Still smarting in their loss of 86 oil wells to Rivers State, this is not the best of times for Akwa Ibom State as the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) moved to enforce the Supreme Court ruling on the case.
Already, the Commission has inaugurated a Technical Committee to work out modalities for the refunds of revenues and interest that accrued from the oil wells since 2009 to Rivers State as well as implementation of other aspects of the judgment delivered by the apex court.
In the Committee are representatives of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation; Office of the Attorney General of the Federation; National Boundary Commission; Department of Petroleum Resources; and Office of the Surveyor General of the Federation.
Chairman of RMAFC, Engineer Elias Mbam, who inaugurated the committee, said the members were expected to come up with modalities that would ensure proper implementation of the judgment that ceded the contentious 86 oil wells to Rivers State as well as payment of funds accruing from the wells and interest calculated at the prevailing rate.
With two weeks to complete its assignment, the committee has would examine implications of the judgment in all ramifications; collate all the required data to implement the judgment and compute the amount to be paid by Akwa Ibom government to its Rivers counterpart as ordered by the court.
It is also within the Committee’s purview to recommend modalities for the payment of the outstanding amount due to Rivers State while making any other recommendations it may deem necessary to drive the process.
National identity registration to begin after polls
A new national identity registration would begin after the elections, the National Identity Management Commission, said after the initial efforts by the federal government years ago could not yield the desired results.
Chris Onyemenam, the Director General, National Identity Management Commission, disclosed this at breakfast forum organised by Digital Jewels Limited. He said registration had already begun in Lagos and Abuja.
In his presentation, titled ‘The National Identity Management Scheme: e-Commerce catalyst or encumbrance’, Mr Onyemenam spoke on the gravity of challenges in identity management in Nigeria, and how the commission plans to tackle the encumbrances and restore sanity in the nation’s identity sector.
Over eight years ago, the contract for the implementation of the national identity card scheme was awarded to SAGEM of France. However, the contract, which was laden with alleged bribery scandals, did not yield the results Nigerians expected because years after the registration, majority of Nigerians neither had a national card nor numbers with which to be identified.
In May 2007, the NIMC Act established the commission and provided the legal framework for the reforms in the sector. The reform mandate includes collecting basic demographic and biometric data, creating, operating and managing a National Identity Database, providing an on-line/off line cost effective verification and authentication infrastructure in Nigeria, integrating with ID schemes, providing standardized identity attributes and fostering the orderly development of an identity sector in Nigeria.
“As e-commerce catalyst, identity management has several benefits to the economy,” said Mr Onyemenam. “These include streamlining biometric-linked projects in the public and privates sector, eliminating multiple and ghost identities, reducing identity theft and related fraud (advance fee fraud), enhancing the work of law enforcement agencies, financial inclusion and development of financial services sector, creating new economic and employment opportunities, among others.”
The challenges facing the scheme include multiple identification initiatives by institutions such as the Pension Commission, land registers, Federal Inland Revenue service, SIM registrars, Law enforcement Agencies, Financial Institutions, the Independent National Electoral Commission, Immigrations, Federal Road Safety Corps and several others who have to embark on their own personal registration and the absence of ‘core’ identity sector infrastructure.
Mr Onyemenam said that identity management is party of the federal government desire to develop and deepen the consumer credit sector, facilitate the enforcement of existing/extant laws and meet global practices, facilitate financial inclusion and development of commerce generally, harmonization of identification schemes committee in 2005. “It would help in the enhancement of the consumer credit sector, governance through e-governance, revenue processes, administration of social welfare programmes and subsidies, national payment system and improve standard of life as it would enhance national security among others,” he said.
Imo Refinery and Petrochemical Project targets 100,000bpd capacity production
In the bid to leverage the abundant oil and gas resources of Imo State to meet the energy requirements of the South East Zone and thus provide a critical driver for the rapid industrialization of the South east Zone; the availability of affordable and steady energy supply, the Imo state government in partnership with foreign investors is to build a 100,000 bpd refinery at the cost of $2.5 billion.
Chairman of the Imo Refinery and Petrochemical Project, Dr. Tony Chukwueke told newsmen in Abuja that when completed, the refinery would apart from providing link to infrastructural and industrial development will create over 5,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities to teeming Nigerians in line with the Gas Conversion and Job Creation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan and his determination to meet the nation’s demand for petroleum products through domestic refining.
“The cost of implementing the Imo Refining and Petrochemical Project together with the development of the associated upstream assets is presently estimated at US$2.5 billion. The project is expected to be fully funded by the private investors who are also the developers of the project. Key upstream investors and proven refiners have already been identified and are ready to commence the project as soon as final approvals are received”, he disclosed.
The five year actualization planned Imo Refinery and Petrochemical Project been built in partnership with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), according to the former Director of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Dr. Chukwueke will go a long way in meeting a key aspiration of the people of the South East Zone of the country and provide the desired dividend of democracy to the people of the zone both in terms of job creation and.
The refinery to be built under a private public partnership agreement with foreign oil and gas firms, the chairman has explained that government of Imo state has identified suitable location for the plant in the vicinity of the location of oil and gas reserves that would guarantee long-term feedstock supply for the project. The project sited at the Egbema/Oguta Industrial Park, which also houses the Federal Government’s Light Vessels Port Facilities and Naval Base, is the hop for the industrial development South East zone, identified as a key driver for job creation. The River Niger is currently undergoing extensive dredging work and will provide the main supply and evacuation route for goods and services associated with the project.
He said, “in recognition of the urgent need and size of the project, the Imo State Government has made available 400 hectares of suitable land in Egbema and Oguta in the area designated for the Industrial Park. The location is capable of housing the planned take-off capacity of 100,000 bpd for the refinery with allowances for future expansion to up to 250,000 bpd. The Light Vessels Port cited at the same location is now under construction and the State Government is embarking upon access road construction, existing roads upgrade, Right Of Way acquisition, site preparation and civil works.
“Imo State lies in the geologically more mature Northern Niger Delta which boasts of ample oil and gas resources. Current oil and gas reserves estimates in the state stand at 21 million barrels proven oil reserves and 12 tcf proven gas reserves with ultimate potential of some ten times more. The topographical terrain throughout the state is entirely land, with the River Niger bordering the state at the western corner. Presently, the total production by the various companies operation in Imo State amount to some 26,000 bpd of crude oil and some 250 million scf or natural gas per day.
The refinery according to him is located in the heart of the oil and gas production belt in Imo State and will be driven by private sector investors in technical partnership with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Imo Petroleum Development Company. The private sector investors would be a consortium of proven refiners and upstream operators. The integration across the value chain will provide a commercial basis for the development of the project and provide the feedstock for the refinery project. The project will employ state of the art refining and petrochemical processing technology and best practices in modern refining, both in the art of processing technology and environmental considerations, in a public private partnership arrangement.
The Development Concept for the refinery project and the Partnership with NNPC was initiated by the Governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim and approved by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua and consequently a project team was set up in NNPC to pursue the maturation of the project. The project team has agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the development of the project, which is awaiting the endorsement of Minister of Petroleum Resources and ultimately of the President Commander in Chief. We have every anticipation that Mr. President’s endorsement will be received soon on conclusion of the ongoing national elections.
The Supply/Demand gap in petroleum products in the South East zone of Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Anambra and Enugu continues to widen. Over the last three years, product (PMS) demand outpaced supply by nearly 1 million litres per day in 2010 and is expected to rise to 2 million litres per day in 2012. Given a projected growth rate of some 3% -5% per annum the supply/demand gap would be expected to climb to some 4 million litres per day by 2012. The zone consumes about 9% of total national demand of refined petroleum products. While the daily demand in the South East for PMS, for example, amounts to 3 million litres/day in the five states, the actual volume supplied averages 2.2 mln litres per day, or 69%. The major cities and economic centres in the zone, namely, Aba, Nnewi, Enugu, Owerri, Umuahia and Abakaliki, etc represent the major industrial and population centres that are driving demand.
Speaking further, he stated that “government is promoting the use of LPG (cooking gas) to replace firewood for domestic cooking, is projected to increase the demand for LPG in the South East zone from the present 30000 metric tons per annum to some 45000 metric tons per annum by 2012. The demand for LPG for domestic consumption as well and plastics and chemicals for the industrial sector is planned to be met by the project.