By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Minister of State for Petroleum Resource, Mr Ibe Kachikwu, has disclosed that federal government has no intention to put the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) up for sale as being speculated.
Mr Kachikwu made this known on Monday while appearing before an investigative hearing established by the House of Representatives to look into the sale of national assets.
The probe panel is led by Mr Fred Agbedi, a lawmaker from Bayelsa State, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Gas Resources and Allied Matters.
The Minister, who was represented by the Director in charge of Gas Resources in the Ministry, Mrs Esther Ifejika, disclosed that NLNG would not be sold to investors for whatever reason.
“We are not aware of any plans to sell NLNG by the federal government,” Mr Kachikwu emphatically told the lawmakers.
Also at the hearing, Mrs Ifejika, who said the presentation of the Ministry and that of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were harmonized could not proceed further with the presentation as the committee discovered glaring discrepancies in the documents of the Ministry and that of the NNPC as presented by Bello Rabiu, Chief Operating Officer, (Upstream), who represented the Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru.
Having rejected both documents for lack of authenticity and signature as observed by members, the panel further queried the NNPC and the Ministry over what it called some staggering increases in the upgrade contract of OML 58 and the execution of the Northern Option Pipeline.
TOTAL E&P who handled the Joint Venture contract said the initial contract sum was $3.451 billion, but was eventually increased to $4.6 billion after consideration of a number of factors.
Given the revelation, members of the panel expressed displeasure over the huge variation in the contracts amounting over $1.15 billion.
Members were however told that the NNPC entered into a JV with Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (TEPNG) and there was a Modified Carry Agreement and award to TEPNG to execute the OML 58 Upgrade 1 in 2008, Obite-Ubeta-Rumuji (OUR) pipeline in 2010, and the Northern Option Pipeline in 2011 respectively.
Explaining the process which he said followed laid down procurement processes, Rabiu of the NNPC, informed the panel that no money had been paid on the variations.
He said following the variations raised by the contractor, the board of the corporation suspended the procurement with a view to subjecting same to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), approval, adding that same is being waited.
According to Patrick Olinma, who represented Total’s managing director at the hearing, contract for the upgrade of OML 58 upgrade 1 and the execution of the Northern Option Pipeline were awarded to Saipim/Ponipcelli/Desicon (SPD) and Sapim/Desicon (SD) Consortiums as the major contractors at an initial contract cost ceiling of $1.665 billion and $472million with a completion date of 2012 and 2013.
“However, during execution, these projects encountered some challenges which led to delays and an increased cost of over $3.8 billion and $921m respectively as at December, 2015 and an additional $79m and about $921m incurred upon full completion resulting in the expenditure of about $175m and $170m respectively,” he said.
Similarly, the contract for the execution of the Obite-Ubeta-Rumuji (OUR) pipeline project in 2010 was awarded to Zahem/Baywood Consortium as the major contractor at the carrying cost of $269million, $293 million and $469million.
Members however, posited that the reason for the variations was because the contractor engaged by Total was incompetent resulting in the extra cost.
But the Total representative said that they had a duty to comply with the local content act and that they were told there were 14 communities which in reality were 74 communities.
The Chairman of the Committee said though the parliament made the law, it did not say that the contractor should be employed as a learning curve, adding that the cost is too staggering to be ignored.
At this point, the panel demanded that both NNPC and Total produce the board’s resolution on the contracts before it was awarded to ensure they comply with procurement laws.
Other requirements include, love of adherence to section 21 of the procurement Act which provides for the constitution of a Procurement Planning Committee, with staff from both sides of the divide deciding the mode of procurement.
Also demanded are the market survey, financial bid evaluation with emphasis on inflation and variation variables, as well as financial and technical bid analysis.
Panel also asked for financial updates on payment, status reports on the projects, saying that the motion’s primary concern dwells on the procurement process.
Additional information from The Nation.
Agusto Forecasts Nigeria’s Pension Assets to Grow to N14.8trn Amid Headwinds
By Adedapo Adesanya
Global research firm, Agusto & Co, has forecast that Nigeria’s pension assets will reach N14.8 trillion by the end of 2022.
This is as unpaid pension obligations by some employers, enrolees’ apathy toward the transfer of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), and the ability of industry operators to protect the value of pension funds in the face of deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, particularly a weakening exchange rate and soaring inflation, are at the heart of the industry’s current problems.
Agusto noted that in the last decade, the 628 per cent surge in the size of pension fund assets to N14.27 trillion is indicative of the industry’s growth and evolution following legislative support provided by the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004 and the amendment in 2014.
However, the rising rates of emigration and unemployment in the last five years have slowed down the growth rate in pension contributions. If individuals who fall within these groups, who are eligible to access a 25 per cent lump sum of their pension assets, exercise the withdrawal option, it could cause the growth of assets under management (AuM) to stagnate.
The 3 per cent decline in the industry’s annual contribution remitted to the RSAs in 2021 underlines this growing threat and National Pension Commission (PenCom) approval to use 25 per cent of the amount of a pension contributor’s Retirement Savings Account (RSA) to pay for an equity contribution for a mortgage may lead to a decline in pension AuM in the medium term.
The research firm noted that low yield in investible outlets amid a 17-year high headline inflation rate of 20.52 per cent will lead to a contraction in the real value of AuM over time and implies that pension fund contributors could be worse off in retirement.
It was noted that this would renew interest in diversifying investments into foreign-denominated securities to improve returns and preserve value but warned that the prohibition on PFAs from acquiring foreign currencies directly through official channels might hinder this.
However, Agusto & Co. expects the pension sector to remain robust, given the industry’s strategic importance to the Nigerian economy and the need to align the Nigerian pension scheme more closely with international standards in the near term.
Agusto & Co. also estimates that growth in pension assets will slow from a five-year average of 19 per cent to around 10 per cent in 2022 due to a combination of a muted interest rate environment and a slowdown in the rate of contributions which has been impacted by mass emigration and high unemployment.
NASD OTC Down as FrieslandCampina Loses 3.85%
By Adedapo Adesanya
FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc dragged the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange down by 0.6 per cent on Tuesday, October 4, after its share price fell by N3.00 or 3.85 per cent to N75.00 per unit from N78.00 per unit.
It was the resumption of trading activities on the NASD OTC exchange yesterday after the public holiday declared on Monday to mark Nigeria’s 62nd year of independence.
The loss posted by the leading diary company in Nigeria reduced the NASD unlisted securities index (NSI) by 4.45 points yesterday to 731.34 points from 735.79 points.
Equally, the market capitalisation of the bourse diminished by N5.85 billion to wrap the day at N962.75 billion compared with the preceding session’s N968.60 billion.
Yesterday, the unlisted securities market finished without a price gainer.
It was observed that the volume of transactions depreciated on Tuesday by 72.2 per cent as investors only traded a total of 29,331 units of shares in contrast to the 105,440 units of shares transacted last Friday.
However, the value of the stocks bought and sold by investors jumped by 37.6 per cent to N2.2 million from the previous session’s N1.6 million, while the number of deals executed by traders went down by 33.3 per cent as only four deals were carried out yesterday compared with the six deals completed in the previous session.
When the market ended for the day, AG Mortgage Bank Plc was the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc was in second place with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, and Mixta Real Estate Plc was in third place with 178.1 million units valued at N313.4 million.
In the same vein, CSCS Plc finished the day as the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 27.7 million units valued at N7.4 billion, and FrieslandCampina closed in place for trading 14.3 million units valued at N1.7 billion.
Naira Closes Flat Against Dollar After Independence Break
By Adedapo Adesanya
The first trading session after the Independence Day break at the various windows of the foreign exchange (forex) market was stable in Nigeria as the Nigerian currency traded flat against the United States Dollar on Tuesday, except for the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) segment, where it appreciated.
In the market window, the Naira was exchanged to the Dollar at N749/$1 compared with the preceding session’s exchange rate of N752/$1, indicating that it was strengthened by N3.
However, the local currency remained unchanged against the greenback at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the currency market yesterday at N437.03/$1.
In the same vein, the domestic currency traded flat against the American currency on Tuesday at N740/$1.
In addition, the Nigerian currency closed flat against the Pound Sterling at the interbank segment of the market at N469.88/£1 and also remained unchanged against the Euro in the same market window yesterday at N420.75/€1.
Meanwhile, in the cryptocurrency market, Dogecoin jumped over 7 per cent after news broke that Mr Elon Musk, an advocate of the asset, may finally purchase Twitter on the deal’s original terms after months of drama.
Mr Musk’s attorneys sent a letter to Twitter, proposing to buy the social media company for his original offer price of $54.20 per share. Within minutes of the news breaking, DOGE shot up 7.6 to $0.0649.
Also, Ripple (XRP) recorded a 4.5 per cent jump to trade at $0.4761, Solana (SOL) recorded a 2.8 per cent rise to sell at $34.04, Bitcoin (BTC) gained 2.7 per cent to quote at $20,136.08, and Binance Coin (BNB) added 2.4 per cent to sell for $294.46.
Further, Ethereum (ETH) saw its value go up by 1.6 per cent to $1,351.80, Cardano (ADA) recorded a 1.0 per cent rise to trade at $0.4322, and Litecoin (LTC) climbed up by 0.9 per cent to sell at $54.81, while Binance USD and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) closed flat at $1.00 each at the close of business.
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