Saturday, 6 October 2012

PHCN Privatization: Bid winners still under scrutiny

The National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has revealed that companies which won bids for state-owned power generation assets put up for sale or concession would still undergo a “fit and proper” scrutiny. NERC’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Sam Amadi, said the commission is looking into the memorandum submitted by the companies to determine whether the local firms and their foreign partners possess the technical and financial capacity to manage the assets.
The commission’s head also disclosed that they are conducting checks on the individuals involved in the transaction to find out if they are “fit and proper” to run the unbundled companies on behalf of Nigerians. Amadi added that the report would be sent back to the president before the curtain is drawn on the exercise.
Chairman of the Technical Committee of the NCP, Mr. Atedo Peterside, had echoed a similar sentiment during the opening of the financial bids. He cautioned the jubilant representatives of the successful companies to be mindful of the fact that their emergence as preferred bidders was still subject to the approval of NCP and that they could still be denied the opportunity of taking over the companies if they failed to pay their fees or if they were found wanting in documentation during post-bid assessment.

Fuel Subsidy Scam: EFCC Arraigns 13 Oil Marketers

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned eight more directors of oil marketing companies and five oil-marketing and trading firms before the Lagos High Court in Ikeja, for fuel subsidy fraud. Six directors and four companies were arraigned before Justice Habeeb Abiru on eight-count charges bordering on uttering, obtaining and falsifying documents. Two directors and an oil marketing firm were arraigned before Justice Lateefa Okunnu on 18-count charge bordering on uttering, obtaining and falsifying documents.
The directors and the companies arraigned before Justice Abiru separately in batches were Anosyke Group of Companies Ltd, Ifeanyi Anosike, Dell Energy Limited, Emeka Chukwu, Ngozi Ekeoma, Downstream Energy Sources Ltd, Alhaji Adamu Aliyu Maula, Rocky Energy Ltd, George Ogbonna and Emmanuel Morah, being the first batch. The EFCC accused them of fraudulently obtaining N1,537,278,880.82 from the federal government by falsely representing that the said sum represented subsidy accruing from the importation of 15,000 Metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit.
Similarly, also arraigned before Justice Abiru on an eight count charge for the second batch, were Downstream Energy Sources Limited, Alhaji Adamu Aliyu Maula, Rocky Energy Limited, George Ogbonna and Emmanuel Morah. They were also accused of fraudulently obtaining N789,648,329.25 from the federal government by falsely representing that the said sum represented subsidy accruing from the importation of 14,273,0227 litres of Premium Motor Spirit.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

NUPENG, JAF Accuse FG of Plot to Increase Fuel Price

Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Joint Action Front (JAF) have alleged plot by the Federal Government to impose a new price regime for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol. Both groups in separate statements said the current scarcity being experienced across the country had led to a sharp increase in the price of fuel, which currently sells between N110 and N140 per litre as against the official price of N97.
NUPENG berated the Federal Government over its inability to address the scarcity of fuel stating that it could be another strategy by government to introduce deregulation of petroleum products through the back door. The union, in a statement issued by its Acting General Secretary, Mr. Isaac Aberare, argued that the reserve which the NNPC claimed could last for 45 days is a ruse as a litre of fuel now sells for over N110.00 due to persistent scarcity of the product. The union blamed the government for its current scarcity noting that repairs have not been effected at the vandalized pipelines at Arepo Ogun State due to the inability of the security agencies to recover the bodies of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) workers that were killed last month.

MTEF: House recommends $82/barrel oil benchmark

The Joint House Committee on Finance, Legislative Budget and Research, National Planning and Economic Development as well as Loans, Aids and Debt, which is saddled with the responsibility of scrutinizing the 2013-2015 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper has recommended an increase in the crude oil benchmark for the 2013 budget from $75 to $82 per barrel.
It has also slashed the budget deficit for next year from N1.3 trillion to N791.26 billion and is proposing that internal borrowing be reduced from N727.19 billion to N381.25 billion, representing a 52 per cent cut.
The hike of the oil benchmark is expected to increase the federally collectible revenue in 2013 from N7.3 trillion to N7.9 trillion, and will also increase the Federal Government's share of revenue from N3.561 trillion to N4.137 trillion.
In a report presented to the House, the committee observed that the gloomy picture painted by government on the volatility in the global oil market and fears that crude oil prices may crash within the period under review was not realistic. The report addresses modifications to the MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper based on the contributions of members of the House at their meeting. It is also premised on submissions by revenue generating and accounting agencies of government.

Fuel Scarcity: Inter-agency rivalry delays NNPC Vessels

Inter-agency rivalry is said to be delaying the discharge of products from cargoes imported by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Rivalry among NNPC officials, government auditors and regulators, particularly the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is said to be delaying the speedy discharge of the imported fuel.
Officials of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the NNPC, who are involved in fuel importation, have always insisted that as a government establishment that is mandated to end the current fuel crisis, the regulators and auditors should waive certain processes in the clearance of vessels for the corporation. However, the DPR, PPPRA and auditors are said to always insist that NNPC’s cargoes should follow all the same clearance processes that cargoes imported by the private marketers undergo. With the reluctance of the PPMC officials to allow the imported cargoes to undergo the normal processes of clearance, the corporation is always locked in a supremacy battle with other government agencies before its vessels discharge imported products at Apapa Jetty.