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Move Against Wharf Landing Fees May Suffer Setback

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  • Move Against Wharf Landing Fees May Suffer Setback

The move by the Federal Government asking the Supreme Court to declare the Lagos State Wharf Landing Fees Law No. 5 of 2009 unconstitutional, and order the state to refund all the monies collected through the law may suffer setback.

This is because some of the council authorities around the ports have threatened to start the collection of the money, if the move by the state government fails.

The Wharf Landing Law was passed in 2009 when Babatunde Fashola, now the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, was the governor.

The law imposes levies, from N1,000 to N3,000, on consignments transported from Lagos sea ports to local government areas of the state.

Some residents of the local governments around Lagos sea ports, it was gathered, have written a letter to the Chairman, Lagos State Wharf Landing Fees Collecting Authority, Mr Joe Igbokwe, to assist them in collecting the money or allow officials of the local governments to do it.

Some of the residents and motorists operating in Apapa, Amuwo-Odofin, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Surulere, Apapa-Igamu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) and environs said they would support any move by the state and local governments to attract development and restore the past glories of their areas.

They gave kudos to the state government for filling the pot-holes with broken bricks as a palliative measure pending the comprehensive rehabilitation of the roads in Apapa and Tincan Island.

One of the residents and chairman of the group, Mr Solomon Jayeola, said they would support the local government authorities in collecting the money if the court rules in favour of the petitioner.

It was gathered that associations at petroleum depots collect a huge amount of money from their members.

Findings revealed that the Petrol Tankers Drivers (PTD) collects N10,000; oil and gas suppliers collect N2,000; Engine Oil and Lubricants (ELD), Petroleum Station Workers (PSW) and Independent Marketers Branch (IMB) collect N2,000 and N1,000.

Also, the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Marine Survey (MS) and Surface Tank Kerosene Distributors (SUTAKED) collect N2,500, N5,000 and N3,000.

“As residents of this area, we do not think N1,000 for a 40ft container and N500 for 20ft container is too much for the owners to pay to the government.

“Also, car drivers are asked to pay N300 while SUVs are to pay N500. But we have observed that car drivers are not willing and that is why we will support our local government in collecting the levies because it is a source of revenue generation for them as entrenched in the Constitution,” Jayeola said.

A motorist, Francis Solomon, also said Lagosians must support the state government in collecting the fees, and urged those affected to see it as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

“We want Lagosians to understand that the local governments around the ports are in dire need of the money during this period of recession. The local governments need your support and encouragement to look inwards to make life more comfortable for the residents.

“There is need for me to also draw the attention of the public to the inappropriateness of the solicitors to the AGF in this matter at the Supreme Court. The law firm is a counsel to Hermonfield Limited, a sub-contractor of the collecting agent appointed by the state government to collect wharf landing fees.”

Solomon alleged that the genuiness of the law firm was suspect as the case appeared to have been filed after the failure of an attempt to foist the sub-contractor on the state government.

Contacted, Igbokwe said the agency had issued 240 invoices to various companies and got only 81 responses in terms of payments.

The figure, he said, represents 34 per cent. He called on those concerned to pay up so that the rule of engagement will not degenerate to coercion.

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.

Crude Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

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Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

Oil retreated from an earlier rally with investment banks and traders predicting the market can go significantly higher in the months to come.

Futures in New York pared much of an earlier increase to $63 a barrel as the dollar climbed and equities slipped. Bank of America said prices could reach $70 at some point this year, while Socar Trading SA sees global benchmark Brent hitting $80 a barrel before the end of the year as the glut of inventories built up during the Covid-19 pandemic is drained by the summer.

The loss of oil output after the big freeze in the U.S. should help the market firm as much of the world emerges from lockdowns, according to Trafigura Group. Inventory data due later Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute and more from the Energy Department on Wednesday will shed more light on how the Texas freeze disrupted U.S. oil supply last week.

Oil has surged this year after Saudi Arabia pledged to unilaterally cut 1 million barrels a day in February and March, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicting the rally will accelerate as demand outpaces global supply. Russia and Riyadh, however, will next week once again head into an OPEC+ meeting with differing opinions about adding more crude to the market.

“The freeze in the U.S. has proved supportive as production was cut,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “We still expect that Russia will push for a significant rise in production,” which could soon weigh on prices, he said.

PRICES

  • West Texas Intermediate for April fell 27 cents to $61.43 a barrel at 9:20 a.m. New York time
  • Brent for April settlement fell 8 cents to $65.16

Brent’s prompt timespread firmed in a bullish backwardation structure to the widest in more than a year. The gap rose above $1 a barrel on Tuesday before easing to 87 cents. That compares with 25 cents at the start of the month.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and oil trader Vitol Group shot down talk of a new oil supercycle, though they said a lack of supply response will keep prices for crude prices firm in the short term.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

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Crude oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

Oil prices rose on Monday as the slow return of U.S. crude output cut by frigid conditions served as a reminder of the tight supply situation, just as demand recovers from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brent crude was up $1.38, or 2.2%, at $64.29 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate gained $1.38, or 2.33%, to trade at $60.62 per barrel.

Abnormally cold weather in Texas and the Plains states forced the shutdown of up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production along with 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas output, analysts estimated.

Shale oil producers in the region could take at least two weeks to restart the more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output affected, sources said, as frozen pipes and power supply interruptions slow their recovery.

“With three-quarters of fracking crews standing down, the likelihood of a fast resumption is low,” ANZ Research said in a note.

For the first time since November, U.S. drilling companies cut the number of oil rigs operating due to the cold and snow enveloping Texas, New Mexico and other energy-producing centres.

OPEC+ oil producers are set to meet on March 4, with sources saying the group is likely to ease curbs on supply after April given a recovery in prices, although any increase in output will likely be modest given lingering uncertainty over the pandemic.

“Saudi Arabia is eager to pursue yet higher prices in order to cover its social break-even expenses at around $80 a barrel while Russia is strongly focused on unwinding current cuts and getting back to normal production,” said SEB chief commodity analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

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Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

Oil prices rose to $65.47 per barrel on Thursday as crude oil production dropped in the US due to frigid Texas weather.

The unusual weather has left millions in the dark and forced oil producers to shut down production. According to reports, at least the winter blast has claimed 24 lives.

Brent crude oil gained $2 to $65.47 on Thursday morning before pulling back to $64.62 per barrel around 11:00 am Nigerian time.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 2.3 percent to settle at $61.74 per barrel.

“This has just sent us to the next level,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. “Crude oil WTI will probably max out somewhere pretty close to $65.65, refinery utilization rate will probably slide to somewhere around 76%,” Yawger said.

However, the report that Saudi Arabia plans to increase production in the coming months weighed on crude oil as it can be seen in the chart below.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister, warned that it was too early to declare victory against the COVID-19 virus and that oil producers must remain “extremely cautious”.

“We are in a much better place than we were a year ago, but I must warn, once again, against complacency. The uncertainty is very high, and we have to be extremely cautious,” he told an energy industry event.

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