- FG, Oil Majors Sign $5.1bn JV Settlement Deal
The Federal Government on Thursday signed a deal with Shell, Chevron, Total, Eni and Exxon Mobil to clear unpaid bills worth $5.1bn for oil production joint ventures piled up over many years.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said in a speech at the signing ceremony that the deal would unlock new investment in the country’s oil and gas sector, adding that the repayment would take place over the coming five years.
He said the oil majors had given the country a discount of $1.7bn, lowering the original amount from $6.8bn.
The agreement will also ensure that future Nigerian payments to production joint ventures with oil majors would be paid in time, according to the minister.
Kachikwu also said that Forcados exports would resume soon, without giving any more precise information. The grade has been under force majeure since February after multiple attacks on the pipelines that carry it to the export terminal.
The exit from joint ventures cash call agreements between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and international oil companies will lead to an increase in the country’s revenue by $2bn annually, the Federal Government has said.
This is coming as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo announced that the elimination of subsidy on petroleum products had removed a monthly financial burden of N15.4bn on the Federal Government.
Osinbajo disclosed this on the occasion of the signing of an agreement for joint venture cash call exit and presentation of the 2016 petroleum sector scorecard by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources in Abuja on Thursday.
“The downstream oil sector has been deregulated through the elimination of petroleum subsidy, among others. The elimination of petroleum subsidy has removed from the government a burden of not less than N15.4bn monthly,” the Vice President, who was represented by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said.
On the significance of the cash call exit, the Petroleum Resources ministry, in a document made available to our correspondent in Abuja, stated that the move would restructure the financing template for oil earnings, increase investments and boost government revenues.
It said the agreement would bring clarity and stability to the management of the country’s main revenue source, adding that the exit had already received the approval of the Federal Executive Council.
The ministry explained that the exit was part of new measures and strategies aimed at eliminating the burden of joint venture cash call arrears and securing future funding for the upstream petroleum sector.
It said, “These strategies, which are fully supported by the National Economic Council, will lead to an increase in national production from the current 2.2 million barrels per day to 2.5mbpd by 2019, as well as reduction in unit technical costs from $27.96/barrel oil equivalent to $18/boe.
“The net payments to the Federation Account is expected to double from about $7bn to over $14bn by 2020, and the immediate effect of the new cash call policy will increase net Federal Government of Nigeria revenue per annum by about $2bn.”
Kachikwu pledged that the ministry would continue to drive innovation and change in its approach to delivering an oil and gas industry that would be internationally competitive and governed by open and transparent processes to ensure security of investment for both domestic and international investors.
Ogun Records N13.3B Internally Generated Revenue Monthly in Q1 of 2021
Ogun State Government has recorded an average of N13.3billion monthly as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the first quarter of 2021.
The government said it is also planning to raise its yearly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate from the current single digit by 25 percent.
The Commissioner for Finance, Dapo Okubadejo disclosed this to newsmen in Abeokuta ahead of the state’s investment summit tagged: ‘OgunIseya21: Becoming Africa’s Model Industrial and Logistics Hub’, slated for July 13th-14th, 2021.
Okubadejo who doubles as the State’s Chief Economic Adviser noted that the state’s IGR had experienced an upward movement after last year’s shortfall due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the attendant lockdown.
“We had a significant turnaround in the first quarter of this year. In fact, as of April, we have done almost N40bn in the Internally Generated Revenue. Our target this year is to exceed all the previous records we have set in IGR. That’s why we have put in place, all these transformation initiatives, friendly policies and also facilitate this investment summit to further showcase Ogun State as the preferred industrial destination,” he said.
The Finance Commissioner was supported in highlighting the investment potentials of the summit by his counterparts from the Ministries of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Kikelomo Longe; Works and Infrastructure, Ade Adesanya; Culture and Tourism, Toyin Taiwo; Budget and Planning, Olaolu Olabimtan and the Director-General, Public-Private Partnership, Dapo Oduwole.
Unemployment To Push More Nigerians Into Poverty – NESG
On Friday, The Nigerian Economic Summit Group said that many more Nigerians are expected to fall into the poverty trap amid rising unemployment in the country.
The NESG, a private sector-led think-tank, noted in its economic report for the first quarter of 2021 that the country’s economic growth in the period under review was relatively weak.
It said, “Nigeria’s economic growth trajectory is better described as jobless and less inclusive even in the heydays of high growth regime in the 2000s.
“While the Nigerian economy recovered from the recession in Q4 of 2020, the unemployment rate spiked to its highest level ever at 33.3 percent in the same quarter.
“With the COVID-19 crisis heightening the rate of joblessness, many Nigerians are expected to fall into the poverty trap, going forward.”
The group noted that the World Bank estimated an increase in the number of poor Nigerians to 90 million in 2020 from 83 million in 2019.
“This corresponds to a rise in headcount poverty ratio to 44.1 percent in 2020 from 40.1 percent in 2019. The rising levels of unemployment and poverty are reflected in the persistent insecurity and social vices, with attendant huge economic costs,” it said.
According to the report, huge dependence on proceeds from crude oil, leaving other revenue sources unexplored, indicates that Nigeria is not set to rein in debt accumulation in the short to medium term.
The NESG noted that public debt stock continued to trend upwards, with a jump from N7.6tn ($48.7bn) in 2012 to N32.9tn ($86.8bn) in 2020.
It said public debts grew by 20 percent between 2019 and 2020, adding, “This is partly due to the need for emergency funds to combat the global pandemic and alleviate its adverse economic impacts on households and businesses.”
According to the group, Nigeria needs more than an economic rebound, and there is a need to improve growth inclusiveness.
It said, “Nigeria has struggled to achieve inclusive growth for many decades. Since recovery from the 2016 recession, the economy has been on a fragile growth path until it slipped into another recession in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This suggests that the country needs to attain high and sustainable economic growth to become strong and resilient.
“The relationship between economic growth and unemployment rate in Nigeria suggests that economic growth has not led to a reduction in the unemployment rate – jobless growth.”
The NESG said to reverse this recurring trend, there was an urgent need for collaborative efforts between the government and relevant stakeholders towards addressing the constraints to value chain development in high-growth and employment-elastic sectors, including manufacturing, construction, trade, education, health and professional services, with ICT and renewable energy sectors as growth enablers.
It noted that despite the re-opening of the land borders that the Nigerian government shut since October 2019, inflation reached a four-year high of 18.1 percent in April 2021.
“While we expect improved agricultural production in coming months to partially ease inflationary pressures, this positive impact could be suppressed by recurring key structural bottlenecks including insecurity in the food-producing regions, electricity tariff hike, fuel price increase and hike in transport and logistic costs,” it added.
IMF Queries FG Strategies On Fuel Subsidy, Unemployment, Inflation
The International Monetary Fund has raised the red flag over Nigeria’s resumption of petrol subsidy payments, describing it as injurious to the economy.
It also reiterated the importance of introducing a market-based fuel pricing mechanism and deployment of well-targeted social safety nets to cushion any adverse impact on the poor.
In a report produced after a virtual meeting with Nigerian authorities from June 1 to 8, the IMF also expressed concerns over the rising unemployment and inflation rates, even as it admitted that real Gross Domestic Product was recovering.
The IMF team, led by Jesmin Rahman, further hailed the Central Bank of Nigeria for its efforts at unifying the exchange rate by embracing needed reforms.
The Fund said: “Recent exchange rate measures are encouraging, and further reforms are needed to achieve a fully unified and market-clearing exchange rate.
“The resurfacing of fuel subsidies is concerning, particularly in the context of low revenue mobilisation.
“The Nigerian economy has started to gradually recover from the negative effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Following sharp output contractions in the second and third quarters, GDP growth turned positive in Q4 2020 and growth reached 0.5 percent (y/y) in Q1 2021, supported by agriculture and services sectors.
“Nevertheless, the employment level continues to fall dramatically and, together with other socio-economic indicators, is far below pre-pandemic levels. Inflation slightly decelerated in May but remained elevated at 17.9 percent, owing to high food price inflation. With the recovery in oil prices and remittance flows, the strong pressures on the balance of payments have somewhat abated, although imports are rebounding faster than exports and foreign investor appetite remains subdued resulting in continued FX shortage.
“The incipient recovery in economic activity is projected to take root and broaden among sectors, with GDP growth expected to reach 2.5 percent in 2021. Inflation is expected to remain elevated in 2021, but likely to decelerate in the second half of the year to reach about 15.5 percent, following the removal of border controls and the elimination of base effects from elevated food price levels.”
The IMF also recognised that tax revenue collections were gradually recovering but noted that with fuel subsidies resurfacing, additional spending for COVID-19 vaccines and to address security challenges, the fiscal deficit of the Consolidated Government is expected to remain elevated at 5.5 percent of GDP.
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