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Kachikwu replies Falana’s FOI request on $60bn oil revenue loss

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, has acknowledged the request by human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), for the details of the loss of about $60bn oil revenue due to Nigeria.

Falana‎ had made the request on the strength of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 through his letter dated April 10, 2019 and received by Kachikwu’s office on April 11.

He threatened to sue the minister if his demand was not met within seven days of receiving his letter as prescribed by the FoI Act‎.

In an April 11, 2019 reply, the minister, through his Chief of Staff, Ms. Oge Modie, acknowledged Falana’s letter but neither supplied the requested information nor promised to do so in future.

The terse letter with reference number MPR/COS/042/VOL.1/795, and signed by Modie, reads, “On behalf of the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kackikwu, this is to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated April 10, 2019 and received on April 11, 2019 on the above subject matter.”‎

‎Falana had explained in his letter to the minister that the huge loss of oil revenue was caused by the refusal of some public officials to implement the terms of the Production Sharing Contracts between the Federal Government and the international ‎oil companies.

‎He said he had, through a letter dated November 5, 2015, brought the issue to the attention of Kachikwu when he was the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

According to Falana, a public statement credited to Kachikwu sometime in August 2017, attributed the loss of not less than $60bn oil revenue to the inaction of the relevant public officers in charge of implementation of the terms of the PSCs.

Falana also recalled in the letter that “another public statement made on January 19, 2019 by the Acting Chairman of the Revenue, Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Mr. Shetima Bana, confirmed the loss of oil revenue of $60bn arising from the non-implementation of the said production sharing contracts.”

He stated, “In view of the foregoing, I am compelled to request you to furnish me with information on the revenue of $60bn which the Federal Government has refused to collect from the International Oil Companies as at August 2017.

“As this request is made pursuant to the provision of the Freedom of Information Act, you are required to supply the requested information not later than seven days from the date of the receipt of this letter.

“TAKE NOTICE that if you fail or refuse to accede to my request, I shall be compelled to apply to the Federal High Court to direct you to avail me with the information on the loss of the oil revenue of $60 billion.”

In an e-mail sent to journalists and in which copies of his correspondences with Kachikwu were attached , Falana wrote, “Instead of collecting the huge fund, the Federal Government is determined to pile up more loans and impose additional taxes on the Nigerian people.”

-Text: Punch

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Nigerian government slashes foreign travels, estacodes for officials

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President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the reduction of overseas tours by ministers, permanent secretaries and chief executives of government agencies to eight per year, and must be strictly for official purposes.

In a new guideline on fiscal prudence issued today by the office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, President Buhari also ruled that estacodes, the dollar denominated allowances that officials draw, shall only be for the days of the event and not for the entire travel days. Hitherto, officials collected estacodes for the entire travel time, even when the real event may be for a day or two days.

The new presidential order also ordered government officials to submit their yearly travel plans within the first quarter of every year for approval.

Please read the full statement:

In a bid to curb leakages and ensure efficiency in the management of Govt resources, President
Buhari has approved for immediate implementation, additional cost saving measures aimed at instilling financial discipline and prudence, particularly, in the area of official travels.

Henceforth, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are required to submit their Yearly Travel Plans for statutory meetings & engagements to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and/or the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation
for express clearance within the first quarter of the fiscal year, before implementation. They are further required to make their presentation using the existing template and also secure approvals on specific travels as contained in the plan, from the appropriate quarters.

On Nature & Frequency of Travels, all public funded travels (local & foreign), must be strictly for official purposes backed with documentary evidence. In this regard, all foreign travels must be for highly essential statutory engagements that are beneficial to Nigeria’s interest.

Except with the express approval of Mr. President; Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen of Extra-Ministerial Departments, Chief Executive Officers and Directors are restricted to not more than two (2) foreign travels in a quarter.

Also, when a Minister is at the head of an official delegation, the size of such delegation shall not exceed 4 including the relevant Director, Schedule Officer and 1 Aide of the Minister. Every other delegation below ministerial level shall be restricted to a maximum of 3.

For Class of Air Travels, the President has approved that Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants to the President, Chairmen of Extra-Ministerial Departments and Chief Executive Officers of Parastatals who are entitled, continue to fly Business Class while other categories of Public Officers are to travel on Economy Class.

Also, travel days will no longer attract payment of Estacode Allowances as duration of official trips shall be limited to only the number of days of the event as contained in the supporting documents to qualify for public funding.

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PSC asks Nigerians to disregard candidates’ list for police recruitment

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The Police Service Commission (PSC) has advised the public to disregard a list of candidates scheduled for training and allegedly released by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for recruitment into the Constable cadre.

A statement in Abuja by the commission’s Head of Press and Public Relations, Ikechukwu Ani, said the release of the list by the police was an act of illegality and a breach of the Federal Character requirements.

The statement reads: “The Police Service Commission dissociates itself from a purported list of candidates scheduled for training and allegedly released by the NPF in respect of the recruitment exercise into the Constable cadre of the Force. The commission notes that the list released by the police is an act of illegality, and from close observation, was in serious breach of the Federal Character requirements.

“The commission urges the public to be wary of the list as it will soon resume the remaining stages of the recruitment process and release the authentic list of successful candidates, local government by local government.

“The commission is presently in court against the NPF over the hijack of its constitutional powers to recruit and had filed an originating summons and interlocutory injunction restraining the NPF from going ahead with the exercise.

“The processes filed since September 27, 2019, by Kanu G. Agabi, CON, SAN, were brought to the knowledge of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) the same day…”

“In the letter notifying the IGP of the pendency of the suit, Kanu Agabi had said: “We write to inform you of the pendency of the above mentioned suit before the Federal High Court, Abuja. By this notice, you are to stay further action in the subject matter of this suit, pending the hearing and determination of the case.

“It is unfortunate that despite the pendency of the court processes, the NPF went ahead to release a purported list of candidates it has invited for training.

“The commission wishes to state that the list is unknown to it as it believes it is a product of illegality. The hearing for the commission’s suit has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 23 at the Federal High Court 5, Abuja.”

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Cracks in Labour unions over minimum wage strike

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Joe Ajaero, ULC President: planned strike on minimum wage dead on arrival

There is a crack in the ranks of labour union leaders as the date for their planned strike over the Federal Government implementation of the minimum wage looms.

The president of United Labour Congress, ULC, Mr Joe Ajaero, said the group will not be part of an exercise designed to hoodwink Nigerian workers and masses into believing that their interests are being championed.

It is the hardest knock, so far for the leaders of TUC and NLC who have been threatening a national strike over the minimum wage.

Ajaero made his view known in an interview with newsmen during the ongoing negotiations on minimum wage with the Federal Government representatives and organised labour on Tuesday in Abuja.

According to him, the proposed strike by labour is dead on arrival as programmed by the hidden interests of those pushing the agenda.

“Unfortunately, this strike will not have the desired impact and would not achieve the intentions Nigerian workers would want as it is seemingly; dead on arrival as programmed by the hidden interests of those pushing the agenda.

“ULC will not, therefore, be part of an exercise designed to hoodwink Nigerian workers and masses into believing that their interests were being championed while the contrary may be the case.

“We will neither be part of this ruse nor partake in a complete jamboree that makes a mockery of the genuine struggle by Nigerian workers to begin to enjoy the new national minimum wage.

“Once again, we want to state that we will not be part of this attempt to whittle down the capacity of Nigerian workers and masses to earn the new minimum wage.

“It is a planned sabotage of our collective will and desire to see a new minimum wage and we shall not be part of it,” Ajaero said.

Meanwhile, the meeting between the organised labour and representatives of the Federal Government has been moved till Wednesday, Oct. 16, to allow for sorting out of all grey areas of contention, with both groups shifting grounds.

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