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Buhari mulls signing African Continental Free Trade Agreement

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Following the recommendation of the Presidential Committee on African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which submitted its report to President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, Nigeria will sign the agreement, with conditions.

President Buhari in France

The phase one of the agreement was adopted by African Union (AU) Heads of State at its 10th Extraordinary Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21, 2018.

But Nigeria pulled out of the signing ceremony at the last minute, following agitations from the private sector that the agreement would make Nigeria a dumping ground for goods and services in Africa.
However, the presidential committee led by Dr. Desmond Guobadia after reviewing concerns about the agreement recommended that Nigeria should append its signature, saying on the balance, the country stands to gain.

“Your Excellency, our reports show that on the balance, Nigeria should consider joining the AfCFTA, and using the opportunity of the ongoing AfCFTA Phase I negotiations to secure the necessary safeguards required to ensure that our domestic policies and programs are not compromised,” he told the president.

Presidency sources said the president, who had allied with the concerns of the private sector on the inherent negative consequences of the agreement, which might open up the country for imported goods at the expense of the domestic market, has now been persuaded to table these concerns before the AU and negotiate favourable conditions for Nigeria before putting pen to paper.

The president had told the committee that the federal government would review its submissions and consider them in making its final decision on the matter.

But a presidential source said yesterday that Buhari had caved in to pressure from pro-AfCFTA proponents having been persuaded that his concerns could be allayed by further negotiations with his brother heads of government in the continental body.
Nigeria’s withdrawal from the signing of the agreement had met with criticism from former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who has been championing the need for the country to sign the pact.

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$1bn ECA Fund: We Paid $490m For Tukano Jets – Presidency

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The Presidency on Sunday said that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was under socio-emotional distress by alleging that the $1 billion approved from the Excess Crude Account for security was used by the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the 2019 elections.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in a statement in Abuja on Sunday said that the government under the leadership of President Buharj made an advanced payment of $490million for a dozen Super Tukano fighter aircraft in a direct transaction with the American government.

The clarification was in reaction to a call on President Buhari to account for the $1billion drawn from the ECA.

Shehu who accused the PDP of profligacy while incharge of government at the centre, said the transaction was also on a no contractor and no commission basis.

According to the presidential spokesman, the balance of expenditure from the transaction currently stands at $880million.

He explained that ”It’s on record that the Buhari administration paid about USD 490 million for a dozen Super Tucano fighter aircraft in a direct, government-to-government (no Contractors or Commission Agents) transaction with government of the United State.

“Various other military procurements have been made. Balance of expenditure stands at about USD 880 million or so.”

Garba however accused the PDP of spending Defence procurement funds on their failed 2015 political campaigns as proven in court.

He said ”The PDP spent Defence procurement funds on their failed 2015 political campaigns as proven in court. That is not to say every succeeding government, more so one led by a Buhari will do the same.”

“The PDP is under a socioemotional distress. They think that all governments in the world run on the basis of freewheeling looting as they did their own, ” the presidential aide noted.

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NNPC records trading surplus

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has announced a trading surplus of N6.33 billion for May, which is 13 per cent higher than the N5.60 billion surplus posted in April.

Details of the report contained in the May edition of the NNPC Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR) released yesterday attributed the modest rise to the increase in gas and power output, which contrasts with the figure for the preceding month.

The report, made public by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the corporation, Ndu Ughamadu, also attributed the result to the surplus recorded by the corporation’s downstream entities, like NNPC Retail, PPMC, NPSC and Duke Oil.

The report further indicated that within the period, the NNPC recorded $580.32 million in the export sale of crude oil and gas, which is 23.39 per cent higher than the previous month’s figure.
From the number, crude oil export sales contributed $458.59 million, which translates to 79.02 per cent of the entire dollar transactions compared with $342.11 million contributed in the previous month.
The report also showed that between May last year and May this year, crude oil and gas valued at $5.97 billion was exported.

In the downstream, to ensure uninterrupted supply and effective distribution of petrol across the country, a total of 2.06 billion litres of petrol, translating to 66.49 million litres/day, were supplied for May.

It was noted that beyond supply, the corporation continued to diligently monitor the daily stock of petrol to achieve smooth distribution of petroleum products and zero fuel queue across the nation.

Within the period, 60 pipeline points were vandalised, representing a remarkable 52 per cent decrease from the 125 points vandalised in April.

The Atlas Cove-Mosimi and Ibadan-Ilorin pipelines accounted for 38 per cent and 23 per cent and other locations accounted for the remaining 39 per cent of the total breaks.

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Oyo state governor publicly declares his N48 billion asset

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Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has published his asset declaration document showing he has in excess of N48 billion in both cash and properties.


PT reported that the governor complied with Nigeria’s code of conduct law that mandates senior public office holders to file their asset details while assuming and exiting office.

It is however not compulsory to make the details of asset public.

Mr Makinde went further on Monday to release details of what he filled in his asset form at the Code of Conduct Bureau in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

He also said he would encourage all his potential cabinet appointees to do so when they are nominated.

He became the first high-ranking public official to do so amongst those that emerged in the last general election.

According to a statement by Taiwo Adisa, a spokesperson for Mr Makinde, the governor’s CCB OYSE/2019/001 form filed on May 28, 2019, showed he had N48 billion in cash and asset.

The asset was categorised in cash at hand, in the bank, landed properties (developed and undeveloped), and household items.

They also include shares and bonds owned by the governor, his wife, Omini Makinde, as well as his companies.

BANK ACCOUNTS
As of May 28, 2019, Mr Makinde’s bank balance stood at N234, 742,296.01. In dollar terms, he has cash valued at $30,056.99 as at the same date.

Properties, including the developed and undeveloped as well as household items indicated on the asset forms, showed that the governor is worth N2, 624,800,500.

In dollar terms, Mr Makinde also declared properties, developed and undeveloped as well as household items valued at $4,400,000.

In South African Rands, the governor declared buildings and household items worth four million, four hundred and fifty-seven thousand, five hundred and fifty-four and four South African Rands.

The houses declared by Governor Makinde include nine buildings in Nigeria, two in the United States of America and one in South Africa.

One of the properties in the United States is described as “jointly owned.”

The details showed the current value of Makinde’s companies stands at N48, 150,736,889, including 33,730,000 units of shares as of May 28.

The governor also has existing Bonds (Eurobond) worth $3, 793, 500 as well as shares, debentures and other securities valued at N120,500,000(One hundred and twenty million, five hundred thousand naira).

FIRMS AND VALUES
The governor also listed companies that include Makon Engineering and Technical Services Limited; Energy Traders and Technical Services Limited; and Makon Oil and Gas Limited.

Makon Group Limited, Makon Construction Limited and Makon Power System Limited were also listed

The asset declaration form indicated that Governor Makinde’s four companies have additional assets denominated as loan notes.

They are as follows: Makon Engineering and Technical Services Limited(N1.7 billion); Makon Power System Limited(N148.4 million); Makon Oil and Gas Limited(N341 million); Energy Traders and Technical Services Limited(N1.159bn) totalling N3.389 billion.

Disclosure of asset by public officials is rare in Nigeria. The lack of transparency plays a key role in the country’s alarming corruption problem.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in 2015 with the pledge to fight corruption, promised to make his asset public.

He only did so after public pressure. Even so, he did not release some details of his asset, including those belonging to his wife and children.

The president and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have yet to make their asset public after winning a second term.

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Money

CBN introduces Standing Deposit Facility (SDF).

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last night introduced fresh rules for accessing its Standing Deposit Facility (SDF). The SDF is the rate at which commercial and merchant banks deposits funds with the CBN.

Nigerian Central Bank, Abuja, Nigeria. Image shot 2007. Exact date unknown.

The CBN stated this in a circular dated July 10, 2019, that was signed by its Director, Financial Markets Departments, Dr. Angela Sere-Ejembi.

It made reference to the circular to all banks and discount houses, Re: Guidelines on Accessing the CBN Standing Deposit Facility, Ref: FMD/DIR/GEN/CIR/05/020 and dated November 6, 2014.

Following the review, the central bank stated that: “The remunerable daily placement by banks at the SDF shall not exceed N2 billion. The SDF deposit of N2 billion shall be remunerated and the interest rate prescribed by the Monetary Policy Committee from time to time. “Any deposit by a bank in excess of N2 billion shall not be remunerated. The provisions of the circular take effect from Thursday, July 11, 2019.”

Crude oil prices jumped three percent to $66.08 a barrel yesterday after major producers evacuated rigs in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of an expected storm and just as United States’ crude inventories shrank more than expected.

While the global benchmark, Brent crude rose by $1.92, to $66.08 a barrel, the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) climbed by $1.75, also three percent, to $59.58 a barrel.

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