By Dipo Olowookere
Two key unions in the petroleum industry in Nigeria; the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), have pledged unalloyed support for the transformation stride of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru.
The two bodies, at a solidarity visit to the GMD yesterday, expressed support for Mr Baru, saying they have confidence in his leadership style.
The unions’ visit came on the heels of the recent controversies over a letter the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, forwarded to the President alleging non-adherence to due process by the Management of NNPC in some contract administration.
National President of PENGASSAN, Comrade Francis Johnson, said the unions and their members considered it appropriate to rally round the GMD and the NNPC Management to pledge their support.
Comrade Johnson said the unions’ support for the GMD was based on his ability to walk his talk since assuming office last year.
“The National body of PENGASSAN and all the NNPC in-house unions are here today to show our support for you. You have brought stability to the NNPC and we are happy today that staff morale is high.
“You were Chairman of NNPC Anti-Corruption Committee for over five years and that was what informed your appointment as GMD of NNPC.
“Today, all the bullets you are taking are on behalf of members of staff. We will continue to pray for you, God will continue to guide and shield you,” Comrade Johnson assured.
The PENGASSAN President called on Nigerians to be cautious of their comments on the controversy, adding that any wrong information was capable of discouraging investors from the oil and gas industry which is the highest foreign exchange earner.
The NNPC Group Chairman of PENGASSAN, Comrade Sale Abdullahi, who also spoke during the visit to the GMD, stated that their concern had to do with the need to protect not only the GMD but the NNPC as an institution.
He noted that Dr Baru had streamlined the processes and procedures in the Corporation leading to the full restructuring which was beginning to yield positive results.
“Today, the GMD and NNPC Management receive inputs from staff and this gesture by Dr. Baru has given members of staff a sense of belonging. Today, our inputs are being implemented and we are highly motivated,” Comrade Abdullahi stated.
Supporting these positions, the Group Chairman of NNPC NUPENG, Comrade Udofia Odudu Benjamin, said the unions would continue to pray for divine guidance for Dr Baru and the entire NNPC management.
Earlier, the Chairman of NNPC Corporate Headquarters Chapter of PENGASSAN, Comrade Mathew Duru, reiterated the continued support of the unions for the Dr Baru-led management.
“We just want to tell the GMD from the bottom of our hearts that we are with him and the Top Management; that we are behind the GMD who has done very well in turning the fortunes of the corporation around,” the union leader stated.
He said since Dr Baru assumed office, he had succeeded in clearing the air of uncertainty that prevailed in the corporation because of visionless reforms that left NNPC on the brink of collapse.
He also said the GMD succeeded in resolving the NNPC Pension challenge that had led to disenchantment among staff.
“We are with you. We want to let you know that you are not an orphan”, Mr Matthew emphasized.
Responding, Dr Baru dismissed the allegations of award of contracts without regard to due process as unfounded and unfortunate.
He explained that as a former chairman of the NNPC Anti-Corruption Committee, he would be the last person to breach the procurement process by disregarding extant laws and rules.
The GMD said both the NNPC Act and Public Procurement Act vested procurement powers on the NNPC Tenders Board, the President and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) depending on the cost threshold, stressing that the NNPC Board had no role whatsoever in the process.
“I know for those of you who are following what we are doing here, you know that there’s no money lost and no process has been breached. Our contracting process is perfect and we will continue to follow the process. The NNPC Board has no role, I repeat, has no role as far as the contracting process is concerned,” Dr Baru emphasized, adding that the NNPC Tenders Board was made up of the GMD as Chairman and the Group Executive Directors as members.
On the crude term contract and the DSDP agreements, he explained: “These are not contract as such, they are essentially pre-qualification of off-takers of crude oil and in the case of DSDP, of those that will take crude and give us products in return. So there is no value to them. But humongous figures have been put forward mainly to incite the public, it is most unfortunate”.
On the allegation of lop-sided promotions, the GMD asked the union leaders if their members felt disenchanted to which the unionists chorused a resounding “no”.
He urged the union leaders to enlighten their members on the facts and encourage them to go about their duties without distraction.
Investors Gain N1.09bn as NASD Share Price Rises 9.1%
By Adedapo Adesanya
The unlisted securities market closed the last trading session of the week on a positive note after it appreciated by 0.18 per cent on the back of growth in the share price of NASD Plc.
Business Post reports that the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange returned to the bulls’ territory on Friday after it closed flat on Thursday.
NASD Plc was the major driver of the return of the bourse to the green region as its value went up during the session by N2.45 or 9.1 per cent to close at N26.99 per unit in contrast to N24.54 per unit it closed at the previous session.
As a result of this, the NASD unlisted security index (NSI) moved up by 1.32 points to 745.44 points from 744.12 points, while the market capitalisation gained N1.09 billion to wrap the day at N615.86 billion in contrast to the previous day’s N614.77 billion.
On the activity chart, there was an improvement as the trading volume surged by 34,985.6 per cent because of the 2.3 million units of shares exchanged by market participants compared with the 6,688 units transacted at the previous session.
In the same vein, the trading value rose by 17,680.6 per cent to N63.4 million from the previous day’s N356,563.60, while the number of deals witnessed a 100 per cent rise as investors carried out 12 deals compared to the six deals executed at the previous session.
At the close of trades, Food Concepts Plc was the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with 11.4 billion units of its shares worth N14.4 billion, Lighthouse Financial Service Plc followed with 1.1 billion units valued at N546.2 million, while Geo Fluids Plc was in third place with 1.0 billion units worth N700.1 million.
Food Concepts Plc was also the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis with 11.4 billion units worth N14.4 billion, trailed by Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc with 456.4 million units valued at N9.2 billion, VFD Group Plc with 10.4 million units valued at N3.5 billion.
Naira Trades N414.73/$1 as Cryptos Bleed Heavily
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Naira appreciated against the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the foreign exchange (forex) market by 0.02 per cent or 7 kobo on Friday, December 4.
Data showed that the local currency was sold for N414.73/$1 at the investors’ window yesterday compared with the N414.80/$1 it traded on Thursday.
At the final trading session of the week, the turnover was $103.01 million as against $139.67 million achieved at the preceding session, indicating a $36.66 million or 26.62 per cent decline.
Also, the exchange rate of the Naira to the United States currency recorded a movement on Friday, though downward as the Nigerian currency depreciated by 4 kobo as it closed at N411.74/$1 versus the preceding day’s N411.70/$1.
The local currency, however, appreciated by N2.17 against the British Pound Sterling to settle at N546.26/£1 compared to N548.43/£1 it traded at the previous trading session and 57 kobo against the Euro to trade at N465.68/€1 compared to the preceding day’s N466.25/€1.
At the cryptocurrency market, investors counted a heavy loss as the new variant of the coronavirus called Omicron and hawkish comments by the US Federal Reserve that it could raise interest rates have raised serious concerns, causing cryptos to bleed heavily.
The heaviest loss was suffered by Dash (DASH), which plunged by 35.3 per cent to sell for N66,595.85. Ripple (XRP) depreciated 30.6 per cent to trade at N381.85, while Litecoin (LTC) sold for N66,595.85 after declining by 24.1 per cent.
Dogecoin (DOGE) went down by 22.7 per cent to sell at N90.29, Cardano (ADA) depreciated by 20.8 per cent to N652.82, Bitcoin (BTC) depleted by 16.9 per cent to quote at N26,800,504.20, Ethereum (ETH) equally saw a 16.9 per cent depreciation to trade at N2,100,100.39, Binance Coin (BNB) recorded a 12.9 per cent depreciation to trade at N218,577.24, Tron (TRX) went down by 12.7 per cent to trade at N48.00, while the US Dollar Tether (USDT) recorded a 0.1 per cent marginal loss to sell for N554.76.
Crude Mixed as Market Remains Unsettled by Omicron Jitters
By Adedapo Adesanya
Crude prices closed mixed on Friday, December 3 after erasing earlier big gains on growing worries that rising coronavirus cases and a new variant could reduce global oil demand.
Brent crude gained 21 cents or 0.3 per cent to trade at $69.88 per barrel while on the other hand, the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude lost 24 cents or 0.36 per cent to sell at $66.26 per barrel.
Both benchmarks declined for a sixth week in a row for the first time since November 2018.
Oil prices had witnessed one of the most troubled weeks as the market reeled from the fear brought about by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus with speculations that it could spark new lockdowns and dent fuel demand.
The World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries to vaccinate their people to fight the virus, saying travel curbs were not the answer.
Even with this, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) surprised the market on Thursday when it stuck to its plans to add 400,000 barrels per day supply in January.
However, it said it will continue to monitor the market and this could make it change course if demand suffered from measures to contain the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
The alliance said they could meet again before their next scheduled meeting on January 4.
Analysts noted that with the coronavirus cases rising, the US jobs report for November also didn’t help demand outlook even as the unemployment rate plunged to a 21-month low of 4.2 per cent, suggesting the country’s labour market was rapidly tightening.
US employment growth slowed considerably in November amid job losses at retailers and in local government education.
Meanwhile, in Vienna, diplomats attempting to restore the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers face substantial challenges that need urgent solutions, the top European envoy said Friday. Talks are set to resume next week.
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