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Grave concern over relationship between Eland Oil and Gas, Govt

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There are indications that the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria would witness degree of economic and administrative struggle as Eland Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited are at loggerheads with the Nigerian Regulator and operator of the Opuama Field at OML 17 on regulatory matters concerning crude export
from the asset.

According to a statement signed by the, ”Oil For Nigerian”, a Non-Governmental Organization, Mr Solomon Wendy, and made available to TIMELY POST on Monday, indicated that stakeholders were perturbed with the worrying trend since it would be the second time in less than a year that companies associated with the UK stock exchange will embrace unconventional route to blackmail the Buhari-led Government over the insistence of the regulators in following laid-down procedures and regulations.

The statement read that the operator of the field, the operating arm of the NNPC is carefully studying the matter and may decide to enforce their operatorship of the field which is currently being managed by both companies.

Solomon Wendy claimed that the DPR source quipped that ”Eland Oil and Gas needs to know that the era of the erstwhile MD, Yusuf Matashi has gone and that the new hands at the helms of affairs will not allow any foreign company to push him around.

He added that the Minister of Petroleum, President Buhari is also a no-nonsense man and will frown at the Dublin-based company’s effort to smear his incorruptible personae.

The spokesperson stressed that E and P legal and professionals conversant with the unfolding story believe that there has to be more than meet the eyes in the disharmony since the issue at hand between Eland and the DPR is mainly procedural and should not have led to consideration of legal action as perceived.

Mr Wendy alleged that there is the possibility of Eland to have pledged some reserves that belong to NPDC in its attempt to secure the $50million dollars facility with Standard Bank of South Africa.

Wendy stressed that any accordion facility is essentially an incremental facility which allows a borrower to take an additional facility over and above what was originally agree on with the financier on the same terms as the original facility for expansion purposes.

The spokesperson emphasized that there had been indications that the financial adviser had realized that the expectation to commence principal repayment on its existing 5-year reserve -based landing facility which was said to have occurred in 2018.

Mr Wendy claimed that inside sources expressed fears that the company may be cash-strapped since the November 2018 loan has not been deployed, mainly owing to the many rig mechanical failures with the Gbetiokun Drilling campaign, the below poor production from its new wells and the increasing water having challenges from the field.

”The company has been using the loans to continuously bye back its shares to shore up the shareholders’ values at the expense of NPDC and the Government”, as explained by Wendy.

Other worries, according to Mr Wendy is the perceived behaviors of the Les Blair-led company makes the stakeholders believe that the company may be facing an existential crisis due to Standard Bank’s insistence that Eland oil and Gas meets all conditions precedent to the draw-down of the loan.

The Spokesman alleged that the development must be responsible for the desperation of the company to claim operators’ reserves with its own increase assets to the facilities.

Mr Wendy added that the position of the NGO, ”Oil For the future” to thread carefully since Emeka Offor requires cordial relationship in the corridors of power to ensure that it does not jeopardize its interest in other fields and future licensing rounds.

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Customs seizes N5 billion codeine, tramadol

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The strike force of the Controller General of Customs on Friday raided a warehouse in Lagos where cartons of codeine, tramadol, and other illegal drugs worth N5 billion were kept.

The warehouse, located along the Mile-Oshodi expressway, was raided after a trailer load of the hard drugs was intercepted at Maryland in Lagos.

Usman Yahaya, team leader of the Customs Strike Force Zone A, said the trailer was intercepted around 2 a.m. on August 13 by his operatives.

“Immediately it was brought to our notice, we carried a preliminary investigation that led to the discovery of a warehouse along Oshodi-Mile 2 road stocked dreaded tramadol, codeine and other unregistered pharmaceutical products without NAFDAC numbers”.

He said that after evacuating the warehouse of the hard drugs with street value of N5 billion, one suspect was arrested.

“The warehouse was immediately sealed with a detachment of well armed officers to guard the place”.

“The drugs estimated to be loaded in 21 trailers with street value of over five billion Naira are being evaluated for custody and subsequent judicial process/destruction.”

Three weeks ago, the agency in collaboration with the National Administration of Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) destroyed 48 by 40feet of controlled drugs worth N146billion at a destruction site in Ogun State.

“We therefore call on well meaning Nigerians to support the Nigerian Customs Service on this patriotic resolution”.

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Inflation gets low in July – NBS

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The average change in the prices of foods and services reduced in July compared to June, the statistics bureau, NBS, has said.

According to the NBS, the Headline Inflation reduced to 11.08 per cent in July from 11.22 per cent in June.

The Food Inflation reduced from 13.56 per cent in June to 13.39 per cent in July while the Core Inflation reduced from 8.84 per cent in June to 8.80 per cent in July.

Details later…

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CBN outlines new guidelines to banks

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has released guidelines for the disbursement of lower denominations of the Naira through microfinance banks (MFBs) across the country.

The bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.

Okorafor said this development was contained in a circular issued by the Director, Currency Operations Department of the bank, Mrs Patricia Eleje, in Abuja on Thursday.

He explained that the circular indicated that all microfinance banks must have a Composite Risk Rating (CRR) of above average in the most recent Risk Based Supervision (RBS) target examination before they were considered for the scheme.

He explained that the measure was to ensure that only MFBs with good corporate governance practices took part, NAN reports.

“Meanwhile, the participating MFBs must be willing to accept a mixture of new and other banknotes, and that the MFBs shall give 20 per cent of any withdrawal in lower denomination notes subject to a maximum of N50,000.

“Where beneficiaries withdraw more than once in a day, the circular said that disbursement will only apply to one transaction per day.

“Similarly, the MFBs are allowed to exchange notes subject to a maximum of N50,000 for customers with bank accounts and N10,000 for customers without bank accounts.

“In that situation, the banks must not exchange for same beneficiaries more than once a week,” he added.

According to him, MFBs are to maintain a register of amounts received from the CBN through their correspondent commercial banks.

Okorafor said the MFB must also maintain another register of the beneficiaries of the lower denomination notes as well as ensure that withdrawal teller slips contain breakdown of the denomination of the currency to customers with accounts.

“The circular also warned MFBs against hawking, hoarding or using of funds obtained under the intervention for any other purpose.

“It also instructed the banks to put in place effective control measures that will ensure that banknotes disbursed to customers with or without accounts are not sold.

“Furthermore, the circular directed the banks to render weekly and monthly disbursement return to CBN branches where the intervention would be monitored periodically, and appropriate sanctions applied to erring MFBs,” he said.

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