recently by AEC.

The meeting had the theme: “Post COVID-19: Africa in the New Economic Order”.

She said the conference had also recommended that Africans should prioritise research as a tool for sustainable development on the continent.

According to her, Africa is advised to move for self-reliance in the coming years, by harnessing and leveraging its abundant resources both human and materials to drive economic transformation.

She said the meeting noted that agricultural sector was key to Africa’s economic transformation and by developing it, abundant resources could be provided to finance the 2063 African union agenda to curb unemployment, food shortage, malnutrition and extreme poverty.

The founder stated that “Africans are also enjoined to be educated on the technical know-how to improve agriculture on the continent.

“Governments must increase the yearly allocated budget for agriculture and promote private sector engagement to avoid inadequate funding.

“To increase the level of value addition of food exports, there must be an investment in innovation and technology around local processing and infrastructure building.

“There is need for digital literacy skills, critical thinking skills, technical skills, soft skills, entrepreneurial skills, and certification programmes should be incorporated into the learning curriculum in all levels of education to produce self-reliant and employable graduates” she added.

Nnaji also added that the conference advised on the need to improve broadband connectivity to support interactive online learning and teaching. (NAN)

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Hope for border reopening dims as agric minister reiterates indefinite closure

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Hope for border reopening dims as agric reiterates indefinite closure

The Minister of Agriculture, Mohammed Sabo Nanono, has said that the Federal Government was not ready to reopen the borders, so as to boost the country’s agricultural sector.
He stated this, at the flag-off ceremony of the distribution of agricultural inputs to farmers affected by the recent flood in Kebbi State on Saturday.
He said Nigeria borders will remain locked and the key thrown into the lagoon.

He said: “Nigerian farmers have been performing well by producing such food items as rice, millet, guinea corn, and Shea butter, among others. We are not ready to reopen the borders, which is why the Federal Government is ready to support the dry season farming to regain what farmers lost to the flood disaster.”
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Adamu Aliero, supported the continued closure of borders, to encourage the growth of local rice farming.
He commended federal and state governments for supporting flood victims in the state.
The Kebbi State Governor, Senator Atiku Bagudu Abubakar, represented by the Deputy Governor, Col Ismail Yombe Dabai (rtd.), thanked the Federal Government for the kind gesture. He assured me of equal distribution of the items.
He appealed to the Federal Government to increase the quantity of the items, to enable them to go round the affected people.
The items shared included rice, millet, guinea corn, and beans, among others.

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