Resign Within 10 Days, Groups Tells Sanusi

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BEVERLY HILLS, February 10, (THEWILL) - This may not be the best of times for self-styled whistle-blower and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, as a group, the New Nigeria Initiative (NNI), has told him to resign his position within the next 10 days.

'Caution is needed and it should be applied.
  But since the Emperor of financial institutions has thrown caution to the wind by attempting fruitlessly to undermine the integrity of a government of which he is a member, the only option open to him is to resign forthwith.

  And we have given him 10 days from the day or date of this publication to do so,' the group said.

Making  the call on Monday , the group said this  was informed  by  Sanusi's decision to throw caution to the wind by exposing  the alleged 'missing' proceeds of the sale  of the nation's crude by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) while reconciliation of the books was still ongoing Recall that Sanusi had, at different times, alleged that   $49.

8 billion, $12 billion and $20 billion were missing from the account of  NNPC as he  allegied that NNPC did not remit the said amounts to the Federation Account domiciled with the Central Bank.

A statement issued  by the group in Abuja and signed by Dr.

Maccido Abdullahi, said: 'Since the outgoing Central Bank Governor (CBN), Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has decided to wear the garb as the Emperor of financial institutions in Nigeria, we shall let him know that we do not recognise the illegal turbaning, which he conducted all by himself.

' According to the group, 'We hereby serve notice that if, within 10 days from today, he does not resign as CBN governor, he should be prepared to be disgraced out of office for improper conducts, which we are ready to expose to Nigerians and the world at large.

' The group added: ' This is not a threat but a promise,' adding  'Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

' Also faulting aspects of the memorandum submitted by the CBN governor to the Senate Committee on Finance, the group said , for instance, his assertion that the fiscal terms of the Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) could be renegotiated without recourse to Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) might not be true.

'This is because any renegotiation of the fiscal terms of the PSCs would require amendment to the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act of 1993 as amended.

  This Act specifies the tax and royalty rates to be paid by the PSC contractors.

   Since it is an Act, it can only be amended by another Act of the National Assembly,' it said.

NNI said Sanusi's allegation that NNPC took away blocks from the Federation and gave them to itself (using NPDC as a Special Purpose Vehicle, SPV) and then transferred the operation of the blocks to agents with limited experience in operating oil blocks was not correct.

'We wish to debunk it to wit: the blocks were properly assigned with the consent of the Government (see the recitals of the Agreements for the date of consent);  NPDC is an upstream subsidiary company of NNPC;  and NNPC is empowered by its Act to review its affairs for the purpose of determining how the management of its activities or any of its subsidiaries can most efficiently be organized,' the group said.

NNI also stated that the allegation that NPDC gave its business partners tax relief and waivers in the Strategic Alliance Agreements (SAAs), was not true, saying : 'The SAAs are financing agreements and more or less service agreements.

  The Clause, referred to in the SAA, which is on Taxes, Royalties, Rates and Dues, is a standard provision in all the Service Agreements that Nigeria has entered into with Service Contractors ( See Article 17 of NNPC and AGIP Energy  & Natural Resources Ltd Service Agreement and also Article 18 of NPDC and AGIP Energy  & Natural Resources Ltd Service Agreement.

)  ' According to the group, 'The tax relief and waivers are as provided in our Fiscal laws.

  See Section 10 of the Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) Act.

  Besides, the SAA contractors are subject to Company Income tax regime.

  It is only NPDC that is required to pay PPT.
' Accusing the CBN governor further, the group said 'there is no doubt that the CBN governor is following up on his earlier release that was discredited for lack of understanding of the Nigerian oil industry by many experts, leading to an agreement by him (Sanusi) that he was misinformed.

  Could this be the case again?  We believe it is.
' The group sad 'It is clear that, in Sanusi's defence, he is undertaking the job of a watchdog on the revenues of the country,' stressing ' To be sure, he is not the appointed auditor in such matters.

' Wondering why the CBN Governor  has decided to now  to rush to put sensitive financial information in the public domains without clear and hard facts, the group  recalled his handling of the toxic banking crisis, saying  jobs were lost for what many other bankers agree could have been better handled.

  'Is that a scenario that will play out with these new supposed revelations?,' it asked.

Nonetheless, the group  noted that the government had thought further than Sanusi on the matter,  saying  the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that will take care of many issues Sanusi raised in his submission is a proof of this.

'The PIB will ensure adjustments for the fiscals as contained in existing contracts and reduce the burden of cash handover by the Federal Government.

The cash transfers are a key reason for transactions of allowing operators with the financial ability to operate on behalf of NNPC productive assets.

  The PIB will also address procedural circles of budgeting that can improve returns on oil sector investments.

'The government, earlier on, had tried to implement a subsidy removal, an action that was resisted by Nigerians.

  The subsidy removal would have eliminated inefficiencies as currently experienced in product importation.

  PPPRA has done a commendable job on this and more is expected.

'Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is supported by the government to continue to strengthen its audit oversight on the extractive industry.

  The President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, last year, made pledges to improve government support when a delegation from the international secretariat was hosted by him.

'The last audit report is currently under consideration and issues noted will be acted upon during a remediation exercise.

   The president, we understand, had also set up a high inter- ministerial committee to ensure that recommendations from the report are implemented,' the group argued.

It stated further: 'We have also noted that the CBN governor stated that reconciliation needed to be continued to ensure that revenue was captured.

   This is in the interest of the nation and it will be ongoing, we agree.

  But rushing issues based on assumptions only creates disharmony in a system and might be interpreted as having a deeper concern than that of the national interest.