Crude oil prices soared high on Wednesday, trading at $73 per barrel in the aftermath of US President [Donald Trump’s] warnings to strike Russia’s ally Syria. This is followed by media reports that Saudi Arabia foiled a terror attack on its capital Riyad, an incident that equally contributed to the spike in prices.
This is the highest crude oil price recorded since 2014. Prior to this developments, global crude oil benchmark stood at $72.14 per barrel on Tuesday.
Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2018
What is the relationship between President Trump’s warning and the spike in oil prices?
Trump’s Twitter statement left the global oil market in confusion, as stakeholders tried to decipher its full implications. Speculations were rife as to whether Trump’s military arsenal could actually be used against Syria. Much more worrisome was the question of whether Trump would also attack nearby Iran, Syria’s strong ally, and a significant global oil producer.
What does this development entail for Nigeria?
The rise in crude oil prices is advantageous to Nigeria in so many ways. Nigegn exchgn exchange reserves are forecast to hit $%0 billion before year end. A further rise in oil prices could cause this to happen sooner than later. The country’s foreign exchange rate has made considerable improvement.
Buoyant foreign reserves will also keep Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI) within the country. Foreign investors are key players in any economy, and especially so for a developing country like Nigeria. Therefore, as long as crude oil prices and the poltiical economy remain favourable, FPI inflows will be maintained.
Nigeria’s economy is solely dependent on crude oil; its mainstay. Therefore, increase in crude prices presents immense advantages, just as the reverse is the case when crude prices decline.
NDDC reveals more lists of contracts awarded to federal legislators
The Commission said it released the list to expose committee chairmen in the National Assembly.
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) said there is another list of emergency contracts that were awarded to National Assembly members in 2017 and 2019. This list was not submitted to National Assembly following the recent probe of the NDDC.
This disclosure was made in a press statement by the NDDC earlier today which was signed by the commission’s Director for Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili. According to the statement, the initial list that was submitted by the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, was actually compiled by the former management of the commission in 2018, not the minister himself.
The statement by the NDDC went further to note that the Interim Management Committee of the Commission stands by the list which came from the files already in the possession of the forensic auditors.
“The Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Commission stands by the list, which came from files already in the possession of the forensic auditors. It is not an Akpabio list but the NDDC’s list. The list is part of the volume of 8,000 documents already handed over to the forensic auditors,” the statement said in parts.
In the meantime, the NDDC has urged prominent indigenes of the Niger Delta, whose names appeared on that list, not to panic, because the NDDC is aware that their names were used to secure contracts. The ongoing forensic audit would help to unearth those behind those contracts, the NDDC said in the statement.
Furthermore, the commission disclosed that it released the list to expose committee chairmen in the National Assembly who used fronts to collect contracts from the NDDC, some of which were never executed. Interestingly, the list did not include the unique case of 250 contracts that were signed for and collected in one day by one person, ostensibly for members of the National Assembly.
While assuring that the forensic audit exercise is on course, the NDDC noted that the commission had positioned 185 media support specialists to identify the sites of every project captured in its books for verification by the forensic auditors.
The NDDC then enjoined members of the public not to be distracted or swayed by a lot of misinformation and falsehood that are being orchestrated by mischief makers, even as more of such will be expected by those opposed to the IMC.
It can be recalled that Akpabio, while appearing before the members of the house of representatives ad-hoc committee probing the N40 billion corruption allegation against the IMC of NDDC, said that most of the contracts that are being awarded at the commission were given to members of the national assembly.
Not that likely, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, asked the minister to provide within 48 hours, the names of the legislators that benefitted from such contracts with full details or face legal action.
Senator Akpabio, in response to the ultimatum, sent an official letter to the Speaker, providing the names of the national assembly members that benefitted from such contracts.
FG reveals amount spent on school feeding program during lockdown, denies spending N13.5bn monthly
The FG said it had only spent about N523.3 million on the programme during the lockdown.
The Federal Government has denied some media reports that it spent the sum of N13.5 billion monthly on the homegrown school feeding program across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja during the lockdown period when school children were at home.
The FG said it had only spent about N523.3 million on the school feeding program during the lockdown.
The disclosure was made by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, on Monday, August 3, in Abuja.
The minister said that there had been a lot of rumours and speculations about one of the key government interventions, the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
She explained that the programme was modified and implemented in three states following a March 29th Presidential directive, while also stating that it was done in consultation with stakeholders.
The minister said, “It is critical at this juncture to provide details that will help puncture the tissue of lies being peddled in the public space. The provision of ‘Take Home Rations’, under the modified Home Grown School Feeding programme, was not a sole initiative of the MHADMSD.
“The ministry, in obeying the Presidential directive, went into consultations with state governments through the state Governor’s Forum, following which it was resolved that ‘take-home rations’, remained the most viable option for feeding children during the lockdown. So, it was a joint resolution of the ministry and the state governments to give out take-home rations.
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“The stakeholders also resolved that we would start with the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states, as pilot cases.”
Going further, she revealed that each take home ration was valued at N4,200 and that the figure was arrived at after proper consultation.
The minister said that the figure was generated from data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN).
She said, “According to statistics from the NBS and CBN, a typical household in Nigeria has 5 to 6 members in its household, with 3 to 4 dependents. So, each household is assumed to have three children.
“Based on the original design of the Home Grown School Feeding programme, long before it was domiciled in the ministry, every child on the programme receives a meal a day. The meal costs N70 per child.
“When you take 20 school days per month, it means a child eats food worth N1,400 per month. Three children would then eat food worth N4,200 per month and that was how we arrived at the cost of the ‘take-home ration.”
The Minister said that it was agreed that the federal government would provide the funding, while the various state governments would handle the implementation. She said that in order to ensure a transparent process, the government had to partner with the World Food Programme (WFP) as technical partners.
She also said that her ministry invited government agencies like the EFCC, CCB, ICPC, DSS and some NGOs to monitor the process, just as TrackaNG also monitoring and giving daily updates, thereby validating the programme.
Giving a further breakdown she disclosed that in the FCT, 29,609 households were impacted, 37,589 households in Lagos and 60,391 in Ogun, making a total of 124,589 households that benefited from the programme between May 14, and July 6.
She said, if 124,589 households received take-home rations valued at N4,200, the amount would be N523,273,800.
A media report had suggested that the Federal Government claimed it was spending the sum of N679 million daily or N13.5 billion on the school feeding program across the country even during the lockdown period when school children were at home.
FAAN denies allegation of stolen N750 million, admits breach of procurement process
FAAN says that the accusation of the theft was just a low and unsubstantiated blow.
The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has denied allegations of stolen N750 million from its coffers, as alleged by an online medium. The aviation agency, while describing the allegations as entirely false, said that no funds to the tune of N750 million were approved or even went missing due to fraudulent contracts, as alleged.
This was disclosed in a series of tweet posts by FAAN, through its official Twitter handle on Thursday, July 30, 2020.
An online medium had reported a stolen N750 million, following a fraudulent contract scheme that may have indicted top staff of FAAN. However, while speaking under conditions of anonymity, a highly-placed source within FAAN stated that the only procurement issue that was identified happened in February 2020.
According to tweet posts from FAAN, “Allegations of a stolen N750 million from the coffers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is entirely wrong, as no funds to the tune of any amount were approved or ever went missing due to a fraudulent contract.
‘’The Managing Director himself, discovered and queried some procurement documents in February 2020. When the answers to the queries were found unsatisfactory, an investigation was launched, the staff involved were suspended, and later replaced in their official capacities.
‘’The recommendations of the management investigation were forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Aviation in June 2020. All this is fully documented and in line with federal civil service procedures.’’
The statement also pointed out that some of the names being bandied around had no role in the failed procurement process. It encouraged investigative reporters to cross-check their stories and get factual information instead of smearing innocent people and settling personal scores.
The statement from FAAN says that the accusation of theft was just a ‘low and unsubstantiated blow’ that could have been better clarified instead of going all the way to run the organization down. It also reiterated that a failed attempt to undermine the integrity of the procurement process, is not a theft, just as there was never any theft.
Also speaking on the issue of half salary to members of staff as was also reported by the online medium, a source in FAAN said due to paucity of funds, management decided to ease the burden of expenditure for all staff in view of the big Sallah on Friday by paying half salary to all senior staff only, with the balance to be paid next week.
All FAAN junior staff were paid their full 100% salaries (that is GLs 1-7). It also stated that a notice to this effect was on all FAAN staff platforms since yesterday and the unions later got to know of it.
An online media report had alleged that some top officials of FAAN and some of their children had conspired to steal N750 million from the aviation agency by re-awarding old contracts that had earlier been awarded by the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika.
They alleged that the fraud was carried out by staff of the procurement department with the help of officials of the account and audit departments.
No missing N750m in FAAN
Allegations of a stolen N750 million from the coffers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN) is entirely wrong, as no funds to the tune of any amount was approved or ever went missing due to a fraudulent contract.
— Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (@FAAN_Official) July 30, 2020