Wednesday, December 17, 2014

$7.92 billion lost by Nigeria in 1 year due to corruption

A total of $7.92billion in illicit capital flowed of out Nigeria in 2012, according to the latest report released by the US-based non-profit research and advisory organisation, Global Financial Integrity (GFI).

For the year 2012, only Nigeria and South Africa are the two African countries ranked in the top 20 countries for illicit financial outflows. Nigeria was ranked 17th behind South Africa, which ranks 9th with cumulative illicit financial outflows of $29.13 in 2012.

According to the report, “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2003-2012,” emerging economies lost a whopping $991.2billion in facilitating crime, corruption and tax evasion.

However, in the 10-year period between 2003 and 2012, Nigeria was ranked 10th with a cumulative of $157.46billion, surpassing South Africa which was ranked 12th with a cumulative $122.14billion. Also, Nigeria and South Africa are the only two African countries that were ranked for illicit financial outflows in the 10-year period between 2003 and 2012.

“The fraudulent mis-invoicing of trade transactions was revealed to be the largest component of illicit financial flows from developing countries, accounting for 77.8 percent of all illicit flows, highlighting that any effort to significantly curtail illicit financial flows must address trade mis-invoicing,” said the report.

Frontline political activist, Chris Nwokobia, said that the report vindicates the position of former CBN governor, Sansui Lamido, that $20billion was missing from the coffers of the federal government.

According to Nwokobia, when Sanusi said that $20billion was not missing, many dismissed him as playing politics and he was harassed out of office.

“This report is only saying that what Sanusi said was correct. Nigeria has always been corrupt but this is the first time that corruption is driving the wheel of state,” Nwokobia said.

The report, authored by GFI’s chief economist Dev Kar, and GFI’s junior economist Joseph Spanjers, reveals that “illicit financial flows hit a historic high of $991.2 billion in 2012 – marking a dramatic increase from 2003, when illicit outflows totalled a mere $297.4 billion.”

It also notes that illicit outflows are “growing at an inflation-adjusted 9.4 percent per year, amounting to double global GDP growth over the same period.”

“As this report demonstrates, illicit financial flows are the most damaging economic problem plaguing the world’s developing and emerging economies,” said GFI president Raymond Baker, a longtime authority on financial crime. “These outflows – already greater than the combined sum of all FDI and ODA flowing into these countries – are sapping roughly a $1trillion per year from the world’s poor and middle-income economies.”

Fuel scarcity: TOTAL is holding Nigerians to ransom – SSS

The Department of State Services (DSS) has blamed the ongoing nationwide strike embarked upon by members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on oil giant, TOTAL Nig. Plc., saying that the company reneged on an agreement with the union.

DSS spokesperson Marilyn Ogar, while addressing the media yesterday on the strike, urged Nigerians associated with TOTAL’s management to compel it to end the suffering they had imposed on Nigerians by keeping the said agreement.

Ogar further disclosed that the matter was brought to the DSS office by PENGASSAN officials in November, following which the Service summoned TOTAL’s managing director Elizabeth Proust, saying the oil giant’s recalcitrance triggered the industrial action.

“The issue is the ongoing strike by NUPENG and PENGASSAN which is biting hard on all Nigerians. We want to state that in November, 2014, PENGASSAN had written the Service to make a formal complaint about the transfer of Elo Victor Ogbonda to Lagos from Port Harcourt by TOTAL after she was elected as a zonal executive of the union,” said Ogar.

“Consequently, this Service summoned the managing director of TOTAL, Elizabeth Proust, on November 5, 2014, to resolve the dispute. It was agreed that Ogbonda would be re-instated, posted back to Port Harcourt and granted leave of absence for the period she would serve as an executive of PENGASSAN.”

Ogar said that PENGASSAN later informed the DSS that TOTAL had reneged on its promise to recall Ogbonda.

“Consequently, this Service contacted TOTAL and was informed that the company will not go back on its sack order. All entreaties to the company failed, thus culminating in the current strike and the attendant fuel scarcity,” Ogar said.

Fuel scarcity continues as oil workers shun FG meeting

- Oil workers insists on meeting with President

The ongoing fuel scarcity in the country may continue as the meeting called at the instance of the supervising minister of labour and productivity, Kabiru Turaki, to broker peace and resolve the industrial action by the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has been rescheduled for Thursday, December 18, 2014.

The development followed the inability of the aggrieved oil workers’ unions and their officials to turn up for the meeting earlier scheduled for Tuesday, December 16, at the minister’s office.

However, Kabiru Turaki was absent at the meeting, officials from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, top directors at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, including the permanent secretary, Clement Iloh, were all present.

After several hours of waiting for NUPENG and PENGASSAN executives to turn up for the meeting, the permanent secretary then publicly announced the postponement of the meeting to Thursday.

He said, “This meeting was called by this ministry to trash out the issues that must have necessitated this current strike and other problems in the sector. However, this meeting has been postponed to Thursday, December 18 by 11am. We sincerely apologise for this postponement”.

As the strike enters the third day, both unions have hinged the latest strike on federal government’s inconsistent policy in carrying out turnaround maintenance of the nation’s ailing refineries, including effecting reduction in pump prices of petrol in line with the slump in global prices of crude oil.

They also accused the government of not being able to evolve new strategies to combat issues related with pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft, and the delay by the National Assembly to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

Others are the non-implementation of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, expected to reflect Nigerians in management positions and expatriate quota law.

Despite federal government’s self-rating of having accomplished so much in road construction, NUPENG and PENGASSAN have expressed sadness at the appalling state of access roads to refineries and oil depots’ facilities, as well as insecurity all over the country that has reportedly led to the death of their members.

NUPENG president, Igwe Achese, however, told reporters that the union shunned the meeting because “it will lead to nothing at the end of the whole exercise.”

Inside sources told our reporter that the oil workers would only attend a meeting which President Goodluck Jonathan will preside.

According to Achese, government has a penchant for organising meetings when industrial issues have gone from bad to worse but has never shown consistency in implementing resolutions that emanate from such meetings.

He said there has been series of meetings between the oil unions and the minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to resolve these issues but such meetings failed to yield any tangible results.

He chided government for abandoning the Turnaround Maintenance (TAM) policy of the refineries, adding that their major grouse was poor supply of crude oil to service the refineries while several oil vessels with fuel products are at the seaport waiting to be discharged for sale in Nigeria.

“We cannot be party to a meeting that will ultimately lead to nothing at the end of the day. What we want to see is a situation where government makes commitment by implementing some of these demands we have raised, not series of meetings.

“It will surprise you to know that in the past eight months, we have been meeting with the minister of petroleum resources and other stakeholders in the petroleum industry, yet these meetings yielded nothing.

“You heard the ministry of petroleum resources bragging that there are over 17 oil vessels at the seaport waiting to discharge fuel, how do you explain the turnaround maintenance initiated by the government itself.

“We want to see regular supply of crude oil to the refineries so as to stop the importation of fuel from other countries which do not even have oil deposits in their soil. What is government doing about the turnaround maintenance it initiated and the Petroleum Industry Bill before the National Assembly?” he queried.


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