Later this week (on December 12 to be precise), the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) will launch a register that will detail the full information of owners of oil and gas companies in the country.
NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Waziri Adio, disclosed this recently during a stakeholders’ meeting on the benefit and significance of the Beneficial Ownership Register in Nigeria.
According to Premium Times, Adio acknowledged the public outcry from certain quarters which has greeted this development. He also allayed people’s fears regarding this, emphasising that this is not a case of “we against them”. He, however, clarified that the initiative is aimed at ensuring that Nigeria is accorded the necessary benefits it is entitled to for the extraction of its resources by extractive companies, some of whom have been “cheating” the country over the years.
What you need to know
Note that the Beneficial Ownership Register is in tandem with the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). With 52 countries signatory to it including Nigeria, EITI specifies a global standard for the good governance of oil, gas and mineral resources.
As Adio claimed, there are a lot of benefits that the NEITI register is expected to actualise. Some of these benefits are highlighted below;
- The register will make it possible for there to be a transparent disclosure of the full identities of investors in Nigeria’s extractive industries.
- The register will also make it easier for the government to checkmate possible tax evasion by the owners of extractive companies in the country.
- According to Adio, the move will also help to curb illicit financial flows and other forms of organised crime such as drug financing and money laundering.
Once again, Adio reiterated that there is no need for anyone to be worried about the launch of this register. It is only aimed at ensuring transparency whilst ensuring that Nigeria is not cheated by players in the extractive industries.
“When people are afraid that the Register is against their interests, it is natural to expect they will resist it. So, NEITI has a responsibility to assure people that they have nothing to fear, except they are engaging in illegalities.”
In the meantime, the NEITI register is lacking a legal backing because there is no piece of legislation in the Nigerian constitution that makes it compulsory for companies to publicly disclose their beneficial owners. But as Adio stated, NEITI is adopting a “gradualist approach” which will enable it to figure out how to navigate any legal issues that may arise along the way.
FCT Fuel scarcity: Why the queues have returned
There have been reports of long queues in the FCT, leading to major traffic jams in some parts of the city.
On Monday, 19th of April, 2021, the NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari assured Nigerians that there would be no increase in the ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as Petrol in May. Kyari also added that Petroleum Tanker Drivers had suspended their proposed strike after the intervention of NNPC in the impasse between the PTD and the National Association of Road Transport Owners.
“We have given our commitment to both NARTO and PTD that we will resolve the underlining issue between them and come back to the table within a week so that we’ll have a total closure of the dispute,” he said.
However, in the Federal Capital Territory, it was a different story, because the intervention of the NNPC on the proposed strike may have come a little late. Starting on Monday evening, there were reports of long queues in the city, which continued even up to Tuesday afternoon, leading to major traffic in some parts of the city.
At around 2 pm on Tuesday, a trip to fuel stations in the Karu-Jikwoyi area and some other parts of the FCT revealed queues of varying lengths. Fuel stations in the city centres had noticeably long queues as consumers struggled to fill up vehicle tanks and kegs.
A driver, Agbor, spoke to Nairametrics on his ordeal in trying to get petrol.
“I heard the queue was not as bad here as it was in town, so I rushed down to this queue at O-Max but the attendants said they don’t have much fuel for now, and are rationing how much they sell. I had no choice but to buy 10 litres of black market fuel at N4,000.”
At some stations including NNPC filling stations, long queues extended into nearby streets and although vehicular movements were being controlled to provide some semblance of order, the gates were shut in many to prevent mayhem.
The severity of the situation was also quite pronounced at Asokoro. There were long queues at the MRS filling station at AYA junction and A. A Rano station among others. The entry and exit gates were completely shut in many instances with teeming consumers struggling to gain entry. A petrol attendant who asked not to be named told Nairametrics that the situation is temporary and blamed the proposed strike for the inconvenience.
The scarcity situation was not different in Area 11, Garki. The main Total filling station was blocked on all sides and petrol was not being sold from the pumps at press time. The queues had also extended from the station to NNPC HQ. At Conoil, the situation was not much different and as of 2 pm yesterday, fuel was not being sold at the station.
In response to the situation, the federal government, on Tuesday afternoon, gave an update on fixing the fuel scarcity situation as NNPC GMD, Mr Mele Kyari told reporters that fuel loading had commenced in all depots and tankers would soon arrive at various parts of the city to end the scarcity situation.
“These queues will go away. It’s because there was an industrial action by petroleum tanker drivers against their employers, the National Association of Road Transport Owners, around their compensation package.
And those issues were not resolved up till yesterday, until we intervened to ensure that there’s an amicable settlement between the parties so that they will have peace and then normal loading operations will commence from the depots.
As I speak to you at this moment, loading has commenced in all depots in the country, dispatches of trucks are ongoing in all the depots in the country and they have called off the strike for a period of one week to enable us intervene and find a solution.” he said.
Why some real estate companies are at risk of bankruptcy
Many real estate companies affected by the pandemic have folded up, as housing subscribers were finding it difficult to service their mortgage payments.
No doubt, these are trying times for different sectors across the Nigerian economy and the nation’s real estate segment is not insulated from the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some operators and stakeholders have expressed their fears that if the Federal Government does not intervene, more real estate companies may be forced to shut their operations.
Why firms may fold up – Experts
The experts have lamented that despite the challenges facing the real estate sector, especially with the pandemic, the Federal Government has not paid due attention to the sector.
The Managing Director, Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Plc, Dr Olabanjo Obaleye, explained that the government is yet to provide financial succour and other structural support to mortgage banks and the housing sector, even in the heat of the pandemic.
According to him, the government appeared to be only concerned with raising taxes to boost revenue but has not provided the required succour to cushion the impact of the pandemic on businesses in the country.
During an Earnings Conference Call, he said, “Many companies affected by the pandemic had folded up, as housing subscribers were finding it difficult to service their mortgage payment. There are two companies that have just collapsed due to the inability of their owners to get foreign exchange for the importation of raw materials.
On the level of government support on COVID-19, there is nothing visible we have seen. We have read so many pronouncements on that from the government but we haven’t got any palliative in that respect. We have made proposals to government through our relevant authority but there is a need for certain funds to be set aside for this.”
A real estate practitioner and also the Vice President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (LCCI) Gbenga Ismail, explained that the impact of COVID in real estate would be felt by stakeholders and property owners because of the tenancy/rent structure of the sector.
Unlike what is obtainable in other climes like the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America where rents are renewed on a monthly or quarterly basis, Nigerians will feel the pressure now, as rents are paid in one or two years advance.
According to Ismail, who spoke in an interview monitored by Nairametrics, most people that have either lost their jobs or whose salaries are slashed will feel the effect more now compared to last year.
He said: “Now, people won’t be able to pay rents or buy houses as planned. We are not sure of where the monetary issues are going now and not sure if lending will continue into the real estate sector. We are yet to see some of these things going on.
“Even in inventories, where developers have put houses out for rent, the concern is who is going to rent them? Before COVID-19, we wait 6 months before houses get rented or leased but now it may not be less than 12 months.”
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