- Local Production Suffers Setback on Dollarisation of Raw Materials
The Federal Government’s efforts at diversifying the economy and reducing dependence on importation are being undermined by value-chain operators, farmers and providers of key raw materials who would rather export raw commodities for foreign exchange than sell to local producers at market prices.
The hot chase for forex by farmers and other raw material providers outside of government control will lead to higher prices, especially as scarcity and demand from neighbouring countries put pressure on local supply.
Local manufacturers say raw commodities like cotton, grains and natural gas, among others are being offered to local manufacturers at prevailing international market prices and payment being demanded in foreign exchange even as the materials are being harvested and produced domestically.
Operators noted that successes recorded by government intervention in some key industries might be eroded if access to raw materials was not guaranteed. This means that consumers may pay more for even locally-produced goods if the ugly trend is not checked.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, had raised the alarm that the country currently risks famine from early next year due to the huge export of the country’s grains to attract foreign exchange, even when local demands have not been met.
With the exception of organisations that deployed out-grower schemes to develop their value-chain capacity, other operators have had to depend on imports subject to availability of foreign exchange or depend on open market where prices are arbitrarily determined by farmers and value-chain operators.
The President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dr. Frank Jacobs, explained that manufacturers have begun to look inwards for raw materials sourcing since access to foreign exchange has become limited. The idea of ‘looking inwards’ for raw materials is to sustain operations, leading to poor capacity utilisation. He argued that suppliers’ penchant for across-the-border sales is frustrating manufacturers looking to source raw materials locally.
Manufacturers are worried that government, which recently reported glut in grains and farmers’ inclination to sell to foreigners, has not evolved an efficient interventionist policy to mop up the excess and guarantee future supplies in event of famine.
The Ministry of Agriculture could not confirm immediate plans to revive marketing boards. The Guardian could not reach Minister Audu Ogbeh on his mobile phone. His media aide, Dr. Olukayode Oyeleye, instead offered to provide details on Monday (today). Marketing board is a stop-gap mechanism to ensure supplies and stabilize price between planting seasons.3w
The President of the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association (NTMA), Mrs. Grace Adereti, canvassed the revival of the Commodities Board as a measure to ease textile manufacturers’ access to raw materials for production.
Lamenting the present situation, Aderetin said: “When we contacted the farmers, they said that they are not ready to supply to us at the price negotiated by the ginners. Further inquiry showed that farmers based their price on what they will generate from exporting the cotton. They want to sell at 40 cents per kilogramme of cotton.
“If we accede to the price, our output will become uncompetitive considering the infrastructural deficit in the country, which affects the cost of production. We are in a fix. Some factories have suspended production because they do not have cotton for production.
“In the past, there was a market board and government had control over the price of cotton. We want the government to intervene in this matter and save manufacturers. We have the machinery and the workforce and we are ready to produce, but we are hindered by the present situation.”
The Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, decried the lack of a fiscal policy framework to guide operations in the real sector.
According to him, if the fundamentals are not right, backward integration will not work as so many linkages in the value-chain are missing.
“We need to build capacity of investors in the value-chain for backward integration to be successful. Except for the big manufacturers with huge capacity, it could be too much for industrialists to embark on the process with little or no support. Government needs to embark on a holistic and integrated approach as some of the raw materials are not easy to get as it is being described”, Yusuf said.
The Director-General of NTMA, Hamma Kwajaffa, also alleged that rivalry among government agencies contributed to the challenges hindering the growth of the textile industry.
“The former Minister of Agric initiated the creation of the cotton corporation, but he had a rivalry with the Minister of Trade that said establishing the corporation falls within his domain. That was how the whole matter was stalled at the Federal Executive Council.
“The absence of regulation makes everyone to fix prices that they want across the value chain. If you go to Chad, you cannot just buy cotton. It is regulated by their government. We will prefer that local usage of cotton is given preference before export,” Kwajaffa said.
The Chairman, MAN Gas Users Group, Dr. Michael Adebayo stated that dollarisation of materials needed for production is a disincentive for local producers, adding that the trend has affected gas pricing, with many operators struggling to keep their factories running.
Oil Slips With Energy Prices in Europe Halts Record Rally
Oil dipped toward $72 a barrel in New York after prices of energy commodities in Europe halted a record-breaking run.
West Texas Intermediate futures fell 0.6%, having reached the highest intraday level since early August on Wednesday. A rally in European gas and power prices to unprecedented levels was set to end as industries were starting to curb consumption. The surge in energy rates could temporarily boost diesel demand by as much as 2 million barrels a day as consumers switch fuels, according to Citigroup Inc.
Still, the bullish signals for oil are continuing to increase. U.S. crude inventories dropped by more than 6 million barrels last week to a two-year low, according to government figures, as coronavirus vaccination programs permit economies to reopen. Chevron Corp. Chief Executive Officer Mike Wirth warned that the world is facing high energy prices for the foreseeable future.
The investor optimism is showing up in key oil time spreads widening. Trading of bullish Brent options also surged to a two-month high on Wednesday.
Prices have been pushed higher in recent days “by supply outages combined with expectations of switching from gas to oil in the power sector,” said Helge Andre Martinsen, a senior oil market analyst at DNB Bank ASA. “We still believe in softer prices toward year-end and early next year as curtailed production returns and OPEC+ continues to increase production.”
Strong prices for gas, liquefied natural gas and oil are expected to last “for a while” as producers resist the urge to drill again, Chevron’s Wirth told Bloomberg News. Norway’s Equinor ASA said Thursday it also expects European gas prices to remain high over winter.
Fuel Scarcity: Petrol Sells N220 Per Litre in Nsukka
Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise called petrol, now sells for between N200 and N220 per liter at the independent marketers’ service stations in Nsukka, Enugu State.
The News Agency of Nigeria is reporting the hike in the price against the official pump price of N162 per liter.
It said it started about a fortnight ago due to the scarcity of the commodity in the town and its environs.
Some residents of the town expressed deep worry over the development in separate interviews with NAN on Wednesday.
A civil servant, Stephen Ozioko, said the situation had further compounded the economic difficulties in the area.
Ozioko said many private car owners had been compelled to park their vehicles at home and move around in public transport.
He said: “Since the scarcity started, I decided to park my car and take public transport to the office and back home. N220 per liter is exorbitant and I cannot afford it considering my salary as a civil servant. I shall continue to use public transport until the situation returns to normal.”
A building material dealer, Timothy Ngwu, said the development had also led to an increase in transport fare in the area.
Ngwu said: “Some people now trek from Nsukka Old Park to Odenigbo Roundabout because of the 100 percent hike in fares from N50 to N100 by tricycle.
“Before now, transport fare from Nsukka to Enugu was N500, but transporters now charge between N800 and N1000.”
Also, a commuter bus driver, Victor Ogbonna, described the scarcity and hike in the price of petrol as “unfortunate and an ugly development”.
Ogbonna added: “Today, only a few filling stations are selling the commodity in Nsukka town, while others are shut.”
He alleged that some filling stations, which claimed to be out-of-stock, were selling to black marketers at night.
He said: “This is why black marketers have sprung up everywhere in the town, selling the commodity for about N300 per liter.”
NAN reports that virtually all the major marketers in the area have stopped the sale of petrol, claiming to be out-of-stock.
The people called on the government to urgently intervene in order to bring the situation under control and also put an end to its harsh economic effects on the messes.
DPR Targets N3.2T Revenue by Year-End
Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) will hit the N3.2 trillion revenue target by December 2021, according to its Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sarki Auwalu.
Auwalu made the disclosure when he led a delegation of the DPR management team to the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Mr Bello Gusau, in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said that 70 percent of the revenue projection had already been met. “Last year, we exceed our revenue budget. We were given N1.5 trillion but we were able to generate N2.7trillion.
“This year, our revenue budget was N3.2 trillion. By the end of August 2021, we have generated up to 70 per cent.
“So, we with September, October, November and December, it is only the 30 per cent that we will work over,’’ he said
He noted that the government took advantage of fiscal terms within the old and new legislation, thereby creating a level of increased signature bonuses.
“We reorganise the work programme that is normally being done in the DPR to key into the new operational structure as we see it in the bill, now an act.
“That programme is being handled by the planning and strategic business unit as against what we use to have because the entire work programme is supposed to show not only technical but also commercial and viability of oil fields and to guarantee the return on investment for investors.
“We have also created an economic value and benchmarking unit to key into the new fiscal provisions of the PIA,’’ he said.
Commenting on capacity, Auwalu said the country stands at the advantage of exporting skills to emerging oil and gas countries across Africa with proper implementation of the newly passed Petroleum Industry Act.
This, he said, the DPR was ready to partner with the Fund to continue to build capacity in the oil and gas sector
He noted that the Federal Government was determined to create leeway that would encourage investors and drastically improve the nation’s petroleum industry.
He further noted that no fewer than 300 legal battles in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, which had been stalled for the past 20 years in courts, had been resolved through alternative dispute resolution.
According to Auwalu, the DPR is strategising well to ensure effective implementation of the PIA.
Responding, Gusau commended the DPR for enabling the industry and enhancing business activities in the oil and gas sector.
He said that DPR remained the head of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria adding that the Fund was grateful to benefit from the wealth of ideas from DPR.
“The last time we visited, we had a good discussion and issues raised are being implemented like tracking the inflow of funds in signature bonus accounts.
“We extended the meeting and involved ministry of Finance, Accountant General office and even the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Sitting at field development plans and attending significant meetings, helped us to know where and what the industry is trying to do and it also helps to inform our decisions in training and capacity plans,’’ he said
He urged the DPR to continue on its effort to ensure an efficient and productive petroleum industry in Nigeria
He assured collaboration with all as the head of the implementation committee of the Petroleum Industry Act. (NAN)
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