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Innoson Decries Smear Campaign Against Firm

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Innoson
  • Innoson Decries Smear Campaign Against Firm

Innoson Group, Nigeria’s foremost indigenous motor manufacturing company has raised the alarm over what it described as sponsored and calculated smear campaign against it and its Executive Chairman, Dr Innocent Chukwuma, by some unscrupulous interest group.

In a statement signed by Mr. Cornel Osigwe, Public Relations and Media Manager of Innoson Group, the company said that contrary to report sponsored in the media to bring the name of the company and its promoter into disrepute, no new case was filed against it by the current Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris.

Citing a letter dated February 17, 2016, the firm stated that the police had filed a notice of withdrawal of the case since February when the police got the full details of the matter, which is a business matter between Innoson Nigeria Limited and Guaranty Trust Bank.

In the statement which reads in part, the company said: “We are constrained to respond to fictitious news published recently by some news media channels purporting that the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, filed four counts of alleged N2.4bn shipping fraud against Innoson Nigeria Limited before a Federal High Court in Lagos.”

The company said it decided to respond to the malicious publication because it was aimed at maligning the reputation of Dr Chukwuma on the same period he was playing host to his strategic Chinese business partners with whom he visited Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House, Abuja.

The Nation reliably gathered that at issue is that GTB had imposed excess and unlawful charges running into billions of naira on Innoson Nig Ltd’s current account with it just as it alleged that the bank fraudulently appropriated these billions of naira from Innoson’s account.

As a result, Innoson commenced suit No: FHC/AWK/CS/139/2012 against GTB and therein got judgment in excess of N4.7billion against GTB. GTB appealed against the judgment to the Court of Appeal, vide, Appeal No: CA/E/288/2013. There, the Court of Appeal ordered GTB to pay over N6billion, being the judgment with the accrued interest.

Separately, in another case, suit No: FHC/L/CS/603/2006, the Federal High Court ordered GTB to pay over N2.4billion to Innoson. GTB appealed against this judgment/order in Appeal No: CA/I/258/2011. However, Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and ordered GTB to pay the N2.4billion to Innoson.

Finding no justifiable way of getting Innoson to abandon the aforesaid judgments, which as at today is over N10billion, given the post-judgment interest, or to let it pay a lesser sum to Innoson, GTB instigated the Police to initiate a trumped-up charge – Charge No: FHC/L/565c/2015 against Innoson Nig Ltd. This charge was filed on 21st December 2015. However, when the Inspector General of Police discovered that the charge was a trumped-up one – a ruse – he withdrew the charge through its Notice of Withdrawal dated 17th February 2016 and adequately filed in the court (a copy of the notice of withdrawal is attached herewith).

Subsequently, the Inspector General of Police urged the Court to strike out the charge, but for some strange reasons the court adjourned the matter rather than strike it out. After this but before the next adjourned date, Mr. Diri – the former Director of Public Prosecution, Federal Republic of Nigeria – wrote a letter claiming that the Attorney General of the Federation had taken over the case.

The said letter which was back-dated was never initialled by the Registrar or any officer of the Court nor filed at the Court’s Registry as required by law and practice was rather smuggled into the case file. This letter, coupled with other activities of Mr. Diri, led to his being relieved of his post as the Director of Public Prosecution.

“As it is now, the Inspector General of Police, whether former or present, has not filed any new charge against Innoson Nigeria Ltd and its managing director and Mr. J. I. Ajakaye who apparently is acting without any authority is not a Police Officer. The matter came up on Monday, 24th October, 2016 for the presiding judge to excuse himself from presiding over the charge and for same to be struck out having been withdrawn. Mr. Ajakaye never and did not serve any charge on the counsel representing the defendants in the matter. A charge is an originating process and can only be served on a defendant and not his lawyer. Again, Innoson’s lawyers do not have its instructions to accept any originating process including a charge on its behalf.”

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

Fed’s Decision to Hold Rates Stalls Oil Market, Brent Crude Slips to $82.17

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Crude Oil - Investors King

Oil prices faced a setback on Thursday as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to maintain interest rates dampened investor sentiment.

The Federal Reserve’s announcement on Wednesday indicated a reluctance to initiate an interest rate cut, pushing expectations for policy easing possibly as late as December. This unexpected stance rattled markets already grappling with inflationary pressures and economic uncertainty.

Brent crude, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, saw a drop of 43 cents, or 0.5% to $82.17 a barrel, reflecting cautious investor response to the Fed’s cautious approach.

Similarly, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil also slipped by 46 cents, or 0.6% to settle at $78.04 per barrel.

Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM Oil, commented on the Fed’s decision, stating, “In the Fed’s view, this is the price that needs to be paid to achieve a soft landing and avoid recession beyond doubt.”

The central bank’s move to hold rates steady is seen as a measure to balance economic growth and inflation containment.

The Energy Information Administration’s latest data release further exacerbated market concerns, revealing a significant increase in U.S. crude stockpiles, primarily driven by higher imports.

Fuel inventories also exceeded expectations, compounding worries about oversupply in the oil market.

Adding to the downward pressure on oil prices, the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued a bearish report highlighting concerns over potential excess supply in the near future.

The combination of these factors weighed heavily on investor sentiment, contributing to the decline in oil prices observed throughout the trading session.

Meanwhile, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East continued to influence market dynamics, with reports of Iran-allied Houthi militants claiming responsibility for recent attacks on international shipping near Yemen’s Red Sea port of Hodeidah.

These incidents underscored ongoing concerns about potential disruptions to oil supply routes in the region.

As markets digest the Fed’s cautious stance and monitor developments in global economic indicators and geopolitical tensions, oil prices are expected to remain volatile in the near term.

Analysts suggest that future price movements will hinge significantly on economic data releases, policy decisions by major central banks, and developments in geopolitical hotspots affecting oil supply routes.

 

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Crude Oil

Nigerian Oil Loses Ground to Cheaper US and Russian Crude

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Nigeria’s once-thriving oil industry is facing a significant challenge as traditional buyers increasingly turn to more affordable alternatives from the United States and Russia.

This shift has led to France emerging as the leading buyer of Nigerian crude, marking a significant change in the global oil market dynamics.

Top Nigerian crude grades like Bonny Light, Forcados, and Brass have long been favored by refineries in Europe and Asia due to their low sulfur content.

However, the country’s primary customers, including India and China, are now opting for cheaper US and Russian oil.

This trend poses a substantial risk to Nigeria, which relies on oil exports for more than half of its foreign exchange earnings.

Data from BusinessDay reveals a stark decline in India’s purchase of Nigerian crude. In the first quarter of 2024, India bought N1.3 trillion worth of Nigerian oil, a significant drop from the average of N2 trillion purchased between 2018 and 2021.

“Buyers are increasingly turning to cheaper alternatives, raising concerns for the country’s revenue stream,” said Aisha Mohammed, a senior energy analyst at the Lagos-based Centre for Development Studies.

The latest tanker-tracking data monitored by Bloomberg indicates that India is buying more American crude oil as Russian energy flows dwindle amid sanctions.

India’s state-owned oil refiners and leading private companies have increased their imports of US crude, reaching nearly seven million barrels of April-loading US oil. This shift is the largest monthly inflow since last May.

Russian crude flows to India surged following the invasion of Ukraine, making Russia the biggest supplier to the South Asian nation.

However, tighter US sanctions have stranded Russian cargoes, narrowing discounts, and prompting India to ramp up purchases from Saudi Arabia.

“Given the issues faced with importing Sokol in Russia, it’s no surprise that Indian refineries are turning toward US WTI Midland as their light-sweet alternative,” explained Dylan Sim, an analyst at industry consultant FGE.

As a result, France has overtaken the Netherlands to become the biggest buyer of Nigerian crude oil, purchasing products worth N2.5 trillion in the first quarter of 2024.

Spain and India occupied second and fourth positions, with imports valued at N1.72 trillion and N1.3 trillion respectively, as of March 2024.

The sluggish pace of sales for Nigeria’s May supplies highlights the market’s shifting dynamics. Findings show that about 10 cargoes of Nigerian crude for May loading were still available for purchase, indicating a reduced demand.

Rival suppliers such as Azeri Light and West Texas Intermediate have also seen price weaknesses, impacting Nigerian crude demand.

“We’ve got much weaker margins, so Nigeria’s crude demand is taking a hit,” noted James Davis, director of short-term oil market research at FGE.

Sellers seeking premiums over the Dated Brent benchmark have found the European market less receptive, according to Energy Aspects Ltd.

“May cargoes were at a premium that didn’t work that well into Europe, but lower offers have seen volumes move,” said Christopher Haines, EA global crude analyst. “Stronger forward diesel pricing is also helping.”

Some Nigerian grades are being priced more competitively, including Qua Iboe to Asia and Bonny Light to the Mediterranean or East, with the overhang slowly reducing, according to Sparta Commodities.

However, the overall reduced demand could lead to a decrease in revenue from oil exports, a major source of income for the Nigerian government.

“Reduced demand could lead to a decrease in revenue from oil exports, a major source of income for the Nigerian government,” warned Charles Ogbeide, an energy analyst with a Lagos-based investment bank.

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Commodities

Refiners Predict Petrol Prices to Fall to N300/Litre with Adequate Local Crude Supply

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Petrol - Investors King

The pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, could drop to N300 per litre once local production ramps up significantly, according to operators of modular refineries.

This projection hinges on the provision of sufficient crude oil to domestic refiners, which they say would undercut the exorbitant costs currently imposed by foreign refineries.

Speaking under the aegis of the Crude Oil Refinery Owners Association of Nigeria (CORAN), the refiners stressed the urgency for the government to ensure a steady supply of crude oil to local processing plants.

They argue that the reliance on imported petroleum products has been economically disadvantageous for Nigeria.

Eche Idoko, Publicity Secretary of CORAN, emphasized that the current high costs could be mitigated by boosting local production.

“If we begin to produce PMS in large volumes and ensure adequate crude oil supply, the pump price could be reduced to N300 per litre. This would prevent Nigerians from paying nearly N700 per litre and stop foreign refiners from profiting excessively at our expense,” Idoko stated.

The potential price drop follows the model seen with diesel, which experienced a significant price reduction once the Dangote Petroleum Refinery began its production.

“Diesel prices dropped from N1,700-N1,800 per litre to N1,200 per litre after Dangote started producing. This is a clear indication that local production can drastically reduce costs,” Idoko explained.

In a previous statement, Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, affirmed that Nigeria would cease importing petrol by June 2024 due to the Dangote Refinery’s capacity to meet local demand.

Dangote also expressed confidence in the refinery’s ability to cater to West Africa’s diesel and aviation fuel needs.

Challenges and Governmental Role

However, achieving this price reduction is contingent on several factors, including the provision of crude oil at the naira equivalent of its dollar rate.

CORAN has advocated for this approach, citing that it would bolster the naira and reduce the financial burden on refiners who currently buy crude in dollars.

The Nigerian government has shown some commitment towards this goal. Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), confirmed that a framework has been developed to ensure consistent supply of crude oil to domestic refineries.

“We have created a template for the Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation to foster seamless supply to local refineries,” Komolafe stated.

Industry Reactions

Oil marketers have welcomed the potential for reduced petrol prices. Abubakar Maigandi, President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), expressed optimism about the Dangote Refinery’s impact on petrol prices.

“We expect the price of locally produced PMS to be below the current NNPC rate of N565.50 per litre. Ideally, we are looking at a price around N500 per litre,” Maigandi noted.

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