Daily Watch – Senate queries NNPCL on undeclared crude sales, Banks SDF plunge 95%

6th April 2023

Nigeria’s Senate has adopted a report of its committee on Public Accounts which specifically focused on Auditor–General reports of 2016, and indicted the Nigerian National Petroleum Company for ₦102 billion in crude oil irregularities. In the report, queries raised against 37 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) by the office of the federation’s Auditor-General were sustained, while those against 43 others were vacated. Among the indicted MDAs, is the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) over its failure to provide details of crude oil delivered to Warri and Kaduna Refineries worth about $376.6 million (₦102.6 billion) in the audited year. The Senate upheld the recommendation of its committee asking NNPC’s Group Managing Director Mele Kyari to provide specific details of crude delivered to the two refineries for audit.

Commercial banks’ deposits with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Standing Deposit Facility (SDF), have dropped by 95.82 percent in less than two months due to the cash crunch brought on by the government’s naira redesign policy. CBN data shows that banks’ deposits dropped to ₦4.69 billion as of 4 April 2023 from ₦112.24 billion on 10 February 2023, the extended timeline for the return of the naira notes. In a related development, business conditions contracted for the second consecutive time in March 2023 in part due to the naira notes scarcity, according to the latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). Stanbic IBTC Bank’s monthly PMI shows that the headline PMI declined to 42.3 in March from 44.7 in the previous month. The bank said many companies still reported customers’ inability to commit to spending given cash shortages. “This led to a substantial decline in new business, with the pace of contraction more pronounced than in the previous survey period.”

Ghana has deployed a thousand police and military Special Forces personnel to Bawku in the Upper East Region, where three immigration officers were shot at, killing one, while trying to get food in front of a police station. The presence of the Special Forces is intended to increase security while assisting in an investigation to find the killers who are still on the loose. The Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu made this known in an interview with JoyNews on Wednesday. Other measures, he claims, have been put in place to improve regional security, but he declined to elaborate.

Soldiers taken hostage in mid-February by an alliance of rebel groups, the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), in the north of the Central African Republic have been released, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Of the 20 soldiers taken hostage more than two months ago, 19 were released and “will arrive in Birao (North), and they will stay there until we organise their return to Bangui,” Yves Van Loo, the ICRC delegation’s deputy head, told AFP. According to the government, the clashes between the soldiers and rebels had caused “considerable” military losses, but they have not communicated a precise assessment. The CPC confirmed the information in a statement, citing a “voluntary and unilateral decision” to release the prisoners more than two months ago. “The twentieth is an injured person who had been separated from the group for medical treatment. We will recover him at another location later,” the ICRC said.