The proposed oil revenue in the 2016 budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly about three weeks ago is facing a setback as the nation’s crude exports begin to fall amid further slide in global oil prices.
Industry analysts also say crude oil production in the country will continue its decline this year, meaning lower revenue for the government.
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, relies on crude oil for most of its export earnings and government revenue.
Buhari had in the 2016 to 2018 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper sent to the National Assembly for this year’s budget said oil-related revenues were expected to contribute N820bn.
But the total exports of Nigerian crude oil are expected to slide in February after reaching a three-month high in January, Reuters reported, citing a compilation of loading programmes.
The export programme for Brass River crude, which was under force majeure, had not yet been issued as of Friday, leaving just 56 cargos for a total of 53 million barrels planned for February loading.
While a Brass River programme is expected once the force majeure is lifted, it will not enable February exports to reach the 61.7 million barrels initially planned for January.
The Atlantic Basin was said to be still oversupplied with oil and there were at least a dozen January loading Nigerian cargos looking for outlets.
The country’s output declined by 50,000 barrels per day in December due to disruptions to exports from the Brass River and Bonny production streams, a Reuters survey found out.
The President projected crude oil production of 2.2 million bpd and a benchmark price of $38 per barrel for this year’s budget, down from 2.2782 million bpd in 2015 budget.
The Head, Energy Research, Ecobank Capital, Mr. Dolapo Oni, who noted that the country’s oil production declined significantly last year, said, “Our production is really having issues, and I think it might be worse in 2016. Our production is likely to reduce this year.
“There are not as many fields likely to come on stream this year. Most companies just want to focus on their existing production. So, it is possible we won’t see as much new production come on stream to reverse the trend of decline in major fields we have. That might make production go down.”
He predicted that he nation’s oil production might fall to 1.9 million bpd on the average this year, compared to 2.2 million bpd and 2.1 million bpd in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
“This is worrisome for the government revenue because the budget is benchmarked on 2.2 million bpd production,” Oni said.
The global benchmark Brent crude on Wednesday dropped below $35 per barrel for the first time since July 2004 amid the ongoing row between key producers, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and after a sharp rise in United States’ gasoline inventories.
With the further slide on Wednesday, Brent was more than $3 per barrel lower than Nigeria’s proposed crude oil benchmark price for this year’s budget.
Brent fell to $34.52 per barrel from $36.42 per barrel the previous day amid growing global supply glut of crude.
The supply glut in the world oil market, which is said to be oversupplied to the tune of two million bpd, is expected to be exacerbated by the full return of Iran to the market after the expected lifting of Western sanctions.
There have been calls in some quarters for a downward review of the $38 per barrel oil benchmark price.
The Chairman, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter, Mr. Chika Onuegbu, said, “More worrisome is that some analysts, including the International Monetary Fund, have projected that crude oil will fall to $20 per barrel in 2016. Also, Goldman Sachs insists that the fall in crude oil price will be sustained and oil price will fall to $20 per barrel.
“Anyone who is a keen observer of the events that are shaping the crude oil price will recognise that we are in for a sustained low crude oil price regime. Accordingly, it is doubtful if the budgeted oil revenue of N820bn will be realised in 2016. If the budgeted oil revenue is not realised, this will negatively impact on the 2016 budget performance.
“It is, therefore, important that the government begins to make contingency arrangements should crude oil price fall below the benchmark price, or better still, review the benchmark oil price downwards.”
Union Bank Announces the Appointment of Aisha Abubakar as Independent Non-Executive Director
Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (“Union Bank”) has announced a change to the membership of its Board of Directors with the appointment of Ms. Aisha Abubakar as an Independent Non-Executive Director effective 9th September 2021, following the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Ms. Abubakar joins the Board of Union Bank following her tenure as Nigeria’s Honourable Minister for Women Affairs and Social Development from 2018 to 2019. Prior to this, she also served as the Honourable Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment between 2015 and 2018. At the start of her career, Ms. Abubakar worked at Continental Merchant Bank Ltd., African Development Bank and African International Bank.
She is an accomplished public sector administrator with over three decades of professional experience in Public Service and Pension Administration, Investment Banking, SME Finance/Rural Enterprise Development and Micro-Credit Administration.
Ms. Abubakar is a Fellow of the International Professional Managers Association (IPMA-UK), and the President of the International Experts Consultants (IEC-UK).
Commenting on the addition to the Board, Mrs. Beatrice Hamza Bassey, Union Bank’s Board Chair said: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I welcome Ms. Aisha Abubakar to the Board. She brings many years of robust experience which will be invaluable in supporting our efforts to steer the Bank forward and deliver on our strategic objectives.”
Also commenting, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Emeka Okonkwo said: “I am pleased to welcome our new Independent Non-Executive Director, Ms. Aisha Abubakar to the Board. We look forward to drawing from her wealth of experience and fresh perspectives as we continue to execute our vision to be Nigeria’s most reliable and trusted partner.”
AfDB Approves $50M Trade Finance Deal with Standard Chartered Bank
The African Development Bank Group has approved a $50m Trade Finance Unfunded Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) for StandardChartered Bank.
This was contained in a statement titled ‘African Development Bank approves a $50m Multinational Trade Finance Risk Participation Agreement facility for Standard Chartered Bank’ published on the bank’s website on Wednesday.
The statement said, “The board of directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $50m Trade Finance Unfunded Risk Participation Agreement facility between the African Development Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.”
The essence of this agreement is to promote intra-Africa trade, ensure regional integration and lessen the trade finance gap in Africa.
“The agreement is expected to boost intra-Africa trade, promote regional integration, and contribute to the reduction of the trade finance gap in Africa, in line with implementation aspirations of the African Continental Free Trade Area,”
The bank’s Director for Financial Sector Development, Stefan Nalletamby, stated that “We are excited about finalising this facility with Standard Chartered Bank as it offers us the flexibility to use our strong AAA-rated risk-bearing capacity to increase access to trade finance and boost intra/extra-African trade on the continent, in support of the AfCFTA.
“This partnership is expected to catalyze more than $600m in value of trade finance transactions across multi-sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and energy over the next three years.”
Director-General of the bank’s Southern Africa region, Leila Mokadem, was quoted to have said, “The advent of COVID-19, coupled with stringent regulatory/capital requirements and Know Your Customer compliance enforcement, has seen many global banks reduce their correspondent banking relationships in Africa, while some are exiting the market altogether.
“There is, therefore, an urgent need for financing to reenergise Africa’s trade, which requires more participation of institutions like the African Development Bank.”
The parties in the agreement are expected to share the default risk on a portfolio of eligible trade transactions originated by African Issuing Banks and indemnified by Standard Chartered Bank.
Beneficiaries of this facility are issuing banks in Africa with the ability to grow their trade finance business has been constrained by inadequate trade confirmation lines from international banks.
Other beneficiaries are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and domestic firms which rely on these issuing banks to fulfill their trade finance commitments.
The RPA facility is aligned with the AfDB’s High 5 priority goals which are: light up and power Africa, feed Africa, industrialize Africa, integrate Africa, and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
Standard Chartered Launches Flexible ‘Smart Business Loan’ Product To Support SMEs
Standard Chartered on Wednesday launched its Smart Business Loan (SBL) product to support Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) in Nigeria.
David Idoru, Head of Consumer, Private and Business Banking, of the bank in Nigeria, said in a statement in Lagos that SBL was an unsecured installment/term loan available to SME clients within key target sectors.
“Qualified SMEs would be able to access up to N20million loan, without providing tangible security/collateral to purchase asset, finance business expansion and other capital expenditure needs.
“This loan was designed to help SMEs meet their short to medium-term needs.
“As a Bank, our purpose is to drive commerce and prosperity in the locations we operate in. This is done through offering cash, lending, trade and wealth management solutions that specifically drive economic growth,” he said.
Idoru said that the bank was constantly looking for ways to ensure SMEs get access to the needed support to enable their businesses to thrive, adding that prior to the product launch, clients were required to provide full collateral cover to access loans from the bank, but SBL had been designed to provide the necessary flexibility to the clients.
“It is accessible to new and existing clients of the Bank with no waiting period, including small and medium scale organisations, who can access up to N20million in loans without collateral for a maximum tenure of two years,” he said.
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