- Our Ports Are Ready for Full Utilisation
Nigeria’s main ports, Apapa Port and Tin Can Island Port as well as other four ports (Onne, Rivers, Warri, Calabar) are to set to witness full capacity utilisation, the Nigerian Ports Authority has said.
This is coming even as the Nigeria Customs Service has tightened security around the land borders in preparation for the full implementation of the Federal Government’s directive banning importation of rice and cars through the land borders from January 2017.
The increase in import duty on vehicles and rice by the last administration has sent importers to ports of neighbouring countries and left the nation’s ports operating below capacity.
But the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Miss Hadiza Usman, has given the assurance that the situation will change and the ports will begin to witness improved activities.
Disclosing this during a press conference to mark her 100 days in office, Usman allayed fears of traffic congestion as a result of the ban, with the insinuations that the ports might not have the capacity to cater for all the goods that would be coming in.
According to her, the Nigerian ports have enough capacity; only that “this capacity was not just utilised.”
Usman also pledged the government’s commitment to ensuring seamless importation through the ports, adding that a lot of efforts were being geared towards reducing the bottlenecks that had been a common feature of clearing and movement of goods through the ports.
She said, “The Nigerian ports are ready to take on the challenge. We are ready to have seamless operations with improved traffic. Some of the traffic we have seen dwindling was as a function of some of the government’s policies on importation of new cars.
“With this ban through the land borders, we will see an increase in activities within our ports and we have put in place the mechanism to ensure that additional traffic will not form any bottleneck. We will just upgrade what had existed before.”
COVID-19 Plunges Nigeria’s Oil Revenue by 41% in the First Nine Months of 2020
Nigeria’s oil revenue declined by 41.44 percent in the first nine months of 2020 to $2.033 billion, according to the latest data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
This represents a decline of 41.44 percent from $3.47 billion filed in the same period of 2019 when there was no COVID-19.
In the September 2020 edition of NNPC’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR), revenue from oil and gas rose by 16 percent to $120.49 million in the month of September, a 66 percent or $234.81 million drop from $355.3 million posted in the same month of 2019.
The global lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic plunged Nigeria’s crude oil sales and global demand for the commodity. This was further compounded by Nigeria’s high cost of production compared to Saudi Arabia, Russia and others that were offering discounts to boost sales during one of the most challenging periods in human history.
Experts like Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, President of Nigeria Association of Energy Economics, NAEE, were not surprised with the drop in earnings given the effect of COVID-19 on the world’s economy.
She, however, called for the revamp of the nation’s petroleum sector laws and diversification of the economy away from oil revenue dependence. She said “Covid-19 made 2020 a very hot year and it battered the oil industry internationally and we are not an exception; so we could not have been unaffected”.
She also said the effect of the fall “is definitely a wake-up call; we have to diversify, strengthen our other resources and capabilities”.
Omorogbe, a former NNPC Board Secretary, urged the government and the operators in the sector to look inward and think strategically, stating: “think medium term, think of where they want to be and the government, above all, must think of how best we can utilize our resources, so that we can achieve our objectives once we know and define them.
“It is a clear wake-up call, if not we will just sit here and find that we have become one of the poorest nations in the world”, she noted.
Crude Oil, Other Commodities Closing Price for Monday
Brent crude oil, Nigeria’s crude oil benchmark, gained 47 cents to $55.88 per barrel on Monday, while the US crude oil expanded by 50 cents to $52.77 per barrel.
Gold for February delivery fell $1 to $1,855.20 an ounce. Silver for March delivery fell 7 cents to $25.48 an ounce and March copper was little changed at $3.63 a pound.
The dollar fell to 103.80 Japanese yen from 103.83 yen. The euro fell to $1.2139 from $1.2167.
Wholesale gasoline for February delivery rose 1 cent to $1.56 a gallon. February heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.59 a gallon. February natural gas rose 16 cents to $2.60 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021
Gold price rose from one and a half month low on Tuesday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
The precious metal, largely regarded as a haven asset by investors, edged up by 0.2 percent to $1,844.52 per ounce on Tuesday, up from $1,802.61 on Monday.
He said, “The key factor appears to be the (U.S.) currency.”
As expected, a change in administration comes with the change in economic policies, especially taking into consideration the peculiarities of the present situation. In fact, even though Biden, Janet Yellen and the rest of the new cabinet are expected to go all out on additional stimulus with the support of Democrats controlled Houses, economic uncertainties with rising COVID-19 cases and slow vaccine distribution remained a huge concern.
Also, the effectiveness of the vaccines can not be ascertained until wider rollout.
Still, which policy would be halted or sustained by the incoming administration remained a concern that has forced many investors to once again flee other assets for Gold ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration.
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