The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday said while previous administrations talked about modular refineries, only President Muhammadu Buhari’s government ensured their establishment.
The minister stated this at the pre-commissioning inspection of the Waltersmith’s 5000 barrels per day (bpd) modular refinery located in Ohaji-Egbema in Imo.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the project, which is 97 per cent completed, is scheduled for inauguration in October.
NAN also reports that the refinery was jointly inspected by Gov. Hope Uzodinma and the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, an indigene of the state.
Also on the inspection entourage were the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Information, Danladi Sankara, and the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Information, Olusegun Odebunmi
Addressing newsmen after inspection of the facilities at the project site, Mohammed said that the Buhari administration is genuinely encouraging reintegration in the oil and gas sector to make their end products cheaply available locally, create employment and end crude oil exportation.
He said the first phase of the project to be commissioned would contribute about 271 million litres of refined products, including Diesel, Naptha, HFO and Kerosene, annually to the domestic market and create both direct and indirect jobs.
The second phase, according to him, will deliver 25,000 bpd crude and condensate refinery, an upgrade on the 5,000bpd modular refinery and designed to produce gasoline, diesel, LPG, kerosene and aviation fuel.
“We can show Nigerians that while every previous administration has been talking about modular refinery, no government has succeeded in realising the dream of bringing it alive.
“I am sure that before many of us came here we did not know what a modular refinery looks like.
“But for this tour, we will not have appreciated the sheer magnitude of investments in this particular project.
“Having listened and followed the presentations, I am extremely proud to be a Nigerian, especially when the chairman told us that from the board to the cleaner of this company, there is no single non-Nigerian..
“What we have here today in Waltersmith is a good example of reintegration of our resources.
“No longer are we going to have resources and be exporting them without making use of the resources by the process of adding value to it,” the minister said.
The minister disclosed that the refinery, which had its groundbreaking ceremony in 2018, is a joint venture between Waltersmith Petrochemical Ltd and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB)
While Waltersmith, a leading independent Nigerian energy company, has 70 per cent equity in the business, NCDMB , a Federal Government parastatal agency, has 30 per cent stake in the venture.
Mohammed noted that with more of the kind of Watersmith’s modular refinery, fuel subsidy would be completely eradicated as the country would be able to get its products locally at a cheaper price.
He added that besides the fact that production would be more than local consumption, the medium scale industry in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry would grow.
The minister recalled the history of the Waltersmith modular refinery as recounted by the chairman of the company.
“When they first acquired this place, they were producing crude and they found out that they were losing so much either to pipeline theft or the sheer cost of transportation.
“They, therefore, decided to look inwards to produce the crude, refine it and at the same time create jobs for Nigerians.
‘The first phase of 5000 bpd production is a good starting point and we hope that by 2022 they will get an improvement of refined capacity of 25,000 bpd and by 2024, it is projected to have increased to 30000 bpd.
‘If you come here in about two months time, you will have over 200 trucks loading different products a day.
“You can imagine the multiplier effects of that to the host communities and the country at large.
“I believe that this is the way to go because all we need is about 100 of Waltersmith in Nigeria and we will have no business importing any crude,” he said.
The minister said the inspection of the refinery with a team of journalists was in line with the presidential directive at a recent ministerial retreat that the government was embarking on a lot of initiatives and ministers must showcase them.
“The trumpet we are blowing is that we are creating the enabling environment for business to grow.
“Not only that, we are contributing 30 per cent of investment to this project, we are also helping the company to ensure that all necessary regulations and permits are followed and obtained,” he said.
Mohammed commended the governor, the state and the host communities for the excellent relationship with the contractor.
“Without peace and stability there will be no Waltersmith.
“There are many projects like this that have refused to grow because of the hostility and lack of cooperation of their host communities,” he said.
He equally commended Waltersmith for its resilience and ingenuity in turning the area to a business hub within few years, building a 15-kilometre road and a trailer park as well as improving the economy of the host communities.
Speaking in the same vein, the governor commended the company for making local content a success story by investing in the downstream sector which many foreign oil companies had shunned.
‘Waltersmith is moving from the upstream to the downstream, meaning that crude oil which they used to export will now be a raw material for them to produce locally.
“The various products that will come from this place will, at the end of the day, put in place a value chain that will not only stimulate the economy to grow but will also empower Nigerians,” he said.
Uzodinma said while oil and gas sector was in the exclusive list and a prerogative of the Federal Government, the state would provide the necessary platform and enabling environment in complementing the Federal Government to assist the company.
He challenged the company to take cue from some big indigenous business ventures and consider dualising some Federal Government roads in the state in return for tax rebate.
The General Manager of the company, Abdul Ishaya, said with favourable environment and government support, indigenous companies have the capability to turn the oil and gas sector around.
He said the modular refinery remained the first of its kind in the country inspite of the existence of the 1000 bpd Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Ltd. mini refinery for the extraction of diesel from crude oil in the Ogbele field in Rivers.
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo)
Survival Fund: FG releases registration schedule as portal opens Monday
As the portal for the registration of prospective beneficiaries for the Survival Fund opens on Monday, the Federal Government has released the timetable for categories of businesses to register.
A statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by the Project Delivery Office stated that the portal which opens at 10 PM, will have educational institutions as the first category of beneficiaries to register.
“Nigerians interested in the Payroll Support scheme are to note that the site for registration will be open from 10 pm Monday September 21, 2020.
“In order to ensure seamless registration process, the Project Delivery Office (PDO) has designed a registration schedule.
“Registration for Payroll Support will start with educational institutions on Monday and will be followed with businesses in the hospitality industry on Friday September 25 beginning from 12 A.M.
“The portal will also be open to other category of small businesses from 12 A.M., on Monday September 28, 2020,” the statement said.
The office therefore advised those interested in benefiting from the fund to take note of the schedule and also log on to http://www.survivalfund.ng to register for the payroll support initiative.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the survival fund is a conditional grant to support vulnerable Micro and Small enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in MSMEs from the shock of the COVID– 19 pandemic.
The scheme is estimated to save at least 1.3 million jobs across the country, while targeting an average of 35,000 individuals per state.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
Osimhen, young lad with head of 40-year-old — Gattuso
Napoli’s coach Gennaro Gattuso on Sunday dished out rare praises on new Nigerian signing Victor Osimhen, describing him as “a young lad with the head of a 40-year-old”.
Osimhen became Napoli’s record signing when he joined from Lille in the summer for a reported 70 million euros.
He was brought on for his debut after an hour of Sunday’s Serie A match and the Nigerian made an instant impact in their 2-0 win.
”I was struck by Osimhen’s serious attitude. He has not forgotten where he came from and the sacrifices he made.
”He built himself up on his own and I congratulate him for his will and desire.
“He is a young lad with the head of a 40-year-old. I hope he does not make mistakes and does not change his attitude,” Gattuso said.
Osimhen, 21, grew up in a tough district of Lagos, lost his mother at a young age and along with his brother and sister, sold bottled water in Lagos traffic to help his family make ends meet.
Gattuso said he wanted to get Napoli back into the top four again after last year’s turbulent season, where they finished seventh after a late recovery and won the Coppa Italia.
”It is natural that, given the history of the last 10 years, we want to return to the top four.
”I want to see a well-organised team that have clear principles in their heads and that know how to make themselves available in difficult moments,” the coach said.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu and Olawale Alabi)
Edo 2020: NCFront commends security on neutrality, wants more from INEC on logistics
The National Consultative Front (NCFront) on Sunday commended stakeholders for peaceful and credible Edo gubernatorial election, applauding the security for its neutrality and professionalism.
The group disclosed this in its “Major Assessment and Verdict on Edo Governorship Election”, it issued.
It was jointly issued by Comrade Isa Aremu, Dr Tanko Yunusa, Prince Chris Azor, Mr Georgina Dakpokpo, Ayaba Olubunmi and Mr Ejiro Ofoye on behalf of NCFront Elections Monitoring Team.
The nonpartisan group, which commended the security for visible neutrality and professionalism in preventing thuggery and attempted malpractice in some polling units, advised the officers not to rest on their oars.
According to the group, more are still expected from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on logistics and in the conduct of some political parties and their agents.
The group said that party agents were expected to be more adherent to subsisting electoral ethics and rules, which forbade voters’ inducement, vote buying, thuggery and violence during elections, ballot snatching and stuffing.
It said that the political parties should always exercise respect for the Peace Accord their parties and candidates signed before elections.
“NCFront wishes to call on the INEC, as the main elections management body in Nigeria to always ensure that improved elections logistics are henceforth put in place and deployed on time.
“INEC must urgently employ latest technology required to make elections transparent and credible in Nigeria so that elections are not ruined by violence and ultimately decided by the Courts instead of the electorate.
“However, the Police, being the lead security agency, would still need to do more to assure the Nigerian electorate, especially, through improved conduct of its personnel that they can reliably stand on the part of the law in maintaining peace and order during elections.
“This must be done instead of their regular recourse to intimidation of eligible voters, which has always occasioned recline of voters on election day and electoral manipulation in another instance,” it said.
The group, however, commended INEC for being above board in its conduct during the poll.
The NCFront also commended the Edo people for the relative peace witnessed during the poll and credibility of the electoral process, inspite of the violent build up.
The group while congratulating the winner of the election called on Gov. Godwin Obaseki to be magnanimous in victory by extending the hands of fellowship to all his fellow contestants in building a united and stable government and state.
NAN reports that NCFront, a nonpartisan pan-Nigerian conscience group, deployed 600 cadres of observers/monitors, in conjuction with its INEC accredited partners, in the 18 Local Government Areas of Edo for monitoring of the governorship elections.
The group commended INEC for giving priority to Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs), and other vulnerable groups especially the elderly during the electioneering process.
It, however, added that some of the polling units were not accessible to some categories of PLWDs.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu
Edo Poll: APC supporters commend Buhari for providing level playing field
The Buhari Support Organisation (BSO), has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for providing a level playing field for contestants in the just-concluded Edo governorship election.
The BOS said this in statement signed by the Chairman and Secretary of its Enugu State chapter, Chief Anike Nwoga and Mr Godwin Onwusi on Sunday in Abuja.
It described Buhari as a statesmanship and a father of the nation, adding that he had enriched the health of the country’s democracy by observing its core tenet.
“The BSO is happy that Mr President enriched the health of our democracy by observing the core tenets of democracy.
Also in another statement, the United Patriots had congratulated Gov. Godwin Obaseki for his re-election as governor of Edo.
The group’s National Chairman, Mr Chukwudi Ezeobika said Obaseki’s victory remained a plus to the country’s democracy and an end to imposition of ill will on the electorate.
The group commended law enforcement agencies for their professional conduct before, during and after the election.
It commended, especially the Police for exhibiting high level of professionalism and devotion at election.
“We salute the courage and perseverance of the Edo people who turned out in their huge numbers to exercise their franchise and vote for the candidate of their choice.
“We remain resolute in our belief that good governance will enhance more participation of Nigerians in future elections and permanently dislodge the ills of god “fatherism’’ and imposition of candidates on the people against their wish.
“As we approach the Ondo State governorship election scheduled for Oct. 10, we are optimistic that the serenity, security and decorum exhibited by all stakeholders in the nation’s electoral process in Edo, will be brought to bear,” it said.
The group appealed to Nigerian youths to be part of this great struggle to redeem the country and its democracy from abuse.
It said this they could do by protecting and preserving the sanctity of the country’s electoral system, knowing fully well that the future of the country was dependent on such struggle.
Edited By: Grace Yussuf