FCTA disburses N2.6bn to Area Councils, others

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) in Nigeria has disbursed the sum of 2.6 billion naira to the six Area Councils in the FCT and other stakeholders as statutory allocation for the month of January 2019.

This was disclosed by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr Chinyeaka Christian Ohaa, during the meeting of the Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC) in Abuja, Nigeria.

A breakdown of the allocation shows that Gwagwalada Area Council received the largest sum of N226 million while Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) got N221 million, and Abaji Area Council received N183 million.

Similarly, Kuje Area Council got N167 million, while Bwari Area Council received N164 million, and Kwali Area Council received N154 million.

Furthermore, Primary school teachers gulped N1.2 billion ,15 % pension funds took N226 million, while 1% training and 10% employer pension contribution gulped N107 million.

Ohaa charged the Council Chairmen to ensure the monies are used for payment of staff’s salaries and infrastructural development of their respective domains.

Zimbabwe: Inflation quickens to 59.39% in February

Zimbabwe’s inflation rose to a new ten-year high of 59.39 percent year-on-year in February from 56.9 percent in January, pushed by increases in the price of basic goods.

This is according to the country’s statistics agency, Zimstats which also disclosed that on a monthly basis, prices increased 1.67 percent in February, compared to 10.75 percent the previous month.

It would be recalled that Zimbabwe’s Central Bank Governor, John Mangudya had said on Monday that the annual inflation should fall to between 10 and 15 percent by the end of 2019.

AGF warns MDAs against flouting govt’s integrated payroll directive

The Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, on Friday, warned ministries, departments and agencies of government that have yet to migrate into the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System to do so or risk being sanctioned.

He said this during a meeting with the acting Inspector-General of Police, Abubakar Adamu, in Abuja.

The IPPIS scheme is one of the Federal Government’s reform initiatives designed to undertake human resource management activities from recruitment to separation including payroll and pension processing.

It also facilitates  planning, aid budgeting, monitor monthly payment of staff emoluments against what was provided for in the budget; ensure database integrity; facilitate easy storage; updating and retrieval of personnel records for administrative and pension processes.

Through the implementation of the IPPIS project, the Federal Government was able to save N68bn in 2017 alone. There are about 950 MDAs of government having about 1.2 million workers according to government officials with knowledge of the government payroll.

As of March last year, a total of 511 MDAs had been captured under the IPPIS platform with a total of 607,843 members of staff. Idris while speaking with Adamu warned agencies to be ready for the consequences of non-compliance as the Treasury would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the Federal Government’s directive was fully complied with.

He commended the Nigeria Police Force for showing example by complying with the directive of the Federal Government, noting that this had further demonstrated the robustness of the platform and the government’s commitment to a transparent, accountable and efficient management of the nation’s funds in line with global best practice.

He said, “I want to place on record that the Nigerian police has fully been integrated into the IPPIS platform and their successful enrolment has paved way for the enrolment of the Nigeria military, which has further demonstrated the robustness of the platform and our avowed commitment to a transparent, accountable and efficient management of the nation’s funds in line with global best practice.”

The AGF, also congratulated Adamu on his appointment as acting  IG, describing it as well-deserved and expressed optimism that he would discharge his mandate with professionalism.

He highlighted the enormous roles the Nigeria Police Force played in maintaining peace and security in the country, stating that there was the need for the Police to be supported with  adequate funding.

Lagos-Ibadan railway: Chinese contractors return to Nigeria after elections

Image result for Lagos-Ibadan railway: Chinese contractors return to Nigeria after elections

Chinese contractors of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation who are constructing the Lagos-Ibadan rail project have returned to Nigeria, having left shortly before the general elections.

Presidential, National Assembly, governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections were held across the country in February and March 2019.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, stated on Friday that the CCECC workers were back on site and had commenced work on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project.

On why the construction workers left the project site during the elections, the minister said that was the company’s procedure.

He said, “That is their company procedure. They said where they are doing jobs, if there are elections, they will have to go back to their country and come back after the elections.”

On whether the Federal Government was informed about this, the minister replied, “No we weren’t. We just got to know about it now.”

Amaechi said the government was pushing for the completion of civil works on the Abeokuta to Ibadan section of the project before the raining season fully commenced.

He said, “We are pushing that they must complete civil works on the Abeokuta to Ibadan rail line before the rains and they have promised that by the time we come on March 28, they would have gone far with the civil works.

“We are pushing that by the first to second week in April they should be very close to Ibadan with the track laying.”

The minister noted that the overall amount allocated for the contract had been altered as a result of the additional construction work on the project but refused to disclose the new sum.

Amaechi stated that he was pushing for the completion of the rail project because of the economic impact which the facility would have on Nigeria.

He said, “The economy of Nigeria can be driven most importantly if you can link the seaport to the hinterland, because when these cargoes come they must go.

“The more you are able to move man and cargo or goods and services to the hinterland, the more you create jobs. And the more you create jobs, the more economic growth that you have and that is my drive.”

Bad debt recovery: AMCON threatens to disengage AMPs

The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, Mr Ahmed Kuru, has said the corporation may disengage Asset Management Partners that cannot cope with the speed and enormous challenges of debt recovery expected by the corporation.

He also said that the corporation might assign more accounts to AMPs that had shown aggression and zeal based on the review of the AMP scheme so far.

He said this at the 2019 edition of the AMCON/AMPs interactive/feedback session in Abuja, according to a statement made available to our correspondent on Friday.

AMPs are consortiums with skills to ensure debt recovery and resolution appointed by AMCON after a rigorous selection process.

Kuru stated that collaboration with AMPs became necessary because AMCON had a total loan portfolio of over 12,000 loans of various sizes and sectors that were still lingering many years after the corporation was established.

He stated that when this was compared to AMCON’s staff strength, it became obvious that the corporation surely needed a strategic approach to improve coverage, recovery and results.

Kuru also disclosed that the AMPs were currently handling over 6,000 accounts within AMCON portfolio.

Although in terms of weight, the accounts, which had been outsourced to AMPs constituted only 20 per cent or N740bn of the total EBA portfolio of N3.7tn.

AMCON, he insisted placed equal importance on the recovery efforts as they counted towards the achievement of the corporation’s core mandate.

To achieve the mandate as part of the corporation’s renewed strategy to resolve these loans, he said, AMCON in 2016 introduced the AMP scheme to assist the corporation’s recovery activities, especially in tracing, identification and location of obligors with the intent to resolve their outstanding indebtedness; tracing, identification and location of assets of obligors (both pledged and unpledged) to enhance the EBA value, and achieve set recovery objectives.

The AMPs, he added, were also empowered to enable them get involved in negotiation of settlement and restructuring terms with identified obligors in line with approved guidelines; pursuing and enforcing debt recovery and collection activities geared towards optimisation of assigned portfolio to achieve set targets, and initiation of legal actions to further the loan recovery mandates in line with approved guidelines, among other obligor engagements.

With this laid down guideline and with AMCON sunset in sight, Kuru said AMCON was more aggressive with its recovery strategy and also expected its partners to equally step up their game because the corporation would no longer accommodate any AMP that was not moving on the same speed.

“We know it is not easy the jobs we have assigned to you. Recovery is a difficult job but even at that, a few of you (AMPs) have shown they cannot cope; we may have no choice to disengage such partner. But those that have done well, we will upgrade and even assign more responsibilities to such partners because there is indeed need for speed in this assignment.

“We are convinced that the AMP programme is key to the success of AMCON, and we will give you all the necessary support to make you succeed in this exercise,” the AMCON boss added.

The Principal Partner, Lexavir Partners, Mr Francis Agbu, and AMCON’s Group Head, Enforcements, Mr Aliyu Kalgo, who also spoke at the forum called on the AMPs to leverage on the special powers as provided by the AMCON Act 2010 as amended to improve on their assignment.

Mouka Foam increases sleep galleries

Image result for Mouka Foam increases sleep galleriesMouka Limited has further deepened its foam market share by opening another sleep gallery at its corporate head office in Lagos.

The firm, in a statement on Friday, said the sleep gallery was an addition to seven others across the nation.

It noted that the opening was done as part of the 2019 World Sleep Day, which is an initiative of the World Sleep Society to recognise the impact of sleep on human health.

The Chief Executive Officer, Mouka, Mr Raymond Murphy, described quality sleep as a treasured function and one of the core pillars of health.

He added that when sleep failed, health would decline and the quality of life would also decrease.

According to him, the company is relentlessly committed to providing the best mattresses, pillows and other products to enhance quality sleep.

The Senior Marketing Manager, Mouka, Mrs Tolu Olanipekun, showcased the company’s range of products specially designed for different phases of life such as the water-resistant dreamtime mattresses for children, the Regal orthopaedic mattress, among others.

The Commercial Director, Mouka, Mr Dimeji Osingunwa, said consumers could experience Mouka’s wide range of products while experts would help them choose the right mattresses, pillows, beds, beddings and other lifestyle products to suit their physiological needs, style and budget.

Oil prices rise to multi-month highs

Oil prices have surged to their highest level in months, with the US West Texas Intermediate rising above $58 per barrel and Brent trading north of $67.

The instability in Venezuela and the growing evidence of a slowdown in US shale have pushed prices up.

Weekly figures showed that US oil production dipped to 12 million barrels per day last week, down from 12.1 million bpd the week before.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries reduced production by 221,000 bpd in February, a more modest reduction than in prior months.

Most of the reductions came from Venezuela, which saw output drop by 142,000 bpd. Meanwhile, OPEC estimated that OECD inventories rose by 22 million barrels in January, or 19 million barrels above the five-year average.

Chevron, GACN, Dangote seal gas supply deal

Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), Gas Aggregation Company Limited (GACN) and Dangote Fertilizer Limited have signed agreement to deliver Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Chevron’s facility to the Dangote Fertilizer plant.

The agreement was signed by the companies at the Department of Petroleum Resources’(DPR) Office in Lagos. According to statements issued by Chevron and Dangote, the fertilizer company will start operations soon.

The contract under the Gas Sale and Aggregation Agreement (GSAA) was part of Chevron’s gas obligation to the domestic market through the Gas Aggregation Company Limited.\

Dangote Fertilizer Limited will be commissioned before the end of the year and expected to produce three million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) of Urea. The fertilizer plant consists of twin train with each single train having a capacity of 1.5 million tons per annum of Urea and Ammonia.

The fertilizer plant a total capacity of three million tons per annum and sits on an area of 500 hectares.

Textile union lauds CBN’s ban on sale of forex

The General Secretary, National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, Mr Issa Aremu, has commended the Central Bank of Nigeria for banning the sale of foreign exchange to textile importers.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the CBN had on March 5, banned the sale of forex to importers of textiles into the country at a meeting with stakeholders in the cotton, textile, and garment value chain in Abuja.

The CBN listed all forms of textile materials among items prohibited from foreign exchange in its official windows.

It promised a financial intervention to textile manufacturers with the provision of funds at single digits rate to refit, retool and upgrade their factories to enable them to produce high-quality textile materials for the local and export market.

Aremu, who is also a National Executive Council member of Nigeria Labour Congress, gave the commendation on Thursday in Abuja.

He observed that more than ever, the CBN had commendably financed development in Nigeria under the leadership of Mr Godwin Emefiele, citing the anchor rice borrowers’ scheme that had improved rice sufficiency in the country.

He said smuggling and wholesale importation of textiles contributed to the closure of many textile industries in the past.

Aremu, however, described smuggling as an economic terrorism, adding that the new initiative of the CBN would boost local production, create jobs and lessen the pressure on forex if fully implemented.

The labour leader commended the creativity of the CBN on the dollar restrictions on goods Nigeria could produce at home including textiles.

According to Aremu, the CBN governor said the decision was critical toward reviving the moribund sector and creating jobs for Nigerians.

Emefiele disclosed that the country was spending over $4bn annually on imported textiles and ready-made clothing, which he said was unacceptable.

He said the CBN would craft adequate measures to deal with the menace of smuggling, which had often threatened efforts toward self-sufficiency.

Aremu warned all forex dealers in the country to desist from granting any importer of textile material access to foreign currency in the Nigerian foreign exchange market.

He recalled that in the 1970s and early 1980s, Nigeria was home to Africa’s largest textile industry with over 180 textile mills in operations, which employed close to over 450,000 people.

The labour leader said the industry was supported in the production of cotton by 600,000 local farmers across 30 of Nigeria’s 36 states, among others.

He said that in recent times, many of the textile employers had to lay off employees, while most of the factories mentioned had all stopped operations.

“This has left only 25 textile factories in operation presently and operating below 20 per cent of their production capacities with total workforce of less than 20,000 people,” he said.

Aremu commended the CBN for all the creative measures to stimulate domestic production, which would put a stop to factory closures and create new jobs.

He said that as a developing economy, Nigeria needed creative monetary policies and development financing that could boost industrialisation.

He called on the Federal Government to complement the development financing of the CBN through fiscal, industrial and labour market policies to re-invent the Nigerian economy and ensure sustainable decent jobs for the youths.

Nigeria, Sao-Tome and Principe award three oil blocks to Total

Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe on Thursday formally granted Total, a French international oil company, the exclusive right to begin exploration for crude oil in three blocks – 7, 8 and 11, located within the hydrocarbon-rich Joint Development Zone owned by both countries in the Gulf of Guinea.

Total was awarded the right to explore for oil in the JDZ blocks after negotiations were concluded and a Production Sharing Contract signed by the three parties involved in the deal.

The parties signed the PSC at a ceremony in Abuja on Thursday, where it was disclosed that the JDZ is an area in the Nigeria – São Tomé and Príncipe boundary speculated to be rich in oil and gas reserves.

Considering the fact that neither of the two countries could have explored the resources in the zone without interfering with their maritime rights, it was added that they agreed in a treaty to create a Joint Development Authority to develop the field and mutually benefit from its resources.

Parties to the deal then signed the JDZ in Abuja on February 21, 2001.

In his address at the PSC signing ceremony on Thursday, the Managing Director, Total Exploration and Production Nigeria, Nicholas Terraz, said his firm would invest more than $10m to acquire 3-dimensional seismic data of oil and gas prospects in the blocks.

According to him, it would be too early to estimate the hydrocarbon potential of the blocks, adding that more than 1,000 squares kilometres of the field would be explored.

He said, “This is for seismic acquisitions, and the investment is over $10m. It is too early to tell the quantity of the oil. We have a four-year exploration period and during which we will need to acquire the seismic data. Total will be funding 100 per cent for the time being.”

The Executive Director, Monitoring and Inspections at the JDA, Dr Ibiwari Jack, said while the potential of the oil blocks were unknown, Total’s exploration of same would provide partners with the details of the hydrocarbon content of the blocks.

He noted that the oil blocks assigned to Total had not been explored before now, and that the company would be the first to explore it.

“Having Total back to our JDZ gives us so much confidence. If others look back to see Total, they will want to come. The blocks they are into now, nobody has done any exploration there.

“They will go to do their seismic studies there and hopefully in the next one or two years, we will get to know the potential but the prospect is there, very huge,” said Ibiwari.

The Acting Chairman of the JDA, Dr Almajiri Geidam, stated that the signing of the PSC with Total was aimed at reviving activities at the JDZ after years of idleness.

Geidam noted that the JDA intended to also revive interests on the JDZ among investors and oil companies.

He said, “Since the JDA was established in January 2002, it has held two licensing rounds which culminated into the award of six blocks in the JDZ. Some exploration activity took place in most of the blocks that resulted in some discoveries of hydrocarbons.

“Today’s event, which is as a result of a careful re-engagement of the industry by the board,  aimed at reviving the fortunes of the JDZ requires us to commend Total also for the renewed interest in the zone.”

He said the event was expected to elicit even more interest and confidence of other prospective investors as well as consolidate the existing cordial relationship between the Federal Republic Nigeria and the Democratic

Republic of Sao Tome and Principe.

“I wish to seize this opportunity to also reiterate the commitment of the board and members of staff of the JDA that we will work assiduously to ensure that the PSC signed today and indeed other existing PSCs are fully executed in accordance with the Abuja joint declaration on transparency and good governance signed by the two heads of state of the state parties,” Geidam added.