Tony Elumelu, chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has called for a “re-imagined” relationship between the United States and Africa. The Nigerian entrepreneur said the United States needed to shift its focus from providing aid that inevitably encourages dependency to supporting the continent’s institutions that help empower youths through businesses and job creation.
He spoke at a recent event co-hosted by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the Heritage Foundation in Washington.
“Young people who are engaged in bettering their own lives and their communities will reject the lures of extremism and crime.” Elumele added that for Africa, a strong private sector, spurred by entrepreneurs, was critical to advancing peace, stability and development.
Asked what the United States can do to improve Africa’s governance, Elumelu replied that “people are beginning to wonder if the U.S. is still there for Africa because of the foray into Africa by other world powers”.
He, however, said America remains admired and respected. He said a critical step would be to make sure aid makes it past the “last mile” to its intended recipients and purposes; another would be supporting institutional infrastructure that helps address sustainability; and US policymakers and financial institutions should impress on African leaders how their own political goals and private sector success are linked.
Elumelu said there needs to be a reimagining of what Africa needs —”a necessity demonstrated by a dangerous level of youth unemployment that is not improving”.
He said the recent string of coups across Africa should serve as a “wake-up call” for the urgency of addressing the social and economic conditions that lead to political instability.
Elumelu pointed to a partnership with Google as a good example of the relationships that can promote entrepreneurship among young Africans. He said the tech giant has committed a team to expand the training capacity of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s digital network, which already includes about a million active and aspiring entrepreneurs.
He added that as the foundation’s programme can only accept up to 2,000 students from 350,000 applicants, Google is helping develop a training platform with unlimited reach keyed to African conditions. “That digital partnership is such critical support for Africa,” Elumelu said. “Our internet connectivity? Not so great. Available bandwidth? Not so great. Yet this young African is connected to the rest of the world. And that is an area we know we need to focus on.”
VCDP Holds 3-Day Enterprise Training for Agri-businesses
From David Torough, Makurdi
In a bid to mainstream nutrition sensitive intervention and harness potentials along commodity value chain while empowering youth and women, the Federal Government, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Value Chain Development Programme (FG/IFAD-VCDP) held a 3-day youth enterprise training for Agri-businesses at the IFAD-VCDP premises, Makurdi, the Benue State Capital.
The six session training equipped participants with practical knowledge on how to process Vitamin A Cassava to snacks (Combo-bite, bread, chinchin, queens cake, Cassa-flakes), Processing of rice flour as substitute for baking flour, Processing of cassava peels to animal feeds as well as de-stoning and packaging of milled rice.
There was also an intense training for some youths on knapsack application and calibration as well as an entrepreneurship class for establishing a One-Stop Agro input shop.
According to IFAD-VCDP Rural Institution, Gender and Youth Mainstreaming Officer (RIGYMO), Mrs Sandra Agber 41 male youths, 39 female youths and one adult female were beneficiaries of the training.
She revealed that, the need to engage and empower youths and women to be self-employed in a sustainable manner and to add value to agricultural produce was the primary justification for the training.
Mrs Agber disclosed that though the training is a youth empowerment programme, women were prioritized in line with VCDP’s gender mainstreaming initiative hence the high number of female participants particularly in the rice and cassava processing trainings.
In his remarks during the opening ceremony, VCDP State Programme Coordinator, Mr Emmanuel Igbaukum charged the participants to take the training serious as VCDP is poised to continually supporting its farmers to maximize output as well as harness all potentials along agriculture commodity value chain.
He disclosed that participants would be given start up kits to support their various enterprises.
Two participants, Babara Yaaya and Veronica Chigba, who were trained on rice processing and One-stop agro shop establishment respectively, in their separate remarks at the end of the training appreciated IFAD-VCDP for their unceasing support to farmers and agripreneurs in the state and prayed God to give them the strength and resources to upscale these interventions.
FG Awards Licences for 161 Marginal Fields as 13 Remain Dormant
The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has awarded Petroleum Prospecting Licences (PPLs) to 161 successful 2020 marginal fields awardees.
The commission also officially unveiled the Host Communities Development Regulations and model Petroleum Prospecting Licences (PPLs).
Chief Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, at the unveiling and licences presentation on Tuesday in Abuja said the maiden presentation of the PPL was part of the implementation of Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021.
This is as the Federal Government revealed that 13 out of the 30 marginal fields awarded since 1999 were not producing crude oil, as only 17 of the fields were currently meeting the target of crude oil production, adding that a total of N202.91bn was raked in by the government from the just concluded 2020 marginal field bid round.
The award, the government said was pursuant to the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
This came as successful awardees, such as Matrix Energy Group, Petrogas Energy, among others, promised to begin oil search from the fields in earnest to boost the country’s crude oil production.
In his address at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Gbenga Komolafe, stated that one of the major tasks inherited by the NUPRC upon its inauguration last year, was the need to conclude the 2020 bid round.
“Consequently, we pursued the matter frontally and are delighted to inform you that the exercise which commenced in June 2020 is being concluded today,” he stated.
Komolafe explained that historically, the marginal fields award initiative began in 1999 and was borne out of the need to entrench the indigenisation policy of government in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry and build local content capacity.
He said, “Besides, the initiative was also targeted at creating employment opportunities and encouraging increased capital inflow to the sector.
“Since its inception, a total of 30 fields have been awarded, with 17 currently producing. A breakdown of the allocation of the fields to indigenous operators is as follows: two fields awarded in 1999, 24 in 2003/2004, one each in 2006 and 2007, and two in 2010.
He added, “Ten years after, in 2020, 57 fields were put up for bidding. Again, it is noteworthy that the 2020 marginal field bid round exercise in respect of which PPLs are being issued today has attracted government revenue of about N200bn and $7m (N2.91bn at official exchange rate of N415.64/$) respectively.”
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the event, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Matrix Energy Group, Adisa Aliu, said successful investors in the bid round would commence oil search as fast as possible.
Aliu, who’s company emerged successful in the exercise, said the contributions of marginal field operators would help the country in meeting the monthly oil production quota approved for Nigeria by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
For several months running, Nigeria has been failing to meet its crude oil production quota approved by OPEC, a development that has further depleted the country’s revenue from oil.
“We are delighted at the conclusion of this exercise and we are ready to contribute our quota in assisting to meet the target approved for Nigeria and as well help in shoring up revenue for our county,” he stated.
He, however, noted that security should be improved in the Niger Delta, as this had been a challenge to not just the production of crude oil, but to the meaningful progress of the sector.
Meanwhile, the NUPRC in its presentation at the event, stated that the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act had brought an end to the era of marginal field awards.
Section 94(9) of the Act stated that “No new marginal field shall be declared under this Act”.
The agency stated that the Minister of Petroleum Resources shall now award PPL on undeveloped fields following an open, fair, transparent, competitive, and non-discriminatory bidding process in line with Sections 73 and 74 of the Act.
It urged the new investors to hit the ground running in developing their awarded assets in line with industry best practices.
“Also, we shall continue to provide a predictable and enabling regulatory environment to operators in line with our technical and commercial statutory
mandates with a view to optimising the development and exploitation of the nation’s hydrocarbon resources,” it stated.
It said it was worthy of note that the average price of crude oil in recent months had been above $100/barrel, adding that investors in the fields should take advantage of this upward swing in market fundamentals, caused by the Russian/Ukraine conflict.
Breaking: Reps Raise Crack Team to Probe Oil Subsidy Regime Under Buhari
By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja
The House of Representatives yesterday, raised a crack adhoc committee, to Probe the petroleum Products subsidy Regime in the last five years, from 2017 to 2021
The committee was given eight weeks to carryout this investigation and report back to the House for further legislative action.
The decision was sequel to a motion on the “Need to Investigate the Petroleum Products Subsidy Regime in Nigeria from 2017 to 2021”, brought before the Honda by Hon.
The lawmaker had said that his motion was informed by section 88 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) , which empowered the National Assembly to conduct investigations into the activities of any authority executing
or administering laws made by the National Assembly;.
He also noted that Section 32 of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 saddled the Petroleum Midstream and
Downstream Regulatory Authority with the task of regulating and monitoring technical and commercial
midstream and downstream petroleum operations in Nigeria.
Ogun informed the House that as of 2002, the NNPC’s purchase of crude oil at international market prices stood at 445,000 barrels per day in order to enable it to provide petroleum products for local consumption.
He was concerned that as at 2002, the installed capacity of Nigeria’s local refineries stood at 445,000 barrels per
day, however, their capacity utilization began to nosedive and eventually fell completely to zero due to the
ineffectiveness and alleged corruption of critical stakeholders in the value chain.
The lawmaker said he was aware that due to the decline in the production capacity of the refineries, NNPC found it more convenient to export domestic crude in exchange for petroleum products on trade by barter basis described as Direct Sales Direct Purchase (DSDP) arrangement.
He said he was further aware that component costs in the petroleum products subsidy value chain claimed by the NNPC was highly over-bloated while the transfer pump price per litre used by the NNPC in relation to PPMC was
underquoted as N123-N128 instead of N162-N165 and this fraudulent under-reporting of N37-N39 per
litre translates into over 70 billion naira a month or 840 billion naira a year.
The legislator worried that the consumption rate of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) was 40million to 45million litres per day, however, the NNPC used 65 million to 100 million litres per day to determine subsidy as discoverable
from NNPC’s monthly reports to the Federal Allocation Committee (FAAC).
He also worried that the subsidy regime has been unscrupulously used by the NNPC and other critical
stakeholders to subvert the nation’s crude oil revenue to the tune of over 10 billion US dollars, with records
showing that as at 2021, over 7 billion US dollars in over 120 million barrels have been so diverted.
The lawmaker was disturbed that “there exists evidence that subsidy amounts are being duplicated, thus subsidy is charged against petroleum products sales in the books of NNPC as well as against crude oil revenue in the books
of NAPIMS to the tune of over N2 trillion.”
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