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We don’t have records of N7.5bn ‘secret withdrawal’, Ministry of Finance Tells Senate

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The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, on Tuesday, said it is not in possession of documents on the alleged ‘secret withdrawal’ of N7.5 billion from the account of National Automotive Council Design and Development Council (NADDC).

The ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Aliyu Ahmed, disclosed this while appearing before members of Senate Committee on Public Accounts.

The panel had summoned the officials of the Finance ministry, Office of Accountant-General of the Federation and Office of National Security Adviser to give explanation on alleged “secret withdrawal of N7.5 billion from the 2 percent NADDC Levy Account domiciled with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Speaking on behalf of Permanent Secretary, a Director in the ministry, Mr Teslim Akintoye, said: “We don’t have any document to show for that transaction.”

His submission did not go down well with member of the Senate panel, whose chair, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, countered that the approval for the withdrawal was done in the ministry.

The Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Hassan Hadejia asked, “are you telling us that no document in the Ministry to show for it, everything emanated from your Ministry.”

“You don’t appear before Senate when you don’t have anything to say,” the chairman, Urhoghide added.

The Office of Accountant General of Federation however confirmed that the money in question was released and it going to be recovered through budgetary process.

It, however, failed to present the list of beneficiaries of the fund in question a part was earmarked for car loans to Security Officers.

After heated debate, the Committee resolved to dig deeper into the fund.

“We are going to dig deeper into the matter. We have to give ample time into this matter. We must do proper status on it to let Nigerians know what is going on. We want to see what the president is going to do about this colossal fraud,” the chairman said.

The query had said, “A total sum of N3,836,000,000.00 (Three billion, eight hundred and thirty-six million naira) was irregularly withdrawn from the 2% National Automotive Council Levy Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja in 2 installments of N2,800,000,000 (in 2005) and N1,036,000,000.00 (in 2006) by the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Finance as car loan to be granted for the Security Personnel Car Purchase Scheme Loan.

“The transaction was carried out by the Presidency in collaboration with the Bank of Industry, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Accountant-General of the Federation without the involvement of NAC, the account owner.

“However the principal and the accrued interest from the fictitious loan have not been paid back nor are records available on the beneficiaries, agreement documents, moratorium, duration of the loan, the yearly interest rates accruable and how the fund will be paid back by the beneficiary.

“The Director General has been requested to intensify correspondence with the Honourable Minister of Finance, Accountant-General of the Federation and the Presidency to recover the fund (‘loan’)

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Business & Economy

Senate To Probe CBN’s Anchor Borrowers, Ways And Means

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Nigerian Senate
Nigerian Senate
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The Senate on Tuesday, resolved to further investigate N10trn Anchor Borrowers’ Programme by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as well as accountability in the Ways and Means loans by the Apex Bank.

The Red Chamber said the move was to plug loopholes in future development finance activities of the CBN.

The Senate resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the details of the Ways and Means, including the various intervention programmes such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, monies given to state governments, manufacturers, aviation, banks, excess funding in the power sector, amongst others which raised the current debt profile of the country.

This was part of resolutions of the Senate after a debate over the report of the National Assembly Joint Committees on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions (BIOFI), Finance, National Planning, Agriculture and Appropriation on the state of the economy.

On the compliance and transparency of economic actions, the Senate equally resolved that the CBN ensured compliance with the provisions of the Act in respect of Ways and Means and accountability through timely submission of its budget, financial statements and report of its activities to the President and National Assembly as stipulated in the Act.

In an extensive debate, Senator Adamu Aliero argued that some state governors, including some retired ones in the Senate, were beneficiaries of N18bn as shock absorbers under the Ways and Means since 2015.

Some lawmakers suggested that a special committee be set up to scrutinize the N30trn intervention disbursements (some of which were grants) and ways to mop them up.

Deputy Senate President Barau Jibrin also explained that the intervention monies were expended outside appropriation without the knowledge of the parliament and noted that lawmakers have a right to interrogate the expenditure.

Senator Victor Umeh, however, deferred, as he enquired to know how the money was spent before approval by the Senate. The issue of whether or not to investigate the matter raised another furore in the Red Chamber.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio thereafter maintained that owing to the current economic situation, it has become expedient to thoroughly examine the Ways and Means funds.

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Oil marketers get approval to sell Dangote fuel

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Aliko Dangote
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The seven major oil marketers in Nigeria have registered with the Dangote Petroleum Refinery for the lifting and distribution of refined petroleum products produced by the $20bn plant.

Dealers under the aegis of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria confirmed on Sunday that with the registration, they would commence the distribution of fuel produced from the facility once the commercial terms are sorted.

This came as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria also revealed that they would meet with the management of the Dangote refinery this week to discuss terms of product loading.

Similarly, the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria stated that PETROAN had been engaging the management of the multi-billion dollar refinery for the supply of products from the facility.

As IPMAN and PETROAN engage the refinery, major marketers who are members of MOMAN have already registered with the plant and are set to start buying products.

The seven major marketers include 11 Plc, Conoil Plc, Ardova Plc, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, OVH Energy Marketing Limited, Total Nigeria Plc and NNPC Retail.

Last Friday, the Dangote Petroleum Refinery announced the commencement of production of Automotive Gas Oil, also known as diesel, and JetA1 or aviation fuel.

The President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, had in a statement issued by the firm, thanked President Bola Tinubu for his support, encouragement, and thoughtful advice towards the actualisation of the project.

He also thanked the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, and Nigerians for their support and belief in the historic project.

“We have started the production of diesel and aviation fuel, and the products will be in the market within this month once we receive regulatory approvals. This is a big day for Nigeria. We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone.

“This is an important achievement for our country as it demonstrates our ability to develop and deliver large capital projects. This is a game changer for our country, and I am very fulfilled with the actualisation of this project,” Dangote stated.

The refinery, located in Lagos, has so far received six million barrels of crude oil at its two SPMs located 25km from the shore. The first crude delivery was done on December 12, 2023, and the 6th cargo was delivered on January 8, 2024.

The refinery can load 2,900 trucks a day at its truck-loading gantries. The products from the refinery will conform to Euro V specifications, according to the firm.

“The refinery design complies with the World Bank, US EPA, European emission norms, and Department of Petroleum Resources emission/effluent norms, employing state-of-the-art technology,” the company stated.

The Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemical Project, a subsidiary of Dangote Industries Limited, is a 650,000 barrels per day crude oil refinery, located in Dangote Industries Free Zone, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria.

The Dangote Petroleum Refinery is an industrial plant that transforms crude oil into various usable petroleum products such as diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, and kerosene.

Dangote Petroleum Refinery with a capacity to refine 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day covers an area of approximately 2,635 hectares in the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos.

When contacted and asked whether major oil marketers would be involved in the lifting of refined products from the Dangote refinery, or whether the facility would distribute the fuel itself, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, MOMAN, Clement Isong, replied, “I confirm that we (major marketers) have met with him (Dangote).

According to Isong, all MOMAN members have registered with Dangote Petroleum Refinery to become marketers of its products

Punch

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Senate Gives Kyari, NUPRC Boss 24 Hours To Appear For Budget Defense

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Mele Kyari
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The Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, on Wednesday, directed the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, to appear before the committee in 24 hours.

Olamilekan, who asked Kyari to appear in company of the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), warned that failure to appear undermines the legislature and sabotages the process.

They are required to present the list of all individual companies operating with OML licenses in Nigeria as well as total production output approved on a daily basis.

The lawmaker expressed concerns that some of the revenues required to drive the 2024 budget was attributed to the NNPCL, which according to him, was owned by the Federal Government and responsible to it, and by extension the three arms of government.

The NNPCL, had earlier shunned for a second time, summons by the Senate to appear before its committee probing over N11trn expenditure on turn around maintenance of refineries in the country between 2010 and 2023.

The absence of Kyari, whose entity is at the centre of the investigation, stalled efforts by the Senate panel to make progress on the matter.

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