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NNPC Retail targets 30% market share


The NNPC Group Managing Director disclosed at the event that the NNPC Management would soon expand the operations of NNPC Retail Limited

Uche Usim

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr Maikanti Baru, has charged the Corporation Downstream company, NNPC Retail, to increase its current 14 percent market share to 30 per cent by 2020.

We save $30m annually from transparent insurance bidding – Baru

Speaking Tuesday in Abuja during the first Triennial Delegates Conference of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), NNPC Retail Branch, Baru stated that the charge was an assignment that must be accomplished.

A release Tuesday by NNPC Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, said the NNPC Group Managing Director disclosed at the event that the NNPC Management would soon expand the operations of NNPC Retail Limited.

He stated that NNPC was determined to ensure that the prevailing availability of petroleum products across the country was sustained as arrangements have reached advanced stage to acquire more landed property in Abuja and across the states to build more NNPC retail outlets.

Speaking as Chairman of the occasion, Dr Jackson Gaius-Obaseki, who is a former Group Managing Director of NNPC, described the National Oil Company as an accountable and transparent going concern, saying nothing should deter it from sustaining its core values.

The former NNPC GMD stated that the current Management of the corporation deserved commendation for public accountability, pitched against its periodic and prompt reporting of the company’s operations and financial transactions.

Gaius-Obaseki, who is also the Chairman of Brass LNG, listed the NNPC core values to include: transparency, integrity and accountability which he explained must be reflected in all the company’s dealings with its stakeholders across the Industry value chain.

“The current NNPC Top Management led by Dr Maikanti Baru, must be commended for updating the books of NNPC business units. This is reflective of what used to be. This must be sustained as NNPC business performance should be reported as stipulated in enabling laws”, he said.

Dr Gaius-Obaseki stated that the decision to establish the NNPC Retail in 2002 had yielded result with the NNPC Mega stations across the country servicing the petroleum needs of the people, noting that unlike the situation in the past, Nigerians now enjoy fuel availability through the effort of the NNPC Retail Limited.

He charged the union to be focused in their relationship with management to enable both parties work efficiently for the benefit of Nigerians.

“Unionism must move away from strikes and protest to developmental focus. We must move away from being a combative group as a union but be forward looking and join management in the development of business,” he stated.

In his presentation entitled: “NNPC Retail Limited: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”, guest speaker, Mr Adeyemi Adetunji, Managing Director of NNPC Retail Limited, said the company was moving from a cost centre to profit making entity.

Mr Adetunji assured the Group Managing Director of NNPC that his company would hit the 30 per cent market share target set by corporation’s helmsman.

In the same vein, PENGASSAN President, Comrade Francis Johnson assured that union members will be encouraged to assist the NNPC Retail management in achieving its target, pointing out that “the NNPC Retail has continued to serve as a vehicle of intervention in the market during periods of emergency and avoidable supply interruptions”.

PENGASSAN NNPC Retail branch chairman, Comrade Baba Shetimah Kukawa, thanked NNPC Retail Management for providing the enabling environment for the union to flourish, pledging the continuous support of the group to the Company.

He appreciated the GMD and other NNPC top management for their support and assured that NNPC Retail under his watch would continue to work hard towards delivering on the mandates.

PENGASSAN warns against sales of refineries

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PDP alleges fresh plot to remove Saraki


…Condemns clampdown on civil society activists, others

By Dirisu Yakubu

ABUJA – The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has raised an alarm over an alleged fresh plot to use the Police and the Department of State Services (DSS) to forcefully remove the President of the Senate and Director General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO), Senator Bukola Saraki, from office as the Senate President.

The party in a statement signed by Kola Ologbondiyan on Tuesday, the party condemned what it called the continued clampdown, harassment, intimidation, arrest and detention of members of the Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, by the All Progressives Congress, APC-led administration.

The statement read in part: “The plot, against Senator Saraki, which is akin to the last invasion of the National Assembly by anti-democratic forces, is to scuttle the success being recorded by the PDP Presidential campaign organization in its consultations and winning campaigns across the nation ahead of the 2019 general election.

“The PDP is privy to clandestine meetings by the Buhari Presidency and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, which has not been able to constitute a Presidential campaign organization, on ways to derail the PDP Presidential campaign by going against Senator Saraki.

“Part of the plot is to use the police and the DSS to fabricate spurious charges against Senator Saraki, distract him and destabilize the PDP Presidential campaign, a scheme the PDP described as dead on arrival, as Nigerians are solidly behind the PDP in the mission to rescue the nation from the misrule of the APC.”

In condemning the clampdown on CSOs, the party saidthe development smacks of scare mongering apparently to intimidate and cow the Civil Society from criticizing the misrule of the Buhari administration.

2019: Buhari not interested in election – PDP

“Of particular reference is the re-arresting and continued detention of a right activist, Deji Adeyanju, by the Police for a matter, which documents, in the public domain, show he has been discharged and acquitted by the court.

“Information available shows that the authorities have not been confortable with Deji Adeyanju’s criticisms. However, arresting and detaining him on a matter for which there has been a conclusive judicial determination 9 years ago is in clear violation of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and in direct infringement of his right as a citizen under the law.

“This is more so as even the spokesperson of President Buhari’s Campaign Organisation Festus Keyamo SAN, and who was Adeyanju’s defence attorney counsel on the matter which was before the court between 2005 and 2009, has, in a media report, attested that Adeyanju was discharged and acquitted, and that the prosecution did not file any appeal because it was satisfied with the ruling,” it added.

PDP to APC: In Character and Integrity, Buhari is not a match for Atiku

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Tokyo stocks close lower | The Guardian Nigeria Newspaper


Pedestrians walk past a stock indicator board showing the share price of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on December 18, 2018. – Tokyo stocks opened lower on December 18, extending losses on Wall Street, as investors looked ahead to meetings of the US and Japanese central banks. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP)

Tokyo stocks lost ground on Tuesday, extending losses on Wall Street, as investors looked ahead to meetings of the US and Japanese central banks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 1.82 percent, or 391.43 points, to close at 21,115.45, while the broader Topix index was down 1.99 percent, or 31.69 points, at 1,562.51.

“Following falls in US shares, investors remain cautious about market prospects,” said Okasan Online Securities in a commentary.

Investors “tend to take wait-and-see attitudes ahead of the Japanese and US central bankers’ monetary policy meetings” as well as other key events such as the Congressional deadline for the US budget later this week, it said.

The US Federal Reserve meeting ends Wednesday and the Bank of Japan’s concludes on Thursday.

“Players were also on the sidelines ahead of SoftBank’s initial public offering tomorrow,” said Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities.

The market was disappointed by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech on Tuesday, “which does not include concrete stimulus measures”, Horiuchi said.

In Tokyo, SoftBank, which aims to raise $23 billion by listing its mobile unit from tomorrow, plunged 3.29 percent to 8,259 yen.

Hitachi dropped 2.57 percent at 3,138 yen after it announced plans to buy a majority stake in the power grid business of Swiss-Swedish engineering giant ABB for $6.4 billion.

Hitachi also said, according to the business daily Nikkei, it would seek financial support from the British government for its project to build nuclear plants in Britain.

Nissan lost 0.21 percent to 927.9 yen after the board of the automaker failed to agree a replacement for former chairman Carlos Ghosn after his arrest for financial misconduct.

And flea-market app Mercari plunged 8.92 percent to 2,113 yen after it announced plans to shut its British unit and stop operations in the country.

In New York, the Dow and the S&P 500 both fell 2.1 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 2.3 percent, with the latter two hitting new lows for the year.

The dollar fetched 112.77 yen in Asian afternoon trade, against 112.69 yen in New York.

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Alleged exam malpractice: FG re-arraigns Adeleke


The Federal Government on Tuesday, re-arraigned Senator Ademola Adeleke on seven counts amended charges on examination malpractice.

Adeleke was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the September 22, 2018 Osun governorship election.

Adeleke, who is a serving senator and four other defendants were first arraigned on a four-count charge before Justice Edward Ekwo in September.

Adeleke and the other defendants pleaded “not guilty” to the seven count charges following which the prosecuting counsel, Mr Simon Lough asked the court for a date to commence trial.

Adeleke’s counsel, Mr Alex Izinyon (SAN), however, prayed the court for time to respond to all the processes served on his client.

Iziyon also moved an application urging the court to release Adeleke’s International passport to enable him travel abroad for medical treatment.

The prosecution did not oppose the application and the judge granted the application and ordered that Adeleke’s passport be released to him to enable him travel.

The judge ruled that Adeleke should return the International Passport within three days of his return to the country.

Adeleke was arraigned in September on a four-count charge on examination malpractices, along with his brother, Sikiru Adeleke and three others.

The senator pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail on self-recognizance by the court.

As part of his bail conditions, Adeleke was to sign an undertaken to always attend trial and was not to travel out of the country without the permission of the court.

The others are Alhaji Aregbesola Mufutau (Principal, Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, Ojo-Aro Osun), Gbadamosi Thomas Ojo (School Registrar) and Dare Samuel Olutope (a teacher).

The second and third defendants were admitted to bail in the sum of N2 million each and one surety each, in like sum.

They were also asked to submit their international passports to the court and were not to travel out of the country without obtaining permission from the court.

Justice Ekwo ordered that Gbadamosi Ojo (school Registrar) and Dare Olutope (a teacher) be remanded in prison custody since they did not apply for bail.

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Brief shareholders on merger now, Expert tells Diamond, Access banks


Some financial experts on Tuesday urged Diamond Bank and Access Bank, which merged recently to urgently to hold a meeting with their shareholders, to update them.

Access Bank

They made the suggestion in interviews with newsmen, on Tuesday in Lagos.

Mr Muda Yusuf, Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) also said the merger would boost stability and investors’ confidence in the banking system.

Access Bank Partners Transfast for instant money transfer to Nigeria

Yusuf reiterated that the merger was a welcome development, which might have averted possible crisis in the future.

“The merger has salvaged that situation and ensured that depositors’ funds are protected from undue risk, and also removes the issue of systemic failure in the financial system,” he said.

Yusuf noted that some of the challenges confronting the financial system were due weak corporate governance system.

He, therefore, urged shareholders to rise to their oversight responsibility to ensure effective banking management.

He also urged regulatory authorities to ensure that corporate governance issues were upheld and not breached by the management of any financial institution.

Also, Shehu Mallam-Mikail, President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, said the two financial institutions should ensure that there was no infraction in their dealings that would affect shareholders.

He urged them to hold a meeting with their shareholders shortly to update them on the modalities and issues surrounding the merger.

Diamond Bank records N142bn gross earnings in nine months

Prof. Segun Ajibola, former President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), said the merger between the two banks was a different picture from that of Skye Bank.

According to him, the decision is a proactive step when compared to that of Skye Bank because the investors in the Diamond Access banks’ merger are known when compared to that of Skye Bank.

“Whether it is merger or acquisition between the two banks, the fact is one big bank is better than two weak banks.

“With this development, one expects a strong, virile and capable institution in the future that will equally protect the interest of the investors.

NAN reports that Diamond Bank affirmed its merger with the Access Bank on Dec.17.
It said that the aim of the merger was to create Nigeria’s and Africa’s largest retail bank by customer-base.

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ANN lauds Khadijah Abdullahi-Iya’s performance at the vice presidential


…Says Trader Money is a bait to woo voters

The Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) has congratulated its vice presidential candidate, Hajia Khadijah Abdullahi-Iya on what they described as her brilliant performance at the 2019 Vice Presidential Debate which took place on Friday, December 14th, 2018.

The party said Khadijah Abdullahi-Iya performed beyond expectation despite the almost impromptu notice of the debate. “She displayed a great sense of understanding of issues bedeviling the nation’s economy.”
The ANN said they were very proud of her very clever responses to questions that centered around the economy, on subsidy and how politics has for many years been the enemy of Nigeria’s positive change.

The party lauded her efforts towards affirming the position that the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) is the most credible alternative to the APC and PDP, “two parties that have successfully brought Nigeria to its current ruins.”

The party asked that Nigerians consider their decision in 2019, as encapsulated by their vice presidential candidate, whether they want more of the last 4 years or a departure from it.

The Alliance for New Nigeria decried the slavery and sufferings that godfathers and cabals in politics have brought on the common Nigerian citizen and ask that Nigerians vote ANN as it’s the only party that can deliver a New Nigeria where opportunities abound for all.

In a related development, the ANN has said that the ongoing distribution of money to traders in the name of a social intervention howbeit a “good intention” remains a questionable act of the Federal Government and the office of the Vice President “when we consider the time this intervention is taking place across Nigeria.

“This same programme was done weeks before the Osun governorship election and now we are seeing a similar trend weeks to the February 16, 2019 Presidential elections. And we stand to call for an inquiry into this act and the processes followed in the disbursement of the funds.

“One would ask if the government is just realising traders’ difficulties in accessing collateral-free loans that weeks to the elections, they suddenly decide to share money to traders.

Let’s not deceive ourselves, trader money is simply money to buy the votes of the petty traders who are illiterates and therefore do not know enough to discern that this is nothing but a ploy to buy their votes.”

The ANN in a statement by the Director General of ANN 2019 Presidential Campaign, Lanre Oyegbola, noted that “Nigeria has more than 120 million people living on less than N700 daily and we have just recently been crowned the poverty capital of the world.

So if the government at this time can share N10,000 to petty traders weeks ahead of an election under the guise of providing intervention to traders, then all Nigerians deserve intervention funds if the government’s motive were right.”

Patrick Okohue

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51% of world’s population connected to internet


ABOUT 51.2 per cent of the global population, or 3.9 billion people, will, at the end of the year, be using the internet, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has said.

The ITU is the United Nations’ (UN’s) specialised agency for information communication technologies (ICT). Of all ITU regions, the strongest growth was reported in Africa, where the percentage of people using the internet increased from 2.1 per cent in 2005 to 24.4 per cent in 2018.

According to the estimates, the regions with the lowest growth rates were Europe, with 79.6 per cent, and the Americas, with 69.6 per cent of the population using the Internet. In the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region, 71.3 per cent will be using the internet, 54.7 per cent in the Arab states and 47 per cent in the Asia-Pacific region.

ITU’s Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, said the agency’s global and regional estimates for 2018 are a pointer to the great strides the world is making towards building a more inclusive global information society.

“By the end of 2018, we will surpass the 50/50 milestone for internet use. This represents an important step towards a more inclusive global information society. However, far too many people around the world are still waiting to reap the benefits of the digital economy. We must encourage more investment from the public and private sectors and create a good environment to attract investments, and support technology and business innovation so that the digital revolution leaves no one offline,” he said.

The new estimates show that there continues to be a general upward trend in the access to and the use of ICT, according to the  Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, Brahima Sanou.

Access to telecoms networks, he said,  has continued to increase, particularly in mobile connections. “However, affordability should continue to be at the top of our priorities for the digital economy to become a reality for all,” he said.

According to ITU, in developed countries, slow and steady growth has increased the percentage of population using the Internet from 51.3 per cent in 2005 to 80.9 per cent in 2018. In developing countries, growth has been much more sustained, increasing from 7.7 per cent in 2005 to 45.3 per cent at the end of this year.

Mobile access to basic telecoms services is becoming ever more predominant. While fixed-telephone subscriptions continue to decline with a penetration rate of 12.4 per cent this year, the number of mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions is greater than the global population. Growth in mobile cellular subscriptions in the last five years was driven by countries in Asia-Pacific and Africa regions.  But the same growth was minor in the Americas and the CIS region while a decline was observed in Europe and the Arab states.

Broadband access has continued to demonstrate sustained growth, while fixed-broadband subscriptions are increasing. Also continuing the trend reported in 2017, there were more fixed-broadband connections, with 1.1 billion in 2018 than fixed-telephone than the 942 million recorded last year.

The growth in active mobile-broadband subscriptions has been much stronger, with penetration rates increasing from 4.0 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in 2007 to 69.3 in 2018. The number of active mobile-broadband subscriptions have increased from 268 million in 2007 to 5.3 billion this year.

Developing countries are registering much faster growth in mobile broadband subscriptions compared to developed countries. In developing countries, penetration rates have reached 61 per 100 inhabitants in 2018, with much more scope for further growth in the coming years. In LDCs, penetration rates went up from virtually zero in 2007 to 28.4 subscriptions per 100 in 2018. The strongest growth in mobile broadband subscriptions has been observed in Asia-Pacific, the Arab states and Africa.

Nearly the entire world population, or 96 per cent, now lives within the reach of a mobile cellular network. Furthermore, 90 per cent of the global population can access the internet through a 3G or higher speed network.

ITU estimated that, globally this year, almost half of all households had at least, one computer up from just above a quarter in 2005. In developed countries, 83.2 per cent of households possess a computer this year, compared with 36.3 per cent in developing countries. LDCs showed the strongest growth during the period 2005-2018. This year, less than 10 per cent of households in LDCs has a computer. The strongest growth rates were observed in the Arab states and the CIS region. In Africa, the proportion of households with access to a computer increased from 3.6 per cent in 2005 to 9.2 per cent this year.

Internet access at home is gaining traction. ITU estimated that almost 60 per cent of household has internet access at home in 2018, up from less than 20 per cent in 2005. In developing countries, almost half of all households has internet access at home, a considerable increase compared with 8.4 per cent in 2005. Regional developments broadly follow the trends observed for households with computers.

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NASS Shutdown: Police Take Over Premises, Lawmakers In, Striking Workers Out


Men of the Nigerian Police Force on Tuesday have occupied the National Assembly Complex.

The security operatives have since shut all entrances to the premises, allowing only lawmakers and their aides into the complex while the striking workers have been kept outside the premises.

The Police has also barricaded the main entrance to the NASS Complex with patrol vans.

To be allowed entry, personnel like journalists, construction workers, vendors and others are frisked before being admitted into the premises.

The Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), who had shut down the complex as part of their four-day warning strike, have been denied entry into the premises.

They had in the early hours of Monday occupied the entrances and shut power and water supplies to the building.

The National Assembly leadership and management, rising from an emergency meeting on Monday night, ordered the police and the Department of State Services (DSS) to secure the NASS premises ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s presentation of the 2019 Appropriation Bill on Wednesday.

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FRC Asks FAAN, NTDC, Others To Remit Operating Surplus Promptly


The Acting Chairman, Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), Mr. Victor Muruako, yesterday charged some Federal Government agencies, including the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to promptly remit operating surplus into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).

Mr. Bede Anyanwu, Acting Head, Strategic Communication Directorate, FRC, in a statement made available to our correspondent, said Muruako gave the charge at a stakeholders’ meeting with the managements of the said agencies.

Other agencies are the Nigerian Tourism Development Commission (NTDC), National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).

Muruako accused the listed agencies of not submitting their annual audited accounts, receipts of their remittances, budgets and Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) to the commission, thereby hampering prompt and accurate determination of operating surplus liabilities.

He observed that the independent revenue drive of the Federal Government was not encouraging and accused the agencies of non-compliance with the provisions of Section 21, 22 and 23 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), 2007.

The statement also quoted Mr. Ola Tijani, the Head, Monitoring and Evaluation of FRC as saying “the aforementioned agencies may have been doing some things right to ensure compliance’’.

But, however, said that there must be proof of prudence, accountability and transparency in financial reporting to be in line with the FRA.

The statement added: “Compliance entails that the agencies prepare and publish their audited financial statements not later than 90 days after the financial year. Without audited financial statements, there is no way the commission can determine appropriate liabilities.

“There is therefore, the need for agencies to reposition their operations to comply with the provisions of the Act.’’

Tijanni said that the commission was ready to offer capacity building on the provisions of the FRA, particularly on the preparation of MTEF and the correct application of FRC Operating Surplus Template.

Responding, Mrs. Nike, Aboderin, pleaded for time to enable the agency make all the necessary documentations that would henceforth make it possible for them to pay operating surplus.

Aboderin, who was represented at the occasion by Mr. Adegbesan Abiodun, General Manager, Finance, FAAN, said there was the need for the preparation of improved estimation of MTEF with efficient narratives to highlight the activities of the agencies.

She declared that the figures submitted in MTEF were not adequate to satisfy the need for prudence, transparency and accountability.

He, however, assured the commission that FAAN was ready to collaborate with the FRC in its efforts to improve the independent revenue generation drive of the Federal Government.

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Nigerians Should Give Me More Time, Buhari Begs On 76th Birthday


President Muhammadu Buhari has implored Nigerians to give him more time to execute his plans for the country.

The President said this on Monday after a special parade of the Guards Brigade of the Nigerian army organised to commemorate his 76th birthday.

“Nigerians should continue to pray for me and understand my intentions and give me time,” he said, adding that his administration would continue to remind Nigerians about its achievements in the last three and half years.

“We will keep reminding Nigerians about what we have done, how we met the country, what we were able to do from the time we came in to now with the resources available to us.”

Mansur Dan-Ali, Minister of Defence, presented a birthday card on behalf of the Armed Forces, while Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), presented another on behalf of members of cabinet. Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the President, also presented a card on behalf of presidential aides

The high point of the event was the cutting of the birthday cake by the President, who was flanked by governors, ministers and some aides, notably Ibikunle Amosun, Governor of Ogun State, and Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing.

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