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$3 Billion Nigeria Bound Rice Stuck in Benin Republic

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Rice
  • $3 Billion Nigeria Bound Rice Stuck in Benin Republic

Rice worth over $3 billion meant for the Nigerian markets are said to be stuck in various warehouses in Benin Republic due to the federal government’s policy banning importation of the commodity through land borders and fierce customs anti-smuggling drive.

Findings revealed that the annual routine of importing rice into the neighbouring countries from July to December to make massive sales in Nigeria during yuletide has hit a brickwall as the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) has insisted that his men tighten the borders.

Nigeria shares major borders with Benin Republic at Seme Border (Lagos), Idiroko (Ogun State), Shaki (Oyo State),Chikanda (Kwara State) and other smaller openings. Prominent among them is Seme where the highest volume of trade and largest smuggling opportunity exists because of its easier access to Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital city.

Seme border, which hitherto was a major transit point for foreign rice importation and smuggling also became a no go area for the commodity as almost daily seizures of 50kg bags of it have taken a good portion of the government warehouse .

A competent source in Benin said that most of the warehouses where the bagged rice are kept before shipment into the country are now battling for space.

According to the source, who does not want his name in print, “some consignments of imported rice into the small West African country that had no space at the usual and popular stores were moved to makeshift storage areas and are exposed to rains, weevils and other unhygienic forms of storage.

The source said: “Popular warehouses no longer receive rice shipments as thousands of bags earlier delivered to them since July could not be evacuated into Nigeria as planned and as the usual case in previous years. Popular Cherika warehouse in Akpakpa near Cotonou with a capacity to hold 25,000 bags is fully loaded with Thailand rice with no hope of evacuating them into Nigeria except government relaxes its policy disallowing rice imports through border or customs softening their round the clock enforcement in Seme.

“Defezi warehouse close to the Cotonou Port with is filled with over 40,000 units of 50kg bags of Indian and Thailand rice. Defezi got occupied earlier due to its proximity to the port but was not evacuated as the owners could not risk entering Nigeria with it. Cica warehouse in Missebo area of the Cotonou outskirts that suffered lack of patronage in the past due to distance from Seme border and bad road presently have over 15,000 bags. Some are getting moulded, caked with their bags torn and quantity reduced while under storage in several odd arrangements endlessly awaiting shipment into Nigeria.”

Checks revealed that while hope of smuggling them into Nigeria gets dim by the day, there is a conscious efforts at attempting the smuggling of the commodity without using bags.

The unwholesome methods, our findings revealed, require pouring grains of rice into various compartments of vehicles like the booths, bonnets, inner part of the doors, under the seats and other spaces meant for spare tyres and tools.

Sources disclosed that attempts to try bringing in some hundreds of bags failed as the smuggling bags ended up inside the customs warehouse in Seme and Idiroko as seizures.

The seized rice, some of which are closed to expiring and unwholesome for human consumption have become bad and unqualified for donation to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps as was done in the recent past.

Numbers made available by the NCS revealed that over 37,000 bags of rice have so far been seized in Seme and Idiroko between January and September 2016 with a recent clamp down on 13 vehicles at a go in the Ogun State area all laden with smuggled rice.

Nigeria Customs had in an October 2016 press statement reiterated government’s ban on rice importation through the borders. The statement signed by customs spokesman, Wale Adeniyi, reinforced its resolve to protect government’s attempt to improve local rice capacity.

According to him, ”We like to reiterate the position that importation of Rice remains banned through our Land Borders, and we have the commitment of Partner Government Agencies and Stakeholders to enforce this restriction. While this restriction is in force, Rice imports through the Ports are still allowed subject to payment of extant charges.”

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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Communities in Delta State Shut OML30 Operates by Heritage Energy Operational Services Ltd

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The OML30 operated by Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited in Delta State has been shut down by the host communities for failing to meet its obligations to the 112 host communities.

The host communities, led by its Management Committee/President Generals, had accused the company of gross indifference and failure in its obligations to the host communities despite several meetings and calls to ensure a peaceful resolution.

The station with a production capacity of 80,000 barrels per day and eight flow stations operates within the Ughelli area of Delta State.

The host communities specifically accused HEOSL of failure to pay the GMOU fund for the last two years despite mediation by the Delta State Government on May 18, 2020.

Also, the host communities accused HEOSL of ‘total stoppage of scholarship award and payment to host communities since 2016’.

The Chairman, Dr Harrison Oboghor and Secretary, Mr Ibuje Joseph that led the OML30 host communities explained to journalists on Monday that the host communities had resolved not to backpedal until all their demands were met.

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Crude Oil Recovers from 4 Percent Decline as Joe Biden Wins

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Oil Prices Recover from 4 Percent Decline as Joe Biden Wins

Crude oil prices rose with other financial markets on Monday following a 4 percent decline on Friday.

This was after Joe Biden, the former Vice-President and now the President-elect won the race to the White House.

Global benchmark oil, Brent crude oil, gained $1.06 or 2.7 percent to $40.51 per barrel on Monday while the U.S West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained $1.07 or 2.9 percent to $38.21 per barrel.

On Friday, Brent crude oil declined by 4 percent as global uncertainty surged amid unclear US election and a series of negative comments from President Trump. However, on Saturday when it became clear that Joe Biden has won, global financial markets rebounded in anticipation of additional stimulus given Biden’s position on economic growth and recovery.

Trading this morning has a risk-on flavor, reflecting increasing confidence that Joe Biden will occupy the White House, but the Republican Party will retain control of the Senate,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

“The outcome is ideal from a market point of view. Neither party controls the Congress, so both trade wars and higher taxes are largely off the agenda.”

The president-elect and his team are now working on mitigating the risk of COVID-19, grow the world’s largest economy by protecting small businesses and the middle class that is the backbone of the American economy.

There will be some repercussions further down the road,” said OCBC’s economist Howie Lee, raising the possibility of lockdowns in the United States under Biden.

“Either you’re crimping energy demand or consumption behavior.”

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Nigeria, Other OPEC Members Oil Revenue to Hit 18 Year Low in 2020

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Revenue of OPEC Members to Drop to 18 Year Low in 2020

The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) has predicted that the oil revenue of members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will decline to 18-year low in 2020.

EIA said their combined oil export revenue will plunge to its lowest level since 2002. It proceeded to put a value to the projection by saying members of the oil cartel would earn around $323 billion in net oil export in 2020.

If realised, this forecast revenue would be the lowest in 18 years. Lower crude oil prices and lower export volumes drive this expected decrease in export revenues,” it said.

The oil expert based its projection on weak global oil demand and low oil prices because of COVID-19.

It said this coupled with production cuts by OPEC members in recent months will impact net revenue of the cartel in 2020.

It said, “OPEC earned an estimated $595bn in net oil export revenues in 2019, less than half of the estimated record high of $1.2tn, which was earned in 2012.

“Continued declines in revenue in 2020 could be detrimental to member countries’ fiscal budgets, which rely heavily on revenues from oil sales to import goods, fund social programmes, and support public services.”

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