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Minister commends IPMAN for reducing hardship by embracing CNG

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The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has commended the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) for reducing the hardship faced by Nigerians since the removal of fuel subsidy by embracing Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

Idris made the remarks when he received the National Executive Committee of IPMAN in his office in Abuja on Thursday for a courtesy visit, said the Federal Government aims to bring down the cost of transportation by over 50 percent through the CNG Initiative.

“In the wake of the removal of fuel subsidy, of course it was expected that the price of PMS will go up. This will in turn affect the transportation cost for Nigerians going to and fro their various places of work.

“The Federal Government immediately thought it wise, in addition to other measures, to introduce the CNG.  The CNG is expected to bring down the cost of transportation by more than 50 percent and I am happy that IPMAN is in the forefront in this vanguard of achieving the CNG Initiative,” he said.

The Minister said President Tinubu’s bold move to remove the fuel subsidy has presented a unique opportunity for organisations like IPMAN to take the lead in shaping the energy landscape in Nigeria.

The Minister said Nigeria as a nation has been looking for alternative ways of bringing down the cost of transportation and the CNG is the surest way to go.

Idris said, already, the Federal Government, in the first instance, has set aside N100 billion for the purchase of CNG buses and the establishment of CNG centres across the country. This, he said, was in addition to the introduction of tax waivers for the importers of CNG kits as well as other investors in the sub-sector.

“You would recall that the Federal Government in the first instance, set aside N100 billion for the purchase of CNG buses and establishment of CNG centres around the country,” he said.

While enlisting the support of IPMAN for the success of President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, the Minister acknowledged them for considering his ministry as well as its agencies as veritable partners in their desire to counter fake news being propagated on the activities of IPMAN.

The Minister bemoaned how fake news has done so much damage to the various fabrics of the society and said there is a ray of hope through the collaboration of his ministry and UNESCO to come up with measures to curb the menace of fake news.

He pledged to give more visibility to the in-house curated programme of the Association tagged “IPMAN Today,” on the various public information agencies under his ministry.

Idris also promised to utilise the 30,000 member structure of IPMAN in the implementation of the value re-orientation programmes encapsulated in the National Value Charter.

In his remarks, the President of IPMAN, Alhaji Abubakar Maigandi Shettima pledged the unalloyed support of the Association for the President’s CNG Initiative and promised to complement government in the green energy programme, which will give a boost to the realization of the Renewed Hope Agenda of the President.

He decried how prices of petroleum products are constantly being manipulated through the spread of fake news and sought the support of the ministry to combat the menace.

Alhaji Shettima said, on their part, IPMAN has come up with a programme tagged “IPMAN Today” – a radio and television programme, which would serve as the authentic source of news on the activities of the Association.

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NEITI to publish 2022-2023 reports September — Executive Secretary

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By Matthew Denis

The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji has disclosed that the agency is prepared to publish the 2022-2023 reports by September, 2024.

He made the disclosure during the inauguration of the Inter-ministerial Tasks Team (IMTT) held in Abuja on Monday.

The Executive Secretary said, “I feel most honoured and fulfilled today at the opportunity to inaugurate and re-invigorate the Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) of NEITI.

“The IMTT as it is popularly known is a very important aspect of the EITI process in Nigeria, being a decision made by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) after the release of the first NEITI oil and gas report that covered years 1999-2004.

“The essence of this task team is to study very carefully each NEITI industry report of the Oil, Gas and Solid minerals sectors as well as the Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement (FASD) report, map out the key findings and recommendations in these reports and identify the agencies that are responsible, to carry out the remedial actions as recommended by the Independent Administrators.”

The NEITI Boss stressed that the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) also known as the Board of NEITI has expanded the Inter-Ministerial Task Team -IMTT to serve as the forum for both remediation and government engagements. The IMTT is to be chaired by the office of the SGF.

He said, “Let me use this opportunity to announce that today we have a NEITI National Stakeholders Working Group in place, it was inaugurated last week by the President with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation as the Chairman.

“The IMTT is also expected to map out strategies that will track and report on the progress made towards the implementation of the findings and recommendations in the NEITI reports.”

The CEO posited that “The objective is to ensure that NEITI does not just publish reports that gather dust on the shelves of the agency, but that the findings of these reports help to deepen government oversight and reform of the oil, gas and mining sectors for productivity, transparency and accountability in a manner that provides the greatest good for the greatest number of Nigerians who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the natural resources endowed in the country.

“Your assemblage today is a reunion from what we established in the past. NEITI has envisaged that the reforms that are taking place in Nigeria’s extractive sector especially, the implementation of the Solid Minerals Roadmap and the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) would have taken over the work of the IMTT, but recent developments have clearly shown that the IMTT has come to stay and remains relevant due to its unique composition and responsibility.”

He noted that “The last EITI validation and the recent international mission conducted by the EITI in Nigeria, equally identified the need for the IMTT and reinforced NEITI’s position that the task team should be invigorated and strengthened to help oversee the implementation of NEITI reports recommendations.”

Dr. Orji emphasised that NEITI is “therefore convinced that the IMTT framework is better positioned to meet the challenges identified in the governance framework that has been put in place for the extractive sector.”

“NEITI is also of the view that the achievements and impacts it has recorded in the sector will be tracked and documented under the framework of the IMTT. This is against the background that the IMTT structure will support in tracking and measurement of where we are, where we should be and how we could get there.”

According to him, “The progress and traction we gain in implementing these recommendations is expected to feed into key government policies, goals and impact in the ongoing reforms under the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration and the 2023 EITI Standard.

“NEITI has also since commenced the conduct of its 2022/2023 industry reports of the Oil, Gas and Solid Minerals sector. Our scope of coverage is very wide and the outcome of this very important industry report covering companies doing business in both sectors will be very insightful for the government, the legislature, the civil society and the international development partners as well as investors interested in investing in Nigeria’s extractive sector.

“Transparency and accountability of transactions and operations of the sector are key to making investment decisions concerning the sector. The EITI report globally and NEITI reports in Nigeria have constituted a very important benchmark for measuring adherence to the noble ideals across the globe.”

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LASG set to launch 15 commercial ferries, unveils transport policy

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The Lagos State Government is set to launch 15 commercial ferries in line with its mandate to provide effective transport mode options and improve commuting within the metropolis.

Speaking at the unveiling of the Lagos Transportation Policy, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu ably represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat called it a monumental stride on the part of his administration towards providing a dependable alternative for lagosians.

Mr. Governor explained that the newly purchased ferries have the capacity to convey 40 passengers and will in addition to the existing fleet enhance accessibility and provide convenience by decongesting the road networks further.

Speaking on the Transport Policy, The Governor explained that the Policy will provide the foundation on which the state will improve the livability Index of the state by ensuring that commuting is seamless and hitch free.

Commending the efforts of all and sundry who contributed to the development of the policy document, Mr. Governor assured Lagosians that the state government had deployed all that is necessary to create an all-inclusive, robust transport system as part of its unwavering dedication to providing the citizenry with a safer, more efficient and sustainable environment.

Also speaking at the event, the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Oluwaseun Osiyemi said that the policy was crafted through extensive consultation with stakeholders, experts, and citizens, demonstrating the State’s commitment to innovation, efficiency, and inclusivity in all aspects of transportation planning and management.

He further stated that the policy is proof of the State Government’s commitment to a future where transportation is no longer a barrier but a facilitator of progress and prosperity.

The Special Adviser, Hon. Sola Giwa in his goodwill message, also encouraged all Government Agencies, Private Sector stakeholders and the public to embrace the policy to achieve a transport system that reflects the innovative nature of the state and support its economic aspirations.

In his review, Dr. Adegboyega Banjo said the policy for the transport sector of Lagos State is the outcome of a process over several years involving a robust technical assessment of the current situation of the transportation sector and extensive consultations on the assessment findings.

He said the state transport system’s overarching objective is to be a sustainable transport system that is integrated, safe, environmentally friendly and anchored on a progressive and competitive market economy. He added that the policy identifies various transport issues that need to be addressed and generates policy options for addressing them.

The event was attended by dignitaries across the Federation, members of the Academia and Transportation Unions operational within the State.

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Financial autonomy for local governments will be a game changer — Dosunmu

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By Seun Ibiyemi

The proposal by the Federal Government to grant full Autonomy to the local governments in Nigeria is a welcome development and long overdue.

In a statement made available to NewsDirect, Public Policy Expert, Dr Ade Dosunmu, MON commended the Federal government whose Attorney General Of The Federation, Lateef Fagbemi SAN for approaching the Supreme Court to pursue this landmark initiative.

He said, “There is no doubt that our Democratic journey has been very slow due to lack of Autonomy for the third tier of government as practised in other Democratic climes.

“The office of the Attorney General Of The Federation should however, bear in mind the ambiguity in the 4th schedule and section 7 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which recognised local governments as the third tier of government but also in a contradictory manner gives some functions to State Government and Houses of Assembly with regards to Local Government Administration.

“This and other contradictory clauses need to be amended to reflect the complete financial and Administrative autonomy as it’s being operated in other federal systems.”

Dosunmu commended the leadership of president Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR for this bold step and urged him to go all out to break this jinx by removing the clog in the wheel of development and progress.

“You can imagine the impact that will be created if 774 local governments are independent and free from the apron spring of the state governments. Nigerians will immediately start enjoying the dividends of democracy directly across the country in all the 774 Local Governments and also have a say in determining the Political leadership at their Local Governments.

“The fact that every Nigerian lives in a local Government underscores the strategic importance of granting full  autonomy to the Local Governments. The benefit of this initiative is huge and should be supported by all well-meaning Nigerians.

“The important benefit of this initiative is that it will attract more quality personalities to take part in the running of Local Governments and reduce the emphasis on the State and Federal Governments thereby widening the space for political inclusiveness. This will invariably reduce the burden on Federal and State Governments allowing them to focus on broader policy issues.

“Other benefits of Local Governments autonomy includes the power to govern and make decisions independently which can lead to efficient service delivery, it will also foster transparency and accountability as Local Governments will be responsible for their decisions, finances and actions leading to better governance. It will strengthen our democratic institutions by ensuring a more equitable distribution of power and resources.”

He added that Local Governments being the closest to the people are in a better position to understand the needs of their community and provide the same.

“Granting full autonomy to local governments in Nigeria will lead to better governance, increased citizens participation, improved service delivery, and accelerate development at the grassroots level. This is no doubt the way to go in our determination to achieve good governance and development,” he said.

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