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24-Apr-2024 JV Partner, NNPCL unlock 12,000bpd Production at Awoba Unit Field

JV Partner, NNPCL unlock 12,000bpd Production at Awoba Unit Field

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and its Joint Venture (JV) Partner, Newcross Exploration and Production Limited, have restarted Production at Awoba Field, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The NNPC Limited said the Field last contributed to the Bonny Terminal in 2021 and was finally shut down in February 2022 due to Evacuation Issues and Crude Oil Theft.

Speaking on the development, the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, in a Statement, said since the restart on April 13, Production at the Field had averaged 8,000 Barrels per day.

According to the GCEO, the Production is expected to reach 12,000 per day within 30 days.

He said Awoba was also expected to significantly boost Gas Supply to the Power Sector and other Gas-based Industries.

He said NNPC Limited was keen on optimising Production from the Nation’s Hydrocarbon Assets to boost Revenue.

Kyari said it would also help to meet the Nation’s Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Production Quota.

He ascribed the achievement to the President Bola Tinubu Administration’s success in providing the Enabling Operating Environment for Businesses to thrive.

He expressed appreciation to all Stakeholders, including Staff, Operators, Host Communities, Government Security Agencies, and Private Security Contractors who played a pivotal role in achieving the feat.

The Awoba Unit, which straddles OMLs 18 and 24 is located in the Mangrove Swamp South of Port Harcourt, in Rivers State.

Both OML 18 and OML 24 Assets are under the Management of the NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS).

NNPC Limited has been recording a string of Production successes from the JV Portfolio which have significantly lifted overall National Production.

Besides the recent start of Production at the Madu Field by the NNPC Limited/First E&P JV, the Company has achieved the restart of Production at OMLs 29 and OML 18 in late 2023.

These contributed an average of 60,000bpd to the Nation’s Production Output since their restart. 

 

Credit NNPCL PR: Texts excluding Headline

23-Apr-2024 Seplat emerges Energy Times’ Corporate Governance Company of the Year

Seplat emerges Energy Times’ Corporate Governance Company of the Year

Energy Times Newspaper has named Seplat Energy as the Corporate Governance Company for 2023 Business Year.

Seplat Energy, which is Nigeria's leading Indigenous Energy Player, was recognised for its effective Corporate Governance Framework and Corporate Governance Standards.

Seplat Energy also got recognition for its exponential growth for the period, which had translated into the creation of significant Shareholder Value and National Wealth.

Energy Times is a Weekly Newspaper based in Lagos, Nigeria, focusing on Oil, Gas, Power, Maritime and Renewable Energy Reportage.

Speaking at the Energy Times Awards held in Lagos recently, the Publisher/Editor-In-Chief of the Newspaper, Kayode Ekundayo, said the recognition reflects Seplat Energy’s strong Corporate Governance Structure driven by its Board and effective Management. This, he noted, had spurred success and Operational excellence for the Seplat Energy Brand.

Seplat Energy has continued to drive continuous improvements in its Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) performance, which requires an effective Sustainability Governance Structure and a robust approach.

“The Company's Sustainability commitments, actions, and outcomes have remained a reference point over the years. The Industry has also testified to the progress in Seplat Energy’s Sustainability journey. As stakeholders, these feats are worth the commendations,” Ekundayo said.

Seplat Energy integrates Human Rights considerations, Labour Laws, Equal Opportunity Principles, and good Ethical Conduct, among others in its Recruitments, Procurements, Community Relations and Relationships with Governments.

The Company also promotes mutual respect as well as a free and fair Work Environment that encourages freedom and enhances Productivity.

The Company’s Work Culture encourages Openness, Freedom of Expression, Creativity, High Productivity, unbiased Appraisal System and a fair Reward System.

Respecting Human Rights, Seplat Energy endorses International Agreements and Protocols including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the Company is committed to respecting the Rights of Stakeholders in all its Operations and Business Conduct.

Receiving the award on behalf of the Company, the General Manager, Partner Relations, Seplat Energy, Grace Amadi, commended Energy Times for the recognition given to Seplat Energy.

She lauded the Newspaper for its doggedness and commitment to Professionalism, whilst reaffirming Seplat Energy’s commitment to living up to the expectations of its Stakeholders.

According to Amadi, the Company will continue to adhere to Global Best Practices with the intent to grow more Value and remain the delight of Investors.

Other Members of the Seplat Energy team in attendance were the Manager Corporate Communications, Seplat Energy, Stanley Opara; and Manager Branding & PR, Ahmed Audu.

The Award ceremony was attended by other Energy Industry Players, Regulators, Government Agencies, and the Media.

 

Credit: Seplat Energy PR

21-Apr-2024 Naira is gaining, the difference will drop further, Shettima assures

Naira is gaining, the difference will drop further, Shettima assures

Vice President Kashim Shettima has expressed optimism that the Naira would continue to appreciate against Dollar at the Forex Market.

Stanley Nkwocha, Spokesperson of the Vice-President in a Statement, said Shettima stated this at a Meeting with Officials of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said President Bola Tinubu ended the Fuel Subsidy and ensured the Unification of the Multiple Exchange Rate because the former arrangement was producing Billionaires overnight.

“Naira went haywire and some People were celebrating but inwardly we were laughing at them because we knew that we have the Leadership to reverse the trend.

“Asiwaju knows the game, and truly the Naira is gaining and the difference will drop further.”

He recalled that the quality of Leadership provided by President Tinubu as Governor of Lagos laid the Foundation for the massive Development witnessed in the State.

Shettima assured that the Tinubu Administration is doing its best to address challenges in the Power Sector.

According to him, Tinubu Administration is aware that Power is absolutely essential for Development.

“We are determined to ensure that we generate Jobs for our Youths. Honestly, the President’s obsession is to live in a place of glory, to transform this Country to a higher pedestal.

“He wants to leave a Legacy, one of qualitative Leadership because the hope of the Black Man, the hope of Africa rests with Nigeria.

"I want to assure you that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is one of you. He understands your Ecosystem. In this Government, you have an Ally and a Friend.”

Earlier, the President of LCCI, Gabriel Idahosa, emphasised the need for the Federal Government to consider more Innovations to address the Insecurity challenge in the Country.

He also urged the Tinubu Administration to ensure a significant upswing in the pace and scale of alternative Policy Measures that promote Credit access, stimulate Investment, and support Entrepreneurship.

“This could include targeted Interventions such as Concessional Lending Facilities, Loan Guarantees, and Interest Rate Subsidies tailored to the needs of SMEs and key Sectors of the Economy like Agriculture, Manufacturing and Power Technology.”

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

21-Apr-2024 Aig-Imokhuede: Raising $300m in Capital for Access Bank 'not a big deal'

Aig-Imokhuede: Raising $300m in Capital for Access Bank 'not a big deal'

Chairman of Access Holdings Plc, Aigboje Aig-Imokhuede, says he is confident that the Company would raise $300m in Capital for Access Bank, considering the Bank’s strong Market Position and Shareholders’ support.

Aig-Imokhuede said this on the sideline of Access Holdings’ second Annual General Meeting(AGM) held in Lagos.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on March 29, directed Commercial Banks in Nigeria with International Authorisation to shore up their Capital Base to N500bn and National Banks to N200bn.

Similarly, Non-Interest Banks with National and Regional Authorisation will increase their Capital to N20bn and N10bn, respectively.

The Recapitalisation exercise is expected to commence from April 1, to March 31, 2026.

Consequently, the Shareholders of Access Bank, at the AGM, unanimously backed the Group’s plan to establish a Capital Raising Programme of up to $1.5bn.

They also agreed to the Subset Initiative to raise up to N365bn specifically, through a Rights Issue of Ordinary Shares to its Shareholders.

The Proceeds of the Rights Issue will be used to support ongoing Working Capital Needs, including Organic Growth Funding for the Group’s Banking and other Non-Banking Subsidiaries.

Aig-Imokhuede explained that having announced to embark on a Capital Raising through Right Issue, he was confident that the Group’s Shareholders would support the Bank in the journey.

He stated that Access Holdings had a unique Relationship with the Capital Market in Nigeria and Internationally.

“It is not the first time CBN is coming up with such Policy.

“Recall that in 2004 when CBN announced that all Banks must Recapitalise to the tune of N25bn and Access Bank had about N3bn of Capital.

“Between 2004 and 2007, our Team, when I was the CEO of the Bank, raised $2bn of Common Equity Capital.

“Therefore, in 2024 when Access Holdings  is much older, wiser, stronger, larger and significantly respected by the Capital Market with over 800,000 Shareholders, raising $300m in Capital for Access Bank, its Banking Subsidiary is not really much of a challenge.

“We signalled to the Market first that we will be doing a Right Issue, which means that we must carry everybody along, in spite of our large Institutional Shareholders.

“Nonetheless, we believe in ensuring that Shareholders, either large or small, continue with us on our journey.

“They have always supported us when need be with good reasons, because they believe in the Company and the performance that would be delivered subsequently to such Capital Raising exercise.

“What is on the mind of our Shareholders now is Recapitalisation and they are also concerned about how their Company continues to deliver Returns,” he said.

Commenting on the CBN Recapilisation Policy, the Chairman noted that Access Bank as a Group endorses the CBN Policy wholeheartedly.

Aig-Imokhuede described the Policy as a good and sensible Prudential Regulation.

He added that Banks, particularly after period of significant Devaluation of Domestic Currency, volatility in the Foreign Exchange, and Interest Rate Regime, are always encouraged to build up their Capital Buffer.

According to him, this is to ensure that whatever adverse effect that may arise as a result of the dynamic changes in the Business Environment would not affect their very Concern.

In terms of performance and expectations from Access Holdings going forward, Aig-Imokhuede stated that the Earning Profile of the Group, which spread across Nigeria, Africa and outside Africa Subsidiaries, is very robust.

He said: “As an Investor, you always look to see whether there is deep concentration where the Profit is coming from; in our case, these arears are spread across three Core Areas that is of significant interest to Local and International Investors.

“If you look at the performance of Banks in the year ended 2023 Financial Reports, you will see that all Banks in Naira Terms have increased significantly their Profitability as a result of the Devaluation.

“But that isn’t the case with Access Bank, whose Revaluation Benefits come from the fact that it has significant International Operations, because it is not a function of holding large Foreign Currency Balances.

According to him, Access Bank, United Kingdom for example, is the largest and probably highest performing Sub-Saharan African Bank that has a License in the UK and making hundred of millions of Naira of Profit from the UK.

The Chairman further said that this is not an Accounting Benefit that comes in the year 2023, but will continue, and with the Operations of the Bank in France, and across other European, Asia and Middle Eastern Jurisdiction.

“We can see that the Foreign Currency benefit of Profit in those Locations are going to also accrued to the Holding.

“The Holding as an Investor is also thinking of Retail Banking, which is like a Utility. A Retail Banking with about 60 million Customers is enough to sustain the Bank anytime, irrespective of how volatile or uncertain the Market is,” he said.

Access Holdings Full-Year Results for the period ended December 31, 2023, showcased an impressive 335 per cent increase in Pre-Tax Profit to N729bn from N167.68bn in 2022.

The Group also experienced an 87 per cent surge in Gross Earnings to N2.59trn from N1.39trn in 2022 and reported a remarkable 306 per cent growth in Profit After Tax to N619.32bn, from N152.20bn posted in year 2022.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

20-Apr-2024 Shareholders okay Access Holdings' Capital Raising Programme of $1.5bn

Shareholders okay Access Holdings' Capital Raising Programme of $1.5bn

The Shareholders of Access Holdings Plc, on Friday, unanimously backed the Group’s plan to establish a Capital Raising Programme of up to $1.5bn.

They also agree to the Subset Initiative to raise up to N365bn, specifically through a Rights Issue of Ordinary Shares to its Shareholders. The Shareholders gave the nod at the Second Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Holdings held in Lagos.

The Proceeds of the Rights Issue would be used to support ongoing Working Capital Needs, including Organic Growth Funding for the Group’s Banking and other Non-Banking Subsidiaries.

The Shareholders also ratified the Appointments of Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Olusegun Ogbonnewo, and Ojinika Olaghere as Non-Executive Directors of the Holdings.

They lauded the Appointment of Aig-Imoukhuede as the Chairman of Access Holdings, noting his rich history of success with the Institution, having transformed it into Nigeria’s biggest Lender by Market Value alongside the late CEO, Herbert Wigwe.

Aigboje’s Leadership was instrumental in driving the Institution’s Growth during the 2004 Recapitalisation of the Banking Industry led by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the Leadership of its former Governor, Charles Soludo.

Sunny Nwosu, Chairman, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), said the Shareholders were thrilled with Aig-Imoukhuede’s return to the role of Chairman.

Nwosu said Aig-Imoukhuede’s proven track record, experience, and strategic insights position him as the Ideal Leader to steer Access Holdings towards meeting its lofty targets.

“During his Tenure as CEO, particularly during the Recapitalisation Directive by the CBN, Aig-Imoukhuede steered Access Bank to raise an impressive $2bn in Capital.

“This demonstrates his capacity to, once again, lead Access Holdings towards successfully achieving the objectives of our planned Capital Raise and Rights Issue targets,” he added.

In line with the Group’s strong financial performance, the shareholders approved payment of a final Dividend of N1.80 per every 50k Ordinary Share for the 2023 Financial Year, representing 28 per cent improvement from the corresponding period in 2022.

The Group’s full-year results for the Period ended December31, 2023, showcased an impressive 335 per cent increase in Pre-Tax Profit to N729bn from N167.68bn in 2022.

The Group also experienced an 87 per cent surge in Gross Earnings to N2.59trn from N1.39trn in 2022 and reported a remarkable 306 per cent growth in Profit after Tax to N619.32bn, from N152.20bn in 2022.

Commenting, Bolaji Agbede, Acting CEO, Access Holdings, said that having recorded an impressive performance in the First Quarter of the year, Access Holdings’ Global Expansion Strategy would in the Second Quarter of the year enter the consolidation and efficiency phase.

Agbede said this aligns with its five-year plan to accelerate the attainment of its 2027 Strategic Objectives.

The Group remains focused on driving Sustainable Growth and delivering Value to its Shareholders, even as it continues to build a Globally connected Community and Ecosystem, inspired by Africa, for the World.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

20-Apr-2024 SEC 'blesses' Mutual Fund with N18.2bn

SEC 'blesses' Mutual Fund with N18.2bn

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), supported growth of the Fund Management industry in 2023 with approvals for new Mutual Funds with N18.20bn.

According to SEC, the support also includes Discretionary/Non-Discretionary Investment Products with N17.60bn.

The Director-General of the Commission, Lamido Yuguda, said this while briefing Journalists at the post Capital Market Committee (CMC) Meeting in Abuja on Friday.

The Funds management is the overseeing and handling of a Financial Institution’s Cash Flow.

The Fund Manager ensures that the Maturity Schedules of the Deposits coincide with the demand for Loans, the Manager looks at both the Liabilities and the Assets that influence the Bank’s ability to issue Credit.

Yuguda said that SEC approved five Infrastructure Fund Shelf Programmes totalling N1.5trn as a major step forward.

He said the Commission Amended Rules governing Digital Assets and established a Digital Exchanges (DEX) Division dedicated to the supervision of all duly licenced Digital Asset Platforms.

”On Market Supervision, the Commission has intensified its supervisory efforts, focusing on Fund Managers and conducting Inspections to address vulnerabilities and enhance stability.

”This has resulted in the implementation of a number of corrective measures designed to strengthen the overall health and stability of the Fund Management Industry.

”Progress was reported on implementing Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Regulations and addressing deficiencies identified in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Mutual Evaluation Report.

”The Commission has been working with the Nation’s Regulatory and Law Enforcement Agencies to ensure that Nigeria is taken off the FATF grey list,” he said. 

The Director-General said that the Commission would inaugurate Securities Issuers Forum to discuss attracting more Issuances to the Market and a Roundtable on leveraging Crowdfunding to support MSMEs in May.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

18-Apr-2024 Private Sector cries out over Electricity Tariff hike, warns over 65% Businesses will die

Private Sector cries out over Electricity Tariff hike, warns over 65% Businesses will die

The Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) has called for the suspension of the implementation of the new Electricity Tariff hike.

The OPSN, via a Statement in Lagos, said the call was to enable all Stakeholders to have meaningful dialogue around the process and methodology of determining Electricity Tariff.

The Statement was signed by the Director-General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Segun Ajayi-Kadir, on behalf of the OPSN.

The Federal Government, through the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), announced an increase in Tariff for Users under the Band A Category, effective April 3.

The new Rates mean a hike from N67 per kilowatt-hour to N225 per kilowatt-hour translates to a 241 increase for the Users.

Ajayi-Kadir stated that the call for suspension was to allow the OPSN and Electricity bodies jointly agreeing on the transparent mechanism required for Tariff setting.

He said the OPSN had received numerous complaints from its Member-Companies on the implications of the recent astronomical increase in Electricity Tariff without the required and proper consultations with the Private Sector.

He stated that this sudden increase in the face of inadequate Electricity Supply was inimical to the competitiveness of Nigerian Products and Businesses and would definitely exacerbate the impact of high Cost of Production.

“Meanwhile, the astronomical increase is against the MYTO Order referenced NERC/2023/05, which valued the Cost-Reflective Tariff at N114.8/Kwh (determined using Exchange Rate of N919.39/$1).

“It also does not reflect the current Exchange Rate reality that has seen the Naira appreciated by 62.95 per cent over the Dollar in the last one month.

“A closer look at the impact of increase in Electricity Tariff to N225/kwh (determined using Exchange Rate of N1463.31/$1) on the Cost Profile of a Medium Sized Company using 700kw revealed that the firm will need to pay about N1.4bn per annum (700 x 225 x 24 x 365) for Electricity.

“In China, a similar Medium-Sized Company will pay a little over N24m (700 x 94.14 x 24 x 365).

“Obviously, the new Electricity Tariff is outrageously higher when compared with the Going Rates in Countries with significant Manufacturing Performance,” he said.

Ajayi-Kadir added that with the new Tariff of N225/kwh, Nigeria now ranked third after Germany and United Kingdom on the list of Countries with high Electricity Cost.

He said that what was most worrisome with the Nigerian Case is the fact that the Electricity to be supplied is not adequate.

He added that the increase was coming on the heels of Macroeconomic Instability, Infrastructure Deficits, as well as other Supply side constraints limiting the performance of the Productive Sector.

“Truth be told, over 65 per cent of Private Businesses, especially Manufacturing Concerns and SMIs, may be forced to close down due to the high Electricity Tariff.

“The OPSN is constrained to state that the more than 200 per cent increase in Electricity Tariff at this difficult time is inimical to the survival of our Businesses and would lead to unprecedented downturn in the Productive Sector of the Economy.

“It will have negative trickle-down effects and certainly impoverish Nigerians.

“The unwarranted increase will worsen the upward swing in Inflation, aggravate the pressure on the Disposable Income of the Average Nigerian and lead to closure of many Private Businesses.

“The cumulative effect will be an escalation of the current high level of Unemployment and Insecurity in the Country,” he said.

The OPSN comprises MAN, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association(NECA).

Others are Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) and Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) representing more than five million Businesses in Nigeria.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

18-Apr-2024 Diesel Price drop: Tinubu thanks Dangote, urges 'Nigeria first in priority'

Diesel Price drop: Tinubu thanks Dangote, urges 'Nigeria first in priority'

President Bola Tinubu has commended the Dangote Oil and Gas Limited for reducing the Price of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), also known as Diesel.

This is contained in a Statement by Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Diesel is mostly used in large quantity in Nigeria by Industries and Articulated Vehicles for transporting Goods across the Country.

A reduction in the Price of Diesel will subsequently affect the Prices of Goods and Services across board and reduce the current skyrocketing Prices in the Country.

Dangote recently reviewed downwards the Price of AGO from N1,650 to N1,000 per Litre for a minimum of one million Litres of the Product, as well as providing a discount of N30 per Litre for an Offtake of five million Litres and above.

Ngelale said that the Price review represented a 60 per cent drop.

He said that Tinubu stated that Nigerians and Domestic Businesses are the Nation’s surest Transport and Security to that glorious destiny of Economic prosperity.

The Presidential Spokesman said that the Federal Government has 20 per cent stake in Dangote Refinery.

He said that the President noted the significance of Partnership between the Public and Private Entities in advancing the overall well-being of the Country.

Ngelale said that the President called on Nigerians and Businesses to put the Nation in priority gear while assuring them of a Conducive, Safe, and Secure Environment to thrive.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

17-Apr-2024 Tinubu introduces NSW to boost Revenue Generation

Tinubu introduces NSW to boost Revenue Generation

President Bola Tinubu has said that the introduction of the National Single Window (NSW) Project would facilitate National and Regional Integration.

Tinubu said this during the Inauguration of the National Steering Committee of the NSW on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said that Nigeria would key into the Global Revenue enjoyed by other Global Financial Systems benefiting from the Single Window Initiatives of Ease of Doing Business.

The Single-Window System or Single-Window Concept is a Trade Facilitation Concept which allows an International (Cross-Border) Trader to submit Information to a Single Agency.

It reduces having to deal with multiple Agencies in multiple Locations to obtain the necessary Papers, Permits, and Clearances to complete their Import or Export Processes.

Tinubu pledged to provide the needed Conducive Environment for the Project to succeed in the face of the challenges, adding that he would empower the Committee to break all barriers.

“The National Single Window is a game changer that will revolutionise the way we conduct Trade by simplifying Government Trade Compliance through a Digital Platform. We unlock the doors to Economic Prosperity, and all other Opportunities.

“This Initiative will link our Ports, Government Agencies and key Stakeholders by creating a seamless and efficient System that will facilitate Trade like never before.

“The benefits of this Initiative are immense. Paperless Trade alone is estimated to bring an Annual Economic Benefit of around $2.7bn. Countries like Singapore, Korea, Kenya and Saudi Arabia have already seen significant improvement in Trade efficiency after implementing the Single Window System,” he said.

Zacch Adedeji, Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and Chairman of the Steering Committee, said Nigeria stands to gain more than seven per cent growth of Gross Domestic Product Annually from the use of the NSW.

He said that the Initiative would also engender Collaborative Business Information sharing among various Stakeholders involved in the Imports and Export Business.

“This Initiative will serve as a catalyst for achieving an average GDP Growth rate of 7% Annually and propel Nigeria to new Islands of prosperity. The National Single Window is not just a Technological Advancement.

“It is the gateway to a more connected, efficient and transparent System by linking our Ports, Government Agencies and key Stakeholders,” he said.

Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said that the NSW is an Initiative that would aligns all Trade Documentation in one Single Platform for Ease of Doing Business.

He said that the Digital Platform would accelerate Process of Trade, Ease Interactions and allow relevant Stakeholders to share necessary Data instead of the current Manual Paper Works.

“So, we are trying to unify this Information in such a way that we fill as little as possible and all related Government Agencies that need Information of Import or Export Processing should be able to pick the information they need from there,” Bello-Koko said.

Bashir Adeniyi, Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), said that the new Initiative would improve Trade Security and Ease of Doing Business in the Country and Region.

He said that the Single Window was not all about realising Revenue but a System of facilitating Investment into the Country through Digital Platforms accessible to all Stakeholders.

“Part of the Obligations of the Trade Facilitation Agreement includes the deployment of Technologies. So Single Window is one of those Tools that Signatories to the Agreement undertook to deploy for them to facilitate Trade. It will also help us to manage Revenue but better.”

Members of the NSW steering Committee are Representatives of the Federal Ministries of Finance, Marine and Blue Economy, Transportation, and Industry, Trade and Investment.

Others are Representative of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, NCS, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Central Bank of Nigeria, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Nigerian Maritime Administration on Safety Agency, NPA and the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headline

17-Apr-2024 Seplat Energy pays $2bn Tax to FG since listing on the NGX in 2014

Seplat Energy pays $2bn Tax to FG since listing on the NGX in 2014

Seplat Energy, an independent indigenous Energy Company, on Tuesday, said it had paid $2bn Tax Contribution to the Federal Government of Nigeria since its listing on the Nigerian Exchange Limited(NGX) in 2014.

Roger Brown, Chief Executive Officer(CEO), Seplat Energy, revealed this while delivering a Speech at the Closing Gong ceremony in Lagos.

The Event was to commemorate the Company’s 10 years Anniversary of Dual Listing on the Premium Board of the Nigerian Exchange Limited(NGX) and the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Brown stated that the Oil and Gas Company, Seplat, also contributed $2.8bn as Tax to the Federal Government over the past 13 years, after its Establishment in 2009.

He explained that the Company paid $1.54bn as Royalty to the Government, $329m as Petroleum Profits Tax, $273m as Value Added Tax, and $259m as Witholding Tax.

According to him, the Energy Firm also paid a Tax of $276m to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and others as well as $126m as Pay-As-You-Earn(PAYE).

The CEO stated that at post Initial Public Offering(IPO) of the Firm, it generated $1.7bn in Free Cash Flow(FCF) and invested $1.6bn in Capex.

He also said that the company had paid Dividends worth $575m between 2014 when it became listed and the financial year ended 2023.

Brown noted that the Business of the Energy Firm continued to generate strong Cashflows, reflected in its strong FCF and NCFO Generation.

He said: “Similarly, we have generated a cumulative $3.3bn in Net Operating Cash Flow post IPO.

“Our strong Cash Flow Generation has supported our ambitions to expand our Business, which has seen us spend an aggregate of $1.6bn in Capital Expenditure.

“In over 10 years, we invested $57m in Community Projects on Health, Education and Empowerment as strong commitment to Community Development.

“As a leading Supplier of Gas to Nigeria’s Domestic Gas-To-Power Market, at times Seplat Gas powered 20 to 30 of Nigeria’s Domestic Grid in 2023.”

He expressed delight over the feat, reiterating Seplat Energy’s commitment to leading Nigeria’s Energy Transition.

According to him, the Power of Indigenous Companies is to bring growth and prosperity to their Home Countries and the People.

“One example of how Seplat Energy is making an enduring difference to Nigeria and Host Communities where we operate is that nearly $50m had been invested by our Joint Venture Partnerships in Communities since our inception to date,” Brown said.

“Truly, Seplat Energy has delivered significant value by enhancing Strategic, Operational and Financial Achievements in 10 years as a Listed Company,” he added.

In his comments, Temi Popoola, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NGX Group, emphasised the significance of Seplat Energy’s decade of Dual Listing.

He said, “If we were to look back to our Market and tried to find Landmarks, the last major Landmark you will find in the last ten years is this Transaction that we are celebrating today, and the Market is very grateful for that.”

Congratulating Seplat Energy on this milestone, in his Welcoming Remarks, Umaru Kwairanga, NGX Group Chairman, highlighted the importance of Partnerships between the NGX and Companies like Seplat Energy in driving Economic Growth and Development.

He stated that “Seplat’s journey symbolises resilience, innovation, and a commitment to excellence, making them a beacon of Corporate Governance and Operational Expertise.

“Seplat Energy has emerged as a leading Indigenous Energy Company, deeply integrated into Nigeria’s Economic Landscape and the NGX Group remains committed to supporting Companies like Seplat Energy as they drive Economic Growth and contribute to our Nation’s prosperity.”

Reflecting on the significance of the decade of Dual Listing, Udoma Udo Udoma, Board Chairman, Seplat Energy, remarked, “Seplat Energy is committed to driving Nigeria’s Transition to sustainable and affordable Energy, harnessing its power to improve Lives by transforming the Economy.

“We have ambitious goals. We are investing in Nigeria. We will support the Federal Government’s Energy Transition Policy, and we will partner with FG in whatever area they want us to do.

“That is our commitment. We will grow Seplat while also maintaining the highest Standard of Corporate Governance.”

Also commending Seplat Energy on the decade of Dual Listing, Jude Chiemeka, Acting CEO, NGX, stressed the importance of the Capital Market in helping Companies raise Funds and create Wealth for all.

Chiemeka said, “Seplat Energy was listed at N576 at Listing and yesterday it closed at N3,370, which is an increase of over 484 per cent.

“The figures show that in the last 10 years, the Company has paid out $575m  in Dividend Payments to Shareholders in Nigeria and London where they are also listed.

“So, this Company has given Investors a huge opportunity to really participate in Wealth Creation.

“Reports show that Nigeria would be among the top 20 Countries in the next 25 years, and I think Seplat is poised to be one of the Institutions driving growth, prosperity, and inclusion in our Nation.”

Also, gracing the Closing Gong Ceremony was Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources (Oil), who commended the Company on it laudable achievements.

“I am happy to be part of today’s Celebration and Seplat’s exceptional performance in the last ten years and as Minister of State, Petroleum Resources.

“I assure you that we will partner with Seplat to expand their Investments, not only for the benefit of its Shareholders, but also for Nigeria.

“The least the Government can do anywhere in the World is to create an Environment where Companies like Seplat continue to thrive.”

 

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16-Apr-2024 NBS Report: Nigeria’s Headline Inflation hovers above 33% in March

NBS Report: Nigeria’s Headline Inflation hovers above 33% in March

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says Nigeria’s Headline Inflation Rate increased to 33.20 per cent in March 2024.

The NBS said this in its Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Inflation Report for March, which was released in Abuja on Monday.

According to the Report, the figure is 1.50 per cent points higher compared to the 31.70 per cent recorded in February 2024.

It said on a Year-on-Year Basis, the Headline Inflation Rate in March 2024 was 11.16 per cent higher than the Rate recorded in March 2023 at 22.04 per cent.

In addition, the Report said, on Month-on-Month Basis, the Headline Inflation Rate in March 2024 was 3.02 per cent, which was 0.10 per cent lower than the Rate recorded in February 2024 at 3.12 per cent.

“This means that in March 2024, the Rate of Increase in the Average Price Level is less than the Rate of Increase in the Average Price Level in February 2024.”

The Report attributed the increase in the Headline Index for March 2024 on a Year-on-Year Basis and Month-on-Month Basis to increase in some Goods and Services at the Divisional Level.

It said these increases were observed in Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas, and other Fuel, Clothing and Footwear, and Transport.

Others, it said, were Furnishings, Household Equipment and Maintenance, Education, Health, Miscellaneous Goods and Services, Restaurants and Hotels, Alcoholic Beverage, Tobacco and Kola, Recreation and Culture, and Communication.

It said the percentage change in the Average CPI for the 12 months ending March 2024 over the Average of the CPI for the previous corresponding 12-month period was 27.13 per cent.

“This indicates a 6.76 per cent increase compared to 20.37 per cent recorded in March 2023”, it said.

The Report said the Food Inflation Rate in March 2024 increased to 40.01 per cent on a Year-on-Year Basis, which was 15.56 per cent higher compared to the Rate recorded in March 2023 at 24.45 per cent.

“The rise in Food Inflation on a Year-on-Year Basis is caused by increases in Prices of Garri, Millet, Akpu (uncooked fermented, which are under Bread and Cereals Class), Yam Tuber, and Water Yam.

“Others are Dried Fish Sadine, Mudfish Dried, Palm Oil, Vegetable Oil, Beef Feet, Beef Head, Liver, Coconut, Water Melon, Lipton Tea, Bournvita, and Milo”, NBS said.

It said on a Month-on-Month Basis, the Food Inflation Rate in March was 3.62 per cent, which was a 0.17 per cent decrease compared to the Rate recorded in February 2024 at 3.79 per cent.

“The fall in Food Inflation on a Month-on-Month Basis was caused by a decrease in the Average Prices of Guinea Corn Flour, Plantain Flour etc (under Bread and Cereals Class); Yam, Irish Potato, and Coco Yam.

“Others are Titus Fish, Mudfish Dried, Lipton, Bournvita, and Ovaltine”, it said.

The Report said that “all Items less Farm Produce and Energy’’ or Core Inflation, which excludes the Prices of volatile Agricultural Produce and Energy, stood at 25.90 per cent in March on a Year-on-Year Basis.

“This increased by 6.26 per cent compared to 19.63 per cent recorded in March 2023.’’

“The exclusion of the PMS is due to the Deregulation of the Commodity by removal of Subsidy.”

It said the highest increases were recorded in Prices of Bus Journey within the City, actual and imputed Rentals for Housing, Consultation Fee of a Medical Doctor, etc.

The NBS said on a Month-on-Month Basis, the Core Inflation Rate was 2.54 per cent in March 2024.

“This indicates a 0.37 per cent increase compared to what was recorded in February 2024 at 2.17 per cent.”

“The Average 12-month Annual Inflation Rate was 22.26 per cent for the 12 months ending March 2024, this was 5.04 per cent points higher than the 17.22 per cent recorded in March 2023”, it said.

The Report said on a Year-on-Year Basis in March 2024, the Urban Inflation Rate was 35.18 per cent, 12.11 per cent higher compared to the 23.07 per cent recorded in March 2023.

The Report said on a Year-on-Year Basis in March 2024, the Rural Inflation Rate was 31.45 per cent, which was 10.37 per cent higher compared to the 21.09 per cent recorded in March 2023.

“On a Month-on-Month Basis, the Rural Inflation Rate was 2.87 per cent, which decreased by 0.20 per cent compared to February 2024 at 3.07 per cent’’, it said.

On States’ Profile Analysis, the Report showed that in March, all Items Inflation Rate on a Year-on-Year Basis was highest in Kogi at 39.97 per cent, followed by Bauchi at 38.34 per cent, and Kwara at 38.10 per cent.

It, however, said the slowest rise in Headline Inflation on a Year-on-Year Basis was recorded in Borno at 25.78 per cent, followed by Benue and Taraba at 28.12 per cent, and Katsina at 28.32 per cent.

The Report, however, said in March 2024, all Items Inflation Rate on a Month-on-Month Basis was highest in Zamfara at 3.90 per cent, followed by Abia at 3.89 per cent, and Ondo at 3.75 per cent.

“Borno at 1.46 per cent, followed by Yobe at 1.84 per cent and Adamawa at 1.85 per cent recorded the slowest rise in Month-on-Month Inflation”, NBS said.

The Report said on a Year-on-Year Basis, Food Inflation was highest in Kogi at 48.46 per cent, followed by Kwara at 46.18 per cent, and Akwa Ibom at 45.18 per cent.

“Nasarawa at 33.76 per cent, followed by Borno at 34.28 per cent and Bauchi at 34.38 per cent recorded the slowest rise in Food Inflation on a Year-on-Year Basis’’, it said.

The Report, however, said on a Month-on-Month Basis, Food Inflation was highest in Abia at 5.17 per cent, followed by Cross River at 5.14 per cent, and Bayelsa at 4.75 per cent.

“Cross River stood at 1.59 per cent, followed by Yobe at 2.08 per cent and Adamawa at 2.12 per cent, recorded the slowest rise in Inflation on a month-on-month basis”, it said. 




15-Apr-2024 Nigeria, Benin Customs Service meet to fast-track Trade activities

Nigeria, Benin Customs Service meet to fast-track Trade activities

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has expressed commitment to strengthening the existing Bilateral Ties with its Counterpart in the Republic of Benin, for Ease of Trade.

As part of efforts to achieve this goal, the Comptroller-General (C-G) of the Service, Adewale Adeniyi, led a Delegation to visit the Director-General of the Customs Administration of Republic of Benin.

A Statement by NCS’ National Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Maiwada, said that the primary focus of the Meeting was to deliberate on strategies to increase Trade activities between the two Nations.

He said that the move was to ensure the seamless implementation of Recommendations previously discussed between the two Countries in Cotonou.

The Discussion in Cotonou focused on deepening Collaborations in Areas of Common Interest and strengthening Pperational Cooperations.

“The C-G, during a visit to Cotonou in 2023, had noted the progress being made in reducing Clearance Time and in the application of Technology for Operations at the Port of Cotonou.

“He acknowledged the established Framework for Cooperation between the two Nations’ respective Customs Administrations.

“This Framework was established at a higher level with President Patrice Talon of Benin and President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria both expressing a desire to work together.

“It is upon this Foundation that the Customs of both Countries are united in their efforts,” Adeniyi was quoted as saying.

 

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14-Apr-2024 Fuel Subsidy a monster, shocks from removal inevitable, says Minister

Fuel Subsidy a monster, shocks from removal inevitable, says Minister

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has said that the erstwhile Fuel Subsidy was a monster which had deprived Nigerians of a myriad of Social Amenities.

Idris spoke on Saturday in Kaduna at a Reception organised in his honour by the Kaduna State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).

He recalled that President Bola Tinubu, who took over the Leadership of the Country less than a year ago has recorded giant strides.

These include the removal of the Fuel Subsidy, which according to him, took virtually everything Nigerians were supposed to have.

Idris said the Fuel Subsidy took away the Resources to build Roads, Hospitals, lay a good Foundation for the Educational Advancement of Nigerians, among other Social Amenities.

He explained that with the removal of the Fuel Subsidy, a lot of Resources were freed and put back into the System.

The Minister added that the Federal Government and its Sub-Nationals now have more money for the needs and betterment of Nigerians.

“If we are looking for one reason why Fuel Subsidy has to go, is that we were consuming nearly two billion Liters of Premium Motor Spirit, when the Fuel Subsidy was removed, it dropped down to about 50 per cent.

“What that meant was that over a billion Liters of Fuel we are consuming in the country suddenly dropped.

”All those opposing the Fuel Subsidy removal are supposed to ask the question of where the about 1 billion Liters of consumption that is cut down is going to.

“The Resources that were freed are being brought back, there is no Governor that is not getting twice or more of the Allocation available to their State Government to engage in more Productive Ventures,” Idris said.

He, however, said that the shocks as a result of the Fuel Subsidy removal were inevitable, but the action was not intended to suffer Nigerians but for their long term benefits.

According to him, every successive Government in Nigeria had hoped it would remove Fuel Subsidies.

Idris said, ”But only the President Tinubu led Administration had the courage to do so alongside many other steps towards the betterment of the Country.”

He added that the shocks, resulting from the Fuel Subsidy removal were cushioned by the implementation of Wage Award and the provision of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Buses for subsidised Transportation.

Idris, however, said that the CNG Buses, which were not yet found everywhere in the Country, had made the Federal Government set aside over N100bn in the first instance to ensure their availability across Nigeria.

The Minister assured Nigerians of the Federal Government’s commitment  to implement the outcome of the decision that would be brought out by the Committee that inaugurated a new Wage Regime in the Country.

In a Goodwill Message, the Managing Director (MD) of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ali Muhammad Ali, described the Information Minister as a Peace Maker and a Gentleman.

According to him, the Information Ministry was hitherto hardly being headed by People who were not controversial, saying,” its incumbent Leadership is different.

“Being a Media Entrepreneur and a Public Relations Practitioner has prepared the Minister for the Job, as he has managed to navigate and avoid all the mines in Public Communication,” he said.

The Director-General of NTA, Abdulhamid Dembos and his VON Counterpart, Jibrin Ndace, all described Idris as an easy going, humble and generous personality.

Earlier, the President of NIPR, Ike Neliaku, said that the Kaduna State Chapter of the Institute had produced important Personalities that were linked to its growth.

Neliaku, represented by his Deputy, Emmanuel Dandaura, added that the Chapter of the Institute had produced virtually every key position at the National Level.

Describing the Information Minister as a Gentleman and a Solution Provider, he said he had changed the narrative of Public Relations by core application of its Principles.

He thanked the Kaduna Chapter for organising the Reception and its contribution to the growth of the Institute

 

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13-Apr-2024 Georgieva bags Second Five-Year Term to lead IMF

Georgieva bags Second Five-Year Term to lead IMF

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has selected Kristalina Georgieva to serve as IMF Managing Director for a Second Five-Year Term starting on October 1, 2024.

In a Statement issued by the IMF Press Centre on Saturday, it said that the Board’s decision was taken by consensus.

The Statement said in line with the Selection Process, it had established on March 13, 2024, the Board held several discussions, including with Georgieva, the Sole Candidate nominated for the Position, before making its decision.

It said in a follow-up of the Meeting held, the Coordinators of the Executive Board, Afonso Bevilaqua and Abdullah BinZarah, made the following Statement:

“In taking this decision, the Board commended Georgieva’s strong and agile Leadership during her First Term, navigating a series of major Global Shocks.

“Ms Georgieva led the IMF’s unprecedented response to these Shocks, including the approval of more than $360bn in new Financing since the start of the Pandemic for 97 Countries.

“Also, Debt Service Relief to the Fund’s Poorest, Most Vulnerable Members, and a historic Special Drawing Rights (SDR) Allocation equivalent to $650bn”.

The Coordinators said under Georgieva’s Leadership, the Fund introduced Innovative new Financing Facilities, including the Resilience and Sustainability Facility and the Food Shock Window.

“It replenished the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, with the capacity to mobilise Concessional Loans to its Poorest Members, and Co-created the Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable.

“It also secured a 50 per cent Quota Increase to bolster the Fund’s permanent resources and agreed to add a third Sub-Saharan African Chair to the IMF Board.

“Looking ahead, the Board welcomes Ms. Georgieva’s ongoing emphasis on issues of Macroeconomic and Financial stability, while also ensuring that the Fund continues to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of its entire Membership.

‘It recognises her focus on strengthening the Fund’s support to its Members through effective Policy Advice, Capacity Development, and Financing.

“The Board looks forward to continuing to work closely with the Managing Director.”

In her response issued in a Statement, Georgiana said she was deeply grateful for the trust and support of the fund’s Executive Board, representing the Fund’s 190 Members.

She added that she was honored to continue to lead the IMF as Managing Director for a Second Five-Year Term.

“In recent years, the IMF has helped our Member Countries to navigate successive Shocks, including the Pandemic, War and Conflicts, and a Cost-of-Living Crisis.

“We also stepped up our Work on Climate Change, Fragility and Conflict, and the Digital Transition, in line with their increased significance for Macroeconomic and Financial Stability, Growth and Employment”.

Georgieva said the IMF’s Financial Support, Policy Advice, and Capacity Development Work delivered by its exceptional Staff had contributed to Countries’ Capacity to deal with high uncertainty and abrupt shifts in Economic Conditions.

“We are and will remain a transmission line of good Policies for our Members.

“We will also continue to strive to be more effective, incisive, and a welcoming place for Countries to come together to tackle Global challenges.

“I look forward to continue serving our Membership, together with the highly Professional and Committed Staff of the IMF,” she said.

Georgieva, a National of Bulgaria, has been the IMF’s Managing Director since 2019. Previously she served as Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank from January 2017.

From February 1, 2019, to April 8, 2019, she was the Interim President of the World Bank Group.

She previously served at the European Commission as Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, and as Vice-President for Budget and Human Resources. 

 

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13-Apr-2024 FG faults Maintenance activities for Oil Production shortfall

FG faults Maintenance activities for Oil Production shortfall

The Federal Government says measures are being put in place to restore Oil Production in view of recent concerns regarding shortfall in Oil Production in Nigeria in the First Quarter of 2024.

Heineken Lokpobiri, Minster of State for Petroleum Resource (Oil) said this in a Statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Communications, Nneamaka Okafor, on Friday in Abuja.

He said the Federal Government was actively engaged in Policy Evolution aimed at maximising the utilisation of all available Wells in Nigeria.

The Minister clarified that the Oil Production Shortfall was primarily due to issues encountered on the Trans Niger Pipeline, coupled with Maintenance activities carried out by some Oil Companies operating in Nigeria.

“In response to recent concerns regarding a shortfall in Oil Production in Nigeria during the First Quarter of 2024, measures are being taken to address the situation to, not only restore Production to previous levels, but to also increase it.

“The issues have been adequately addressed, and Production is expected to return to its previous levels in the coming days,” the Minister said.

Lokpobiri said Nigeria’s Oil Production, including Condensate, which was approximately 1.7 million Barrels per day (bpd) prior to these developments, would soon be restored.

“Furthermore, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is actively engaged in Policy Evolution aimed at maximising the utilisation of all available Wells in Nigeria.

“This strategic approach will enable the Country to ramp up Production, thereby generating vital Revenue to stabilise the Nation’s Foreign Exchange Reserves.

“The increased Revenue will also empower the Government to fulfill its commitments in providing essential Infrastructure, as outlined in the 2024 Budget,” he said.

He further assured of Renewed Hope as Nigeria navigates through these challenges.

He urged all to remain committed to ensuring the sustainability and growth of Nigeria’s Oil Sector, which plays a crucial role in driving the Nation’s Economy.

The Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) for April 2024, released by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had revealed that the Country’s Oil Production recorded a second consecutive decline since the beginning of 2024.

The OPEC MOMR indicated that the Nigeria produced 1.322 million Barrels per day of Crude in February 2024 but this dropped to 1.231mbpd in March, representing a decline of 91mbpd.

 

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13-Apr-2024 Bank Recapitalisation: NDIC commends CBN on Economic resilience

Bank Recapitalisation: NDIC commends CBN on Economic resilience

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has lauded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its move to recapitalise Banks to achieve Economic resilience in the Country.

The Managing Director of NDIC, Bello Hassan, made the commendation on Friday during the NDIC Special Day at the ongoing 35th Enugu International Trade Fair.

The Fair, which began on April 5, is Themed: “Promoting Made-in-Nigeria Products for Global Competitiveness.”

Hassan pledged that the NDIC would continue to collaborate with the Apex Bank in ensuring a seamless transition while safeguarding Depositors’ Interest.

According to him, in the light of the ongoing Global Economic Dynamics, the CBN has stepped up Regulatory efforts to ensure the resilience and stability of the Nigerian Banking Sector.

The Managing Director said that significant stride in this direction remained the recent revision and pegging of Higher Minimum Capital Requirements for Banks operating in Nigeria.

“Under this Proposal, Commercial Banks would be required to maintain Minimum Capital Levels of N500bn, N200bn, and N50bn for International, National, and Regional Institutions.

“As well as N50bn for Merchant Banks, while National and Regional Non-Interest Banks are required to maintain N20bn and N10bn respectively.

“This Strategic Recapitalisation Initiative is in line with President Bola Tinubu Administration's urge to grow Nigeria’s Economy to the ranks of $1trn Base Economies.

“This will not only strengthen the Banking System but would also enhance the Sector’s ability to withstand Financial Shocks,’ he said.

Hassan revealed that since the CBN revoked the Licenses of 179 Microfinance Banks and four Primary Mortgage Banks in 2023, the NDIC had continued to efficiently disburse Insured Sums to Verified Depositors of these closed Institutions.

He noted that Depositors, who have undergone Verification and have provided alternative Account Details, had received their payments seamlessly within a record period of five working days.

“While it is worth noting that Depositors with amounts exceeding the Insured Limit will receive Liquidation Dividends once Debts are recovered and Assets of the Closed Banks are disposed.

“Moreover, the NDIC strongly encourages Depositors of the affected Banks to come forward with their Bank Verification Number (BVN), Proof of Account Ownership, proper Identification, and/or alternative Account Details.

“Various channels are available for Claims, including visiting nearest NDIC Offices in Person, using the NDIC App Online, or accessing the Claims Page on the NDIC website: www.ndic.gov.ng.

“Additionally, they can reach out through our Toll-Free Help Desk Line at 0800 634 424 357 for further inquiries as we remain steadfast in fulfilling our Mandate and prioritising the safety of Depositors Funds,” he said.

Earlier, President of Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Odeiga Jideonwo, said that NDIC had given Nigerians sleep and rest of mind that their Deposit is safe.

Jideonwo appreciated the work of the Corporation as it had ensured Financial stability, growth and confidence in the Financial Sector, adding those days when Depositors are worried about their Deposits are gone.

He also said that NDIC had been in the forefront of using the Fair to enlighten Depositors on how to safe guard their Bank Accounts/Deposits against Fraudulent Practices in the Banking/Financial Sector.

“The Chamber is happy that the decade-long Relationship with NDIC is very healthy and we envisage higher synergy in years to come,” he said.

 

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12-Apr-2024 Global Inflation in 2024 easing faster than expected, says IMF

Global Inflation in 2024 easing faster than expected, says IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Inflation is easing faster than expected but has not been fully defeated.

Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of IMF, was quoted in a Statement by the Fund on Thursday to have said this at the China Development Forum (CDF) 2024, in Beijing.

The event was  hosted by the Atlantic Council Think Tank.

She urged Central Bankers to carefully calibrate their decisions on cutting Interest Rates to incoming Data.

Georgieva said Headline Inflation for Advanced Economies was 2.3 per cent in the Final Quarter of 2023, down from 9.5 per cent just 18 months ago, and the downward trend was expected to continue in 2024.

According to her, this will create the conditions for Central Banks in Major Advanced Economies to begin cutting Rates in the Second Half of the Year.

She, however, said that the pace and timing would vary.

“On this final stretch, it is doubly important that Central Banks uphold their Independence,” Georgieva said.

She urged Policymakers to resist calls for early Rate cuts when necessary.

“Premature easing could see new Inflation surprises that may even necessitate a further bout of Monetary Tightening.

“On the other side, delaying too long could pour cold water on Economic activity,” she said.

Georgieva said next week’s World Economic Outlook would show that Global Growth is marginally stronger given robust activity in the U.S. and in many Emerging Market Economies, but gave no specific new Forecasts.

She said the Global Economy’s resilience was being helped by strong Labour Markets and an expanding Labour Force, strong Household Consumption and an easing of Supply Chain Issues, but said there were still “plenty of things to worry about”.

“The Global Environment has become more challenging. Geopolitical tensions increase the risks of fragmentation.

“As we learned over the past few years, we operate in a World in which we must expect the unexpected,” Georgieva said.

She said Global Activity was weaken by Historical standards and prospects for Growth had been slowing since the Global Financial crisis of 2008-2009.

“The Global Output loss since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020 was $3.3trn, disproportionately hitting the Most Vulnerable Countries.”

Georgieva said the U.S. had seen the strongest rebound among Advanced Economies, helped by rising Productivity Growth.

“Euro Area Activity is recovering more gradually, given the lingering impact of high Energy Prices and weaker Productivity Growth.

“Among Emerging Market Economies, Countries like Indonesia and India are faring better, but Low-Income Countries have seen the most severe scarring.”

Nigeria’s Annual Inflation Rate rose to 31.70 per cent in February from 29.90 per cent in January, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Friday.

The Statistics Office said the February Headline Inflation Rate showed an increase of 1.80 per cent compared to the January  Headline Inflation Rate.

 

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11-Apr-2024 Non-Export Domiciliary Accounts: ABCON supports CBN’s position

Non-Export Domiciliary Accounts: ABCON supports CBN’s position

The Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) has commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its recent Directive to cease the use of Non-Oil Export Domiciliary Accounts for Naira Loans.

Its President, Aminu Gwadabe, in a Statement on Thursday in Lagos, said the stoppage would add to Dollar Liquidity in the Market and also help in the accretion of the Nation’s Buffers.

Gwadabe expressed surprise that some Companies and Manufacturers with huge billions of Dollar Balances in their Non-Oil Export Domiciliary Accounts Sourced Foreign Exchange needs in the Official Window and used the same for Naira Loans.

“We therefore advise for the review of the Guidelines on holding Currencies on Non-Oil Export Accounts to a maximum of 48 hours, to borrow from the South African Policy on the Operations of Non-Oil Exports Domiciliary Account Proceeds.

“The CBN should also not make applicants of huge billions of Dollars holding on their Non-Export Oil Proceeds Dom Accounts eligible for Forex request at both the NAFEM and NAFEX Window.

“In the same vein, we urge the CBN to upgrade its Policies and Circulars to Legislation regarding the impending BDCs new Reforms.

“This is to give comfort and guarantees to would be Investors in the transformation of the BDC Industry’s Sub Sector and allowing only the existing stakeholders the grand father’s right for merger and acquisition to meet the expected reviewed Financial requirements as suggested by ABCON.

“We also want to pledge our continuing support to the CBN’s proactive and effective Policies to address our volatility headwinds,” Gwadabe said.

He said that being a Self-Regulatory body, ABCON and its Members had resolved to continually engage all Stakeholders and Players in the Retail End Market.

The Engagement, he noted, was to deepen, liberalise, democratise and centralise the Retail End Segments of the Market for Price discovery, Market efficiency, transparency, accretion of buffers and healthy Balance of Payments.

“We express our profound gratitude to the Management of the CBN for its reconsideration and reinstatement of our Sub Sector as third leg of the Market to counter hoarding and speculation with faster results than expected.

“The BDCs, though unfortunately perceived sometimes as crude but effective, will always remain the potent transmission mechanism tool of achieving the Apex Bank’s Mandate of Price Stability and Liquidity in the Market.

“We therefore urge the CBN to continue to drive and expand its thought mechanism to maintain the feat so far achieved in more than 15 years; as we have not only achieved the convergence of both Rates, but Market calmness and confidence of the Public and Foreign Investors.

“We also call for the separation of the Ownership and Operational Structure of FMDQ,” Gwadabe added. 

 

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11-Apr-2024 NNPCL: Why Natural Gas is key to Nigeria's Economic, Industrial growth

NNPCL: Why Natural Gas is key to Nigeria's Economic, Industrial growth

The Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Limited), Mele Kyari, has reiterated the crucial role of Natural Gas in fueling Economic Growth and Industrial Development in Nigeria.
 Kyari, who was speaking at the Public Presentation of a Book "The Rise of Gas: From Gaslink to the Decade of Gas" Authored by Charles Osezua, highlighted Gas' Global acceptance as a crucial Energy Source that sustains Economic Growth and drives Industrial Activities.
 Represented by NNPC Limited’s Head of Relationship and Stakeholder Management, Oluwakemi Olumuyiwa, the GCEO also emphasised the importance of documenting Nigeria's Gas Sector.
 The GCEO underscored the significance of prioritising Natural Gas Production and Supply, particularly in the context of Geopolitical Dynamics and Energy Security in the Global Economy.
 With Nigeria boasting substantial Gas Reserves exceeding 200 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) and a potential to reach 600 Tcf, the GCEO said it is pertinent Nigeria leverages the Gas Resource for Sustainable Development, Energy Security, and Job Creation.
 He noted that the Book aligns with the Federal Government's "Decade of Gas" Initiative, aimed at optimising Nigeria's abundant Gas Reserves for both Domestic Consumption and International Export.
 Kyari added that as a key Stakeholder, the NNPC Limited has played a leading role in advancing the “Decade of Gas” Agenda through strategic Investments in critical Gas Infrastructure such as Pipelines and Processing Facilities.
 In his Remarks, the Author, Charles Osezua, who described the unveiling of "The Rise of Gas" as his significant contribution to Nigeria's Energy Literature, expressed gratitude to the NNPC Limited for its support towards the Book Launch.
Osezua said NNPC Limited's participation at the occasion underscores the Company’s commitment to fostering knowledge sharing and innovation within the Gas Industry.
 Also speaking, Chairman of the Impact Investors Foundation and former Group Executive Director of NNPC, Afolabi Oladele, lauded the Book for its comprehensive insights into the Gas Value Chain, saying it will be relevant to Policymakers amid the Global Energy Transition.
 
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11-Apr-2024 We've made Nigeria self-sufficient in Local Production of Cement, Dangote boasts

We've made Nigeria self-sufficient in Local Production of Cement, Dangote boasts

Dangote Group has said that its target is to ensure that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in all Sectors of its Investment.

The South East Regional Director, Dangote Cement, Abayomi Shittu, made the disclosure in Enugu on Wednesday at the ongoing 35th Enugu International Trade Fair.

Shittu applauded Dangote for its passion for Nigeria’s and Africa’s Economic Development and overall growth as seen in its Industrial Strategy of Production, Prosperity, Power and Pride.

He said that Dangote is a Major Sponsor of the Enugu International Trade Fair with this year’s Theme as “Promoting Made in Nigeria Products for Global Competitiveness”.

He said, through its vast Investments across many Sectors, the Dangote Group has added value to Raw Materials and transforming same into Finished Products.

The Regional Director said that the Group has created linkages that connect the whole Economy while at the same time promoted Backward Integration.

“We believe that Industrialisation is key to Diversification of the Economy. Our passion for Industrialisation, creation of Linkages and Value Addition informs our Investment Decisions.

“We are focused on creating Values for all Stakeholders. Our target is to ensure that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in all the Sectors where we play: Cement, Agriculture, Mining, and Oil and Gas.

“Dangote Cement, one of our Business Units, has helped in making Nigeria become self-sufficient in Local Production of Cement, and now exports to other Countries.

“Through its multiplier effect, Dangote Cement provides direct and indirect Employment to millions of People across Africa and has touched Lives by building Schools, Hospitals and Clinics, Roads, Markets, Vocational Training Centers in numerous Host Communities,” he explained.

The Director, however, said that the ongoing consolidation of Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Salt, NASCON Allied Industries and Dangote Rice had improved the Country’s Economy.

He hinted that they recorded a milestone on March 22, as Dangote Fertiliser marked two years of Commissioning and Operations.

Shittu also explained that Dangote Petroleum Refinery, commissioned on May 22, 2023, has started refining Petroleum Products.

“To enhance Youth Employment and fill the gap in some of our Plants, we strategically recruited Graduates of Engineering and other Technology-Driven Fields.

“They underwent comprehensive Training to fine-tune their Skills covering various facets of Industrial Operations,” he said.

Shittu said that their expectation through this Trade Fair was to generate awareness on their Innovative Products, drive higher Sales and get Prospective Buyers.

He said they equally want to improve the Image of their Brands, and open up new Markets that would further translate into Job Creation and overall Economic Development in Nigeria and beyond.

In his Address of Welcome, President of ECCIMA, Odeiga Jideonwo, applauded Dangote Group for its continuous support.

He noted that Dangote Group’s decision to change from Bronze to Gold as one of the Major Sponsors of the 2024 Trade Fair, showed the love the Group has for ECCIMA and the entire South-East Geopolitical Zone.

“We believe that the Dangote Refinery will go a long way in addressing the challenges and problems associated with availability and Cost of Refined Petroleum Products.

“Today, Dangote’s Business and Entrepreneurship Scheme have spread to many Parts of the African Continent, employing thousands of People across the World of which not less than 85 per cent are Nigerians,’’ Jideonwo said.

 

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08-Apr-2024 NGX Group commits investments into Ethiopian Securities Exchange

NGX Group commits investments into Ethiopian Securities Exchange

The Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group) has invested in the Ethiopian Securities Exchange (ESX).

Jospeh Kadiri, Team Lead, Public Relations and Internal Engagement, Marketing and Corporate Communications of the NGX, disclosed this in a Statement  on Sunday in Lagos.

Kadiri said that the NGX Group was among the top Institutional Investors that had injected Capital into the Operationalisation of ESX alongside FSD Africa, a UK-backed Non-Profit Financial Institution.

Among the Institutional Investors was Trade and Development Bank Group (TDB), the Financial Arm of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Trade Block.

He said that the pivotal move not only marks NGX Group’s entry into East Africa, but also underscores its commitment to driving growth and innovation in the African Capital Markets.

According to him, this strategically positions NGX as the largest Foreign Institutional Investor in the ESX.

Kadiri said the Investment in the ESX reflected the NGX Group’s confidence in the potential of Ethiopia’s rapidly growing Economy and Capital Market.

“By partnering with ESX, NGX Group aims to support the development of a vibrant and resilient Financial Ecosystem in Ethiopia, fostering increased Investor Participation and Capital Formation.

“Through this Investment, NGX Group aims to contribute to robust Regulatory Frameworks and foster Best Practices within the ESX Ecosystem.

“The Group remains dedicated to providing ongoing Technical Assistance and Capability Enhancements to support the successful Operations and Growth of the ESX,” he said.

According to him, with this Investment, Temi Popoola, Group Managing Director/CEO of NGX Group will join the Board of ESX as a Nominee of NGX Group.

Kadiri explained that the Investment demonstrates NGX Group’s commitment to driving Regional Integration and Collaboration within the African Capital Markets.

He noted that through Strategic Partnerships and Investments, the NGX Group aimed to facilitate Cross-Border Investment Flows, enhance Liquidity, and promote Economic Development across the Continent.

Commenting, Umaru Kwairanga, Chairman of NGX Group, congratulates ESX on its successful Capital Raise.

Kwairanga commended the Government of Ethiopia and the Private Sector for their support in bringing the pioneering Initiative in the Country to fruition.

Kwairanga said: “Our Partnership with ESX is a resounding affirmation of our unwavering dedication to promoting Economic Development, Transparency, and exemplary Corporate Governance Standards.

“These foster an Environment conducive to Inclusive Growth, even as we aim to maximise Value for our esteemed Shareholders.”

Also, Popoola expressed excitement on NGX Investment in the ESX, which represents a significant milestone in the Group’s Expansion Strategy.

According to the NGX Group Managing Director, Ethiopia is one of Africa’s fastest-growing Economies, with immense potential for Investment and Growth.

“We believe that by partnering with ESX, we can leverage our expertise and experience to contribute to the development of a robust and dynamic Capital Market in Ethiopia,” he said.

In his remark, Tilahun Kassahun, CEO of the ESX, said that the Capital Raise for Ethiopia’s First Securities Exchange had exceeded its expectations.

Kassahun stated that this reflected the unwavering confidence of Investors in the potentials and prospects of Ethiopia’s Economic Landscape.

“We are pleased to welcome the NGX Group as a Strategic Partner, building upon the existing support we have received from the NGX Group,” he said.

ESX significantly surpassed its initial target by raising close to 1.3 billion Ethiopian Birr (ETB) from the Private Sector, reflecting Investors’ robust confidence in Ethiopia’s Capital Market and Economic prospects.

The Government of Ethiopia will retain 25 per cent of the Exchange while Private Sector Players hold 75 per cent.

 

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07-Apr-2024 CIBN makes N1.37bn Profit, elects Olarenwaju 23rd President

CIBN makes N1.37bn Profit, elects Olarenwaju 23rd President

The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has announced a historic Net Operating Surplus of N1.37bn for 2023, marking a significant growth from the  N837.94m recorded in 2022.

Its President, Ken Opara, revealed this achievement during the Institute’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday in Lagos.

He said the Net Operating Surplus, which was above N1bn earmarked for 2023, represented a 63.60 per cent growth.

The President, who also coordinated and chaired the Annual General Meeting, reeled out his achievements in ICT, Revenue Drive, Capacity Building, Legacy Projects, and support in ongoing Economic Policy Reforms in Nigeria, among others.

“I am particularly delighted that our Institute continued to wax stronger financially, notwithstanding the Economic downturns and headwinds in the year 2023.

“It is on record that our Institute for the first time crossed the one billion Naira mark by achieving a Net Operating Surplus of N1.371bn in 2023 when compared with N837.943m achieved in 2022, representing a growth of 63.60 per cent.

“Similarly, Total Revenue grew from N2.065bn recorded in 2022 to N2.782bn in 2023, representing 34.72 per cent growth, while Total Assets grew from N7.821bn in 2022 to N9.119bn in 2023.

“The Cost-to-Income Ratio for the year ended December 31, 2023, stood at 50.72 per cent, down from 59.41 per cent in the corresponding period in 2022. This Ratio is way below the approved Governing Council threshold of 61 per cent for the 2023 Financial Year.

“I am persuaded that with prudent and efficient management of Resources, as well as diligent execution of our Strategic Plan, our Institute will sustain this Northward Trajectory,” he said.

Opara, who took over Leadership in May 2022, also announced a planned Road Show to flag off the Collaboration with Pan-African Payment and Settlement System on April 25 in Lagos to promote Exportation.

He explained how his Administration, through teamwork, left indelible marks in the Banking Industry in an era characterised by disruptions, volatility in the Economy, and other turbulence.

Opara, also the Chairman of Council, CIBN, explained Youth Engagement Initiatives aimed at checkmating mass migration of the Nation’s Young Professionals out of the Country to other Advanced Economies.

He thanked CIBN Members, Stakeholders, Family and Friends for their support that ensured the success of his Tenure.

The External Auditors, Rosewater Partners, after the Presentation of Facts and Figures, affirmed that the Financial Position of the CIBN was in agreement with the Book of Accounts.

The Chairman of the CIBN Audit Committee also affirmed that the Accounting and Reporting Policies of the Institute were in accordance with Legal Requirements and Ethical Practices

Pius Olanrewaju was elected as the new President of the institute, along with other Elected Officers for the 2024-2026 Tenure.

The Results of the 72-Hour Electronic Voting Election was announced during the AGM by Caroline Anyanwu, Chairperson of the CIBN Election Committee at Bankers House in Lagos.

The new President-Elect was the immediate past First Vice President of the Institute.

Olarenwaju, in his Acceptance Speech, described the outgoing President as “a great Leader” who had positioned the Institute on a path for growth and greatness.

He thanked the Leadership and Members of the Institute while promising to build on the Legacies of Opara, his Predecessor, in Office.

He promised to unveil his Agenda during his Inauguration at an Investiture Programme scheduled for May.

 

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07-Apr-2024 NERC to Discos: Refund all wrongly billed Customers latest by April 11

NERC to Discos: Refund all wrongly billed Customers latest by April 11

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has given 11 Electricity Distribution Companies till April 11, 2024, to refund Customers wrongly billed at the new Rate.

This was contained in a Document signed by Abba Terab, the DGM, Market Competition and Rates for the Commission and made available on Saturday in Lagos.

The refund, NERC said, should be through Energy Tokens no later than April 11, and file evidence of compliance with the Commission by April 12.

It also directed all Electricity Distribution Companies to provide as much clarity as possible to all affected Customers.

The DisCos are hereby directed to implement the following updates;

1. All DisCos shall ensure that only the newly approved Band A Feeders listed in their April 2024 Supplementary Orders are maintained as Band A for the purpose of vending to Prepaid Customers and billing for Post Paid Customers on their Networks.

2. All DisCos are required to immediately post on their Websites the schedule of approved Band A Feeders that have been affected by the Rate Review.

3. All DisCos shall set up a Portal by 10th April 2024 on their Website that allows all Customers to check their current Bands by entering their Meter or Account Numbers.

4. All Customers wrongly billed at the new Rate should be refunded through Energy Tokens no later than Thursday 11th April 2024, and file evidence of compliance with the Commission by 12th April 2024.

5. The Commission shall monitor compliance with the requirements listed above and shall continue to provide support to all Stakeholders as required.” the Document said. 

 

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06-Apr-2024 FG: We are committed to making a 'big impact' in Power Sector

FG: We are committed to making a 'big impact' in Power Sector

The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, says the Federal Government is putting in place a number of Initiatives to improve the Power Sector.
 
Adelabu said this at the Ministerial Press Briefing Series organised by the Ministry of Information and National Orientation on Friday in Abuja.
 
He said that the Federal Government has put in place a Presidential Power Initiative to ensure that Power Infrastructure were  enhanced and improved across the Sector.
 
”There is also the  Presidential Meter Initiative (PMI) put in place to  ensure that the Meter Gap is addressed.
 
”And we also have a lot of Development Banks that are working with us on several Projects in Transmission and Distribution.
 
”So, as a Ministry, we are committed to making an impact during this Administration,” he said.
 
Adelabu said that Government was also ramping up Generation Companies, adding that a lot was being done in the Transmission Segment of the Industry.
 
The Minister said that Government had invested in Gas-to-Power Infrastructure and implemented Policies to attract Private Investment, but regretted that many still don’t have Power Supply.
 
”Against this backdrop, the Country began to explore more Off-Grid Power Sector Solutions to address Energy Poverty and key into our Energy Transition Plan,” he said.
 
The Minister said that Government has projected Renewable Energy across the Country which was aimed at taking Electricity Supply to the Rural Communities and the underserved Nigerians.
 
He said that the Federal Government had made significant efforts to provide the Enabling Environment to promote, attract and protect Private Sector Participation and Investment, required to bridge the Energy Access Gap.
 
According to him, Government has made Data Driven Decisions by collaborating with some Experts to develop the Integrated Energy Planning Toolkit.
 
”This Innovative Tool provides Real-Time Data to pinpoint ideal Locations for Renewable Energy Projects streamlining Investment decisions.
 
”We have developed Legal Frameworks that have liberalised the entire Electricity Value Chain, Integrated Renewable Energy.
 
”Established an Independent Systems Operator (ISO), Guidelines for Franchising, Captive Power and Mini Grid Regulations.
 
”In addition, Programmes being implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency have been successful in providing traditional and innovative Financing Opportunities for Private Sector driven Interconnected and Off Grid Project Delivery,” he said.
 
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05-Apr-2024 Tinubu: I have no reason to underperform as President, I campaigned for the Job

Tinubu: I have no reason to underperform as President, I campaigned for the Job

President Bola Tinubu says Nigeria’s Economy is at a turning point and requires the support of the Private Sector for sustained growth and prosperity.

Speaking during Iftar on Thursday in Abuja with Members of the Nigerian Business Community, the President expressed gratitude for their support and pledged to engage with them more frequently.

‘’I would have summoned you before now, not during Ramadan, because you are a very valuable part of my Constituency.

‘’There is no driver of the Economy that is bigger than the Private Sector. If the Private Sector is not flourishing, there is no Growth, no Prosperity, No Employment or Development.

“No matter how flowery the Speeches are, not even a mushroom will grow.

‘’We are at a turning point in our Economy. I do not have to do a quadratic equation to illustrate all of that to you. I just want to appreciate you for your endurance and perseverance,’’ the President said.

Sharing insights from his visit to the New York Stock Exchange in 2023, Tinubu noted Nigeria’s self-belief and determination to drive Economic transformation from within.

‘’At the New York Stock Exchange, I appealed to Foreign Investors to consider Nigeria as a Prime Investment Destination.

“At the end of my Remarks, I told them we only want them to show their face and diversify Nigeria’s Economy not as if we cannot do it ourselves.

“We can do it. Nigeria is a self-believer and can always deliver on its own. We know our First Name and our Last Name. Our First Name is: Spirit, and our Last Name is: Can do.”

Tinubu reiterated his commitment to fulfilling his Mandate, emphasising that he could not afford to underperform, given the trust placed in him by the Electorate.

“I have no reason to underperform as the Elected President of the Country because I campaigned for the Job.

“I cannot complain about the Job. I appreciate the gesture, and what you have told me this evening is very inspiring. Cut the Costs. Fix the bends. Summon courage. Save the money, but push the Economy.

“We will be there. There are some Countries that have failed. There are some Countries that have succeeded. In our time, in my time, all of us must work together to succeed,’’ the President said.

In separate Remarks, Industrialists, Bank Executives, and Entrepreneurs pledged their support towards the success of the Administration’s Economic Programmes.

Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings, assured the President that the Organised Private Sector (OPS) in the Country was solidly behind him.

‘‘Your transformation journey to turn around the Economy and Businesses are very appropriate for the Country.

‘‘We appreciate what you are doing. We know the journey will not be smooth, but given the will, we will get to the Promised Land.

‘‘We admire your decisiveness, and we appreciate what you are doing. You are extremely passionate about taking Nigeria to the Promised Land.

‘‘We have engaged with your Ministers and Associates; we share Ideas, and we support them. We know that under your Leadership, you have the ability to heal Nigeria permanently,’’ Elumelu said.

Allen Onyema, Chief Executive Officer, Air Peace, charged Business Owners and Manufacturers to work towards bringing down the Cost of Products and Services.

Citing the example of Air Peace in reducing the Cost of Air Tickets to London, Onyema thanked the President for improving the Ease of Doing Business in the Country.

‘’President Tinubu is thinking of the Nigeria of the future. The Ease of Doing Business is coming back gradually. I can attest to that in the Aviation Sector.

‘’I can also attest to what our High Commission in the United Kingdom did in making Air Peace flights into Gatwick Airport a possibility,’’ he said.

Stella Okoli, Pharmacist and Founder of Emzor Pharmaceutical Company, urged the President to look into providing more support for the Pharmaceutical Industry in the Country to make it self-sufficient and self-financing.

 

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04-Apr-2024 Empowering Communities, People key to stability in Energy Sector, says Seplat

Empowering Communities, People key to stability in Energy Sector, says Seplat

Seplat Energy Plc, leading Nigerian Independent Energy Company, says the execution of Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Programmes in Oil and Gas Producing Communities as well as empowerment of their People, is capable of promoting stability in the Energy Sector and ensuring security of critical National Assets.   

Samson Ezugworie, Chief Operating Officer, Seplat Energy, said this during the Society of Petroleum  Engineers Oloibiri Lecture Series and Energy Forum (SPE OLEF) 2024 organised by SPE Nigeria Council in Abuja recently.

The Theme of this year’s SPE OLEF is Stability in the Energy Sector: Integrated Strategies for Infrastructure, Transportation and Security.

Ezugworie, who spoke during the Energy Forum Discussion Session, said Operators and the Energy Industry at large must refocus on sustainability and think long-term.

 

 

“In tackling security and ensuring stability in our Industry, we must "think sustainability" and operate responsibly.

In doing this, we must collaborate; as we can impact our People and Communities more collaboratively,” the Seplat Energy COO advised.

Identifying the various Social Investment Programmes executed by Seplat Energy yearly in Communities where it has Operations, Ezugworie said Health, Educational, Infrastructural and Skills/Knowledge Interventions are executed as part and parcel of Business Strategy, which is in tune with Seplat Energy’s sustainability journey.

Seplat Energy also executes Projects targeted at solving Energy problems for the Communities and increasing Energy access for the People.

“Operators should be very intentional about these Interventions. They don’t come by chance. The idea is to continue to service our Partnership with our Communities,” he added.

“If you keep People empowered and included, they will find less reasons to be agitated or violent. Of course, they will become your Partners and show willingness to work with you for the common good of all,” Ezugworie added.

He commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and the Government for their efforts in securing the Oil and Gas Assets in the Country, adding that there are opportunities to do more to further ensure a more stable Industry.

Particularly, Ezugworie commended the Government for the recently signed three Executive Orders on the Oil and Gas Sector, identifying the action as a needed step in the right direction.

Identifying Investment Inflows in the Energy Sector as also critical in driving stability, the Seplat Energy Boss said the Company’s ANOH Gas Plant, which achieved mechanical completion in December 2023, will be a major game changer.

First Gas from the ANOH Plant is expected this year, which will make Seplat Energy a leading Domestic Supplier of Gas.

The ANOH Gas Plant will provide Feedstock for the OB3 Pipeline nearing completion.

He also identified the Divestment Programmes of the International Oil Companies (IOC) as also key in the quest to stabilise the Country’s Oil and Gas Sector, saying successful completion of the Programmes are capable of creating and retaining more value for the Industry and the Nigerian Economy at large as is evident in success stories of Seplat Energy and other Indigenous Operators that have recorded giant strides over the years.

Stressing the need for Nigeria to secure its critical National Assets like Oil and Gas Pipelines, Ezugworie said Pipeline inspections via sensors, drones and robots, amongst others, are essential. Despite the fact that these technologies can detect and locate defects, anomalies, and threats in real time, and provide data and feedback for maintenance and repair, Ezugworie said there is the need for improved response time to actually address the challenges.

He added: “If you look at what the NNPCL is doing today to combat Oil Theft, you will see that the journey has already started. The platforms have been built for the Collaboration among Stakeholders to thrive. But we still see some of these threats recurring.

“In the Area of Collaboration, we need to improve more when it comes to intelligence sharing. Strong Collaboration between Government Agencies is also very key. The relationship between these Government Agencies should be very cordial to boost response time when the need arises. Implementing these strategies will significantly improve Collaboration between Security Agencies and Industry Stakeholders in Nigeria, leading to better Intelligence sharing, coordinated response efforts, and enhanced security outcomes.”

04-Apr-2024 Experts fume at fresh hike in Power Tariffs, say it's illegal

Experts fume at fresh hike in Power Tariffs, say it's illegal

Some Power Experts have expressed dissatisfaction with the 300 per cent increase in Electricity Tariffs approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

In separate Interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos, the Experts lamented that such an increase would further burden Electricity Consumers across the Nation.

NAN reports that the announcement of the Tariff hike was made by Musiliu Oseni, the Vice Chairman of NERC, in Abuja on Monday.

Oseni clarified that the 300 per cent increase would specifically impact Band A Consumers, constituting only 15 per cent of the Total Electricity Customers Nationwide.

As a result, Power Distribution Companies (DisCos) will be permitted to raise Electricity Prices to N225 ($0.15) per kilowatt-hour, up from the previous Rate of N68 for Urban Consumers, effective April 1.

Reacting to the development, Adeola Ilori, the National Coordinator of All Electricity Consumers Protection Forum, condemned the sudden Tariff hike, asserting that it was implemented without due process.

Ilori emphasised that the increase should have followed the prescribed Procedures outlined in NERC’s Regulatory Directives, as mandated by Law.

He said that the magnitude of the increase, purportedly a Minor Review, was like a Major Review, necessitating thorough scrutiny and consultation with all Stakeholders.

Ilori hinted at potential Legal Action by the Group to challenge the Tariff hike, citing violations of the Electricity Act 2023 and Consumer Protection Regulations.

Meanwhile, Lanre Elatuyi, an Electricity Market Analyst, acknowledged the inevitability of the Tariff increase, attributing it to fluctuations in the Dollar and Gas Prices.

Elatuyi explained that with the Government unable to subsidise Electricity for all Consumers, the burden falls on those capable of bearing the actual Cost of Electricity, particularly Band A Customers.

He stressed the importance of ensuring that Band A Customers receive the promised hours of Supply, urging strict adherence to Service Standards.

However, Chinedu Amah, Founder of Spark Nigeria Limited, raised concerns about the clarity and monitoring of Band A Classification, warning of potential exploitation if not properly defined and regulated.

 

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04-Apr-2024 NERC: New Electricity Tariff to reduce Subsidies for 2024 by N1.14trn

NERC: New Electricity Tariff to reduce Subsidies for 2024 by N1.14trn

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), says the newly approved Tariff is expected to reduce Subsidies for the 2024 Fiscal Year by about N1.14trn.

Musliu Oseni, the Vice Chairman, NERC said this in a Statement in Abuja on Wednesday.

”With the newly approved Tariffs, Subsidies for the 2024 Fiscal Year are expected to reduce by about N1.14trn in furtherance of the Federal Government’s realignment of the Subsidy Regime.”’ he said.

Oseni said that the Federal Government  had indicated a transition in Policy Direction towards introducing a more targeted Subsidy Regime aimed at mitigating the impact of changes in Macroeconomic Parameters

”While largely protecting Vulnerable Customers and fostering Investments targeted at providing efficient Service delivery in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI),” he said.

According to him, the Commission conducted a thorough review of the Tariff Applications submitted by the 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in line with the Processes established in its Regulations and Business Rules.

He said that the Review Process was preceded by an analysis of the Performance Improvement Plans of the Licencees and included a Public Hearing during which interested Stakeholders and Intervenors examined the Rate filing submitted by the Public Utilities.

”The overarching objective of the Commission in the consideration of the Tariff Application is the creation of a financially sustainable Electricity Market providing adequate and reliable Power Supply to drive the Nigerian Economy.

”The Commission, upon due consideration of the Tariff Applications, has approved Revised Rates affecting only Customers classified under Band Service Category which is about 15 per cent of the Customer Population,” he said.

Oseni said that Empirical Service Data had confirmed that this Class of Customers had truly received the committed level of Service.

He said that under the Revised Tariff Order issued by the NERC, DisCos were under an obligation to provide Customers classified under Band A service category a minimum Average Supply of 20 hours a day measured over a period of one week.

”All other Customers under Band E Service Category and representing 85 per cent of Customers Population will not be affected by the current review of End-Users Tariffs.

”All DisCos have been provided with Mandatory Targets for Investments and migration of more Customers to Band

”The Commission has established a robust Monitoring Framework leveraging on Technology to ensure that the Public has visibility of the Service Covenant with their Service Providers,” he said.

Oseni said that an Enforcement and Compensation Mechanism had also been established in the event of Service failure.

”We wish to assure all Nigerians that the Commission  working in collaboration with the Policymakers remains committed towards providing adequate and reliable Electricity to all Citizens.

”This is as we work diligently with State Governments to deliver on the gains of the Electricity Act 2023.,” he said.

 

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03-Apr-2024 Moniepoint unveils new Service to curtail Fraud

Moniepoint unveils new Service to curtail Fraud

Moniepoint, a Micro Finance Bank (MFB), has unveiled a new Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) Service to combat Fraud and enhance Financial Inclusion.

This is contained in a Statement signed by Babatunde Olofin, the Managing Director, Moniepoint MFB, on Tuesday in Lagos.

Olofin said the USSD Service would be accessible via the Account Control Code *5573#.

He said the new Feature would offer a fast, secure and user-friendly Platform for Consumers to conduct their Banking activities with ease, from any Mobile Device without the need for an Internet Connection.

According to him, the move is expected to increase convenience and accessibility while showcasing the Bank’s commitment to Financial Inclusion, enhancing safety and security across the Digital Payment Ecosystem.

He added that the USSD Banking Suite included a variety of Services such as Funds Transfer, Airtime and Data Purchase, Account Balance and Details Inquiry, among others.

“The introduction of *5573# is a security measure against unauthorised access, safeguarding Customer Funds in case of loss or theft of Mobile Phones, ATM Cards, and in situations where account details may be compromised.

“This Code empowers Customers to secure their Accounts promptly from any Mobile Device, without needing to contact the Bank, especially in cases of suspected Fraud.

“At Moniepoint MFB, our top priority is delivering exceptional Customer Service through Digital Innovation and ensuring the highest security standards,” Olofin said.

He added that the new USSD Service would provide the convenience of Mobile Banking with an added layer of security “that gives Customers control over protecting their Accounts.”

Olofin noted that Moniepoint had always been guided by its Mission to create a Society where everyone experienced Financial happiness.

“To support the Central Bank’s Financial Inclusion Agenda, we added this Feature, so that the least Digital-savvy Customers, irrespective of their Location, are now positioned to carry out a wide range of Transactions effortlessly.

“Also, existing Customers, encompassing Business and Personal Accounts, can initiate Transactions and manage their Accounts, by navigating to USSD Banking Settings on their Mobile Banking App,” he said.

 

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03-Apr-2024 EFCC charges escapee Binance top Man, two others to Court for Money Laundering

EFCC charges escapee Binance top Man, two others to Court for Money Laundering

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will, on Thursday, arraign Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, two top officials of Binance Holdings Limited on five counts of Money Laundering Charge.

Binance, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla, who escaped from Lawful Custody on March 22 and fled Nigeria, will be arraigned before Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja.

Although the Crypto Exchange Firm, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla are listed as 1st to 3rd Defendants respectively, Anjarwalla, who is described to be “at large” by the EFCC in the Counts, is expected to be arraigned in absentia.

In the Charge dated and filed on March 28 by the Anti-Graft Agency, the three are being accused of Money Laundering to the tune of $35,400,000.

Count one accused the Defendants between January 2023 and January 2024 in Abuja of carrying on Specialised Business of other Financial Institution without valid Licence.

The offence is said to be contrary to Section 57(1) and (2) of the Banks and Other Financial, Institutions Act, 2020 and punishable under Section 57(5) of the same Act.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) will, on April 4, arraigned Binance Holdings Limited, Gambaryan and fleeing Anjarwalla, on allegations bordering on Tax Evasion.

In the Charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, the three Defendants will equally be arraigned before Justice Nwite on four Counts.

The FHC’s Easter Vacation, which began on March 22, will come to an end on April 8, the Chief Judge of FHC, Justice John Tsoho, directed the transfer of Binance Case File to Justice Nwite, even though he is not a Vacation Judge.

The Chief Judge granted the fiat for the Judge to handle the Case during Vacation being a matter that concerns dire National Interest.

In the Charge dated and filed March 22 by the FIRS, the Defendants were alleged to have committed the offence on or about February 1.

Count one alleged that while involved in carrying and offering Services to Subscribers on their Platform, known as Binance, failed to register with the FIRS, for the purpose of paying all relevant Taxes administered by the Service.

The offences are said to be punishable under Sections 8 and 29 of the VAT Act of 1993 (as Amended), Section 40 of the FIRS Establishment Act, 2007 (as amended) and under provisions of Section 94 of the Companies Income Tax Act (as amended) respectively.

The two Cases were fixed for Thursday to allow for accelerated hearing.

Justice Nwite had earlier ordered Binance Holdings Limited to provide the EFCC with the comprehensive Data or Information of all Persons from Nigeria trading on its Platform.

The Judge granted the Interim Order after ruling on the Ex-Parte Motion moved by the EFCC’s Lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho.

The Interim Order was granted to enable the Anti-Graft Agency unravel the alleged Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing on Binance Platform.

The Commission said it uncovered Users who had been using the Platform for price discovery, confirmation and Market manipulation which had caused tremendous distortions in the Market, resulting in the Naira losing its Value against other Currencies.

The EFCC said that Information afforded to its Team of Investigators by Binance showed that the Total Trading Volume from Nigeria in 2023 alone stood at $21.6bn.

 

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02-Apr-2024 Centre to CBN on Recapitalisation: Assure Bank Depositors of Funds' safety

Centre to CBN on Recapitalisation: Assure Bank Depositors of Funds' safety

The Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE) has advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to minimise shocks and disruptions in the Banking System and Economy during the Recapitalisation period.

Muda Yusuf, Founder, CPPE made the call on Monday in a Statement in Lagos.

The CBN had last Thursday raised Minimum Capital Requirement for Commercial Banks with Regional, National and International Licences to ₦50bn, ₦200bn and ₦500bn respectively.

CBN also raised the capital Base of Merchant Banks with National Licences to ₦50bn while it increased that of Non-Interest Banks with Regional Licences to ₦10bn and ₦20bn for those with National Licences.

Yusuf commended the CBN for giving a timeline of 24 months deadline to ensure smooth transition to the new Capitalisation Regime for Banks.

“The proposed Recapitalisation of Banks should be done in a manner that would minimise shocks and disruptions to the Banking System and the Economy at large.

“We commend the CBN for giving a timeline of 24 months for Banks to comply,” he said.

He commended the CBN on the Categorisation of the Lenders with differential Capital Requirements to allow for inclusion and reduce the risk of dominance of the Banking space by a few big Banks.

The CPPE Boss urged the CBN to assure Depositors of the safety of their Funds in the Banking System, irrespective of the current level of Capitalisations of Banks.

According to him, it is important to sustain the confidence of the Banking Public about the soundness and stability of the Nigerian Banking System, especially because of the perception and vulnerable risks of smaller Banks.

He also urged the Apex Bank to ensure minimum risk to Shareholders and Employees in the Banking System across board.

“It is also imperative to guide against elevated concentration risks and the deepening of Oligopolistic Structure in the Banking System. There are also concerns around the large Interest Rate spreads in the Nigerian Banking System.

“Spread between Deposits and Lending Rates are sometimes as high as 20 per cent, which is one of the highest Globally. The Tenure of Funds in the Banking System is extremely short.

“Over 80 per cent of Funds are of one year Tenure or less, which explains the high level of Assets and Liability Tenure mismatch in the Banking System. Access to Credit by Small Businesses remains a major inhibition to Economic Growth and Economic Inclusion.

“Small Businesses account for over 50 per cent of GDP, but get less than five per cent of Credit in the Banking System. Financing gap in the Nigeria SME Space is about $32.2bn (over N40trn), according to IFC estimates.

“De-risking the Credit Space for Small Businesses should be accorded high priority in the new dispensation. This is essential to boost Growth, create Jobs and deepen Economic Inclusion.

“The Apex Bank should caution all Players in the Banking Sector against predatory and other Anti-Competitive Practices in the Industry on account of the Recapitalisation Policy,” he added.

The CPPE Boss who is an Economist explained the implications of the Capitalisation aimed at ensuring efficiency and stability of the Financial System.

According to Yusuf, the real issue is that Inflation had weakened the Value of Money overtime which makes Recapitalisation imperative and inevitable.

“The essence is to ensure the safety of Depositors’ Fund, strengthen the stability of the Financial System, deepen resilience of the Banking System and reposition the Bank to support Growth,” Yusuf said.

According to him, Nigerian Banks are sound and healthy but that does not eliminate the need for Regulatory Authority to ensure that the soundness and stability are preserved and improved upon.

 

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30-Mar-2024 It's N938 for Healthy Diet per Nigerian Adult in February 2024, says NBS

It's N938 for Healthy Diet per Nigerian Adult in February 2024, says NBS

The National Average Cost of a Healthy Diet (CoHD) per Adult a day stood at N938 in February, 2024, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a Report.

The NBS revealed this in its CoHD Report for February, 2024 released on Friday in Abuja.

The Bureau said the CoHD was the least expensive combination of Locally available Items that met Globally consistent Food-Based Dietary Guidelines.

It said it was used as a measure of Physical and Economic access to Healthy Diets.

“This is a lower bound (or floor) of the Cost per Adult per day excluding the Cost of Transportation and Meal Preparation.”

The Bureau said that to compute the CoHD Indicator, the following Data on Retail Food Prices, Food Composition Data, and Healthy Diet Standard were required.

The NBS also said that in February, the Average CoHD was highest in the South-West at N1, 157 per Adult per day, followed by the South-East at N1, 077 per day.

It said the lowest Average CoHD was recorded in the North-West at N723 per Adult per day.

The NBS further said that at the State Level, Ekiti, Lagos, and Osun recorded the highest CoHD at N1, 295, N1, 195, and N1, 184, respectively.

The Bureau said Katsina recorded the lowest CoHD at N673, followed by Sokoto and Zamfara at N714 and N720, respectively.

The Report added that Animal-Source Foods were the most expensive Food Group Recommendation to meet in February, accounting for 38 per cent of the total CoHD to provide 13 per cent of the Total Calories.

It noted that Fruits and Vegetables were the most expensive Food Groups in terms of Price per Calorie.

“They accounted for 12 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively, of the total CoHD while providing only seven per cent and five per cent of Total Calories in the Healthy Diet Basket.

“Legumes, Nuts and Seeds were the least-expensive Food Group on average, at six per cent of the Total Cost.’’

The Report also says that in recent months, the CoHD had risen faster than General Inflation and Food Inflation.

“However, the CoHD and the Food Consumer Price Index (CPI) are not directly comparable.

“The CoHD includes fewer Items and is measured in Naira per day, while the Food CPI is a Weighted Index.

“The Food CPI increased approximately by four per cent between January and February, while CoHD increased by nine per cent.’’

The NBS said the Policy implications of these Results would foster collaboration among a wide range of Stakeholders, such as Policymakers, Researchers and Civil Society Actors that focus on food security.

“These Stakeholders will devise Strategies that tackle access, availability, and affordability of Healthy Diet effectively.

“Also future Research incorporating Income can also be used to determine the proportion and number of the Population that are unable to afford a Healthy Diet,” the report said. 

 

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30-Mar-2024 Afreximbank, Sterling collaborate on ‘Payables Finance’ in Nigeria

Afreximbank, Sterling collaborate on ‘Payables Finance’ in Nigeria

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has partnered Sterling Bank to introduce an Innovative Supply Chain Finance Product ‘Payables Finance’, in Nigeria.

This is contained in a Statement issued by Vincent Musumba, Manager, Communications and Events, Afreximbank on Friday.

The Statement said the Product, branded as ‘Afreximbank Tradelink,’ was one of Afreximbank’s Digital Offerings under the umbrella of the Africa Trade Gateway (ATG).

It said ATG provided African Corporates and Commercial Banks with relevant Digital Tools to access Market Information and connect with Buyers and Sellers across the Continent for efficient marketing and procurement.

“It also facilitates Know Your Customer (KYC) Processes, and promotes Trade Payments between African Countries in Local Currencies.”

The Statement said ‘Payables Finance’ enabled Suppliers to access Financing from the Banking System by obtaining early payment for Invoices that have been approved for payment by their Corporate Buyers.

“The Buyers continue to receive Trade Credit from the Suppliers, and the Suppliers finance their Working Capital through the early payment received, enabling them to grow their Businesses.

“The Financing Cost is linked to the Credit Rating of the Corporate Buyers, thereby making this Product particularly valuable for Small Medium Enterprises Suppliers who may face challenges in accessing Bank Finance at Competitive Pricing.”

The Statement said ‘Payables Finance’ was the fastest-growing Trade Finance Product Globally and there was an enormous Opportunity for African Businesses to benefit from it.

It said the Partnership with Sterling Bank was a unique and innovative arrangement that leverages the complementary strengths of both Institutions to provide a comprehensive Market-led solution to Nigerian Corporates and their Suppliers.

“Under this arrangement, Afreximbank will provide Financing to Corporates and Banks in both US Dollars and Euros while Sterling Bank will manage Financing in Naira.

“Suppliers of Nigerian Corporates can thus benefit from Financing in both Local and Foreign Currency as per their requirements.”

The Statement quoted Haytham ElMaayergi, Executive Vice-President, Afreximbank Global Trade Bank, as saying “ Afreximbank identified Supply Chain Finance as a solution for improving access to Trade Finance in Africa.

“The Bank embarked on a journey to increase penetration through Financial Intervention and Capacity Building.

“The Bank’s Factoring Working Group has done extremely well to provide Lines of Credit to support factoring and has actively promoted factoring across the continent in collaboration with other Institutions.”

ElMaayergi said that the introduction of ‘Payables Finance” was the next step on the Bank’s Roadmap for Supply Chain Finance across Africa.

“African Businesses now have the opportunity to harness the potential of this Product.

“This Product has been widely adopted Globally, at an accelerated pace by learning from the experiences of other Regions and using the latest Technologies which have been developed,” he said.

The Statement quoted Gwen Mwaba, Director and Global Head Trade Finance, Afreximbank, as saying “the Launch in Nigeria is a first step in Afreximbank’s plans to introduce ‘Payables Finance’ across Africa in partnership with leading African Financial Institutions.

“The Product will deploy World-Class Technology and a collaborative delivery Model.

Mwaba said the Product would also contribute towards the achievement of the Bank’s strategic objective of reducing the Trade Finance gap in Africa, particularly for the SME Segment.

It quoted Chukwuka Onuaguluchi, Ecosystem Banking Head, Sterling Bank, as saying “Sterling Bank is committed to meeting the Trade Finance needs of Nigerian Corporates and their Suppliers.

“We are proud to introduce this much-needed Product in partnership with Afreximbank for the benefit of Nigerian Businesses,” he said.

The Statement said Afreximbank provided both US Dollar and Euro Financing to Businesses in its Member Countries across Africa and in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member Countries.

It said the unveiling in Nigeria would be followed by similar Partnerships in other African Countries to expand Local Currency Financing Capability across the Continent in a phased manner.

The Statement said the adoption of the Product would be supported by Capacity-Building Events to increase awareness of Supply Chain Finance and its benefits.

It said the Product Rollout in Nigeria was complemented by a Workshop targeting Corporate Institutions and Banks, in collaboration with Woodhall Capital, a leading Finance Company in Nigeria.

“Underpinning the delivery of these new Financial Products is a Market-leading Supply Chain Finance Platform, developed by UK-based Fintech Demica, a Leader in Working Capital Solutions.

“Demica works with the World’s leading Banks to power their Supply Chain Finance Solutions. In 2021, the Company established a Partnership with Afreximbank to extend this Technology to Banks across Africa.”

 

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29-Mar-2024 Tinubu is Business-focused, Minister tells US Envoy

Tinubu is Business-focused, Minister tells US Envoy

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Anite, has  reiterated President Bola Tinubu’s readiness to boost businesses in the Country.

Anite said this in a Meeting with the Charge d’Affaires of the U. S. Embassy Mr David Greenie, on Thursday in Abuja.

“As you know, the current Administration is Business-focused and is very big on making sure that we preserve and protect our Democracy.

“We try to preserve and protect our free Market System, support growth and Industrialisation, and support Economic Development through Trade Investment, whether its Local Investment or Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) .

“The Federal Government is doing all it can to make sure that all the different Sectors of the Economy is stimulated and catalysed to achieve the Mission,” she said.

According to the Minister, one of the big achievements recorded by the Administration is the support from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the World Bank.

She said the support was in the Area of Trade Facilitation, Standard Trade Development Facility, Technical and Financial support for Digital Trade.

Anite said other Areas were on Trade Intelligence Units, the development of the Cotton Industry, and the Technical Support, Capacity Development for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) .

The Minister said there was the need for the Country to be transformed.

Earlier, the Charge d’Affaires Greenie expressed the desire of his Governement to deliberate on the Private Economy System.

He said: “We work together as one Team that is a Foreign Commercial Service, a Foreign Agriculture Service, USAID Colleagues.

“I am joined here by two Colleagues from the Economic Team. We have the U.S. Trade and Development Agency in the Country.

“We have the World and Communist Corporation in the Country, and numerous other Agencies that we can reach back to in Washington, D.C.

“And we are eager to work together in all of those areas, so that we can look for opportunities to be in Trade, Investment, Commercial as well.”

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Nura Rimi, said the aim of the Visit was to establish ways of fostering Trade Relations between Nigeria and the U. S.

 

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27-Mar-2024 Tinubu establishes Economic Coordination Council, Planning Taskforce

Tinubu establishes Economic Coordination Council, Planning Taskforce

President Bola Tinubu has approved the establishment of the Presidential Economic Coordination Council (PECC) and the creation of the Economic Management Team Emergency Taskforce (EET).

This is part of  the Administration’s move to boost the Nation’s Economic, Governance Frameworks and ensure robust and coordinated Economic planning and implementation.

This is contained in a Statement by Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Ngelale said that the Presidential Economic Coordination Council (PECC) comprises Distinguished Leaders and key Government Officials, including:

(1) President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – Chairman of the PECC

(2) Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – Vice-Chairman of the PECC / NEC Chairman

(3) President of the Nigerian Senate

(4) Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum

(5) Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance

(6) Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria

(7) Minister of Agriculture and Food Security

(8) Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development

(9) Minister of Budget and Economic Planning

(10) Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy

(11) Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment

(12) Minister of Labour and Employment

(13) Minister of Marine and Blue Economy

(14) Minister of Power

(15) Minister of State, Petroleum Resources

(16) Minister of State, Gas

(17) Minister of Transportation

(18) Minister of Works

The Presidential Spokesman said that PECC would also comprise key Members of the Organised Private Sector, with the following Members joining for a period not exceeding one year, subject to the President’s directive.

The Members are:

(1) Aliko Dangote

(2) Tony Elumelu

(3) Abdulsamad Rabiu

(4) Amina Maina

(5) Begun Ajayi-Kadir

(6) Funke Okpeke

(7) Doyin Salami

(8) Patrick Okigbo

(9) Kola Adesina

(10) Segun Agbaje

(11) Chidi Ajaere

(12) Abdulkadir Aliu

(13) Rasheed Sarumi

Ngelale said that Tinubu also established the Economic Management Team Emergency Taskforce (EET) with a Mandate to formulate and implement a consolidated emergency Economic Plan.

He said this was part of the President’s determination to address immediate Economic challenges and ensure the streamlined execution of Economic Strategies.

He said that the Taskforce comprised key Government Officials and Industry Leaders in furtherance of the President’s collaborative approach toward achieving Economic resilience and growth.

The EET is now mandated to submit a Comprehensive Plan of Economic Interventions for 2024 to the PECC, covering the next six months, for immediate implementation within two weeks of its Inauguration.

The EET will meet twice weekly and is composed of the following Members:

(1) Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance (Chairman of the EET)

(2) Minister of Budget and Economic Planning

(3) Minister of Power

(4) Minister of Agriculture and Food Security

(5) Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare

(6) Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment

(7) Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria

(8) National Security Adviser

(9) Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum

(10) Governor of Anambra State

(11) Governor of Ogun State

(12) Governor of Niger State

(13) Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service

(14) Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation

(15) GCEO, NNPC Limited

(16) Director-General, Nigeria Economic Summit Group

(17) Special Adviser to the President on Energy

(18) Bismarck Rewane, Economist

(19) Suleyman Ndanusa, Economist

Ngelale said that the Economic Management Team, was established in October 2023 and Chaired by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance.

He said it serves as the Working Group under the Presidential Economic Coordination Council (PECC), playing a crucial role in the Economic Governance Structure established by the President.

The EMT meets monthly or as required, but will now suspend its Meetings for the duration of the EET’s Mandate of six months.

The EMT is composed of the following Officials:

(1) Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance (EMT Chairman)

(2) Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria

(3) Minister of Budget and Economic Planning

(4) Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment

(5) Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy

(6) Minister of Works

(7) Minister of Labour and Employment

(8) Minister of Agriculture and Food Security

(9) Minister of State, Petroleum Resources

(10) Minister of State, Gas

(11) Minister of Power

(12) Minister of Transportation

(13) Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development

(14) Minister of Marine and Blue Economy

The Chairman of the EMT may, as needed, call on any Federal Minister or Head of Agency to brief the EMT on key Programmes and developments affecting the Economy.

The President’s formation of the PECC, under his Chairmanship, alongside the creation of the EET, led by the Chairman of the EMT, and the EMT itself, is the manifestation of a unified strategy.

The unified strategy is aimed at enhancing Nigeria’s Economic Management Architecture for verifiably improved performance.

The formation of these Teams will complement existing Economic Governance Structures, including the National Economic Council (NEC), which is Chaired by the Vice-President.

Over the next six months, the EET will focus on the rapid implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of critical Initiatives, strengthening the Tinubu-led Administration’s collective approach to advancing Nigeria’s Economic objectives.

 

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27-Mar-2024 Value Addition an indispensable standard for Mining Operations, FG insists

Value Addition an indispensable standard for Mining Operations, FG insists

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake has declared Value Addition as the new indispensable standard for Mining Operations in the Country.

Alake made the Declaration in a Statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Tomori, on Tuesday in Abuja.

The Minister had earlier said that the Federal Government had resolved to ensure compliance to Value Addition before permitting Investors to operate.

He said that his Seven-Point Agenda for the Ministry had placed the Mining Sector on the Global front burner since assuming Office, which had generated renewed interest from the International Community in Nigeria`s Mineral Resources.

According to the Statement, the Minister lauded a Mining Company, African Natural Resources and Mines Limited (ANRML), during an Inspection Tour in Kaduna State, for its $600m Facility dedicated to the Mining and Processing of Magnetite Iron-Ore.

He described the move as in line with the Government`s resolve for Value Addition, which is especially apt given President Bola Tinubu`s quest to develop the Solid Minerals, to boost Nigeria`s Economic Profile and to meet the Global upsurge in Energy Transition.

“The Company aligns with our Vision of Value Addition and beneficiation through its processing of Iron-Ore, and I urge other Mining Companies to take a cue from them, “ he said.

He reiterated the Government`s commitment to abstain from granting Mining Licenses to Companies that lack the necessary plans for Value Addition.

The Minister acknowledged that resilience, courage and laying a Solid Foundation were critical in contributing to the Company's success.

He added that such factors also serve as Guidelines for President Tinubu Administration in its efforts for Economic transformation.

“We have set our minds in this Administration and invariably in Nigeria to achieve success, that is why Mr President is restructuring the Economy.

“When this Company (ANRML) started seven years ago, we saw one of the Foundations through the Video Documentary, the amount of concrete that went in to erect a Foundation, just to carry a giant Edifice.

“That is what we are going through. When we get through the gestation period, the results will manifest, and it will herald prosperity,“ he said.

 

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27-Mar-2024 Cardoso gives pass mark to Nigerian Banks, says they're safe, sound, stable

Cardoso gives pass mark to Nigerian Banks, says they're safe, sound, stable

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Yemi Cardoso, says recent stability achieved in the Foreign Exchange Market is commendable.

Cardoso said this on Tuesday in Abuja, while presenting the Communique from the 294th Meeting of the Apex Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

According to Cardoso, the stability is a result of CBN’s recent Policy Actions and Reforms, which are geared towards restoring Investors’ confidence and attracting Foreign Investments.

“The Committee noted with satisfaction the level of stability achieved in the Foreign Exchange Market in the last few weeks.

“This, in the view of Members, reflects the impact of the CBN’s recent Policy Actions and Reforms, as well as increased transparency in the Market.

“In addition, the Committee noted the efforts of the Apex Bank in offsetting verified Foreign Currency Obligations, an action that will greatly enhance Investor confidence and attract Foreign Investments to Nigeria,” he said.

Cardoso said that the MPC also reviewed developments in the Banking System and noted that the Industry remained safe, sound and stable.

He said that the Apex Bank would sustain its surveillance and ensure compliance of Deposit Money Banks with existing Regulatory and Macroprudential Guidelines.

The CBN Governor said that Domestic Headline Inflation rose further to 31.70 per cent in February from 29.90 per cent in January.

According to him, Food Inflation accelerated to 37.92 per cent from 35.41 per cent, while core inflation rose to 25.13 per cent from 23.59 per cent.

“Key drivers of Inflationary pressure remain the strong Exchange Rate pass-through to Domestic Prices; rising Cost of Transportation; high Cost of Energy and other Production Inputs.

“Lingering Insecurity, especially in Food Producing Areas and legacy Infrastructure Deficits are also responsible,” he said.

He said that the Committee would continue to monitor developments in the Global and Domestic Economies to ensure that Inflationary expectations were anchored to restore and sustain Macroeconomic stability.

 

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27-Mar-2024 NUPRC gives 48-hour Order for Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation

NUPRC gives 48-hour Order for Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has given its Enforcement Committee 48 hours to produce a Template for a seamless implementation of Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation (DCSO) in Nigeria.

The Commission Chief Executive, NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, gave the charge on Tuesday in Abuja while speaking at a Meeting to review the Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation.

The implementation of the DCSO is provided under Section 109 (2) of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.

The Committee on DCSO was constituted by the Commission to resolve Issues arising from Crude Supply Regulation and Enforcement.

Komolafe, who emphasised that priority must be given while supplying Crude to Local Refineries, said that the overall objective of the Government was to ensure that Nigeria became a Net Exporter of Refined Petroleum Products.

“Producers should satisfy their Domestic Crude Oil Supply to the Domestic Refineries, so that as a Nation, we can seize the opportunity to reverse the ugly trend.

”We can do this by ensuring development of the Midstream and end being a Net Exporter of Petroleum Products.

“This is necessary now that we are trying to exit the Subsidy Regime; the only way to sustain that is to become robust in our Domestic Refining Capacity,’’ he said.

He explained that the Commission expected that the complaints received from the Oil Producers and Dangote Refinery would be taken seriously and resolved in the next 48 hours.

Komolafe, while listing the Issues raised, said that the inability to factor in the Provisions of the Law while executing Contractual Agreements was challenging.

This, he said had resulted in some Companies being reluctant to allocate a portion of their Production to Domestic Refineries.

He listed others as change in Vessel Nomination under 24 hours to Lay-Can; inability to provide the required Financial Instrument/Backing prior to loading and the delay in expected time of arrival of Vessels.

He said this had resulted in Production Cut which was inimical to the National Budgetary Targets.

Others, according to him are frequent change in Lay-Cans for Crude Oil allocated to Domestic Refineries and delays at Loading Terminals after the arrival of the Loading Vessel.

Also speaking, the Chairman, OPAC Refinery, Momoh Oyarekhua, said that the Local Refiners have received almost no Crude Oil from Producers in the past three years.

Oyarekhua disclosed that in spite of having a Refining Capacity of 10,000 Barrels per day, the OPAC Refinery received just 1,500bpd in 2022.

He urged the Federal Government to resolve the issue of currency of payments for Crude Oil supplied to Local Refineries, whether it would be in Naira or Dollars as demanded by the Producers.

Some of the Oil Producers who participated in the Meeting also endorsed the Policy, adding that meeting demands for Local Refineries required additional Investment, to boost Production.

They stated that with Companies trying to fulfil existing Supply Contracts, it was impossible for them to switch Oil Supply to Local Refineries.

Representatives of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) and Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG) urged the Government to address the challenges facing the Industry.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government had expressed concerns over the capacity of the Industry to meet its Domestic Crude Obligations to Local Refineries, insisting that Supply to Local Refineries remained a priority.

Oil Production in 2024 had so far failed to meet Budgetary Targets of 1.78 million per day, and with several Refineries scheduled to come on-stream, concerns about the Feedstock Supply to Refineries have increased since 2024. 

 

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26-Mar-2024 Tinubu gives nod to 'Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund'

Tinubu gives nod to 'Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund'

President Bola Tinubu has approved the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund to facilitate effective infrastructure Development across the pivotal Areas of Agriculture, Transportation, Ports, Aviation, Energy, Healthcare, and Education in Nigeria.

This is contained in a statement by Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, on Monday in Abuja.

He said that the Fund would invest in critical National Projects for the promotion of growth, enhancement of Local Value-Addition, Creation of Employment Opportunities, and stimulation of Technological Innovation and Exports.

The objectives of the Fund are to establish an Innovative Infrastructure Investment Vehicle to attract and consolidate Capital, serving as a dynamic driver for Economic Advancement.

It is to execute strategic and meticulously chosen National Infrastructure Projects across several key Sectors, including Road, Rail, Agriculture (Irrigation, Storage, Logistics and Cold Chain), Ports, and Aviation, among others.

It is also to efficiently utilise and aggregate accessible Low-Interest Loans such as Concessionary Loans and Eurobonds, supplemented by the procurement of other favourable financing options, in addition to Budgetary Allocations.

The Fund will guarantee Nigeria secures the most advantageous arrangements for Financing, Construction, and subsequently, Operation and Maintenance of the identified Projects, ensuring optimal long-term outcomes for the Nation.

It will likewise identify appropriate approaches in its Investment Strategy, such as Direct Project Financing through Budgetary Allocations and SPVs; Co-Financing (Public-Private Partnerships) with key Institutions, Multilateral Development Institutions, as well as Equity Investments.

On Agricultural Infrastructure and Food Security, Ngelale said the emphasis was on the development of robust Agricultural Infrastructure Networks.

He said that this encompasses the establishment of National Food Storage Facilities, Integrated Irrigation Systems, Ranching for Animal Husbandry, and the enhancement of Agricultural Logistics and Distribution.

On Ports revitalisation, the Presidential Spokesman said the strategic thrust revolves around the rejuvenation of Port Facilities and Associated Infrastructure to streamline Operations and enhance the Ease of Doing Business.

“By modernising Port Facilities and implementing Advanced Monitoring Systems, the goal is to optimise efficiency, attract Investments, and bolster Nigeria’s position as a Regional Trade Hub.

“On Aviation enhancement, the focus is on the revitalisation and modernisation of Major Airports Nationwide. Through targeted Investments and Infrastructure upgrades, Major Airports will undergo comprehensive refurbishment, including improvement in Terminal Facilities, Runway expansions, and the implementation of cutting-edge Technologies to enhance safety and operational efficiency.

“On Road Infrastructure, some of the strategic Projects to receive attention include the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road, the Sokoto-Badagry Road, among other key Road Projects across the Nation. This is to enhance connectivity, facilitate Transport efficiency, and stimulate Economic Growth across Regions.”

Ngelale said on Rail Infrastructure, Lagos-Kano and Eastern Rail Lines are among the Projects to be prioritised by the Fund.

He said that the aim was to ensure the modernisation of Transportation Networks, fostering interconnectivity between key Urban Centres, and facilitating the movement of Goods and People with greater speed and reliability.

“President Tinubu has also approved that the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) be absorbed into the new Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund (RHIDF), which will successfully eliminate identified bureaucratic inefficiencies, enhance Domestic and External Counterpart Funding Opportunities, and expedite Project Delivery Timelines for the benefit of the Nigerian People.

“As the major Infrastructural Enabler of his Global push for Foreign Direct Investment across Sectors, the President has further directed that the Projects funded under the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund (RHIDF) reflect an equitable National spread, such that every Nigerian is impacted by the Initiatives of his Administration in the most qualitative fashion possible,” he said.

 

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24-Mar-2024 Oil and Gas Industry: Ministry, Agencies to brainstorm on deliverables

Oil and Gas Industry: Ministry, Agencies to brainstorm on deliverables

The Ministry of Petroleum Resources as well as its Agencies and Parastatals are expected to brainstorm on emerging Developments in the Oil and Gas Industry, at a Sectoral Retreat scheduled to hold in Abuja.

Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa, Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, said in a Statement on Sunday that the Retreat would focus on the Ministerial Deliverables (2023-2027) for the Oil and Gas Sector.

The Retreat with the Theme: “Building Synergy for Enhanced Development in the Oil and Gas Sector” would hold between March 26 and March 28.

Ogunmakinwa stated that the Retreat would also fashion the way forward for the Industry as earmarked by President Bola Tinubu.

“In the course of the Retreat, Heads of Agencies under the Ministry will be required to make Presentations on the Mandate, Vision and Mission of their respective Organisations,” she stated.

According to Ogunmakinwa, the Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri and the Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo will be attending the Retreat.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nicholas Agbo Ella, Directors in the Ministry, as well as the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Directors from the Agencies under the Supervision of the Ministry would also be in attendance.

It would be recalled that President Bola Tinubu had the first year Ministerial Retreat with Ministers, Presidential Aides, Permanent Secretaries and top Government Functionaries from November 1 to November 3, 2023.

The Retreat by the President was to chart a path for progress and prosperity of the Nation, where he charged the Participants to deliver on their Mandates for the sake of Nigerians.

 

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23-Mar-2024 Tinubu to boost Nigeria's Economy as Naira appreciates

Tinubu to boost Nigeria's Economy as Naira appreciates

President Bola Tinubu, says his Administration will unleash a number of measures to revive the Economy, based on the recent appreciation of the Naira.

Tinubu said that this was in line with the current appreciation in the value of the Naira due to various steps taken to curb activities of Illegal Money Speculators.

Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, made this known to State House Correspondents on Friday in Abuja.

“Nigerians at large have witnessed the seismic shifts that have taken place within the Nation’s Foreign Exchange Market over the course of the last several days and the strengthening of the Nigerian Naira against the United States Dollar.

“This is a time to deepen our efforts to dig in and to work harder, which is why President Tinubu has approved a series of interventions to ensure that we see a mass strengthening of the Nigerian Naira against all other Global Currencies.”

Ajuri said  the President appealed to Nigerians to use this period to imbibe the Culture of patronising and purchasing Nigeria's Products across all Value Chains.

“There is an intention that we must have on this issue that we want a strong Currency, we want the spending power of our People to go up.

“We want every Naira and Kobo we earn to be more valuable not just here but when we travel Abroad, the way to achieve that is by doing just this.”

Ajuri said the President demanded every Nigerian to join in this effort of turning the tide against unscrupulous Citizens working to undermine the Economy.

He urged Nigerians to blow the whistle on any activity that is drawing the Economy to the brink, in order to save the Country and cut Cost of Governance.

Ngelale said the President would ensure that Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the Country have what they needed to get through this difficult period.

He said the President has approved the Presidential Conditional Grant Scheme, in which over one million Nigerian Businesses would be empowered.

”This is money they will not have to pay back of up to N50,000 per Nano Enterprise, with over one million Nano Enterprises being selected and granted these Funds within each and every Local Government Area of the Federation.

”In addition to that, over N150bn has been dispersed from the Bank of Industry and made up on single digit Interest Rate Loans of up to N2m to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises across all Local Government Areas of the Federation.”

He said  the Construction and Manufacturing Sectors of the Economy that employed more than 1,000 Nigerians would also be given a Facility to encourage them and boost Employment.

”The President has approved over N75bn to be dispersed to 75 Large Scale Manufacturers across all States of the Federation. These are going to be Manufacturers who employ over 1,000 Nigerians in each of their Facilities and Industries.

”We are going to ensure that they have the support that they need at the large scale, so that Nigerian Families who rely on these Large Scale Businesses are protected.

”We want to see our Large Scale Industries, not just refuse to fire People but to actively increase and expand their hiring at this difficult time.”

He said that it was in this light of strengthening the System for better Service Delivery, that the President approved a new Remuneration for the Judicial Arm of Government.

”This is very important in the sense that we can dramatically reduce the impact that corruption has always played in the Judiciary, which has an impact on not just the ability of Nigerians to get effective justice in the Country.

”But also to ensure that Businesses who we are now asking around the World to invest in Nigeria have a Judicial System that they can trust with respect to any Litigation that can  arise from Business Practice.”

He said the appreciable value of the Naira would also impact positively on the Proposals of the Minimum Wage Review coming up in April.

”What we do not want is a situation in which the Minimum Wage continues to be what it has always been in the History of our Country, which is a moving goalpost.

”If we do not get a firm grip on the value of our Currency and it continues to be a volatile, devaluing Asset, then whatever we do with the National Minimum Wage is going to essentially become a moot point.

”We are focused on ensuring that we arrive at a new Minimum Wage that States can afford, and that we’ll deal with all of the Needs of Nigerian Families across the Country.

”We also want to ensure that what we peg it at is something that is sustainable over a number of years,  based on the long term, you know, stability that we want to bring to the Nigerian Naira with  Interventions we’re presently making.”

 

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23-Mar-2024 DMO: Nigeria’s Public Debt rises to N97trn in December 2023

DMO: Nigeria’s Public Debt rises to N97trn in December 2023

Nigeria’s Public Debt Stock as at December 31, 2023 was N97.341trn ($108.229bn), according to Data released by the Debt Management Office (DMO) on Friday in Abuja.

The DMO said that the amount comprised Domestic and External Debt Stocks of the Federal Government, the 36 States Governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The Debt Office said that there was an increase of N9.43trn over the comparative figure for September 30, 2023.

It said that the increase was largely due to new Domestic Borrowing by the Federal Government to part – finance the deficit in the 2024 Budget, and Disbursements by Multilateral and Bilateral Lenders.

“At N59.12trn, Total Domestic Debt accounted for 61 per cent of the Total Public Debt Stock, while External Debt at N38.22trn accounted for the balance of 39 per cent,” it said.

The DMO said that the Country’s External Debt Stock was skewed in favour of Loans from Multilateral and Bilateral Lenders.

The Debt Office said the move was consistent with the Country’s Debt Management Strategy.

It said that Loans from Multilateral Sources constituted 49.77 per cent of the Country’s External Debt Stock, while Loans from Bilateral Sources constituted 16.02 per cent.

“That is a total of 63.79 per cent, mostly concessional and semi-concessional Loans.

“Whilst the DMO continues to employ best practice in Public Debt Management, the recent and on-going efforts of the Authorities to shore up Revenue will support Debt sustainability,” it said. 

 

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22-Mar-2024 NEC okays $617.7m i-DICE Programme for States

NEC okays $617.7m i-DICE Programme for States

The National Economic Council (NEC) has endorsed the implementation of the $617.7m Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i-DICE) Programme across the 36 States and the FCT.

This was part of the Resolutions reached at the 140th Meeting of the Council held virtually on Thursday and Chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima.

Speaking during the Meeting, the Vice President declared the firm resolve of the President Bola Tinubu Administration to leave a Legacy of Prosperity and Opportunity for all Nigerians.

He told State Governors to nominate Persons to represent each Geo-Political Zone at the Zonal Level and Focal Persons to lead the implementation of the Programme in their respective States.

He assured that, as the Scheme becomes operational in the coming weeks, implementation across the Country would be diligent and forthright.

Shettima assured that the Administration would not rest on its oars until the Citizens begin to bask in the Opportunities they were promised, noting that it is the reason why the Government is prioritising Skill Acquisition and Job Creation.

He specifically noted that prioritising whatever offers Nigerians a means to earn a living with dignity was part of President Tinubu’s Eight-Point Agenda.

”But two things are clear: we won’t ever regret paving the way for the acquisition of Skills that meet the needs of the Global Markets.

”Secondly, our actions today will shape the Economic Landscape of tomorrow, and so it’s incumbent upon us to ensure that we leave a Legacy of Prosperity and Opportunity for all Nigerians.

”When we empower Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners, we unlock the potential for Innovation, Job Creation, and Economic Growth.

”By providing access to Financing, Training, and Mentorship Programs, we unleash the Entrepreneurial Spirit that lies within every Nigerian, catalysing a wave of Economic Prosperity that benefits us all.

”We cannot achieve these without Inclusivity and equitable access to Opportunities. This is the ladder we must offer to every disadvantaged Citizen,” he said.

Shettima noted that the Government had moved beyond mere deliberations to the Implementation Phase.

”My confidence in our ability to fix our Nation stems from the unity of purpose this Council has demonstrated.

”We have rejected binary thinking, resisted divisions, and relegated self-interest in favour of a shared vision for progress,” he said.

Shettima implored the Governors and other Council Members to remain constant in executing Initiatives that will help to take the Citizens out of their present condition.

”This is a delicate period to occupy Offices like ours. We cannot remind ourselves enough that we have come at a time that tests the depth of our Leadership and demands our most rational wisdom to make a difference.

”Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we must remain consistent in implementing the Initiatives that alleviate the suffering of our Citizens and be accountable in doing so.

”We must also ensure that Interventions we deploy are non-discriminatory and favour all Stakeholders, with no part of our Communities or Nation left lagging,” he stated.

In his Presentation on the i-DICE Programme, the Executive Director in charge of SMES at the Bank of Industry, Shekarau Omar said the i-DICE Programme aims to deliver on the promise by the Tinubu Administration to create millions of Jobs in the Technology Space.

Omar explained that the Programme is in support of Government’s Agenda to create more sustainable Jobs, diversify the Economy and equip Digital and Creative Incubation Hubs/Innovation Centers across the Country.

He listed African Development Bank (AfDB), the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) among Organisations that would fund the Programme.

According to him, Sources of funding of the Programme include; AfDB, $170m; IsDB, $70m ; AFD, $116m; as well as Bank of Industry (BoI) on behalf of Federal Government of Nigeria.

”Other Sources are $45.50m Fund Manager (For Equity Fund only), $8.70m, and Private Investors, $205m.”

On the impact of the Programme, Omar said 1,269,757 Youths would be trained and certified in ICT Skills, with at least 25,000 Youths trained in each State and the FCT.

He noted that, at least, 100,000 Jobs will be created per State while about 5,581,231 Indirect Jobs will be created through i-DICE Interventions Nationwide.

 

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22-Mar-2024 Tinubu: I will continue to sustain Investments in Digital Technology

Tinubu: I will continue to sustain Investments in Digital Technology

President Bola Tinubu says his Administration will continue to sustain Investments in Digital Technology to enhance the sustainability of Small Businesses.

Tinubu said such Investment would also expand Opportunities across Sectors and propel Nigeria to become the Leader of Information and Communications Technology in Africa.

He said this in Abuja on Thursday when he received a Delegation from Meta Platforms Incorporated, led by Nick Clegg, former UK Deputy Prime Minister and Meta’s President of Global Affairs.

The President said that Nigeria was opening up Channels of Opportunities in Information and Communications Technology, deepening Capacity, and fostering Partnerships in order to catch up with Global Technological Advancements.

He said that the Administration has engaged in the 3MTT Programme that would train three million Nigerian Youths in Digital Technology and essential Skills before deploying them to Innovation Hubs across the Nation.

The President said that Nigerian Youths are the most Critical Asset in Nigeria’s Arsenal as it moves to achieve Digital Economic Expansion.

“For us in Nigeria, we have a vibrant, gifted and resourceful Youth Population. Recognising that the future is most likely to be AI-Enabled, we have to prepare our Youths and make them ready to compete and participate in the Global Economy.

“I can assure you that Nigeria is open for Business and we want to lead the African Continent in Digital Technology.

Data is valuable to our Development. We are ready to cooperate on Technological Advancements. It is the only way to go. We need a Collaboration that will be a win-win for all,” Tinubu said.

The President said he is committed to ensuring that Technology is deployed, adapted, enhanced, and used to catalyse growth across a vast majority of Micro Businesses, spurring Mass Prosperity down the line.

“What interests me is the use of Technology in the development of Small Businesses.

“We need to make the Business Environment more conducive for you and more profitable for us as well. I hope we can collaborate and continue to promote our mutual interests,” Tinubu said.

Earlier in his remarks, Clegg thanked the President for an Executive Order he issued, which enabled the landing of the Meta-backed Deep-Sea Cable in Nigeria.

“It is an extraordinary Infrastructure Project. When it comes on stream in the First Quarter of 2025, it will be twice as much as the Capacity of all Subsea Cables that exist.

“We buried the Cable 50 per cent deeper than any other Subsea Cables under the Seabed.

“It is more powerful and more extensive in terms of its Geographical Connectivity. It could yield up to $37bn worth of increase in Economic activity in the next two or three years across the African Continent,” he said.

Clegg also said, In June, Meta would introduce a Feature on its Instagram App to allow Nigerian Creators to monetise their Content to enable them to earn a living using the App.

“We have a lot to do with Nigeria to deepen Partnerships,” he added.

Bosun Tijani, Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, said Meta Platforms are critical Platforms in Nigeria, adding that Opportunities for Partnership and Engagement are essential to promoting Development in the Digital Economy Sector.

“We must continue to engage to create Opportunities for our People so they can also share in Global Prosperity.

“Digital Technology is an opportunity to connect Africa to contribute to the development of the World,” the Minister said.

 

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22-Mar-2024 Sustainability Reporting Standards: Nigeria will collaborate with ISSB, says Tinubu

Sustainability Reporting Standards: Nigeria will collaborate with ISSB, says Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu says Nigeria is committed to implementing World-leading Sustainability Reporting Standards aimed at unlocking Capital Investments, transforming Business Models and safeguarding Environment.

The President gave the assurance on Thursday in Abuja during a Meeting  with the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) Chair, Emmanuel Faber.

Tinubu’s endorsement coincided with the Launch of Nigeria’s Adoption Readiness Roadmap by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC), in collaboration with ISSB.

The Roadmap aims to guide Businesses toward comprehensive Sustainability Reporting Standards.

The President explained that IFRS Sustainability Standards were developed to enhance Investor-Company Dialogue.

Besides adhering to International Standards, Tinubu said Nigeria would collaborate with ISSB to effectively harness National Resources through reformed and reinforced Financial Management Systems.

‘’As an administration, we are committed to adopting cutting-edge Models for Financial Reporting and Process Standardisation.

“This applies to Environmental Regulation, where we are on the verge of significantly reducing the Volume of Gas Flaring in the Country.

“We are more transparent than ever before, and we are doing everything possible to represent the Continent in a way that will be beneficial to Humanity as a whole,’’ the President said.

Faber, while recounting Nigeria’s commitment to sustainability reporting, said the Africa’s largest Economy had expressed its intent to be among the earliest Adopters of rigorous new Standards at the COP 27 in Egypt in 2022.

‘’I am extremely happy to be in Nigeria as the Country announces its Adoption Readiness Roadmap. Nigeria is leading the pack in Africa and around the World.

“These Standards, which Nigeria is willingly adopting, will unlock Sustainable Capital Inflows through Foreign Direct Investments, promote Inclusivity in Value Chains, and facilitate the Decarbonisation of the National Economy,’’ Faber said.

Rabiu Olowo, the Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC), explained that Nigeria’s decision to join the Global Baseline for Sustainability Reporting marks the Country as one of the earliest Proponents.

Olowo said this would also enhance the transparency of Financial Information and Business Performance through Sustainable Reporting Practices.

‘’The Adoption Readiness Working Group is set to pilot our affairs and Roadmap to help us succeed on this journey.

“We are happy to inform the President that the Work of the Adoption Readiness Roadmap is ready.

“We have the Roadmap for Businesses to follow.

“We have five Sets of early Adopters, and we have a period for Voluntary Adoption leading up to 2028 for Mandatory Adoption of the Standards,’’ Olowo said.

 

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21-Mar-2024 NNPCL: Our focus not just Gas for sake of it, we will use it for Industrialisation

NNPCL: Our focus not just Gas for sake of it, we will use it for Industrialisation

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), has reiterated its commitment towards utilising Nigeria’s abundant Gas Resources to trigger Nigeria’s Industrialisation and Economic Development.
 
NNPC Limited’s Executive Vice President, Upstream, Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan disclosed this during a Panel Session at the ongoing 2024 CERAWeek Conference in Houston, the United States.
 
Eyesan, whose Session addressed the Theme, “What are the Choices for Upstream Strategies?” said Nigeria is a predominantly Gas-rich Country which boasts of over 200TCF of Gas that can be leveraged for the Country’s Industrialisation and Economic Development.
 
She noted that NNPC Limited plans to deepen Gas utilisation Domestically for Industrialisation and ensuring that the entire Country feels and optimises the use of the Resource.
 
She said the Company is vigorously opening avenues for Infrastructural Gas Development through various Gas Projects spread across the Country.
 
“Our focus is how do we move from predominantly Oil Player to Gas Player and not just for Gas for the sake of Gas but Gas for Power Generation, and for Industrialisation," she stated.
 
Eyesan observed that the NNPC Limited is also focused on Emission Reduction and Gas Flare-out.
 
“We want to capture all Gas flared, utilise it and for Domestic use and and ultimately, increase our Energy Transition Footprints,” she said.
 
“NNPC is keying into the Government Agenda of using Gas as a Transition Fuel and for us, we want to ensure not only the Domestic Gas Market, but we also expand that to the Region and Internationally,” she said.
 
While calling on African Countries to collaborate with one another in order to ensure even distribution of Energy Resources, Eyesan said Collaboration is key as not all Countries within the Sub-Region are endowed with equal equal proportion of Energy Resources.
 
“For us to ensure that we continue to subsist within the Sub-Region, we must be willing to work collaboratively and ensure that there is even distribution of Energy Resources we have across the Sub-Region.”
 
On Energy Transition, Eyesan stated that the Subject has evolved over the years, adding that for Sub-Saharan Africa, the narrative has been on how to address the Energy Poverty Issue while for Nigeria, the NNPC Limited will continue to look at Areas where it has competitive advantage to define the strategy.
 
Other Energy Experts on the Panel are the Chief Upstream Strategist, Energy, S&P Global Commodity Insights, Bob Fryklund, President of Pathways Alliance, Kendall Dilling and the Executive Vice President, Exploration and Production International, Equinor, Philippe Mathieu.
 
 
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21-Mar-2024 Access spreads tentacles in Africa, to buy Kenya's biggest Bank

Access spreads tentacles in Africa, to buy Kenya's biggest Bank

Access Holdings Plc says its Subsidiary, Access Bank Plc, is in the process of acquiring the entire issued Share Capital of National Bank of Kenya Limited. (NBK).
 
Sunday Ekwochi, the Bank’s Company Secretary, said this in a Notification sent to the Nigerian Exchange Limited.(NGX) on Wednesday in Lagos.
 
Ekwochi stated that the Bank had entered into a Binding Agreement with Kenyan-based KCB Group Plc (KCB) for the acquisition of NBK from KCB.
 
He said KCB is also the Holding Company of NBK, which is Kenya’s largest Commercial Bank.
 
According to him, the transaction is in furtherance of the Bank’s African expansion strategy and will reposition it as a stronger and significant Player in the Kenyan Market.
 
Ekwochi said this would also serve as a Regional Hub for Access Bank’s East African Bloc, anchored by a solidified Balance Sheet.
 
“The Parties will be working together in the coming months towards fulfilling the Conditions precedent relating to the Transaction.
 
“This include the Regulatory Approvals of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) and the Central Bank of Kenya,” he said.
 
According to him, sequel to the completion of the Transaction, NBK would be combined with Access Bank Kenya Plc.
 
Ekwochi explained that this would create an enlarged Franchise in the pursuit of Access Bank’s strategic objective for the Kenyan and East African Markets.
 
Commenting, Bolaji Agbede, Acting Group Chief Executive Officer(GCEO) of Access Holdings Plc said the proposed acquisition marks a significant step in the execution of the Bank’s five-year strategic Plan aimed at positioning it as Africa’s Gateway to the World.
 
Agbede noted that the deal with NBK, a historically strong and well-known Bank in Kenya with a Balance Sheet in excess of $1.1bn, presents a compelling opportunity to scale up Access Bank’s growth in the East African Market.
 
She said: ” We remain confident that our Investments towards diversifying and strengthening the Bank’s Long-Term Earnings Profile will deliver significant value for our Shareholders, Customers, and wider Stakeholder Groups.
 
“We will keep the Market updated on the progress of the Transaction.”
 
Access Holdings Plc operates through a Network of more than 600 Branches and Service Outlets, spanning three Continents, 18 Countries and over 60 million Customers.
 
The Company serves its various Markets through four Subsidiaries across the Banking, Payment, Pension Administration and Insurance Sectors through four Operating Companies.
 
 
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21-Mar-2024 Senate rejigs 2023 Appropriation Act, extends implementation by three months

Senate rejigs 2023 Appropriation Act, extends implementation by three months

The Senate has amended the 2023 Appropriation Act to extend implementation period from March 31 to June 30.

It also re-enacted the Supplementary Appropriation Act 2023,  to extend its implementation from Jan. 1,  to June 30.

This is sequel to President Bola Tinubu’s request in a Letter read by President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio at Plenary on Wednesday.

Tinubu,  in the Letter titled: “Transmission of Appropriation Amendment Bill 2024 and Supplementary Appropriation Amendment Bill 2024 for Consideration”  said the  request was pursuant to Provisions of Section 58 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.

Tinubu said : “I forward herewith,  the Appropriation Amendment Bill 2024 for the kind consideration of the Senate.

“The Appropriation Amendment Bill 2024,  seeks to amend the Appropriation Act 2023 to further extend the time for implementing the Capital Expenditure of the Appropriation Act 2023,  from March 31, to  June 30.

“While the Supplementary Appropriation Act 2024 seeks to amend the Supplementary Appropriation Act 2023 to extend its implementation period from March 31, to June 30.”

Tinubu said the request for extensions was to ensure exhaustive implementation of the Appropriation Act.

The request of President Tinubu resulted in a Debate, as Senators hinged their contributions on Provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Ali Ndume (APC-Borno), said the Clerk of the Senate was in a better position to properly advise the Legislators on the President’s request.

“It is better we do what we are trying to do in a way that we will not have Constitutional complications.

“This is a Supplementary Bill, It can be the same Document as the 2024 Supplementary Act, so that it can be applied.

“This a Supplementary Budget, the Senate Leader can present it as a Bill for 2024.”

The Deputy President of Senate,  Barau Jibrin, (APC-Kano) said: “We are the Ruling Party, the President is ours. We must defend him by doing what is normal, what is in line with the Procedure and Practice of the Legislature.”

He added that the Letter sent by President Tinubu had solved the problem.

“What we need to do now is to re-enact that expired Act, It is stated in the Constitution that any Appropriation Bill or Supplementary Bill must be submitted to the National Assembly before we act on it.

“We can’t do it here, other Bills can emanate from here, not Appropriation Bill, It must emanate from the Presidency and he has done so.”

However, Ibrahim Dankwabo (PDP -Gombe) and former Accountant General of the Federation, also advised the Senate to ensure that  its action,  should not be in conflict with the Constitution.

He said the Constitution stipulated that by June, the Nation’s Financial Account of the preceding year should have been audited and reviewed by the Public Accounts Committee.

“You extended implementation to March, you still meet the Constitutional 90 days but If you extend it to June, that means you will not submit the Account until September, which contravenes the Provision of the Constitution.

“Secondly, you cannot extend the current, you can’t because you have already closed the Book of Accounts and provided for Opening Balance, that is why you have Opening Balance.”

But Barau drew Dankwabo’s attention to Provisions of Section 81 (1) , (3, 4b) of the 1999 Constitution, to argue that the President could send Appropriation Bill or Supplementary Appropriation Bill to the two Chambers of the National Assembly at any time as needed.

“What we are talking now is not an extension of that Recurrent Expenditure. It is a re-enactment, it is a new Bill.”

After the Debate, Senate re-enacted the Supplementary Appropriation Act to extend the implementation period to June 31, having suspended its rule 78 (1) to read the Bill for first, second and third, after a Clause by Clause consideration.

Barau, who presided at the time of the Passage, thanked his Colleagues, particularly the Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele for bringing the Motion forward, though the request came from the President.

He said the Bill was passed to ensure implementation of Capital Components of the 2023 Appropriation Act.

“There is no point passing a Budget, which is geared toward the development of our Country and the most important Component, the Capital is unimplemented.”

 

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20-Mar-2024 Prospective Investors without Value Addition will not get Mining License, Minister warns

Prospective Investors without Value Addition will not get Mining License, Minister warns

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake has warned that no Mining License would be issued to prospective Investors without requisite plans for value addition on Minerals.

Alake gave the warning in a Statement  by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Tomori on Tuesday.

He said the Federal Government had resolved to ensure compliance before permitting Investors to operate.

He said that his Seven-Point Agenda for the Ministry had placed the Mining Sector on Global front burner since assuming Office, which had generated renewed interest from the International Community in Nigeria’s Mineral Resources.

He said the support of the Executive and the Legislature had enabled the Ministry to showcase the Solid Minerals Sector Globally, resulting in his election as the Chairman of the Africa Minerals Strategy Group (AMSG) at the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

According to him, with the Pact that led to the formation of the AMSG, there is now unity of purpose on the African Continent regarding the issue of Local Value Addition.

“We are no longer going to allow anybody or license any Company that wants to go into the Mineral Sector without giving us a Plan for Local Value Addition, like Processing, Refining and this has a multiplier effect on the Economy.

“It instantly generates Employment rather than a few People carting away Lithium, Gold, and the likes to other Countries to sell.

“These Minerals must now be processed in Nigeria, creating more value and beneficiation for Local Communities where they are sourced, ” he said.

The Minister had earlier received Members of the House Committee on Solid Minerals who were on Oversight Visit to his Office.

The Minister commended the Lawmakers for their support in repositioning the Mining Sector, stressing that boosting the Economic Profile of Nigeria required joint task by both the Executive and Legislature.

He acknowledged the significant contribution of Sub-Nationals to Mining Development, emphasising that State Chairmen of  Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) and five Committee Members were nominated by State Governments. 

 

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20-Mar-2024 Energy Transition: Kyari advocates different strategy for Africa

Energy Transition: Kyari advocates different strategy for Africa

Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Limited) has advocated a different approach towards attaining Energy Transition for the African Continent.

Kyari also said the Final Investment Decision (FID) on the $25bn Nigeria Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) Project would be taken in December 2024.

He made the remarks on Tuesday during a Leadership Dialogue Session at the ongoing CERAWeek Conference in Houston, U.S. tagged, “Multidimensional Energy Transition: Markets, Climate, Technology and Geopolitics.”

Kyari, in a Statement by Olufemi Soneye, Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC Limited, said a differentiated approach became necessary as Global calls for Transition to Cleaner Energy Fuels continued to grow.

According to the GCEO, Energy Transition is a difficult subject for Countries especially in Sub-Saharan Africa because geographically, the situations are different as many Countries are dealing with Energy availability.

“The World has seen all the challenges thrown up recently by Geopolitical Events. It is clear that before Energy Transition, Countries must first attain Security of Energy Supply in their Countries.

“You cannot talk about Energy Security when it is not even available.

“In most Sub-Saharan Africa, 70 per cent of the Population don’t have access to Clean Cooking Fuels. Therefore, you must fill the Supply Gap first,” Kyari stated.

He said although People talked about using the Renewables to close the Energy Transition Gap, the money for the Renewables too must be found.

“If you insist on completing substitution today, then you have to deal with the problem of Supply. For us today, the Transition must be differentiated.

“Even if Africa decides to switch off its Fossil Fuels, it only accounts for just about three per cent of the entire Global Emissions,” the GCEO added.

He said the NNPC Limited. was focused on building its Capacity to deliver Gas to the Domestic Market and beyond.

He said as a Gas-Endowed Country, Nigeria must utilise its abundant Gas Resources to provide the alternative Fuel that it required.

“We understand the arguments towards attaining Energy Transition, but the cheapest way to achieve that is through Gas.

“We see clear opportunities that Gas creates. Today we are building a number of Trunklines and other Gas Infrastructure that will supply Gas to a number of Gas Networks,” Kyari noted.

The GCEO said there was an ongoing Engagement on the Nigeria Morocco Gas Pipeline Project, which had reached advanced stage, to create a Pipeline that would pass through 13 African Countries and all the way to Europe.

He stated that as the largest Oil and Gas Company and Corporate Entity in Africa, the NNPC Limited was critical to Nigeria’s Resource Management and Economic Development.

He said the Petroleum Industry Act had reformed Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry.

He said it ensured that NNPC Limited emerged as a fully Commercial Entity, not only accountable to its Shareholders, but also on the pathway of getting quoted on the Stock Exchange.

“Nigeria is fighting the menace of Crude Oil Theft frontally and through the joint efforts of Government and Private Security Agencies.

“There has been some reasonable improvements in the restoration of the Nation’s Crude Oil Production.

“It is an abnormal situation, but it is well within control. We were able to recover some of our Production and build back confidence so that Investors can bring in their money.

“We are also doing Global Advocacy to Governments and Institutions, because stolen Oil has to be taken to the Market,” he stated.

He said an example of the improved security situation was when in 2022, Nigeria’s Production fell below 1 million Barrels per day, which was restored to 1.7 million Barrels per day.

CERAWeek is one of the largest Energy Conferences in the World.

It attracts Global Energy Industry Experts and other Corporate and Government Leaders from around the World annually to Houston, U.S. for a week-long Conversation on the future of Energy.

 

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19-Mar-2024 Zenith Bank names Adaora Umeoji as first Female GMD

Zenith Bank names Adaora Umeoji as first Female GMD

Zenith Bank Plc on Tuesday announced the Appointment of Adaora Umeoji as its Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective June 1.
 
This was disclosed in a Notification sent to the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) by the Bank’s Company Secretary, Michael Otu.
 
Otu said that the Appointment was subject to approval by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
 
He stated that Umeoji takes over from Ebenezer Onyeagwu, the Bank’s current Group Managing Director, whose five-year Term expires on May 31.
 
The Company Secretary noted that Umeoji would be the first Female GMD/CEO since the inception of the Bank.
 
According to him, Umeoji’s Appointment is consistent with the Bank’s Executive Transition Tradition, Succession Plan, and Strategy of grooming Leaders from within.
 
Otu said that prior to the Appointment, Umeoji had been the Deputy Managing Director of the Bank since October 28, 2016, with close to 30 years cognate Banking Experience of which 26 years had been with Zenith Bank.
 
Umeoji is an Alumnus of the  Harvard Business School where she attended the Advanced Management Program (AMP) and an Alumnus of Columbia Business School with a Certificate in the Global Banking Programme.
 
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Jos, a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and a First-Class honors in Law from Baze University, Abuja.
 
She also holds a Master of Laws from the University of Salford, United Kingdom, a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Calabar and  a Doctorate in Business Administration from Apollos University, U.S.
 
Umeoji holds a Certificate in Economics for Business from the prestigious MIT Sloan School of Management, USA, and has attended various Management Programmes in renowned Universities around the World.
 
This includes, the Strategic Thinking and Management Programme at Wharton Business School, U.S.
 
She also attended the Executive Programme in Strategic Management and has a Certificate in Leading Global Business from Harvard Business School, U.S.
 
Umeoji is a Fellow of notable Professional Bodies including the Chartered Banker Institute, UK, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Nigerian Institute of Management, Institute of Credit Administration, Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Nigeria.
 
She is also a Fellow of Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators, and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria, among others.
 
In 2022, the Federal Government of Nigeria honored Umeoji with Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), as a recognition of her contributions to Nation Building.
 
She is a Peace Advocate of the United Nations (UN-POLAC) and has impacted many Lives through her Philanthropic and Humanitarian activities through her NGOs; Pink Breathe Cancer Foundation and the Adorable Foundation.
 
As a result of her passion for promoting Professionalism in the Banking Industry and improving the well-being of the Less Privileged, Umeoji founded the Catholic Bankers Association of Nigeria (CBAN).
 
The Platform is used to promote Ethical Banking and Service to Humanity.
 
She is a Lady of the Order of Knights of St. John International (KSJI), and was awarded a Papal Knight of the Order of St. Sylvester by His Holiness Pope Francis.
 
 
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19-Mar-2024 ‘Give and Take’ as Midoil commits 3 Lagos Communities to Land Agreement for Refinery Project

‘Give and Take’ as Midoil commits 3 Lagos Communities to Land Agreement for Refinery Project

In what could turn out the first of its kind in arriving at commitment between Companies and their Host Communities over Land matters and Community Relations, Midoil Refining and Petrochemicals Company Limited, has successfully reached a landmark Agreement over a 365 Hectares of Land in three Lagos Communities of Arogbo, Ererufu and Sekungba in Ikosi Ejirin Local Council Development Area of the State.

The landmark Event tagged ‘Unveiling of Midoil 3-IN-1 Investment Opportunities which took place at the famous Lagos Sheraton Hotel on Sunday was a beehive of activities and the atmosphere, a mixture of Carnival and Business as Management, Staff, Consultants, Investors, and friends of the Company, the Delegation of the three Communities led by their Traditional Rulers, the Media and invited Members of the Public took their designated positions in the gathering.

The Event was kicked off by the Chairman of the Occasion, Babatunde Johnson Kokumo, a Retired Deputy Inspector General of Police who in his Opening Remarks, painted a gloomy picture of Nigeria’s Economy, describing it as tattered, battered and depressed and said the coming of Midoil as a major Player in Nigeria’s Economy could not have been at a better time.

“Simply put, we are in a state of Economic Depression and it is evidently clear that Private Sector Participation is a key to reviving the Nation’s Economy.

“Midoil a Major Private Sector Participant is coming in to fill a huge gap in the Oil and Gas Industry and make Nigeria less dependent on Imported Refined Petroleum Products as well as provide Jobs for the Unemployed,” he emphasised.

The entering of the Executive Chairman of Midoil Refining and Petrochemicals Company Limited, Elizabeth Omolara Akintonde into the gathering elicits a thunderous ovation even among the Delegations of the three Communities. It was glaring before the eyes of those present that she had made a positive impact on the lives of Members of the Communities and their respective Communities. There is no doubt about this as the Leaders of the Communities join in the welcoming dance to usher her into the gathering.

She delved straight into the business of the day as she began her address with the trajectory of the Project as captured in the Mantra of the Company: THE VISION, THE JOURNEY AND THE REALITY.

Establishment of a Refinery according to her, requires large expanse of Land and through a former Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, Midoil was able to acquire the required Land Space sufficient for the Refinery Project and all its Ancillaries including Housing for its Expatriate, Nigerian Senior, Middle and Junior Staff Quarters.

“We received our Land Allocation Letter on the 24th of April, 2014 and got the Approved License to establish (LTE) by the Department of Petroleum Resources now known as Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission.”

She was very blunt as she went through some of the initial challenges encountered by the Company.

“Unfortunately, we have been disappointed by some of the Traditional Settlers and Community Leaders whose supposed Land falls within our Lagos State Allocated Land as they engaged in the selling of our Land to Third Parties.

“The Kabiyesi of Ejinrin we were told encouraged the Baales of Lumodan, Ododugba, Jaginrin, Mogo-Olowu and a Faction of Arogbo Communities to renege on our mutual and duly signed Memorandum of Understanding including our Joint Meetings at the Official Home and Office of former Governor Fashola in respect of the acquired Land.

“Our mutual Agreement for Midoil to inhabit the Land in peace as well as having received some Financial benefits from Midoil over the years, were breached with the latest activities of the above named Communities encouraged by the Elejinrin of Ejinrin,” she lamented.

She warns that ongoing activities of Land grabbing and selling by the Leaders of these Communities, if not stopped, will jeopardise Midoil’s planned development of the Communities.

“We are very reluctant to resort to the use of Security Agencies to enforce our Rights, neither do we intend to destroy our current peaceful relationship to achieving this laudable Project that will bring unimaginable development to all the Communities.

“The once peaceful and expectant Communities are now so tensed that those who bought our Land without proper checks, are now after those who collected monies from them for refunds”

She commended the Baales of Arogbo, Ererufu and Sekungba Communities for refusing to be induced by ‘cheap money’ while extending the gratitude of the Board of Directors of Midoil to them for their patience and perseverance.

She gladly announced the coming on board of three Consortium of Investors whose Investments in the Project are worth $5bn.

“It is an Investment and the three Investors have given us their approvals in principle, meeting the conditions of the Investment and proceed with payment for the Equipment.

“The Funds will be released within the next nine months subject to meeting the conditions attached to the Agreements. Don’t forget, Nigeria is still not a Beautiful Bride to any Investor Overseas. We are all looking to make things better so that more Investors can come in. Mr. President has also started a good plan to make Nigeria attractive for Investments.”

Highlight of the Event was the Land Agreement Signing Ceremony between Midoil Refining and Petrochemicals Company Limited and the three Communities of Arogbo, Ererufu and Sekungba represented by their Traditional Rulers (Chief Adebiyi Adesanya Oyenubi of Arogbo, Chief Gabriel Lawal of Ererufu and Chief Solomon Omotayo of Sekungba).

The Land Agreement Signing Ceremony involving handing of undisclosed sums of money to Leaders of the three Communities, was witnessed by Lawyers of the Company and those of the respective Communities.

The Baales of Arogbo, Ererufu and Sekungba who were overjoyed by the development, took turn to express their gratitude to Midoil and promised their cooperation towards ensuring a peaceful and enabling Environment for the success of the Refinery and its Ancillary Projects.

Other Projects unveiled at the Event include Serene City Properties and Serene Partners Energy Tank Farms and Filling Stations.

 

19-Mar-2024 Energy Transition: Kyari headlines Plenary Session at CERAWeek 2024

Energy Transition: Kyari headlines Plenary Session at CERAWeek 2024

The NNPC Limited will be at the 2024 CERAWeek Conference scheduled to hold in Houston, United States from 18th to 22nd March 2024.
 
GCEO, NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari will headline the Plenary Session titled "Leadership Dialogue" on Tuesday, March 19th, 2024, at the Annual Strategic Conference. 
 
Same day, NNPC Limited's Executive Vice President, Upstream, Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan will also headline a Plenary Session titled "What are the Choices for Upstream Strategies?
 
On Wednesday, March 20th, 2024, it will be the turn of the Executive Vice President, Gas, Power and New Energy, Olalekan Ogunleye, who will be a Panelist on a Strategic Dialogue Session titled "Africa's Energy Future: Access. Investment CERAWeek is one of the largest Energy Conferences in the World, drawing thousands of Foremost Global Energy Industry Experts and a host of other Corporate and Government Leaders from around the World annually to Houston, United States, for a week-long Conversation on the future of Energy. 
 
Organised by S&P Global, the Conference has grown in recent years to accommodate new Energy Technologies and Climate Issues. The 2024 Conference is expected to have Participants from 90 Countries and will feature 1,400 Speakers. 
 
Under the Theme "Multidimensional Energy Transition: Markets, Climate, Technology and Geopolitics" the CERAWeek 2024 will explore “strategies for a multidimensional, multispeed and multifuel Energy Transition,” as the Global Energy Industry tries to respond to, and offer insight into Roadmap towards, growing demand for Emissions Reductions and moving towards Cleaner Forms of Energy.
 
 
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19-Mar-2024 Wike to National Assembly: What I want to do with N1.15trn for Abuja

Wike to National Assembly: What I want to do with N1.15trn for Abuja

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, says the N1.15trn 2024 Proposed FCT Statutory Budget was designed to transform the Capital City and Rural Communities.

Wike stated this when he appeared before the Senate and House Committees on FCT, to defend the proposed statutory Budget, in Abuja on Monday.

He explained that out of the N1.15trn, N421.44bn was earmarked as Recurrent Expenditure, representing 36.7 per cent, while N726.3bn was set aside for Capital Expenditure, representing 63.3 per cent.

He also explained that the proposed Capital Expenditure would be dedicated for the development of Infrastructure with emphasis on completion of ongoing Projects.

Wike added that out of the N726.3bn proposed Capital Expenditure, N80bn was allocated for SUKUK Loan Projects, while N29bn was earmarked for Abuja Light Rail Project.

The Minister also said that N500bn was for Commercial Loans for the completion of some ongoing Capital Projects in the Federal Capital City and Satellite Towns.

He said that the balance of N117.3bn was dedicated to the completion of ongoing Capital Projects and other Counterpart funded related Projects, aimed at enhancing Socio-Economic activities in the FCT.

Wike said that the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and Satellite Towns Development Department (STDD) got the larger chunk of the Capital Budget.

He said that FCDA got N457bn, STDD N116bn, while other Secretariat, Departments and Agencies (SDAs) got N153.3bn.

This, according to him, is to address critical areas like ongoing Road Construction, completion of Water Treatment Plant and related Facilities and few new Projects.

He explained that the N457bn allocated to FCDA was for the provision of Infrastructure within and around the Capital City, of which N282bn was for ongoing Projects, while N175bn was for new critical Projects.

“Some of the critical Projects to be executed by the FCT Administration in the 2024 Statutory Budget Proposal are the completion of Roads B6 and B12 and construction of Access Road and Car Park for Abuja Light Rail.

“Full scope development of Arterial Road N20 from Northern Parkway to Outer Northern Expressway (ONEX), provision of Engineering Infrastructure to Guzape, and provision of Engineering Infrastructure to Wuye District.

“There is also the extension of Inner Southern Expressway (ISEX) from Southern Parkway (S8/S9) to Ring Road II (RRII), full scope development of FCT Highway 105 (Kuje Road) from Airport Expressway to OSEX with Spur at Kyami District,

“Construction of Northern Parkway from Ring Road II to Ring Road III (6.2Km), full scope development of N5 and N20 and provision of Engineering District Infrastructure to Asokoro Island Layout in the FCT.

“The sum of N198.5bn is earmarked for the above eight Major Roads to speed up their completion before the end of 2024 Fiscal Year.

“The expansion and rehabilitation of these Roads will eventually reduce the Travel Time and Traffic Gridlock on our Roads within and outside the City,” he said.

The Minister added that the Transportation Sector got N69bn, of which N32bn was for the construction of Bus Terminals Development at Kugbo, Jahi and Central Business District.

He said that N80.3bn was proposed for Education Sector, while the Health Sector got N45.7bn.

“The Health Budget seeks to complete the construction of Hospitals in Gwagwalada, Gwarimpa and Utako Districts to enhance the Capacity of some of our Hospitals through the procurement of modern ambulances for eight FCTA Hospitals,” he said.

Wike also said that a total of N7.9bn was proposed for FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Sector to improve Agricultural Production and engagement of Youths in Agriculture,

This, the Minister said, would enhance Food Security, Income, and better Standards of Living in the Rural Communities.

“We shall invest in the provision of Agricultural Inputs such as Improved Seeds, Agro-Chemicals, and Fertiliser among others.

“We shall also develop Cluster Farm Centres in both the Livestock and Crop Production Sub-Sectors,” he added.

Wike equally said that N5bn was allocated to the Social Development Secretariat for the promotion of Gender, Youths, Children Development, and other Vulnerable Groups in the FCT.

“It will also be used for the promotion and preservation of Nigeria’s Art and Culture within the FCT, including the development of Sports through the provision of Sporting, Cultural and Recreational Facilities,” he said.

Wike also said that the Legal Services Secretariat got N5.6bn for the provision of Legal Services, while N1.2bn was earmarked for the Abuja Geographic Information System.

The Minister further said that the sum of N4.2bn was proposed for the Area Council Services Secretariat to ensure effective and efficient Service Delivery for Rural Transformation, improve the Quality of Lives of Citizens.

“The Secretariat is also expected to strengthen the Traditional Institutions as effective Tools for mobilisation of People at the Grassroots to achieve the Developmental Goals of the FCT Administration,” he said.

Earlier, the Chairman Senate and House Committees on FCT, Ibrahim Bomai, and Muktar Betara respectively, who commended the Minister for the development stride in the FCT, assured him the full support of the National Assembly. 

 

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17-Mar-2024 APC Leaders: The 'bitter truth' we told Tinubu

APC Leaders: The 'bitter truth' we told Tinubu

The Forum of All Progressives Congress (APC) State Chairmen, has promised to work with President Bola Tinubu and Abdullahi Ganduje, the Party’s National Chairman to deliver Democracy Dividends to Nigerians.

Alphonsus Ogah, the Spokesperson for the Forum and the Cross River APC Chairman, stated this after a Closed-Door Meeting with Ganduje on Saturday in Abuja at the Party’s National Secretariat.

Ogah said that the Forum had visited Tinubu on a Solidarity Visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“We took the opportunity to speak on some very important National Issues, we align ourselves with the efforts of the Economic Reforms being made by Tinubu.

“But we didn’t loose sight of letting the President to know that as good as this Economic Reforms are, we are concerned about the Insecurity in the Country.

“We are concerned about the hunger and hardship, and therefore it was a moment for us too to commend him,” Ogah said.

He said that the removal of Fuel Subsidy and the Floating of the Naira were in the best interest of the Country, adding that the reality of Tinubu’s Reform was the only way out of the Country’s challenges.

“We commended the efforts and contributions of the President in terms of moral boost, financial support for Equipment procurement and all others.

“The only added advice we brought to him is that People at the forefront should be held accountable.

“And we were very firm, but with absolute humility in telling the President that district Police Officers.
“Or Divisional Police Officers, Commissioners of Police, SSS, or anybody in the front line of fighting and combating Crime that is either lukewarm, taciturn, reticent, in being pugnacious should please be shown the way out,” he said.

Ogah said Tinubu should wield the big stick on those who were not ready to work with him to address the Country’s challenges, saying that some people were out to put the APC in a bad light.

He expressed optimism that Tinubu Administration would begin to have a clear direction and impact on Nigerians soon.

The Chairman of the Forum appreciates the APC National Chairman for remaining focused and staying on track, adding that the Party’s State Chairmen were behind him.

“He has all of us, his District Political Officers at the Sub-Nationals Levels to stand with him. It is time to face reality because we have a President and a National Chairman who are a Progressive.

“We reminded the President that we have worked with our Governors and with our various Stakeholders to collate Names of Party Faithful.

“And it was also the Mantra of the President that Monkey work Monkey chop. Baboon no work Baboon no chop.

“In fact, the President had told us in one of those Meetings that if he catches a Baboon that didn’t work coming to eat, he was personally going to arrest that Baboon,” Ogah said.

Ganduje in his remarks, assured the Party’s State Chairmen that Tinubu would look into their request with regards to Political Appointments.

“He emphasised the issue of Electronic Registration which we have been working on with the Consultant and our Committee at the Headquarters have gone far.

“Now we are going to the Grassroots Level, it will be connected across the Wards of the Federation, but you need to understand the recruitment of Officials or Personnel who will undertake the exercise.

“Because you are involved in the recruitment and you are involved in the execution of the Registration,” Ganduje said.

 

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16-Mar-2024 Nigeria's Inflation Rate reaches 31.70% in February 2024, says NBS

Nigeria's Inflation Rate reaches 31.70% in February 2024, says NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), says Nigeria’s Headline Inflation Rate increased to 31.70 per cent in February 2024.

The NBS said this in its Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Inflation Report for February, which was released in Abuja on Friday.

According to the Report, the figure is 1.80 per cent points higher compared to the 29.90 per cent recorded in January 2024.

It said on a Year-on-Year Basis, the Headline Inflation Rate in February 2024 was 9.79 per cent higher than the Rate recorded in February 2023 at 21.91 per cent.

In addition, the Report said on a Month-on-Month Basis, the Headline Inflation Rate in February 2024 was 3.12 per cent, which was 0.48 per cent higher than the Rate recorded in January 2024 at 2.64 per cent.

“This means that in February 2024, the rate of increase in the Average Price Level is more than the rate of increase in the Average Price Level in January 2024.’’

The Report said the increase in the Headline Index for February 2024 on a Year-on-Year Basis and Month-on-Month Basis was attributed to the increase in some items in the basket of Goods and Services at the Divisional Level.

It said these increases were observed in Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas, Fuel, Clothing and Footwear, and Transport.

Others were Furnishings, Household Equipment and Maintenance, Education, Health, Miscellaneous Goods and Services, Restaurants and Hotels, Alcoholic Beverage, Tobacco and Kola, Recreation and Culture, and Communication.

It said the percentage change in the Average CPI for the 12 months ending February 2024 over the Average of the CPI for the previous corresponding 12-month period was 26.18 per cent.

“This indicates a 6.31 per cent increase compared to 19.87 per cent recorded in February 2023.”

The Report said the Food Inflation Rate in February 2024 increased to 37.92 per cent on a Year-on-Year Basis, which was 23.57 per cent higher compared to the Rate recorded in February 2023 at 24.35 per cent.

“The rise in Food Inflation on a Year-on-Year Basis is caused by increases in Prices of Bread and Cereals, Potatoes, Yam and other Tubers, Fish, Oil and Fat, Meat, Fruit, Coffee, Tea, and Cocoa.’’

It said on a Month-on-Month Basis, the Food Inflation Rate in February was 3.79 per cent, which was a 0.58 per cent increase compared to the Rate recorded in January 2024 at 3.21 per cent.

“The rise in Food inflation on a Month-on-Month basis was caused by an increase in the Average Prices of Bread and Cereals, Potatoes, Yam and other Tubers, Fish, Coffee, Tea, and Cocoa.’’

The Report said that “All Items less Farm Produce and Energy’’ or Core Inflation, which excludes the Prices of Volatile Agricultural Produce and Energy, stood at 25.13 per cent in February on a Year-on-Year Basis.

“This increased by 6.76 per cent compared to 18.37 per cent recorded in February 2023.’’

“The exclusion of the PMS is due to the deregulation of the Commodity by removal of Subsidy.’’

It said the highest increases were recorded in Prices of Passenger Transport by Road, Actual and Imputed Rentals for Housing, and Medical Services, Pharmaceutical Products, etc.

The NBS said on a Month-on-Month Basis, the Core Inflation Rate was 2.17 per cent in February 2024.

“This indicates a 0.07 per cent drop compared to what was recorded in January 2024 at 2.24 per cent.”

“The Average 12-month Annual Inflation Rate was 21.17 per cent for the 12 months ending February 2024, this was 4.97 per cent points higher than the 16.75 per cent recorded in February 2023.”

The Report said on a Year-on-Year Basis in February 2024, the Urban Inflation Rate was 33.66 per cent, which was 10.87 per cent higher compared to the 22.78 per cent recorded in February 2023.

“On a Month-on-Month Basis, the Urban Inflation Rate was 3.17 per cent in February representing a 0.45 per cent increase compared to January 2024 at 2.72 per cent.’’

The Report said on a Year-on-Year Basis in February 2024, the Rural Inflation Rate was 29.99 per cent, which was 8.89 per cent higher compared to the 21.10 per cent recorded in February 2023.

“On a Month-on-Month Basis, the Rural Inflation Rate was 3.07 per cent, which increased by 0.50 per cent compared to January 2024 at 2.57 per cent.’’

On States’ Profile Analysis, the Report showed in February all Items Inflation Rate on a Year-on-Year Basis was highest in Kogi at 37.98 per cent, followed by Oyo at 36.60 per cent, and Bauchi at 35.62 per cent.

It, however, said the slowest rise in Headline Inflation on a Year-on-Year Basis was recorded in Borno at 26.28 per cent, followed by Taraba at 26.72 per cent, and Benue at 27.40 per cent.

The Report, however, said in February 2024, all Items Inflation Rate on a Month-on-Month Basis was highest in Kwara at 6.42 per cent, followed by Kebbi at 4.64 per cent, and Adamawa at 4.46 per cent.

“Katsina at 1.93 per cent, followed by Cross River at 1.98 per cent and Benue at 2.33 per cent recorded the slowest rise in Month-on-Month Inflation.”

The Report said on a Year-on-Year Basis, Food Inflation was highest in Kogi at 46.32 per cent, followed by Rivers at 44.34 per cent, and Kwara at 43.05 per cent.

“Bauchi at 31.46 per cent, followed by Plateau at 32.56 per cent and Taraba at 33.23 per cent recorded the slowest rise in Food Inflation on a Year-on-Year Basis.’’

The Report, however, said on a Month-on-Month Basis, Food Inflation was highest in Adamawa at 5.61 per cent, followed by Yobe at 5.60 per cent, and Borno at 5.60 per cent.

“While Cross River at 2.08 per cent, followed by Niger at 2.56 per cent and Abuja at 2.60 per cent, recorded the slowest rise in Inflation on a Month-on-Month Basis.” 

 

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15-Mar-2024 NEITI engages Stakeholders on Gas Policy improvement

NEITI engages Stakeholders on Gas Policy improvement

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is appealing to the Federal Government for an improved Gas Policy for the Country following the Global upsurge in Energy Transition.

Its Executive Secretary, Ogbonnaya Orji, made the appeal at the closing of a two-day Capacity-Building Workshop and Stakeholders Engagement on Methane Emissions reduction in Nigeria.

The Event was organised by the Center of Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) and the Natural Resources Governance Institute (NGRI).

Orji said that Gas would play a very crucial role in the Global Energy Transition, of which Nigeria has the largest Gas Reserves in Africa and ranks ninth in the World.

He however said that its Gas Policy must be reviewed to get the desired result from  the Process.

”For this to happen, NEITI hereby renews its appeal to our Government to embrace efficient Gas Commercialisation and Utilisation Policy.

”For instance, NEITI’s recent Report of the Oil and Gas Industry disclosed a total unremitted Revenues of Gas Royalty payments of $559.8m.

”This is in addition to the outstanding unremitted sum of $828.8m from unpaid Gas flare penalty also disclosed by the same Report.

”A close look at these figures indicated that more Gas was flayed during the period than utilised, thereby denying the Federation potential Revenues and posing serious dangers to the Global Zero Emissions Agenda,” he said.

According to him, the Energy Transition and Emission Control will necessitate new Technologies, require Human Capital, redefine roles and responsibilities, and involve Costs in both Human and Material Resources.

Orji said that the Workshop and Meeting of the Stakeholders was appropriate considering that Developing Nations required enough Information and Data on what the future holds for them to make an informed decision.

He added that the Workshop also provided a Platform for Public Debates and Discussions, necessary to chart a National Agenda in Energy Transition

”This is why NEITI is currently reviewing Nigeria’s Energy Transition plan to establish the role of Information and Data in making informed Energy Transition decisions.

”Given the growing reality of Energy Transition and the strong linkage with Emissions Control, especially Methane, it is important that we are constantly exposed to this type of quality Training,” he said.

He  stated that addressing the prediction of an upsurge in Nigeria’s Energy demand, which may surpass the projected Global Average by 47 per cent by 2050, required the collaborative efforts of key Stakeholders.

Orji  underscored the importance of Global Partnership to mitigate the risk of Energy Transition through innovative and courageous Reforms toward Economic diversification.

The NEITI Boss acknowledged that there were opportunities of Investment in Energy Transition in the Areas of Technology, Solid Minerals, Human Capital Development, use of low Carbon Hydrogen and Gas Exploration which should also be optimally explored.

Chief Executive Officer of CJID, Dapo Olorunyomi stated that the Meeting was  aimed at fostering better collaboration between Stakeholders in reducing Methane Emissions in Nigeria.

For her part, the African Director NGRI, Nafi Chinery urged all Stakeholders, particularly relevant Government Agencies to work in synergy to reduce Methane Emissions.

She also urged the Media and Civil Society Organisations to advocate for the move in their Engagements, stating that proper coordination was critical in achieving various Local and International commitments on Methane reductions.

Highlights of the Event were  the launching of a Guidebook on Nigeria’s Energy Transition and the presentation of NRGI’s findings on Nigeria’s Methane Emissions Reduction Strategies.

 

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15-Mar-2024 Senate: Calls for Akpabio's resignation over alleged Budget padding 'unthinkable'

Senate: Calls for Akpabio's resignation over alleged Budget padding 'unthinkable'

Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Yemi Adaramodu, has berated calls for the resignation of President of Senate, Godswill Akpabio, over “unfounded allegations “ of N3.7trn Budget padding.

Adaramodu, in a Statement in Abuja on Thursday, said calls for resignation of Akpabio were unthinkable.

He said Akpabio would not resign, and had no intention to resign at any time because he had not committed any wrongdoing.

The Spokesman said it was shocking that PDP Leadership could not comprehend what transpired at Tuesday’s Plenary, during which the allegations were debated.

Adaramodu said Ningi was given an opportunity to defend himself and prove the Budget padding allegations  during the Debate, but failed to substantiate his claims, hence his suspension.

“Contrary to the contention by the PDP that N3.7trn was discreetly inserted into the 2024 Budget for alleged non-existent Projects, and what transpired on the floor of the Chamber.

“It is open knowledge that no such absurdity is found in the Budget passed by the National Assembly and signed by President Bola Tinubu, which is being implemented judiciously by the Federal Government.” he said.

Adaramodu said the Senate did not, in any way, violate the Constitution or its standing Rules and Orders, in not referring the matter to a relevant Committee.

He said the decision to take the issue in the Committee of the Whole was for transparency and fairness, and to afford the Public the opportunity to follow the proceedings and have a value judgement as to who was lying to the Nation.

The Spokesman said it was the Constitutional Responsibility of the Senate to vary and determine its Internal Rules, as deemed  fit.

According to him, Ningi was never intimidated or harassed, gagged or denied the privilege to exercise his right of reply as the Senator was given ample opportunity to defend himself.

He said the PDP expected the Senate to sweep the unfounded allegations under the carpet ,but that the 10th Senate under the Leadership of Akpabio had zero tolerance for corruption.

The Spokesman further said the Investigation of the “false” N3.7trn Budget padding allegations could not have been conducted  by the Senate in the closet as suggested.

He said the 10th Senate, under Akpabio, would not be distracted from delivering good Legislation and effective Oversight for which Nigerians elected them.

 

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14-Mar-2024 Aig-Imoukhuede returns to replace Wige as Helmsman at Access Holdings

Aig-Imoukhuede returns to replace Wige as Helmsman at Access Holdings

Access Holdings Plc has announced Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Access Bank pioneer Group Chief Executive Officer (Group CEO), as its Non-Executive Chairman.
 
Sunday Ekwochi, Company Secretary, Access Holdings, said this in a Disclosure sent to the Nigerian Exchange Limited. (NGX) on Wenesday in Lagos.
 
Ekwochi said that Aig-Imoukhuede would replace Abubakar Jimoh, the erstwhile Chairman of the Holdings, who remains on the Board as an Independent Non-Executive Director.
 
He stated that return of Aig-Imoukhuede was in response to the untimely passing of the immediate past Group CEO of Access Holdings, Herbert Wigwe.
 
According to him, following extensive consultations with Key Stakeholders, the Holdings Board unanimously decided to invite Aig-Imoukhuede to the Helm of Governance of the Group.
 
Ekwochi said: “This visionary and accomplished Leader is bringing an outstanding record of accomplishments, wealth of expertise and Leadership to guide the Group into a new era of success.
 
“With an illustrious Career spanning several decades in the Banking and Finance Sector, Aig-Imoukhuede has proven to be an exceptional and influential Leader.
 
“Having admirably laid a solid Foundation for Access Bank’s success as Group CEO between 2002 and 2013, ably supported by his Partner and Deputy, the late Herbert Wigwe, who later succeeded him.
 
According to him, under Aig-Imoukhuede’s Leadership, Access Bank experienced remarkable growth and established itself as a trusted Financial Institution within the Community.
 
The Company Secretary noted that the Bank transformed from a minor player into one of Nigeria’s top five Banks with presence in nine other African Countries and the United Kingdom.
 
Ekwochi revealed that under Aig-Imoukhuede’s Stewardship, Access Bank grew its Customer Base from 10 thousand to over six million with more than 5,000 Employees and an Asset Base of $12bn.
 
He said Access Bank, under the pioneer Group CEO, achieved numerous milestones and became a Globally recognised name, adding that Aig-Imoukhuede’s strategic Vision, innovative thinking, and deep Market insight were instrumental to shaping the Bank’s success.
 
“Following Aig-Imoukhuede’s retirement as the Bank’s CEO in December 2013, he co-founded the Tengen Family Office Limited. The office oversees a significant Portfolio of Investments and Businesses in Banking, Finance, Insurance, Technology, Real Estate, and Energy.
 
“Through the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation, he is focused on building Nigeria’s next Generation of Government Leaders, helping transform Public Sector effectiveness, and improving access to quality Primary Healthcare.
 
“The decision to bring back Aig-Imoukhuede as the Group’s Non-Executive Chairman reflects the Board’s commitment to our Core Values and determination to build upon the strong Foundation, he jointly established with Wigwe.
 
“With his return, Access Holdings aims to leverage his extensive experience, Industry knowledge, and exceptional Leadership Skills to consolidate on the growth and accomplishments recorded under Wigwe’s Leadership.
 
“In his new role as Non-Executive Chairman, Aig-Imoukhuede will collaborate with the Board of Directors to oversee strategy and provide guidance to the Executive Management Team.
 
“His return is not only a testament to his unwavering dedication to Access Group but also a clear demonstration of the Board’s confidence in his ability to lead the Group to new heights,” the Company Secretary said.
 
According to him, the entire Access Group Family, including Employees, Customers, and Stakeholders, eagerly anticipates Aig-Imoukhuede’s return and looks forward to a promising future under his leadership.
 
Ekwochi said that with Aig-Imoukhuede’s expertise, passion, and commitment, the Access Group is poised to embark on a new chapter of impact and sustainable success.
 
In his reaction, Abubakar Jimoh, past Chairman, Access Holdings expressed his excitement on the development.
 
Jimoh stated that Aig-Imoukhuede’s Appointment to the Board and subsequent election as Chairman is a landmark development for Access Holdings, as the Board Members are excited about their future with the Firm.
 
Commenting, Aig-Imoukhuede said he was thrilled to be back in Active Service to the Access Group Ecosystem.
 
He expressed that the determined shared Vision which Wigwe gave everything for, will be realised.
 
“I am confident that working with our Directors, our exceptional Team of Executives and our best-in-class Banking and Finance Professionals, we will deliver outstanding value to our esteemed Stakeholders,” he said.
 
Access Holdings Plc operates through a Network of more than 600 Branches and Service Outlets, spanning three Continents, 18 Countries and over 60 million Customers.
 
The Company serves its various Markets through four Business segments namely: Retail Business, Commercial and Corporate, and has enjoyed what is Africa’s most successful Banking growth trajectory in the last twenty years.
 
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13-Mar-2024 Tinubu orders immediate opening of Nigeria's Land, Air Borders with Niger

Tinubu orders immediate opening of Nigeria's Land, Air Borders with Niger

President Bola Tinubu has directed the opening of Nigeria’s Land and Air Borders with the Republic of Niger and the lifting of other Sanctions against that Country with immediate effect.

This directive is in compliance with the decisions of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government at its Extraordinary Summit on February 24 in Abuja.

ECOWAS Leaders had agreed to lift Economic Sanctions against the Republic of Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea.

The Border was officially closed since August 2023, following a Military Coup that overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum.

The Niger–Nigeria Border is 1,608 kilometres in length and runs from the Tripoint with Benin in the West to the Tripoint with Chad in the East.

A Statement by Presidential Spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, said the President directed that the Sanctions imposed on the Niger Republic be lifted immediately.

The lifted Sanctions include the closure of Land and Air Borders between Nigeria and Niger Republic, as well as ECOWAS No-Fly Zone on all Commercial Flights to and from Niger Republic.

The suspension of all Commercial and Financial Transactions between Nigeria and Niger, as well as freeze of all Service Transactions, including Utility Services and Electricity to Niger Republic.

The freeze of Assets of the Republic of Niger in ECOWAS Central Banks and freeze of Assets of the Republic of Niger, State Enterprises, and Parastatals in Commercial Banks.

Also lifted is the suspension of Niger from all Financial Assistance and Transactions with all Financial Institutions, particularly EBID and BOAD and Travel bans on Government Officials and their Family Members.

Tinubu also approved the lifting of Financial and Economic Sanctions against the Republic of Guinea.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headlines

13-Mar-2024 Minister lists parameters for Tinubu's judgment

Minister lists parameters for Tinubu's judgment

The Federal Government says President Bola Tinubu “will be judged by his ability to grow the Nation’s Economy, create Employment, and reduce Poverty.

Wale Edun, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, gave these parameters at a Podcast hosted by Bruit Costaud in collaboration with Ballard Partners of U.S.A. in Abuja.

The immediate past Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed is the Managing Partner of Bruit Costard, a Lobbyist and Public Relations Firm and an Affiliate of Ballard Partners.

“At the end of the day, Mr President will be judged on his ability to grow the Economy, create Employment, and reduce Poverty.

“Within that context, he is going to be judged on Inflation, stabilising the Economy, increasing Investment, Government Revenue, and managing Government’s Expenditure,’’ he said.

The Minister also assured improved Liquidity of Foreign Exchange in the Market adding that the Government would attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and bring People out of Poverty.

He said the President was aware of the initial pains of the Economic Reforms being implemented and assured that the benefits would soon begin to show.

“Mr President is aware that his necessary Reforms will come with some transition pains. Before the medicine takes effect, there is some bitterness.

“In recognising that, he has shown commitment to making sure he doesn’t leave the Poor, Vulnerable, Weak in the Society behind.

That is why there are take-off Intervention Programmes alongside the Reform Programmes.

“I must say his Reforms is a whole package on the Fiscal and Monetary sides, that is stabilising the Economy, the Exchange Rate, and providing the Platform for the Economy to grow again,’’ he said.

According to him, the President intervened in the Agriculture Sector by providing Grains and Fertiliser to Farmers ahead of the Dry Season Farming.

Edun said the Federal Government also ensure the cultivation of an extra 200,000 Hectares of Farmland for Rice, Wheat, Cassava, and Maize.

The Minister said the President also recently released 42,000 metric tons of Grains, 60,000 metric tons of Rice into the Market.

Edun said the measures were to alleviate the Food Insecurity.

 

Credit NAN: Texts excluding Headlines

13-Mar-2024 Senate: Nothing like Budget padding, allegation a demonstration of error of Arithmetic

Senate: Nothing like Budget padding, allegation a demonstration of error of Arithmetic

Senate on Tuesday explained that the N3trn alleged to be padded in the 2024 Budget was actually Statutory Transfers to First Line Charge Agencies of Government not domiciled in the Ministries.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Yemi Adaramodu gave the explanation, while speaking with Journalists on the suspension of Abdul Ningi over alleged padding of the 2024 Budget.

Adaramodu said the 10th Senate needed to be treasured as Pillar of Democracy and would only do what would promote National Interest

He said there was nothing like Budget padding, saying that the false narrative on N3trn padding was a demonstration of error of Arithmetic and innocent of Procedure by the Protagonists of Budget padding.

“The N3trn is for Statutory Transfers of Government Agencies on the First Lines Charges.”

He listed the Agencies to include Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Public Complaints Commission, National Judicial Council, North East Development Commission (NEDC), Niger -Delta Development Commission Commission (NDDC) among others.

He also dismissed the issue of provision of N500m as Constituency Fund to Senators, describing the allegation as a fairy tale.

He urged Journalists to study the 2024 Budget to investigate Allocations to National Assembly.

He said the issue of Budget padding was a negative connotation and a serious crime in Budgeting, hence Senate didn’t take it lightly.

“It is a matter of integrity, issue of Budget has been put to rest as the Protagonist of the Budget padding were called to substantiate and they could not prove it but the allegations can not just go without being attended to.

“The Appropriation Act is a Public Document and when it was done, it was done in the Public glare and it was N28.77trn and so for some to say N25trn was what was approved is scary.

“Statutory Transfers for Agencies on First Line Charges, that are not domiciled in the Ministries was what Ningi said was padded, that the Allocation can not be traced.”

He reiterated that the N3trn was not padded, was not missing, but was for Agencies of Government that were placed on First Line Charge.

He also said the allegation that a Section of the Country was allocated more Funds than other Regions was not put in right perspective, saying that Allocations were done Sectorially.

The Senate Image Maker said the integrity of the National Assembly was in question, hence the matter was treated with the seriousness it deserved.

 

12-Mar-2024 NNPCL rubs minds with EFCC to fight Crude Oil Theft

NNPCL rubs minds with EFCC to fight Crude Oil Theft

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has appealed to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to help tackle the menace of Crude Oil Theft in the Country.
 
The Group Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Mele Kyari, made the appeal at an Interactive Session with the EFCC’s Helmsman, Ola Olukoyede, which held at the NNPC Towers in Abuja on Monday.
 
Speaking passionately about the efforts by NNPC Limited to eradicate corruption from its System and stem Crude Oil Theft and Pipeline Vandalism, Kyari contended that going by the Volume of Oil stolen daily and the brazenness with which the Perpetrators operate, Crude Oil Theft was the most humongous and virulent Economic Crime in Nigeria that must attract the attention of the EFCC.
 
“As we continue to do our best to deepen transparency and stamp out corruption from the System, there is one big challenge that you will need to help us with, Mr. Chairman. That challenge is Crude Theft. It fits into everything you have said – the People, the Asset, the Opportunity, and the absence of deterrence.”
 
“We have deactivated 6,409 Illegal Refineries in the Niger Delta Region. Today, we have disconnected up to 4,846 Illegal Pipes connected to our Pipelines, that is out of 5,543 such Illegal Connection Points. That means there are a vast number of such Connections that we have not removed.
 
“These things don't just happen from the blues. They happen in Communities and Locations we all know. As we remove one Illegal Connection, another one comes up. It is sad, Mr. Chairman
 
“This kind of thing does not happen anywhere else in the World. When we say Illegal Connections, they are not invisible things, they are big Pipes that require some level of expertise to be installed. Some of them are of the same size as the Trunk Line itself. No one would produce Crude Oil knowing fully well that it is not going to get to the Terminal. That is why nobody is putting money into the Business. So, you can't grow production.”
 
“I believe, personally, that the very purpose of your Commission is to curtail Economic Crimes, and there is no bigger Economic Crime of this scale anywhere else than what is happening in this Area," the GCEO lamented.
 
On corruption within the System, Kyari explained that by law, NNPC Limited is required to maintain high Ethical Standards and has put in place Structures and Measures to curb discretionary actions which fuel corruption, stressing that most Processes in the Company have been fully automated to discourage arbitrary actions.
 
He disclosed that many issues of corruption reported in the Public were either not true or recycled from the past.
 
In his presentation, the Executive Chairman of EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, expressed satisfaction with NNPC Limited’s commitment to issues of Ethics and Code of Conduct.
 
He, however, challenged Management to ensure that the Codes of Ethics and Regulations are complemented with monitoring and enforcement to enhance deterrence.    
 
The Interactive Session was at the instance of Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Limited.
 
 
Credit: NNPCL PR excluding Headlines
12-Mar-2024 Tinubu: Nigeria already reaping FDI in Infrastructure, Agriculture, Oil and Gas

Tinubu: Nigeria already reaping FDI in Infrastructure, Agriculture, Oil and Gas

President Bola Tinubu has described the Agricultural Projects embarked on by Governor Umar Bago of Niger as a sign of good Leadership.

Tinubu said that Bago was walking his talk by embarking on Projects that would reduce Unemployment, Insecurity and Food scarcity.

The President stated this at the Agric Mechanisation Revolution for Food Security and Inauguration of the New Airport Terminal, on Monday in Minna.

He said such gestures were expected of all other State Governors in order to complement the laudable Poverty Alleviating Programmes of the Federal Government.

The President said that an example was the Wage Award given by the Federal Government to its Workers, which if religiously implemented would have resulted in less Economic burden on Nigerians.

“I am not giving a directive, but I think all States should have equally given out the Wage Award as agreed on. It would have reduced the Hardship and Economic Inflation in the Country.

“At least that was the intention of the Award before the final National Minimum Wage will come up in a few weeks’ time. The National Economic Council (NEC) should consider and adopt this.”

Tinubu said all State Governments would be supported in their quest to ensure Food availability, accessibility and security for the Ordinary Nigerians.

He said already Foreign Direct Investments have started flowing into the Country in the fields of Agriculture, Oil and Gas as well as Infrastructure.

The President said that a Committee would soon be set up to tackle the issue of Farmer-Herders Clashes in the Country.

“In the next three weeks, a Committee will be set up to take care of these issues.

“We feel the pain of having to lose your Harvest to Roaming Cows. So, we are working to have a lasting solution in order to have Food for Ordinary Nigerians.”

The Niger state Governor pledged to sustain the Agricultural Revolution set in motion by his Administration with active Collaboration of other States and the Federal Government.

“Already, we have the Niger-Lagos Agreement to supply our State Paddy Rice to Lagos State as an initial Programme.

“A number of Staff of Lagos will be here to ensure quality assurance and Staff of Niger State will go to Lagos on Exchange.

“We have also secured a multi-billion Dollar Agreement with Saudi Arabia to supply Animal Feeds to them. The Land for the Project has already been allocated and we hope that by July we should start exporting,” he said.

He said that the State would exploit the Public Private Partnership to sustain the Programme because of the noticed ineffectiveness of Government-only driven Businesses.

Bago said that the State had only prepared the ground for Investment in the Agricultural potential of the State.

“By June, we expect to bring out about 50,000 metric tonnes of Rice in the Niger-Lagos Rice Deal.

“Similarly, the Free Zone in the new Bola Tinubu International Airport is part of the Special Purpose Vehicle we intended to attract genuine Investors to the State.

“We are also working on Road Networks across the State. With the largest Land Mass, we have taken up rehabilitation of some of the Federal Roads in order to create access to Agriculture Products from Remote Areas of the State,” he said.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, said a lot of efforts have been put in place for the success of the Food Security Initiative of the Administration.

He said achievements in forms of Foreign Investment have started being recorded while various Agricultural Programmes were being implemented in collaboration with State Governments.

Tinubu also paid a courtesy visit on former Heads of State, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar at their Homes before departing for Abuja.

11-Mar-2024 You're a liar, Presidency blasts Ningi over padding of 2024 Budget

You're a liar, Presidency blasts Ningi over padding of 2024 Budget

The Presidency has described as false, the claim by Abdul Ningi, PDP Senator representing Bauchi Central in the Senate over the padding of the 2024 Budget.

This is contained in a Statement by Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy,  in Abuja.

Onanuga said that President Bola Tinubu presented a Budget proposal of N27.5trn on November 29, 2023 to the Joint Session of the National Assembly made up of N9.92trn Recurrent Expenditure, Debt Service N8.25trn and Capital Expenditure N8.7trn.

“Acting under the banner of Northern Senators’ Forum, Ningi, falsely claimed in an Interview he granted BBC Hausa Service, that the National Assembly debated and passed N25trn as 2024 Budget and not the N28.7trn that is being implemented by the Federal Government.

“Contrary to the strange view expressed by Ningi, there was no way the Senate could have debated and passed a N25trn Budget that was not presented to the National Assembly.

“We don’t expect a Ranking Senator not to pay due attention to details before making wild claims,” Onanuga said.

At a Meeting last week, some Northern Senators accused the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio of inserting Projects worth N4trn in the 2024 Budget.

They alleged that the Projects, which had no locations, were inserted into the Budget, which they also claimed was lopsided against the North and some parts of the South.

The Northern Senators also accused Akpabio of railroading the Senators to hurriedly pass the Budget, adding that it favoured Akpabio and his Cronies.

Onanuga said  the Budget of N28.7trn signed into Law by Tinubu in January was passed by the National Assembly, adding that the Legislature increased the amount proposed by the Executive by N1.2trn in exercise of its Power of Appropriation.

He said the claim by Ningi that the 2024 Budget was Anti-North was uncharitable, coming from a Ranking Lawmaker.

“President Tinubu is leading a Government that is fair and equitable to every part and segment of Nigeria. In terms of funding, distribution of Capital and Priority Projects, the 2024 Appropriation Act was not skewed against any Section of the Country.

 “The North as an integral part of the Country is well covered in all Areas, from Security to Agriculture, Healthcare to Education, and other important Infrastructure such as Roads, Rail, Dams, Power and Irrigation Projects to support all year-round Agriculture.

“President Tinubu is a firm believer in the Rule of Law and Constitutional Democracy. As an avowed Democrat, he will not engage and indulge in any Unconstitutional action or act in any manner that assaults the Constitution of Nigeria by operating any Budget outside the one approved by the National Assembly.”

Meanwhile, Senators Steve Karimi, Titus Zam and Kaka Sheu, have said the allegation of Budget padding against Akpabio by some Senators was unfounded, baseless and a figment of imagination.

Dismissing the allegation as a ruse, they said while the Executive brought a Budget Proposal of 27.5trn, the Senate passed a Budget of 28.77trn.

“The difference was N1.27trn, coming from all Three Arms of Government. Where is the additional so-called padding of N3trn coming from?

“It was resolved that the Northern Senators’ Consultant Report be looked into by essential Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives before jumping to a conclusion.”

The three Senators said the Forum only resolved that the Report of the Consultant engaged by the Northern Senators Forum be subjected to further scrutiny.

They said the Appropriation Process was a combination of work from the Executive, actively represented by the Minister of Budget and National Planning and other Ministers, the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation and the Senate Committees on Appropriation.

“Senator Ningi has not given a correct Information. He is yet to even give the Senate President or the Speaker of the House of Representatives a Copy of what he claims to have been discovered in the 2024 Appropriation Act before levelling allegations of budget padding against the President, the Senate President and the Senate

09-Mar-2024 Shettima to Nigerians: Be patient with Tinubu, he has your interest at heart

Shettima to Nigerians: Be patient with Tinubu, he has your interest at heart

Vice-President Kashim Shettima has implored Nigerians to be patient with President Bola Tinubu Administration.

Shettima made the appeal on Saturday in Kafur, Katsina State at the Inauguration of an Empowerment Scheme sponsored by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Political Matters, Ibrahim Masari.

The Vice-President emphasised that Leadership was about the show of empathy and support for the People.

He said the President has the interest of Nigerians at heart as well as beautiful plans to improve their Living Condition.

“The President is quite thrilled by the show of support and empathy by Ibrahim Kabiru Masari.

“Leadership is all about showing empathy and support to the People.

“The President has the interest of the People of this our great Nation at heart.

“I am here to reassure the People of Katsina and, by extension, the North West that there are very beautiful plans for the People,” he said.

Shettima added that the restoration of peace in Areas where there were security challenges was of paramount importance to President Tinubu.

He commended Masari for extending the gesture to his People and called on well-meaning Individuals to “emulate him (Masari) by showing love to the People.

Shettima, who acknowledged that God is the giver of Power, expressed optimism that the All Progressives Congress (APC) “shall continue to govern Katsina State because of the achievements of the current and previous Administrations”.

The Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin commended Masari for bankrolling the Empowerment Scheme.

According to him, both Chambers of the National Assembly are happy with what the Presidential Aide has done.

“He has done something unique and I call on other Political Appointees to emulate this gesture because times are hard and this is the right time to give such support to the People,” Jibrin said.

The Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Governor Muhammad Yahaya of Gombe State, appreciated the donor for coming to the aid of his Constituents.

Yahaya urged the Beneficiaries to make good use of the Cash and Items given to them.

“I also urge you to imbibe the habit of helping others in the future,” Governor Yahaya said.

Governor Dikko Radda of Katsina, who was represented by his Deputy, Farouk Jobe, advised the Well-to-Do in Society to always support the Needy.

“Doing so will help alleviate Poverty as well as boost our Economy,” Radda said.

In his remarks, former Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State, said over N306m would be disbursed across 11 Local Government Areas of Katsina South Senatorial District where the Philanthropist, Ibrahim Masari, hails from.

Items distributed to Beneficiaries include Sewing and Welding Machines, Water Pumps for Irrigation Farming, Bags of Fertiliser, Motorcycles, Cars and Buses, among other Items.

09-Mar-2024 We sell 500,000 Cattle to Nigerians daily, says Niger Governor

We sell 500,000 Cattle to Nigerians daily, says Niger Governor

President Bola Tinubu is expected to inaugurate an Agro-Processing Zone, Agric Equipment and the remodelled Minna International Airport on Monday.

Governor Mohammed Umaru-Bago of Niger said while inspecting the Projects on Saturday, that about 2,000 Hectares would be utilised for the Agro-Processing Zone Project.

Also on the Inspection Team was the President of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo.

Bago said about 1,000 Hectares would be utilised for Deep Irrigation and Green Houses while an additional 1,000 Hectares was specifically for processing of Dairy Products.

He added that the remodelling of the International Airport in Minna had reached 99 percent completion.

“Niger State sells an average of half a million Cattle to Nigerians and People outside Nigeria daily.

“We don’t need to transport these Cattle by Road at all, you can take the Meat that is frozen from the Airport to anywhere and it will create Employment, enhance Value Chain,” the Governor added.

On the Agro Zone, he said water would be piped from Shiroro Dam for use by Farmers at the Site.

“We are constructing about 140 kilometres of Water Irrigation Channels to this place from Shiroro Dam,” he said.

The Governor said the Projects would be executed in partnership with some Foreign Companies.

“This Project is an ambitious 50-year Programme, but the First Phase will be finished in the next few years so that Mr. President can commission it.

“We are bringing in 80 Megawatts of Power to this Airport,” he added.

He said Government would offer Tax Holiday for Companies willing to move to the State.

“Niger State has strategically positioned itself now to become Nigeria’s Water Reservoir so that the Overflow from all these Dams and Rivers can now be stored for Irrigation and we plug them during crisis,” he added.

The NUJ President commended the Governor for the Initiative.

“Coming here today to see the massive transformation that is ongoing in this place speaks volumes about the commitment of the present Administration in the State.

“If you go around the Airport, you can see that it can compete with any other Airport in Africa and that shows that the Government has invested so much in this Airport,” he added.

He said that the idea of locating the Agro-Processing Zone within the Airport was a great idea.

“Before now, we were dependent on Oil, but there is a need to diversify and that is what the Governor has done by focusing on Agriculture,” Isiguzo said. 

 

06-Mar-2024 Tinubu signs Executive Order to drive Investment in Oil and Gas

Tinubu signs Executive Order to drive Investment in Oil and Gas

President Bola Tinubu has signed an Executive Order to improve the Investment Climate and position of Nigeria as the preferred Investment Destination for the Oil and Gas Sector in Africa.

This is in keeping with his commitment to remove obstacles to Investments in Nigeria, harness the Nation’s Resources and diversify the Economy for the benefit of all Nigerians.

Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, disclosed this in a Statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Order, Ngelale said, followed the President’s initiation of amendments of Primary Legislation to introduce Fiscal Incentives for Oil and Gas Projects, reduce Contracting Costs and timelines, and promote cost efficiency in Local Content Requirements.

He said that Tinubu, in recognising the urgency to accelerate Investments in these Sectors, has directed the introduction of Fiscal Incentives for Non-Associated Gas, Midstream and Deepwater Developments.

He also directed the streamlining of Contracting Process to compress the Contracting Cycle to six months and the application of the Local Content Requirements without hindering Investments or the Cost competitiveness.

The Presidential Spokesman said that details of these Policy Directives would be gazetted and communicated by the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation.

He said the Incentives were developed in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Justice, Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Petroleum, Federal Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning and the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

Other Agencies in the collaboration are the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.

Ngelale said the Special Adviser to the President on Energy had been directed to continue coordinating the Stakeholders to ensure  implementation of the directives.

05-Mar-2024 Tinubu: Distressed not the accurate way to describe Nigerian Economy

Tinubu: Distressed not the accurate way to describe Nigerian Economy

President Bola Tinubu says his nine month-old Administration has attracted $30bn Direct Foreign Investment commitments to shore up the Nigerian economy.

Tinubu stated this at the 2023 Leadership Annual Conference and Award on Tuesday in Abuja.

The Event, with the Theme “An Economy in Distress: The Way Forward”, was organised by the Leadership Group, Publishers of Leadership Newspapers.
 
Tinubu, represented by Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said the Nigerian Economy is not in distress, but facing challenging times.
 
He explained that the in spite of the challenging situation, the Country has attracted unprecedented opportunities to reset the course and build a new and sustainable Economy away from the rent-seeking and the waste that was once the order of the day.
 
“Since we assumed Office in May 2023, we have attracted $30bn in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) commitments into the Real Sectors of the Economy, including Manufacturing, Telecoms, Healthcare, Oil and Gas, and others.
 
“Those Investments have already started coming into the Country. Just a few days ago, I was in Qatar on an Official Visit, where the Emir assured that a Senior Government Delegation would visit Nigeria after Ramadan.
 
“I have asked the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy to directly interface with the Qatari Authorities to ensure that speedy progress is made.
 
“The Nigerian Economy saw a better than anticipated performance in the last Quarter of 2023, growing by 3.46 per cent, compared with 2.54 per cent in the preceding Quarter.
 
“Capital Importation into Nigeria was up by 66 per cent in Q4 2023, reversing a 36 per cent decline in the previous Quarter.
 
“In January 2024, the Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index (ASI) crossed the 100,000 points mark, its highest ever.
 
“There is no one who looks at this Data who will conclude that “distressed” is the accurate way to describe the Nigerian Economy,” Tinubu said.
 
He emphasised that these were the outcomes of ongoing Reforms.
 
Tinubu, however, said the Government was aware of the Hardships due to the Reform, but assured that a lot of effort and energy were being made towards alleviating the pains and setting the Economy on firm footing.
 
“There are incredible Opportunities for Investment in every Sector of the Economy, as the Federal Government stabilise our Foreign Exchange Market and Macroeconomic Indices.
 
“I ask for the continuing patience and support of all Nigerians, including the Elite that is very well represented in this room today.”
 
The President also sought for understanding of the Media as Government continues the Reform of the Economy.
 
“To the Nigerian Media, I urge you to strive to report not only the challenges but also the solutions and the Opportunities as well.
 
“Ours is a story of a Country that is taking the right steps, and feeling the fleeting pains that will come with this course of action. A glorious dawn is indeed assured.
 
“Since the removal of Petrol Subsidies, our imports of Petrol have dropped by about 50 percent, which translates to roughly one billion Liters of Petrol every month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics,” Tinubu said.
 
The President added that the Revenues accruing to the three Tiers of Government; Federal, State and Local had grown by between 50 per cent and 100 per cent since the removal of the Petrol Subsidy.
 
“This means more Funds are available to directly impact the Lives of Nigerians through Investments in critical Infrastructure, Social Security, and other Areas.
 
“For example, the additional funding we are receiving is going into a new Minimum Wage for which negotiations have started, between the Federal and State Governments and Organised Labour.
 
“I have approved the disbursement of N200bn, through three new Special Intervention Funds established to support Nigerian Businesses.
 
“The first is a N50bn Presidential Conditional Grant Scheme that will provide Business Grants and Loans to Traders, Food Vendors, Transport Workers, ICT Businesses, Creatives, and Artisans.
 
“Verification of all submitted Applications is ongoing, and disbursements will commence through the Bank of Industry as soon as this Verification is completed.
 
“The second is a N75bn MSME Intervention Fund which will provide single-digit-interest Loans to our MSMEs.
 
“The third is a 75bn Manufacturing Sector Fund targeting Manufacturing Businesses, with selected Beneficiaries eligible to access up to N1bn each,” Tinubu said.

Awards were presented to several Politicians, Companies, Technocrats and Experts during the Annual Event.

04-Mar-2024 Governor clarifies position on ban of Food movement from Niger

Governor clarifies position on ban of Food movement from Niger

Governor Umar Bago of Niger has clarified misconceptions regarding the State’s stance on the mass purchase of Food Items from the State to other States in the Country.

The Governor said this while speaking with Journalists in Abuja on Monday.

Bago said he only stopped bulk purchases of Food from Local Markets to Neighbouring Countries, adding that Food Items purchased in the State Markets were not stopped from being taken to other States.

He said the decision was to regulate the level of sales and ensure People were not exploited by Smugglers.

“We have Markets in the Local Government Headquarters; we have Local Markets in the bushes; now these Aggregators, Saboteurs, and even Smugglers go to these Villages.

“For a Farmer to give you a Bag of Paddy, it may take him two to three days because it’s manual. Imagine arresting two hundred Trucks of Paddy crossing to Benin Republic from Niger State.

“You can imagine what it does to the Market. Our Factories here are starved; People take our Paddies to Benin Republic, mill it, bring it back, and exploit our People.”

He highlighted the challenges faced by Local Farmers, including exploitation by Middlemen and Smugglers who divert Agricultural Produce to International Markets.

Bago stressed the importance of protecting Local Industries and ensuring fair Market Prices for Farmers.

“So, what we did was say, let’s control the level of sales. We know how much you need as a Farmer; you don’t need to sell everything overnight.

“Why is somebody luring you with excess Cash, not minding the Price?” he queried.

He further emphasised the detrimental effects of unchecked Food Exportation on the Local Economy, adding that Niger State’s Factories were suffering due to the exploitation of Agricultural Resources.

“A bag that we sell for N40,000, somebody is giving you N100,000; obviously, you know there’s a problem, so the ban is addressing the Food Inflation in the State.

He said his effort was yielding results, and it was necessary to intensify as a Country while restating his commitment to support Local Farmers and ensure Food Security within the Country.

The Governor said there was a need for collaborative efforts to address challenges in the Agricultural Sector and promote Sustainable Development.

The Governor, while responding to the reaction of the Citizens to Economic Hardship, stopped the bulk purchase of Food from Local Markets.

However, some Reports claimed that Bago banned the sale and purchase of Foods in bulk from Niger State to other Nigerian States.

 

04-Mar-2024 Tinubu is a refined Economic Strategist, says Shettima

Tinubu is a refined Economic Strategist, says Shettima

Vice-President Kashim Shettima says the Reforms initiated by the Bola Tinubu Administration would fortified Nigeria’s Economy for growth and future benefit of all Citizens.

Shettima stated this during the Inauguration of the Outsource to Nigeria Initiative (OTNI), on Monday in Gombe.

He described Tinubu as a refined Economic Strategist, who understood the balance between Nigeria’s present circumstances and the trajectory of the Global Landscape.

According to him, the present Administration’s decisions though difficult, are being implemented in the best interest of Nigeria’s Economic prosperity.

Shettima said the challenges being experienced as a result of the Reforms were short-termed.

He said: “Our routes to the future hinge upon our sensitivity to our realities.

“The tough decisions we have taken may pose short-term challenges, but rest assured, it is a Strategic Investment to fortify the Foundations of our Economy.

“The Reforms in progress will not only weather the storms but usher in a future where we shall stand grateful for the resilience and foresight displayed in propelling our Nation towards Economic prosperity”.

On the Outsource to Nigeria Initiative, Shettima said that it symbolised a pivotal collaboration between the Public and Private Sector.

According to Shettima, the Partnership is aim at creating millions of Job Opportunities and propel Nigeria’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), and IT-Enabled Services Sector into unprecedented growth.

“OTNI is here to connect Global Companies with the abundant talents and capabilities inherent in Nigeria.

“This Initiative marks a strategic leap forward, positioning Nigeria as an emerging Outsourcing Powerhouse ready to make an indelible mark on the Global Economic Landscape.

“Nigeria is fortified by a colossal talent pool exceeding 200 million People and complemented by competitive Labour Costs, an evolving ICT Infrastructure, unwavering Government support, and a strategic location in proximity to European Markets,” he said.

The Vice President urged State Governments to embrace the OTNI, to create Jobs for millions of Youths across the Country towards achieving Tinubu’s Mandate of prioritising Job Creation.

 

04-Mar-2024 You'll make more money in Nigeria than anywhere, Tinubu boasts in Qatar

You'll make more money in Nigeria than anywhere, Tinubu boasts in Qatar

President Bola Tinubu on Sunday witnessed the signing of Agreements between Nigeria and Qatar in various Sectors of the Economy.

Ajuri Ngelale, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in a Statement, said the signing, which held in Doha, Qatar, was also witnessed by the Emir of that country, Sheikh Tamim Al-Thani.

The Agreement, according to Ngelale, will open Opportunities for mutual cooperation in pivotal Sectors of Education, Enterprise Development, Investment Promotion, Youth Empowerment, Mining, Tourism and Sports.

Tinubu assured his Host of Nigeria’s preparedness to welcome Investors into the Country, citing the ongoing Reforms that favoured Innovation, Return on Investments and Multiculturalism.

“Our greatest strength is our People. Our strength lies in the Capacity of Nigerian Youths.

”They have energy, talent and self-belief.
”They are quality Partners for Qatari Industry.

”They are educated and reliable, and they are proactively seeking to add value wherever they are.

”A few cannot give a bad name to the many. Nigerian Youths are ready to be unleashed for the mutual benefit of both Nations.

“We have seen clearly the rapid pace and thorough quality of Qatar’s Development Process. It is impossible not to be moved by what you have accomplished.

”The Leadership in the Country has proven its mettle, and we are here to gain deeper insight.

“There is nowhere in the World where you will find Return on Investment at the level of what you will see in Nigeria. A massive Market of over 200 million Skilled Nigerians, always industrious and ready to work.

“We face some short-term turbulence at the moment, but we have a Government today that reflects the dynamism and talent of the Nigerian People.

”We are implementing the right solutions.

”This Team works collaboratively with each other and our Partners,” the President said.

Al Thani, on his part, said he was open to Nigeria’s Investment push, recalling his journey to Nigeria in 2019 due to his belief that the Country is an important and strategic ally on its own and in Regional Affairs.

“I have no doubt about the great Capacity of the Nigerian People. Everywhere in the World, they are known for their brilliance and hard work.

”We only need to ensure that this is happening inside of Nigeria rather than outside.

”The Investments we have made around the World have been very fruitful.

”This is because we take our time and study Opportunities before we invest the Commonwealth of our People.

“Mr. President, I am very encouraged by your actions and your passion to create new Opportunities.

”We are very open to this, and follow-up is everything at this point. The will is there for both of us, but we must follow up.

”I will send a Team of Officials to Nigeria after Ramadan, and we will advance discussions on what some of the actionable Investment Opportunities are,” the Qatari Leader said.

Tinubu immediately named the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Wale Edun as the Team Leader of the Government Team that would interface with Qatari Authorities in Investment Identification and Implementation.

During the Bilateral Deliberations, the President enabled a brief Presentation to the Emir by the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, who spoke in details about the high-grade of Several Minerals, including Lithium.

Alake spoke about derivable potential across the Country with an emphasis on imminent Opportunities for Local Mineral Processing and Value-Additive Industry in the Sector.

The Bilateral Engagement was followed by a Closed-Door Meeting between the two Heads of State before they proceeded to the Signing Ceremony for seven Bilateral Agreements across multiple Sectors.

The seven Agreements signed include Cooperation Agreement in the field of Education and Regulation of Employment of Workers with the Government of Qatar.

Also signed was the Agreement on Establishment of a Joint Business Council between the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture.

Agreements were also signed in the Field of Youths and Sports, Tourism and Business Events and a Memorandum of Understanding on combating Illicit Trade in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

 

04-Mar-2024 Do not offer bribe to our People, Tinubu warns Qatari Businessmen

Do not offer bribe to our People, Tinubu warns Qatari Businessmen

President Bola Tinubu has assured Global Investors that his Administration would remove all obstacles hindering Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.

The President gave the assurance at the Nigeria-Qatar Business and Investment Forum held in Doha on Sunday.

He urged genuine Investors to report to him directly, any Official who obstructed progress or asked for bribe in the course of any dealings in Nigeria.

The President said that Nigeria was ready for serious Business as his Administration would deal with entrenched interests that had been undermining Investors’ confidence in the Country’s Economy.

Tinubu pledged to remove all bottlenecks standing in the way of profitable and legitimate Enterprise.

“I am here to give you the assurance that Reforms are going on; forget about whatever you heard in the past.

“Whatever is the obstacle or problem that some of you might have experienced, it is in the past, because there is no obstacle in the future.

“Do not offer a bribe to any of our People, and if it is requested or taken from you, report to us. You will have access to me.

“Nigeria will no longer be defined by the past, but by what we do now and moving forward. Do not let perceptions become a hindrance to your will to invest.

“Nigeria is serious about revolutionising Investment Promotion. We are removing obstacles today and we are going to continue to remove all obstacles.

“We have done so much within nine months. And I am assuring you, it is free entry, and free exit. Your funds will flow smoothly into and out of our Country,’’ Tinubu further assured.

He noted that the war against Corruption and Insecurity in Nigeria had been strengthened with the appointment of the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu, as National Security Adviser.

“My responsibility is to tell you that Nigeria is open for Business, and to assure you that your Investments are safe in our hands.

“We have men and women of great reputation here. And we believe we can forge a good Committee that will advance our discussions to fruitful conclusions.

“A Nation is an Artificial Entity unless there are good People to drive it. People build great Nations and we have great People. We are ready,’’ President Tinubu stressed.

He observed that Nigeria possesses vast Opportunities in various Fields.

“We have Oil and Gas; we have Solid Minerals. I do not see why we cannot become prolific Partners in exploring Iron Ore, as well as Steel Production, and Energy across the board.

“I am here to give you assurances in all spheres: Tourism, Hospitality, Healthcare, and in many other Opportunities that abound around us.

“Do not be the Investors who miss out on the golden opportunity we present,’’ the President admonished.

In his remarks, Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani, the Qatari Minister of Commerce and Industry, said Qatar looked forward to exploring Opportunities in Nigeria, owing to its large Market.

He said Qatar was prioritising new Investments in Low Carbon Initiatives, Mineral Products, Petroleum Chemicals, Industry, and Consumables.

“We look forward to working with our Nigerian Counterparts to achieve our joint objectives in these Sectors,’’ the Minister said.

Tinubu was accompanied to the Event by Governors, Ministers, Ribadu and by Members of the Nigerian Business Community.

 

03-Mar-2024 Minister woos Qatari Businessmen, says Nigeria has huge Reserves of Lithium

Minister woos Qatari Businessmen, says Nigeria has huge Reserves of Lithium

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, says Nigeria has comprehensive Data on its Lithium Reserves, available at the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency for investors to peruse.

The Minister made  the disclosure in Doha, Qatar on Saturday,  at a Meeting with Qatari Businessmen on the sidelines of the visit of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the Arab Country.

In a Statement by his  Special Adviser, Kehinde Bamigbetan, Alake said that  Mineral Exploration initiated by the Federal Government,  identified Locations with  Lithium Deposits  in Commercial Quantities in high grades.

He said the Information was available to help Businessmen in Qatar,  interested in establishing Lithium Companies in Nigeria.

The Minister was responding to enquires on the quality of Nigerian Lithium by Qatari Business Mogul, Sheikh Shahid Jawad at the Meeting which held at the prestigious Sheraton, Doha .

Stressing the quality of Lithium in Nigeria, he recalled a Visit to Australia where Samples of Rock Composites from Nigeria, after Laboratory Analysis, confirmed presence of  high grade Lithium Content.

“It shows that the quality of Nigerian Lithium has been recognised by the Global Mining Sector,“ he said.

Alake said the Nigerian Government had put in place generous, Investor- friendly Policies to facilitate Businesses.

Also speaking at the Event, the Executive Secretary of Solid Minerals Development Fund, Fatimah Shinkafi urged Investors to explore Opportunities in Mining Infrastructure .

Giving the example of Vale, a Mining Company in Brazil that invested in Trains to ease transportation of Minerals from the Mines to the Processing Towns, Shinkafi said Government would continue to provide Transportation Facilities to the Mines.

“While Government provides transport to the Mines, Mining Companies that recognise the significance of Transportation to their future Cost Control will invest wisely by supplementing Government’s efforts.”

The Vice- chairman of the Qatar- Nigerian Chamber of Business, Muhammed Santuraki said the Chamber was formed in 2017 to build Business Relations between both Countries.

Recalling a recent Visit to a Gold Mine in Nasarawa,  Santuraki observed the existence of good Roads for the haulage of Minerals to the Ports.

Other Businessmen at the Top-Level Meeting were Sheikh El Jouneid, Chief Executive Officer, ETCC Qatar and Aminu Dahiru, Chairman, Asdub Oil and Gas.

Five States comprising Nassarawa, Kogi, Kwara, Ekiti and Cross River are currently mining Lithium with more States such as Bauchi, that has  reported discovering Deposits.

The Minister is part of the Delegation that accompanied President Tinubu on the Visit to Doha, Qatar to strengthen Cooperation between the two Nations on several Sectors, including Economic Development.

 

02-Mar-2024 Commission seeks $4bn for Renewable Energy Plant

Commission seeks $4bn for Renewable Energy Plant

Mustapha Abdullahi, the Director-General, Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), says Nigeria will need the $4bn  to go fully Green by 2050.

Abdullahi stated this at a Press Briefing on Clean, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency use in Nigeria in Abuja on Friday.

He said that the Commission had been in consultation with some Firms to invest in Nigeria’s Renewable Energy Sector.

”No Country relies totally on its own Resources to build Renewable Energy Plants, they make the Environment conducive for Investors to move in.

”As a Commission, we are making Policies that will attract Investments in Renewable Energy Generation,” he said.

Abdullahi said that the Commission had been allocated 500 Hectares of Land by the Federal Capital Development Authority.

”We call it the Abuja Technology Village, We intend to make it a Tech City where Investors will come and build several Solar Plants and Renewable Energy Plants,” he said.

The Director-General said that promoting Energy Efficiency Practices and adopting Sustainable Energy Sources were critical to the Campaign against Climate Change.

He said that the Commission would intensify Public Awareness Campaigns about the benefits of Clean and Renewable Energy Sources.

”Our Job is to promote Energy Efficiency Measures to reduce Energy Consumption, lower Costs and minimise Environmental Impacts.

”We also encourage Investments in Renewable Energy Projects and Technologies to diversify the Energy Mix and drive Sustainable Development,” Abdullahi said.

He said it was also part of the Commission’s Duty to engage with Community and Local Government Authorities to adopt practical solutions for Clean Energy and Energy Conservation.

 

02-Mar-2024 NIES 2024 a positive move for Nigeria's Energy Sector, says FG

NIES 2024 a positive move for Nigeria's Energy Sector, says FG

The Federal Government has said that the 7th Nigeria International Energy Summit (NIES 2024) would serve as catalyst for positive change, innovation and resilience in view of Industry challenges.
 
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), George Akume stated this during the Closing Ceremony of the 7th Edition of the NIES 2024, on Friday in Abuja.
 
The Summit which held from February 26 to March 1, with the Theme “Navigating the New Energy World Order: Security, Transition, and Finance,” underscored the complexities, challenges and solutions in the dynamic landscape of the Global Energy Sector.
 
The exchange of Ideas and the spirited discussions by Industry Leaders, Policymakers, and Experts who have shared their insights, experiences, and expertise undoubtedly charted a course for the future of Energy in Nigeria.
 
Akume said the Summit provided a Platform for Stakeholders to engage in meaningful discussions on Innovations, Policies, Advancements, and the overall trajectory of the Energy Sector in Nigeria.
 
He tasked Oil and Gas Stakeholders to collaboratively address the critical Issues that lie at the intersection of Energy Security, Transition and Financial Sustainability.
 
“The Knowledge shared and Relationships fostered during this Summit will undoubtedly serve as catalysts for the transformative changes that lie ahead.
 
“I am confident that the collaborative efforts initiated here will yield tangible results in the days and years to come.
 
“Let us remain committed to the Ideals of Energy Security, transition to Sustainable Practices, and the Financial viability of our Energy Sector.
 
“This Summit, will indeed, serve as catalyst for positive change, innovation, and resilience in the face of the challenges that lie ahead,* he said.
 
Earlier, Nicholas Ella, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, stated that the Summit had been an incredible journey of knowledge sharing, collaboration and foresight.
 
The Summit, according to Ella, transcended Borders, hosting International Delegates from over 50 Countries, who have actively engaged in shaping the Discourse of the dynamic Energy World Order.
 
Ella said the Online Streaming of the Event had exceeded expectations and brought in about 700,000 Participants from across the Globe.
 
He said the depth and diversity of perspectives scheduling the Summit would increase our understanding of the Nigerian Energy Sector.
 
The Permanent Secretary promised to crystallise the outcome of the Summit in a comprehensive Report that will be shared between the Delegates and Federal Government of Nigeria.
 
“The Document (Report) will be transmitted to the SGF for onwards conveyance to the highest level of Authority, encapsulating the collective wisdom and insight gained from the Summit,” he said.
 
01-Mar-2024 United States' Investments into Nigeria in 2022 total $5.6bn, says Envoy

United States' Investments into Nigeria in 2022 total $5.6bn, says Envoy

U.S. Consul General, Will Stevens says his Country is proud to be one of the largest Foreign Investors in Nigeria, with FDI totaling $5.6bn in 2022.

Stevens said this during the Omniverse Summit at Landmark Event Centre on Thursday, in Lagos.

The Consul General spoke on the Theme: “The Role of Technology in Fostering International Collaboration in an Interconnected World”.

He said that Nigeria was the United States’ Second-Largest Trading Partner in Africa with Two-Way Trade exceeding $10.6bn in 2022.

“There are over 80 U.S. Companies operating in Nigeria, in Manufacturing, fast-moving Consumer Goods, Pharmaceuticals, and Technology,” he said.

Stevens reiterated his Country’s commitment to supporting Nigeria and Africa on the journey to prosperity.

The Consul General said that a strong and prosperous Africa was good for the World.

He called for collaboration, sharing knowledge, and pooling Resources to overcome obstacles and achieve the seemingly impossible.

“Let us leverage this opportunity to forge lasting Partnerships, break down barriers, and use Technology not just to connect, but to create a future where Innovation flourishes for the betterment of our Interconnected World,” Stevens said

He said that the way can be paved for fruitful International Partnerships by embracing Inclusivity, bringing Capital to Markets that need Infrastructure Investment, and developing robust Cybersecurity Measures.

The Consul General said that no Nation was having a bigger impact on the evolving Digital Transformation than Nigeria.

He said as Africa’s Largest Economy, Democracy and Number One Destination for Venture Capital, Nigeria was driving Innovation and Creative Solutions to the challenges that vex Nigerians, Africans and People across the World.

“These Innovative Creators are reinforcing my deeply held belief that African Solutions and African Voices are critical and central to resolving the problems of the 21st Century and beyond.

“In the past Decade, Global Internet Traffic has grown by 700 per cent, and Mobile Phone Users have surpassed 6.6 billion.

“This increased Connectivity creates boundless potential for Cross-Border Collaboration, creating a Global Village where Ideas can spark across Oceans, and Innovations can blossom through collective efforts.

“Imagine a World where Researchers from across Continents collaborate on ground-breaking Medical Discoveries, where Engineers work together to tackle Climate Change, and where Entrepreneurs share Ideas and Resources to build a more Sustainable Future.”

Stevens said the World was using the latest Technological Innovations to address some of the World’s most pressing challenges in the Areas of Climate Change, Education, Healthcare, Agriculture, and other Vital Areas of Development and Economic Growth.

He, however, said building these bridges required more than just Technological prowess.

Stevens said challenges like Cultural and Linguistic barriers, unequal access to Resources, and Cybersecurity concerns must be overcome, adding that they were not insurmountable.

“Together, I see that some of these challenges are already being addressed,” he said.

He explained that U.S. Venture Capital Firms had invested heavily in African Tech Start-Ups with over 60 and 40 per cent of Venture Capital Funding in Nigeria and Africa respectively coming from the U.S.

According to him, in 2021, African Start-Ups raised $4.8bn, translating to an average of over $1m every two hours.

29-Feb-2024 OPEC Scribe: Nigeria's Economy, development cannot do without Oil

OPEC Scribe: Nigeria's Economy, development cannot do without Oil

The Secretary General of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Haitham Al-Ghais, said Nigeria had made positive contributions to the Organisation since becoming a Member in 1971.

Al-Ghais said this in an interview with Journalists on the sidelines of the ongoing 7th Nigeria International Energy Summit (NIES 2024) on Thursday in Abuja.

He described Nigeria as a critical and integral part of the Organisation, and that the country had played outstanding roles with positive contributions that had impacted the decisions of OPEC.

He extolled the valuable contributions of Nigeria’s Public Servants who had served as OPEC Secretary-General and President of OPEC Ministerial Conference, among others.

“It is an honour for me to come to Nigeria, to participate in the 7th Summit organised by one of our important Member Countries in OPEC.

“It is my first Official Visit to Nigeria since my assumption of Office as the OPEC Secretary-General, a long overdue visit.

“I congratulate Nigeria for hosting such a widely attended and effective gathering at a time when it is critically needed not only for Nigeria but for Africa and the World, where Energy leads in discussion.

“I had an opportunity of meeting many Nigerian Dignitaries and we exchanged views on the Status of the Global Energy Market, transition and its implication for Africa and the World at large,” he said.

The OPEC Secretary-General said Energy Security was an important component, adding that Energy Transition could not be discussed without looking at Energy Security.

He said he was happy that the Summit also discussed Energy Poverty, which Africa had recorded with so many People lacking access to basic Electricity.

“The Summit presented a very good chance for People to discuss all these aspects with a Global Perspective, as Nigeria takes its transition forward while also continuing to depend on the Conventional Source of Energy, Oil and Gas,” he said.

According to Al-Ghais, Nigeria and OPEC have things in common as Nigeria became an Independent Nation in 1960, the same year OPEC was formed.

“The relationship between Nigeria and OPEC will continue to flourish in the years to come with support for each other.

“Nigeria is the largest Oil Producer in Africa and an important Player in the Global Scene.

“Oil represents such an important part of the Nigerian Economy and Nigerian development, and will continue to do so in decades to come,” he added.

 

28-Feb-2024 FG: International Oil Companies did not leave Nigeria, they only shifted Portfolio, investments Offshore

FG: International Oil Companies did not leave Nigeria, they only shifted Portfolio, investments Offshore

The Federal Government said on Tuesday that none of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) doing Business in Nigeria has left as against insinuations.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, gave the clarifications during the Inauguration of the ongoing Nigeria International Energy Summit (NIES 2024), at the Presidential Banquet Hall in Abuja.

He said the IOCs only shifted their Portfolio and investments to Offshore.

“I want to use this opportunity to assure everyone that no IOC is leaving Nigeria. They are only going Deep Offshore,” he said.

The Minister said that the Divestments by some of the Oil Companies would benefit the Country, as the IOCs would be making further Investments in the Deep Offshore.

The Investments, according to Lokpobiri, will create room for Indigenous Companies to develop capacity within the Onshore and Shallow Waters Space.

“It is imperative to note that we are strategically managing the Divestment Processes.

“Our commitment to enhancing our Crude Oil Reserves and Production is unwavering, and we are actively exploring innovative solutions to attract Investment, optimise Operations and foster sustainable growth.

“We are open for Business and ready to welcome your Investments,” he said.

According to Lokpobiri, the transition to Cleaner and more Sustainable Energy Sources in the Country is inevitable.

“We are actively pursuing Initiatives to position Nigeria as a Leader in this Energy Transition.

“As we navigate this change, Nigeria recognises the need to strike a balance between meeting our growing Energy demand and reducing our Carbon Footprint.

“The diversification of our Energy Mix, Investments in Renewable Energy and the adoption of Cleaner Technologies are all integral components of our strategy,” he added.

The Minister explained that Investments in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry declined by 69 per cent compared to the 28 per cent Global Average between 2017 to 2022.

“To further buttress the above, the Capital Investment to Reserve Ratio shows the amount of Capital deployed to a Country’s available Reserves.

“Nigeria has an abysmal Capital Investment-to-Reserve Ratio of five per cent compared to Angola with 46 per cent; Brazil – 115 per cent; Mozambique – 92 per cent and Guyana – 617 per cent.

“The window for attracting new Investments and exploring our vast Reserves is fast narrowing; if the Global Energy Transition accelerates, approximately 60 per cent of Nigeria’s Reserves could be uncompetitive to produce.

“Against this backdrop, we have identified that there are so many Licenses with proven Reserves that are not being optimised in the hands of IOCs, NOCs, and others.

“In line with Mr President’s Renewed Hope Agenda, we are working on changing this narrative,” he said.

Also speaking, Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), NNPC Limited, assured that its role in the Divestment of the IOCs from Onshore and Shallow Water Assets in the Country, would serve as a facilitator and not an obstacle.

Kyari said that by the virtue of its Statutory Mandate as the enabler of National Energy Security, NNPC Limited’s role would ensure optimal and sustainable Production from the Divested Assets to guarantee Energy Security for the benefit of Nigerians.

He reitrated the Company’s willingness to invest in the proposed African Energy Bank as a way of ensuring sustainable funding for Energy Projects in Africa, to guarantee Energy Security.

On Investment in Energy Infrastructure to drive Energy Security, Kyari further said that the completion of the Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben Pipeline was in sight as the tunnelling across the River Niger was currently ongoing.

He assured Stakeholders of the Company’s commitment to work with them to close the Energy Deficit Gap and create prosperity for Nigerians.

The NNPC Helmsman said that from all indications, all issues of Energy scarcity in the Country would be over in the next 10 years.

The Event saw the participation of key Industry and Governmental Figures, including Haitham Al-Ghais, Secretary-General of OPEC and Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary-General of the African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation, among others. 

28-Feb-2024 CBN's Reforms to check rising Inflation, says Cardoso

CBN's Reforms to check rising Inflation, says Cardoso

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says its on-going Reforms will check rising Inflationary trend and address distortions in the Foreign Exchange Market

The CBN Governor, Yemi Cardoso said this on Tuesday in Abuja, while presenting the Communique from the Apex Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) Meeting.

Cardoso had announced the Committee’s decision to adopt aggressive Inflation-targeting by increasing the Benchmark Interest Rate by 400 Basis Points from 18.75 per cent to 22.75 per cent.

According to him, the argument leaned convincingly in favour of a significant Policy Rate hike to force down Inflation substantially

He said that the MPC deliberated extensively on various distortions in the Foreign Exchange Market, including the activities of Speculators, putting upward pressure on the Exchange Rate with “high pass-through” to Inflation.

Cardoso said that the MPC also identified Non-Monetary Factors driving Inflation, like the persisting Insecurity and Infrastructure Deficits.

“It notes the role of Fiscal Policy in addressing these shortfalls, while reiterating the commitment of Monetary Policy support.

”In this regard, the Committee applauded Fiscal Policy Initiatives towards reducing the Cost of Living for Ordinary Nigerians, including the ongoing efforts to improve Food Supply,” he said.

He said that Headline Inflation rose to 29.90 per cent in January from 28.92 per cent in December 2023.

According to him, Food Inflation increased to 35.41 per cent from 33.93 per cent, while Core Inflation rose
to 23.59 per cent from 23.07 per cent.

”The major factors driving inflationary pressure remains Exchange Rate pass-through, rising Cost of Energy, high Fiscal Deficits, and lingering Security challenges in major Food-Producing Areas.

“In addition, global factors such as tight financial conditions and trade disruptions from ongoing geo-political tensions, remain significant upside risks to the outlook for domestic inflation.

“Staff Forecasts, therefore, indicate that Inflation will remain on an upward trajectory in the near term before commencing a descent,” he said

He said that Members of the MPC were convinced that the ongoing Reforms in the Foreign Exchange Market would yield the desired outcome in the Short to Medium Term.

He listed some of the Reforms to include the Unification of the Foreign Exchange Market and promotion of a
Willing Buyer Willing Seller Market.

Others are removal of all limits on margins for International Money Transfer Operators (IMTO)
Remittances, introduction of a Two-Way Quote System and the broad Reforms in the Bureau De Change (BDC) Segment of the Market.

“The Committee reviewed the key Financial Indicators of the Banking System and noted that the System remained stable.

“To further ensure the stability of the Banking System, the MPC called on the CBN to increase System buffers by
recapitalising the Banks to improve resilience against potential risks.

“Members further enjoined the CBN to strengthen surveillance and compliance regarding its earlier guidance on the application of Foreign Exchange Revaluation Gains,” he said.

28-Feb-2024 CBN Governor: Nigeria's Naira seriously undervalued

CBN Governor: Nigeria's Naira seriously undervalued

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Yemi Cardoso says the Naira is grossly undervalued.

Cardoso said this on Tuesday in Abuja, while presenting a Communiqué from the 293rd Meeting of the Apex Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

He said that the Foreign Exchange Market had not been functioning effectively and had been distortionary in outcome, thereby creating a serious challenge for the Naira.

“We are presently investigating some of the manipulations that have been taking place.

“For distortions that came up due to bad behaviour, those involved will be made to face the full wrath of the Law,” he said.

The CBN Governor said that the Apex Bank was clearing the backlog of genuine Forex Claims, adding that the Country’s Foreign Reserves now stood at $34bn

“Just today, we paid another $400m to those that have been so identified,” he said.

He said that it was important that the Foreign Exchange Market had a good amount of Liquidity and minimal distortion.

“In recent times we have been able to attract Liquidity into the System.

“We have attracted up to two $2bn as a result of the tools that we have used to calibrate Interest Rate.

“We are collaborating with Law Enforcement Agencies to ensure that we can understand better what is going on in the Market.

“We are moving to a very aggressive Regulatory Environment where we will have zero tolerance for Sharp Practices,” he said.

“He said that Players in the Market would have to abide by all CBN Regulations as those who refuse would face the consequences.

According to him, a very thorough exercise is going on to identify what went on in the past and what needs to be done.

Cardoso said that the CBN was moving away from Interventions Programmes and Development Finance Initiatives like the Anchor Borrowers Programme, as they were time-consuming and counter productive.

“Everybody’s concern js about Price Stability, and we should put everything we have into ensuring Price Stability.

“The Interventions took away a lot of time for things we do not have the expertise to do, and it created a lot of distortions in the Economy through inflow of Money Supply.

“The Interventions that took place in the recent past were estimated in excess of N10trn. It did a lot of damage to the Economy, ” he said.

He, however, said that the Apex Bank was taking concrete steps to recover Loans that were given out through such Interventions.

The Tuesday’s MPC Meeting was the first under Cardoso as CBN Governor.

Earlier, Cardoso had announced an aggressive tightening of the Rates, as the Committee increased the Benchmark Interest Rate, the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 400 Basis Points from 18.75 per cent to 22.75 per cent.

The Committee also raised the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) from 32.5 per cent to 45 per cent, and adjusted the Asymmetric Corridor from +100/-300 Basis Point to +100/-700 Basis Point around the MPR.

It, however, retained the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.

 

27-Feb-2024 Economic Hardship: Show Nigerians empathy, Ambode tells Tinubu

Economic Hardship: Show Nigerians empathy, Ambode tells Tinubu

Former Governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode, says the current hardship being experienced in the Nation did not start with President Bola Tinubu Administration.

Ambode spoke at the Akinjide Adeosun Foundation (AAF)’s 2024 Leadership Colloquium and Award: Chapter 8, with the Theme: “ Economic Asphyxiation – The wisdom of Authentic Leaders” held at Alliance Francaise, Ikoyi, on Monday.

The Akinjide Adeosun Foundation (AAF) is a Non-Profit, Non-Religious and Non-Political Organisation. It was set up to leave a Leadership Legacy in Africa by strengthening capabilities in Today’s Leaders and build a pipeline of ready Future Leaders by 2035

Ambode said that Nigeria’s problem had a long history and needed a courageous President like Tinubu to fix them frontally.

“Its (challenges) has nothing to do with the singular person called Mr President; but if we don’t understand the fundamental, we will start doing the blame games.

“We need to face our problems frontally.

“The major issue is that we are even tired of not fixing our issues. Now that we have found somebody that has decided in person of President Tinubu,” he said.

The former Governor, however, said there was need to make Executive Reforms on the Coordination Circle around the President.

Ambode urged Nigerians to stop blame games but be supportive, resilient and patriotic about the Country.

He added: “Until we decide ourselves to say that we should unite for the common cause called Nigeria, the Security issues will not go.

“We are all in a position to actually support Mr President, let us start to look at it from a different prism.

“We don’t have to wake up in the morning and be talking ill of Nigeria. We get what we profess about Nigeria.”

He said that what Nigeria was facing had been staring on the Nation for 300 years, tracing it to Slave Trade with what he described as “the divide and extract strategy”.

He said that Nigeria needed Self-Awareness Strategy to fix problems in the post COVID-19 Era.

“We must think out of the box. We have to feed ourselves.

“When we start to think by ourselves today, we will resolve the issues concerning Nigeria, we will smile,” he added.

Speaking on Authentic Leadership, Ambode said that no matter how weak the Followers were, Nigerian Leaders must stand in front and continually show confidence that tomorrow would be all right.

“You must stand in front and show them that you are in the challenge with them. You must show them empathy.

“It (Authentic Leadership) is more about the Emotional Intelligence that actually understands the frustration of the Followers. What is going on around them.

“The issue is, we cannot afford to play propaganda because something is bad but we keep saying that it is not bad,” he said.

Talking about his Leadership in the State as Governor, Ambode said that he had come to realise that his background was a reflection of his character and values.

He said that he knew how the Ordinary Resident feel and this empathy reflected in many of the decisions taken while in Office.

“I was not born with a Silver Spoon in my mouth. I recognise the fact that I was just opportune to be a Leader and I am actually part of them,” he said.

Ambode said that Authentic Leaders should encourage the People, get their sympathy and provide them hope that “whatever they were going through would go away.”

“My sense of empathy brings a bigger sympathy from Followership,” he said.

He said that if the Leaders showed empathy to the People and carried the People along, the People as Followers must start to show sympathy.

Ambode urged the Government to communicate their difficulties and what they were going through effectively, stressing the need for Community Information.

Speaking on the Theme of the Event, Akinjide Adeosun, the Visionaire of AAF and CEO of St. Rachael’s, described Asphyxiation  as a state of being deprived of Oxygen.

Adeosun said that such could cripple activities, and even if not managed, will ultimately lead to death, “exactly as it is being currently experienced in present day Nigeria”.

Adeosun emphasised the need to be transparent, upright, empathetic, even in the face of Economic and Social challenges.

26-Feb-2024 Tinubu to Nigerians: Better days ahead...

Tinubu to Nigerians: Better days ahead...

President Bola Tinubu says his Administration will continue to put in place measures to bring succour to Nigerians.

At a Tripartite Meeting with Governors and Business People in Abuja on Sunday, Tinubu said that all options would be explored to resolve the Nation’s Socio-Economic challenges.

The President met with Governors Charles Soludo of Anambra and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Aliko Dangote, Abdulsamad Rabiu, Tony Elumelu and Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director-General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.

At the Meeting, Tinubu said that Government was ready to rub mind with all Stakeholders to find lasting solutions to the current situation in the Country.

”Let’s look at what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong to bring life back to the Economy. Like I said, many times, the People of this Country are only the People who we have to please.

”We are very much concerned from Students to Mothers and Fathers, Farmers, the Traders and realising that everyone of us will have to fetch water from the same well. ⁣

”We’re looking for additional efforts that might help the downtrodden Nigerians and we will provide that hope and reassurance that Economic recovery is on its way. ⁣

”We are not saying that we have all the answers. But we will not be blamed for not trying.

”We assure Nigerians that we will do our best to get our Marshal Plans in place and fashion out the best Economic Future for this Country,” he said.

Soludo also said that the Meeting allowed for cross fertilisation of Ideas on the State of the Economy and the way forward, adding that every Nigerian need to contribute to its growth.

”We have all the potentials and we have all that it takes to make Nigeria ride through these turbulent times and put the Economy back on a sustainable growth.

”I think there is unity of purpose, determination, the sense of patriotism and determination by all to make it happen and by the special grace of God, it’s now the execution, execution execution,” he said.

The Governor of Ogun said that all Governors have resolved to join hands with the President to provide the necessary intervention to cushion the effect of the Administration’s Reforms.

Abiodun assured Nigerians that Government at all Tiers would not leave them alone in this trying period, adding that better times are in the offering shortly.

”In my State and in other States, we are bringing in Rice, we’re bringing Food Items and we’re selling at Rates that can be obtained before the downslide of the Naira.”

Dangote, after the Meeting, also disclosed that the Committee deliberated on issues concerning the Economy, Food Security, Security and Job Creation.

He expressed the confidence that Nigeria and Nigerians have the potential to be great once again, adding that the Nation is on the path of transformation.

Rabiu, who is the Chairman of the BUA Group, said that the Meeting dwelt on issues about the Foreign Exchange Rate and how to bring it down.

”We discussed on how to bring the Foreign Exchange Rate down because we all know that what is happening as regards the Foreign Exchange is artificial, it is manipulative and thank God the CBN is doing quite a lot.”

Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings, said that the various discussions and solutions would reshape the Country, alleviate Poverty, create Employment and put Food on the Tables of Nigerians.

Ajayi-Kadir of the Manufacturing Association of Nigerian, said that the Private Sector was looking forward to the implementation of the decisions taken at the Meeting.

”The Issues surrounding Foreign Exchange, Insecurity and General Operating Environment were discussed and we received the assurances of Mr. President that very soon we are going to start to see some major changes.

”I think in the Advisory Committee that has been formed, the Private Sector will play a very significant role, and Nigerians, going forward should be hopeful that we are having solutions to the challenges that we have,” he said.

 

25-Feb-2024 Sanctions: ECOWAS reverses decision on Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso

Sanctions: ECOWAS reverses decision on Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso

ECOWAS on Saturday in Abuja lifted sanctions it imposed on Niger over the Unconstitutional Takeover of Government in that country on July 26, 2023.

The July 2023 Military Putsch was the fifth successful one in Niger since its Independence from France in 1960.

In the July 2023 Coup, Niger’s Presidential Guard removed and detained Democratically-Elected President Mohamed Bazoum.

ECOWAS Commission’s Chairman, Gambia’s President, Omar Touray announced the lifting of the sanctions at the end of the Extraordinary Session of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS Member Countries.

He said the decision was based on Humanitarian considerations, the Socio-Economic impacts of the sanctions on Nigeriens and the Security of the Sub-Region.

“The Authority calls for the immediate release of former President Bazoum and also calls on the Transition Authorities in Niger to provide an acceptable Transition Timetable for Constitutional Order.

“The Authority has resolved to lift with immediate effect sanctions imposed on Niger and has lifted the closure of Land and Air Borders between it and ECOWAS Member Countries.

“No-Fly-Zone of all Commercial Flights to and from Niger is to be lifted. Suspension of all Commercial and Financial Transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Niger are to be lifted.

“Freezing of all Service Transactions including Utility Services is to be lifted. ​

“Freezing of Assets of Niger in ECOWAS Central Bank is to be lifted. Freezing of Assets of Niger and the State’s Enterprises and Parastatals in Commercial Banks is to be lifted,’’ he said.

​Touray said Niger had also been exempted from suspension of all Financial Assistance and Transactions as well as Travel Ban placed on its Officials and their Family Members.

​He explained that Humanitarian Considerations on the Lenten Period and the upcoming Holy Month of Ramadan contributed to the lifting of the sanctions.

The Authority​, he said, also lifted sanctions regarding the recruitment of Malian Citizens in Statutory and Professional Positions within ECOWAS.

“The Authority has also resolved to lift Financial and Economic Sanctions on the Republic of Guinea.

“It instructed the President of the Commission to invite Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and Guinea to attend the Technical, Consultative and Security Meetings of ECOWAS.

“The Authority calls on E​COWAS institutions, Member States and other Regional Institutions to implement these decisions,’’ Touray said.

On the withdrawal by Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali from ECOWAS, Touray said the Authority urged the Countries to reconsider their decision.

He said this was in view of the benefits that the ECOWAS Member States and their Citizens enjoy in the Community.

The Authority expressed its concern over the Socio-Economic, Political Security and Humanitarian impacts of the decision, particularly on the Citizens of the three Countries and on Regional Integration Process, he said.

“The Authority further urges the three Member States to resort to Dialogue, Negotiations and Mediation to address their concerns.

“The Authority urges the three Member States to adhere to the Provisions of the 1993 Revised Treaty.

“They should particularly consider the Treaty relating to withdrawal, particularly the Article that encourages ECOWAS to sustain its rapprochement and overtures towards the Member States, Touray said.

He added that the Authority encouraged outreaches with Traditional, Religious Leaders, Eminent Personalities, Civil Society and Women Leaders for the unity and security of the Region.

The Authority reiterate​d the urgent need for ECOWAS to expedite the Operations of its Standby Force to fight against Terrorism in the Sub-Region, including the elements of the Multinational Joint Task Force and the Accra Initiative.

In this regard, the Authority instructed the Commission to convene the Meeting of Ministers of Finance and Defence to propose Modalities for financing and equipping Counterterrorism efforts.

The Malian Coup took place on August 18, 2020; that of Burkina Faso was on September 30 of the same year, while that of Guinea took place on September 5, 2021.

In the Guinean coup, President Alpha Condé was captured by the Country’s Armed Forces. 

21-Feb-2024 NARTO terminates Strike, resumes lifting of Fuel as FG pays 'Bridge Claims'

NARTO terminates Strike, resumes lifting of Fuel as FG pays 'Bridge Claims'

The Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) has called off its Strike as the Federal Government announced payment of their Bridging Claims.

The Federal Government said though NARTO’s issues were purely Commercial but its Intervention and Transportation Claims Payment (though figure undisclosed) became necessary to ensure Fuel availability Nationwide and maintain a Business Friendly Environment.

Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Oil), announced this after a Meeting with some Major Oil Marketers, hosted by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) on Tuesday in Abuja.

The Oil Marketers include Members of NARTO, Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria (MEMAN).

Others are Representatives of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN), among others.

The Meeting was a continuation of the one which began on Monday to resolve issues hindering the Operations of the Oil Marketers who embarked on Strike.

Fuel queues and emerging scarcity were witnessed at Fuel Stations in the FCT and Nationwide as a result of the suspension of Fuel Transportation and Distribution by NARTO.

The Strike was in fulfillment of their threat to suspend lifting of Petroleum Products Nationwide and down tools from Monday due to high Cost of Operations and Maintenance.

NARTO and the Oil Marketers had complained of the high Cost of Diesel being used by their Trucks to transport Products across the Country and challenges facing their Freight Rate Payment (Bridging Claims) among others.

The Minister, however, said after due consultation with all Stakeholders, they resolved to call off the Strike, adding that all the issues they raised had been addressed.

“Going forward we will keep our commitments, we have started payment of some Bridging Claims as they raised; as we get more money, we will continue to pay them.

“We are also committed; by March we would have been done with the Reconciliation to ascertain the level of Liability, that will reveal Members who have supplied Products across the Country,’’ he said.

The Minister, while thanking the Oil Marketers for their patriotism and commitment in the Industry pledged that the engagement would be sustained to ensure Friendly Environment for Businesses to thrive.

The Chief Executive, NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed, said the increase in the Bridging Claims (Freight Rate) was as a result of the high Cost of Diesel to Fuel Trucks to transport Products.

He said the Rate was last increased in March 2022 during the Subsidy Regime, adding that the Price of Diesel which was N700 per Litre as at that time has increased to N1, 400 currently.

“So, they were requesting increase but as a Regulator we are not going to enforce any Price increase because the Market is deregulated.

“Therefore, they should reach out to the Marketers and negotiate on one on one basis. But the Marketers were reluctant to negotiate, which resulted to the Strike.

“After meeting with the Minister, as much as we understand the issues of NARTO, the Issues were resolved. We don’t want Nigerians to continue to suffer because they have sacrificed more because of the Economic Downturn,’’ he said.

Also speaking, NARTO President, Yusuf Othman, said the Engagement did not concern Pump Price of Fuel as the Price remained the same, but its agitation bothered on Freight Rate for the transportation of Fuel.

“Fuel has to be transported from the Depot to Stations before being sold, if the amount that is paid is not adequate to move the Product to the Station you will not find it.

“Going forward, we will continue to negotiate with the Marketing Companies based on Economic realities. The Pump Price of Fuel does not affect the increase in the Freight Rate,’’ he said.

Othman confirmed improvement in the new Rate, though undisclosed, and expressed the hope of receiving the Claims before weekend.

He urged Members to ensure normalcy considering the pains of Nigerians.

20-Feb-2024 Oil and Gas Suppliers want declaration of State of Emergency on Refineries

Oil and Gas Suppliers want declaration of State of Emergency on Refineries

The Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) has called on President Bola Tinubu to declare a State of Emergency on the Country’s Refineries, if the Economy must be stabilised.

President of NOGASA, Benneth Korie, made the call on Tuesday at a News Conference in Abuja, while assessing current developments in the Oil and Gas Sector.

He said declaring a State of Emergency on the Nation’s Refineries would help to retool the Economy.

“It is very important that the Nigerian Government declares a State of Emergency on our Refineries. It will help in stabilising Distribution Price, not just halting Importation,” he said.

According to Korie, the Tinubu Administration should do whatever is possible to ensure the Refineries work and also stabilise the Naira against the Dollar.

This, he said, was part of the reasons the Refineries were yet to work.

“Whatever it will take for the Refineries to work, let them work.

“So, the answer to all these increments is for our Refineries to start working optimally, and the Products should be sold in Naira to Marketers.

“The reason our Refineries are not coming on stream after rehabilitation is the Exchange Rate.

“They said the Port Harcourt Refinery will start working soon. I think that is the reason it has not started refining Products.

“Price of the Dollar is hampering a lot of things because nobody knows how much to buy and how much to sell.

“They are all waiting for the Naira to stabilise against the Dollar,” Korie said.

The NOGASA President also called for the reintroduction of Bridging Claim Payment to Marketers since the Subsidy removal was not yielding any positive result.

He wondered why the Government’s projection in the 2024 Budget would be N750 to a Dollar, while the Black Market Price had moved close to N2,000.

“The Dollar might go beyond control if they fail to peg it at the N750 Budget Estimate.

“We supported the removal of the Fuel Subsidy but the System is not working well for Nigerians to benefit from it.”

He urged NIMASA and the Nigerian Ports Authority, to henceforth stop demanding Payment of Services rendered to Nigerians, in Dollars.

He said NOGASA Members would soon go out of Business if things continued the way they were.

“We will all go to jail because of the Loans we took from Banks with high Interest Rates of over 30 per cent.

“Move round the Country and you will see Fuel Stations closing shop and being put up for sale; who will buy them? So, the Government should look into it before it gets out of control.

“Depot Owners are struggling to get money from the Banks. Everybody is struggling. Before now, we spent about N1bn to import a Cargo of Product, but now, it takes about N15bn.

“By March 1, we will all run out of Business because our Members can’t cover their Expenses, not to talk about Interest; it is a suicide mission,” Korie said.

He urged the Government to clear the backlog of Unpaid Bridging Claims still owed Oil Marketers.

 

19-Feb-2024 FG, Manufacturers drop Cement Price to N7,000 per Bag

FG, Manufacturers drop Cement Price to N7,000 per Bag

The Federal Government and Major Cement Manufacturers have pegged the Price of 50kg Bag of Cement at between N7,000 and N8,000 depending on the Location Nationwide.
 
David Umahi made this known to Journalists after a protracted Meeting with Major Cement Manufacturers in the Country on Monday in Abuja.
 
The Cement Manufacturers came to an Agreement to sell a 50kg Bag of Cement at a Retail Price of between N7,000 and N8,000, depending on the Location.
 
However, the Manufacturers stated that the Price drop from the current Market Price would depend on the fulfilment of certain Government's Intervention to ameliorate critical challenges faced in the Industry.
 
The Meeting was against the backdrop of the astronomical increase in the Price of the Commodity to about N13,000 in several Retail Stores in the Federal Capital Territory, Enugu and other parts of the Country.
 
The Meeting, called by President Bola Tinubu, to find a lasting solution to the unreasonable increase, had Umahi lamenting that the Price was abnormal and detrimental to Economic prosperity sought after by the current Administration.
 
The Minister said certain issues, including Smuggling, bad Roads, high Energy Costs, and the Foreign Exchange crisis, caused the high Price but stressed that Manufacturers have expressed their readiness to willingly bring down the Price.
 
He said, “The Cement Manufacturers and the Government have noted that the present high Cost of Cement in the Market is abnormal in some Locations Nationwide.
 
“Ideally, they noted that Cement Price and Retail Price to a Consumer should not cost more than between N7,000 and N8,000 per 50 kg Bag of Cement.
 
“Therefore, the Government and the Cement Manufacturers, which are Dangote Plc, BUA Plc and Lafarge Plc, have agreed to peg their Cement Price Nationwide between N7,000 and N8,000 per 50 kg Bag of Cement, depending on the location.
 
“Which means that this Price depends on the Location. Going forward, the Government advised Manufacturers to set up a Price Monitoring Mechanism to ensure compliance with the Prices that are set today.”
 
The Meeting had in attendance the  Minister of Works, Minister of Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, Representatives of Dangote Plc, BUA Plc and Lafarge Plc.
 
19-Feb-2024 Africa to average GDP of 3.8%, 4.2% in 2024, 2025, says AfDB Report

Africa to average GDP of 3.8%, 4.2% in 2024, 2025, says AfDB Report

The real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth for Africa is expected to average 3.8 per cent and 4.2 per cent in 2024 and 2025.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) said this in its latest Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook (MEO) Report.

In a Statement issued on the Bank’s Website, this is higher than the projected Global Averages of 2.9 per cent and 3.2 per cent, according to the Report.

According to the Report, the Continent is set to remain the second-fastest-growing Region after Asia.

“The top 11 African Countries projected to experience strong Economic Performance Forecast are Niger (11.2 per cent), Senegal (8.2 per cent), Libya (7.9 per cent) and Rwanda (7.2 per cent)”

“Others are Cote d’Ivoire 6.8 per cent, Ethiopia 6.7 per cent, Benin 6.4 per cent), Djibouti 6.2 per cent, Tanzania 6.1 per cent, Togo 6 per cent, and Uganda at six per cent” the Report said.

It quoted Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB’s President, as saying “in spite the challenging Global and Regional Economic Environment, 15 African Countries have posted output expansions of more than five per cent.”

Adesina, therefore, called for larger Pools of Financing and several Policy interventions to boost Africa’s growth further.

Africa’s Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook is a Biannual Publication released in the First and Third Quarters of each year.

It complements the existing African Economic Outlook (AEO), which focuses on key emerging Policy Issues relevant to the Continent’s Development.

The MEO Report provides an up-to-date evidence-based assessment of the Continent’s recent Macroeconomic Performance and Short-to-Medium-Term Outlook amid dynamic Global Economic Developments.

Adesina said the latest Report called for cautious optimism given the challenges posed by Global and Regional risks.

He listed the risks to include rising Geo-Political tensions, increased Regional conflicts, and Political instability all of which could disrupt Trade and Investment flows, and perpetuate Inflationary pressures.

According to Adesina, Fiscal Deficits have improved, as faster-than-expected and recovery from the Pandemic helped shore up Revenue.

“This has led to a stabilisation of the Average Fiscal Deficit at 4.9 per cent in 2023, like 2022, but significantly less than the 6.9 per cent average Fiscal Deficit of 2020”

“The stabilisation is also due to the Fiscal consolidation measures, especially in Countries with elevated risks of Debt distress.”

The AfDB Boss said that with the Global Economy mired in uncertainty, the Fiscal positions of the African Continent would continue to be vulnerable to Global Shocks.

“The Report shows that the Medium-Term Growth Outlook for the Continent’s five Regions is slowly improving, a pointer to the continued resilience of Africa’s Economies”

Presenting key findings of the Report, the AfDB’s Chief Economist and Vice President, Kevin Urama said growth in Africa’s Top-Performing Economies had benefitted from a range of factors.

Urama said the factors include declining Commodity dependence through Economic Diversification, increasing stra­tegic Investment in key Growth Sectors, rising both Public and Private Consumption, and positive developments in key Export Markets.

“Africa’s Economic Growth is projected to regain moderate strength as long as the Global Economy remains resilient, disinflation continues, Investment in Infrastructure Projects remains buoyant, and progress is sustained on Debt restructuring and Fiscal consolidation,” he said.

For his part, Albert Muchanga, the  Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals, African Union Commission, said the future of Africa rested on Economic Integration.

According to Muchanga, our Small Economies are not competitive in the Global Market. Moreover, a healthy internal African Trade Market can ensure value-added and Intra-African production of Manufactured Goods.

He said that the MEO Forecast, and recommendations would be made available to African Heads of State.

He said the Report would be useful when the African Union made its Proposals to the G20- an Informal Gathering of the World’s Largest Economies to which the Union was admitted in 2023.

“The improved Growth Figure for 2024 reflects concerted efforts by the Continent’s Policymakers to drive Economic Diversification Strategies focused on increased Investment in key Growth Sectors.

“And the implementation of Domestic Policies aimed at consolidating Fiscal positions and reversing the increase in the Cost of Living and boosting Private Consumption,’’ Muchanga said.

Also speaking, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mthuli Ncube described the Report as being “on point” and consistent with the reality in his Country.

Ncube said it was useful for Economic Planning across Africa and urged AfDB to continue its thoughtful Leadership to help Policymakers continue to build resilience to withstand shocks and drive growth.

He said: “Zimbabwe expects slower growth due to Climate Shocks in the Region. Southern African countries depend on Agriculture for Economic Growth, so Climate-Proofing Agriculture is key.

“We are in talks with Creditors to restructure its Debt, which is slowing Economic Growth. Internally, the Country will focus on Economic and Governance Reforms and Reforms around Property Rights to increase Agricultural Production.”

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Sachs, the Director, Centre for Sustainable Development, Columbia University said about 41 Countries across the Continent would in 2024, achieve an Economic Growth Rate of 3.8 per cent.

Sachs said in 13 of them, Growth would be more than one percentage point higher than in 2023.

The Director said that Long-Term Affordable Financing must be part of Africa’s strategy to achieve growth of seven per cent or more per year.

He warned that Africa was paying a very high-risk Premium for Debt Financing, and called for this point to be made to the G20.

“Long-Term development cannot be based on Short-Term Loans. Loans to Africa should be at least 25 years or longer.

“Short-Term Borrowing is dangerous for Long-Term Development. Africa must act as one in scale,” he said.

Sachs, who is also the UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ Advocate for Sustainable Development Goals, also called for a much larger AfDB, better resourced to meet Africa’s Financing Needs.

18-Feb-2024 Nigeria, Brazil to boost Economic Relations

Nigeria, Brazil to boost Economic Relations

President Bola Tinubu and President Luiz da Silva of Brazil have met for a comprehensive strengthening of Bilateral Ties across different Economic Sectors.

The Meeting took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sunday on the sidelines of the 37th Session of the African Union Head of States and Government.

Tinubu stressed the need for stronger Ties with other Nations in line with Nigeria’s Economic potential and influence in the Continent.

He said that Nigeria was witnessing a leap forward in spite of some short-term Reform pains, adding that his Administration was removing all encumbrances to Business.

The President explained that his Administration was investing in critical Sectors like Healthcare, Education and Agriculture to ensure the Welfare of Citizens and to create sustainable Economic prosperity.

“We have a very vibrant Population of Young Nigerians who are trainable, dependable, and should be empowered. The Economic potential of Nigeria is enormous.

“We are ready to fight corruption from top to bottom. We are ready to invest in critical Sectors like Healthcare, Agriculture, Education, Infrastructure, and others. I have one of the most dedicated Teams on Agriculture,” he said.

Tinubu said Nigeria was ready to deepen Ties with Brazil, noting that it is a “Legacy of what can be done together to change the future for countless millions of our Citizens”.

“We are stopping at nothing to remove all encumbrances to Business. Red tape is being shredded around us. There is nothing we will not do to manifest the great potential of our Nation.

“We are very aware of your progressive Legacies of Social Security Provision, Infrastructure, and Reforms in Petrobras. We are in the process of implementing similar Reforms in the NNPCL.

“We are focusing on Investment in new Production and new Energy Sources. We are investing in Research, and we are removing obstacles to further partnerships in all Areas of Operation,” the President said.

While identifying Solid Mineral Exploration, Agriculture, Education, and Healthcare as Areas of immediate concern, Tinubu emphasised that the will of the two Leaders to collaborate was firmly established.

“I agree that our Countries must now have Direct Air Links. I will form a Committee of Cabinet Members who will work directly with your Cabinet Ministers, and they will urgently form a Joint Plan of Action for the benefit of our two great Countries.

“Brazil and Nigeria share similarities. Let us forget old mistakes. The phenomenal growth achieved by Brazil in Agriculture is exemplary.

“We will work with you to mechanise our Food Production Systems to enhance quality and quantity of output. I will work with you to re-energise Nigeria’s Relations with Brazil across the board,” Tinubu said.

Assessing Nigeria’s Natural and Human Resource Wealth akin to Brazil’s da Silva said Africa’s largest Economy and South America’s largest Economy have a long and interesting History.

The Brazilian Leader said Nigeria and Brazil once had a Trade Volume of more than $10bn in the past, which has now plummeted to $1.6bn.

“I am back to try to restore; to reclaim our good Relations with Nigeria. I cannot imagine that a Country of 216 million People and another of 213 million People do not have strong Relations.

“Mr. President, I am 78 years old. You are 71. What keeps me energetic is that I fight for a cause. The cause of my Nation and People. A great cause is the elixir of sustained vitality for experienced Leaders.

“Nigeria and Brazil need stronger Relations from the Academic viewpoint; from the Cultural viewpoint; from the Commercial viewpoint; from the Agricultural viewpoint; from the Industrial viewpoint, and from Trade viewpoint.

“It is meaningless that there are no Direct Flights from Lagos to Sao Paulo and vice versa. I can not understand that. We have to sit at a table and find a solution for that.

“In Aviation, there are many Areas of potential Collaboration with our Manufacturers who seek to have a greater presence in Africa. I only have three more years left of my Term to do everything I have not done yet.

“The time is very short. I am in a hurry to make my contributions to improve these Relations with Nigeria. To make this happen, we have to put our Ministers to work,” he said.

The two Leaders agreed to work out the modalities for a State Visit to Brazil by Tinubu following an Invitation by da Silva.

 

17-Feb-2024 Let Nigeria be the home of African Central Bank, Tinubu tells African Leaders

Let Nigeria be the home of African Central Bank, Tinubu tells African Leaders

President Bola Tinubu says Nigeria is ready to host the African Central Bank in line with the Vision of the Abuja Treaty.

He said this at the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Saturday.

The President said his Administration would engage the African Union Commission in collaboration with Member States to ensure that the Bank takes off as scheduled in 2028.

Tinubu said that Africa’s success in addressing its challenges hinges on the firmness of its Resolution, built on a Foundation of deep-rooted solidarity, if it is to avoid perpetuating existing problems and creating new ones.

“As a Continent and as Individual Nations, we face strong headwinds and difficult hurdles threatening to complicate our Mission to bring qualitative Democratic Governance and Economic Development to our People.

“Many of these obstacles, such as Climate Change and unfair patterns of Global Trade, are largely not of our making.

“However, some of the pitfalls, including Coup-Birthed Autocracies and the deleterious tinkering with Constitutional Tenure Provisions, are developmental cancers we as Africans are giving to ourselves,” he stated.

Speaking on the Military takeovers in the Republics of Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, and the exit of three of these Nations from ECOWAS, the President said disagreements over the Unconstitutional Changes of Government should not mean a permanent rupture of the abiding lines of Regional affinity and cooperation.

“The drive for a peaceful, strong, and united West Africa is bigger than any one Person or Group of People. The Bonds of History, Culture, Commerce, Geography, and Brotherhood hold deep meaning for our People.

“Thus, out of the dust and fog of misunderstanding and acrimony, we must seize the chance to create a new People-Centric Era of trust and accord.

“To all who care to listen, I declare that if you come to the table to discuss important matters in good faith, you will find Nigeria and ECOWAS already sitting there waiting to greet you as the Brother that you are,” he said.

On Education, which is the Theme of this year’s Summit, the President said Education is the core ingredient in the process of evolving creative solutions to the unique challenges long confronting the Continent.

“In helping to achieve the Agenda 2063 objective of a peaceful, united and prosperous Africa, I consider African Education, not only in the narrow context of the benign use of Science and Technology to improve the Material Standards of our People, but also in the nuanced appreciation of the fact that Africa must also become better educated in the Humane Art of Democratic Practice, Diplomacy, and conflict resolution without violence.

“In Nigeria, my Administration is devoting ample Resources to Education at all Levels. From redesigning our School Feeding Programmes and Academic Curricula to making ourselves an Information and Communication Technology hub, through which we shall bring more Youths into the Classroom and furnish them with the Tools required to flourish in the Global Economy of the 21st Century,” he said.

The President used the occasion to extend invitation to the Africa Counter-Terrorism Summit scheduled to take place in April in Abuja.

He said that the Summit aimed to expand discussions beyond Military and Law Enforcement remedies to comprehensively tackle the root causes of violent extremism, such as poverty, inadequate Political access, and the propagation of hateful Ideologies.

16-Feb-2024 Trade Minister: My plan for Job Creation, Investments

Trade Minister: My plan for Job Creation, Investments

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is set to inaugurate a National Trade Intelligence Unit.

According to the Ministry, the aim is to predict Global Market Trends and enhance Local and Global Trading Capacities.

The Minister, Doris Uzoka-Anite, said this at the ongoing  Ministerial Media Briefing on Friday in Abuja.

“With respect to Trade as a Tool to stimulate Economic growth, the Ministry is set to inaugurate the National Trade Intelligence Unit in collaboration with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) .

“Such as the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, the Nigerian Customs Service, Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

“The Trade Intelligence Unit will be the National Coordinator and focal point for all trade related Data and Information in Nigeria.

“This Office is set to leverage World-Class Technology such as Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and Big-Data to provide Nigeria with the ability to predict Global Market Trends.

“That will enhance our Local and Global Trading Capacities, thereby, significantly enhancing Trade and the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria, in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Eight Point Agenda,” she said.

According to Uzoka-Anite, this will equip Nigerian Traders with invaluable insights to navigate potential Global Economic Shocks and provide strategic Guidance to enhance our Economic growth.

She said it would enable the Traders to focus on Areas where Nigeria had a comparative advantage, thus leading to rapid Economic growth.

Reiterating the advantages of the Centre, she said it would, among other things, provide Nigeria with unparalleled, reliable Import and Export Information and Data, essential for effective Planning and Business Ease.

The Minister said that under her Stewardship, the Ministry had taken various major steps targeted towards stimulating the Economy and ensuring competitiveness.

“We are creating a National Job Centre to match available Vacancies in Industries and Businesses with available Talent Pool. The Job Centre will also train and equip People to be Job-ready.

“One such Initiative is the Skill-UP Artisans Programne (SUPA) led by our Parastatal, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF).

“Over a two-year period, the Programme aims to empower 10 million hard-working Nigerians, and reflects the Government’s commitment to promoting Economic Development and improving Citizens’ Standard of Living, and Job Creation,” she said.

According to Uzoka-Anite, the Ministry is also taking decisive steps to attract Capital Investments that will transform our homegrown Enterprises into Global Players.

She said all these were in furtherance of the 8-Point Agenda of the President Tinubu-led Administration.

The Minister acknowledged some of the prevailing challenges in the Sector, among which were Infrastructure deficits, Bureaucratic bottlenecks, and Regulatory complexities.

 

13-Feb-2024 MTN to FIRS: We will never deliberately avoid Taxes

MTN to FIRS: We will never deliberately avoid Taxes

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), has assured Nigeria’s leading Telecom MTN Nigeria Plc and others of a friendly, Customer-Centric Tax administration.

The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Zacch Adedeji, said this when he received the Chief Executive Officer of MTN, Karl Toriola on Tuesday.

Toriola had led the Management Team of the Company on a visit to the Revenue House.

Adedeji said that the resolve to create an Environment of growth by removing every obstacle in the way of Corporate Entities was in line with the Directive of President Bola Tinubu.

He said that the ongoing Restructuring at the Agency leading to the creation of a One-Stop Shop for Taxpayers according to their Turnover Thresholds was part of measures aimed at easing payment of Taxes.

“The way we are structured now is that we have Large Taxpayers’ Group, Medium and Small.

“Those in the Large Tax Group are Companies with Turnover of N5bn and above and I know that is where MTN belongs.

“In the Large Tax Category, you will now be required to pay all your Taxes, including Company Income Tax, VAT and others in that One-Stop Shop where you can also have issues relating to Audit sorted.

“Essentially, the issue of multiple Letters from various Units within FIRS over almost the same matter has been taken off the System with the Restructuring that we have done.

“We are now focused on providing the needed Service to our Customers,” Adedeji said.

The FIRS Chairman said that the Relationship between FIRS and the Taxpayers was symbiotic.

”Your existence actually determines our own existence. If you discover anything in our Policies or Operations that you are not conversant with, feel free to reach out to us for clarification. This is how we can co-exist,” he said.

Earlier, Toriola pledged the support of MTN towards the Initiatives of the Federal Government and FIRS in increasing Tax Revenue.

He also pledged the support of MTN towards the Initiatives of the Federal Government and also for the FIRS towards making sure that Nigeria’s Tax Revenue Base increased.

“We have been recognised over the years by a few Awards given to us by FIRS on our compliance and diligence in paying our Taxes.

“Unlike many other Organisations, we have physical presence in every single Local Government in Nigeria, and we impact the Lives of almost everyone living in Nigeria.

“Over the years, through various Administrations, we have taken pride in always being a Partner and ally to the Federal Government and we do so by ensuring that we pay our Taxes on time. We will never deliberately avoid Taxes.

“We will show every flexibility to support the various Initiatives.

”As MTN Nigeria, we understand the kind of challenges the Nation is facing, and we are here to be Partners in putting the Economy in on the right track,” he said.

 

12-Feb-2024 Maritime Workers threaten showdown over 50% deduction from NPA's IGR

Maritime Workers threaten showdown over 50% deduction from NPA's IGR

Maritime Workers on Monday warned of a potential Nationwide Strike if the Federal  Government continues with the proposed 50 per cent automatic deduction from Revenue accrued to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

They made the threat in a Statement jointly issued by the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-Owned Companies (SSASCGOC) and Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) in Lagos.

In the Statement signed by the two Unions, President, SASCGOC, Akinola Bodunde and President General, MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju, the Unions said they had written a Letter to the President regarding the development.

The Unions warned that failure to rescind the decision would lead to Workers’ withdrawal and total shutdown of Ports Nationwide.

Both Unions insisted on a 30 per cent deduction from NPA’s Revenue instead of 50 per cent.

The Unions said, “Automatic deduction of 50 per cent of its Internally Generated Revenue shall leave the Authority financially incapacitated to discharge these responsibilities to the Host Communities, which may lead them to resort to unhealthy activities.

“We recommend that 30 per cent of the Revenue internally generated by the Authority could be automatically deducted whilst 70 per cent is left for the Authority to accomplish its Overhead Costs and Statutory Responsibilities, failure of which the Unions would have no other option than to withdraw the Services of their Members from all Ports Formations Nationwide.”

The President of SASCGOC, Bodunde, speaking on behalf of the Unions, highlighted the severe financial implications of such a deduction on the Operational Capabilities of the NPA.

Bodunde explained that with the NPA being a self-funded Entity reliant on its IGR, a 50 per cent reduction would affect its Operational Capabilities.

According to him, the reduction in Revenue could jeopardise crucial Maritime Operations such as dredging Port Channels and maintaining Infrastructure, ultimately affecting Vessel Traffic and Port activities.

He explained that Workforce Development and Community Relations are at risk due to the potential consequences of the proposed deduction.

Also, the President General of MWUN, Adeyanju, underlined the importance of a well-trained Workforce for efficient Port Operations.

Adeyanju expressed concerns that the reduction in Revenue could hinder Investment in Employee Training and Welfare.

He said that the Union worries over the NPA’s ability to meet its Obligations to Host Communities, saying that could be compromised, potentially leading to unrest and social upheaval.

The MWUN President, thereafter, issued an ultimatum to the Government, demanding a revisions of the directive to allow for a more reasonable deduction from Internally Generated Revenue.

 

12-Feb-2024 Access Holdings to announce ASAP a replacement for Wigwe as CEO

Access Holdings to announce ASAP a replacement for Wigwe as CEO

Access Holdings has confirmed the passing of its Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Wigwe, along with his Wife and Son, in a Helicopter crash in the U.S.

The Company said in a Statement signed by Sunday Ekwochi, Group Company Secretary, Access Holdings.

“It is with deep sadness that the Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc (‘the Company’) announces the passing of Herbert Wigwe, CFR, the Company’s Founding Group Chief Executive Officer and former Group Managing Director of its Flagship Subsidiary, Access Bank Plc (‘the Bank’).

“Wigwe died alongside his Wife and Son on Friday, February 9, 2024 in a Helicopter Accident in the United States of America.

“The entire Access Family mourns the loss of Herbert, Doreen and Chizi. We extend our deep and sincere sympathies to his Family and loved ones.

“Wigwe was a key driving force and a larger-than-life Personality who brought his remarkable passion, energy, and experience to the transformation of the Access Franchise since joining the Bank in 2002,” he said.

Commenting on the passage, Abubakar Jimoh, Chairman of Access Holdings, said, “the Access Family has suffered a major loss with the passing of Wigwe who was a great Friend and fine Gentleman.

“He had a prodigious intellect, admirable personal qualities, and vast Business experience which he brought to bear on the Access Family and for which we owe him a debt of gratitude”.

Jimoh said in line with the Company’s Policy, the Board will soon announce the appointment of an Acting Group Chief Executive Officer.

He expressed hope that “the Access Group will build further on Wigwe’s legacy of growth and operational excellence.” 

07-Feb-2024 Inflation: CBN Governor laments huge Economic backlash on Nigerians

Inflation: CBN Governor laments huge Economic backlash on Nigerians

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Yemi Cardoso, says Nigeria’s Inflationary pressure will drop from 28.92 per cent to 21.4 per cent in 2024.

Cardoso said this in Abuja on Tuesday when he addressed the House of Representatives.

According to him, the projected decline in the Country’s Inflation is due to Inflation-targeting Policies of the Federal Government.

He said that improvement in Agricultural Productivity and easing Global Supply chain pressures would also contribute to reining in Inflation.

“Inflationary pressures are expected to decline in 2024 due to the CBN’s Inflation-targeting Policy, aiming to rein in Inflation to 21.4 per cent.

“This will be aided by improved Agricultural Productivity and easing Global Supply chain pressures.

“The CBN’s Inflation-targeting Framework involves clear communication and collaboration with Fiscal Authorities to achieve Price Stability, potentially leading to lowered Policy Rates, stimulating Investment, and creating Job Opportunities,” he said.

He said that the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market was currently facing increased demand pressures, causing a continuous decline in the Value of the Naira.

According to him, factors contributing to this situation include speculative Forex demand, inadequate Forex supply due to non-remittance of Crude Oil Earnings to the CBN, increased Capital Outflows, and Excess Liquidity from Fiscal activities.

“The shift to a Market-driven Exchange Rate is intended to create a stable Macroeconomic Environment and discourage Currency hoarding.

“However, short-term volatilities are attributed to arbitrage and speculation.

“To address Exchange Rate volatility, a comprehensive strategy has been initiated to enhance Liquidity in the FX Markets.

“This includes unifying FX Market Segments, clearing outstanding FX obligations, introducing new Operational Mechanisms for Bureaux De Change (BDCs), enforcing the Net Open Position (NOP) limit, and adjusting the remunerable Standing Deposit Facility cap,” Cardoso said.

He said the steps taken were having huge Economic Cost impact on the Citizenry.

“These Costs are temporary, and our decisions will address a lot of fundamental issues bothering Nigeria’s Macroeconomic Landscape.

“These measures, aimed at ensuring a more Market-Oriented Mechanism for Exchange Rate determination, will boost Foreign Exchange Inflows, stabilise the Exchange Rate, and minimise its pass-through to Domestic Inflation,” he said.

05-Feb-2024 Nigeria must look beyond Oil, begins to produce for Export, say Utomi, others

Nigeria must look beyond Oil, begins to produce for Export, say Utomi, others

Pat Utomi, Founder CVL and Political economist, says the Federal Government needs to transition Nigeria from a focus on Consumption to a Production-oriented Economy, both for Local use and Export, to enhance Economic Growth.
 
Utomi gave the advice while delivering an Address at the 21st CVL Annual Lecture and International Leadership Symposium on Skills-Driven Entrepreneurship, to mark his 68th Birthday on Monday in Lagos.
 
He stated that Nigeria must begin to produce for Export beyond the Sale of Crude Oil, as no Country can survive without creating Wealth.
 
Utomi also pointed out the detrimental effects of the removal of Petrol Subsidies and the rapid depreciation of the National Currency relative to the Dollar.
 
He attributed the worsening poverty levels in Nigeria to these factors and noted the urgency of addressing Trade Policy mismanagement, which had led to a collapse in the Manufacturing Sector.
 
According to him, the pervasive poverty which saw Nigeria overtaking India in the Brookings Institution Study on Poverty in the World has been made worse by the removal of Subsidy on Petrol.
 
“Unfortunately, public policy has encouraged Elite to focus on rent seeking, Government contracting and pure graft at the expense of Production.
 
“Oil, with Dutch Disease had inflicted much damage on the Culture of Production and the biggest challenge before the Country is how to move quickly from Consumption without purpose to Production.
 
“The imperative of the rise of the Spirit of Enterprise needs to be interrogated and the experience needs of those who are proof of it can be done, from their having done it, and laid bare,” he said.
 
Utomi expressed satisfaction on his decision to start Business Ventures and also support and mentor Entrepreneurs, having been the Pioneer Entrepreneurship Faculty at the Lagos Business School(LBS).
 
Also, former Presidential Aspirant, Mohammed Hayatudeen, emphasised the Nation’s potential for Entrepreneurship, citing the vibrant Population and growing Digital Infrastructure as key contributing factors.
 
He noted the rise of Start-Ups and Innovative Solutions in Areas such as Creative Arts, Fintech, Agriculture, and Renewable Energy.
 
Hayatudeen advocated Collaboration among Government, Private Sector, Sivil Society, and Educational Institutions to create an Environment conducive for successful Entrepreneurship.
 
Nwakwo Adiele, Management Consultant/Atlanta PB Area Manager, in his keynote Address, emphasised the importance of developing Technical, Communication Skills, and Customer Service to foster Nigeria’s Growth.
 
He said the Nation urgently needed to shift towards a more Production-focused Economy and the development of Skills necessary for Sustainable Economic Growth in Nigeria.
 
.Henrietta Onwuegbuzie, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at LBS, said that the Rate of Unemployment in the Country was due to a shift from an era of Entrepreneurship during Pre-Colonial Era to the advent of Colonialism that encouraged Job seeking.
 
Onwuegbuzie called for a change in the African Educational Curriculum, adding that the School System needed to be structured in a way that Students earn to learn, and not the other way round.
 
According to her, Students should be trained to understand the Priniciple of Business, change of Mind Set and impact-driven Empowerment.
 
The Scholar stated that the current hardship and exodus of Citizens outside the shore of the Country is a potential Business Opportunity for Entrepreneurs, because Entrepreneurs are problem solvers.
04-Feb-2024 CBN says Report on plans to convert Domiciliary Accounts into Naira 'absolute false'

CBN says Report on plans to convert Domiciliary Accounts into Naira 'absolute false'

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has no plans to convert Domiciliary Account Holdings valued at $30bn into Naira.

Hakama Sidi-Ali, CBN’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, made the clarification in a Statement in Abuja on Saturday.

Sidi-Ali’s Statement was a reaction to a Media Report that the Apex Bank planned to convert Domiciliary Accounts into Naira, to address the unending depreciation of the Local Currency.

“The attention of the CBN has been drawn to a story published by a National Newspaper, alleging that the Federal Government is considering converting $30bn Domiciliary Deposits to Naira.

“This allegation is absolutely false and aims to trigger panic in the Foreign Exchange Market,
which the CBN is working assiduously to stabilise, as evidenced by its recent Work and Policy Directions.

“Similar false narratives have been spread on the work of the CBN over the past few months
and it is clear that vested interests are determined to sabotage our efforts,” she said.

She assured that the CBN was working to build confidence and would never do anything to undermine the Currency and the Economy.

She urged all Stakeholders to disregard stories aimed at causing panic in the System and see them as acts of National sabotage.

“We wish to advise, in the strongest terms, against the peddling of false Reports that have the
potential to be disruptive to the Economy.

“The CBN is the only Designated Authority for Monetary Policy changes and will always advise on any Policy changes before they are brought into operation.

“The CBN is always open to answer questions about our Policies,” she said.

The Naira has been on a free fall in the last few days, exchanging at N1,500 to the Dollar.

This has created panic among some Stakeholders who have been calling on the Apex Bank to take urgent steps to strengthen the Naira. 

 

01-Feb-2024 NBS: You'll pay N703 as Average Cost for a Healthy Diet in Nigeria

NBS: You'll pay N703 as Average Cost for a Healthy Diet in Nigeria

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), says the national average Cost of a Healthy Diet was ₦703 in October 2023.

Adeyemi Adeniran, the Statistician-General of the Federation, and Chief Executive Officer of the NBS, said this at  the unveiling of  “The Cost of a Healthy Diet (CoHD)” Indicator Report in Abuja on Wednesday.

Adeniran said that the Indicator was produced in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Federal Ministries of Budget and Economic Planning, Health and Social Welfare and Agriculture and Food Security.

Adeniran said that the CoHD was the least expensive combination of Locally Available Items that meet Globally consistent Food-Based Dietary Guidelines, used as a measure of Physical and Economic access to Healthy Diets.

“This is a lower bound (or floor) of the Cost per Adult per day excluding the Cost of Transportation and Meal preparation.”

“The Data for this Indicator is derived from the comprehensive Food Price Data, a key component used in calculating the Inflation Rate.

“This Indicator will provide invaluable insights into the current State of Nutrition and Affordability across the Nation.”

He said in October 2023, the Average CoHD was highest in the South-East at ₦918 per Adult per day, compared to ₦605 per Adult per day in the North-East, which was the lowest.

At the State Level, the Report showed Anambra, Ebonyi, and Enugu recorded the highest cost at N950, N933, and N915, respectively.

“While the lowest Total Diet Costs were recorded in Niger, Adamawa, and Bauchi at N544, N545, and N560, respectively. ”

However, Adeniran said in November 2023, the Report showed the National Average Cost of a Healthy Diet was ₦742.

“Also, the Average CoHD was highest in the South-East at ₦920 per Adult per day, compared to ₦616 per Adult per day in the North-East, in November 2023.”

At the State Level, the Report showed Anambra, Ogun, and Ebonyi, recorded the highest Cost at N965, N939, and N937, respectively.

“While the lowest Total Diet Costs were recorded in Bauchi, Adamawa, and Niger at N550, N562, and N572, respectively. ”

“Also, in December 2023, the National Average Cost of a Healthy Diet was ₦786.

“The Average CoHD was highest in the South-West at ₦979 per Adult per day, compared to ₦663 per Adult per day in the North-West.”

At the State Level, the Report showed Ekiti, Osun, and Ondo recorded the highest Cost at N1,052, N1,017, and N986, respectively.

“While the lowest Total Diet Costs were recorded in Katsina, Niger, and Adamawa at N594, N635, and N654, respectively. ”

Adeniran said Animal Food Sources were the most expensive Food Group recommendations to meet in the three months reported,

This he said accounted for 38 per cent of the total CoHD in October and December and 39 per cent in November.

He said Fruits and Vegetables were the most expensive Food Groups in terms of Price per Calories for the three months, while the least expensive Food Group on average was Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds at six per cent of the Total Cost.

“In recent months, the CoHD had risen faster than General Inflation and Food Inflation,” Adeniran said.

However, the Statistician-General said the CoHD and the Food Consumer Price Index (CPI) were not directly comparable.

“The CoHD includes fewer Items and is measured in Naira per day, while the food CPI is a Weighted Index.”

Adeniran said the Retail Food Price Data in the analysis was collected by the NBS Monthly from 10,534 Informants spread across the Country from Urban and Rural Outlets for each State.

 

01-Feb-2024 Shettima to Business Owners in Lekki Free Zone: FG will develop your Roads

Shettima to Business Owners in Lekki Free Zone: FG will develop your Roads

Vice-President Kashim Shettima, has assured Businesses operating in the Lekki Free Zone of the commitment of President Bola Tinubu Administration towards the provision of Infrastructure to enhance Production in the Area.

Shettima stated this on Wednesday at an Interactive Session with some Operators in the Lekki Free Zone at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Operators were led by the Managing Director of Tolaram Group, Haresh Aswani.

Shettima who spoke shortly after listening to a Presentation on the Transformative Solutions For Road Infrastructure in the Lekki Economic Axis, said the development of the Road Infrastructure along the Lekki Axis would be prioritised.

He said Government’s commitment is premised on “the tremendous Economic and Social Benefits accruable to Citizens and the Government.

“We will also explore the possibility of opening new vista of Opportunities for Nigerians.”

He said President Tinubu’s antecedents as a Pro-Business Leader was a springboard that would galvanise the development of the Area which has huge Economic benefits to Government and the People.

The Vice President further assured all Businesses operating in the Area and elsewhere in the Country that the Tinubu Administration “is on the course of making History.

“We are going to surmount all the challenges and address the bottlenecks militating against the growth of Businesses in the Country.”

In an Interview with State House Correspondents, a Director at the Lekki Deep Sea Port, Adesuwa Ladoja, thanked the Vice President for granting them audience and listening to their requests.

She appealed to the Federal Government to prioritise the development of Road Infrastructure around the Lekki Free Zone, considering its huge Economic benefits to the Nation.

Also, the Chief Executive Officer, Colgate Tolaram, Girish Sharma, said fixing Roads in and around the Free Zone would address challenges faced by Operators in the Area.

He solicited more support for Companies in the Area such as Tolaram Group, a company with huge Investments in Nigeria cutting across Manufacturing, Construction and others, employing over 20,000 Nigerians.

Also present at the Meeting were the Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Folorunsho Coker, and a Director at the Lekki Free Zone, Dinesh Rathi, among others. 

31-Jan-2024 CBN settles backlog of Forex owed Foreign Airlines with additional $64.44m
31-Jan-2024 CDA: Comply or face the music, FG warns Mining Companies

CDA: Comply or face the music, FG warns Mining Companies

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, says Mining Firms will be sanctioned if they do not comply with the Revised Community Development Agreements (CDA).

Alake gave the warning in a Statement  by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Tomori, on Tuesday in Abuja.

The Ministry of Solid Minerals Development on November 16,  2023, launched the Revised Guidelines for the production of the Agreements.

The CDA is a Statutory Provision that ensured transfer of Socio Economic benefits to Mining Host Communities.

It is a Legal Document that contained Obligations by the Mineral Title Holder (MTH) to her Host Community (ies) and vice versa.

Alake stated that  the era of disregarding the CDA was over, saying that measures had been put in place to begin enforcement of its compliance and sanction Defaulters.

He disclosed that the establishment of the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation has reached an advanced stage, adding that the process of creating an Enabling Law by the National Assembly to guide its Operations was underway.

“In working with the Legislature to establish the Legal and Legitimate Foundation for the Institution, we resolve to ensure that a share Structure, in line with Private Sector-led Strategy in which the Federal Government will not hold more than 25 per cent.

“The Nigerian Citizens will by Public Shares hold 25 per cent and Private Investors, each with a maximum of 10 per cent of the Shares of the N1bn Share Capital will be achieved,” he said.

According to the Minister, Government is exploring funding options for Integrated Minerals Exploration Project.

He said the Project aimed to produce a comprehensive coverage of all categories  of Minerals across the entire Nigerian Landscape.

He further explained that the Project could extend to Coastal Offshores in order to also explore Opportunities in Deep Sea Mining.

The Minister said that President Bola Tinubu in his determination to address Insecurity around Mining Sites and on other Natural Resources, set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee to produce a Blue Print for securing Nigeria’s Natural Resources.

He said the Committee had an expanded Meeting with Security Agencies on January 25, to produce a comprehensive Security Architecture to secure Mineral Sites, Marine Economy and Forests.

He said the Government was committed to creating an Enabling Environment for operating Business in the Sector, through the digitisation of the Mining Application Process through the Electronic Mining Cadastral System.

“Efforts are also being made to improve the Nigerian Mining and Minerals Act 2007 to accommodate the changes over the years and make it more amenable to National Priorities,” he said.

31-Jan-2024 NNPCL, South Korean Consortium in talks to grow Nigeria's Gas Projects

NNPCL, South Korean Consortium in talks to grow Nigeria's Gas Projects

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has held talks with a South Korean Consortium led by Daewoo E & C on the development of Gas Projects in Nigeria.

The Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, led the Company’s Team to the discussions held in Seoul, South Korea.

This is contained in a Statement by Olufemi Soneye, Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC Limited, on Tuesday in Abuja.

Soneye said the Talks aimed at deepening its drive to tap into the Nation’s vast Gas Resources to be a Supplier of Clean Energy to the Global Market.

South Korea, a major destination for Liquefied Natural Gas (LPG) Exports and the Consortium, in collaboration with the Korean Export-Import Bank, has expressed interest in advancing discussions on investing in Greenfield and other Gas Development Opportunities.

The Talks would pave way for the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding to unlock strategic Foreign Direct Investment in line with the President Bola Tinubu Administration’s Policy of making Nigeria a prime destination for Global Investors.

Kyari congratulates Temile Development Company, an Indigenous Player in the Gas Sector, on the Commissioning of its 23,000 cubic meters Ultra-Modern LPG Carrier in Ulsan, South Korea.

The GCEO said that the Vessel named, Alfred Temile 10, represented a significant stride towards deepening the utilisation of Gas in-Country and growing Gas Revenues.

“It is great that Temile Development Company is able to complete the Construction of the 23kt LPG Vessel.

“This will go a long way in improving access to LPG in the Domestic Market and provide Cleaner Fuel in our Country.

“Nigeria’s objective is to ensure that everyone has access to Clean Energy and particularly walk away from Bio-Mass as a Source of Energy. We know this is good and that is why we will continue to support it,” Kyari said in the Statement.

He further said that NNPC Limited, alongside its Partner West Africa Gas Limited (WAGL), was building its own Vessels to boost LPG supply in Nigeria with a view to saturating the Market.

 

Credit NNPCL PR: Texts excluding Headlines

29-Jan-2024 ECA projects weak growth prospects for Developing Countries in 2024

ECA projects weak growth prospects for Developing Countries in 2024

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says Global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will experience slow growth from 2.7 per cent in 2023 to 2.4 per cent in 2024.

Adam Elhiraika, Director, Macroeconomics and Governance Division of ECA, said this in a Statement on the Commission’s Website on Sunday.

Elhiraika said this was contained in the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2024 Report that the ECA inaugurated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

According to him, growth is forecast to improve moderately to 2.7 per cent in 2025 but will remain below the Pre-Pandemic trend Growth Rate of 3.0 per cent.

Elhiraika explained that tight Financial conditions, coupled with a growing risk of Geopolitical fragmentation, posed increasing risks to Global Trade and Industrial Production.

He said: “while the World Economy avoided the worst-case scenario of a recession in 2023, a protracted period of low growth looms large.

”Growth prospects for many Developing Countries, especially Vulnerable and Low-Income Countries, have remained weak, making a full recovery of Pandemic Losses ever more elusive.

“The Global Economic Slowdown, tighter Monetary and Fiscal conditions, and high Debt Sustainability Risks will remain a drag on the Region’s growth prospects.

“The unfolding Climate crisis and extreme Weather events will undermine Agricultural Output and Tourism, while Geopolitical instability will continue to adversely impact several Sub-Regions in Africa, especially the Sahel and North Africa.”

According to him, the World Economy proves more resilient than expected in 2023 amid significant Monetary tightening and lingering Policy uncertainties Worldwide .

Elhiraika said this was even as multiple shocks from conflict and Climate Change, which had an effect on the Lives and Livelihoods of millions, further jeopardised progress toward Sustainable Development.

“The Report indicates that Developing Countries face divergent near-term growth prospects.

“The Economic Growth in Africa is projected to remain weak, increasing from an average of 3.3 per cent in 2023 to 3.5 per cent in 2024.”

“The Report says that after surging for two years, Global Inflation eased in 2023 but remained above the 2010-2019 Average.

“Also, Global Headline Inflation fell from 8.1 per cent in 2022, the highest value in almost three decades, to an estimated 5.7 per cent in 2023,” he added.

Meanwhile, Hopestone Chavula, ECA’s Economic Affairs Officer who presented the Report, said that while Global inflation was ebbing, food price inflation could exacerbate Food Insecurity and Poverty.

Chavula said that in addition to raising Interest Rates, the major Developed Country Central Banks started reducing the Assets on their Balance Sheets, a process known as Quantitative Tightening, in 2022.

He said they accelerated the pace in 2023 to reduce Excess Liquidity. Adding that the higher Borrowing Costs would exacerbate Debt Sustainability Risks for Developing Countries.

According to him, Monetary tightening by these major Developed Country Central Banks will have significant spillover effects on Developing Countries.

“The Report says the Global Investment trends will remain weak. Global Investment Growth is likely to remain subdued.

“Real Gross Fixed Capital Formation grew by an estimated 1.9 per cent in 2023, down from 3.3 per cent in 2022 and far below the Average Growth Rate of 4.0 per cent during the period 2011- 2019.

“International Trade is losing steam as a driver of Growth. In 2023, Global Trade Growth weakened significantly to an estimated 0.6 per cent, a sharp decline from 5.7 per cent in 2022.

”It is expected to recover to 2.4 per cent in 2024, remaining below the Pre-Pandemic trend of 3.2 per cent.

”This Slowdown is attributed to a slump in Merchandise Trade. By contrast, Trade-in Services, particularly Tourism and Transport, continued to recover,” he said.

According to Chavula, Central Banks Worldwide are expected to continue facing a delicate balancing act and difficult trade-offs in 2024 as they strive to manage Inflation, revive Growth, and ensure Financial stability.

He said that Central Banks in Developing Economies would face the additional challenges of growing Balance-of Payments Concerns and Debt Sustainability Risks.

He, therefore, charged the Banks to navigate a delicate balance between Inflation, Growth, and Financial stability.

 

29-Jan-2024 Mining: Ministry, RMAFC to block leakages in Revenue Collection Processes

Mining: Ministry, RMAFC to block leakages in Revenue Collection Processes

The Ministry of Solid Minerals Development and the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) are  collaborating to boost Revenue in the Mining Sector.

This is through blocking leakages in the Revenue Collection Processes, aimed at  addressing  shortfalls in Revenue Remittances by Mining Operators.

The move  followed the recent visit of a Delegation from RMAFC led by its Chairman, Mohammed Bello, to the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake.

The Minister announced the Collaboration in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Tomori, on Sunday in Abuja.

RMAFC had observed a monitoring gap in the Mining Sector, leading to shortfall in its Revenue, which could  be addressed through Collaborations by the relevant Organisations constituted to perform the duties.

It had also called for proper Documentation of Minerals exported through the Borders,and mitigating the impact of Mining Operations to the Environment.

Alake said  the Federal Government was determined to block the leakages through automating the Processes involved in Revenue Collection, and the engagement of high level Professionals.

“From our efforts so far, we have discovered to our chagrin that we are owed trillions of Naira in unpaid Royalties and Taxes by Legalised Operators.

“We are committed to recovering these Funds and also in the process of engaging Internationally Certified Auditors, to look at the System and automate the whole gamut of the Revenue Collection Processes,“ he said.

Alake restated the commitment of Government to sanitise and reposition the Mining Sector, aimed at boosting its capacity to contribute substantially to the Nation’s Revenue.

He added that the move would reduce the over dependence on the Oil Sector, and make Mining compete favourably with the Sector in contributing to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product.

The Minister said that the Government would collaborate with relevant Agencies, State and Host Communities of Minerals, to explore the maximum potentials of the Mining Sector.

27-Jan-2024 FG to make Gas Production a top priority, says Minister

FG to make Gas Production a top priority, says Minister

Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo has restated the Federal Government’s commitment in supporting Private Sector Investments geared towards unlocking Nigeria’s Gas potential for the benefit of the Economy and Citizens.

Epko made this known on Friday in Abuja when he met with a Delegation of Promoters and top Officials of the Brass Petrochemical and Gas Project to be located in Bayelsa State.

The Delegation was led by its Managing Director, Ben Okoye and the Chief Gas and Power Investment Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Limited), Salihu Jamari.

Ekpo, in a Statement issued by his Spokesperson, Louis Iboh, tasked the Management of Gas Producer, SPDC JV, to work closely with Promoters of the Brass Petrochemical and Gas Project.

This, the Minister said would ensure smooth supply of Gas for the Project in line with the aspiration of President Bola Tinubu on availability of Feedstocks to drive Gas based Investments, Commercialisation and Industrialisation Projects.

“The feeling of Mr President is that anything that has to do with Gas Production, Commercialisation and Industrialisation should be encouraged and given priority; I will like the two Sectors to be more cordial,” Ekpo said.

Ben Okoye, Managing Director of the Brass Methanol project, informed the Minister that the Team had unbundled the Gas and Methanol Components of the Project to operate as separate Projects.

He assured that once Approval is gotten from the Board of Brass Petrochemical, things would kick-start by March this year, adding that everything about the Project would be completed by the First Quarter 2027.

He said the Gas Pipelines had been designed to be expanded from Train One to Train Three and even more on Gas availability.

“Though the starting capacity for the Gas Plant would be 340 million standard cubic feet (mmscfd), the Pipeline is designed to carry 980mmscf,’’ he said.

Ed Ubong, the SPDC Representative at the Meeting, assured that they are fully committed to the Project and fulfilling its Gas Supply obligations.

Former Minister of Information and Communications, Frank Nweke, who is also on the Board of the Brass Petrochemical Project called for stronger Political Leadership from the Government.

Nweke said stronger Leadership would see the Project through, given the inherent benefits of additional Revenue Generation to Government Coffers, Forex availability and Job Creation for Citizens.

25-Jan-2024 Nigeria, Morocco quicken talks on Gas Pipeline Project

Nigeria, Morocco quicken talks on Gas Pipeline Project

The Federal Government has intensified discussion with the Kingdom of Morocco to fast-track the process of achieving the Final Investment Decision (FID) on the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project.

The discussion held on the sidelines of a Meeting between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, and Moroccan Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development,  Leila Benali.

It was anchored by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited’s (NNPC Ltd), Executive Vice President, Gas, Power and New Energy, Olalekan Ogunleye and the Director-General, Morocco National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM), Mme Benkhadra.

This is contained in a Statement by the NNPC Limited Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Olufemi Soneye,  on Thursday in Abuja.

Soneye said the Talks focused on how to drive the Partnership between the two countries to accelerate the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project.

This, he said was in line with the series of Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) signed between the two countries in Abuja in 2022.

He said both Parties emphasised its strategic importance to the two Countries and the entire African Continent, and the need to drive toward its completion expeditiously in line with the objective of stemming Energy Poverty on the Continent.

Recall that the Cooperation Agreement for the 48″ x 5,300km Pipeline from Nigeria to Dhakia (Morocco) and 1,700km from Dhakia to Northern Morocco was signed in 2017.

It has a capacity of 30 billion cubic meter (bcm) per year (equivalent of 3.0 billion standard cubic feet of Gas per day).

The Pipeline would traverse Republic of Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, and terminate in Morocco with a spur to Spain.

Due to the International nature of the project, the ECOWAS Commission is saddled with the responsibility to facilitate Inter-Governmental Treaty and Host Government Agreements, establishment of Pipeline Higher Authority and alignment with AU, UN and other International bodies.

The Project, among other things, will help drive the monetisation of Nigeria’s Gas Resources, maintain NNPC Limited’s Energy Leadership in Africa, and promote Economic and Regional Cooperation among African Countries.

The Minister had in November 2023 received Envoys from Morocco, led by its Ambassador to Nigeria, Moha Ou Ali Tagma for a Bilateral Discussion on cooperation and commitment towards finalising the Project.

 

25-Jan-2024 CBN Governor admits challenges, says Nigeria's Economy on way to recovery

CBN Governor admits challenges, says Nigeria's Economy on way to recovery

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso, has admitted the challenges of the Nigerian Economy, noting that the impasse is just a passing phase.

According to him, the Transformation Agenda of the Bola Tinubu Administration is being designed on a progressively dynamic Platform for the bailout from the Economic Depression.

The CBN Governor said this at the Launch of 2024 Macro-economic Outlook with the Theme; ‘’Economic Transformation Roadmap: Medium-Term Policy Priorities’’ on Wednesday in Lagos.

Advancing the importance of the Programme to the Economy, Cardoso said that the pivotal role of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) could not be overemphasised.

He noted that the crucial role of the Group was to facilitate the formulation and implementation of National growth and transformation of the Nigerian Economy for Sustainable Development.

To him, the NESG, without doubt, had become one of the leading Platforms for Public-Private Partnership in the Country, commending the body for its positive role in National Development.

The CBN Governor also acknowledged the various Economic challenges and proposed solutions by Stakeholders, assuring that the Country was finding a lasting solution to the hydra-headed menace challenging the growth of the Economy.

The Chairman, NESG, Niyi Yusuf, while delivering his Opening Address, said the year 2023 presented challenges, marked by the rigorous implementation of Demonetisation Policies, widespread Insecurity and a General Election.

These, he noted, aggravated pre-existing Macro and Structural issues.

He said that these challenges significantly impacted Nigeria’s Socio-Economic Landscape and Macroeconomic performance.

Yusuf, however, said that with the dawn of a new Government, the Country is ready with Political and Economic Opportunities to address these challenges, optimise its potential and achieve vital developmental objectives.

The NESG Boss further explained that the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Global Supply Chain disruptions and Energy and Food crises heightened Economic vulnerability throughout the year.

According to him, Global Policy Rate rose in 2023 affected Nigeria, worsening Inflation Rates and impeding Economic Growth.

He noted that stringent Government Reforms, including the removal of Fuel Subsidy and Exchange Rate Alignment, further constrained the Real Sector, suppressing overall Economic outcomes.

“In 2023, Nigeria experienced fragile Economic Growth characterised by escalating Inflationary pressures, Exchange Rate depreciation and Fiscal constraints.

“With our growing Population, these challenges impeded prosperity, hindered productivity, curtailed the Real Sector, and diminished the positive impact of growth outcomes on the quality of life of Nigerians.

“Despite a Trade Surplus, Foreign Capital Receipts were below expectations on the external front and the Official and Unofficial Naira Exchange Rates depreciated beyond the planning expectations of most Businesses,” Yusuf said.

The NESG Chairman said that Nigeria’s reference Crude Oil Price which declined, posed Fiscal challenges as Public Debt rose, with higher Prices in 2023.

According to him, the situation resulted in a decline in the real Purchasing Power of the Minimum Wage and an estimated four million Nigerians were pushed into poverty.

While the Government has implemented interventions, he stressed that more efforts were needed to reverse the Country’s weak and non-inclusive growth narrative.

He said, “Building on the NESG #NES29 Theme, “Pathways for Sustainable Economic Transformation and Inclusion”, this year’s Macroeconomic Outlook underscores “Medium-Term Policy Priorities” to expedite the transformation process and enhance the Socio-Economic well-being of Nigerians.

“The Economic Transformation Roadmap outlines three Phases of Policy sequencing, focusing on Monetary stability, effective Fiscal management, Local Content improvement, Domestic Productivity enhancement, incentives. This is to motivate Private Sector Investments, and Human, Social and Natural Capital Development.

“As we delve into these Policy priorities, we must emphasise the pivotal role of a robust Policy Environment in laying the foundation for Sustainable Macroeconomic stability and Economic transformation.

“We recognise the current Administration’s efforts in stabilising the Economy but given the depth of the problems, more still needs to be done and quickly too. We must not relent to build the Nigeria of our dreams.

“I implore every Stakeholder to rise to this occasion and contribute to our quota in rebuilding our Economy.”

He noted that the NESG would continue its collaborative efforts with the Federal and Subnational Governments to achieve these transformative goals.

He, however, noted that a concerted and coordinated approach and effective Policy implementation would propel Nigeria toward a more resilient, inclusive and prosperous future.

The Chief Executive Officer, NESG, Tayo Aduloju, said that the Report was designed with the goal of offering substantive insights into Nigeria’s Economic Transformation Agenda.

“We earnestly desire that esteemed Stakeholders within Nigeria’s Economic, Business and Policy Landscapes find this Report to be an insightful and engaging Resource.

“The findings and analyses herein will prove instrumental in informing strategic decisions and fostering a Collaborative Environment for Sustainable Economic Growth and Transformation,” Aduloju said.

 

24-Jan-2024 Dangote Refinery, NIMASA set up Committee on 'Operational Concerns'

Dangote Refinery, NIMASA set up Committee on 'Operational Concerns'

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Dangote Refinery have set up a Special Committee to address the Operational Concerns of the Refinery.

The two Parties gave the Committee a two-week timeline to provide a Report that would be implemented to ensure the easy sail of the Refinery.

The Agreement was reached when Akin Omole, the Managing Director Dangote Port Operations, on behalf of Dangote Petroleum Refineries and Petrochemicals FZE, paid a Courtesy Visit to Bashir Jamoh, NIMASA Director-General, on Tuesday in Lagos.

Jamoh nominated the Director, Cabotage and the Director Internal Audit to be NIMASA’s Representatives in the Committee.

“The Director Cabotage provides the Law and that of Internal Audit will ensure that Fees of the Agency are received.

“I suggested a Joint Committee between the Agency and the Dangote Refinery for us to sit down and look at issues and where you don’t understand, explanations will be given on the do’s and don'ts.

“If no objections, I will like us to adopt what I suggested because we are in a Democracy, I cannot just sit down because I am a Regulator and impose things on you,” he said.

Jamoh said the commencement of the Refinery would boost Domestic Oil Requirement Capacity of the Country.

He noted that the Agency had to be certain of Revenue adding that they would not be so selfish, especially with the challenges in the Country.

“I have listened attentively on the issue of the Cabotage Act 2003, and we have seen the Letter from Dangote Group and we have responded to that point by point.

“Now that you are here, it is good to put our heads together and ensure that we remove the grey areas that will hinder the Operations of the Refinery.

“Since the commencements of the Operations of the Refinery, NIMASA did not take any sledge hammer and insist on the full compliance of the Cabotage Act, our concern is the grey areas and how it can be addressed so that it cannot jeopardise Laws of the Land.

“Now that you are here as a Team, we have more explicit Report on the way and manner this Act can be implemented and utilised,” he said.

Responding, Omole said he was in full support of the idea pushed by Jamoh.

According to Omole, this act will ensure that the Refinery is not in breach of the Cabotage Act.

“We talked about Business being done in a way that there is no obstruction, no delay.

“In Shipping, a day delay is a huge cost, we have an average of over $50,000 demurrage on a Ship per day, so we want to be sure that these kinds of delays are not experienced.

“All bottlenecks, hindrances that will cause the delay will be addressed jointly and collaboratively with our Team and NIMASA Team,” he said.

He said the strategic importance of Dangote Refinery was not only for Nigeria’s Economy but Africa, as a whole.

24-Jan-2024 Tinubu receives Chevron Delegation, promises needed intervention in Oil, Gas Industry

Tinubu receives Chevron Delegation, promises needed intervention in Oil, Gas Industry

President Bola Tinubu says his Administration will continue to provide the needed interventions in the Oil and Gas Industry in line with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

He disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja when he received a Delegation from the Chevron Corporation, led by Clay Neff, President of Chevron International Exploration and Production.

Tinubu said Nigeria would strengthen its long-standing Partnership with the Multinational Company in line with the evolving dynamics in the Oil and Gas Industry.

The President welcomed Chevron’s commitment to build on its Investments in Shallow and Deep Water Operations in Nigeria, noting the Company’s ongoing $1.4bn Drilling Project with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).

He also commended Chevron for its dedication to reducing its Carbon footprint in the Country.

”You must see the PIA as a Legacy Law. We assure you of quick interventions and turnaround on any issue you may have in your Operations in our Country.

”Nigeria is proud of the 60-year Partnership with Chevron, and we believe this Partnership will be strengthened to add mutually-beneficial Value for the benefit of your Shareholders as well as the Living Standards and Economic Opportunities of our Population,” he said.

In his remarks, Neff pledged that the Company would continue to operate in full adherence to the highest Standards, even as it meets its Investment commitments in Nigeria.

He highlighted the Company’s contributions to Domestic Gas Supply, noting the delivery of 25 per cent Gas through a Joint Venture with NNPC Limited.

He also said Chevron was scaling up its Investments in the Country with its recent efforts in a new Phase of Development.

The Phase include the conversion, under the Petroleum Industry Act, of all the NNPCL/Chevron Nigeria Limited Joint Venture (JV) Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) and Agbami OML 127 to Petroleum Mining Leases and Petroleum Prospecting Licences (PPLs).

The other is entry into OPL 215 block to boost Deepwater Development Opportunities; signing of 20-year renewal of three Deepwater Leases; commencement of Seismic Data Acquisition in several Deepwater Leases and commencement of life extension work on the Agbami Project.

He said they also, in partnership with NNPCL, are securing $1.4bn Financing to fund the NNPCL/CNL JV Infill Drilling Programme from 2022 to 2026, which includes the drilling of 37 Wells in the Shallow Offshore and Onshore Escravos Area and Associated Facilities.

Neff added that Chevron’s average Annual Tax and Royalty Remittances over the past three years had reached $3.4bn.

”The bold steps you have taken since you assumed Office are quite impressive. We are encouraged by our partnership of over 60 years, and we look forward, God willing, to continue that partnership for many decades to come.

”We are also looking at other Opportunities as well, while operating with the best Environmental Practices.

“We will continue to grow our traditional Oil and Gas Business because we know the Countries where we operate are in need of those Products, and the World needs those Products,” he said.

21-Jan-2024 Lekki Deep Seaport receives Largest Container Vessel ever on Nigerian Waters

Lekki Deep Seaport receives Largest Container Vessel ever on Nigerian Waters

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Sunday announced the berthing of the largest Container to sail on the Nation’s Territorial Waters at the Lekki Deep Seaport.

Mohammed Bello-Koko, the Managing Director, NPA confirmed this in a Statement in Lagos.

According to him, the Vessel measuring 367M in length, christened “Maersk Edirne”, has a breadth of 48.2 and carried a Gross Registered Tonnage of 142,131 metric tonnes.

He added that the Vessel which had a Dead Weight Tonnage of 147,340 metric tonnes, constituting 3,376 total Cargo Onboard, was navigated to safety by the highly experienced and thoroughly equipped Pilots of the NPA.

“This development validates the assurances I gave during the signing of the Presidential/Ministerial Performance Bond in December 2023.

“The Authority under my watch is poised to provide the Leadership and Technical Guidance required to maximise the potentials inherent in our Marine and Blue Economy,” he said.

Bello-Koko while responding on the milestone, commended the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, for the consistent support and endorsement of the Authority’s Initiatives.

He also commended the Minister for Investments in Employee Upskilling and Equipment Renewal, which made the milestone seamlessly achievable.

“Before this time, the largest Commercial Vessels to sail on Nigerian waters were “MV Stadelhorn” and “MSC Maureen” at Onne Port and TinCan Island Port Complexes, respectively.

“Thus, the berthing of a Ship measuring 367 meters at Lekki Deep Seaport, represents a quantum leap forward.

“The Lekki Deep Seaport has by this feat, in addition to its pioneering of full automation and facilitation of transhippment, proven its readiness to exceed Stakeholders’ expectations,” he said.

21-Jan-2024 NAM: Nigeria wants equitable access to Capital for Developing Countries

NAM: Nigeria wants equitable access to Capital for Developing Countries

President Bola Tinubu has called for equitable access to Capital for Developing Countries in order to solve pressing challenges in the World.

At the 19th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Kampala, Uganda, Tinubu added that this would provide the much-needed Resources for development.

He stressed that the Developing World was not looking for sympathy or begging the Developed or Advanced Countries, but asking for fair and equal opportunity.

The President was represented by Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu.

The Summit was chaired by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and attended by many Heads of Governments.

The Non-Aligned Movement is the largest gathering of Countries, second only to the United Nations General Assembly.

According to Tinubu, the combined Population of the 120 Countries that make up the Non-Aligned Movement is over 4.4 billion or about 55 per cent of the World’s Population, yet the total Financial Resources available to all these Countries are much less than that of some Countries.

The total Budgetary Resources for the 120 Countries is less than $3.5trn, which is less than the Budget of United States alone.

He said that the aggregate Public Debt of less than $6.6trn, mostly at higher Interest Rates and shorter tenor, was about one-sixth of one of a few Developed Countries.

These startling statistics, according to Tinubu, are a clear evidence that the Non-Aligned Countries suffer from a lack of access to Capital and Resources for development.

“More often than not, Public Debt available to Developing Countries is far more expensive and not substantial enough to make an impact.

“Therefore, we wish to advocate a Financing Mechanism and equitable Capital Market access that can provide adequate Financial Resources to the Global South,” he said.

Tinubu also listed the challenges facing the World currently to include Climate Change, Conflict and Wars, Terrorism, and widening Inequality.

“All these are happening as we are battling to come out of the COVID-19 Pandemic. It is not possible for any one Nation to tackle these multidimensional challenges,” he said.

He stressed that this called for greater collaboration between and among Member States as they struggle to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

According to him, the Theme of the Summit -“Deepening Cooperation for Shared Global Affluence”, bears relevance with respect to the current trend of Wars.

These include proliferation of small arms and light weapons, threat of use of nuclear weapons and the dangerous polarisation between Developed Countries, similar to the Era of Cold War.

“In this regard, we must recommit to the Foundational Principles of Non-Aligned Movement to better assure of global peace and security,” he said.

On Climate Change, the Nigerian President pointed out that the Developing Countries were moving forward on the issue with courage and ambition.

“Developing Countries have striven in the last two decades under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process to make common but differentiated responsibilities a Basic Principle of Global Climate Action.

“To move forward decisively, access to affordable Climate Finance and Technologies is critical,” he said.

Tinubu urged the NAM to work in collaboration with the United Nations to stress the need for the Developed Countries to provide Climate Finance of $1trn at the earliest to fulfill their promise of $100bn annual commitment to Climate Finance to Developing Countries.

The President also lent Nigeria’s voice to the NAM Member States’ common position in condemning the present wanton destruction of Lives and Properties in the State of Palestine, which had assumed a critical dimension.

“Nigeria supports and reiterates call for an immediate durable and sustained Humanitarian truce in that Region.

“Many Lives, including Women and Children, have been lost since the commencement of the crisis between the States of Israel and Palestine, with so many displaced.

“The daily increase of displaced persons and shortage of Humanitarian Supplies due to impeded access have greatly impacted on the People, exacerbated the humanitarian catastrophe in the Region and increased Civilian Casualties,” he said.

“As a Promoter and Protector of Human Rights, Nigeria urges the Parties in the conflict to uphold the fundamental values of International Humanitarian Law, which places high premium on ensuring Civilians’ safety and wellbeing.

“This should go beyond mere Politics and rhetorics. Destruction of Lives and Properties including Hospitals and Religious and Cultural Sites is a violation of International Law.

“Nigeria, therefore, calls for a ceasefire and reiterates its call once again for quick de-escalation of hostilities by both sides which should help us in getting to a Two-State solution.

“This seeming permanent cycle of violence needs to be broken,” he said.

Tinubu told the NAM Member States that it was their responsibility to build Bridges and take urgent practical actions to scale up success and lessons learned.

“We must work together to tackle these challenges by touching the Lives of the most Vulnerable in Society”.

The President added that the pursuit of shared prosperity for all must be at the centre stage of Multilateralism.

“Shared prosperity is the ultimate guarantee for peace. Our Countries are looking for equity, not sympathy. It is justice and development that shall make freedom blossom,” he said. 

20-Jan-2024 CBN shifts first MPC Meeting under Cardoso to February

CBN shifts first MPC Meeting under Cardoso to February

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has scheduled the first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) Meeting, under the tenure of Olayemi Cardoso as Governor, for February 26 and February 27.

According to a Statement by CBN’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Hakama Sidi-Ali, the Apex Bank , consequently, held a two-day Strategic Session for Members of the MPC preparatory to the Meeting.

Sidi-Ali said that the Session aimed to brainstorm and engage in an in-depth discussion about the Committee’s objectives.

She said that the critical focus Areas during the Retreat include deliberations on the Strategic Plan to effect necessary improvements in the Monetary Policy Transmission Mechanism.

She said that the Sessions were facilitated by former MPC Members, Monetary Policy Communication Specialists from the IMF and Directors of Departments critical to the MPC Process.

“The valuable insights gained from these discussions will significantly contribute towards the robustness of the forthcoming MPC Meetings,” she said.

The last meeting of the MPC was held in July 2023, and was presided over by erstwhile Acting Governor,  Folashodun Shonubi.

At the July 2023 Meeting, the MPC raised the Benchmark Interest Rate, known as the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), by 25 Basis Points to 18.75 per cent from 18.50 per cent.

Meanwhile, a Calendar of Meetings of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) for 2024 published on the CBN Website indicates that the Meetings have been scheduled for February, March, May, July, September and November.

 

20-Jan-2024 Dangote Refinery starts registration of Distributors

Dangote Refinery starts registration of Distributors

The Management of Dangote Petroleum Refinery has commenced registration of Distributors for its Products, a Statement by the outfit said on Friday in Lagos.

According to the Statement, Members of three prominent Associations that constitute 75 per cent of the total Market in Nigeria have been registered.

The Associations are Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), and Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

The Company is also considering other Marketers that have signified interest in the lifting and distribution of its Petroleum Products in the Country, the Statement said.

It quoted the Executive Secretary, DAPPMAN, Olufemi Adewole, as saying that the Association had commenced discussions with Dangote Petroleum Refinery regarding the lifting and distribution of Refined Petroleum Products.

DAPPMAN, it said, had discussed with Dangote last year during a Meeting between its Chairman, Winifred Akpani, 2nd Vice Chairman, Mahmud Tukur and the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote.

“The Meeting was to explore areas of collaboration between the Refinery and DAPPMAN Members whose Nationwide presence will be critical in distributing Products from the Refinery to the Consumers,” it said.

It added that the refining of Petroleum Products from Dangote Refinery would accelerate Nigeria’s Economic development and provide DAPPMAN Members with seamless access to Refined Petroleum Products.

In the same vein, National Vice President of IPMAN, Hammed Fasola, said the Association had declared its intention to lift and distribute Petroleum Products from Dangote Refinery.

“We have already established a Business Relationship with Dangote Refinery. We believe that the Relationship is going to be a win-win one.

“Our Association owns 80 per cent of the Retail Outlets in the Country and we have all it takes to ensure smooth distribution of Petroleum Products from Dangote Refinery across the country,” the Statement quoted Fasola as saying.

For his part, the Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Clement Isong, confirmed that Members had registered with Dangote Petroleum Refinery to become Marketers of its Products.

“I confirm that my Members have registered with them. We were waiting for the Production to start and now it has started; we shall soon start discussing the Terms,” Isong was quoted as saying.

The Statement said that the Refinery was designed for 100 per cent Nigerian Crude, with the flexibility to process other Crudes.

It said that the Refinery could load 2,900 Trucks a day at its Truck-Loading Gantries.

18-Jan-2024 Tinubu approves payment of N9.6bn for Life Assurance of Federal Workers

Tinubu approves payment of N9.6bn for Life Assurance of Federal Workers

President Bola Tinubu has approved the payment of Renewal Fees for the Group Life Assurance for Federal Government Workers.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this on Wednesday at the end of the first 2024 Meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) held in Abuja.

He said that this was sequel to a Memo brought by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan to the Council.

He said the President approved about N9.6bn for 12 Local Insurance Firms to cover the Federal Workers in case of unforeseen eventualities in the course of their Duties.
“There are about12 Insurance Companies involved. It’s a normal Annual Cover that Insurance Companies give Workers. So, in the event of death or severe injury, they can resort to so that their families would not have to suffer,’’ he said.

Idris said that the Approval was part of the Administration’s determination to accord all its Workers the needed Reward that would improve efficiency, productivity and service delivery to Nigerians.

Minister of State for Education, Yusuf Sununu said that the January date for the take-off of the Students Loan was still in place, adding that a Website had already been working for interested Student with requisite criteria.
He pointed out that Government had made funding provision for it in the 2024 Budget.

Sununu also disclosed that the Council approved the setting up of Foreign Institution Campuses in the Country to increase enrollment of Nigerians and encourage Research among Higher Institutes Worldwide.

He said that a Guideline has been provided to ensure that quality Training by the Local Campuses are standardised with the Parent Institution Abroad.

He added that the Policy would also save the Nation of scarce Foreign Exchange taken Abroad instead of being used for National Development.

13-Jan-2024 Edun heads Tinubu's 6-Man Special Presidential Panel to review NSIPA

Edun heads Tinubu's 6-Man Special Presidential Panel to review NSIPA

President Bola Tinubu has approved the establishment of a 6-Man Special Presidential Panel on Social Investment Programmes.

The Panel would be led by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Wale Edun.

A Statement by Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity on Saturday in Abuja, said this followed Tinubu’s six-week suspension of the four Programmes under the National Social Investment Programmes Agency (NSIPA).

The Programmes are the N-Power Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, and Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

The President said the Panel would undertake a comprehensive review and audit of the existing Financial Frameworks and Policy Guidelines of the Social Investment Programmes.

He said that this would culminate in a total re-engineering of the Financial Architecture of the Programmes with detailed modification to Procedures guiding the Programmes’ implementation.

The Panel comprised Ministers representing strategic Sectors to ensure a multi-disciplinary approach to the required Reform effort.

The other five Members of the Panel are Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Minister of Communicatons, Innovation and Digital Economy and the Minister of State for Youth.

The President said the Panel would validate the confidence reposed in it by winning back all lost Public Confidence in the vital Programmes over the years.

He tasked Members to usher in a new Era of Operation based on open and accountable Governance Frameworks that would benefit Disadvantaged Households across the Nation.

 

12-Jan-2024 Tinubu steps aside N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer, School Feeding Programmes

Tinubu steps aside N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer, School Feeding Programmes

President Bola Tinubu has suspended all Administered Programmes by the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA).
 
Segun Imohiosen, Director Information, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) made this known in a Statement on Friday in Abuja.
 
According to him, the action is further to the ongoing Investigation of alleged malfeasance in the management of the Agency and its Programmes.
 
“All four Programmes administered by NSIPA, viz; N- Power Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme and Home Grown School Feeding Programmes have been suspended for a period of six weeks in the first instance,” he said.
 
He said President Tinubu has also raised significant concerns regarding operational lapses and improprieties surrounding payments to the Programmes’ Beneficiaries.
 
Tinubu, therefore, has constituted a Ministerial Panel to conduct a thorough review of the Agency’s Operations with a view to recommending necessary Reforms of the NSIPA.
 
“During the period of this suspension, all NSIPA-related activities, including but not limited to all Distributions, Events, Payments, Collaborations and Registrations are now frozen”.
 
The President wishes to assure the Stakeholders and all Nigerians that his Administration remains committed to a swift an unbiased Process that will ensure moving forward.
 
He added that the Social Intervention Programmes would work exactly as intended to the benefit of the Most Vulnerable Nigerians.
11-Jan-2024 Ministers brief Tinubu on $10bn Investment prospect in Steel Industry

Ministers brief Tinubu on $10bn Investment prospect in Steel Industry

President Bola Tinubu on Thursday held a Meeting with the Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu, and the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru, during which he received briefing on Investment prospects in the Steel Sector.

The President emphasised that a revitalised Steel Development Industry was both a catalyst for robust Economic Growth and a doorway to immense opportunities for Nigeria’s massive pool of talented Entrepreneurs.

“We will remain unyielding in our determination to build a Nigeria where every Citizen has an equal opportunity to prosper and achieve their dreams.

“New Investments in Steel Production will spur the growth of so many Sectors. Industrialisation will be a reality in our Country with sufficient Energy and Steel.

“Nigerian Steel will undergird our Economy and other Economies in our Region in future years.

“I am glad that Members of my Cabinet have adopted my approach to attracting new Investments and Job Opportunities for our People. Hard work is the only true pathway. We will not relent,” the President stated.

The Ministers informed the President of their discussions with a Chinese Company, Luan Steel Holding Group, to build a new Steel Plant in Nigeria, as well as start the Production of Military Hardware at Ajaokuta Steel Plant.

A Delegation led by the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Steel Development had visited Hefei and Guangzhou Regions of China to hold Business Talks with the Chairman of Luan Steel Holding Group, Wang Jianbing; the Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Xiao Weizhan, and other Senior Executives of the Luan Steel Holding Group.

The Chinese Company is expected to invest Billions of Dollars in Nigeria to build the new Steel Plant.

The Minister of Steel Development briefed the President, following his approval to restart the Light Steel Mill (LSM) Section of Ajaokuta Steel Complex for the Production of Iron Rods, on the progress made on restarting the Section, which will cost N35bn at the first stage.

The Minister said several Financial Institutions had already provided Offer Letters for this Transaction and that the Project was expected to create up to 5,000 Direct and Indirect Jobs for Nigerians.

The Minister of Steel Development also informed the President of discussions with the Representatives of Jindal Steel Group of India.

Jindal Steel Group had indicated interest in investing up to $5bn in a new Steel Plant in Nigeria on the sidelines of the G20 Meeting in New Delhi, India, in September 2023, and is now considering either acquiring existing Plants or setting up Greenfield Plants.

According to the Minister, on completion of these Deals, about $10bn worth of Investments in both new and existing Steel Plants in Nigeria will be established.

He said these Investments will create over 500,000 Direct and Indirect Jobs in the Steel Industry in line with the President’s massive Job creation through Industrialisation. 

11-Jan-2024 NNPCL makes N2.548trn  Profit, highest since inception in 1977

NNPCL makes N2.548trn Profit, highest since inception in 1977

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), says it recorded a Profit of N2.548trn in 2022.
The National Oil Company in its 2022 Financial Performance Report posted Online described the Profit as the highest since its inception in 1977.

The Financial Report stated that it recorded a Loss of N803bn in 2018 and N1.7bn Loss in 2019.

According to the Report, 2020 recorded N287bn Profit which it tagged ‘’Turning Point’’ while in 2021, the Company’s Profit continued to grow to N674.1bn tagged ‘’Assurance’’.

The Report stated that the Profit continued to rise up to N2.548trn in 2022.

The NNPC Limited had between December 30, 2023 and January 5, 2024 recorded 157 Incidents of Crude Oil theft from seven incident sources and arrested 17 suspects.

The Sources include the Nigeria Agip Oil Company, Pipeline Infrastructure Nigeria Limited, Maton Engineering Limited, Tantita Security Service Limited, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), NNPC Command and Control Centre and Government Security Agencies.

Its Report stated that in the past week, 52 Illegal Refineries were discovered and destroyed in Abia, Imo, Rivers and Bayelsa States while 32 Illegal Connections were uncovered in several parts of the Niger Delta.

They were removed and repaired along Central Corridor in the Niger Delta while seven Illegal Storage Sites were uncovered in Akwa Ibom State and buried Crude Drums unearthed in bushes in Bayelsa and Warri, Delta State.

The Company said there was no backing down on the menace until it was eradicated. 

 

31-Dec-2023 Tinubu to Senate: Approve N7.3trn Securitisation of Ways and Means Advances

Tinubu to Senate: Approve N7.3trn Securitisation of Ways and Means Advances

President Bola Tinubu has sought for the Senate Approval for Securitisation of the balance of Ways and Means Revenue in the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of Nigeria.

Tinubu said this in a letter addressed to President of Senate, Godswill Akpabio and read at Plenary on Saturday.

“I will like to call the attention of Senate to the Provisions of Section 38 of the CBN Act 2007, which stipulates that the Apex Bank may grant temporary Advances to the Federal Government.

”In respect of temporary deficiency of Budget Revenue provided, such Overdraft do not surpass five per cent of Government Revenue from the previous year.

“The Senate is invited to note that from available Information by the CBN, the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) Account of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) stood at N7.3trn as at December 2023, that is due to Domestic Debt Servicing, Principal and Interest.

“While the Federal Government is considering various measures to forestall the use of Ways and Means Advances for Domestic Debt Servicing,” he said.
Tinubu added: “It has become highly imperative to Securitise the outstanding Ways and Means Advance of the Federal Government of Nigeria before end of year.

“The Securitisation of the Ways and Means will lead to the realisation of the following benefits among others.

”Reduction of Debt Service Costs as Interest Rate for the Securitise Ways and Means is lowered at nine per cent compared to three per cent previously adopted.

“The Savings arising from the much lower Interest Rate will help to to reduce the Deficit in the Budget and improvement in Debts Transparency as Securitised Ways and Means Advances are included in the Public Debts Statistics.”

”In view of the forgoing the Senate is invited to kindly consider and approve the Securitisation of the Outsatnding Debit Balance of N7.3trn in the same order as at December 2023”.

 

31-Dec-2023 Senate passes Appropriation Bill, increases N27.5trn 2024 Budget by N1.2trn

Senate passes Appropriation Bill, increases N27.5trn 2024 Budget by N1.2trn

The Senate has passed the N28.7trn 2024 Appropriation Bill, increasing the Budget from the N27.5trn presented by President Bola Tinubu with about N1.2trn.

The Passage of the Bill, followed the Approval of Report of the Senate Committee on Appropriation at Plenary on Saturday.

 Presenting the Report the Committee Chairman, Solomon Adeola, said that the Committee adopted the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Paper (MTEF/FSP) approved by National Assembly in preparing the Budget.

He said the Committee adopted the $77.96 per Barrel Oil Benchmark 1.78mbpd and $800 Exchange Rate to Naira as against $750 proposed by the Executive.

He listed the Highlights of the Bill to include a Total Aggregate Expenditure of N28.7trn, Statutory Transfers of N1.7trn, Recurrent Expenditure of N8.7trn, while the Capital Expenditure Component stood at N9.9trn.

He said the Committee in processing the Bill worked closely with the Executive harmoniously.

He said through the closely and harmonious Appropriation Process, the Executive forwarded request for additional funding of some Items on Expenditure that were not included in the Bill as submitted by the President.

He, however said that the Committee observed that the 2024 Appropriation Bill was presented to the National Assembly late.

This, he said was against the Fiscal Responsibility Act that required the Bill to be presented not later than three months before the next Financial Year.

Adeola also said there were inconsistencies in the Revenue of some Government Owned Enterprises.(GOEs).

 He also said that there was removal of some Agencies Personnel Costs from the Federal Government Payroll and inadequate funding in some Allocation of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Adeola said to ensure thorough scrutiny of Budget Proposal, the Executives should comply with the Provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

He also urged the Executive to ensure compliance with the Provisions of relevant Extant Laws, as it concerns Government Agencies.

He urged Agencies removed from Federal Government Budget to step up their Revenue Generation, fund itself and remit more to Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).

He also called for provision of additional funds to some MDAs not appropriately funded.

He urged the Executive to sustain the increase on Capital Component over Recurrent to ensure Developmental Programmes across the Country.

 

30-Dec-2023 Stop planned price hike of Cement, Building Guild tasks Tinubu

Stop planned price hike of Cement, Building Guild tasks Tinubu

The Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) on Friday appealed to President Bola Tinubu to halt a planned hike of Cement Prices in January 2024, to protect the Built Sector from Substandard Construction.

BCPG, in a Statement, said the hike would lead to Substandard Construction, with increase in Building Collapse in the Nation.

The Statement was signed by the National President, Sulaimon Yusuf and the General Secretary, Adenike Ayanda.

The Guild urged Tinubu to prioritise safety of Nigerians to prevail on Cement Manufacturers against the decision.

The Guild comprises the seven Built Environment Professionals — Surveyors, Town Planners, Architects, Quantity Surveyors, Engineers, Builders and Estate Surveyors and Valuers.

It said there were feelers that Cement Manufacturers were planning an upward review of Cement Prices early in January  2024.

“The Price of Ready-Mix Concrete will also be increased while the cost of In-Situ Production of Concrete will rise significantly.

“Such an increment, if allowed to take place, will worsen the Economic situation of the Nation.

“Cement is an Essential Ingredient in the Production of Building. Frequency in the increase of its Price has impacted negatively in the Nation’s Housing Sector.

“Experience has shown that high Price of Cement tends to encourage reduction in the quality of Building Production.

“The consequence of this is the emergence of Weak Buildings that intensifies occurrence of Building Collapse.”

The BCPG appealed to President Tinubu to invite Cement Manufacturers for an urgent discussion in order to forestall the impending increase in Price.

“The President needs to interrogate the current N5,700 Market Price of a 50kg Bag of Cement, despite the N3,500 Price of the Product recently promised by one of the Cement Manufacturers,” it stated.

BCPG said any further increase in Cement Prices would threaten the ‘Renewed Hope’ Housing Programme of the Federal Government.

“Completion of ongoing Building Projects might be jeopardised by the impending hike in the Price of Cement.

“Buildings abandoned during Process of Construction aggravate the risk of Building Collapse.

“With the dwindling Purchasing Power, new Buildings might lack patronage and Occupants due to high Rental Value,” the Guild said.

The Professional Body of Construction Experts recalled documented efforts of President Tinubu, when he was Lagos State Governor, to curb Building Collapses.

“It is high time our President paid serious attention to resolving the challenges of Building Collapse.

“Frequent increase in the Price of Cement is one of these challenges,” the Guild said. 

 

28-Dec-2023 CAC sets April 1, 2024 as new deadline date for filing of Annual Returns

CAC sets April 1, 2024 as new deadline date for filing of Annual Returns

The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has extended the deadline for the commencement of penalties against Companies that failed to file Annual Returns, from January 1 2024 to April 1, 2024.

A statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by the Commission’s Director of Press, Dominic Inyang, said Management decided to extend the penalty date following glitches experienced on the Company Registration Portal (CRP).

He stated that the date was also extended due to appeals from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Sector.

“Further to its earlier Notice published on November 2, informing the General Public that it shall commence.

It would be recalled that the full application of the penalties was prescribed by the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 and the Companies Regulations 2021 against Companies and their Directors or Officers for who failed to file Annual Returns.

“CAC at this moment extends the commencement date from January 1 to April 1, 2024.

“This extension has become necessary given the glitches presently experienced on the CRP and in deference to appeals from the MSME Sector,” Inyang quoted CAC Management as saying.

He enjoined all Registered Entities under the CAMA to take advantage of the window provided by this extension to file their Annual Returns to date with the Commission.

“The Entities include Companies, Limited Liability Partnerships, Limited Partnerships, Business Names and Incorporated Trustees.

“The General Public should please note that this extension of time does not affect the Striking-Off Proceedings commenced by the Commission prior to the Publication of November 2.

“Companies, their Directors, and their Officers should note that the Commission shall henceforth proceed against the Directors and Officers of Struck-Off Companies to recover undischarged penalties against them.

“For more Information and Inquiries, kindly visit our Website: www.cac.gov.ng or contact us at service@cac.gov.ng; helpdesk@cac.gov.ng; +234 708 062 9000.” 

28-Dec-2023 Tinubu to Nigerians: I am working  hard to give you the best Economy

Tinubu to Nigerians: I am working hard to give you the best Economy

President Bola Tinubu says his Administration will not stop working tirelessly to revamp the Nation’s Economy and create viable Opportunities for Young People to meaningfully participate in an Inclusive, Labour-Intensive Economy where Businesses can thrive.

Tinubu stated this at the State House in Marina, Lagos State, on Wednesday, during a Town-Hall Meeting with Traditional Rulers, Chairpersons of Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) and other Political-Office Holders in the State.

According to the President, Nigeria, under his Renewed Hope Administration, is undergoing a process of Financial Re-Engineering.

He appealed to Citizens to be patient and supportive of the ongoing Reforms which are bound to transform the Economy for the better.

”The Financial Re-Engineering of our Country is ongoing. We are determined to deliver Nigeria safely through the tunnel of hope, stability, and Economic prosperity.

”Nigeria is in good hands. The Team is working, and we will work hard to give you the best Economy and the best Opportunities that you can imagine,” the President said.

Acknowledging the concerns raised at the Meeting, the President explained that the complexities of State Matters have limited his opportunities to frequently interact with some of his long-time Friends and Constituents in Lagos.

”For those having difficulty seeing me, kindly note that this Job is monumental. It is not a One-Man Job. It is a collective task, and you have to be able to listen, decipher, tolerate, and sometimes what you do not expect will happen.

“As I was getting ready this morning to come here, news of the death of Governor Rotimi Akeredeolu of Ondo came in, as well as the passing of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba.

“Power is transient. Only Almighty Allah gives Power, and only him will take it.

“There is the Value of Life and the goodness in what we do. The salt of goodness is a multiplier of other good things that we must cherish. Not necessarily for us, but for our Children and Grandchildren,” the President said.

Reflecting on his tenure as the Executive Governor of Lagos State, the President recounted the challenges faced and the successes achieved at the time.

“‘To turn the Ship around from cascading into turbulence and making it work was not easy.

“But we went through it, and today, Lagos still remains the most viable State in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and it will continue on the path of glory. I thank you all,’’ he said.

In his speech, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, thanked Tinubu for his Leadership and for being the Pathfinder of “the Modern Lagos State”.

”The Legacy and Blueprint that you created more than 20 years ago and bequeathed to us is still a working and Living Document that will continue to guide us in delivering quality Service to the People,” the Governor said.

In his remarks, Oba Kabiru Shotobi, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu Kingdom, called for a Constitutional Amendment that recognises the Role of Traditional Rulers.

”We have come to reiterate our loyalty to the President. We have absolute confidence in your capacity. Under your Leadership, we expect Nigeria to attain the most enviable Economic Status in the Comity of Nations,” he said.

25-Dec-2023 Tinubu came in at a tough time, bear with him on the Economy, Otti tells Nigerians

Tinubu came in at a tough time, bear with him on the Economy, Otti tells Nigerians

Governor Alex Otti of Abia has urged Nigerians to exercise patience with the Economic Policies initiated by President Bola Tinubu, expressing optimism that positive changes are on the horizon.

Speaking in Lagos on Sunday after paying a Christmas Homage to the President, Otti said that the present Administration inherited a challenging Economic Landscape.

He highlighted issues such as surging Inflation, a substantial Debt Profile and high Unemployment that Tinubu faced on taking Office.

“Tinubu came in at a difficult time when Inflation was close to 30 per cent, the National Debt almost $40bn, and Unemployment close to 33.3 per cent.

“The President has been very courageous, unifying the Exchange Rate and removing Fuel Subsidy which had become a scam and costing the Nation a lot of money,” Otti said.

The Governor said that the positive aspects of these Policies would soon transform into the reduction of Poverty among the over 60 per cent of the Population.

“Those Policies are good but they come with their negative sides. They come with challenges for an Economy where over 60 per cent of the Population are living below the Poverty Line.

“So, it’s not going to be easy immediately but I believe that if we are patient and if we go through the Policies without compromising, over time, things will turn around,” he said.

Otti also commended Tinubu for authorising the commencement of Reconstruction Work on the failed portion of the Port Harcourt – Enugu Expressway.

He reported progress in the Reconstruction Work and expressed confidence that the Road would soon be opened for Road Users, significantly reducing Travel Time from Port Harcourt to Aba.

“Our Partnership with the Federal Government to bring Development to the People is at different levels, including through the National Economic Council and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.

“After Elections, Politics takes the back seat, and Governance takes pre-eminence. All we are doing is for the interest of Nigerians, and the Federal Government is also supporting us.” 

 

23-Dec-2023 CBN ends two-year ban on Cryptocurrency Transactions

CBN ends two-year ban on Cryptocurrency Transactions

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has lifted the  ban it imposed two years ago on Cryptocurrency Transactions in the Nigerian Banking System.

The CBN announced the reversal of the Policy in a Circular by Haruna Mustapha, its Director, Financial Policy and Regulation.

Mustapha said that the Apex Bank would now provide Regulations for Financial Institutions on how to manage Cryptocurrency to avoid misuse.

The CBN issued a Circular in February 2021, restricting Banks and other Financial Institutions from operating Accounts for Cryptocurrency Service Providers.

The then CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had announced that the restriction was necessary in view of the Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing risks posed by Cryptocurrency.

Emefiele also said that the vulnerability inherent in Cryptocurrency Operations, as well as the absence of Regulation and Consumer Protection Measures were also responsible for the Policy.

According to Mustapha, current Global trends have shown that there is need to regulate the activities of Virtual Assets Service Providers (VASPs) which include Cryptocurrencies and Crypto Assets.

“Following this development, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) also updated its Recommendation to require VASPs to be regulated, to prevent misuse of Virtual Assets.

“In view of the foregoing,  the CBN hereby issues this Guidelines to provide guidance to Financial Institutions under its Regulatory purview in respect of their relationship with VASPs in Nigeria.

“The Guidelines supersedes the CBN Circular of February 5, 2021 on the Subject,” the Director said.

He, however, warned that Banks and other Financial Institutions were still prohibited from holding, trading or transacting in Cryptocurrencies on their own account. 

23-Dec-2023 Presidency to Nigerians: Expect more pains in 2024

Presidency to Nigerians: Expect more pains in 2024

President Bola Tinubu is already taking measures to address the challenges brought about by the bold Reforms introduced by the Administration in all Sectors of the Economy.

Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, disclosed this in a Statement on Saturday in Abuja, adding that more of such measures would be taken in 2024.

He said Tinubu had never shied away from acknowledging the temporary pains triggered by the Reforms, stressing that proactive measures would continue to be taken.

‘’Many of these measures are already being taken and in the New Year, we expect the silver linings, that are at present understated, to blossom into rays of sunshine to be experienced by all Nigerians.

‘’The removal of Fuel Subsidy and the move to merge Foreign Exchange Rates, two Headline Reforms introduced by the Tinubu Administration since late May.

“(It’s caused by) problems such as high Fuel Prices and the depreciation of the Naira, two monstrosities which combined to cause a general spike in Costs of Services and Goods,’’ Onanuga said.

He said that the latest NBS Report put Nigeria’s Inflation at 26.7 per cent in September, which rose to 28.2 per cent in November from 27.33 per cent in October, adding that Food Inflation remained untamed.

‘’The truth is that the new Policies alone are not solely responsible for the Economic problems we are facing today. We were destined for the tough and rough patch, where we are today because of the prevailing conditions before Tinubu took over on May 29.

‘’As at June 2023, Budget deficit was N10.8trn. Actual Debt Service was 98.95 per cent of Revenue, far higher than the projected 59.37 per cent.  Inflow into the Country’s Foreign Reserve came in trickles.

‘’And so bad was the state of affairs that Nigeria could not remit about $800m Fund of Foreign Airlines. JP Morgan exposed our near insolvency by claiming in a Report that our Net Foreign Reserve was just about $3.7bn, not the $33bn plus flaunted by Emefiele’s CBN.

‘’President Tinubu, who promised during the Campaign to take hard and difficult decisions, moved to tackle the Economic problems from Day One, by first dispensing with the wasteful Fuel Subsidy that was billed to consume about N7trn this year, five times more than what was provisioned for Capital Spending.’’

Onanuga said that the situation was, however, taking a positive turn with the NBS Report of the Third Quarter of 2023, adding that the President was focused on turning the Economy around for growth, development and prosperity.

‘’In its Third Quarter Report for the year, the NBS reported that GDP grew by 2.54 per cent. In a similar period in 2022, GDP recorded a growth of 2.25%. To demonstrate that the sun may be shining on us again, the 2.54% GDP growth recorded in Q3, was also higher than the 2.51% recorded in Q2.

‘’The Service Sector, made up of Information and Communication, Financial and Insurance, was responsible for the growth witnessed in Q3. It had a 3.99% growth, contributing 52.7% of the aggregate GDP. The Agriculture Sector declined from 1.34% growth in Q2 to 1.3% in Q3.

‘’Growth was also recorded in Construction and Real Estate, Metal Ores (69.76%), Coal Mining (58.03%), Chemical and Pharmaceutical Products (6.77%), Cement (4.2%) and Construction (3.89%).

‘’Oil reported a negative growth of 0.85%, a major improvement to the negative 22.67% recorded at the same period last year. It was 13.43% in Q2 of 2022.

‘’The improvement in the Oil Sector and its contribution to GDP has been attributed to the improvement in the security of Oil Infrastructure and Operations, leading to increased Production.’’

He said that there was a big jump in the Volume of Trade from N12.16trn in Q2 to N18.8trn, adding that Trade Volume in the Q2 of 2022 was N12.28trn

‘’We also recorded a Trade Surplus of N1.89trn in Q3, an increase from the N708.8bn in Q2 2023. In Q3 in 2022, we recorded Trade Deficit of N409.39bn.

‘’Value of Exports in the Third Quarter was N10.35trn, far higher by 60.78 per cent than the N6.44trn posted in Q2 2023. Crude Oil dominated the Export, accounting for 82.5 per cent, a confirmation that our Country is pumping out more Oil for Export unlike the previous years”. 

22-Dec-2023 Senate passes Bill extending 2023 Budget Implementation to March 2024

Senate passes Bill extending 2023 Budget Implementation to March 2024

The Senate has passed an Amendment Bill, seeking to extend Implementation of the  2023 Appropriation and Supplementary Budget from December 3, to March 31, 2024.

The Passing of the Bill followed the suspension of Senate Rule 78 Sub (1) to allow for the First and Second Reading of the Bill at Plenary.

The Bill which was consolidated into one and titled “A Bill for an Act to Amend the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Act in order to extend the Implementation Year from  December 31,  to March, 31 2024” was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Bamidele, Opeyemi. (APC -Ekit).

Earlier, before an accelerated Passage of the Bill, Opeyemi in his Lead Debate said the Bill sought  to extend the implementation of the 2023 Appropriation and Supplementary Acts from Dec 31, to March 31, 2024.

He said the extension was to give all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that received Allocation in the 2023 supplementary budget more time to execute the proposed projects.

He said the execution of the Projects was needed to reflate the Economy.

He said the 2023 Appropriation and Supplementary Budget recently passed by the National Assembly and recent 2023 Capital Releases to MDAs were unlikely to be utilised before December 31, due to late releases of the Funds.

According to him, the Funds if not utilised will lapse, if the Capital Implementation was not extended beyond  December 31.

“In view of the critical importance of some key Projects nearing completion, it is expedient to grant extension of the Expiration Clause to avoid compounding the problem of Abandoned Projects given that some of the Projects were not provided for in the 2024 Budget.

“Hence the need to extend the Implementation Year from December 31, to March, 31 2024,” he said.

“I, therefore urge my Colleagues to give their full support to the Bill to allow full utilisation of the Capital Releases in order to help reflate the Economy.

 

22-Dec-2023 London Court dismisses P&ID’s Appeal against $11bn Judgment

London Court dismisses P&ID’s Appeal against $11bn Judgment

A Business and Property Court in London presided over by Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales has refused to grant an Application by Process & Industrial Development (P&ID) seeking to appeal the Judgement stopping the enforcement of its $11bn Award against Nigeria.
 
Knowles, in a Judgment on Thursday, ruled that the Award against Nigeria should be thrown out immediately.
 
The Judge has, on October 23, halted the enforcement of the Award by upholding Nigeria’s prayer that it was obtained by fraud and in violation of Section 68 of the English Arbitration Act 1996.
 
Knowles held that the Contract Award was obtained by fraud and that what had happened in the Case was contrary to Public Policy.
 
The Judge found that P&ID had paid bribes to Nigerian officials involved in the drafting of the Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) in 2010.
 
He also found that P&ID was illegally in possession of Nigeria’s Privileged Legal Documents during the Arbitration Hearings.
 
However, Knowles said he still had to choose from three options after making his determination.
 
The options include, “(a) to remit the Award to the Tribunal, in whole or in part, for reconsideration, (b) to set the Award aside in whole or in part, or (c) to declare the Award to be of no effect, in whole or in part.”
 
Nigeria had argued that the Award should be set aside in its entirety, invoking the Common Law Principle that “fraud unravels all.”
 
But in his Pronouncement on December 8, Knowles said he had decided against sending the Award back to the Arbitration Tribunal.
 
He crushed the Award in its entirety.
 
However, P&ID sought permission to appeal the October Judgment.
 
Its Lawyers argued that the Judge failed to apply a “causation” requirement which would have shown if the Arbitration Award would still have been made if bribes had not been paid by P&ID to Government Officials.
 
They also argued that the Privileged Documents that were found in P&ID’s possession played no role in its victory at the Arbitration.
 
But delivering the Judgment on Thursday, Knowles refused P&ID’s permission to appeal.
 
The latest development had effectively put an end to the Case as the Company cannot apply for permission from the Court of Appeal.
22-Dec-2023 NEC establishes Committees on Economic Affairs

NEC establishes Committees on Economic Affairs

The National Economic Council (NEC) has constituted Committees on Economic Affairs and Crude Oil Theft and Management.

Stanley Nkwocha, the Spokesperson of the Vice-President, made this known in a Statement on Thursday in Abuja.

The Committee was constituted following deliberations on critical Economic Matters and assessments of potential short-term, medium and long-term strategies for addressing pressing Economic Issues.

Shettima chaired the 138th Meeting of NEC held virtually.

Shettima urged Members of the NEC to shelve the idea of Vacation in the Yuletide and carry on with issues of Governance to ease the burden of Nigerians hanging on their shoulders.

He also enjoined the Council Members to be alive to the demands of Nigerians noting that, “as the year draws to a close, none of us in this Chamber should anticipate a Vacation.

“I tend to think so because upon our shoulders rests the weight of responsibilities from which we cannot escape. We are returning to be judged by the promises we made to be here.

”My Principal, President Bola Tinubu, has shown that the challenges inherited by his Administration are surmountable.

“President Tinubu has offered Visionary Leadership and presented a coherent Development Plan to assist in the Country’s pursuit of order, abundance, and stability.

“Each of us owes their Constituents the Scorecard of their Stewardship in these few months of translating ideas into tangible actions.

“That’s why we can’t afford to fail, and the new year must be, for us, a timeout to reflect on how we have fared so far and what we must do differently to keep the hope of the Nation alive.”


Apparently keen about getting results of the Government’s ongoing Reforms in good time, Shettima stressed the need for the Citizens to feel the positive impact of Fuel Subsidy removal and Forex Unification.

He noted that high Inflation and Cost of Living are Global challenges that have affected the Economies of all Countries.

Shettima said they should be considered as enough “inspiration for us to come together and tackle ours through realistic interventions”.

The Committees are to be headed by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazak of Kwara and his Imo State Counterpart, Hope Uzodimma, respectively.

The Economic Matters Committee is saddled with the task of preparing a clear Roadmap for dealing with Petroleum Subsidy, including a Framework for defending Wage Negotiations, Exchange Rate Management and Fiscal Consolidation Sustainability.

It also includes Liquidity Management and Inflation, Medium Term Investment and Growth, Fiscal Transparency and Accountability, as well as State of Emergency on Food Production for 2024.

Members of the Committee include Governors of Gombe; Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Niger and Kaduna States representing North-East, South-West, South-South, South-East, North-Central and North West.

While Rukaiya el-Rufai, Special Adviser to the President on NEC and Climate Change would served as Secretary.

The second Committee on Crude Oil Theft and Management, an existing NEC committee, has been reconstituted with Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State as the Chairman.

Members of the Committee include Governors of Ogun, Plateau, Rivers, Borno, Jigawa and Abia representing South-West, North-Central South-South, North-East, North-West and South-East.

Others are: Minister of Budget and Economic Planning; Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, CBN Governor; GCEO of NNPCL, NDDC Chairman, and Service Chiefs.

The Secretariat would be domiciled at the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning and the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Tope Fasua would serve on the Committee.

20-Dec-2023 NNPCL, TotalEnergies reach Deal on Methane Detection Technology

NNPCL, TotalEnergies reach Deal on Methane Detection Technology

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with TotalEnergies for adoption and deployment of Airborne Ultralight Spectrometer for Environmental Application (AUSEA) in its Upstream Operations.

The Agreement is a direct benefit from the Company’s participation at the recently concluded United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, UAE.

A Statement on Tuesday by Olufemi Soneye, Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC Limited, stated that with the Agreement, the Company would be able to deploy the TotalEnergies AUSEA, known as Methane Detection Technology on its Upstream Operations Sites.

This, will ascertain the level of Methane Emissions from them, with a view to working out Emission curtailment measures to help in combating Global Warming and Climate Change.

The MoU was signed by  Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan, NNPC Limited’s Executive Vice President, Upstream, and Managing Director and Country Chair, TotalEnergies EP Nigeria, Matthieu Bouyer, on behalf of their respective Companies.

Putting the Deal in proper perspective, the NNPC Limited’s Executive Vice President, Upstream, Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan, said the Pilot Phase of the TotalEnergies AUSEA deployment would be on NNPC Limited’s owned Operations.

Eyasan added that the deal would enable the Company to deploy Methane abatement measures.

Other benefits of the TotalEnergies AUSEA technology include identification of unaccounted Emission sources, establishment of a basis for querying and improving current Emission Reporting Processes.

It will aid in provision of Data to review Operational System and implement corrective actions, and estimation of Flare Combustion efficiency.

The Agreement was signed under the watch of the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanné.

Speaking at the Event, Kyari described TotalEnergies as a great and reliable Partner over the years with whom the Company was looking forward to exploring greater opportunities in the Nation’s Energy Sector.

For his part, Pouyanné said his Company was offering the Technology to NNPC Limited, in keeping with its commitment to promote responsible production of Hydrocarbons.

He applauded NNPC Limited for its successful transition into a Limited Liability Company, stressing that he could feel the energy that the Reforms have brought about, not only in the Company but also in the Sector. 

19-Dec-2023 Petroleum Resources Ministry defends N9.641bn Budget before Lawmakers

Petroleum Resources Ministry defends N9.641bn Budget before Lawmakers

The Ministry of Petroleum Resources has presented its Budget of N9.641bn to the Joint Committees of Senate and House of Representatives on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream and Gas Resources).

The Presentation was part of 2023 Budget Implementation and 2024 Budget Defence by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to relevant National Assembly Committees.

A statement on Tuesday by Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa, Deputy Director (Press & Public Relations), said the Ministry was represented by the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri and the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo.

In his opening remarks at the Sitting, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas, Jarigbe Agom, said it was their duty as a Joint Committee to ensure effective allocation of Resources for the advancement of the Country’s Petroleum Sector.

Agom added that the Oversight Function of the Committee was predicated on fostering transparency, efficiency and sustainable development within the Ministry, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and its Subsidiaries.

He urged all Stakeholders to engage in Open Dialogue and provide insightful inputs that would contribute to the formulation of a Budget that aligned with National Priorities.

The Legislators raised a number of reservations about some inadequacies and shortcomings of the Budget.

Specifically, they frowned at the paltry Budget as it did not capture the Refineries and its failure to include other Initiatives aimed at alleviating the sufferings of Nigerians occasioned by Subsidy removal on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

In his response, Lokpobiri explained that the Ministry’s 2024 Budget was a substantial improvement on the 2023 Budget.

Lokpobiri also emphasised that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources was more of a Policy-driven Ministry and did not execute Projects that addressed given concerns.

He cited the Host Communities Fund provided by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) targeted at addressing the concerns of Oil Producing Communities.

The Minister explained that it had many Agencies that were mandated to carry out different responsibilities, while the Ministry provided Policies that would guide the Operations of the Companies doing Business in the Oil and Gas Industry.

He, therefore, assured the Legislators that the concerns they expressed would be taken to the appropriate quarters so that those concerns would be addressed.

In his remarks, Ekpo stated that the Ministry as a Policy Making Organ, was to provide an Enabling Environment for Investment in the Oil and Gas Sector for the good of the Country.

He called for synergy between the Executive and Legislative Arms of Government with a view to arriving at a level that would give renewed hope to Nigerians.

18-Dec-2023 Tinubu: I will remove all Cobwebs, Anti-Investment impediments in Oil and Gas Industry

Tinubu: I will remove all Cobwebs, Anti-Investment impediments in Oil and Gas Industry

President Bola Tinubu, has assured the International Investment Community that his Administration would ensure that Nigeria remains a top-level destination for Offshore and Onshore Investments.

Receiving the Group Chairman and CEO of Total Energies Worldwide, Patrick Pouyanne, on Monday in Abuja, the President reiterated the Federal  Government’s commitment to removing all Anti-Investment impediments in the Country.

A statement by Presidential Spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale quoted Tinubu as saying: “We are committed to removing all Cobwebs and Anti-Investment impediments in the Oil and Gas Industry.

“We have a clear path that we are committed to pursuing. We are ready to work with you.”

Tinubu commended Total Energies for its years of Exploration and Investment in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Sector, citing the feat as evidence of the Company’s commitment and confidence in Nigeria.

The President assured the Delegation that his Administration was determined to improve the Investment Climate in Nigeria, emphasising that the aim of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) was to create a favourable Investment and Work Environment.

He reiterated his Administration’s commitment to making the necessary efforts for Industrial peace, harmony, and development.

“The moment I took over, there was a clear path that we set out to pursue, and we will ensure that Nigeria remains a top-level Investment choice in the dynamics of the Offshore and Onshore Sectors.

“We will review troublesome areas, Fiscally and otherwise, to incentivise Gas Production in the age of transition to Cleaner Energy.

“We are ready to make a difference as a Government. The good handshake that we have is for Partnership and to accelerate and incentivise Gas Production in pursuit of the Energy Transition,” he said.

Pouyanne, the Global CEO of Total Energies Worldwide, said that Nigeria was “very important” for Total Energies, accounting for 8 to 10 per cent of the Company’s Worldwide Total Production and over 18 per cent of its Global Investment.

“Mr President, we are ready to invest $6bn in the coming years. We are looking extensively at more Deepwater Production and Gas Production opportunities across the terrain.

”We welcome your Policies and your personal commitment to ensuring that all required Fiscal Incentives are provided while security issues are tackled. Everything is here.

“We just need to conclude with the tweaks and changes necessary to unlock the outstanding potential in both Oil and Gas,” he said.

Pouyanne also highlighted the Company’s commitment to maintaining its zero-flaring position in Nigeria to both heal the Environment and monetise all available Gas Resources in support of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan.

 

18-Dec-2023 Lawmakers blast Ministry of Petroleum Resources, say 'your Budget is neither here nor there'

Lawmakers blast Ministry of Petroleum Resources, say 'your Budget is neither here nor there'

The Joint National Assembly Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream, Downstream, Gas) has decried the 2024 Budget of the Ministry of Petroleum, saying it lacks the capacity to meet the expectations of Nigerians.

Agom Jarigbe, the Chairman of the Committee, said this at a Budget Defence Session in Abuja on Monday, saying that Tinubu promised to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians by introducing Palliatives to cushion the effects of Fuel Subsidy removal.

He said that the President also committed to building Training Workshops and to provide Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Conversion Kits, to advance the Natural Gas Revolution Policy of Nigeria.

“The Joint-Committee observes with utter dismay, the non-provision of those Projects and Palliatives in the 2024 Appropriations Bill, which has been made available to the Joint-Committee.

“The Budget of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is neither here nor there. It does not reflect the Policy direction of Mr. President on the Decade of Gas and the use of Compressed Natural Gas, as an alternative source of Fuel.

“A Capital Budget of N5.8bn for a Ministry that is critical to achieving the Natural Gas Revolution Policy of the Federal Government and ameliorating the hardship imposed on the Masses, smacks of unseriousness,” he said.

Jarigbe said that the Steering Committee on the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas – Initiative had also refused to brief the National Assembly on its Activities and Programmes.

“Their Activities are shrouded in secrecy and the Ministers of State, Petroleum Resources (Oil & Gas) are totally in the dark, as to the Activities as well.

“As a Parliament, we do not align ourselves with running Government Programmes in disregards of the Provisions of the Law.

“We cannot achieve what Mr. President wants, without providing for the CNG-Project and other very important Projects in the 2024 Appropriations Act.

“Doing so will only open a window for fraud, which will impact negatively on the Citizenry. Let it be on record also that the Steering Committee cannot account for the Funds already provided from the N500bn approved for Palliatives for the purpose of CNG advancement in the Country,” he said.

In his remarks, the Minister of State for Petroleum (Gas) Ekperikpe Ekpo said that N9.64bn was allocated to the Ministry out of which N1.62m was for Personnel Cost, N4.3bn for Overhead Cost and N3.18bn for Capital Expenditure.

17-Dec-2023 CAC warns against registering 'Briefcase Companies'

CAC warns against registering 'Briefcase Companies'

The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), has advised the General Public to desist from opening or registering Businesses that they had no immediate intention of translating into action.

The Director of Compliance, CAC, Justine Nidia, gave the advise in Abuja on Sunday.

Nidia said the Commission does not encourage People to go ahead and register Companies when they had not developed any Business Idea that would translate into action.

“It is not advisable to register a Company and keep it in your Briefcase because that is not helpful to the Economy,” he said.

According to the Director, such Companies are termed Shelf Companies and are discouraged from being kept in the Register of Companies of CAC; thus, they are delisted.

“The idea of delisting Companies is that we should not be seen encouraging Shelf Companies.

“By Shelf Companies, we mean Registered Companies that are redundant or dormant; they are not doing anything.

“So they do not have to be on the Register of Companies. The appropriate thing to do is to remove them or strike them off the Register,” Nidia said.

He said the Commission had published an initial list of about 100,000 Companies to be delisted.

“We gave an initial period of 90 days, which has elapsed, to those who think they will still be in Business to file Annual Returns for them not to be delisted.

“After the initial Publication, about 5,000 Companies responded to file their Annual Returns, with the remaining approximately 95,000 to be delisted.

“What we have done recently is to issue another Publication, requesting Companies that have filed their Returns, and their Names are still on the list to get back to us with evidence.

“So we do not delist a Company that already filed its Return. So we have given an additional period of one month, after which we will gazette the final list,” Nidia said.

The CAC Director commended the efforts of the present Government led by President Bola Tinubu for ensuring a conducive atmosphere for Businesses to thrive in the Country.

Nidia said the Commission in line with Tinubu’s Mandate, developed a Four-Point Agenda to drive the Affairs of CAC.

”The strategic direction contained in the Renewed Hope Agenda informed the need to formulate my Four-Point Agenda aimed at repositioning the Commission for greater productivity.

“The Four-Point Agenda is diversification of Revenue Base, enforcement of compliance, promotion of Industrial harmony, and improvement of Human Capital,” he said. 

16-Dec-2023 NDIC shells out over N1.7bn to Customers of Failed Banks

NDIC shells out over N1.7bn to Customers of Failed Banks

Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) says it has paid Insured Sum of over N1.7bn to Customers, following the revocation of Licenses of Microfinance Banks (MFBs) and four Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs).

Bello Hassan, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, NDIC, said this at the 2023 NDIC Editors Forum, on Saturday in Lagos.

The Meeting had the Theme, “Stocktaking of Deposit Insurance Practice: Assessing the Past, Evaluating the Present and Forecasting the Future.”

Hassan said, “recall earlier this year the Central Bank of Nigeria revoked the Licenses of 183 Institutions comprising Microfinance Banks and Primary Mortgage Banks.

“And we quickly advertised and told affected Depositors to get the required Documents and come forward for verification so that we can pay them the Insured Amount.

“So, in terms of Insured Amount, we have paid more than N1.7bn to more than 22,000 Customers and we are calling on those Customers that had no Bank Verification Number attached to their Accounts to come forward to get their Claims verified so that we can pay them the Insured Amount.

“We are still on that. So, I’m using this opportunity to appeal to those Depositors to come forward so that they can be verified and their Claims paid.”

The Insured Deposit is the first Claim that NDIC pays to Depositors upon revocation of a Bank’s Licence by the CBN.

The maximum specified limits for the MFB and PMB Sub-Sectors are N200, 000 and N500, 000 per Depositor per Bank, respectively.

The NDIC Boss said the Deposit Insurance System implemented by the Corporation was an important component of the Nation’s Financial Safety Net.

He said the Corporation’s Operations focused on minimising Banks’ risks and failures through strict Banking Supervision, reimbursement of Insured Depositors in the event of failure, and orderly liquidation of Failed Banks.

“It complements the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria to achieve a secure and stable Banking System as well as support the Fiscal Authority in maintaining stability within the broader Financial System, serving as the Foundation for Economic Growth and Development,” he said.

Hassan also said the Corporation, like other Financial Safety Net Players in Nigeria, had been faced with similar challenges that had impacted the Nation’s Financial System.

These challenges, he said, were caused by two main factors: Macroeconomic Factors and the changing dimensions of the Financial Services Industry.

“Though some of the challenges are universal, others are unique and domesticated.

“It is within this context that the NDIC aligns itself with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s efforts towards strengthening the Banking Industry through enhancing prudential thresholds and other Regulatory Instruments,” Hassan said. 

16-Dec-2023 NLC blasts World Bank over Advice to FG on N750 per Litre for Petrol Price

NLC blasts World Bank over Advice to FG on N750 per Litre for Petrol Price

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has condemned the Advice by the World Bank to the Federal Government to increase Petrol Prices to N750 per Litre .

Joe Ajaero, NLC President, said this on Friday in Abuja in a Statement, titled, ”World Bank’s N750 per Litre for Premium Motor Spirit is a threat to Nigerians Economy”.

It would be recalled that the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria, Alex Sienaert, offered the Advice recently during a Presentation of the Nigeria Development Update, Dec. 2023 Edition.

The Economist had noted that the Federal Government may still be paying Fuel Subsidy, considering that Fuel Prices are currently not cost-reflective in the country.

He also noted that based on the Official Foreign Exchange Rate, Fuel should cost N750 per Litre.

But Ajaero said “We vehemently reject the recent Advice by the World Bank which has asked the Nigerian Government to increase Petrol Prices to N750 per Litre.

“It is truly a shame that the World Bank has really shown itself to be an Enemy of the Nigerian Nation.

“Its continued grandstanding and generation of Anti-Poor Policies and Programmes have destabilised many Countries of the South, especially Nations within the Sub-Saharan Region,” he said.

He noted that the difficulties and suffering created by the last hike in the Price of Petrol was a Product of the Advice of the World Bank and its sister Institution.

Ajaero urged the Government not to allow Foreign Entities to dictate Economic Policies that were detrimental to the Welfare of its Citizens.

“It is imperative that our Leaders look inwards, tapping into the vast Resources and Human Potential within our Nation.

“This would address challenges and formulate Policies that genuinely uplift the Standard of Living for all Nigerians.

“We assert that it is not only impractical but truly immoral for the World Bank to persistently advocate for Policies that endanger the Lives and Livelihoods of Citizens, imperiling our Nation,” he said.

He added it is crucial for the Nigerian Government to prioritise the Welfare of its People over external pressures.

He called on the Government to resist the temptation to implement Policies that cater for the interest of International Bodies, even at the expense of the well-being of its Citizens.

“The Minimum Wage in Nigeria for a privileged few is N30,000 (about US$30), while Minimum Wage in the US is equivalent of N1.5m.

“If you advocate for International Prices then, it becomes commonsensical that you must advocate for International Wages.

“Our Local reality is that we cannot think of increasing the Pump Price of Petrol any further as it is a Product whose Price is pivotal in determining the Price of other Items in the Country,” he said.

15-Dec-2023 Tinubu promises Foreign Investors of fund repatriation, good Tax System

Tinubu promises Foreign Investors of fund repatriation, good Tax System

President Bola Tinubu has assured Foreign Investors of diligent and predictable fund repatriation, and the streamlining of the Tax System.

He also urged new Foreign Ambassadors to prioritise the exploration of new frontiers of Trade Relations that would be mutually beneficial as they carry out their duties in the Country.

The President received Letters of Credence from the Ambassador of Hungary, Lorand Endreffy; High Commissioner of Rwanda, Christophe Bazivamo, and Ambassador of Ukraine, Ivan Kholostenko, at the State House, on Friday.

Speaking when he received the High Commissioner of Rwanda, the President said the long-standing concerns over trapped funds were receiving attention and that the funds would be processed expeditiously for release.

“We are one family on the Continent. We will continue to promote Democracy and Good Governance. I will maintain an Open-Door Policy, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chief of Staff are also available.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we are already working on the issues of Double Taxation, and it will be properly streamlined to favour Business Growth. Nigeria is home and a haven for Investors,” he said.

The Rwandan High Commissioner said the Government of Rwanda was prepared to enhance Bilateral Relations with Nigeria, with new Visa Policies and Trade Agreements.

At the ceremony, Tinubu asked the Ambassador of Hungary to explore all opportunities of building Partnership, especially in the Areas of Agriculture and Food Security, and how to leverage the experience of the Country in Technology.

“Thank you so much for taking care of our Students who are in your Country. We are a very big Country, with huge potential to sustainably spur Economic Growth. We are ready to improve Relations, especially in the Areas of Agriculture and Food Security,” Tinubu said.

The Hungarian Ambassador commended the President for his bold, courageous, and strategic decisions to reposition the Nigerian Economy, listing some Areas of Collaboration to include Education, Agriculture, Food Security, Security, and Medical Technology.

“My Prime Minister always says that our Relations are based on mutual respect,’’ he said.

Tinubu told the Ukrainian Ambassador that Nigeria would always work for Global peace and harmony.

“We are with you in prayers. We will continue to support good Governance and Democracy,’’ the President said.

14-Dec-2023 NNPCL made N4.5trn for Nigeria in 10 months, Kyari reveals

NNPCL made N4.5trn for Nigeria in 10 months, Kyari reveals

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has generated N4.5trn as Revenue for the Federation for 2023 as at October, its Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari has said.

Kyari, said this in Abuja on Wednesday  at an Interactive Session with the Senate Committee on Finance.

He assured of better days were ahead, as Reforms contained in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) for the Oil Sector, had placed the Company at par with its Peers, across the Globe.

“The NNPC Limited that is a creation of the National Assembly, requires that we conduct Business transparently and profitably in line with Provisions of the Law.

“And to create Value for Shareholders, and not to lose money, and also to continue to add Value and pay Dividends to Shareholders.

“I’m glad to inform you Mr Chairman and Distinguished Senators, that as at October, we are able to deliver N4.5trn into the Federation Account as a Company to this Country in 2023.

“Every National Oil Company has a Trading Company. We have always had one which .never worked prior to PIA Implementation.

 “Currently, NNPC Limited is delivering on its Mandate through the PIA Reforms that has brought us to be at par with our Peers, across the Globe, and not to lose money anymore,” he said.

 Kyari said the Company had been expanding in Bussiness like most National Oil Companies in Africa.

 He said the Sector would be more Investment driven by the time the issue of wide margins in Exchange Rate and Import and Export Windows were narrowed.

“There is always a Parallel Market in every Country. There is also an Import and Export Window in every Country, even in the Developed World.

 “But there is always a narrow gap between the two and it takes time for you to have stability in this gap so that you have a low margin between the two for a sustained period of time, then Businesses will thrive.

 “There is a line of sight around this. I am very confident that by the end of the First Quarter of next year, those margins will narrow and stability will come and you will see others coming into the Market,” he said. 

 

Credit NNPCL PR: Texts excluding Headlines

13-Dec-2023 NNPCL justifies projections on Oil Production, Price Benchmark for 2024 Budget

NNPCL justifies projections on Oil Production, Price Benchmark for 2024 Budget

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), has assured that projections on Crude Oil Production and Price Benchmark for the 2024 Budget were realistic and realisable.

The Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Company, Mele Kyari, gave the assurance during an Interactive Session with the Senate Committee on Finance at the National Assembly, Abuja, on Wednesday.

A Statement by Olufemi Soneye, Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPCL, noted that Kyari made the remarks while speaking on the dynamics of the Market in relation to the projected Budget Benchmark Price of $77.96 per Barrel.

“With what we see in the Market today and potentially in the year 2024 and even beyond the next two years, it is very unlikely to see $70 per Barrel of Oil in the Market.

“The oscillation we are seeing, sometimes you do see Prices coming down to $75 to the Barrel and sometimes it goes above it, overall, Benchmarks are averages.

“We think that the Proposal by Mr President around the $77.96 is still realisable in 2024,” he said.

On the Crude Oil Production projection, he said Nigeria had 1.785 million Barrels per day (bpd) as the cumulative of all Oil produced in the Country.

The GCEO said the figure was inclusive of all Production Activities, including Crude Oil and Condensate.

“I need to make this clarification because of the Reports in the Media that our Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Quota is 1.5 million Barrels per day.

“The OPEC Quota is related only to Crude Oil. We also do between 250,000 to 300,000 Barrels per day of Condensate in our Production. When you combine the two, the 1.78mbpd is realistic and realisable,” he said.

He expressed optimism that though there were challenges such as Security and Force Majeure, the measures being deployed by the Federal Government would be able to take care of them to guarantee the projected level of Production.

The GCEO also assured that NNPCL would maintain the level of Dividends Remittance to the Federation Account as stated in the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework.

He added that the projected Dividends from the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited was also realisable and would flow directly into the Federation Account as stipulated by the Law.

On the Company’s Road Tax Credit Scheme, Kyari explained that all the Roads being undertaken under the Scheme would be duly completed.

He explained that the Scheme was anchored by the Ministry of Works while the Federal Inland Revenue Service and NNPCL were only playing Supervisory Roles to ensure that Value was delivered for every Kobo paid.

Earlier, Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Mohammed Musa, said the Interactive Session was to deepen conversations on the Projections in the 2024 Appropriation Bill to help the Lawmakers determine adjustment.

He expressed satisfaction with the explanations offered by the NNPCL’s Helmsman.

Recall that the Federal Government, in the Appropriation Bill, gave an average Crude Oil Production Benchmark of 1.78 mb/d, and a Crude Oil Price Benchmark of $77.96. 

13-Dec-2023 There is enough money in circulation for you to spend, CBN tells Nigerians

There is enough money in circulation for you to spend, CBN tells Nigerians

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reassured Nigerians of enough Naira Notes in Circulation, to carter for their Cash needs.

CBN’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Hakama Ali, gave the assurance in a Statement on Wednesday.

There has been complaints of a perennial shortage of Naira Notes by Bank Customers across the Country.

Ali said that Naira Notes in Circulation had increased from N1trn in February to N3.4trn in December.

This, according to her, indicates that there is sufficient Cash in Circulation, except that the Cash is in the hands of Individuals who are apprehensive due to their previous experiences.

She said that the Apex Bank was addressing the Reported Cases of Cash Scarcity in some Major Cities across the Country.

She attributed the situation to the hoarding of the Naira by some Persons due to challenges experienced during the Naira Redesign Project.

She said that the CBN was monitoring the situation and had released sufficient Cash to its Branches across the Country for onward distribution to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).

“The CBN has adequate Cash to meet the Day-to-Day Transaction Needs of Nigerians.

“We appeal to Nigerians to be patient while the CBN does the needful to ensure the availability of Cash, particularly during the Yuletide and beyond,” she said.

She urged Nigerians to continue to accept all Naira Banknotes for their Daily Transactions, while urging the Public to embrace alternative modes of payment, e-channels, to reduce pressure on the use of Physical Cash.

13-Dec-2023 Tinubu laments, says transiting from Nigeria's Economic Mainstay not a 'child's play'

Tinubu laments, says transiting from Nigeria's Economic Mainstay not a 'child's play'

President Bola Tinubu says African countries would need Partnership and a Cooperative Approach for a new Green Economy.

He said in a CNN Op-Ed Article that the issues of security threats, dislocation of People, Environmental Atrophy and other collateral impacts of Climate Change were on his mind during the COP28 World Climate Action Summit in Dubai, UAE.

Tinubu said Nigeria has battled against major obstacles, including the COVID-19 Pandemic, short-term challenges from Economic Reforms and the on-going Unification of Foreign Exchange Rates.

He said that the Nation, however, remained steadfast in its resolve to reconstruct a better, Cleaner Economy in spite of these challenges.

“To uphold our legally binding commitment to a Cleaner World, Nigeria launched the Nigerian Carbon Market Initiative at COP28 by joining the African Carbon Market Initiative,” he said.

Reiterating his stance on the inequity in the Economic Status Quo, the President wrote that Developing Nations, in spite of contributing minimally to the problem, endure most of its impacts.

He said African Countries simply cannot go at it alone, adding: “There must be a fair and Cooperative Approach. For too long, too many Developed Nations have hesitated to do what they should.

“Nigeria has taken significant steps and acted decisively in enacting the Climate Change Act and committing to Net-Zero Emissions between 2050 and 2070.

“Africa’s most populous Nation has successfully mobilised tens of thousands of Youths Nationwide to plant 250,000 Trees Annually to honour a pledge to plant 25 million Trees by 2030 as we build our great Green Wall to fight back against encroaching Desert across the Northern Region of our Nation,” he said.

The President said Nigeria was aggressively pursuing the exploitation of the Nation’s Wind and Solar Resources, adding that transitioning from Fossil Fuels, which are Nigeria’s Economic Mainstay, will not be easy.

“While in Berlin last month at the G20 Summit, I announced Nigeria’s commitment to develop Blue and Green Hydrogen Capacity for International Export. In conversations with Middle Eastern Oil Producers, I also solidified this commitment.

“We now seek to mobilise Private Capital with support from Initiatives like the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative and the new US and EU Global Infrastructure Programmes,” he said.

Tinubu also said that the European Union’s Global Gateway Programme and the U.S. Government’s Build Back Better World initiative are potential Resources Nigeria would explore in its efforts for Cleaner Energy.

“We are also looking to diversify our Economy by engaging in friendly competition with Russia in the supply of Energy to European Markets.

‘’We can do it with Natural Gas and through Green Energy. This is why we are investing massively in both.

“Batteries for hire could help Nigerians ditch their Generators. But the time for watching and waiting is over.

‘’Developed Nations must honour commitments in the form of significant contributions to the Loss and Damage Fund and the $100bn Annual Climate Financing Pledge,” the President said. 

12-Dec-2023 Foreign Investments: Nigeria, China explore Areas of Common Interests

Foreign Investments: Nigeria, China explore Areas of Common Interests

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, says Nigeria is getting safer, ready for Foreign Investments and exploration of her rich Heritage.
 
The Speaker stated this in Abuja on Tuesday when he received in his Office at the National Assembly, a Delegation from Anhui Provincial People’s Congress Standing Committee in China.
 
The Delegation was  led by its Vice Chairman, Tao Ming Lun.
 
Receiving the Delegation, the Speaker who was represented by  the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, said there is  a  mutually beneficial Diplomatic Relationship between the Governments of China and Nigeria.
 
“The Parliament recognises the significance of fostering the Diplomatic Relations to contribute to the progress of our respective Societies and the promotion of Global peace and prosperity,” he said.
 
He said  the visit confirmed the strong and enduring Friendship between the two Nations, adding that it was opportunity to engage in constructive Dialogue with our Distinguished Guests from Anhui.
 
He said through open and sincere Communication, the two Countries could identify Areas of common interests and explore Collaboration in various Fields.
 
This, according to him, includes Trade, Investment, Education, and Cultural Exchange.
 
“Our Countries share a rich History and Cultural Heritage, and this visit presents a unique opportunity to enhance our understanding of each other’s Traditions and Values.
 
“This visit will serve as a Platform for forging lasting Partnerships and fostering People-to-People Connections between our Countries.
 
”You talked about your Tourism strength and inviting me to come to China, alongside Members of the Parliament, I will be there but you have to promise that you will come to Nigeria over and over again.
 
“We have Tourism side which we will expose you to for you to know our rich Heritage. Nigeria is getting safer than before and you will be free to move around to see our rich Heritage.”
 
Speaking further, the Speaker sought for Collaboration with China on Agricultural Technology to improve Agriculture and end Food Insecurity in Nigeria.
 
According to him, Agriculture is very important to the current Administration, in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu, which one of the Pillars is Food Security.
 
He urged  the Delegation to be interested in Agricultural Technology Exchange, adding that by working together, both Nations could address shared challenges and create new opportunities for growth and development.
 
Earlier, the Leader of the Delegation,  Lun said  they sought to deepen Cooperation between the two Countries, bring the Relationship closer and expand the Cooperation.
 
11-Dec-2023 CBN: Ignore Reports listing Nigerian Banks as failing Stres Test for International Authorisation

CBN: Ignore Reports listing Nigerian Banks as failing Stres Test for International Authorisation

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says Media Reports listing Banks as failing the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) Stress Test for International Authorisation are false and should be disregarded.

The Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Hakama Sidi Ali, said in a Statement posted on the CBN Official Website on Monday.

The Statement assured the Public and Stakeholders about the continued stability and resilience of the Nigerian Banking Industry.

It urged Nigerians to always rely on Official Channels for Information and avoid speculation based on unverified Sources.

“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria has been drawn to Reports in some Media Outlets suggesting that some Licensed Commercial Banks in the Country had failed the CBN’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) for International Authorisation.

“We wish to clarify that the Nigerian Banking Industry remains resilient as key Financial Soundness Indicators were within the Regulatory Thresholds as captured in the CBN’s most recent Economic Report of 2023

“Furthermore, the CBN is engaging with various critical Stakeholders to sustain the level of confidence in the Nigerian Financial Sector.

“We, therefore, appeal to Nigerians to disregard the Media Reports listing Banks as failing the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) Stress Test for International Authorisation as the Report did not emanate from the Central Bank of Nigeria,” the Statement said.

The Capital Adequacy Ratio is a key Financial Metric used to assess the Financial Health and Stability of Banks.

It measures the amount of Capital a Bank holds relative to its Risk-Weighted Assets, indicating its ability to absorb losses and continue operating during challenging Economic Conditions.

 

11-Dec-2023 Nigeria, Germany, Europe in Dialogue to drive FDIs

Nigeria, Germany, Europe in Dialogue to drive FDIs

The Federal Government says Nigeria is open, safe, willing, and ready for more Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and Partnerships to engender Wealth and National Growth.

Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Aisha Rimi, said this at a Private Dialogue with Delegations from Germany and Europe organised in Abuja on Monday.

”Nigeria is open, with about 200 million People and a vibrant and hardworking Youth. The Government is very keen to diversify the Economy.

”The Government has decided to look inward in Mining, Agriculture, Infrastructure Development, and Construction, among others.

”The Opportunities are enormous. We have stable Democracy and liberal Investment Laws, and although we have some sticky points, that is where NIPC comes in.

”We have convening Power to bring all the Agencies together to address Investors’ challenges. To those already here, we assist them to ensure retention,” she said.

Also speaking, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yussuf Tuggar, represented by Bolaji Akinremi, said Nigeria needed Investment to create enough Jobs for the teeming Nigerian Youths.

”Hence, the Federal Government of Nigeria is fully committed to diversifying Nigeria’s Economy by encouraging Investments in all Sectors.

”President Bola Tinubu is passionate about this. Thus, it explains his recent Meeting with some Heads of Government to ensure this feat is achieved immediately.

”Government has therefore institutionalised some Policies aimed at fast-tracking FDI into Nigeria.

”I, therefore, assure you that your Investments in Nigeria are safe. The Country has enough Market, while Minerals and Human Resources abound in Nigeria,” he said.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, commended the efforts of NIPC and Development Partners in driving President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

Uzoka-Anite, represented by the Director of Industrial Development, John Opaluwa, said Nigeria needed the collaborative hands of key Experts to drive the Economy.

According to her, the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan is the Country’s Roadmap to Industrialisation. It aims to build Industrial Capacity and improve competitiveness in identified Sectors.

While reiterating efforts aimed at bettering the Lives of Citizens, Uzoka-Anite said there was no doubt that Nigeria needed the collaborative hands of key Experts to grow.

”The Federal Government is steadfast in formulating and presenting Policies and Projects that will create an Enabling Environment to stimulate Domestic Investment.

”It is also committed to attracting FDI in all Sectors of the Economy and making Nigeria a preferred Investment Destination in Africa and the World,” she said.

For her part, Victoria Akai, the Director-General of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), expressed delight at the presence of the Investors.

”The Summit represents a significant milestone in fostering International Collaboration and strengthening Business Ties among Germany, Europe, and Nigeria.

”It provides a unique Platform for exchanging ideas, exploring Investment Opportunities, and forging Partnerships that lead to Economic Growth and Development, which Nigeria needs.

”Your participation is a testament to the importance of fostering mutually beneficial Relationships between our Nations,” Akai said.

She urged the Participants to actively engage in fruitful discussions and explore avenues for Collaboration to pave the way for Inclusive Development.

Meanwhile, Micheal Schmidt of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Head of the German/European Union Delegation said the essence of the Meeting was to drive Trade in Nigeria.

He said the Meeting was very important because it united Governments, key Decision-Makers, the Private Sector, and UNIDO Partners.

”It is a long-term Process to increase Exports; the Market is not saturated, Nigeria’s main challenge is to fulfill the Local Market’s need, and there is a lot of positive development,” he said.

Schmidt urged the Nigerian Government to keep the Country open and be Infrastructure efficient so it is easy to move in and out to make the Business Process easier.”

 

08-Dec-2023 CBN warns Nigerians of Counterfeit Naira Notes in circulation

CBN warns Nigerians of Counterfeit Naira Notes in circulation

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned Nigerians to beware of illegal Naira Banknotes in circulation.

This is contained in a statement by CBN’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Hakama Sidi Ali in Abuja on Friday.

“The attention of the CBN) has been drawn to the circulation of Counterfeit Banknotes, especially higher Denominations by some individuals,“ she said.

Sidi Ali said that the Counterfeit Naira Notes were mainly used for Transactions in Food Markets and other Commercial Centres across major cities in the Country.

She said that any Person found complicit in the circulation of the Counterfeit Currency Notes would face severe sanctions.

The Director said that the Law provided punishment by a term of imprisonment of not less than five years, for any Person found culpable of counterfeiting Naira Notes or any other Legal Tender in Nigeria.

“The CBN is in constant Collaboration with relevant Security and Financial Agencies to confiscate fake Naira Banknotes, arrest and prosecute Counterfeiters.

“Members of the Public are also encouraged to report anyone suspected of having Counterfeit Naira Notes to the nearest Police Station, Branch of the CBN, or via contactcbn@cbn.gov.ng," she said.

She enjoined all Deposit Money Banks, Financial Houses and Bureaux de Change and the General Public to be more vigilant.

Sidi Ali urged them to take all necessary precautionary measures to curtail the acceptance and distribution of Counterfeit Notes.

“Furthermore, the General Public is encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment for day-to-day Transactions to mitigate the risk of spreading Counterfeit Banknotes,” she said.

07-Dec-2023 NNPCL seals Deals for Local, International Gas Markets to boost Revenue

NNPCL seals Deals for Local, International Gas Markets to boost Revenue

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has signed two major Agreements to deliver Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to the Domestic Gas Market and the International LNG Market.
 
Held on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), NNPC Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Wison Heavy Industry Company Limited, a Chinese Company, for the development of Floating LNG Project, targeting the International Market.
 
Also, NNPC Prime LNG Limited an Arm of NNPC Trading Limited signed a Supply, Installation and Commissioning Agreement with SDP Services, an independent Oil and Gas Company, for a 421 tonnes per day LNG Project targeting the Domestic LNG Market.
 
The Floating LNG MoU was signed by the Executive Vice President, Gas, Power and New Energy, Olalekan Ogunleye, on behalf of NNPC Limited, and Kai Xu, Managing Director, Wison Limited on behalf of his Company.
 
A Statement on Wednesday by the Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPCL, Olufemi Soneye, said the development would further boost Natural Gas utilisation in the Country and enhance Nigeria’s Gas Revenue.
 
Speaking shortly after the Signing Ceremony, Ogunleye said NNPCL was committed to delivering Gas to Industries Nationwide and accelerating the Company’s Gas Commercialisation efforts through the Floating LNG Project.
 
“We see both Projects as having enormous impact all over Nigeria because they are central to the commercialisation of Nigeria’s abundant Gas Resources and ensuring that our Country earns much-needed Foreign Revenue from its abundant Gas Assets.
 
“It is also consistent with NNPC Management’s drive to deliver on Mr President’s Gas and Power aspirations across the Country,” Ogunleye said.
 
Similarly, the Small-Scale LNG (SSLNG) Project Agreement was signed by the Managing Director, NNPC Trading Limited, Lawal Sade, on behalf of NNPC Prime LNG Limited while Abhinav Modi, Managing Director, SDP Services Limited signed on behalf of his Company.
 
The SSLNG Project, which will be located at Ajaokuta in Kogi State, will ensure the efficient supply of LNG to the Autogas/Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Industrial/Commercial Customers Nationwide.
 
Also, in his address after the Deal, Sade said the SSLNG Project would boost the domestication of LNG utilisation by supporting the growth of Auto-Gas Initiatives across the Country.
 
“We are looking at a Timeframe of 12 months from Execution to the Commissioning of the Project.
 
“The Project will deliver about 420 tonnes of LNG per day into the Domestic Market, which will enhance efficient delivery of Gas to the Auto-Gas/CNG and Industrial Customers in line with Presidential Mandate,” Sade added.
 
While expressing their delight at signing the Agreements, the Partners pledged to work with NNPC Limited to deliver the Projects within schedule and in the most cost-effective manner.
 
Both Parties agreed to work together to chart a Roadmap for the Project Development that will lead to an Investment Decision.
 
The LNG Project is expected to be operational by December 2024.
 
 
 
Credit: NNPCL PR
07-Dec-2023 NGX CEO to Stockbrokers: Stick by the 'Rulebook or face the music'

NGX CEO to Stockbrokers: Stick by the 'Rulebook or face the music'

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), Temi Popoola, on Wednesday, said that the transition to Virtual Trading, following the incursion of the COVID-19 Pandemic, remained a game changer in the Capital Market.
 
Popoola stated this while delivering an Address at the Induction for newly qualified 58 Authorised Dealing Clerks at the Exchange in Lagos.
 
He noted that Brokers could now trade, remotely, from the comfort of their Offices and from different Locations around the Globe.
 
“Rather than adversely affecting the Business of the Exchange, we have witnessed a significant leap in Transactions.
 
“We also witnessed Admission of new Retail Investors into the Market either by new Listings or IPOs, which attests to the impact of our Technology Investments and improved capabilities,” he said.
 
The NGX Boss congratulated the Inductees, adding that the accomplishment is a testament to their unwavering dedication, resilience, and commitment to excellence.
 
He said that the Induction is the first fully Physical Induction Ceremony since the Demutualisation of The Nigerian Stock Exchange, now Nigerian Exchange Group.
 
“We celebrate the successful Dealing Clerks who have passed through The Exchange’s Automated Trading System (ATS) Brokers’ Certification Training Faculty.
 
“The 15-day rigorous Training is organised to select Seasoned Professionals of integrity who have shown a clear understanding of the intricacies of the Capital Market Operations and the Exchange.
 
“Today’s Inductees have secured the required Regulatory Approval of Fit and Proper Persons to practice as Authorised Clerks of the Exchange,” he said.
 
According to him, the successful completion of the rigorous Qualification Process affirms the Inductees readiness to embark on a fulfilling Career as Authorised Dealing Clerks, poised to navigate the dynamic World of NGX.
 
Popoola affirmed that the Inducted Clerks possess the Qualifications and Merit to operate as Practicing Stockbrokers eligible to engage in Trading on the NGX Platform.
 
According to him, their Induction marks the commencement of an enriching professional journey, filled with opportunities to contribute meaningfully to the growth and development of the Nigerian Capital Market and beyond.
 
The NGX CEO said: ” the Robes you will be adorned with today symbolise a commitment to uphold the Ethical Standards of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers and Rulebook of The Exchange.
 
“It represents a Pledge to be an Advocate of Integrity and Impeccable Character, signifying a total commitment to place the interest of the Market first.
 
“We, sincerely, hope that every one of you will abide by the Rules and Regulations of the Exchange, as well as the Ethics of the Capital Market that build the trust upon which the entire Global Financial Industry rests,” he said.
 
According to him, the NGX has clear and enforceable Rules, with a Zero-Tolerance Policy on all Infractions.
 
Popoola said, to bolster this, the Exchange had a signed Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
 
He noted that the MoU is to increase Cooperation and Communication in the fight against Financial Crimes across the Capital Market.
 
The NGX CEO said: ” We will provide the support you need to develop your Capacity and Businesses through our numerous Platforms.
 
“However, the Exchange will not hesitate to throw the Book at any Dealing Clerk, who fails to live up to its Rules.
 
“With today’s Induction, you are part of the NGX Family, and we encourage you to play your part in developing our Market to achieve our aspiration to become Africa’s preferred Exchange Hub.
 
In his remark, the Doyen of Capital Market, Rasheed Yusuf, advised the newly Inducted Brokers to re-package Instruments to sell and raise raise Capital for the Market for Long Term Financing.
 
Yusuf stated that the Country was transiting into new challenging ways of doing things, as President Bola Tinubu’s led Government  opened up all Sectors in the Country.
 
He said that the Capital Market must respond to the trend by adopting Creative Instruments to turn around the Economy to what the World expect it to be.
 
“You can achieve this having being equipped with the help and support from the Stock Broking Community, NGX, CIS and ASHON,” he said.
 
Commenting, an Inducted Clerk, Nwachukwu Chase of ATLAS Portfolio Limited, commended the NGX for conducting a Professional Training to certify them as Authorised Brokers.
 
Chase expressed optimism that the new Clerks would put the Training they had received to use and become some of the best hands in the Market. 
06-Dec-2023 NNPCL: We'll work with Partners on reduction of Methane Emissions

NNPCL: We'll work with Partners on reduction of Methane Emissions

NNPC Limited has expressed its commitment to work with Global Partners in the march towards reducing Methane Emissions in Oil and Gas Operations.

On the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP28, taking place in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, the Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter was released.

The Charter calls on the Oil and Gas Sector to achieve the goal of reaching Net-Zero Emissions for their own Operations by 2050. It also includes commitments to achieve Near-Zero Methane Emissions and no routine Flaring by 2030.

Speaking on the development during a Panel Session titled “Accelerating the Elimination of Methane Emissions and the Decarbonisation of Oil and Gas,” NNPC Limited's Executive Vice President, Upstream, Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan said the Charter was a major opportunity not just for the NNPC Limited, but for the African Sub-Region.

“Africa contributes three percent to Emissions, but that does not exclude us from the consequences of the Emissions. I think the Decarbonisation drive and the Charter are not just ethical but also a strategic imperative for a major African National Oil Company (NOC) like ours.

We believe this Charter is an important one. We are committed to working with all Stakeholders to deliver on that,” Eyesan stated.

She said to achieve its Near-Zero Methane Emissions, Nigeria has since declared this decade as Decade of Gas, which is not only geared towards producing more Gas for Export, but also towards producing Gas for Local Economy and that of the entire African Sub-Region.

“I assure you that we are open to working with our Partners towards achieving Zero-Flare and Methane Emission reduction by 2030. This fits perfectly with our dreams, and we consider it achievable,” Eyesan stated

She described Finance and Technology as the two major challenges in delivering on the provisions of the Charter, noting that for the two problems to be solved, African Countries need to work with Partners who have the Technology and Finance.

She said NNPC Limited remains committed to expanding its Alternative Energy Sources through Investment in Solar, Wind, and other Renewable Sources.


Credit NNPCL PR

05-Dec-2023 Federal Lawmakers issue Arrest Warrant on CBN Governor, others over Operations

Federal Lawmakers issue Arrest Warrant on CBN Governor, others over Operations

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petiton has issued Warrant of Arrest on the Central Bank Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, the Accountant General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein and 17 others for refusing to appear before it to answer questions on their Operations.

This followed the Adoption of a Motion by Fred Agbedi (PDP-Bayelsa) at the Committee’s hearing on Tuesday.

Moving the Motion, Agbedi said that the Arrest Warrant had become inevitable following the attitude of the Invitees.

He said that the Parliament worked with time and the CEOs had been invited four times, but failed to respond.

He said that the CEOs should be brought to appear before the Committee by the Inspector General of Police through a Warrant of Arrest after Due Diligence by the Speaker, Tajudeen Abbas.

In his Ruling, the Chairman of the committee, Micheal Irom (APC-Cross River), said that the I-G should ensure the CEOs were brought before the Committee on December 14.

Earlier, the Petitioner, Fidelis Uzowanem, said that the Petition was anchored on the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Report of 2021.

He said that the Report was a summary of the Transactions in the Oil and Gas Industry for 2021 which NEITI could be challenged.

“We took up the challenge to examine the Report and discovered that what NEITI put together as a Report is only consolidation of fraud that has been going on in the Oil and Gas Industry.

“It dates back to 2016 because that was when we have been following it and we put up a petition to this Committee to examine what has happened.

“The 2024 Budget of N27.5trn that has been proposed can be confidently be funded from the recoverable amount that we identified in the NEITI Report.

“It is basically a concealment of Illegal Transactions that took place in NNPCL, they have been in sink with some Oil Companies where some Companies that did not produce Crude were paid Cash Core, an amount paid for Crude Oil Production,” he said.
He added: “We also found that the Cash Core Payment was use as a channel for laundering Funds by NNPCL and we found out that NEITI was able to conceal it in its Report.

“In 2021 NEITI reported that Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited was paid $168m but examination of submission by the Company shows that it received $292m.

“In other words, $124m was laundered by NNPCL through Total because monies that have been officially paid to Total could not have been concealed if it were not meant for fraudulent purposes.

“Also for Chevron, the dollar payment NEITI puts forward in its Report was $76m but Document emanating from Chevron showed that they received as much as $267m.”

“In other words, $191m was laundered under the cover of Chevron and NEITI concealed that; also, Nigeria Agip Company received $188m but none of it was reported by NEITI”.

Some of those to be arrested were the Chief Executive Officer, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), that of Ethiop Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited, as well as the CEO of the Western Africa Exploration and Production.

05-Dec-2023 Removal of Subsidies: Nigerian Workers in severe pain, says NLC

Removal of Subsidies: Nigerian Workers in severe pain, says NLC

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said the commencement of  negotiation of the new National Minimum Wage in 2024 would be based on the prevailing Cost of Living in the Country.

Joe Ajaero, NLC President, said this at the ongoing 19th Edition of the NLC 2023 Harmattan School, organised by the Congress on Tuesday in Abuja.

The Theme of the Event is “Building Workers’ Skills for Policy Engagement”.

The Harmattan School is part of the NLC National Schools where it trains and empowers Members of its Affiliated Unions through Skills Development.

Ajaero, represented by Benjamin Anthony, Vice-President of NLC, said it was necessary for Government at all Levels to recognise that Life and Living Conditions are exceedingly difficult.

“The removal of Subsidies on Petroleum Products has further worsened the challenges faced by Working People.

“That is unleashing severe pain and contributing to Galloping Inflation and increasing Inequality and Poverty.

“We must reckon that a well-motivated and well-remunerated Workforce has a positive impact on Productivity and National Development.

“As we anticipate the commencement of negotiations for the National Minimum Wage in 2024.

“We seek the understanding of all Stakeholders to ensure that we use this opportunity to arrive at a Minimum Wage commensurate with the prevailing Cost of Living," he said.

He said that the ultimate goal, though, is to establish a Living Wage that covers the Cost of Living and make allowance for some Savings by the Workers.

Ajaero  said that the recent assault on Workers and their Leaders in Imo poses a grave threat to Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining.

“This is as enshrined in Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining.

“This should unequivocally be condemned by all People of Goodwill. The only thing that can assuage our pains is for the Imo Government to address all Labour Issues.

“They are also to return the so-called ‘Ghost Workers’ to their Jobs, pay all Outstanding Salaries and Pensions and call back all victimised Workers to their Jobs,” he said.

On the Theme of the Event, he said it was  apt given the importance of Skill and Knowledge in Policy Processes and Engagements.

“In the ever changing World of Work, as Trade Unions, we should prepare ourselves to engage with the Employers in the Workplace and Government in the interest of the Workers and the Masses.

“In order to efficiently engage in any Policy, the Trade Unions must equip their Members to understand Policy Making Processes, its implementation, monitoring and evaluation,” he said.

Vanessa Phala, ILO Country Director to Nigeria, said the World of Work was undergoing rapid changes, driven by Technological Advances, Climate Change, among others.

She said that these changes were affecting Workers and Trade Unions, thereby posing new challenges and opportunities for collective action and advocacy.

According to her, Trade Unions remain critical Stakeholders in promoting Workers’ Rights, improving Working Conditions, and advancing Social and Economic Justice.

“Against this context, there is no better time than now for a serious and strategic reflection on the role that Organised Labour executes in Policy Engagement and Dialogue.

“This 19th Edition is dedicated to reflecting on the pertinent question ‘’how can Trade Unions build Power and transform their Organisations in the context of rapidly changing Economic and Labour Market Policies’.

“The need for Strong, Democratic, Independent, and Representative Workers’ Organisations, effective and adequately resourced Labour Administrations.

“Also the robust and inclusive Social Dialogue Institutions and processes remain fundamental, especially in times of crisis and recovery,” she said.

She added that these Institutions are the bedrock of Labour Market Governance, a prerequisite for Social Justice and the building blocks for the delivery of Policy Engagement driven decent Work Solutions.

Phala said Policy Engagement was a facet of Social Dialogue and that for the ILO, Social Dialogue in all its forms was crucial for Policy coherence and effective Crisis and Resilience Management.

“It is also a key Governance Instrument in managing and responding to transformations in the World of Work.

“In this regard, the exigency of the Theme of the 19th Harmattan School becomes even more pertinent, especially in elaborating the role Trade Unions play in Policy Engagement.

“This is particularly as it relates to advancing Policy options for improved Governance and Conditions of the Working People in Nigeria,” she added.

04-Dec-2023 Nigeria, Commonwealth discuss prospects of Deep Sea Mining

Nigeria, Commonwealth discuss prospects of Deep Sea Mining

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, says President Bola Tinubu has identified the Solid Minerals Sector as a Pillar of Nigeria’s current efforts to diversify the Economy.

Alake made the disclosure while discussing prospects for Deep Sea Mining in Nigeria’s Coastal Waters during a visit to the Commonwealth Secretariat in the United Kingdom, according to a Statement.

The Statement issued in Abuja on Monday was signed by Alake’s Special Adviser, Kehinde Bamigbetan.

Alake said that the Ministry had developed a Seven-Point Agenda that included establishment of a Solid Minerals Company.

He said that the Agenda also included gathering of big Data on Minerals Reserve to keep Mines Safe, among other things.

He added that the Agenda included Socio-Economic Development of Mining Communities through effective Community Development Agreements.

The Minister urged that the Commonwealth should support efforts of the Tinubu Administration.

He said that the Ministry would study a dimension of Deep Sea Mining, in collaboration with other Ministries, and put together a Proposal for further consideration.

Commonwealth’s Senior Director of Trade, Oceans and Natural Resources Department, Paul Kautoke, praised the Nigerian Delegation for visiting the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Kautoke said that Nigeria, as a Coastal Country, could explore the prospects of Deep Sea Minerals such as Copper, Cobalt, Nickel, Gold and rare Earth Elements.

He said that many Commonwealth Countries in the Pacific Region were making inroads into Deep Sea Mining.

He said that the Commonwealth could assist to develop a Policy, in that regard, for Nigeria. 

 

04-Dec-2023 US: Nigeria becoming a Member of BRICS or not is its cup of tea

US: Nigeria becoming a Member of BRICS or not is its cup of tea

The U.S. says it is set to invest $600m in Private Investments and Infrastructure in Africa as Partnership towards deepening Global Alliance. David Greene, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja. The Envoy spoke while fielding questions in view of the growing moves by Countries to form Global Alliance towards introduction of new Economic Trade separate from the Western Systems. According to him,  every Country has right to choose who it has Relations with and what other Organisations, Multilateral Groups it associates with, saying each State has Sovereign Rights to do that. “We believe that any Multilateral Gathering should be advancing the clearly articulated Principle of the UN Chatter with regard to Territorial Integrity and respect for Sovereignty.“Any Multilateral Group should take seriously the obligation to try and advance the Principles and  Articulated Universal Declaration of Human Rights to improve the functioning of Individual State or lead to greater success of any Country, any Multilateral Group, in terms of meeting the aspirations of its People.“So, the U.S. truly believes in Multilateralism and whether Nigeria does not join the BRICS, that is a decision for Nigeria.”He said the U.S. President, Joe Biden, had at several Public Functions reiterated his Administration’s resolve to deepen its alliance with Africa.He explained that the U.S. would do more to advance U.S.-Africa Ties, U.S.-Nigeria Ties and Global Ties.Greene further described Global Alliance as “the ability of Countries that want to partner to advance their Development and success in line with their aspirations.“We believe that it is true that Alliances and Coalitions are International Relations that can really help move the World forward in a better direction with regards to our Engagement in Africa.“The BRICS are not a factor in that regard, we have established a strong strategic People-to-People Ties across the Continent.“We have strongly been good since then and our commitments to deepen Economic Engagement are in particular, to advance and promote African Voices on a Global Stage.“We rallied the G-20 to include the African Union, the most recent G-20 Meeting in India; we are working with Partners to unlock the $200bn in World Bank and IMF Resources to address the kind of challenges that we all face.“We are working to unlock the $600m, hopefully in Private Investments and Infrastructure in the next couple of years, as part of our Global Partnership for Infrastructure Global Investment.,” he said.
02-Dec-2023 Nigeria to roll out 100 Electric Buses for Greener Future

Nigeria to roll out 100 Electric Buses for Greener Future

President Bola Tinubu says Nigeria is taking a significant step towards a Sustainable and Eco-Friendly future through its pioneering Initiative to deploy a Fleet of 100 Electric Buses.

Ajuri Ngelale, Presidential Spokesman, said in a Statement on Saturday in Abuja, that the President said this at a Meeting with Stakeholders and Investors in Dubai, United Arab Emirate.

Tinubu was speaking on the Nigeria Carbon Market and Electric Buses Rollout Programme on the margins of the COP28 Climate Summit.

The President explained that the strategic Initiative is aimed at reducing Nigeria’s Carbon Footprint and modernising the Country’s Transportation Systems.

This, Tinubu said, was part of a larger effort to position Nigeria and Africa as the pioneering frontier of Green Manufacturing and Industrialisation with a focus on Natural Gas as a Transition Fuel alongside other Renewable Energy Sources.

To spearhead this transformative Plan, the President announced the Appointment of two Co-Chairs for the Nigeria Carbon Market Activation Plan.

The two are the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Zacch Adedeji, and the D-G of the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC), Dahiru Salisu.

”This Initiative stands as a testament to our dedication to Environmental Stewardship as clearly exemplified through our Collaboration with the Africa Carbon Market Initiative.

‘’Our Visionary Plan is a strategic Guidepost, directing Nigeria towards becoming an Investment-Friendly destination for carbon market investments.

”We recognise the imperative of fostering an Environment that not only attracts Investment but also upholds standardised and sustainable Industrial Practices.

‘’As a manifestation of our forward-thinking approach, we are actively looking to implement robust, enabling Policies and Frameworks that will serve as the catalyst for the burgeoning growth of the Carbon Market within our National Borders.

”In further driving my commitment, I have recently approved an Inter-Governmental Committee on Carbon Markets to be chaired by the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Director-General of the National Council on Climate Change to drive this Visionary Plan,” the President said.

Tinubu assured prospective Investors that this Initiative transcends being a mere Pilot Project.

”It is a concrete manifestation of our unwavering dedication to a Carbon-neutral future. I assure you; this is only the commencement of our ambitious Plans, with many more impactful Initiatives on the horizon,” he said.

Tinubu, while acknowledging the pressing need for a comprehensive Global Collaboration on Climate-related challenges, called on Global Partners to join hands in accelerating collective efforts towards a net-zero future.

”As we unveil our Initiatives, I challenge other Nations to emulate our strides in mapping out their sustainable futures with a clear understanding that Africa is a beacon of innovative solutions to Climate-related challenges.

”In this pursuit, we acknowledge the pressing need for comprehensive Global Collaboration, and we reiterate our commitment to being an active Participant in International efforts.

”Nigeria’s plans for a Greener and Cleaner Economy can serve as an inspirational narrative for Nations Worldwide. Our comprehensive approach, rooted in Visionary Leadership and pragmatic action supported by our Technical Partners, is poised to become a Blueprint for Countries aspiring to also develop and catalyse their Markets for Sustainable Growth,” the President said.

In his remarks, the FIRS Chairman acknowledged the Visionary Leadership of Tinubu as the guiding force behind Nigeria’s commitment to harnessing its vast Carbon Potential.

Adedeji pledged the full commitment of the Committee to drive the implementation of efficient Policies and Frameworks to achieve Sustainable Carbon Market growth.

Reiterating Nigeria’s readiness to lead the Global effort to combat Climate Change, Adedeji described the initial phase of the rollout of the Electric Buses as a tangible symbol of Nigeria’s commitment to modernising its Transportation Systems while reducing Africa’s modest Carbon Footprint.

”In the immediate term, Nigeria will proudly unveil a series of Innovative, clean, modern, and sustainable Initiatives across diverse Sectors.

‘’These Initiatives are strategically designed to not only address Climate Change-related challenges but also to position Nigeria as an attractive destination for Global Investments,’’ he said.

01-Dec-2023 Nigeria, Sustain Africa Initiative sign Agreement on Agriculture

Nigeria, Sustain Africa Initiative sign Agreement on Agriculture

The Federal Government and Sustain Africa Initiative on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to revamp the Nation’s Agriculture Sector and enhance Food Security.

The MoU was signed at the Office of Vice President Kashim Shettima at Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Shettima said President Bola Tinubu was passionate about repositioning the Nation’s Agriculture Sector towards achieving Sustainable Food Security in the Country.

He described the signing of the MoU as a significant milestone in the commitment of the Tinubu Administration to the prosperity and sustainability of Agriculture in Nigeria.

Shettima restated Tinubu’s resolve to reposition the Agriculture Sector, saying “it is not about us sitting in the comfort of our Air-Conditioned Offices.

“We really need to see what the Farmers are going through. My boss, President Tinubu is irrevocably committed to repositioning Nigerian Agriculture. Agricultural Economist by Training, a Banker by Profession and now a Politician by calling.

“Without sufficient, quality inputs, without investing in the immediate Technology, without devoting our time to best Agricultural Practice, our output will remain low.

“And sadly, fertiliser is an inestimable Input in Agriculture and we are finding it difficult investing in it.”

He thanked the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for being quite supportive of the Issues of the African Farmer.

He said “without impacting positively on the Output of the African Farmer our Productivity will remain low and Issues of Food Security will not go away.

“As rightly said by the President of the Farmers Association of Nigeria, all that the Nigerian Farmer needs is to have Input at his Doorstep and at affordable Prices.

“I want to convey to you the warm wishes and regards of my Principal, President Tinubu, who has the courage to declare a State of Emergency in the Agric Sector.

“For the withdrawal of the Fuel Subsidy more than any other Sector, Inflationary Trend in Nigeria is affecting every other issue.

“This is why we are gearing up towards launching an Agricultural Transformation Plan for the next Agricultural Season.

“Even in the Dry Season Farming we are engaging in Wheat Cultivation in an effort to bring down the Cost of Foodstuff.”

Shettima assured that the Partnership with the Sustain Africa Initiative was for real.

He noted that to guide Nigeria’s Agriculture to a lasting prosperity, the plight of the Ordinary Nigerian must first be understood.

“With the signing of the MoU, it is expected that over the next few months, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, in conjunction with her Partners, will visit all the Six-Geo-Political Zones to engage Farmers.

“These insights will support the Reforms, Interventions, Partnerships and Innovations envisioned in the Ministry’s Strategic Plans and Sustain Africa’s intention in contributing to increasing resilience in Nigeria’s Food Systems.”

Earlier, the Leader of Delegation and Executive Director, Sustain Africa Initiative, Ben Valk, praised Tinubu Administration for its commitment in transforming the Food System in Nigeria.

He expressed hope that Smallholder Farmers would benefit from his knowledge and experience, which they have garnered from other parts of Africa.

The MoU was signed on behalf of the Federal Government by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agribusiness, Kingsley Uzoma, while Michael Sudarkasa signed on behalf of Sustain Africa Initiative.

Present at the MoU Signing Ceremony were the Minister of State for Agriculture, Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi and other Senior Government Officials.

Sustain Africa Initiative is a crisis response and resilience Initiative to improve availability, affordability and effectiveness as well as sustainable use of Fertiliser in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Initiative works as a Coordination Mechanism among Public and Private Sector Partners to help Smallholder Farmers access affordable Fertiliser.

Its Programmes particularly target hard-hit Regions and Farmers in focus Countries.

 

30-Nov-2023 Trust Fund: NUPRC intervenes in dispute involving Chevron, Delta Oil Communities

Trust Fund: NUPRC intervenes in dispute involving Chevron, Delta Oil Communities

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), has waded into the dispute between Chevron Nigeria Limited and Communities within the Company’s Warri Exploration and Production Area, Delta State, over Host Communities Trust Fund.
 
The NUPRC urged both Parties in the dispute to maintain the peace, pending the resolution of the matter.
 
At a Meeting between the Feuding Parties at the NUPRC Headquarters in Abuja, the Commission’s Chief Executive (CCE), Gbenga Komolafe, urged them to maintain the status quo and ensure that peace reigned in the Operational Area.
 
The dispute between Chevron and the Ugbororo, Ugbegugun and Denbele Communities in Warri South Local Government is over the naming of the Host Community Trust Fund established for the Communities and the composition of its Board of Trustees.
 
People from the three Communities were reported to have staged a protest in the Escravos Terminal Area, accusing Chevron of going against the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA 2021).
 
Komolafe, in a Statement by Olaide Shonola, Head Public Affairs and Communication Unit, NUPRC, said NUPRC as the Regulator was determined to ensure that the proper thing is done immediately.
 
Having listened to the Submissions of the Parties, Komolafe issued a Regulatory Position and directed Chevron on the resolution of the Matter which must be implemented within two weeks.
 
He emphasised that the Law which was very explicit on the Matter in contention must be obeyed by all the Parties concerned.
 
Among other directives, the CCE called for the immediate convening of Consultation Meetings with the Communities on the proper delineation and naming of the Fund in compliance with the PIA.
 
He equally called for the re-composition of the Board of Trustees in line with an earlier directive of the Commission.
 
“The process which must be supervised by the Commission’s Warri Regional Office is expected to be finalised and the Report sent to the Commission within two weeks,” he said.
 
29-Nov-2023 Security, Job Creation top as Tinubu presents N27.5trn 2024 Budget to NASS

Security, Job Creation top as Tinubu presents N27.5trn 2024 Budget to NASS

President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday presented a Budget of N27.5trn for 2024 to the National Assembly for approval.

Presenting the Budget tagged ‘’Budget of Renewed Hope’’, Tinubu said that its main focus was on National Defence, Internal Security, Local Job Creation and Macro-Economic Stability.

He said that the Budget was made up of N9.92trn Non-Debt Recurrent Expenditure and N8.7trn Capital Expenditure, while N8.25trn was for Debt Service.

“Accordingly, an aggregate Expenditure of N27.5trn is proposed for the Federal Government in 2024, of which the Non-Debt Recurrent Expenditure is N9.92trn, while Debt Service is projected to be N8.25trn and Capital Expenditure is N8.7trn.

‘’Nigeria remains committed to meeting its Debt Obligations. Projected Debt service is 45 per cent of the Expected Total Revenue.

“The Budget Deficit is projected at N9.18trn in 2024 or 3.88 per cent of GDP. This is lower than the N13.78trn Deficit recorded in 2023, which represented 6.11 per cent of GDP.

‘’The Deficit will be financed by new Borrowings totaling N7.83trn, N298.49bn from Privatisation Proceeds, and N1.05trn draw down on Multilateral and Bilateral Loans secured for specific Development Projects,” Tinubu said.

He said that the Budget would also place priority on Investment Environment Optimisation, Human Capital Development, Poverty Reduction and Social Security.

Tinubu said the Nation’s Internal Security Architecture would be overhauled to enhance Law Enforcement capabilities with a view to safeguarding Lives, Property, and Investments across the Country.

He said that the Budget prioritised Human Capital Development, with particular attention given to Children, because Human Capital remains the most critical Resource for National Development.

“To improve the effectiveness of our Budget performance, the Government will focus on ensuring value for money, greater transparency, and accountability. In this regard, we will work more closely with Development Partners and the Private Sector.

“To address long-standing issues in the Education Sector, a more Sustainable Model of funding Tertiary Education will be implemented, including the Student Loan Scheme scheduled to become operational by January 2024,” the President said.
On the Economy, Tinubu said a stable Macro-Economic Environment was crucial in his Administration’s bid to catalyse Private Investment and accelerate Economic Growth.
He said that the Government would continue to implement Business and Investment friendly Measures for Sustainable Growth.

“We expect the Economy to grow by a minimum of 3.76 per cent, above the forecasted World Average. Inflation is expected to moderate to 21.4 per cent in 2024. ‘’In preparing the 2024 Budget, our primary objective has been to sustain our robust Foundation for Sustainable Economic Development.

‘’A critical focus of this Budget and the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework is Nigeria’s commitment to a greener future.

“Emphasising Public-Private Partnerships, we have strategically made provisions to leverage Private Capital for big-ticket Infrastructure Projects in Energy, Transportation, and other Sectors. This marks a critical step towards diversifying our Energy mix, enhancing efficiency, and fostering the development of Renewable Energy Sources,’’ he said.

Tinubu added: ‘’By allocating Resources to support Innovative and Environmentally conscious Initiatives, we aim to position Nigeria as a Regional Leader in the Global movement towards Clean and Sustainable Energy.

“As we approach the COP28 Climate Summit, a pivotal moment for Global Climate action, I have directed relevant Government Agencies to diligently work towards securing substantial funding commitments that will bolster Nigeria’s Energy Transition.

‘’It is imperative that we seize this opportunity to attract International Partnerships and Investments that align with our National Goals.

‘’I call upon our Representatives to engage proactively to showcase the strides we have made in the quest to create an Enabling Environment for Sustainable Energy Projects.

“Together, we will strive for Nigeria to emerge from COP28 with tangible commitments, reinforcing our dedication to a future where Energy is not only a catalyst for Development but also a driver of Environmental Stewardship.”

The President said a conservative Oil Price Benchmark of $77.96 per Barrel and a Daily Oil Production Estimate of 1.78 million Barrels per Day were adopted after a review of Global Oil Market Trends, and that a Naira to Dollar Exchange Rate of N750 per Dollar was adopted for 2024 as well.
Tinubu said his Administration remains committed to broad-based and shared Economic prosperity.
“We are reviewing Social Investment Programmes to enhance their implementation and effectiveness. In particular, the National Social Safety Net Project will be expanded to provide targeted Cash Transfers to Poor and Vulnerable Households.”

He also said efforts would be made to further contain Financial Leakages through the effective implementation of key Public Financial Management Reforms.

The President commended the patriotic resolve of the 10th National Assembly to collaborate with the Executive on the mission to renew the hope of Nigerians and deliver on the promises made to Africa’s largest Population.

“As you consider the 2024 Budget Estimates, we trust that the Legislative Review Process will be conducted with a view to sustaining our desired return to a predictable January-December Fiscal Year.

‘’I have no doubt that you will be guided by the interest of all Nigerians. We must ensure that only Projects and Programmes with equitable benefits are allowed into the 2024 Budget.

‘’Additionally, only Projects and Programmes that are in line with the Sectoral Mandates of MDAs and those which are capable of realising the Vision of our Administration should be included in the Budget,” the President said.

28-Nov-2023 Tinubu seeks Senate's approval for External Loans

Tinubu seeks Senate's approval for External Loans

President Bola Tinubu has sought the approval of the Senate for 2023-2024 External Borrowing Plan of $8.6bn and 100m Euros.

This is contained in a Letter addressed to President of Senate, Godswill Akpiabio and read at Plenary on Tuesday.

Tinubu said the request for the borrowings were earlier contained in the 2022 to 2024 External Borrowing Plans approved by the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari at the Federal Executive Council on May 15.

He said that it had become imperative that the Federal Government resort to prudent External Borrowing to breach the Financial Gap.

He said the Fund would be used to execute key Infrastructure Projects including Power, Railway, Health among others.

“The Projects cut across all Sectors with specific emphasis on Infrastructure, Agriculture, Health, Education, Water Supply, Security, Employment Generation amongst others,” he said.

He said following the removal of Fuel Subsidy and its attendant impact on the Economy, the African Development Bank(AfDB) and the World Bank Group have indicated interest to assist Nigeria mitigate the impact.

He said the Projects and Programmes in the Borrowing Plan were selected based on positive Technical Economic Evaluation and its expected contribution to the Social Economic Development of the Country.

He also listed Employment Generation, Skills Acquisition, support towards emergence of Entrepreneurs, Poverty Alleviation, Eduction and Food Security to improve the Livelihood of Nigerians as reasons for the Facility.

Akpiabio mandated the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt to look at the Letter for further Legislative Work and report back in one week.

28-Nov-2023 Construction of Gas Pipeline Project from Nigeria to Morocco takes off 2024, says FG

Construction of Gas Pipeline Project from Nigeria to Morocco takes off 2024, says FG

The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, says the Construction of the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project which aims to link European Market is expected to begin in 2024.

Under this Project, Gas is expected to be transported through the Participating Countries, including Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, and Morocco.

Ekpo, while receiving a Delegation of Envoys from the Kingdom of Morocco led by its Ambassador to Nigeria, Moha Ou Ali Tagma on Monday in Abuja, said Nigeria was ready and interested in the Project.

The Delegation visited the Minister for a Bilateral Discussion on Cooperation and Commitment towards finalising the Trans-Atlantic Pipeline Project and also on the development of its Fertiliser Plant in Nigeria.

Recall that the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project has advanced with the signing of four Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in June 2023 to ensure progress and strategic direction of the $25bn Trans-Atlantic Project.

MoUs were signed between the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd), Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) of Morocco and the Société Nationale des Opérations Pétrolières of Cote d’Ivoire (PETROCI) among others.

Once completed, the Project will enhance the monetisation of the Natural Gas Resources of the affected African Countries and also offer a new alternative Export Route to Europe.

Ekpo, while expressing Nigeria’s interest and readiness said with its position of 209 trillion Cubic Feet of Proven Gas Reserves, there was need to supply Gas to the Continent before exporting to other Continents.

“I believe by 2024 we will conclude on it. Your Company has been relating with the NNPC Limited and I have been receiving Briefs. We also talked about it during the Meeting of West African Gas Pipeline Committee Parties.

“For the fact that the Pipeline existing within that Corridor currently is 20 Inches; there is a Proposal to increase the size after Togo to 46 Inches so that the flow will be large enough.

“Currently the World is talking about Climate Change and the Natural Gas is the sure way to go with Low Carbon Emission so we have to be serious about utilisation of Gas for prosperity.

On the Fertiliser Project of the Country, he said with the Era of Natural Gas and Components used to boost Fertiliser Industries, all the Value Chain should be exploited.

Earlier, the Moroccan Ambassador described the Project which started in 2016 as the most important in Africa aimed at exporting Gas to Europe, adding that between 2016 and 2023 many Meetings and MoUs signing had been held.

Tagma said the Economic and Technical Studies being conducted on the Project would be concluded early 2024, adding that the Participating Governments could decide to start its Construction in 2024.

“The Objective of this Project is not to transport Gas only but also to offer some Opportunities for development of the Countries between Nigeria and Morocco for supplying of Energy,’’ he said.

The Ambassador disclosed that its OCP Group,  (formerly Office Chérifien des Phosphates), the most Exporter of Fertiliser in the World had inaugurated plants in Kaduna, Sokoto and Ogun States, then currently opening in Akwa Ibom.

He said the Construction of the $1.5bn Fertiliser Plant Project in Akwa Ibom would commence in December, adding that it would spur Investments.

 

27-Nov-2023 Akinyelure, Kyari to lead new NNPCL Board, Management Team
25-Nov-2023 CBN Governor clarifies 'true position' on 43 banned Items

CBN Governor clarifies 'true position' on 43 banned Items

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso, has clarified that the 43 Items were never explicitly prohibited from Importation or Sale in Nigeria.
 
Cardoso gave this clarification at the 58th Annual Bankers’ Dinner organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) on Friday in Lagos.
 
He, however, explained that the Apex Bank had implemented restrictions on accessing Foreign Exchange for the importation of these Items.
 
Cardoso emphasised that the issue of Trade Policy, specifically the importation and sale of the 43 Items, was primarily within the domain of the Fiscal Authorities, not the CBN.
 
This distinction, he said, was important because it clarifies that the CBN’s decision to lift the Foreign Exchange restrictions on these Items was not intended to encroach upon the Responsibilities of other Government Agencies.
 
The CBN had in a circular in June 2015, published a list of Imported Goods and Services that will not be eligible for Foreign Exchange in the Nigerian Foreign Currency Market.
 
The list which was originally 41 was updated to include two more Items.
 
But the CBN precisely on October 12 2023, announced that it had lifted the ban on the issuance of Foreign Exchange for the Importation of Rice, Vegetable Oil, and Poultry Products among other 43 Items.
 
Cardoso said, “Allow me to provide further clarification on the issue of the 43 Items.
 
“Firstly, it is important to note that these Items were never outrightly banned by the Government.
 
“The CBN had imposed restrictions on their access to Foreign Exchange in the Official Market.
 
“However, these restrictions resulted in increased demand for Foreign Exchange in the Parallel Market, leading to the depreciation of the Exchange Rate in that segment of the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market and widening the Premium between the Parallel and Official Market.’’
 
Cardoso said Studies had shown that during the period when the 43 Items were restricted, there was a 51.0 per cent increase in Trade evasion by Importers accessing the Foreign Exchange Market.
 
According to him, this resulted in a Revenue drop of approximately $1.4bn, or $275m Annually, between 2015 and 2019.
 
Cardoso added that Revenue from Tariffs on Goods decreased from a high of approximately $920m in 2011 to about $250m in 2017.
 
“In 2019, the actual Tariff on Goods stood at $320m, but counterfactual evidence suggests that as much as $680m could have been earned in the same year,” he said.
 
He added that evidence had shown that Foreign Exchange restrictions had an adverse impact on Nigerian Households and contributed to Inflationary Pressures.
 
Cardoso said the reduction in Trade Restrictions and Levies on Rice, Sugar, and Wheat by 50.0 per cent had only a minimal impact on Welfare, with a 0.8 per cent improvement, and a mere 0.4 per cent reduction in extreme poverty.
 
Cardoso explained that the benefits of Trade Gains for the General Population were negligible, as the average Industry in Nigeria pays 13.7 per cent more for its Inputs.
 
According to the CBN, this action will boost Liquidity in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market and intervene from time to time, adding that interventions will decrease as Liquidity improves.
25-Nov-2023 CBN: Banks require new Capital Base to meet demands of Nigeria’s Economy

CBN: Banks require new Capital Base to meet demands of Nigeria’s Economy

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it is planning to implement a new round of Banking Recapitalisation for the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).

Olayemi Cardoso, the CBN Governor, announced this at the 58th Annual Bankers’ Dinner organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) on Friday night in Lagos.

The planned Recapitalisation means that DMBs will be required to raise additional Capital to meet the demands of Nigeria’s Economy.

Cardoso noted that President Bola Tinubu in his Policy Advisory Council Report on the National Economy, had set an ambitious goal of achieving a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $1trn by 2030, with clearly defined Priority Areas and Strategies.

According to him, it is important that Banks have a role to play in the anticipated $1trn Economy by 2030.

Cardoso said going by the huge developmental role the Apex Bank would want the Banks to play in the next seven years, it had become imperative to demand their Recapitalisation.

To achieve the target, Cardoso said that Nigeria needed to experience a more rapid and Inclusive Economic expansion.

“The Administration has already commenced this journey through Fiscal Reforms, including the removal of Petrol Subsidies and the Unification of the Foreign Exchange Market Rate.

“Considering the Policy imperatives and the projected Economic Growth, it is crucial for us to evaluate the adequacy of our Banking Industry to serve the envisioned larger Economy.

“It is not just about the stability of the Financial System in the present moment, as we have already established that the current assessment shows stability.

“However, we need to ask ourselves: Will Nigerian Banks have sufficient Capital relative to the Financial System’s needs in servicing a $1trn Economy in the near future? In my opinion, the answer is “No!” unless we take action.

“Therefore, we must make difficult decisions regarding Capital adequacy. As a first step, we will be directing Banks to increase their Capital,’’ he said.

The CBN Governor also announced the approval of another round of Open Market Operations (OMOs) to mop up Excess Liquidity from the Banking System.

OMOs are the main Monetary Policy Instrument, through which the Central Bank buys or sells Securities with Financial Institutions in the Open Markets, thereby influencing the amount of money in circulation and/or Interest Rates.

Cardoso said, “An OMO Auction was recently held with a Stop Rate of 17.5 per cent for the one-year Tenor, attracting oversubscription of N350bn.

“Another round of OMO has been approved to further reduce Excess Liquidity.

“Offering N108.1bn worth of Treasury Bills with three Tenors to the Investing Public, which can help reduce Liquidity in the Banking System and support Government Fundraising.’’

Cardoso said the Apex Bank would use its Monetary Policy Tools to keep Inflation low and stable.

He said, “the Central Bank of Nigeria is committed to achieving Monetary and Price stability. This is not just a Technical Objective, but it has real-life implications for the well-being of our Citizens.

“Through targeted Policies, transparent Market Operations, and coordination between Monetary and Fiscal Authorities, we can ensure a more stable Exchange Rate, control Inflation, and create an Enabling Environment for Businesses and Individuals to thrive.’’

He noted that the Apex Bank had taken steps to improve the effectiveness of its Monetary Policy Tools and to strengthen the Transmission Mechanism so that its Policy decisions have a greater impact on the Economy

Cardoso added that the ability of the Monetary Policy Committee to influence the Economy through its decisions had been weakened because the channels through which Monetary Policy was transmitted had become disrupted.

The CBN Governor said the Apex Bank was planning to make changes to the Country’s Foreign Exchange Regulations by developing new Guidelines and Legislation.

He stated that Banks and Foreign Exchange Operators would be consulted before making any final decisions.

24-Nov-2023 NBS Report reveals increase in Food Prices for October 2023

NBS Report reveals increase in Food Prices for October 2023

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), says Prices of Beef, Rice, Beans, Tomato, and other Food Items increased in October.

It said this in its Selected Food Prices Watch Report for October 2023 released in Abuja on Friday.

The Report said that the Average Price of 1kg of Boneless Beef increased by 30.80 per cent from N2,266.24 recorded in October 2022 to N2,948.03 in October 2023.

On a Month-on-Month Basis, 1kg of Boneless Beef increased by 4.65 per cent in October from N2,816.91 in September 2023,’’ the Report said.

It said that the Average Price of 1kg of Local Rice increased by 68.10 per cent on a Year-on-Year Basis, from N487.47 in October 2022 to N819.42 in October 2023.

“On a Month-on-Month Basis, 1kg of Local Rice increased by 8.24 per cent from the N757.06 recorded in September 2023.*

The Report said that the Average Price of 1kg of Brown Beans increased by 39.90 per cent on a Year-on-Year Basis from N564.69 in October 2022 to N790.01 in October 2023.

“On a Month-on-Month Basis, the Price increased by 10.19 per cent from the N716.97 recorded in September 2023. ”

The NBS said the Average Price of 1kg of Tomato increased by 48.73 per cent on a Year-on-Year Basis from N454.46 recorded in October 2022 to N675.91 in October 2023.

“On a Month-on-Month Basis, the Price increased by 19.48 per cent from the N565.69 recorded in September 2023. ”

It said the Average Price of 1kg of White Gari increased by 63.68 per cent on a Year-on-Year Basis from N317.90 in October 2022 to N520.35 in October 2023.

“On a Month-on-Month Basis, the Price of this Item increased by 11.21 per cent from N467.89 recorded in September 2023. ”

On State Profile Analysis, the Report showed that the highest Average Price of 1kg of Boneless Beef was recorded in Anambra at N3,831.48, and the lowest Price was recorded in Kogi at N2,362.50.

It said that Edo recorded the highest Average Price of 1kg of Local Rice at N1,044.17, while the lowest was reported in Zamfara at N660.79.

The NBS said that the highest Average Price of 1kg of Brown Beans was recorded in Imo at N1,095.84, while Taraba recorded the lowest Price at N550.59.

It said the highest Average Price of 1kg of Tomato was recorded in Bayelsa at N1,344.13, while the lowest Price was recorded in Kwara at N341.95.

The Report said the highest Average Price of 1kg of White Gari was recorded in Delta at N759.29, while the lowest Price was recorded in Kogi at N390.81.

Analysis by Zone showed that the Average Price of 1kg of Boneless Beef was highest in the South-East at N3,582.88, followed by the South-South at N3,212.32.

”The lowest Price was recorded in the North-East at N 2,656.27.”

The South-South and South-East recorded the highest Average Price of 1kg of Local Rice at N944.69 and N907.50, respectively, while the lowest Price was in the North-East at N718.51.

The Report said that the South-East recorded the highest Average Price of 1kg of Brown Beans at N1,023.34, followed by the South-South at N870.09, while the North-West recorded the lowest Price at N615.07.

It said the South-South recorded the highest Average Price of 1kg of Tomato at N1,199.77, followed by the South-East at N908.64.

“The North-East recorded the lowest Price of 1kg of Tomato at N382.92, ” the NBS said. 

23-Nov-2023 Maritime Workers warn FG over re-establishment of NNSL, seek justice for Seafarers

Maritime Workers warn FG over re-establishment of NNSL, seek justice for Seafarers

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has kicked against the plan to re-establish the Nigeria National Shipping Line (NNSL) without addressing the plight of disengaged Aged Seafarers who were part of the defunct Carrier.

The President General, MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju, said this in a statement in Lagos.

The Union was reacting to the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, statement that the Ministry will consider the re-establishment of the NNSL through a Public-Private Partnership arrangement.

Oyetola said this was borne out of the Ministry’s desire to capture a substantial share of the estimated $10bn Annual Ship Charter Market.

Adeyanju described Oyetola’s plan to re-establish the NNSL as a mirage.

He said the re-establishment of a new NNSL after 28 years of its liquidation would be a mirage if the Retired Seafarers who worked tirelessly with deep sense of patriotism for the Country were not given their due Rights.

“This will only amount to Human Injustice of the highest order. It will also be tantamount to placing the Cart before the Horse if such proposition is in the pipeline without first thinking of the Aged Seafarers.

“We, as a Labour Union, will not sit aloof and keep watching our Aged Seafarers to continue suffering unnecessary penury after meritorious years of Service to their Fatherland.

“It’s true that some of the Aged Seafarers have died from various types of Ailments, some from psychological torture and trauma; mental degradation, abject poverty and so much more that has weighed them down in depression,” he said.

He recalled that the former Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, set up a Committee involving two Ministries, Ministry of Transportation and Labour Ministry to carry out Physical Verification Exercise of the Aged Seafarers.

“The Union thought this will bring some sort of succour; but the story is still the same. It’s indeed unfortunate to say here that the Committee has never met.

“So, where do we go from here, when you want to refloat the NNSL with no consideration to the Seafarers who served the defunct Carrier Vessels?

“This is unheard of anywhere Globally, therefore, the assertion for a new NNSL is mirage in its conception, except the needful is done,” he said.

Adeyanju noted that he chipped to the Minister of the enormous task ahead of him in his Ministry and varying major issues confronting the Union, especially on the protracted unpaid Entitlements and Pensions of disengaged Seafarers of the liquidated NNSL.

He pointed out that the Union had a different view of the Minister when he did not speak about the Aged Seafarers who navigated with the moribund National Carrier Vessels over the new NNSL proposal.

Adeyanju also the Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress urged the Minister to look into the nagging issue of the Seafarers in the Country.

He, however, promised the Minister of the Union’s support towards making sure that the Nation would achieve much in the Sector in his tenure.

21-Nov-2023 Nigeria, Germany reach Agreements on Gas Supply, $500m Renewable Energy

Nigeria, Germany reach Agreements on Gas Supply, $500m Renewable Energy

Nigeria and Germany have signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on the Supply of Gas from Nigeria to Germany and another $500m worth of Renewable Energy Projects in Nigeria.

A statement by Presidential Spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, said President Bola Tinubu witnessed the signing of the two MoU on the sidelines of the 10th German-Nigeria Business Forum on Tuesday in Berlin, Germany.

The signing is part of the burgeoning Economic Partnership between Nigeria and Germany as well as a further expansion and strengthening of their Bilateral Ties.

The Agreements are between Riverside LNG of Nigeria and Johannes Schuetze Energy Import AG of Germany on the Gas Export Partnership, while the other is between Union Bank of Nigeria and DWS Group on Cooperation in Renewable Energy.

CEO of GasInvest, David Ige, who signed the MoU on Gas Supply, said the Riverside LNG Project aims to supply Energy from Nigeria to Germany, extinguishing about 50 million Cubic Feet per day of Flared Gas in Nigeria.

”The Project will supply Energy from Nigeria to Germany at 850,000 tonnes per Annum, expanding to 1.2 million tonnes per Annum.

”The first Gas will leave Nigeria for Germany in 2026, and there will be further expansion.

‘’This will extinguish about 50 million Cubic Feet per day of Flared Gas in Nigeria and open alleyways of new and greater exports of Gas to Germany,’’ he said.

The German Partners expressed confidence in investing in Nigeria’s Gas Sector.

Chief Operating Officer of Johannes Schuetze Energy Import AG, Frank Otto, described the Partnership as a “big deal” for the German Market.

Chairman of Union Bank, Farouk Gumel, disclosed the commitment of $500m for e-Energy Projects in Nigeria, emphasising the importance of Rural inclusion and bringing more People into the Formal Economy.

”We believe this would bring Rural Inclusion and capture more People into the Formal Economy. Without Inclusion, there is no growth. Thank you, Mr President,” Gumel said.

Welcoming the new deals, Tinubu assured German Businesses that with Nigeria’s stable Political Landscape, Foreign Investments into the Country are secure.

He said, ”Since 1999, we have witnessed changes in Democratic Governance, with peaceful transfers of Power within and between Parties. Democracy in Nigeria has proven to be flexible and resilient.

‘’Shake off any remnants of the Military Era Syndrome; we have moved beyond that. Despite challenges faced by other African Nations, Nigeria stands firm, and we are your Partners.”

Outlining some of the achievements of his Administration, which include his Globally-acclaimed Economic Reforms, Tinubu emphasised his commitment to sustaining the Reforms and building stronger Nigerian-German Relations.

He added, ”For those who fear various obstacles; look at me—I come from the Private Sector, trained by Deloitte. I served as the Treasurer in Exxon Mobil.

”Define Corporate Governance in any way, and I am in it. I governed Lagos for eight consecutive years.

‘’Today, I can proudly beat my chest that Lagos State is on the horizon and the fifth-largest Economy in Africa, rising from ground zero. This is the track record that led me to the Presidency.

”Nigerians voted for me for Reforms, and from day one of my Inauguration, I implemented the Reforms. My Inaugural Speech did not disclose what I would do.”

According to Tinubu, he removed the Fuel Subsidy that was a great burden to Nigerians from the moment he stepped into Office.

”The Arbitrage Regime is gone forever. Now, you can bring your money in and out as you wish. If you encounter any problems, rest assured that I have built one of the most reliable teams Nigeria has seen to address them.

‘’I appeal to you to forget the past and focus on building a Relationship that removes obstacles, fostering progress and prosperity in Nigerian-German Relations.

”You can rely on us; we can rely on you; both of us can chorus Hallelujah at the same time,” the President said.

 

21-Nov-2023 FG rethinks return of National Shipping Line through PPP

FG rethinks return of National Shipping Line through PPP

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, says the Ministry will consider the re-establishment of a National Shipping Line through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
 
Oyetola said this at the maiden Stakeholders Roundtable Engagement on Advancing Sustainable Development in Nigeria’s Marine and Blue Economy on Tuesday in Lagos.
 
He said this was borne out of the Ministry’s desire to capture a substantial share of the estimated $10bn Annual Ship Charter Market.
 
“This Initiative is not to impede the growth of Local Players but to provide an avenue for them to create and extract more value from the Sector, especially through Ship Construction, Maintenance and Repairs.
 
“This will enable our Local Businesses to better leverage the Carbotage Act, which gives Nigerians the exclusive right to control Locally Generated Seaborne Trade,” he said.
 
Oyetola who admitted that he was aware of the Sector’s vast unique challenges assured his commitment to turn around the Sector.
 
“Our Ministry though new, is not resting on its oars and has continued to foster Inter-Agency Collaborations and implement initiatives to promote Port Efficiency, Cargo Shipment, Maritime Security and tap into the Resources of the Seabed.
 
“The Stakeholders’ Engagement will be the first in its Series since it is important that we normalise this harmonious synergy and work together to ensure that our Industry is safe, reliable and sustainable.
 
“It will also bring together Players in the Sector to discuss and chart a Roadmap/Direction that will advance the Industry’s potential, promote Sustainable Blue Economy Investments and ensure Global Competitiveness within the Sector,” he said.
 
Oyetola said the Roundtable would harvest ideas to form a Roadmap and Policy Directions in Areas such as Blue Governance; transforming Port Operations; enhancing Port Infrastructure; and promoting Blue Economy Investments.
 
“This Roadmap is designed in a way to enable our Ministry fulfil its mission of formulating and implementing Policies, Programmes and Initiatives that will facilitate the development of an inclusive Marine and Blue Economy Ecosystem.
 
“This Ecosystem will be driven by an Operating Environment that meets Global Best Standards as well as fulfil its Vision of positioning Nigeria as a Premier Maritime Nation,” he said.
 
Also speaking, Magdalene Ajani, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, said the event was designed to showcase the Policy Direction of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.
 
Ajani added that it was organsied to share the Blueprint of Operations of the new Ministry to the Stakeholders.
 
She noted that the event would develop the much-needed synergy between the Private and the Public Sectors. 
 
According to Ajani, the Maritime Sector is a major source of Revenue Earnings for the Country, an Enabler of Trade and a key Engine of Economic Growth and Sustainable Development.
 
“Nigeria is blessed with so much Aqua and so has an extensive Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) making it a Natural Hub for Shipping and International Trade for most Landlocked Neighbouring Nations in West and Central African Region.
 
“Our Maritime Industry is also blessed with many Experts including Indigenous Ship Owners, Terminal Operators, Freight Forwarders, Shipping Lines, Barge Operators, Maritime Lawyers, Stevedoring Companies, and others who have paid huge sacrifices,” she said.
 
Ajani said the Engagement would enable the Stakeholders to present their challenges and jointly brainstorm on the solutions.
 
“This is with a view to charting a Roadmap for a Maritime Industry that is sustainable, Technological Advanced and Innovative. 
20-Nov-2023 Tinubu lobbies Scholz for German Investments in Nigeria

Tinubu lobbies Scholz for German Investments in Nigeria

President Bola Tinubu has called for German investment in critical Sectors of Nigerian Economy such as Power and Rail Transportation.

A statement by Presidential Spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, said Tinubu made the call at a Meeting with German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, on the sidelines of the G20 Compact with Africa Economic Conference, on Monday in Berlin.

The President said that German Investment was needed in critical growth-enabling Industries in Energy, Transportation, and Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution.

The President said that the staggered and unsteady implementation of the Siemens-supported Presidential Power Initiative should take new urgency.

“For me, I am very much committed to pursuing all aspects of the Siemens power Project and the Skill Development Opportunities that will emerge from that Project for our talented Youths who can participate in sustaining the Industry,” Tinubu said.

He also said Siemens can play a role in Nigeria’s Rail Network with the provision of Ultra-Modern Trains and Railways as it is doing in Egypt, where it is constructing 2,000km Ultra-High Speed Rail Network across 60 Cities.

To this, the German Chancellor expressed readiness, but said there was need to resolve Administrative and Financial hurdles brought about by Governance problems in the Sector.

“I know that there is a lot of work that has been done. There is already a big Production of Electricity in Nigeria, but it is not getting to the Population.

“Of course, this has to do with the need for a provision of Stations and Infrastructure on the Grid.

“Siemens has developed the Plan and is ready to deepen implementation, but it is now up to your new Government to take the follow-up action that you are now committed to taking.

“On the Railway Plans, Siemens will be very happy to do this when more progress is made on the Power Project which has been started already,” Scholz said.

Tinubu drew the attention of the German Leader to the need for the German Business Community to focus on Value-Additive Processing in Nigeria’s Solid Minerals, Agriculture, Automobile and other Job-Creating Areas.

“Everything the World requires in terms of Business Environment Reforms is underway in Nigeria. Perhaps our Foreign Investors are still a bit paranoid that those old Nigerian issues are intractable.

”But my track record speaks for itself. I have transformed an entity before now. I am here to do it again, and I will,” the President said.

Scholz agreed and said it was possible with a lot of Investments, Cheap and Skilled Labour, and adequate Internal and Shipping Infrastructure for Imports and Exports to flow easily.

“These things are possible in Nigeria. You even have abundant Natural Resources. Step by step, it is achievable, Mr President.”

The two Leaders agreed to deepen Collaboration on the utilisation of advanced Biometric Systems and Border Control Technology to check irregular Migration.

They also agreed that Investments in Labour-Intensive Industries would go a long way towards resolving the root causes of irregular Migration.

Tinubu later exchanged views with German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, before attending the Compact with Africa summit.

 

20-Nov-2023 Your money is safe, we have the best brains, Tinubu markets Nigeria to Investors in Germany

Your money is safe, we have the best brains, Tinubu markets Nigeria to Investors in Germany

President Bola Tinubu on Monday in Berlin wooed International Investors with the great Asset of Nigeria being its highly Educated, Skilled and Industrious Citizens.

According to a statement by his Spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, the President said this was an advantage to the Nation’s abundant Natural Resources in all the States of the Federation.

Tinubu was speaking at a Panel Discussion titled: “Fostering Local Value Chains and Investments in Africa- the Role of the German Private Sector,’’ at the G20 Compact with Africa Economic Conference, hosted by German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz.

He added that these Primary Assets and advantages are what Nigerian wields over other Nations in the Global Race for new Investments.

The President noted that while promoting the Rule of Law which is crucial for attracting Foreign Investments, Nigeria’s energetic Youth Population and Well-Educated Populace represent the greatest incentive provided to Investors toward the mutually-beneficial replication of China’s Economic Resurgence.

“We are dogged in our pursuit of Natural Gas Development today, in tandem with Hydrogen Production for tomorrow. The World knows Nigeria as a Leader in the Energy Sector.

‘’Our vast Gas Deposits and Business-Friendly Environment make us an attractive Investment Destination. But we are going a step further now. We are creating Fiscal Responsibility and Tax Reforms as we reform our Financial Institutions to expeditiously accommodate Foreign Investments.

‘’We are eager and ready to partner with you. We have the youngest, largest, and most vibrant Youth Population in Africa. Equally, we have every ingredient required in the making of a Modern Economy: a Well-Educated Population, a massive Market, and the Political Will to bring it all together under my Leadership.

“Africa has moved beyond the false past notions of Business Dis-Incentivisation and poor adherence to the Rule of Law. We now fully recognise the nexus between the Inflow of Investor Money and the sanctity of Contracts.

‘’We want to partner on the basis of who we are and what we do, rather than on the basis of long-held misconception,” the President said.

Tinubu appraised the Summit of the Country’s intentional move toward developing Labour-Intensive Sectors of the Nigerian Economy for massive Job Creation as well as a new emphasis on Technological progress and new opportunities in Nigeria’s rapidly expanding Information and Communications Technology Space.

The President assured potential Investors that Nigeria has moved beyond restrictive Policies, adding that Capital can be moved in and out of the Country freely, providing flexibility for Investors.

“Nigeria has consolidated on its Democracy with several consecutive handovers of Power. There is stability and predictability in the Socio-Political Development of our Country, which provides a conducive atmosphere for Business Operations and Investment.

‘’Your money is safe. Since I assumed office in May 2023, we have embarked on transformative changes, removing all obstacles hindering Businesses. We are reforming the Economy based on the Principle and Philosophy of Good Governance,” Tinubu said.

While persuading German Automobile Firms to establish Manufacturing Plants in Nigeria, Tinubu invited German Businesses to take advantage of Investment Opportunities in Multiple Sectors following the successful visit of the German Chancellor to Nigeria in October.

Speaking earlier, German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz noted the dynamic and evolving nature of Economic Relations between the Developed and Developing Nations of the World as he positions Germany to enhance partnership with Nigeria and Africa on a mutually-beneficial basis.

“To be clear, this is not about Traditional Development Aid with Donor-Recipient Schemes. Instead, we now focus on Investments that yield benefits for both Parties. In Germany, as we strive for Climate neutrality by 2045, we anticipate a substantial demand for Green Hydrogen, a considerable portion of which we plan to import, including from Africa.

“Many African Countries possess larger potentials for Renewable Energy and competitive Hydrogen Production than we do. I am convinced that there are fantastic opportunities for expanding cooperation between German and African Companies in this context.

“I highlighted this during my visit to Nigeria, where we already operate a Hydrogen Office and aspire to be a partner in the ambitious expansion of Renewable Energies,” the Chancellor stated.

Other Panellists at the Discussion were the German Federal Chancellor, Olaf Scholz; President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire; Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch of Morocco; President Macky Sall of Senegal; Sabine Dall’Omo, Chairperson of Afrika-Verein (German-African Business Association); and CEO of Sub-Saharan Africa, Siemens AG.

Tinubu would host notable German Business Chief Executives at a Nigeria-Germany Business Roundtable in Berlin, Germany, on Tuesday. 

20-Nov-2023 Removal of Oil Subsidy: Nigeria's monthly Revenue jumps to over N1trn, says Minister

Removal of Oil Subsidy: Nigeria's monthly Revenue jumps to over N1trn, says Minister

The Minister of Finance, Wale Edun says that the Federation Account is witnessing improved Revenue Inflow since the removal of Subsidy from average of N650m monthly to over N1trn in the last four months.

The Minister stated this on Monday in Asaba at the Opening Ceremony of a four-day Retreat organised for Members of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) .

The Minister, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Finance, Special Duties, Okokon Udo said the Government had for long, realised that Petroleum Subsidy was not sustainable.

According to him, Subsidy Regime eroded Revenues that should had been available to fund viable Expenditures that were critical to the well-being of the Populace.

The Minister said the present Administration was mindful of the needs and welfare of Nigerians and assured that it would continue to implement Peoples oriented Policies.

“’We all know that achieving Tax Revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) target of 22 per cent and Tax to GDP of 18 per cent by 2026 are parts of the cardinal objectives of this Administration.

”However,  in doing that we appreciate the needs not to overburden the Tax Payers by introducing so many new Taxes.

”What is necessary to be done is to broaden the Tax Base, simplify and streamline Tax Administration for ease of collection,” he said.

Edun added “Among the prior activities of this Government after coming into Office, was the constitution of a Presidential Committee of Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms.

“The Committee has submitted an Interim Report which is full of optimism’’.

The Minister also noted that the present Administration was not oblivious of the untold hardship faced by Nigerians, following the removal of Fuel  Subsidy, and harmonisation of Exchange Rates.

He reassured that all the sacrifices made by People would never be in vain.

”Government is bent on ensuring that the Economy bounces back to normal as we continue to consolidate on recovery efforts with focusing on achieving Inclusive Economic Growth and Development,” he added.

Edun said that President Bola Tinubu-led Administration has so far put in place a well-structured Palliative Measures to cushion the Economic consequences of the ongoing Reforms.

On the Theme of the Retreat, ”Creating a Resilient Economic through Diversification of the Nation’s Revenue”, the Minister commended the choice, stressing that it was suitable.

Edun also noted that Retreat clearly outlined the urgent need to diversify the Nation’s Economy.

In an opening remark, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta tasked the Federal Government to muster the Political Will by putting necessary Policy and Institutional Framework in place to diversify the Nation’s Economy.

The Governor, represented by his Deputy, Monday Onyeme said that there was no magic wand to diversify the Nation’s Economy from over dependence on Revenue from Crude Oil unless concerted efforts were made in other key Sectors.

He noted that the diversification of the Nation’s Economy must go beyond mere rhetoric to concrete measurable steps by facilitating the Non-Oil Exports such as Agricultural Products, Manufactured Goods and Services as well as the expansion of the Revenue Base.

Oborevwori affirmed that Delta was taking the lead to diversify its Economy by creating a Trade and Export Unit to drive the Process in order to make Economic Diversification a reality.

Oborevwori said the Country had not properly managed its Oil Wealth adding that it was worrisome that the Oil  Sector contributed between five per cent and seven per cent  of the Nation’s  GDP.

He added that the  Non-Oil Sector mostly Agriculture, Agribusiness, Manufacturing and Small Scale Enterprises contributed 93 per cent to 95 per cent, yet the bulk of Public Revenue was from the Oil and Gas Sector.

The Governor commended FAAC Committee for its commitment to duty by enhancing revenue accruals into the Federation Account.

He urged the Committee to look into the payment of 13 per cent Derivation to Oil Producing States.

Oborevwori challenged the Committee to use the Retreat to address the concerns raised by Stakeholders in respect of the new roles of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, among others by giving better understanding on their roles in the Economic Diversification of the Country.

Accountant Generals from the thirty six states and the FCT as well as other Stakeholders such as the Customs are attending the Retreat.

 

19-Nov-2023 Nigeria's North-West Governors meet AfDB to unlock Agricultural potential

Nigeria's North-West Governors meet AfDB to unlock Agricultural potential

Seven newly elected Nigerian Governors visited the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Akinwumi Adesina, in Abidjan to strengthen cooperation and unlock the Country’s vast Agricultural potential.

A statement issued by the Bank, said the Delegation was led by Katsina State Governor, Dikko Radda.

Governors Nasiru Idris of Kebbi State, Umar Namadi of Jigawa, and Dauda Lawal of Zamfara were among the Delegation .

Deputy Governors Aminu Abdussalam from Kano, Hadiza Balarabe representing Kaduna, and Idris Gobir of Sokoto were also part of the Delegation.

With an estimated 60 million People, which is 28 per cent of the Country’s Population, North West Nigeria is home to 10 million of the Country’s 22 million Heads of Cattle.

Discussions in Abidjan focused on boosting Food Production, Nutrition, and Security as well as innovative ways to unleash the Zone’s rich Agricultural potential.

It also aimed to fast-track the implementation of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) and leverage AfDB’s Renewable Energy Programmes.

Adesina applauded the Regional approach of the North West Governors while assuring them that the Bank would support the development of a Regional strategy.

The AfDB President said the Bank and its Partners targeted $1bn in financing to expand the SAPZ Programme in Nigeria to support up to 25 of the Country’s 36 States.

Adesina urged the Governors to collaboratively and promptly select Agricultural Hubs to host the schemes.

According to the AfDB Boss, the Bank is working with the Federal Government of Nigeria to tackle high Food and Energy Prices.

“These Zones will benefit Local Farmers and create Jobs throughout the Value Chains. They will provide unprecedented opportunities to transform Commodities into high-value Products.

“They will reduce waste and post-harvest losses, boost incomes, increase profits, and plough money back into your Rural Economies,” he said.

Noting the Zone’s endowments in Livestock, particularly Cattle, Adesina underscored the Area’s potential for Meat Processing.

“I would like us to have a substantive conversation about establishing Beef Processing Zones in the North West Zone.

“The Bank has financed several Projects in the North West Zone, including the $85m Zaria Water Supply and Sanitation Project, which provides water to 650,000 People and Sanitation Services to 350,000.

“Two States from the Zone, Kano and Kaduna, are part of Phase One of the SAPZ Programme.

“The National Agriculture Growth Scheme (Agro-Pocket or NAGS) received $134m in Budget Support Funding under the Bank Group’s Africa Emergency Food Production Facility.

According to Adesina, the Scheme targets increased Wheat and Rice Production during the 2023 Dry Season and through the 2024 Wet Season in five States.

He said the Scheme will help reduce some of the Country’s current $3bn Expenditure on Wheat Imports.

Governor Radda commended Adesina’s Leadership of the Bank and for serving as a good Ambassador for Nigeria and Africa.

In his remarks, the Katsina Governor said the North West Governors decided to adopt a coordinated approach in collaborating with the Bank to implement Agriculture and Power Projects to drive the Zone’s Development and improve livelihoods.

“We have commonalities in People, Approaches, Culture, Tradition, Topography, Rainfall, and Climate.

“The lack of Irrigation Infrastructure is among the key challenges in the Zone, leading to low yields, post-harvest losses due to poor Storage Facilities, Youth Unemployment and Underemployment, and fuelling Insecurity,” Radda said.

Also soeaking, the Jigawa State Governor said his Administration prioritised Strategic Partnerships that advance Rural Infrastructure, Farm Mechanisation and Climate-Smart Agriculture.

Representing Kaduna State, the Deputy Governor Balarabe said, “we are optimistic that the SAPZs
would assist us in overcoming many challenges.

“This is even just as it will propel us to achieve Food self-sufficiency, Job and Wealth Creation, and subsequently boost Economic Growth, especially the Rural Economy,” she said.

Similarly, Governor Lawal of Zamfara said the State was an Agrarian Economy. We have abundant Agricultural Land and the largest Dam in the Country.

He said the State could produce enough to feed Nigeria, particularly Rice and Wheat, with sufficient Water and Land Resources.

Lawal said that being Home to the largest Dam in the Country and having significant Mineral Deposits, including Gold and Lithium, Zamfara could make rapid gains in eradicating Poverty and creating Wealth for its Population.

Meanwhile, the Governor of Kebbi State highlighted the centrality of Agriculture to the State’s Fortunes, saying nearly 70 per cent of its Population was reliant on Agriculture.

He said the State was prioritising creating Economic Opportunities for the  Youth and Women and was dedicated to participating in the Desert-to-Power Programme to revive moribund Industries in the State.

The Deputy Governor of Kano State said the State was working to revamp more than 20 idle Dams to drive Economic activity.

Also, the Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Gobir, said Programmes to bolster Beef and Milk Production and improve Higher Education for Youth were priorities.

The AfDB has committed about $853m to develop 24 SAPZs in 11 Countries.

The Nigeria SAPZs are the Continent’s largest and most ambitious in terms of scope and size.

The Bank’s Executive Director for Nigeria, Samson Oyetunde, urged the Governors to develop Agribusiness Development Plans to benefit from the current Global attention to Agriculture and Food Production.

The Meeting featured presentations on the SAPZs, the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) Programme and the Desert-to-Power Initiative.

At the recently held Africa Investment Forum Market Days event in Marrakech, AfDB and its Partners inaugurated the Alliance for Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones with an initial Investment commitment of $3bn to transform Africa’s Rural Areas into Zones of prosperity.

The Zones are designed to promote increased Productivity, Value Addition, and Market Access through Government-enabled and Private Sector-Driven Investments to develop strategic Commodity Value Chains.

The SAPZ Programme was inaugurated in Nigeria in October 2022.

17-Nov-2023