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Emefiele not in politics, remains focused on CBN – EMT

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A support group, Emefiele Mobilization Team (EMT) said the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Godwin Emefiele remains focused on delivering on his mandate as governor of the apex bank.

The group stated this in a statement by its spokesperson, Bashir Mohammed, in Abuja while reacting to claims by certain Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that the CBN governor was involved in politics.

He said that contrary to the claims of the CSOs, Emefiele has not been involved in any political activity of any kind, talking less of compromising the apex bank through purported “political activities”.

Mohammed said that Emefiele had not stated or indicated in any way that he was interested in vying for the position of president.

He said that rather Emefiele remained solely focused on ensuring monetary and price stability, maintaining external reserves, providing economic and financial advice to the Federal Government, and promoting a sound financial system in Nigeria.

“Recently, Emefiele launched the 100 for 100 Policy for Production and Productivity (PPP), a CBN intervention designed to stimulate investments in Nigeria’s priority sectors with the core objective of boosting production and productivity.

“He also unveiled the Mega Rice and Maize Pyramids in the FCT and Kaduna recently, both being results of the massively successful Emefiele-led Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).

“The program has financed over four million farmers, improved their productivity, increased rice output, reduced Agriculture imports and saved the country’s scarce forex.”

Mohammed said that Emefiele’s numerous past feats needed not to be mentioned as they were well-documented and known even to his distractors.

He said that in spite of the attempts by some people to create confusion and distract Emefiele and the CBN, Nigeria’s GDP was on the rise following its 3.4 percent growth in 2021, the fastest growth rate in seven years.

“This is contrary to the claim by the CSOs that Mr. Emefiele’s “subterranean interest” in the presidency has become a massive distraction to the CBN and the financial sector of the country,” he said.

Mohammed also described the CSOs’ allegation that the CBN’s money was being “wasted to fund different groups as “reckless and dangerous“.

Asking what evidence the CSOs have to back up their claims, Mohammed said that it was dangerous to make statements in such sensitive socio-political times.

Mohammed added that the CSOs’ claim that “Nigerians have lost confidence” in Emefiele’s leadership was in complete contrast to the opinion of the majority of Nigerians, especially those in rural areas outside of the FCT where the CSOs restricted themselves to.

“Nigerians nationwide who have directly been impacted, directly and indirectly by Emefiele’s good works continue to express their gratitude, confidence, and belief that he continues to deliver on his mandate.

“Being the honourable, exemplary, and law-abiding citizen that Emefiele is, if indeed he were interested in contesting for ... of president, he would do so in accordance with constitutional provisions,” he said.

Mohammed said that Emefiele would without a doubt be the capable, competent, seasoned, intelligent leader Nigeria requires in such challenging times.

In another separate statement also signed by Mohammed, the group decried what it termed as misleading a report published about the CBN’s 2020 currency operations claiming the bank “spent the sum of N58.618 billion to print N2.518 billion notes”.

He said that the CBN’s Currency Operations 2020 Annual Report clearly stated that CBN spent N58.6bn to print naira notes valued at N1.063 trillion.

“In other words, the cost of printing one naira note was N18, a cost consistent with global currency printing averages.

“Specifically, in line with the Emefiele-led CBN’s objective of ensuring that the banknotes needs of the economy are promptly and satisfactorily met, the apex bank approved N2.5 billion pieces of banknotes of various denominations in 2020.

“It also engaged the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc for production which delivered 100 percent of the approved indent.”

Mohammed added that the CBN’s Currency Operations 2020 Annual Report also reveals that in line with the CBN’s cashless policy, the volume of notes produced decreased in comparison with the preceding year.

According to him, this is evidenced by the 33.40 percent decrease in the boxes of banknotes processed.

“Furthermore, based on the CBN governor’s commitment to minimising the operating costs of the CBN, the total cost incurred on printing banknotes in 2020 reduced by 28.84per cent while more broadly, the bank’s expenses on currency operations decreased by 21.08 percent,” Mohammed said.

He said that upon an unbiased examination of the facts and figures, it was now evident for all Nigerians to see, that contrary to the newspaper’s story, CBN had an efficient and prudent year of currency operations.

Mohammed added that in the same year the CBN under the guidance of Emefiele was able to record critical achievements despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The achievements, according to him, include the conclusion of the upgrade of the Cash Activity Reporting Portal (CARP) for transmission of currency management data from the financial industry to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS).

It also includes the completion of a mint tracking system application and the commencement of the establishment of a currency laboratory for banknote quality assessment authentication, the registration of an additional Cash-in-Transit (CIT) company, bringing the total to nine CIT companies.

“To consolidate on the progress it made in 2020, the CBN is overseeing the transition to an automated currency operations system in its branches and is commencing the recycling of banknote waste,“ Mohammed said.

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President Buhari departs Abuja for UAE

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President Muhammadu Buhari will on Thursday depart Abuja for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to meet the new president of the country, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The president will meet the new President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to convey his condolences on the passing of the former president and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, His Highness, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The President will also extend his congratulations to the new President, renewing bonds of the longstanding friendship between Nigeria and the UAE.

Buhari, in an earlier congratulatory message to the new UAE leader, had reaffirmed Nigeria’s cordial relationship with the country.

He noted that the cooperation between both governments has helped Nigeria in tracking down illegal assets and tracing terrorist funds.

Under the new leadership, President Buhari looks forward to a bigger and stronger partnership for peace, stability, and prosperity for both countries.

President Buhari will be accompanied by the Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zubairu Dada, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello, and the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika.

Other members of his delegation are the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Monguno (Rtd) and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.

The President is expected back in the country on Saturday.

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$200bn investments needed to access clean cooking gas by 2030-Sylva

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From Uche Usim, Abuja

With the global energy transition chants reaching a crescendo, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva has said that an annual investment of around $25 billion in the next eight years could help 2.6 billion people globally access clean cooking by 2030.

He also canvassed for $25 billion annual investments for electricity so that 759 million Africans who currently lack it can enjoy it.

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The Minister, who said these at the annual Symposium and Exhibition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), on Tuesday in Lagos.

However, the Minister stressed that with “approximately 208.62 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of proven gas valued at over $803.9 trillion and potential upside of 600TCF of gas, the most extensive in Africa, and in the top 10 globally.

“And in line with Federal Government’s declaration of years 2021-2030 as the ‘Decade of Gas’, we are taking steps to expand and develop the nation’s huge gas resources through

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enhanced gas exploration, development and utilisation schemes which will lead to gas reserves growth, increased gas production, maturation of the domestic and export gas market, as well as gas flare elimination,” he said.

His suggestions drew inspiration from the United Nations Commission for Africa’s (UNECA) report, which highlighted that Africa needs about $40 billion worth of investments every year if it is to meet its energy needs.

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The Minister, while making reference to the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs report, noted that everyone in the world could have access to clean, affordable energy within the next nine to 10 years if countries modestly increase investments in the energy sector.

He said: “A major question that is yet to beanswered is whether Africa will benefit from an equitable share in this global

investment and growth or, will continue to fall further behind global standards as encapsulated in the UN’s 17-SDGs.

“Despite the long-term and required drop in demand for fossil fuels, short-term demand and prices remain robust, providing strong commercial justification for their extraction and a need to smooth the transition”.

Sylva added that the required investment represents only a small fraction of the multi-trillion-dollar global energy investment needed overall.

He noted that despite contributing less than 6% of world energy consumption and 2% of total global emissions, there is a need for the continent to shift to cleaner energy use.

With significantly untapped fossil fuel reserves, which could provide much-needed foreign direct investment and export revenue, Sylva said Africa has the ability to play a leading role and should play a leading role in the transition to a net-zero energy future. According to him, the continent’s enormous resources can be harnessed using clean energy technologies.

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Describing the PIA as a game changer, Sylva said the legislation will help support the continent to alleviate energy poverty.

He said: “The PIA has generous incentives to enable development, distribution, penetration, and utilisation of gas even as it incentivizes entry into the midstream, especially for pipelines with an additional 5-year tax holiday for investment in gas pipelines.

“The PIA is a supply-side enabler, capable of provoking and triggering commercial interests and investments in gas utilization as well as treating gas as a stand-alone commodity.”

“As a nation, we are following a transition pathway that combines technology, investment, business strategies, and government policy that will enable Nigeria to transition from its current energy system to a low-carbon energy system with natural gas playing a pivotal role over the next generation, roughly between now and 2060.

“Natural gas is a key resource for a just energy transition and has all the credentials to support Nigeria and indeed Africa meet up with her commitment with the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“As a major source of wealth and energy in Africa, the development of oil and gas resources proves critical for our

economic growth and revenue expansion,” he added.

The Minister insisted that there must be multiple pathways to the energy transition in order to ensure that no country is left behind in the process of achieving net-zero by 2060.

“As a continent, we need to be

intentional and recognize the need to develop hydrocarbon resources in environmentally and socially responsible ways.

“And as alluded to by the African

Union, we need to be realistic in choosing the energy transition pathways which addresses our unique requirements and circumstances. As well as enhancing policy, legislation and implementation approaches across national, regional, and continental level, to enable a favorable environment for development.

“We need to develop bankable projects to scale up access to funding and investment. And adopt a mix of energy solutions to address the needs of each country including solutions to high tariffs and accessibility to sustainable energy options.

“We need to promote energy efficiency which is necessary for energy transition and focus on building energy infrastructure and strengthening transmission corridors,” Sylva said.

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