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Ibori mourns death of Tony Obuh, Delta Pensions chairman

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Chief James Onanefe Ibori has commiserated with Delta state’s Gov Ifeanyi Okowa, on the death of Mr. Tony Chuks Obuh, Chairman, Delta State Bureau of Pensions.

In a statement signed by Ibori’s Media Assistant, Tony Eluemunor, Chief Ibori said that Obuh will always be remembered for his variegated roles as an excellent Civil Servant, astute administrator and committed politician.

Ibori said: “Mr Obuh served as a Civil Servant for 32 years, starting from the old Bendel state as an Administrative Officer II in 1982. He was already recognised as a shining star there and was given challenging assignments; Director, Investment and Loans, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, as well as Acting Chairman, Bendel Insurance Company Ltd.

So, he was already a seasoned Civil Servant when our dear Delta state was carved out from Bendel State, and he was one of those who helped the young Delta state not only to settle down but to build the stout foundation on which it rests and which has helped it to enjoy quick development.

I remember that it was during my administration that Tony Obuh became a Permanent Secretary in 2007. He honoured that post with his passionate, relentless and selfless service. On retirement, Mr. Obuh joined the Peoples Democratic Party and contested the 2015 governorship election.

Tony Obuh was dependable both as a Civil Servant and in his private life.

He will surely be remembered as a pillar of every community he has lived in, especially his Oki, Ika South LGA community, and a devout member of the Catholic Church for he really lived a life of service. 

May God give the entire member of the family, the Oki village and the Ika South LGA people the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.

May his gentle soul will rest in perfect peace”. 

AfDB, AU to develop pan-African electricity market

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The African Development Bank (AfDB.org) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) have agreed to jointly develop a blueprint for a pan-continental electricity network and market.

The agreement to set up a Continental Power System Master Plan between the Bank and AUDA-NEPAD was unveiled, on November 29th, during a three-day workshop on the sidelines of Programme for Infrastructure Development (PIDA) Week held in Cairo. The workshop also produced the Masterplan’s terms of reference.

“The Continental Power System Master Plan will ensure that competitive electricity markets are developed at regional and continental levels, creating unique opportunities to optimally utilize Africa’s vast energy resources for the benefit of Africa,” said Professor Mosad Elmissiry, a Senior Energy Advisor to AUDA-NEPAD’s CEO.

The workshop was aimed at advancing the launch of an Integrated Continental Transmission Network (ICTN) to link national power utilities into regional power pools and, ultimately, into a continent-wide transmission network. Plans also include setting up a market for electricity trading.

The Masterplan also will inform the energy component of a PIDA Action Plan, which focuses on key regional integration projects.

Development of a unified electricity transmission network and market for electricity trading are viewed as a critical priority to improve the lives of people across the continent.

“Most state-owned electric utilities in Africa today are unable to secure the financial resources needed to implement required segments of regional interconnectors and associated national feeder lines,” said Angela Nalikka, the Bank’s manager for National and Regional Power Systems, to explain the impetus for the partnership. “The Bank plans to encourage private sector participation in transmission projects in the continent.”

Distributed by APO Group

Nigerian Gas diversifies into gas processing, declares N13.29bn profit

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NNPC GMD and MD of Nigerian Company

The Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), the gas transportation subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is looking at expanding its footprint in the nation’s gas sector and, in turn, boost its revenue by diversifying into gas processing services, a release by the corporation’s Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs has said.

This was disclosed by the Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors and NNPC Chief Operating Officer (COO), Upstream, Mr. Roland Ewubare, at the 24th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Company which held Thursday at the NNPC Towers, Abuja.

In his address at the AGM, Mr. Ewubare explained that the company, in a bid to shore up its revenue base, had acquired equity in a number of gas processing concerns which include the Assa North-Ohaji South (ANOH) Gas Processing Company (AGPC), Makaraba Gas Processing Project and the Sapele Gas Compression Project.

“Completion of these gas processing projects are expected to significantly increase NGC’s revenue and boost the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan”, the COO enthused.

On the company’s financial performance for 2018, he stated that it continued on its profit growth trajectory for the second consecutive year after unbundling which saw its business streamlined to gas transportation.

“The profit after tax for the year ended 31st December, 2018, increased from N6.11bn in 2017 to N13.29bn representing an increase of 117%”, he declared.

The increase in the company’s revenue and profit was attributed to increase in the volume of gas transported, cost reduction initiatives, effective pipeline operations and maintenance, and cordial relations with host communities.

Also speaking at the event, Managing Director of NGC, Dr. Salihu Jamari, said the improvements recorded in the company’s performance were a testimony to the commitment by the management to deliver value to shareholders and stakeholders.

He expressed optimism that the completion of gas infrastructure projects such as Phase 2 of the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS 2C), Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben (OB3) Pipelines and the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Pipeline would further boost the company’s profitability.

China assesses her 18 years in the WTO

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Increasingly, hopes for the survival of the WTO, the cornerstone of the global multilateral trading system, rest with China’s role in the 24-year-old trade organization, Chinese experts said on the eve of a crucial day in the history of the world trade watchdog.
Wednesday marks the 18th anniversary of China’s accession to the WTO. Yet, it coincides with a life-or-death moment for the Appellate Body, the top body of the organization.
In the initial years after its WTO accession in December 2001, China gradually acquainted itself with WTO rules and aligned itself with the global trading system, said Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.
The nation’s integration into the WTO system then prompted the Chinese economy to launch an array of domestic reforms, leading to marked progress that in some aspects put the economy in a position of global trade leadership, Gao told the Global Times on Tuesday. 
Over the years, China has continued efforts to lower tariffs. In another round of tariff cuts effective on January 1, 2019, the nation decided to reduce import taxes on more than 700 items.
Deregulation efforts have been non-stop. In late November, the nation unveiled a shortened version of its negative list, which shrank by 20 items from the 2018 version to 131 entries at present. The negative list indicates areas where investment is limited or banned. China has now become a prominent advocate for reforms of the organization, Gao stressed, noting that the push for WTO reforms under the current framework is quite difficult as it necessitates consensus from the organization’s 164 members. 

Leadership role 
With the US continuing efforts to chip away at the organization, the foundation of global multilateral trade, China is increasingly in focus. The rest of the world is hoping that China will take the role of leadership to ensure the WTO is still up and running, Tu Xinquan, dean of the China Institute for WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
As the locomotive of global economic growth, China has seen its contribution to the world’s GDP expansion average close to 30 percent since 2002.

The WTO is still seen as the mainstay of the global multilateral trading system, Tu commented, downplaying concerns that a variety of regional trade pacts might erode the importance and role of the WTO.
While big bets have been placed on China’s increasing impact in the organization to fend off crippling moves by the US, it is not the case that China intends to replace the US’ role in the WTO, observers said.
“China has no ambition to actively substitute for the US in the global trading system and it’s unnecessary for China to do so,” Gao noted.

GLOBAL TIMES

Nigeria govt to give states control over solid minerals

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Solid mineral mining site in Ebonyi State PHOTO: Google Images

The federal government said on Monday that a committee led by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, has started working on an arrangement that would enable states to enjoy full control of the solid mineral resources in their states.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Ernest Umakhihe, stated this on Monday at a retreat for critical stakeholders in national planning and developmental strategies.

The joint retreat, organised by the Senate Committee on National Planning and Economic Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, was meant to forge a consensus on the way forward for Nigeria’s development.

Umakhihe was responding to a demand by panellists at the technical session who berated the current overbearing influence of the Federal Government on the nation’s resources.

The discussants also called for an arrangement that would make states to generate revenue to meet the needs of their people.

The panellists included Governor Kayode Fayemi, his counterpart from Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, and a former Chairman of the National Planning Commission, Prof Ode Ojowu.

They all agreed that a robust, inclusive and sustained national policy that would involve active participation of government at all levels was necessary to tackle the various social and economic challenges currently confronting the nation.

Umakhihe noted that the era whereby states would rely on the monthly allocation from the federation account to meet their needs would soon be over as the Federal Government was already addressing certain aspects of resource control.

Umakhihe said, “State governments should get their priority right. Planning should not be purely based on revenue allocation. States should device better way of generating revenue to meet the basic needs of their people.

“The emphasis at the National Economic Council is the diversification of the economy such that the states would become self-sufficient without relying heavily on the allocation from the federation account before they can execute some of their agenda.

At the NEC level, a committee chaired by Governor Kayode Fayemi is already working on how the states can key into the exploration of solid mineral resources in their states.

“By the time the report of the committee would be ready, we would have states that would be able to exploit the solid mineral resources in their states and this would shore up their revenue profile.”

In his contribution, Fayemi urged the National Assembly to come up with a bill that would mandate an incoming administration to continue with laudable projects and policies of the departing administration.

He said, “What we now did (in Ekiti State) was to put in place a transition law. It is not a unique law; other countries have it.”

PUNCH