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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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Otedola buys a 2.22% additional stake in First Bank Holdings

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Nigerian billionaire, Femi Otedola, the Chairman of First Bank Holdings, has acquired an additional 2.22 per cent stake in First Bank.

This was disclosed in a corporate filing on the Nigerian Exchange Group on Monday.

The development comes barely four days after Otedola regained his position as the majority shareholder of First Bank after acquiring N18.9 billion worth of the group’s shares on the Nigerian Exchange on Thursday.

Otedola acquired 316,506,776 shares at a share price of N21.91 each, amounting to N6.935 billion and 546,674,034 shares at N21.97 each, amounting to N12.01 billion, through his holding company, Calvados Global Services Limited.

Earlier, FBN announced the appointment of Olusegun Alebiosu as its substantive Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

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Seafarer: Oyetola leads ITF, Minister, NIMASA DG, others for commemoration in Lagos

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By Seun Ibiyemi

All is set for Nigeria to join other nations across the globe in celebrating the Day of the Seafarer 2024.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, and his counterpart Minister of State, Labour and Productivity, Honourable Nkeiruka Onyejeocha will be leading other dignitaries including the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr Dayo Mobereola and the head ITF seafarer’s Trust Fund Katie Higginbottom to the commemoration scheduled to take place in Lagos.

Speaking ahead of the event, Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dayo Mobereola urged Nigerians to participate in this year’s celebrations adding that the use of #SafetyTipsAtSea on all social media platforms will ensure adequate exposure to Nigeria’s celebration of the Seafarers day in line with the Theme of the IMO.

In his words: “Seafarers are the unsung heroes of our global economy, I will even describe them as the lifeblood of international trade, they sacrifice a lot for humanity’s existence as they leave their families for months for our sake.

“Let us celebrate their resilience, dedication, and the invaluable role they play in our world. This day belongs to them, let us use the Hashtag #SafetyTipsAtSea for all our social media posts so that Nigerian Seafarers will feel appreciated,” he stated.

The 2024 commemoration is another way of bringing to the fore the importance of Seafarers as essential workers and the IMO has set this date specifically for the celebration of these special occupations.

This year’s theme also aligns with the Agency’s drive to protect Nigerian seafarers and create more opportunities for those willing to take a career in seafaring.

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Access Bank Ghana posts impressive growth in income, assets

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Access Bank Ghana Plc held its 16th Annual General Meeting (AGM) at its head office, marking a year of exceptional performance and growth. The Board Chairperson of Access Bank (Ghana) Plc, Ms. Ama S. Bawuah, presented the financial statements, highlighting the Bank’s impressive performance despite the challenging macroeconomic environment.

Access Bank Ghana’s total assets grew to 22.3 per cent, from GHS 10.057 billion to GHS 12.30 billion, while operating income increased by 40 per cent from GHS1.150 billion to GHS 1.613 billion. The Bank’s Loans and Advances rose by 42.81 per cent.

Ms. Bawuah said, “In 2023, Ghana’s economy was characterised by macroeconomic instability, escalating inflation, and dwindling investor confidence stemming from both domestic imbalances and external pressures. Against the backdrop of global and national economic uncertainties, I am pleased to share that your bank successfully applied valuable insights and industry best practices to achieve substantial growth across key areas in the past year.”

“These achievements underscore our steadfast dedication to navigating challenges and fostering sustainable growth, reaffirming our pledge to serve you with excellence and integrity,” Bawuah added.

Access Bank’s commitment to expansion, innovation, and customer convenience was also showcased, with the implementation of several digital products and services such as the virtual relationship management (VRM) tool to augment customer service support.  The Bank also established priority desks to cater to a specific demographic and facilitate the smooth running of business in those areas. These include the Chinese, German, Lebanese, French, and Turkish desks.

Olumide Olatunji, Managing Director, Access Bank Ghana Plc, reiterated the Bank’s resilience and stability. “Despite the prevailing uncertainties, Access Bank maintained a robust performance across key financial metrics, a testament to our prudent financial management and unwavering dedication to our mission. We observed substantial growth in deposits, surging from GHS7.399 billion to GHS9.130 billion, marking a notable 23 per cent increase.”

He added that the Bank achieved a remarkable turnaround by resuming tax remittances to the government. This reversal from a negative contribution of GHS102 million to an impressive 509 per cent increase to GHS419 million underscores our commitment to fiscal responsibility and sustained growth. Concurrently, shareholders’ funds experienced substantial growth, from GHS1.014 billion to GHS1.403 billion, attributed to the transformative strategies implemented in the Bank’s business management practice.

Olatunji thanked shareholders for their support and emphasised the Bank’s commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction. “We are proud of our achievements and recognise the trust our customers and shareholders have placed in us. We will continue to innovate, expand our reach, and support Ghana’s economic growth,” he noted.

Mr. Sampson Ashong, the General Secretary of the shareholders praised the Bank’s performance and initiatives citing its resilience and growth potential. “I am thoroughly impressed with the bank’s commitment to sustainability initiatives and employee capacity building. The dedication to creating a positive impact on the environment and society, while investing in the growth and development of their staff is truly commendable. This is evidence that Access Bank is not just focused on financial returns, but also on making a positive difference in the world,” he said.

Shareholders approved all resolutions on the agenda, which included among other things, also saw the re-election of the members of the Board of Directors and one retirement.

The event was a celebration of the Bank’s dedication to its stakeholders and its contribution to Ghana’s financial landscape. As Access Bank Ghana continues to grow and expand its operations, it remains committed to promoting financial inclusion and supporting the country’s economic development.

Since 2009, Access Bank Ghana has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainable business practices driving profitable, sustainable growth that is environmentally responsible and socially relevant. These have contributed to the Bank being recognised with various awards in 2023. These include the 2023 Best Bank by Euromoney Awards, Best Retail Bank by Global Brands Awards, Best Digital Bank in Ghana by Digital Banker Africa Awards; and Best SME Banking and Best Bank for CSR by Euromoney Awards.

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