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Oil Rises to $48 Ahead of OPEC Meeting

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Silhouette of oil platform in sea against moody sky at sunset

Global oil benchmark, Brent crude, rose on Monday to its highest level in a month on rising speculation that major producers may work out ways to support prices in an oversupplied market.

Brent, against which half of the world’s oil is priced, rose by 2.6 per cent to $48.20 per barrel as of 6:05pm Nigerian time.

This came as indication emerged that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries could revive talks on freezing oil output levels when it meets non-OPEC nations next month.

Nigeria’s output hit its lowest in over two decades this year due to attacks on oil sites, and Libya is pumping a fraction of the pre-conflict level – raising the question of what level they should limit supplies at.

While Nigeria supported April’s freeze initiative, Libya declined to join the talks.

OPEC members will meet on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum, which groups producers and consumers, in Algeria on September 26-28.

Top exporter, Saudi Arabia, appears to favour higher prices, although Iran, Iraq and Russia present obstacles to a deal, according to Reuters.

Saudi Arabia sharply raised expectations for a global production deal, with its Energy Minister, Khalid al-Falih, saying the country would work with OPEC and non-OPEC members to help stabilise oil markets.

“The comments by the Saudi energy minister give a positive indication that they are willing to go for a freeze deal but the question remains: on what level?” said an OPEC source from a key Middle Eastern producer.

“Will the freeze be at January levels? And what about Iran? And then there is Nigeria, which has lost a lot of production since January,” the source added.

The Russian Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, was quoted as saying that Russia was consulting with Saudi Arabia and other producers to achieve oil market stability, adding that the door was still open for more discussions on output freeze, if needed.

Saudi Arabia boosted output to 10.67 million barrels per day in July from 10.2 million in January, when the freeze idea first emerged.

Since 2014, Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s de facto leader, has been raising output to drive higher cost producers out of the market and win back share from rivals such as the United States, where output soared on the back of the high oil price of the past decade.

As a result, oil prices collapsed to $27 per barrel in January from as high as $115 in mid-2014, capping output of the US but also hitting hard Saudi Arabia’s budget and resulting in a record fiscal deficit for Riyadh.

A previous attempt to freeze output at January levels to support prices collapsed in April after Saudi Arabia said it wanted all producers, including regional rival Iran, to join the initiative.

Iran had argued that it needed to regain market share lost during years of Western sanctions, which have been only softened in January.

Over the past few months, Iran, OPEC’s third biggest producer, has boosted output close to pre-sanctions levels and has repeatedly signalled it has no plans to join the freeze initiative.

But since the collapse of freeze talks in April, Iran is no longer the only obstacle to the deal.

Iraq, OPEC’s second largest producer, which in April was saying it would support the deal, has since agreed with oil majors on new contract terms to develop its massive fields, which will allow output to rise further next year by up to 350,000 bpd.

Nigeria and Libya could present further complicating factors, Reuters quoted delegates as saying.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Netflix Increases US, Canada Subscription Fees…Nigerian Subscribers To Suffer Same Fate

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With the increase in inflation rates and the unstable foreign exchange, Netflix is likely to hike its subscription fee in Nigeria.

This is following the latest increase in its subscription fee in the United States and Canada, effective immediately for new subscribers.

Usually, when the inflation rate rises, prices of goods and services also increases, and consequently, banks raise their interest rates as well to cope and maintain their profit margin.

In the U.S., subscribers to Netflix’s basic plan, which allows for one stream on one screen at a time and does not have HD streaming, will now be charged $9.99 a month, up from $8.99.

The standard plans, which allow for users to stream on two screens at the same time now costs $15.49 per month, an increase from $13.99, while premium plans have also increased to $19.99 a month.

Investors King gathered that this is the third time Netflix will raise its prices in three years and the first since October 2020 for streamers residing in the U.S. and Canada.

Presently in Nigeria, Netflix’s subscription rate ranges from about  3,300 to about 5,800 per month.

Investors King recalls that Netflix, in 2020, officially launched its presence in Nigeria and since its launch, the streaming company has dominated Nigeria’s relatively new video-on-demand market with some hit movies and web series like King of Boys, Òlòtūré, Citation, Lionheart, Namaste Wahala, among others.

Today, Netflix has over 151 million paying subscribers in more than 190 countries.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government of Nigeria is making plans to force international social network services and digital platforms to register and open offices in Nigeria.

This means that media services, social media platforms and digital streaming platforms like Netflix and the others must register and pay tax in Nigeria and register with the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).

This move, according to the government, is to ensure that all these platforms register with the NBC, apply for a broadcasting license and pay tax.

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NLNG Halts Cooking Gas Export, Directs All Sales to Local Market

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cooking Gas

The Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited has suspended cooking gas export to prioritise the local market by supplying 100 percent of its propane and butane (cooking gas) products to Nigerians.

Before now, “Nigeria LNG Limited supplied LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) both to the Nigerian and international markets. With the decision of the Board of Directors, all of the company’s LPG production will be delivered to the domestic market.”

In its statement, the NLNG said it had designed a scheme to sustainably supply LPG (butane and propane) for usage in cooking gas blending as well as in agro-allied, autogas, power and petrochemical sectors of the Nigerian economy to improve gas utilisation in Nigeria.

The initiatives were designed to increase LPG availability in Nigeria, diversify its uses and support the Federal Government’s Decade of Gas initiative, NLNG Managing Director and CEO, Dr Philip Mshelbila said.

Committing 100 per cent of Nigeria’s LPG supply is a major milestone in NLNG’s journey of domestic gas supply, he said, adding “We supplied our first butane cargo into the domestic market in 2007, which helped to develop over the years the LPG industry in Nigeria from less than 50,000 tonnes to over 1 million tonnes market size annually by the end of 2020.

“In 2021, we increased our LPG supply commitment from 350,000 metric tonnes (or 28 million 12.5kg cylinders) to actual delivery of 400,000 metric tonnes (or 32 million 12.5kg cylinders) thereby directing most of our production into the domestic market.

“But this was not enough for NLNG, hence this commitment to do all that we possibly can and supply 100 percent of our LPG production to the domestic market.”

With recent talks of going green, by reducing harmful emissions which cause global warming, Mshelbila noted that gas is the cleanest of the fossil fuels, and an essential energy source the Nigerian market needs to be reckoned with during this energy transition period.

“Other countries are revolutionising their energy industry to cut down on carbon emissions drastically. Nigeria should not be left out in this drive, considering its abundant gas resources.

“Gas is essential for life and living at the moment, because it can support everything we will need to develop our economy and create better living standards for Nigerians. We need to change the narrative, and NLNG is being pragmatic about it,” he said.

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FCT-IRS Encourages Taxpayers, Businesses to File 2021 Tax Returns Before Jan 31, 2022

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Company Income Tax (CIT) - Investors King

The Federal Capital Territory Internal Revenue Service (FCT-IRS) has said all employers should file their tax returns for the previous year and submit them before January 31, 2022.

It called on taxable persons working under the Ministry Department and Agency of the government, private firms and self-employed persons resident in Abuja, to fill and sign form A which is the income declaration form.

According to a statement issued by the Service Corporate Head of Communications, Mustapha Sumaila, all tax returns should be submitted through any of the service’s tax offices across the territory.

Employers were asked to also file Employer’s Annual Declaration and Certificate– form H1 and form G, disclosing all emoluments paid to its employees resident in Abuja for 2022.

These documents as required by the law must be submitted before January 31, 2022, the stipulated deadline.

The tax agency, however, stated that the deadline for individual taxpayers is March 31, 2022.

“In compliance with section 41 of the Personal Income Tax Act (PITA) 2011 (as amended), all taxable persons, resident in the FCT are required to file annual returns of all incomes from all sources for the year ended December 31, 2021 and within 90 days from the commencement of the year (i.e between 1st January 2022 and 31st of March 2022, using the prescribed form A,” the statement read.

FCT-IRS noted that all defaulters will be penalized as it frowned at the refusal to prepare the tax returns files or late submission, adding that the agency would apply the laws where necessary.

It, therefore, called on agents–employers and individual taxpayers to do the needful and submit their returns promptly.

Appealing to Abuja residents to ensure compliance, it reminded them that payment of tax is their civic responsibility and no taxable person should be left out.

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