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High Port Charges: Nigerian Importers Divert Cargoes to Neighbouring Countries

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Importers in Nigeria are now diverting cargoes to neighbouring countries to avoid undue restrictions at the country’s ports and high custom duties, a report has disclosed.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Derivatives Company Limited (FDC), Mr. Bismarck Rewane, disclosed this in his monthly economic news and views for September presented at Lagos Business School recently. This, he attributed to higher customs duties, bottlenecks and forex shortages, adding that smuggling activities are expected to increase.

Clearly, this may jeopardise the federal government’s efforts to boost non-oil revenue following the fall in crude oil prices.

Nigeria is officially in an economic recession.

The National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), recently identified lengthy and cumbersome documentation process on export, multiplicity of regulatory/security agencies, high and duplicated terminal/ shipping company charges and process and lack of export infrastructures as major obstacles that affect export process from Nigerian ports.

In a letter to the Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and copied President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), NCMDLCA had called on the federal government to take urgent steps to remove the obstacles before it is too late.

The letter signed by its National President, Lucky Amiwero alleged that: “ The federal government agencies duplicate the process of quality inspection with that of the appointed federal government pre-shipment inspection on export. This constitutes serious bottleneck due to lengthy and cumbersome process, procedure and cost, which resulted in attendant delays and high costs that prompted the movement of our product to our neighbouring West African Ports.”

On the duplication of charges by shipping companies, the customs agents said: “The Nigerian Shipping companies in line with the contract of carriage, handle import container that are loaded back to the country of origin as empty container without any charge due to the level of export activities that is still very low in the country. The shipping lines Terminal Delivery Charges (TDC) is a charge that is not tied to service, as such charge is duplicated in the charges of terminal operators. Their charges do not represent any service to exporters in Nigeria in any form.”

Continuing, Rewane in the report pointed out that ships awaiting berth decreased to 41 from 45 last month, adding that ships awaiting berth are expected to decline further.

According to the report, weakness in macroeconomic condition in the country has translated to profitability decline by most quoted companies. He said earnings and profitability fell short of expectations as investor confidence worsened.

For the banking industry, the report pointed out that 74.6 per cent of industry revenues in their recently released half-year results amounted to N1.21 trillion concentrated in tier I banks.

“Industry’s profitability is slowed by high loan loss charge offs and rising operating costs. Impairment charge continues to record high credit losses of N218.9 billion for first half of 2016, from N41.3 billion as at first half of 2014. Size matters as tier II banks struggles to grow profit before tax. Tier II profit before tax as at the first half of 2016 was N50.3 billion, as against the N59.2 billion recorded in the first half of 2014,” it added.

CBN is conducting stress tests as well as routine examinations on banks in the light of growing non-performing loans (NPLs) and deteriorating asset quality due to naira weakness.

This, the FDC boss said raises apprehension on the state of Nigerian banks as the last released financial stability report was for December 2015.

“The economy has found its bottom and the only way is up. But the pace of recovery is dependent on pace of policy response,” it added.

According to the report, the top four fastest growing sectors accounted for only six per cent of new jobs as at the first quarter of this year, adding that sector activity does not mean job creation and employment. It pointed out that growth does not translate into increased consumption and income.

In its review of the real estate sector, it showed that Lekki has the highest vacancy rate at 65 per cent, adding that affordable rents are six to 10 per cent above asking rents of $780psqm in Victoria Island.

Residential index rose by 6.8 per cent quarter-on-quarter as commercial index remained flat at 148. Prime office rent drop by six per cent to $810 per sqm per annum.

“Nigeria in recession increases vacancy rates further. Carrying cost of properties is excruciating as landlords reduce rental payment to annually. Previously, they used to collect two to three years payment. Pedigree of tenants remains important. Replacement cost far in excess of market value,” it stated.

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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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Dips Slightly on Friday Amid Demand Concerns

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On Friday, global crude oil prices experienced a slight dip, primarily attributed to mounting concerns surrounding demand despite signs of a tightening market.

Brent crude prices edged lower, nearing $83 per barrel, following a recent uptick of 1.6% over two consecutive sessions.

Similarly, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude hovered around $78 per barrel. Despite the dip, market indicators suggest a relatively robust market, with US crude inventories expanding less than anticipated in the previous week.

The oil market finds itself amidst a complex dynamic, balancing optimistic signals such as reduced OPEC+ output and heightened tensions in the Middle East against persistent worries about Chinese demand, particularly as the nation grapples with economic challenges.

This delicate equilibrium has led oil futures to mirror the oscillations of broader stock markets, underscoring the interconnectedness of global economic factors.

Analysts, including Michael Tran from RBC Capital Markets LLC, highlight the recurring theme of robust oil demand juxtaposed with concerning Chinese macroeconomic data, contributing to market volatility.

Also, recent attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea by Houthi militants have added a risk premium to oil futures, reflecting geopolitical uncertainties beyond immediate demand-supply dynamics.

While US crude inventories saw a slight rise, they remain below seasonal averages, indicating some resilience in the market despite prevailing uncertainties.

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Nigeria’s Petrol Imports Decrease by 1 Billion Litres Following Subsidy Removal

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Nigeria’s monthly petrol imports declined by approximately 1 billion litres following the fuel subsidy removal by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported.

The NBS findings illuminate the tangible effects of this policy shift on the country’s petroleum importation dynamics.

Prior to the subsidy removal, the NBS report delineated a consistent pattern of petrol imports with quantities ranging between 1.91 billion and 2.29 billion litres from March to May 2023.

However, in the aftermath of Tinubu’s decision, the nation witnessed a notable downturn in petrol imports, with figures plummeting to 1.64 billion litres in June, the first post-subsidy month.

This downward trend persisted in subsequent months, with July recording a further reduction to 1.45 billion litres and August witnessing a significant decline to 1.09 billion litres.

August’s import figures represented a decrease of over 1 billion litres compared to the corresponding period in 2022.

The NBS report underscores the pivotal role of the subsidy removal in reshaping Nigeria’s petrol import landscape with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company emerging as the sole importer of fuel in the current scenario.

Despite higher petrol imports in the first half of 2023 compared to the previous year, the decline in June, July, and August underscores the profound impact of subsidy removal on import dynamics, affirming the NBS’s latest findings.

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Nigeria’s Oil Rig Count Soars From 11 to 30, Says NUPRC CEO

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The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, has announced a surge in the country’s oil rig count.

Komolafe disclosed that Nigeria’s oil rigs have escalated from 11 to 30, a substantial increase since 2011.

Attributing this surge to concerted efforts by NUPRC and other governmental stakeholders, Komolafe highlighted the importance of instilling confidence, certainty, and predictability in the oil and gas industry.

He explained the pivotal role of the recently implemented Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which has spurred significant capital expenditure amounting to billions of dollars over the past two and a half years.

Speaking in Lagos after receiving The Sun Award, Komolafe underscored the effective discharge of NUPRC’s statutory mandate, which has contributed to the success stories witnessed in the sector.

The surge in Nigeria’s oil rig count signifies a tangible measure of vibrant activities within the upstream oil and gas sector, reflecting increased drilling activity and heightened industry dynamism.

Also, Komolafe noted that NUPRC has issued over 17 regulations aimed at enhancing certainty and predictability in industry operations, aligning with the objectives outlined in the PIA.

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