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PIB: Gov Diri seeks resolution of ambiguity in provisions for host communities

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Gov.-Douye-Diri
Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa
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Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa has called for clarity in the definition of host communities in the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to avoid potential conflicts.

The bill, which was passed into law recently by the senate, is the first in a series of long awaited petroleum industry laws designed to reform the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

The PIB is an omnibus law, meant to regulate the entire sphere of the industry and repeal all current existing oil and gas legislation.

It struggled to see the light of day in spite of its introduction to the National Assembly over 16 years ago.

Diri, who spoke on a Channel’s Television breakfast current affairs programme  said that three per cent of oil revenue for host communities who suffered devastating effects of exploration and exploitation activities was grossly inadequate and called for an upward review.

He said that prior to Monday’s meeting of the southern states governors in Lagos, the states had been in consultation with relevant stakeholders on their position, which he said was a minimum of 10 per cent of oil revenue to oil producing communities.

According to him, it is unacceptable that a provision of 30 per cent profit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was inserted in the controversial bill for “frontier exploration” in areas that were not clearly specified.

Diri frowned at the definition of oil producing communities and host communities to include areas where pipelines were laid.

He called for a reversal of such proposal, saying it was a time bomb that if not properly addressed, could create avoidable crises.

The governor restated his commitment and that of his colleagues in the Southern Governors Forum to continuous dialogue to resolve issues that bordered on challenges faced by oil producing communities and states.

Responding to a question on open grazing, Diri described cattle rearing as a private business that the states had power to regulate, stressing that there was no going back on the ban of open grazing in Bayelsa, which he said was no longer sustainable.

 

 

 

He stated that the ban was in force in the state since he assented to the bill on March 11, 2021.

On the issue of the governors’ resolve that the president of the country should emerge from the South in 2023, he said although it was a political decision that required consultations and lobby, a president of Southern extraction in the next election would encourage peaceful coexistence.

“Governors did not wait until now to speak on the PIB. Speaking on behalf of my state, we had a position and it was made very clear during the public hearings.

“It is unthinkable and total injustice to allot three per cent to oil producing communities. We stated our position of 10 per cent.

“The definition of host communities or oil producing communities is also worrisome.

“Oil producing communities should not be where pipelines are laid. If the issue of what an oil producing community is, is not addressed, it is a time bomb that can explode.

“The issue of cattle grazing is a commercial, private activity. I do not see why we needed anybody’s opinion to regulate a private activity.

“We have a duty to protect our people. That is why we have state assemblies. In Bayelsa, it already came into effect since March 11, 2021. Open grazing is no longer sustainable. We need to stop it.

“On the issue of Southern presidency, the governors will have to engage in lobby.

“But it is only natural justice for the south to produce the president after President Buhari’s eight years. It is not constitutional but a gentleman’s agreement to encourage cohesion and peaceful coexistence,” Diri said.

Diri said although COVID-19 slowed things down globally, his administration had made appreciable progress in road and infrastructure development, urban renewal of the state capital, Yenagoa, as well as in ensuring peace, unity and reconciliation within the last 16 months of being in office.

He assured that his administration was committed to development of every sector of the state’s economy and called for support from Bayelsa people.

(NAN)

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SON insist on international best practices, set-up committee to audit, certify education sector

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In ensuring that educational management system in the country deliver on their mandate of impacting knowledge and skills, the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) has inaugurated national technical committee for adoption and certification of education management standards.

At the inauguration in Abuja, Farouk Salim, Director General of SON, said one of the challenges facing Nigeria has been international standards both in products and services delivery, which is why the organisation is aligning to best international practice.

“One of SON mandate is to support all businesses in determining quality of products/services using ; standardization, certifications and quality assurance. As such our decision to adopt this international standard on educational organizations management system ISO 21001:2018 is apt at this time when we have opened our borders to all forms of trade with other African countries.

“It is important that we promote and sustain our learning institutions by ensuring that the services that are provided in our schools meet the needs of learners, promote equal opportunities for all students and earn the confidence and approval of learners’ sponsors in order to contribute their quota to national growth and development,” he said.

Salim, represented by Engr. Timothy Abner, Director Training services at the SON added that although government is doing a lot to upgrade the standard of products and the education sector, he however also noted there should be additional effort of adopting and establishing this international best practice will assist Nigeria to always deliver globally recognized services and products in different sectors of the economy.

The Committee is to draw up requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of educational organizations management systems.

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Senate summons CBN Governor over naira fall

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…proceeds on annual recess till Sept. 20 
The Senate, on Wednesday, resolved to summon the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to educate and inform senators in a closed session on the reasons for the rapid depreciation of the value of the naira.
It also mandated the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions to assess the impact of CBN intervention funds meant to support critical sectors of the economy.
The resolutions were reached by lawmakers after the upper chamber considered a motion sponsored by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (APC – Ekiti North).
The motion was entitled, “State of CBN Intervention Funds and Free Fall Of Naira.”
Coming under Order 41 and 51 of the Senate Standing Order, as amended, Adetunmbi bemoaned Nigeria’s economic reality amid an urgent call for “extraordinary measures”.
He noted that the CBN through its numerous multi-sectoral intervention funds, provided special funds to support critical sectors of the economy.
He explained that in view of such interventions, it had become necessary to assess the state of implementation and effectiveness of the funds deployed for the purpose.
The lawmaker, recalled that the CBN in 2021, placed an indefinite halt on forex bidding by Bureau de Change operators (BDCS) and importers over allegations of abuse and mismanagement.
He observed that the halt by the CBN resulted in a spike of the exchange rate.
According to Adetunmbi, “the two instruments of Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) and Business Travel Allowance (BTA) could only serve less than 20% of the total forex demand by travelers and businesses.”
He expressed worry that the import and export window meant to serve the forex needs of business giants, “has become a rare opportunity that only a privileged few can access.”
“These and a number of others have contributed to the excessive scarcity of forex in Nigeria today”, he added.
He noted that as at the 26th of July 2022 (yesterday), the exchange rate in the autonomous segment (BDCS) of the foreign exchange market is N670 to 1 United States Dollar and projected to end at N1000 by end of the year based on the current rate of depreciation.
He, therefore, advised the Central Bank to take new measures to curb forex scarcity and address the sliding rate of Naira exchange.
In his contribution, Senator Sani Musa (APC – Niger East), faulted the Central Bank’s decision to halt foreign exchange biddings, thereby cutting off the parallel market – Bureau de change operators.
According to him, the attempt by the CBN to control the value of the naira with the continuous exclusion of BDCs would only lead to its further depreciation.
He, therefore, advised the apex bank to rather ensure the regulation and monitoring of the parallel market.
“What CBN used to do was to give out $10,000 (USD) to each of these BDCs with a clear directive for it not to be sold above N470 as against the $419 exchange rate. It worked.
“But today, nobody is determining where the rate is going and I can assure you we can’t have that solution because we are only importing”, he said.
On his part, Senator representing Katsina North District, Senator Ahmad Babba-Kaita, said one way to improve the value of the naira was to encourage foreign investments to attract inflow of other currencies into Nigeria.
“The only way we can access the dollar will be determined by other economies and not ours”, he noted.
He, however, attributed the lack of foreign investments into Nigeria on the poor security situation caused by banditry, terrorism and other criminal activities.
The Senate, in its resolutions, called on the CBN to urgently intervene to stop the rapid decline in the value of the Naira vis-à-vis the Dollar and other international currencies.
It also mandated the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions to conduct an assessment of CBN intervention funds and the declining value of Naira to come up with sustainable solutions.
The Senate, at the end of Wednesday’s proceedings, adjourned plenary till September 20th, 2022, for its annual recess.
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Buhari seeks Senate’s nod on four re-appointed nominees as Directors of CBN board

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CBN Headquarters Abuja
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The Senate, on Tuesday, received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari, to confirm the re-appointment of four nominees as Non-Executive Directors of the Board of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The request was contained in a latter dated 21st July, 2022, and read at the start of plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

The President, in the letter, explained that the request to confirm the nominees was made in accordance with Section 10(3)(a) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act 2007.

The nominees for confirmation include: Prof. Mike Idiahi Obadan (South South), Prof. Justitia Odinakachukwu Nnabuko (South East), Prof. Ummu Ahmed Jalingo (North East), and Mr. Adeola Adetunji (South West).

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