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Ministry Official Alleges Neglect of Calabar Port

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From a money spinner, the Calabar Port is turning into a revenue loser following its littering with wrecks and an abandoned rig worth millions of dollars.

Activities were low. Two “critical” wrecks and the abandoned Delta Queen Rig were seen there.

A senior official of the Ministry of Finance (FMoF), who pleaded not to be named, said the Federal Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) should put the port into good use to revamp the economy.

The port, he alleged, has become an avenue for siphoning public fund.

He urgedPresident Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, and the NPA to transform the port because of its importance to the nation.

The official said the port used to ba a money spinner. He told The Nation that between 2008 and last year, NPA generated $117,178,000 and over N2.2 billion from the port.

The breakdown of the amount generated in dollars and naira as exclusively obtained by The Nation is as follows: $26,529,000 and N203,438,000 in 2008.

Between 2009 and 2011, it was $37,522,000 and N898,737,000. In 2012 and 2013, it made $26,946,000 and N581,109,000. Between 2014 and last year, the port realised $26,197,000 and N540,942,000.

The official said: “It is sad that the multi-billion dollar investment at the port was rendered useless by the past management of the NPA.

“The amount generated between 2008 and last year by the agency showed that if the NPA is compelled to pay adequate attention to the port, more revenue would accrue to the government.

“If the several billions of naira collected by the NPA were judiciously invested in dredging the port, the channel will not remain shallow and difficult for big vessels to approach.

“It is sad that up till today, its channel remains shallow, and investors at the port have continued to count their losses,” the official said.

He accused some top past NPA officials of only interested in awarding contracts for dredging and re-dredging of the port without corresponding development of its infrastructure.

He alleged that poor work was done on the dredging of the channel.

The government, the official, lost a lot of revenue through the frequent dredging of the port.

But investigation revealed that the port has a comparative distance advantage to the Northeast than any port in the country.

While the distance between Cross River and Taraba states is 711km and the transit time is nine hours, 58 minutes; the distance from Port/Harcourt, Warri and Lagos to Taraba is 773km, 901km and 1,160km, and it takes 10 hours, 49 minutes; 12 hours, 4 minutes and 14 hours 24 minutes from each of the states to Taraba.

Findings also revealed that the distance from Cross River to Gombe state is 983km and the transit time is 13hrs,58mins; the distance from Port/Harcourt, Warri and Lagos to Gombe is 1,060km, 1,034km and 1,240km respectively, and it takes 14hrs, 15mins; 14hrs, 40mins and 16hrs 39mins from each of the states to Gombe.

Also, the distance from Calabar to Bauchi is 910km and the transit time 13 hours, 14 minutes. Whereas the distance from Port Harcourt, Warri and Lagos to Bauchi is 965km, 939km and 1,145km, and it takes 13 hours, 10 minutes; 13 hours, 36 minutes and 15 hours 34 minutes from each of the states to Bauchi.

Investigation further showed that the distance between Calabar and Adamawa is 865km with 11 hours, 57 minutes transit time. But the distance from Port Harcourt, Warri and Lagos to Adamawa is 927km, 1,055km and 1,314km, and it takes 12 hours, 49 minutes; 14 hours, 4 minutes and 16 hours 23 minutes from the states to Adamawa.

The story is the same from Calabar to Borno and Yobe states.

“There is no gain saying that Calabar Port is very strategic to the economic development of Nigeria particularly the Northcentral, Southsouth and Southeast regions of the country.

“Besides, when functional, it will increase the volume of vessel traffic and cargo throughput in the port, decongest Lagos ports and reduce cost of doing business for Calabar-based businessmen who spend additional transport cost to take delivery of their consignments in Lagos and Onne ports.

“The port is strategically located for imports and exports for distribution to other ports along the West/Central and Southern African coastline. The location of Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ) in close proximity with the port speaks volumes for itself,” the official said.

He identified erosion, the length and the dredging of the 84km channel, the wrecks, the abandoned rig, insufficient tugs and pilot cutters, the deplorable Calabar/Itu/Aba road and the low height limitation of the Ikom bridge as the port’s major challenges, which should be fixed by the government to turn it to profit.

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

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Economy

400,000bpd of Crude Oil to be Refined in Three NNPC Refineries – Says FG 

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The Federal Government through the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) stated that the rehabilitation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) refineries in Warri, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna will generate a minimum of 400,000 barrels per day. 

The production represents a minimum of 90 percent of the installed capacity of the four refineries, according to NCDMB. 

Executive Secretary of the board, Simbi Wabote, said the rejig effort is part of the refining roadmap of President Muhammadu Buhari. This, he said includes four focus areas such as the rehabilitation of the existing four national refineries, co-location of new refineries, construction of greenfield refineries and construction of modular refineries.

With that, he said the nation’s combined refining capacity will rise to over 1.4 million bpd in the next five years.

Speaking at the Nigerian Continent Midstream-Downstream Oil and Gas summit in Lagos, Wabote noted that there is a chance to maximize opportunities in the midstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry.

He explained that the employment factor in the midstream and downstream sectors of the industry is higher in number and of longer duration when compared to that of the upstream sector.

“This provides means to absorb outputs of our Human Capacity Development programs in the form of job opportunities. The entry barrier for businesses to partake in the midstream and downstream sectors of the industry is relatively lower compared to that of the upstream sector,” he stated on the employment opportunities lurking in the industry,” Wabote continued. 

“There are vast business opportunities in the midstream to downstream sectors ranging from processing, transportation, storage, and distribution that could be started on a small scale and later scaled up to bigger enterprises thereby growing in-country capacities and capabilities.”

He noted that the direct social impact brought by a productive and efficient midstream and downstream sector of the oil and gas industry is another potential that needs to be maximized.

“There is a sense of pride for any citizen who has the confidence that he or she could take availability of energy sources for granted in whatever form such as electricity, fuels, gas, and others. These have direct correlation to quality of life, productivity, life expectancy, and social harmony,” he added. 

He further stated that NCDMB is in partnership with NNPC to construct a 50,000 liters petroleum products terminal in Brass Island to support the storage and distribution of white products in the coastal states of the country.

The theme of the summit tagged ‘‘Towards maximizing potentials in the Midstream and Downstream Oil & Gas Sector – A Local Content Perspective,’’ is based on its 10-year strategic roadmap to achieve 70 per cent Nigerian Content target in the oil and gas industry by the year 2027.

 

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Inflation Rate Increases to 16.82% in April in Nigeria

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Prices of goods and services in Africa’s largest economy Nigeria rose high in the month of April, according to the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation rate, grew at 16.82% rate in the month under review from 15.92% in March 2022. The inflation rate has been on a steady rise since Novermber 2021 when it drops to 15.40%.

On a month basis, inflation increased to 1.76 percent in April 2022, representing an increase of 0.02% from 1.74% recorded in March. The persistent increase in prices reflect the changes in Nigeria’s economic fundamentals. One of the key challenges impacting prices is foreign exchange scarcity.

Naira to Dollar exchange rate jumped to N600/US$1 at the parallel market popularly known as the black market despite the Central Bank of Nigeria discouraging patronage at that section of forex. However, inability to access forex at central bank designated deposit money banks forced most Nigerians to the unregulated black market.

Similarly, the drop in the nation’s external reserves due to the lower crude oil production from the year to date dragged on foreign revenue that eventually hurt central bank ability to service the economy with enough forex in an economy that imported over 90% of its consumption.

Again, rising insecurities in key food producing regions contributed to the jump in prices of food items as noted in the report. The composite food index grew at 18.37% rate in April 2022, slower than  the 22.72% filed in April 2021.

According to NBS, the increase in the value of the index was due to rise in prices of Bread and cereals, Food
products n.e.c, Potatoes, yam, and other tubers, Wine, Fish, Meat, and Oils.  On a monthly basis, food sub-index grew 0.01% to 2% in April from 1.99% in March.

However, the more accurate 12 month index reflect decline in food index from 19.21% filed in March 2022 to 18.88% in April 2022.

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Economy

ICT Changing The Face of Nigeria’s Economy

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While many thought the oil sector would save the Nigerian economy, the drift is gradually shifting away from the oil sector into the non-oil sector – the Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

A recent data revealed by the National Bureau of Statistics, sighted by Investors King, shows that the ICT has contributed 16 per cent to the growth of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 

On a year-on-year basis, compared to the previous year in the same quarter, ICT contributed 14.9 per cent to the GDP – a growth of 1.3 per cent. 

According to the data released by NBS, “In nominal terms, in the first quarter of 2022 the sector growth was recorded at 20.54 per cent (year-on-year), 12.68 per cent points increase from the rate of 7.86 per cent recorded in the same quarter of 2021, and 14.84 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in the preceding quarter. The Quarter-on- Quarter growth rate recorded in the first quarter of 2022 was -1.87 per cent.  

“The Information and Communications sector contributed 10.55 per cent to the total Nominal GDP in the 2022 first quarter, higher than the rate of 9.91 per cent recorded in the same quarter of 2021 and higher than the 9.88 cent it contributed in the preceding quarter”.   

The report added that the sector, in the first quarter of 2022, recorded a growth rate of 12.07 per cent in real terms, year-on-year.

From the rate recorded in the corresponding period of 2021, there was an increase of 5.60 per cent points. Quarter-on-Quarter, the sector exhibited a growth of -9.09 per cent in real terms.  

“Therefore, of total real GDP, the sector contributed 16.20 per cent in 2022 first quarter, higher than in the same quarter of the previous year in which it represented 14.91 per cent and higher than the preceding quarter in which it represented 15.21 per cent,” the data revealed. 

The Information and Communications sector in Nigeria comprises of Telecommunications and Information Services, Publishing, Motion Picture, Sound Recording and Music Production and Broadcasting. 

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