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Ochicha: Buhari not Responsible for Our Economic Woes

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The Governorship candidate of the governing All Progressives Congress(APC), in the 2015 general elections in Cross River state, Mr. Odey Ochicha has called on Nigerians to stop blaming President Muhammadu Buhari for the nation’s economic recession.

In a statement he issued in Calabar on Tuesday, Ochicha said that Nigerians should learn how to separate lies from facts.

Ochicha said, if not for the intervention of Buhari’s administration, the country might have been in total shambles by now.

Ochicha, a retired Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) manager stated that there is no where in the world that economy grows in space, therefore instead of accusing the APC-led administration, the people should ask former leaders of the structures they set up for our economy to grow without oil.

He blamed the former administration of Goodluck Jonathan, describing it as “insensitive and the most corrupt in the history of the country which has led us to the present quagmire”.

According to the statement, “Nigerians should begin to channel their questions to the right people and stop believing this rhetorics and illusions that President Buhari and APC are responsible for the nation’s economic woes.

“There is nowhere in the world that the economy grows in space. What were the structures the past administrations built for our economy to grow without oil? “The economy grows by the standard of infrastructure and institutions created but unfortunately, the Buhari administration inherited almost a failed state from the PDP that had the rare privilege of managing the affairs of this country for a whole 16 years,”Ochicha said.

Blaming the Jonathan administration for mismanaging the nation’s resources, he said:”I can’t understand why people are pointing accusing fingers at this administration. The former administration earned more than sixty per cent of our total revenue from oil yet there’s nothing to show for it. See what is happening with the former first lady? What work was she doing to have such stupendous amount of money in her various accounts?

“Over $31.4 million in separate accounts. What was her source of income? I served this country for 29 years, 6 months and grew to the rank of Deputy Manager in the NNPC but I cannot boast of such huge amount of money because I didn’t steal. But a woman who has contributed nothing to the development of our country is today richer than the entire South South region.

“When people talk about Jonathan handing over the largest economy to Buhari, I begin to wonder whether they don’t understand that Jonathan met a viable economy with the growth rate of 7.9 percent and left it at about 2.9 percent. Six months to when he was leaving office and when the prices of crude oil had began to fall, his Finance Minister told us that they were borrowing money to pay salaries of federal workers.

“But under the President Buhari’s administration, despite the difficult economic situation, the government has been able to pay salaries without borrowing. The last two month’s federal allocation shared was the highest in the history of this country and was not gotten from oil. Why is nobody talking about this?”

He called on Nigerians to be patient with the President, adding that “nothing good comes easy as the challenges the country is facing is some of the sacrifices we need to make to be great and prosperous again and it’s going to be shortlived considering the dogged approaches being adopted by the present administration to revive the economy”.

Continuing, Ochicha said: “Only few countries like United Arab Emirates(UAE), Norway etc that utilised their oil wealth very well are currently not faced with recession. In fact, Norway is surviving now from about $800 billion foreign reserve it had accumulated but here, former President Jonathan’s Finance Minister has said it all that they lacked the will to save even when they had the will to squander what other administrations had saved.So I want to appeal to Nigerians to be patient with the President.”

What we are going through now is the price other nations had paid to get to where they are. President Buhari and you the good people of Nigeria will make our dear country great and prosperous again. Together, we can build a new Nigeria that is great, powerful, progressive, prosperous, industrialised and world class

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Oil Prices Dip Amidst Middle East Tensions, Market Reaction Limited

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Oil prices fell on Monday as market participants reevaluated their risk premiums in the wake of Iran’s weekend attack on Israel, which the Israeli government said caused limited damage.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced,  dipped by 50 cents, or 0.5%, to $89.95 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil fell by 52 cents, or 0.6%, to $85.14 a barrel.

The attack, involving over 300 missiles and drones, marked the first assault on Israel from another country in more than three decades. It heightened concerns over a potential broader regional conflict impacting oil traffic through the Middle East.

However, Israel’s Iron Dome defense system intercepted many of the missiles, and the attack resulted in only modest damage and no reported loss of life.

Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING, noted that the market had largely priced in the potential attack in the days leading up to it. The limited damage and the absence of casualties suggest that Israel’s response may be more measured, which could help stabilize the oil market.

Iran, a major oil producer within OPEC, currently produces over 3 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil. The potential risks include stricter enforcement of oil sanctions and the possibility of Israeli targeting of Iran’s energy infrastructure, according to ING.

Nevertheless, OPEC possesses over 5 million bpd of spare production capacity, which could help mitigate any supply disruptions.

Analysts from ANZ Research and Citi Research have suggested that further significant impact on oil prices would require a material disruption to supply, such as constraints on shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. So far, the Israel-Hamas conflict has not had a notable effect on oil supply.

The market remains watchful of Israel’s response to the attack, which could influence the future trajectory of oil prices and broader geopolitical tensions in the region.

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Nigeria’s Crude Oil Production Falls for Second Consecutive Month, OPEC Reports

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Crude Oil

Nigeria’s crude oil production declined for the second consecutive month in March, according to the latest report from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Data obtained from OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report for April 2024 reveals that Nigeria’s crude oil production depreciated from 1.322 million barrels per day (mbpd) in February to 1.231 mbpd in March.

This decline underscores the challenges faced by Africa’s largest oil-producing nation in maintaining consistent output levels.

Despite efforts to stabilize production, Nigeria has struggled to curb the impact of oil theft and pipeline vandalism, which continue to plague the industry.

The theft and sabotage of oil infrastructure have resulted in significant disruptions, contributing to the decline in crude oil production observed in recent months.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) recently disclosed alarming statistics regarding oil theft incidents in the country.

According to reports, the NNPCL recorded 155 oil theft incidents within a single week, these incidents included illegal pipeline connections, refinery operations, vessel infractions, and oil spills, among others.

The persistent menace of oil theft poses a considerable threat to Nigeria’s economy and its position as a key player in the global oil market.

The illicit activities not only lead to revenue losses for the government but also disrupt the operations of oil companies and undermine investor confidence in the sector.

In response to the escalating problem, the Nigerian government has intensified efforts to combat oil theft and vandalism.

However, addressing these challenges requires a multi-faceted approach, including enhanced security measures, regulatory reforms, and community engagement initiatives.

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Oil Prices Edge Higher Amidst Fear of Middle East Conflict

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Crude Oil

Amidst growing apprehensions of a potential conflict in the Middle East, oil prices have inched higher as investors anticipate a strike from Iran.

The specter of a showdown between Iran or its proxies and Israel has sent tremors across the oil market as traders brace for possible supply disruptions in the region.

Brent crude oil climbed above the $90 price level following a 1.1% gain on Wednesday while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) hovered near $86.

The anticipation of a strike, believed to be imminent by the United States and its allies, has cast a shadow over market sentiment. Such an escalation would follow Iran’s recent threat to retaliate against Israel for an attack on a diplomatic compound in Syria.

The trajectory of oil prices this year has been heavily influenced by geopolitical tensions and supply dynamics. Geopolitical unrest, coupled with ongoing OPEC+ supply cuts, has propelled oil prices nearly 18% higher since the beginning of the year.

However, this upward momentum is tempered by concerns such as swelling US crude stockpiles, now at their highest since July, and the impact of a hot US inflation print on Federal Reserve rate-cut expectations.

Despite the bullish sentiment prevailing among many of the world’s top traders and Wall Street banks, with some envisioning a return to $100 for the global benchmark, caution lingers.

Macquarie Group has cautioned that Brent could enter a bear market in the second half of the year if geopolitical events fail to materialize into actual supply disruptions.

“The current geopolitical environment continues to provide support to oil prices,” remarked Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy for ING Groep NV in Singapore. However, he added, “further upside is limited without a fresh catalyst or further escalation in the Middle East.”

The rhetoric from Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reaffirming a vow to retaliate against Israel, has only heightened tensions in the region.

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