- Government Moves to Tackle Corruption at Nigerian Ports
Plans are in the pipeline by the Federal Government to deploy its anti-corruption mechanisms to significantly reduce the menace of fraudulent and criminal activities at the Nigerian ports.
This comes as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), is currently studying the various tariffs across ports in West Africa, with a view to determining how competitive Nigerian ports are compared to its neighbours.
An October 2016 report identified corruption, which is closely linked to the inefficiencies at the ports, as costing Nigeria the loss of about N1trillion annually.
These corruptive tendencies also contribute in making the Nigerian ports among the most expensive in the world due to the legion of charges ports users are being subjected daily.
If these multi-challenges are resolved, experts believe Nigeria will be on the path to becoming the maritime hub in West Africa, as being clamoured for.
Already, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, has confirmed that the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption will soon open an office in the NPA in line with a report submitted by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) on the corruption index in ports administration.
Usman, who is also a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, affirmed that the Authority will embark on strong anti-corruption measures in 2017.
The move will further sanitise the sector and enhance smooth operations and clearance of cargo at the ports. Many illegal payments that contribute to making Nigerian ports charges non-competitive in West African region would be eradicated and enhance the ease of doing business at the ports.
The NPA boss, who visited major customs agents and freight forwarders last weekend, also assured that the Authority will interact more with stakeholders in 2017, in order to keep abreast with happenings at the various ports.
To this end, she said the NPA would introduce quarterly stakeholders meetings to know what is on ground at the ports, and be better informed on the plight of operators.
Usman also acknowledged the need to block revenue leakages to make the ports more competitive in the area of appropriate pricing.
To this end, she said there was the need for government to look into corruption at the ports and how to plug the leakages.
She further said the NPA is currently studying the tariff structures across ports in West and Central Africa, with a view to determining how competitive Nigerian ports are compared to its peers in these regions.
Usman promised that in the event that Nigerian ports turn out to be more expensive, the agency will advise the Federal Government to reduce charges to enable more cargoes come into the nation’s ports.
The National President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu charged the NPA MD to address some of the problems at the ports, which he itemised to include: corruption, bad roads, and high port charges at the port leading to un-competitiveness of Nigerian ports, compared to neighbouring West African ports.
“We want to appeal to you to use your God-given approach to battle corruption at the ports,” he said.
Meanwhile, the British High Commission and the NPArecently resolved to work together to improve port development in Nigeria.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, who was at NPA headquarters last Friday, promised to assist the authority to address the challenges facing Nigerian port industry.
Usman also pledged stronger relationship with United Kingdom’s companies operating in the Nigerian maritime sector, adding that NPA would welcome any assistance that would boost port efficiency from Britain, to fast track the ports development.
Arkwright, who identified piracy as one of the major challenges in the country’s maritime industry said that Britain would make significant contribution to enhance operational efficiency in the port.
He stressed the need to support NPA towards finding a lasting solution to the issue of piracy in the country’s waters.
Oil Prices Slide as U.S. Crude Stockpiles Surge, Heightening Demand Concerns
Oil prices declined on Thursday as concerns over demand intensified due to a larger-than-anticipated build in U.S. crude stockpiles.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped by 0.5% to $83.25 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell by 0.3% to $78.28 a barrel.
The Energy Information Administration’s report revealed a substantial increase in U.S. crude oil stockpiles by 4.2 million barrels to 447.2 million barrels for the week ending February 23rd.
This surge surpassed analysts’ expectations and marked the fifth consecutive week of rising inventories.
While gasoline and distillate inventories witnessed a decline, concerns regarding a sluggish economy and reduced oil demand in the U.S. were amplified.
Satoru Yoshida, a commodity analyst with Rakuten Securities, highlighted that the significant stockpiles have heightened investor worries.
Moreover, the anticipation of delayed U.S. interest rate cuts further weighed on market sentiment, potentially undermining oil demand.
Traders have adjusted their expectations for rate cuts, with an easing cycle predicted to commence in June rather than March as previously anticipated.
Market participants await the U.S. personal consumption expenditures price index for insights into inflation trends, while the possibility of an extension of voluntary oil output cuts from OPEC+ looms over price dynamics, amid lingering uncertainty in the demand outlook and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.
Crude Oil Shortage Threatens Dangote, Government Refineries, Minister Raises Alarm
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, has sounded a clarion call over a looming crude oil shortage that threatens the operations of the newly inaugurated Dangote Petrochemical Refinery and government-owned refineries in Nigeria.
Addressing stakeholders at the seventh edition of the Nigeria International Energy Summit in Abuja, Minister Lokpobiri expressed concerns that unless deliberate efforts are made to increase investments and crude oil production, these refineries may struggle to obtain enough feedstock for petroleum product manufacturing.
The Dangote refinery, a colossal project spearheaded by Dangote Industries Limited, has a daily requirement of up to 650,000 barrels of crude oil, while government-owned refineries could need approximately 400,000 barrels.
However, the current pace of crude oil production and investment in Nigeria falls short of meeting these demands.
Minister Lokpobiri highlighted the need to ramp up production and attract investments in the upstream sector to ensure adequate feedstock supply for the refineries.
He emphasized the importance of efficiently utilizing Nigeria’s abundant oil and gas reserves to enhance domestic energy security and economic prosperity.
Furthermore, the minister underscored the significance of investing in energy infrastructure and transitioning towards more environmentally friendly practices to address Nigeria’s energy needs effectively.
The alarm raised by Minister Lokpobiri underscores the urgency for strategic interventions and collaborative efforts to mitigate the impending crude oil shortage and secure the future of Nigeria’s refining industry amidst evolving global energy dynamics.
NNPCL Pledges End to Nigeria’s Energy Scarcity Within a Decade
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has announced a bold initiative aimed at ending Nigeria’s persistent energy scarcity within the next decade.
Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, revealed this ambitious plan during the opening ceremony of the seventh Nigerian International Energy Summit in Abuja.
Kyari’s announcement comes as a beacon of hope for millions of Nigerians grappling with chronic power shortages and energy deficiencies.
In his statement, Kyari expressed confidence that all issues related to energy scarcity in the country would be resolved within the next 10 years.
Assuring stakeholders of NNPCL’s unwavering commitment, Kyari emphasized the company’s dedication to collaborating with partners to bridge the energy deficit gap and foster prosperity for all Nigerians.
He highlighted NNPCL’s pivotal role as a key partner to oil-producing companies in Nigeria, facilitating the divestment of international oil companies from onshore and shallow water assets in the country.
Furthermore, Kyari underscored NNPCL’s statutory mandate as the enabler of national energy security, emphasizing the importance of sustainable production from divested assets to ensure energy security for Nigerians.
In addition to addressing domestic energy challenges, NNPCL is also exploring avenues for sustainable energy investment across Africa.
Kyari revealed the company’s intention to invest in the proposed African Energy Bank, aiming to secure funding for energy projects on the continent and guarantee regional energy security.
The event, attended by prominent stakeholders including government officials and representatives from international organizations, marks a significant step towards reshaping Nigeria’s energy landscape and fostering economic development through improved energy access.
As NNPCL charts its course towards energy abundance, Nigerians remain cautiously optimistic about the prospects of a brighter energy future.
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