…Insists, Kogi gov registered twice
…95 political associations know fate tomorrow
By Ben Agande & Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA—The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said it would not join issues with Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State over his alleged double voter registration, even as it disclosed that it would tomorrow disclose the names of newly registered political parties.
Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu stated this on Monday in Kaduna on the sidelines of a workshop to review the INEC communication policy ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Yakubu said INEC stood by its earlier statement which indicted the governor, saying the commission would not trade words with the governor.
“There is nothing more the commission is going to say about this matter beyond the statement we have issued. If there is any other statement to issue we will let you know,” he said.
INEC had in its earlier statement accused the governor of embarking on a second voter registration on Tuesday May 23. 2017 at the Government House, Lokoja, the state capital, having first registered on 30th January, 2011, in Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.
Bello had last week denied engaging in a second registration, saying it was perhaps his ghost that allegedly registered, accusing INEC of acting out a strange script.
95 political associations Know fate tomorrow
Meanwhile, Yakubu said no fewer than 95 political associations would know their fate on Wednesday.
“Let me say this and to assure Nigerians that under the Electoral Act, the commission is required to register new political parties and the guidelines are very clear for registration. As at last week, we received 95 applications for registration as political parties. At the end of this workshop there is going to be a retreat on Wednesday to review the ongoing voters registration followed by a meeting of the commission here in Kaduna. And there will be a statement on parties after the meeting of the commission”, he said.
Vanguard checks however revealed that only five political associations have met all the criteria for registration as political parties.
Anambra voters to get PVCs before guber polls
The INEC chairman also promised that newly-registered voters in Anambra state would get their Permanent Voter Cards PVCs before the November gubernatorial election in the state.
He said: “We said that we will register continuously for three months. After three months, we will then do a de-duplication, print voter cards and update the register.
”So, for those who have registered before this first quarter they will have their cards before the Anambra governorship election.
”But in addition to that, the commission is also committed to devolving the registration in Anambra state to ward levels. And we will soon announce the date for the commencement of the exercise. So, those who have registered under the current Continuous Voter Registration, CVR and those who will register when we devolve to ward levels will all have their PVCs ahead of the election.
”So, for those who have registered and are going to vote in Anambra, I want to assure them that they will have their cards; for those who have done it in the first quarter of this year and for those who are going to do the devolved voter registration which will be announced at the end of our meeting on Wednesday, they will get their PVC and they will vote in the governorship election.
”But subsequently, since it will happen after every three months, we cannot be printing the cards after every three months, I remember specifically in the case of Anambra state, the law says we cannot register voters 60 days to the election.
”It is in the Electoral Act because we also require 30 days to update the voter register and make it available to all political parties to prepare for the elections. So the word from the commission is as follows, those who have registered in Anambra for instance, in the first quarter of the exercise will get their PVCs before the governorship election.”
We are going to devolve the registration to ward levels in Anambra and all those who register during the ward devolution level will also get their PVCs ahead of the election”, he said.
On the senatorial election in the state, Yakubu said the parties to the dispute had taken the case to the appellate court.
FG deploys 44 career- ambassadors-designate
By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA: Federal Government has deployed 44 career- ambassadors-designate to their respective countries for accreditation, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olusola Enikaolaye, has said.
Enikanolaye, who disclosed this to newsmen, said the ambassadors were yet to resume in their different countries of assignment because of delay in agreement/agreemo.
Amb Enikanolaye explained that agreement or agreemo was consent to the proposed ambassador deployed to a particular country, or consent from one nation to another agreeing to the appointment of an ambassador or envoy.
The Permanent secretary explained that the career ambassadors-designate would assume duties when agreements (consent) had been obtained from prospective countries.
He said: “There are three categories of ambassadors that President Muhammadu Buhari has already approved.
“The first set was announced publicly and those are the ones going to international organization in New York, Geneva and the AU in Addis Ababa.
“Prof. Mohammed Tijani, the New Permanent representative in New York has already assumed duty, Ambassador A.A Kadir, an ambassador and Permanent Representative in Geneva had submitted his letter of credence and assumed duty.
“The third one is ambassador Bankole Adeoye Ambassador to the AU at Addis Ababa. He is awaiting his agreement to proceed to Addis Ababa.’’
According to him, the second category is the group of career ambassadors who have all been deployed to their respective countries of accreditation.
“However they cannot proceed until we received agreement for all of them, they are about 44 in this category.
“Agreements have started coming, the agreements are coming in bit by bit, they do not come at the same time. The third category of ambassadors is the non-career ambassadors who yet to be deployed.”
He said this was because government was yet to assign them to countries of assignment, adding that they would be assigned before the next stage of asking for agreement.
“That work is in progress, it is almost completed. As soon as that is completed, the countries to which they have been deployed will be the first to know. And, once agreement is received for each of them, we will make announcement but we will not make announcement until the countries have given consent, which is agreement.
“This where we are. We expected that all of these should be completed in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
He said the Ministry would do whatever was necessary to fast-track the process, so they would be fully installed in their missions without further delay
Nigeria Needs N31trillion yearly for Infrastructure -experts
*** Say Nigeria ranks low on devt index, recession may not end with present inflation
*** Say economy headed for doom without vibrant private sector
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- ECONOMIC experts at the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable, NASSBER, yesterday raised alarm that Nigeria might not get out of the presence economic recession with the present inflation rate.
The experts, who lamented the nation’s infrastructure deficit emanating from gross, inadequate funding by government at all levels, however, declared that Nigeria needed N31trillion annually for infrastructure spending, against less than N5trillion being currently spent by government across the three tiers.
The economic experts also said that Nigeria might be heading for doom as far as inclusive growth and development were concerned, if the needed enabling environment was not given the private sector to drive the nation’s economy.
They added that the present economy growth was at its lowest ebb going by available indices.
The experts made these submissions at NASSBER organised by the National Assembly, in collaboration with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG, Nigerian Bar Association Section Business Law; and the Department for International Development, DFID.
In his key note address on the occasion, titled “Exploring the Contribution and Impact of NASSBER to business and the Nigerian Economy”, Dr Doyin Salami said NASSBER should be based on realities on ground as well as concentrate on infrastructure legislation in a way that would give the private sector the leverage to drive the process of economic growth and development in the country.
According to him, the public sector is already overwhelmed with attendant infrastructure deficit and low development index generally.
He said: “Government cannot, on its own, fund infrastructure. Available statistics revealed that Nigeria needs $100bn or N31trillion on yearly basis to fund infrastructure, against the N3trillion to N5trillion being spent by government across the three tiers on yearly basis with attendant infrastructural deficit, high rate of employment and other worrying indices like over 17% inflation rate.
“Others are Nigeria’s low ranking in Human Development Index across the globe, which is 152 and 169 in business indices in terms of ease of doing business aside ranking 158 in global competitiveness.”
According to him, though government officials at one time or the other, do come out to declare that the country’s economy is growing, but what they always fail to realize is that the factors of growth is not the same as development and also not the same as inclusiveness, which makes such growth not reflecting in the welfare condition of the people.
Salami, who urged the the federal lawmakers to ensure that laws or legislation made by them impacted positively on ordinary Nigerians, said: “NASSBER should not just be about legislation but about impacts of such legislation on the people and in this wise, until we see improvement in the lives of our Nigerians, NASSBER cannot be said to have achieved its aim.”
In his goodwill message, the representative of Country Head, Department for International Development, DFID, Mr. Richard Hope, said that Nigeria must make the private sector the engine room of its economic growth and development.
According to him, the public sector no longer have the capacities to shoulder the responsibilities any longer.
He noted that while two million school leavers enter into the labour market on yearly basis, the public sector had less than 200,000 capacities for provision of such jobs, invariably leading to millions of unemployed in the land with potential dangers ahead.
In his remarks, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, assured that economic experts and the National Assembly and in particular, the Senate, would continue to work on legislation that would bring about diversification of the nation’s economy on the basis of making the private sector very vibrant for the needed economic growth and development.
Saraki said: “Our legislative agenda made the issue of the economy the number one priority on our list. Our decision was compelled by the need to enable us find a way out of the circle of volatility we continue to experience in our economic fortunes as a result of over reliance on oil.
‘’We understood that our biggest task was to help strengthen the private sector to drive the economy and deepen its diversification. The NASSBER platform became the veritable tool for mobilizing the private sector to the deliberation.
‘’We considered it important that we hear from the private sector, their thoughts on how best to frame the legislative interventions needed for creating opportunities and jobs for our people. We also knew that, in order to achieve this twin objective, it would require making our business and investment environment much more attractive.’’
PH refinery records N2.5bn surplus, Warri, Kaduna in deficit
By Michael Eboh
Warri and Kaduna refineries have recorded a combined operating deficit of N2.952 billion in the month of February 2017, while Port Harcourt had a positive bottom line, with an operating surplus of N2.42 billion.
The NNPC in its Monthly Financial and Operations Report for February 2017 obtained yesterday, disclosed that Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company, WRPC, and Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company, KRPC, posted a deficit of N1.852 billion and N1.102 billion respectively.
The report noted that in the month of January, Warri Refinery posted operating surplus of N404.27 billion, while Kaduna Refinery recorded a deficit of N2.163 billion.
Port Harcourt Refinery, on the other hand, recorded a surplus of N5.115 billion in the month of January. The company in February recorded revenue of N47.187 billion, dropping by 6.76 per cent compared to N50.61 billion recorded in the previous month; while its crude and freight cost dipped to N42.06 billion from N42.97 billion recorded in january.
Its operating expenses rose by 6.7 per cent to N2.7 billion in February, compared to N2.52 billion in January 2017.
However, in the consolidated account of the refineries, report further pointed out that the three refineries recorded N70.97 billion in the month of February, representing a decline of 28.4 per cent from N99.11 billion recorded in the previous month, while their crude oil and freight cost dipped by 28.62 per cent from N88.24 billion in January to N62.99 billion in February.
The operating expenses of the three refineries, the report said, rose to N8.51 billion in February, from N7.52 billion recorded in the previous month, while they posted an operating deficit of N522..82 million, compared to a surplus of N3.356 billion in January.
Furthermore, the NNPC disclosed that the total crude oil processed by the three refineries for the month of February 2017 stood at 493,773 metric tonnes, an equivalent of 3.62 million barrels.
According to the NNPC, this translates to a combined yield efficiency of 90.37 per cent compared to 691,122 metric tonnes, about 5.067 million barrels of crude oil processed in January 2017. The January 2017 figure translates to a combined yield efficiency of 88.23 per cent.
Continuing, the NNPC said, “For the month of February 2017, the three Refineries produced 331,236 metric tonnes of finished petroleum products and 114,983 metric of Intermediate product out of 493,773 metric tonnes of crude processed at a combined capacity utilization of 29.06 per cent; compared to 36.73 per cent combined capacity utilization achieved in the month of January 2017.
“The operational performance is attributable to low crude oil available for production which dropped by 19.07% relative to last month total available crude oil for refining. The ongoing revamping of the Refineries will enhance capacity utilization once completed. The three Refineries were active during the month.”
The NNPC explained that the petroleum products production, Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, and Dual Purpose Kerosene, DPK, by the domestic refineries in February 2017 amounted to 263.56 million litres compared to 327.67 million litres in January 2017.
Facebook, VConnect partner to empower service sector businesses
VConnect is working with Facebook to equip SMEs in the service sector with the know-how required to significantly increase revenues, acquire new customers, stay ahead of the competition and leverage both the VConnect and Facebook platforms for their business growth.
This free one-day event is scheduled to take place on the 8th of June, 2017 in Ikeja, Lagos for 100 SMEs across the sector.
This event is part of Facebook’s ‘Boost your Business’ initiative, a programme designed to educate SMEs on how to use digital platforms for business growth.
Commenting, Naveen Luthra, Head, Growth and Monetization, VConnect, said: “SMEs form the backbone of Nigeria and their growth would augur well for the Nigerian economy. Through this series of SME Conferences, we would like to equip businesses to get better ‘access to the market’, to get more customers. We value the partnership with Facebook for this conference, to jointly empower SMEs through the digital medium.”
Boko Haram:Buratai denies accusing humanitarian agencies of waste, infighting
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-CHIEF of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, has dismissed media reports that he accused humanitarian agencies and Non- Governmental Organisations, NGOs, operating in the North East of wasting resources.
The report contained in a national daily (not Vanguard) had quoted the Army chief of alleging that the United Nations, UN, humanitarian agencies and some Non-Governmental Organizations, NGOs operating in the North East were sabotaging the fight against terrorism and insurgency.
Reacting to the allegation through a statement issued by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, yesterday, Buratai insisted that the media report was not only incorrect but also a misrepresentation of facts.
The statement added that the report did not reflect the position of the Chief of Army Staff and, indeed, the Nigerian Army.
“In it, it was alleged that he leveled allegations against the United Nations (UN) humanitarian agencies and some Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating in the north east of sabotaging the fight against terrorism and insurgency.
‘’This is incorrect and misrepresentation of facts and does not reflect the position of the Chief of Army Staff and indeed the Nigerian Army.
As a matter of fact, the Nigerian Army has been in good working and cordial relationship with all the UN agencies and the NGOs in our country.
“The reported allegation was a result of research work and quotation from news report of a Nigerian news medium that the presenter quoted but reported out of context and without proper attribution to the original source.
“We wish to state unequivocally that we appreciate the role of the UN, its agencies and all the NGOs operating in the north east as they contribute immeasurably in alleviating the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons.
“We would therefore continue to support and assist them in any way possible in the discharge of their legitimate humanitarian duties,’’ the statement read.