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Kyari, Elumelu tap electricity generation as key driver of Nigeria’s industrialisation future

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…As FG moves to present bill to end Ways and Means

The Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.), Mr. Mele Kyari and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Mr Tony Elumelu have tapped electricity generation as a key driver of Nigeria’s industrialisation drive.

Elumelu spoke while delivering a keynote address at the inaugural Public Wealth Management Conference organized by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) in Abuja yesterday.

Delivering a keynote address, Elumelu narrated thus: “In 2010, following my retirement as the CEO of UBA, and in looking for new opportunities and ventures, the Heirs Holdings Group, my family’s investment firm acquired Transcorp Plc.”

“At the time, Transcorp was formed to lead the industrialisation of Nigeria.The only asset Transcorp Group had back then was this hotel in which we are all gathered today.

“Today, Transcorp plays in the hospitality, power (both in generation and distribution) and in the oil & gas sectors.

“In Power, we acquired the 972MW gas-fired Ughelli Power Plant and ramped up its generation from 160MW to 701MW within four years of taking over the plant.

“Our Ughelli Power Plant is the first privatised Power Company to be discharged from post- privatisation monitoring having surpassed all set targets by the BPE and the National Council on Privatisation.

“Transcorp Hotels has also been issued a Certificate of Discharge by the National Council on Privatisation.

“We are confident that once we fix the issues of gas supply in Nigeria, we will be able to generate enough electricity to significantly power our country’s industrialisation,” he said.

Elumelu went on further to admonish the MOFI management to assemble the best in the industry who possess a turnaround mindset to transform the state assets and set performance targets for them.

He added that MOFI must build a strong governance structure including a strong board with seasoned private sector professionals and an empowered executive management team.

Elumelu also recommended bringing a private sector mindset to the stewardship of public assets.

“There is no rush to see immediate profits; we must have that mindset if we are to fully unlock the value contained within these state-owned assets.

“First set the strategic intent, prepare the milestones, know how you will be judged, and then execute, execute, execute – with discipline and always with that strategic intent in focus,” Elumelu remarked.

Delivering a presentation at the conference, NNPC Ltd GCEO, Mele Kolo Kyari noted that all other wealth-creating activities, such as agriculture; rely heavily on one form of energy or the other to thrive.

He emphasised that no public wealth creation endeavour can achieve any meaningful success without energy security.

“If you don’t have energy, you don’t have agriculture. You can do all the agriculture, but you can’t take it to the market, you may not be able to preserve it, you can’t even export it. So, all those indices are clearly connected to the ability to create energy.”

He disclosed that Nigeria has a huge energy deficit, with about 70 percent of the population lacking access to clean cooking fuel and over 50 percent lacking access to electricity.

He listed some of the impediments to the achievement of energy security in Nigeria, to include lack of investment in the energy sector due to uncertainty in the business environment and multiple taxation, adding that in the last 10 years, less than 3 percent of the total investment flow into Africa came into Nigeria.

He, however, assured that NNPC Ltd. was working hard to lay the foundation for sustainable wealth creation by filling the energy deficit gap, stressing that the company’s growth trajectory from a loss position of N803 billion in 2018 to N2.5 trillion in 2022 was a testimony to the abundant potential of NNPC Ltd. to lead the process of wealth creation in the country.

He emphasised that despite the challenges, NNPC Ltd. is still the highest tax-paying corporate entity in Nigeria.

Delivering his remarks, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Mr Wale Edun disclosed that a bill will soon be presented to the National Assembly that will authorise the removal of all taxes and levies that constitute nuisance from the country’s tax system as a measure to wean itself from future Ways and Means indebtedness.

Edun noted that the government will pursue policies that will allow it to harvest revenue in real-time from government-owned enterprises and Corporate entities.

He said, “We have to stem liquidity. The Central Bank has led the way in pointing out that the ways and means have to be tailed down and eliminated and that is what we agree with.

“We are going in that direction, there was an inherited amount of N22.7 trn in backlogs. We are auditing it and it is like when I am ready to pay a loan from a bank and I ask for an audit before finding the agreed sum to pay.

“But apart from that, how do you get your ways and means down? We have to get revenues up and expenditure reduced as much as possible,” he said.

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Ogun Assembly passes Assembly Commission Amendment bill

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The Ogun House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the State House of Assembly Service Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

The passage of the bill followed  presentation of the Committee’s report by the Chairman, House Committee on Establishments and Public Service Matters, Mr Babatunde Tella at plenary in Abeokuta.

Tella moved the motion for its adoption, seconded by Mr Adeyanju Adegoke and supported by all the members.

The bill was later read and adopted clause by clause before the Committee of Whole.

The Majority Leader, Mr Yusuf Sheriff, moved the motion for the third reading of the bill, seconded by the Minority Leader, Mr Lukmon Adeleye and supported by the Whole House through a unanimous voice vote.

Consequently, the Deputy Clerk of the House, Mrs Funmilayo Adeyemi, took the third reading of the bill before the lawmakers.

The Speaker, Mr Oludaisi Elemide, directed that the clean copy of the bill be forwarded to Gov. Dapo Abiodun for his assent.

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Abuja court gives EFCC go-ahead to arrest ex-Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered that a warrant be issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for immediate arrest of former Governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling on EFCC’s ex-parte motion, held that after listening to the submission of commission’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, and reading the affidavit in support of the motion, including the exhibits and written address, he was inclined to grant the application.

It was earlier reported that a High Court sitting in Lokoja on Wednesday, restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining and prosecuting Bello

Justice I.A Jamil, who gave the order in a two-hour judgment delivered in suit no HCL/68/M/2020, held that infringing on Bello’s “fundamental human rights is null and void.”

The judge, who dismissed the commission’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court, said: “By this order, the EFCC is hereby restrained from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicant.

“This is a definite order following the earlier interim injunction given.”

However, in a ruling delivered by Justice Nwite on Wednesday, the judge ordered that a warrant be issued to the commission for Bello’s immediate arrest.

He also directed that the former governor be produced before the court on April 18 for arraignment.

“It is hereby ordered as follows:

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made directing and/or issuing a warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.

“That case is adjourned to 18th day of April, 2024 for arraignment,” he declared.

NAN reports that the EFCC, in the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024 dated April 16 and filed April 17, sought six orders.

These include “an order granting leave to the complainant/applicant to effect service of the charge together with the proof of evidence on the defendant by substituted means to wit; by pasting the charge at the last known address of the defendant within the jurisdiction of this honourable court being: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

“An order directing and/or issuing an arrest warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.”

In the alternative, the anti-graft agency sought an order issuing and directing the publishing of a public summons requiring/ commanding the defendant to appear before the court on a named date, among others.

The conflicting orders came after the EFCC had appealed against the initial order, and the appeal was scheduled for hearing on April 22 in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024 between EFCC and Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

The Yahaya Bello Media Office had, in a statement signed by Onogwu Mohammed, alerted the nation to a siege on the former Governor’s Abuja residence.

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Zulum approves N1.3bn scholarship for 997 nursing, midwifery students

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Gov. Babagana Zulum, of Borno has approved the release of N1.3billion as scholarship for 997 nursing and midwifery students from the state.

Zulum stated this on Wednesday while inaugurating the scholarship programme at the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Maiduguri.

He said that out of the 1,080 nominations, 40 from each of the 27 local government areas of the state, 997 qualified to benefit from the scholarship.

He also announced that the 997 beneficiaries of the scholarship would receive automatic employment after graduation.

The governor said that the support was to encourage the students to complete their studies so as to bridge the workforce demand in the state’s healthcare system.

“The government has allocated  N1,305,189,000 for scholarship, with a breakdown of N124,149,000 earmarked for tuition fees, the remaining N1,181,040,000 will be disbursed as monthly stipend of N30,000 to each beneficiary throughout their studies,” Zulum said.

He added that N201 million bursary allowance would be given to 2,010 nursing and midwifery students who did not benefited from the scholarship, and directed that each of them should receive N100,000.

Zulum, who stated that ongoing construction of two colleges of nursing would be completed this year, inaugurated a lecture theatre complex and a 3,000-capacity multipurpose hall at the college.

Earlier, Lawan Wakilbe, the Commissioner for Education, said that the government had approved over N6 billion scholarship, out of which about N2.7 billion was disbursed to students from the state studying in higher institutions across the country.

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