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Mambilla: FG Directs NSIA to Source $200m Judgment Debt for Chinese Firm

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The Federal Government has directed the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority to source $200m for settlement of International Court of Arbitration in Paris award in favour of the Chinese firm, Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited.

Officials of the Federal Ministry of Power said the government had agreed to pay the sum and had mandated NSIA to work out measures for settling the debt.

The $200m settlement offer was to compensate Sunrise Power for the unlawful termination of the contract for the 1,525 megawatts Mambilla hydropower project and the re-award of the same to another Chinese firm.

Based on terms the settlement, Sunrise is expected relinquish all claims to the project once the requirements contained in the agreement with the Federal Government were settled.

Officials of the power ministry also stated that the new contractors for the project were on ground, holding on till when the ongoing survey of the site and compensation of land owners were completed in Taraba, where the about $4bn plant would be constructed.

The original contract for the Mabilla project was for the plant to generate 3,050MW of electricity, but this was reviewed downwards to 1,525MW and the cost cut down by $1bn to $4bn.

The Special Assistant to the Minister of Power on Media, Aaron Artimas, explained that the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority had been ordered by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to take up the matter.

He said the government through the NSIA and other channels was working on how to settle the debt, stressing that it was incorrect to allege that there was no plan to honour the agreement.

Artimas, however, admitted that the payment had been delayed, stressing that this was due to some challenges, which were currently being addressed.

He said, “The only issue now is the delay in payment, but the government has committed to the agreement. However, the government is explaining that the challenge of COVID-19 affected its finances.

“But despite that, the NSIA was given a mandate on this by the President, because the government has to find money somewhere, as this was not budgeted for. So the government will pay.”

The power minister’s aide also stated that the international court had not come up with any fresh issue for the Federal Government.

He said, “The international court of arbitration or commerce in Paris that did the arbitration did not say parties should come back for any fresh or new issue because the government has accepted and signed documents following that agreement.

“There is a signed agreement between the government and the firm. The document was signed by the Minister of Power and confirmed by the President. It is a standing agreement that Nigeria will pay the $200m.”

On whether work on the power project had stalled due to the legal tussle between the Federal Government and Sunrise Power, the power ministry official responded in the negative.

Artimas said, “The project has been reviewed from 3,050MW to 1,525MW in order for it to be more bankable. Once this is fully determined, the China Exim Bank that is to finance the project will come with the funding.

“The bank is funding 85 per cent of the project while the Federal Government is handling 15 per cent.

“If it was not because of the challenge of COVID-19, the President was committed to asking the NSIA (Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority) to release funds so that contractors can mobilise to site.”

He added, “The contractors are Messrs Synohydro Corporation of China, who are the ones handling the Zungeru Power station. So they are already in Nigeria. Therefore, there should not be any challenge.”

The Head of Communications, NSIA, Titilayo Olubiyi, told our correspondent that the Mambilla power project was captured under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund.

He noted that although the details on how the funding of the project would be done were not available yet, work was already ongoing by the PIDF team on financing the power plant.

Olubiyi said, “I will tell you what I know for now, but will have to refer to the PIDF team to get more information because it is an ongoing project. Mambilla is part of the PIDF projects and there are five projects under the fund.

“The Second Niger Bridge is one, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is another, Abuja-Kano Expressway is there too. Initially, the East-West Road used to be part of that fund, before the request from the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs that it be transferred back to them.

“So there is ongoing work to address issues around financing, restructuring, etc, as it relates to Mambilla. In terms of the details as to the nature of the funding, I may have to come back to you on that.”

The NSIA official stated that the Federal Government was still interested in getting the Mambilla project running, but insisted that all necessary issues had to be cleared for a smooth delivery.

Source: The Punch

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UBA Announces Bawuah As First Female CEO

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The Board of Directors of the United Bank for Africa Plc, Africa’s Global Bank, has announced the appointment of Mrs. Abiola Bawuah, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UBA Africa. Bawuah will also join the Group Board as an Executive Director, overseeing the Group’s operations across the African continent, outside Nigeria.

UBA operates in 19 African countries beyond Nigeria, in addition to global operations in New York, London, Paris and the UAE.

Bawuah, a Ghanaian national, is the first female CEO of UBA Africa.  Her appointment further demonstrates UBA’s commitment to diversity. The UBA Group Board now includes eight female Directors.

Prior to her appointment, Bawuah was Regional CEO, West Africa, supervising the Group’s operations in nine subsidiaries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. She previously held the role of CEO, UBA Ghana.

Speaking on the new appointment, the Group Board Chairman, Mr Tony O. Elumelu, said, “Abiola has contributed significantly to the growth of UBA Africa for close to a decade. She brings a wealth of experience in commercial banking, and stakeholder engagement.  It also gives me great pleasure that with her appointment, the UBA Group Board has now become a majority female board.”

The UBA Group also announced the following executive roles:

Chris Ofikulu becomes the Regional CEO, UBA West Africa.  Ofikulu, who has over two decades of banking experience spanning corporate, commercial, and retail banking.

Uzoechina Molokwu will take on the role as Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of UBA Ghana, subject to local regulatory approvals.  He was previously the Executive Director, Business Development – UBA Côte d’Ivoire and has over 23 years banking experience.

Ayokunle Olajubu will be the Managing Director/CEO UBA Liberia, subject to local regulatory approvals. He currently drives compliance across Africa subsidiaries andcomes with 30 years banking experience in Nigeria and other African countries,includingSierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire and the Gambia.

Theresa Henshaw has been appointed as CEO of UBA UK, subject to local regulatory approvals. She was previously the DMD, Business Development, UBA America and joined the Group as ED, Business Development at UBA UK.

Usman Isiaka, currently CEO, UBA Sierra Leone, will be the Deputy CEO in UBA America, subject to local regulatory approvals.

Adeyemi Adeleke, the former CEO of UBA, UK is now the Group Treasurer.  Adeleke will be working to unlock the immense value in the Group’s multi-jurisdictional balance sheet, leveraging on its presence in 24 countries within and beyond Africa.

In addition to the executive appointments, UBA has announced the retirement of High Chief Samuel Oni, an independent non-executive Director, from the Board following the expiration of his tenure.  He joined the UBA Group in January 2015 and served on the Board of the Group for eight years.

The Group Chairman, Mr Elumelu expressed his appreciation to High Chief Oni, for his commitment, leadership and extensive contributions to the UBA Group and on behalf of the Board, wishes him the very best in all his future endeavours.

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NNPCL Takes over Operation from Addax Petroleum Development (Nigeria) Limited

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After fulfilling closing obligations, NNPC Ltd and Addax Petroleum Development (Nigeria) Limited amicably terminate their 24-Year Production Sharing Contract Relationship.

Three (3) months after the execution of the Addax Transfer, Settlement, and Exit Agreement (TSEA) for the PSC Oil blocks, OMLs 123/124 & 126/137, operated by Addax Petroleum Development (Nigeria) Limited, the Assets have finally been transferred to the Concessionaire, NNPC Limited.

In 2021, issues around the revocation of the licences by the upstream industry regulator NUPRC (formerly DPR) required the intervention of Mr President, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari.

Consequently, in a Presidential directive, NNPC was directed to oversee a clean, amicable and speedy exit for Addax Petroleum Ltd, operate the asset on interim basis, as a first step and subsequently appoint a competent contractor (with the concurrence of NUPRC) to operate the asset on behalf of the Concessionaire (NNPC Limited)

After over 180 days of intense negotiation, the first step of the directive was achieved.

Exit discussions and formalities were concluded and NNPC Ltd, with the backing of the Presidency, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, NUPRC, NMDPRA, FIRS, EFCC, and the FCCPC, aligned on a clean and amicable exit for Addax by resolving all the PSC contractual issues in a robust, organized, and tactful manner that culminated to the execution of a Transfer, Settlement, and Exit Agreement (TSEA) on the 1st of November, 2022.
Since then, closing obligations were fulfilled by the parties and effective January 31, 2023, Addax transfers the operatorship of OMLs 123/124 and 126/137 to Antan Producing Limited on interim basis pending the appointment of a substantive Contractor that will operate the blocks on behalf of the Concessionaire (NNPCL)
Already NNPCL has announced the appointment of the Transition Team lead, Mr Sagiru Jajere, as the Managing Director of Antan Producing Limited. Mr Jajere was, before his appointment, the Head of PSC Investment Management at the NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS). He will be supported by a team of highly competent personnel with in-depth knowledge of the peculiarities of the Addax Assets.

The final close-out and handover ceremony for the Addax Assets was well attended with the representative of the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Justice, Executive Chairman Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Executive Chairman Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Commission Chief Executive, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), and the Authority Chief Executive, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), NNPC Ltd and Addax top management.

As the Addax Assets return to NNPC Limited, it is expected that the much-needed investments will be deployed to the Assets while prudently conducting petroleum activities and creating value for the PSC, Federal Government, and other stakeholders.

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Emefiele Shuns Reps’ Summons As Banks Ration New Notes

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An ad hoc committee set up by the House of Representatives to investigate the scarcity of the new naira at commercial banks on Wednesday has frowned at the failure of the management staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria to appear before it on Thursday just as the House has insisted on January 31 deadline set for the exchange of the old notes with the new ones

This came barely two months after the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, failed to appear before the House over issues relating to the naira redesign.

The House had on Tuesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari over the brewing crisis occasioned by the January 31 deadline.

Apart from asking the CBN to extend the window for swapping the old notes with the newly redesigned one by six months, the House had invited the banks to a meeting on Wednesday over the scarcity of new naira notes.

The managing directors/chief executive officers of the banks, under the auspices of the Bankers’ Committee, were to meet with an ad hoc committee of the House to be chaired by the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa.

On Wednesday, the CBN failed to appear before the committee.

However, Ado-Doguwa, at the inaugural investigative hearing of the committee, stated, “For the purposes of clarification, I want to say without any fear of contradiction, that the parliament is always an institution that represents the Nigerian people. For an invitation to any government employee, like it is the case here with the CBN, the governor of the CBN, his directors, deputy directors, all departmental heads, I believe, are employees of the Nigerian people; and when there is a kind of summons from the institution of the parliament like this, we expect every up-and-doing employee to only respect that invitation.”

“On this note, I would like to convey to this committee and members of the public and the press here with us that we have conceded to allow the CBN officials to come tomorrow by 1pm, so that we would engage them. And immediately after the engagement with them, we would engage the bank operators.”

Meanwhile, there was palpable discontent among bank customers in Lagos on Wednesday after some commercial banks shut down their Automated Teller Machines, ostensibly due to paucity or unavailability of new naira notes.

The development came in the wake of threats by the Central Bank of Nigeria that it would sanction any bank that dispensed old naira notes on its Automated Teller Machines.

When our correspondent visited four banks — Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa, Access Bank and Stanbic IBTC along Iju road in the Ogba area of Lagos State, it was observed the bank ATMs were neither dispensing the new naira notes nor the old ones.

Meanwhile, a myriad of disgruntled customers were seen lamenting the frustration of not being able to withdraw cash from any of the ATMs in the area.

Our correspondent proceeded to visit Zenith Bank, Access and UBA along Ogunnusi road in the Ojodu axis of the state. The story was no different as a small crowd of frustrated customers was seen lamenting their inability to withdraw cash.

While some of the banks cited technical difficulties for their inability to dispense money via the machines, others said their ATMs had developed faults and could not temporarily dispense cash.

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