The Standards Organisation of Nigeria has disclosed that it had no opportunity to verify 90 per cent of the products imported into the country between September and December 2015.
The Acting Director-General, SON, Dr. Paul Angya, disclosed this during a two- day capacity building workshop organised by the SON for media executives in Lagos recently.
Angya said September to December 2015 was a-three-month window that was provided for importers to be able to register on the Nigeria Customs electronic platform, Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System.
“EPCC permitted importers to bring in their goods without the mandatory SON Conformity Assessment Programme certificates.
“But when this window of opportunity was created, criminal-minded importers took advantage of the situation and brought in substandard products which they were able to take out of the Nigerian seaports without the SON’s verification. So, between the periods of September and December 2015, 90 per cent of the goods imported into this country had no SON verification.”
Angya disclosed that after observing how importers had taken advantage of the EPCC platform to bring harmful products into the country, the agency had gone ahead to close it and as a result, the management and staff of SON are now facing threats and blackmail from importers.
“When we tried to communicate this fact, they resorted to blackmail, threatening that if we close down the EPCC platform, they will react. So we shut down the platform in July and directed that whatever they were bringing into Nigeria should go through the SONCAP regime.
“So they have now gone to the Internet to vilify SON. My staff and I have also been threatened by some of them, violently.”
Angya added that the major challenge the agency faced was being able to intercept containers right from the arrival point noting that since 90 per cent of substandard products come into Nigeria through the seaports, the absence of the SON’s agents at the ports had made the job more difficult.
He said since they were not allowed at the ports, they resolved to chase containers on the highway any time they received information that the container carried harmful goods. “My officers who are all graduates and engineers chase trailers on the highway like touts, risking their lives to jump on trailers to try and catch them,” he stated.
Brent Crude Oil Breaks $80 Price Level Amid Supply Concerns
Oil markets climbed for a sixth day on Tuesday, reversing earlier losses, on fears over tight supply while surging prices of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal also lent support.
Brent crude futures gained $1.05, or 1.3%, to $80.58 a barrel at 0645 GMT, after reaching its highest since October 2018 at $80.75 earlier in the session. It surged 1.8% on Monday.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $1.06, or 1.4%, to $76.51 a barrel, the highest since July 6. It jumped 2% the previous day.
“Investors remained bullish as supply disruptions in the United States from hurricanes are continuing for longer than expected at a time when demand is picking up due to easing lockdown measures and the wider rollouts of COVID-19 vaccination,” said Chiyoki Chen, chief analyst at Sunward Trading.
Hurricanes Ida and Nicholas, which swept through the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in August and September, damaged platforms, pipelines and processing hubs, shutting most offshore production for weeks.
Also weighing on supply, top African oil exporters Nigeria and Angola will struggle to boost output to their quotas set by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) until at least next year as underinvestment and nagging maintenance problems continue to hobble output, sources at their respective oil firms warn.
Their battle mirrors that of several other members of the OPEC+ group who curbed production in the past year to support prices when COVID-19 hit demand, but are now failing to ramp up output to meet soaring global fuel needs as economies recover.
The supply issues are occurring as countries ease their COVID-19 movement restrictions, potentially boosting demand.
Japan, the world’s fifth-biggest oil user, plans to lift a coronavirus state of emergency in all regions on Thursday as the number of new cases falls and the strain on the medical system eases, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said.
Analysts also say rising prices of spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal may support higher oil prices.
“Oil demand could pick up by an additional 0.5 million barrels per day, or 0.5% of global oil supply, as high gas prices force a switch from gas to oil consumption,” Commonwealth Bank commodities analyst Vivek Dhar said in a note.
He added that energy prices could rally from here if the Northern Hemisphere winter proved colder than expected.
Gold Prices Rise as Soft Dollar Supports Safe-haven Appeal
Gold prices firmed on Monday, propped up by a subdued dollar and slight retreat in the U.S. Treasury yields, with investors gearing up for a week of speeches from U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers for cues on the central bank’s rate hike path.
Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,759.06 per ounce, as of 0400 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.4% at $1,759.00.
While the dollar index softened, the benchmark 10-year Treasury yields eased after hitting their highest since early-July. A weaker dollar offered support to gold prices, making bullion cheaper for holders of other currencies.
“Gold is still looking slightly precarious where it is right now, and it’s probably bouncing off key technical level around $1,750,” IG Market analyst Kyle Rodda said.
“Gold remains an yield story and that yield story is very much tied back to the tapering story.”
A slew of Fed officials are due to speak this week including Chairman Jerome Powell, who will testify this week before Congress on the central bank’s policy response to the pandemic.
“There’ll be a lot of questions being put to Fed speakers about what the dot plots implied last week and weather there is higher risk of heightened inflation going forward and that rate hikes could be coming in the first half of 2022,” Rodda added.
A pair of Federal Reserve policymakers said on Friday they felt the U.S. economy is already in good enough shape for the central bank to begin to withdraw support for the economy.
Gold is often considered a hedge against higher inflation, but a Fed rate hike would increase the opportunity cost of holding gold, which pays no interest.
Investors also kept a close watch on developments in debt-laden property giant China Evergrande saga as the firm missed a payment on offshore bonds last week, with further payment due this week.
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, increased 0.1% to 993.52 tonnes on Friday from 992.65 tonnes in the prior session.
Silver rose 0.9% to $22.61 per ounce.
Platinum climbed 1.3% to $994.91, while palladium gained 0.7% to $1,985.32.
Brent Crude Oil Near $80 Per Barrel Amid Supply Constraints
Oil prices rose for a fifth straight day on Monday with Brent heading for $80 amid supply concerns as parts of the world sees demand pick up with the easing of pandemic conditions.
Brent crude was up $1.14 or 1.5% at $79.23 a barrel by 0208 GMT, having risen a third consecutive week through Friday. U.S. Oil added $1.11 or 1.5% to $75.09, its highest since July, after rising for a fifth straight week last week.
“Supply tightness continues to draw on inventories across all regions,” ANZ Research said in a note.
Rising gas prices as also helping drive oil higher as the liquid becomes relatively cheaper for power generation, ANZ analysts said in the note.
Caught short by the demand rebound, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies, known as OPEC+, have had difficulty raising output as under-investment or maintenance delays persist from the pandemic.
China’s first public sale of state oil reserves has barely acted to cap gains as PetroChina and Hengli Petrochemical bought four cargoes totalling about 4.43 million barrels.
India’s oil imports hit a three-month peak in August, rebounding from nearly one-year lows reached in July, as refiners in the second-biggest importer of crude stocked up in anticipation of higher demand.
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