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Speaking yesterday at the 14th yearly lecture of the Centre for Value and Leadership, with the theme: Living well together, tomorrow: The challenge of Africa’s future cities, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said that by 2020, Lagos State aspires to be the third largest economy in Africa. Towards this, investments in infrastructure and all other social economic efforts are geared towards making it ready to accommodate the new status.

He maintained that the state has all it takes to be the third largest economy on the continent, as it has not just a huge population and market, but also technology and human and material resources to drive it.

Aside revealing the commitment of his administration to take yellow buses off Lagos roads this year without mentioning a definite month, he reiterated that by July, the city would become cleaner and healthier, as concerted efforts were already being made to ensure better management of waste.

He said the daily inflow of migrants challenges the government to be on its toes to provide the facilities and infrastructure to accommodate the new residents.

The keynote speaker, Prof. Paul Collier, said that between now and 2050, the population of cities on the continent would triple and for any mega city to work, issues of energy, connectivity, housing and land are critical, which means investment in infrastructure is necessary.

In another development, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, has cautioned against use of ‘hate-speeches’ by Nigerians.

Kazeem spoke yesterday at a Price Media Moot Court Competition organised by the University of Lagos (UNILAG), in collaboration with the University of Oxford.

According to him, hate-speeches have the propensity to cause public disorder.

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     Nigerian energy firm Forte Oil has raised 9 billion naira ($30 million) with the sale of five-year bonds carrying an interest rate coupon of 17.5 percent, under a 50 billion naira debt programme, its advisers said on Tuesday.
The bond was issued at a par value of 1,000 naira each and was fully subscribed, they said in a state.
    March last year, the firm said it planned to raise capital to expand its operations in the West African country either through a share or bond sale.
Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy, has been issuing bonds at yields below the inflation rate, making i
t difficult for cooperates to raise debt, as the government increases borrowing to try to spend its way out of its first recession in 25 years.
In January the government sold a five-year bond at 16.89 percent to raise 34.95 billion naira.
    But domestic bond sales are likely to be subscribed to as risk-averse local pension funds awash with cash seek investment outlets, analysts say. Funds can invest more than 80 percent of pension assets in government bonds.
Annual inflation in Nigeria hit 18.55 percent in December, its 11th straight monthly rise to a more than 11-year high.
On Tuesday Forte Oil posted a 24 percent fall in profit before tax to 5.34 billion naira ($17.55 million) for its 2016 financial year,
($1 = 304.25 naira)

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Credit: Rueters

 

 

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Nigerians’ economy is in a downward spiral as electricity supply dropped from the 4,883.9 mega watts (mw) it recorded in the last one month to 2,200mw as at January 21, 2017.

This is far below the country’s installed capacity of 11,165.40mw and network operational capability of 5,500mw.

Over 450mw of electricity has been trapped at the Afam V Power Station in Rivers State following a fire incident, in which Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) protection and control equipment were destroyed last week.

The drop in electricity supply, according to the Head, Programmes and Membership, Institute of Directors’ Centre for Corporate Governance, Nerus Ekezie, will worsen the suffering of the citizens as the rate of inflation in the country is already 19.6 per cent.
Ekezie added that inadequate electricity would lead to high cost of production, increase in prices of goods and reduced purchasing power of consumers.

Besides, the prices of some petroleum products, such as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), also known as cooking gas; kerosene and Automotive Gasoline Oil (AGO) also known as diesel, recorded a significant increase, forcing Nigerians to spend a huge chunk of their earnings on the essential commodities.

Despite promises by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ensure maximum supply of all the petroleum products, the prices have remained high.

For example, the price of diesel rose from about N190 to over N250 per litre since last week, while the prices of cooking gas and kerosene, two important commodities used by almost every home in the country, rose from about N3, 500 for a 12.5-kilogramme cylinder and N83 per litre to N5,000 and N300 per litre.

Though kerosene is no longer scarce, the product is now selling at N300 per litre as against the pump price of N150 per litre. The situation has also led to an increase in the price of charcoal and firewood as alternatives to kerosene and cooking gas.

 

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According to a report by PREMUIM TIMES The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) yesterday asked Nigerians to prepare for fuel scarcity.

IPMAN Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Dankigari, lamented that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which sells the product for N133 per litre was no longer loading and that private depots around Calabar were already selling the product between N138 and N140 per litre.

Dankigari said marketers had decided to keep their trucks since the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) was already owing them over N200 billion for bridging the product, warning that there will be scarcity of petrol and kerosene in the next few days.

“If care is not taken, there will be fuel (petrol) scarcity because private depots have started increasing their rates; they are selling the product at a higher rate now in Calabar,” he told The Nation.

“Secondly, the cost of diesel is increasing. It is between N250 to N270 per litre. You can see that the cost of diesel is high but it is equally available because it has been deregulated. In addition, PEF that is supposed to be paying the transport fare is not paying.

“So, the marketers have decided to keep their trucks. The money PEF is owing marketers is now over N200billion. If this trend continues, there will be scarcity and the products will be very difficult to get. There is no kerosene at all.

“The major problem is that in Calabar, marketers are buying this product at N138 to N140 from the private depots. You know that what the NNPC said we should collect is N133, but they are not loading”, he added.

Dankigari noted that the foreign exchange rate was too high for his members to import products into the country.

 

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The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers say there is no going back on its planned warning strike scheduled to commence on January 11.

Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, the South-West Zonal Chairman of the union told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Monday that the union had mobilised its members for the strike.

He said that the union was determined to forge ahead with the planned warning strike, which would take place on from Jan. 11 to January 13.

Korodo said: “The warning strike notice had been given since the National Executive Council meeting that was held in Port Harcourt in December and we picked second week of January which commences from January 8.

“As I am speaking to you now, all zones including Lagos have mobilised to ensure the success of the strike as directed by NEC body of NUPENG.

“We are having another NEC meeting in Abuja on January 10, to appraise the preparation for the planned strike and meet the government officials.

“It has been the practice of the Nigerian government to wait until the ultimatum day before they start to run from one place to other to find solutions to it.

“If this warning strike is not properly handled as we have mobilised to ensure success of our action, nobody should blame the union.”

Korodo said that if the government had met the NEC of NUPENG before now, the action could have been “nipped in the bud’’.

NAN reports that NUPENG on December 16 gave the Federal Government a notice of a three-day nationwide warning strike from the second week of January 2017.

The action will be taken over unresolved labour issues with multinationals operating in the oil and gas industry.

President of the union, Igwe Achese, in a statement said that the decision was taken at the end of the NUPENG NEC, meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

He warned that the three-day warning strike was preparatory to a nationwide strike if there was no intervention by the Federal Government.

 

 

 

 

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has shifted blames on oil marketers in the country for the excruciating scarcity of kerosene and Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, also known as cooking gas and the high price of the commodities across the country.

The price of cooking gas had shot up from about N3,500 in most places before the Christmas holidays, to a minimum of N5,000 for a 12.5 kilogramme cylinder last week, while kerosene which went for as much as N250 per litre is now sold for a minimum of N500 per litre.

Some retailers of LPG in Enugu, said that though it was normal that during the yuletide period, the price of the commodity normally goes up a bit because of huge demand, they noted that the recent sharp rise in the price, from N3,500 to more than N5,000 was abnormal.

According to one of the marketers, who simply gave his name as Chibuike, the increase in price during the Christmas season is normally between N100 and N300, and at most N500, but this current rise is unprecedented and “we seem not to know the reason for the sharp rise.”

Another retailer, said the product seem not to be available in most of the recognised depots in Enugu, making most of the retailers to obtain the product from black marketers and middlemen.

For kerosene, most of the petrol stations visited in Enugu said they last sold the product sometime earlier 2016 and has not seen the product since then.

However, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Department of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in an interview, said the oil marketers were responsible for the scarcity and the hike in the prices of kerosene and cooking gas.

He denied that the scarcity was a ploy by the NNPC to push for an increase in the prices of cooking gas, kerosene, petrol or any other petroleum product.

Ughamadu said the NNPC had been consistent in bringing in petroleum products into the country, but its efforts were not being complemented by the marketers, who he said had refused to bring in products.

He noted that the LPG market was fully deregulated and though the NNPC was trying in this regard, it could not compel the marketers to bring in the product, especially as it was not a regulator.

Petrol price to increase as landing cost soars to N213 per litre

However, with the landing cost of PMS, popularly known as petrol now at N213 per litre, there are fears that petrol price could increase. Currently, the government is not paying subsidy on the product.

While the modulated bracket of N135-N145 is given as official price for petrol, drafts showed that extra N67.7 is incurred on over 35 million litres of daily imports as the landing cost soared.

According to the Head of Energy Research at Ecobank, Dolapo Oni, “when oil price was at $52 per barrel, the landing cost was N165 per litre. Later when the price rose to $55, the price soared to N210 per litre.

“Now that oil price is averaging at $58 per barrel, the landing cost will hover around N213 per litre,” he said.

 

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The Nigerian Labour Congress is wasting no time this new year to remind president Buhari of his promise to implement the N52,000 new minimum wage and tackle unemployment affecting young Nigerians in 2017.

The congress in a New Year message by its president, Ayuba Wabba also charged President Muhammadu Buhari to deal with the challenge of the power sector through “either reversal of the privatization of the sector or ensuring that those who run the sector provide electricity on regular basis and at rates consumer can afford”.

The NLC leader said with states earning more revenue from sales of crude oil, and more money as a result of the massive devaluation of the naira, labour will continue its campaign to ensure that the incidence of non-payment of salaries as at when due, is no longer a feature of our national life.

Despite the payment of monthly stipends to selected beneficiaries, Wabba lamented that Nigerians were yet to see the massive job creation promised by the APC led government.

“How many jobs has the federal government and the 23 states controlled by the ruling party created in the course of the last 20 or so months, in furtherance of its pledge to Nigerians during the electioneering campaign?” he queried.

He recalled that NLC had during the past May Day and new year messages, as well as other policy pronouncements, made it known that it had some ideas on how, Nigeria can create new and sustainable jobs.

He said, “Unfortunately, no one in government has thought it necessary to give us a hearing on what these ideas are, and what they entail. Presently, we are not even sure which ministry or agency of the government is the focal point on job creation.”

Wabba concluded that the NLC will in the New Year redouble its efforts, using all available means at their disposal to get the federal government to constitute the tripartite panel to renegotiate a new minimum wage, which must be a living wage.

                                                                                                              

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  The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has described the ideal price for crude oil to be at $60 a barrel for the Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, stressing that a higher price risk sparking a recovery in competing supplies from the U.S. shale oil.

The minister stated this while speaking in a Bloomberg Television interview yesterday.

Speaking of what the Television described as the “urgency” felt by OPEC and its partners to end the oil output will ensure they adhere to their December 10 agreement to cut supplies, the minister said the accord should push prices which is at about $56 today a bit higher, yet not enough to trigger a comeback in U.S. shale, according to the minister.

“Sixty, I think would be ideal,” he said. “Once you begin to trend past the mid-$60s, you’re going to have a surfeit of shale producers jump back into the market. Technology is improving with shale every day, and so the cost of production is continuing to drop.

Meanwhile, oil prices have surged after oil producing countries that are not OPEC members agreed to cut output.Brent crude jumped to $57.89 a barrel -the highest since July 2015-before falling back to $56.79, although that was still a gain of 4.5% on the day.

On Saturday, non-OPEC countries agreed to cut their output by 558,000 barrels a day in a deal designed to reduce oversupply and boost prices. OPEC announced last month that it would be cutting its own production.

The OPEC committed to halting the supply of 1.2 million barrels a day, starting from January. The new deal is the first global pact in 15 years. “Once cuts are implemented at the start of 2017, oil markets will shift from surplus into deficit,” said analysts at AB Bernstein.

But some analysts have expressed doubts about the deal’s long-term impact on prices. Thomas Moore, investment director at Standard Life Investments, told BBC Radio 5 live: “You will see the oil price jump this morning – that’s understandable – but I think you need to put it in context.

“This is a cut of 550,000 barrels a day, and of course we have had about a million off OPEC production. But if you think about overall world production, OPEC’s producing 33 million barrels per day, so those numbers of 1.5 million are good, but they are not that good.

“And OPEC accounts for only about 40% of world crude production, so yes, there’s a day-one impact, but I think it’s at the edges here.”

Those taking part in Saturday’s deal included Russia – which will provide the lion’s share of the cut – as well as Mexico and Bahrain among others. It comes after more than two years of depressed oil prices, which have more than halved since 2014 due to a supply glut on the market.

 

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Nigeria has lost over 130 million barrels of crude oil from January to November this year to the activities of 32 militant groups in the Niger Delta region since the resurgence of militancy in the oil-producing region in 2015, the Vice-Chairman of the Security Subcommittee of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr. Shina Bankole, has said.

This is coming as the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Petroleum Industry Roadmap, better known as the “7 Big Wins”, will stabilise the region for oil and gas business.

Also, the former Minister of State for Energy and the Amayanabo of Nembe Kingdom in Bayelsa State, Dr. Edmund Daukoru, has called on the people of the Niger Delta to listen to themselves and the outside world, adding that blowing up pipelines amounted to cutting their nose to spite their face.

Speaking in Lagos yesterday at the 17th Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Biennial Conference on the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria organised by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Bankole, who is also the General Manager in charge of Security at Chevron Nigeria Limited, said insecurity in the Niger Delta had led to the proliferation of several militant groups, as well as small arms and weapons.

Bankole added that between January and November, 58 incidents of sabotage were recorded where oil and gas facilities belonging to the oil companies were vandalised.

“Again, within the same period, the rate of sabotage on oil and gas assets has led to lost production opportunities by the oil companies. As of today, more than 130 million barrels of crude oil have been lost due to the inability of the oil companies to produce as a result of the activities of the militants,” he added.

He said with the rehabilitation of about 30,000 ex-agitators, the Amnesty Programme introduced in 2009 by the federal government had successfully restored normalcy to the oil-producing region until 2015 when new militant groups began to emerge.

“The resurgence of militancy since 2015 has led to the proliferation of militant groups. As of today, no fewer than 32 of such groups have emerged in the Niger Delta – some with possible ethnic agenda, while others came with a criminal agenda,” he said.

Bankole disclosed that of the over 275 cases of kidnappings recorded across 29 states between January and November, 45 cases were related to oil and gas industry personnel and their dependants.

According to him, of the 99 incidents of sea robberies and pirates recorded within the same period, 19 cases involved the oil and gas industry.

In his keynote address, Kachikwu said the insecurity in the Niger Delta had raised the cost of security by six times over the past 10 years, adding that the entire ecosystem of Niger Delta was under threat as a result of the oil spills caused by vandalism of facilities by militants.

“In the last couple of weeks, the Ministry of Petroleum has launched the 7 Big Wins. The first of the Big Wins is getting the Niger Delta stabilised through engagement, empowerment and enforcement. The other aspect of the Big Wins is righting the wrongs through remediation and education,” Kachikwu, who was represented by his Senior Technical Adviser on Fiscal and Regulatory Matters, Dr. Tim Okon, said.

In his speech, Daukoru, who was one of the discussants, noted that one of the problems facing the Niger Delta was that nobody wants to listen.

“Everybody wants to speak; everybody wants to come forward with a solution. We are not listening to ourselves; we are not listening to the outside world,” he said.

Daukoru said the Niger Delta should listen to themselves and the outside world and channel their grievances properly.

He reminded the agitators that the oil and gas facilities being blown up do not belong to only the federal government but to the entire federation, which includes states and local government areas.

In his welcome address, the Director of DPR, Mr. Modecai Ladan, said the oil and gas industry had witnessed increased activities in the past decade due to the federal government’s policy and action plan to increase daily production to four million barrels and national reserves to 40 billion barrels by 2020.

He however said with the recent upsurge in militancy, crude oil production and revenue had dropped considerably.

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Tens of thousands of people turned out Monday for nationwide protests against India’s controversial ban on high-value banknotes, which opposition party organisers say has caused a “financial emergency”.

India is still reeling from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s shock decision nearly three weeks ago to pull 86 percent of the currency from circulation overnight, triggering a chronic shortage of notes in an economy that operates almost entirely on cash.

Around 25,000 people took to the streets of the eastern city of Kolkata, capital of West Bengal state, whose left-wing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has warned of “riots and epidemics” if the ban continues.

An estimated 6,000 more turned out to protest in Mumbai, India’s western commercial hub, police said.

But many ordinary Indians say they support the scheme if it forces the rich to pay their taxes by making them bank undeclared income. Only a handful of states observed a call for a nationwide protest strike.

“We are protesting against the undeclared financial emergency imposed by the government and the hardships people across the country are facing because of this illegal decision,” said Manish Tiwari of the opposition Congress party.

“The decision to demonetise high-value currency was done without any authority and legislation and is clearly illegal.”

Owners of the banned 500 and 1,000 rupee ($7.30, $14.60) notes have until the end of the year to deposit them in a bank, and can only directly exchange a small number for new currency.

But authorities have struggled to print enough new notes to meet demand and economists say the ensuing cash crunch will hit growth.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, a respected economist, said last week it would shave at least two percentage points off growth, which topped seven percent in the first half of the financial year.

“I do not disagree with the objectives but it is a monumental case of mismanagement,” the Congress party lawmaker told parliament.

“The way demonetisation has been implemented, it will hurt agricultural growth and all those people working in the informal sector.”

Over 90 percent of transactions in India are conducted in cash and many of the country’s poorest have no access to banking.

Many have been left without enough cash to buy food or daily essentials, while farmers have been unable to buy seeds and small traders say business has fallen off a cliff.

Nonetheless Modi has repeatedly defended the scheme, accusing its detractors of being tax evaders and urging all Indians to switch to non-cash payment methods.

 



 

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