- FG, Oil Firms Optimistic About Increased Crude Production
The Federal Government and oil firms have expressed optimism that crude production in the country will increase this year as efforts to stem militancy in the Niger Delta and introduce a new funding structure for joint venture assets gain traction.
Nigeria, which had been exempted from the deal by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut output from January, hoped to pull its economy out of recession on the back of the upswing in global crude prices and restore oil production to at least 2.2 million barrels per day, President Muhammadu Buhari said in early December.
Negotiations with militants in the Niger Delta to end attacks on oil facilities are also progressing and a new funding scheme for upstream ventures with foreign partners was recently agreed.
For now, the country continues to suffer from the oil price downturn as oil accounts for about 90 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings and about 80 per cent of the government’s total revenue.
“The government is sure that the target to raise oil production to 2.2 million bpd or even more next year is realisable,” Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman told S&P Global Platts.
“The peace deal with militants to ensure zero disruption is in progress, though slow, but I can assure you that with a show of faith, the peace deal will be consummated in no time,” Adesina said.
Oil companies believe the return of peace in the restive Niger Delta region is key to the execution of the projects needed to increase production.
Just as the government needs higher oil production for more revenue, companies need the peace and security in the Niger Delta to be able to move in and repair damaged assets, especially in onshore and shallow waters, and even plan new projects.
“Once this is achieved, production can even reach 2.3 million bpd,” said one official at a Western oil company.
Nigerian oil output, which had recovered sharply in October from a 30-year low of around 1.4 million bpd in May, suffered a setback after another attack on the Trans-Forcados pipeline on November 2 impacted the transportation of the crude and shut-in the popular Forcados grade.
“With oil prices boosted by the OPEC and non-OPEC production cut, we companies are encouraged to invest next year but only if the Nigerian government can achieve a win-win situation with the militants in the Niger Delta,” the Managing Director, Britannia-U, Uju Ifejika, said.
A recovery in Nigeria’s oil production is premised not only on solving the Delta militancy, but also on the country’s successful negotiations of years of debts owed to its partners on counterpart funding for oil ventures, and introduction of new funding mechanism to drive investment in the upstream sector.
Nigeria negotiated $1.7bn off the $6.8bn in unpaid bills over the last four years owed its partners including Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Total and Eni, to exit the cash call arrangement.
The nation was eyeing additional output of between 300,000 bpd and 700,000 bpd from onshore and shallow fields operated jointly with foreign partners over the next two years as a result of the financing deal, the spokesman for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Ndu Ughamadu, said.
“The Nigerian petroleum sector, which has recorded low investment in recent years, will soon experience an upbeat in a flurry of activities following the cash-call exit agreement between the NNPC and its Joint Venture partners,” he said.
“The agreement will stabilise and also increase upstream production over time. The repayment of the arrears in a sustainable manner is a key enabler to additional investment in the upstream sector in Nigeria,” the Chairman, Oil Producers Trade Section of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Clay Neff, said.
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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