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Niger Delta Indigenes to Get oil Blocks to Douse Tension

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  • Niger Delta Indigenes to Get oil Blocks to Douse Tension

To douse tension in the oil-rich Niger Delta, the Federal Government plans to award to indigenes of the region marginal fields’ oil blocks abandoned by the oil majors as being not commercially viable.

The plan is in line with the government’s larger objective of reducing major incidents of restiveness to about 90 per cent by next year. Over the years, there have been agitations over oil resource ownership, which have become intense with allegations that about 90 per cent of northerners own the oil blocks awarded in the country.

If the plan is implemented, the ownership structure of the nation’s petroleum assets will not only begin to change, but also empower the host region, which has for decades suffered economic deprivation and environmental degradation on account of these resources.

The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, who disclosed this yesterday in Lagos, said the plan was part of the larger “stability incentive scheme” under “a harmonised holistic development plan for the Niger Delta.”

Expatiating on the plan, Kachikwu said: “This will include creating stability incentive schemes – jobs, investments, contracting opportunities for the zone, and the use of marginal fields’ allocations to state governments and indigenes to help reduce tension and get buy-in without excluding the rest of the country.”

The minister disclosed this at the Oil and Gas Trade Group Roundtable organised by the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), to discuss “The Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry: Confronting Realities.”

Represented by the Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum, John Eboigbe, the minister also promised that government would sustain institutional engagements with stakeholders in the Niger Delta region to nip agitations in the bud, while promising greater transparency in the industry’s operations.

Despite the promises, industry players are concerned over the sustainability of government’s effort, stressing that the future of the sector is uncertain unless inherent challenges are tackled.

Calling for the immediate passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), to fix the challenges, the experts insisted that the sector was still confronted by inadequate private sector engagement and management, poor policy implementation, legacy issues, transparency, trust and security, political will, inadequate infrastructure among other germane issues.

These challenges, many believe, are responsible for the dearth of fresh investments in the sector, and its poor contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

They said projected growth in the sector, particularly as regards efforts to boost the country’s crude oil production from 2.2 million barrels per day (mbpd) to 2.5 mbpd by 2020 might be threatened.

Speaking on refining capacity, the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Obafemi Olawore, insisted that efforts to repair existing oil refineries in the country would end up as a waste of time and national resources.

For such efforts to be successful, Olawore said the refineries must be privatised to give a lead share of 51 per cent to private owners, 15 per cent to the Federal Government, 10 per cent to state and local government respectively and 14 per cent to local community.

The Chairman, Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), Bank-Anthony Okoroafor, who said the sector must be concerned about job creation, urged government to channel local fund to allow Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to participate in the sector. The NBCC President, Adedapo Adelegan, argued that the petroleum sector must be structured to achieve multiplier impact across sectors.

He said: “With the fall in oil prices, and inflation rate hitting above 17 per cent, and the depreciation of the naira, there is a serious need for businesses to think outside the box and devise sustainable survival strategies.”

The Chairman, Oil & Gas Sector Group, NBCC, Aisha Abdurrahman, stressed the need to patronise local contractors in project execution, adding that policy somersault, harsh operating environment, and government’s continuous delay of the PIB were not helpful to the sector.

Abdurrahman said: “There is a need to ensure a stable and predictable framework for the oil and gas industry, which in turn creates the necessary predictability that is of crucial importance for our competitiveness. When producers plan their future activities, they look at projections of future demand and future supply, and make their decisions based on market signals. However, when future policy is unclear, market signals will also be blurred. If the policy is unpredictable and/or unstable, markets signals will be unclear.”

Notwithstanding stakeholders’ fears, Kachikwu, assured that the oil and gas sector, remained critical to the nation’s economy. But he admitted that inadequate investment, lack of local capacity, limited cash call, poor economic structure, pipeline vandalism and other factors continued to hinder the sector’s contribution, particularly in the area of job creation.

Going forward, the minister promised that the oil and gas industry was adopting a sustainable and well-structured stakeholder management framework that would address its peculiar needs and circumstances.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations

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FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations

The Federal Government on Monday said the Osubi Airport in Warri has been reopened for daylight operations.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Siriki, disclosed this in a tweet.

The airport was closed in February 2020 over mismanagement and debt allegation involving aviation service providers and airport management.

However, Oberuakpefe Afe, a lawmaker representing Okpe/Sapeie/vaie federal constituency, recently moved a motion for the Federal Government through the ministry of aviation and relevant authorities to reopen the airport for flight operations.

On Monday, Hadi Siriki said “I have just approved the reopening of Osubi Airport Warri, for daylight operations in VFR conditions, subject to all procedures, practices and protocols, including COVID-19, strictly being observed. There will not be need for local approvals henceforth.

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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

JR Firms, an agribusiness firm with headquarters in Nigeria, has announced partnership with Sanit Wing Rwanda through the acquisition of 11 per cent stake in the company.

The CEO of the company, Mr Rotimi Olawale, explained in a statement that the partnership was in furtherance of its goals to ensure food security, create decent jobs and raise the next generation of agrarian leaders in Africa.

The stake was acquired through Green Agribusiness Fund, an initiative of JR Farms designed to invest in youth-led agribusinesses across Africa.

Sanit Wing Rwanda is an agro-processing company that processes avocado oil and cosmetics that are natural, quality, affordable, reliable and viable.

The vision of the company is to become the leading producers of best quality avocado and avocado by-products in Africa by creating value across the avocado value chain.

With focus on bringing together over 20,000 professional Avocado farmers on board and planting of three million avocado trees by 2025 through contract farming, the company currently works with One Acre Fund in supply of avocado to its processing facility.

The products of the company which include avocado oil, skin care (SANTAVO), hair cream and soap are being sold locally and exported to regional market in Kenya.

With the new partnership with JR Farms- the products of the company will enjoy more access to markets focusing on Africa and the European Union by leveraging on partnerships and trade windows available.

Aside funding, the partnership comes with project support in areas of market exposure, capacity building, exposure and other thematic support to grow the business over the next four years.

JR Farms has agribusiness operations in Nigeria, Rwanda, United States and Zambia respectively.

In Nigeria, the company deals in cassava value chain processing cassava to national staple “garri” which is consumed by over 80 million Nigerians on daily basis, while in Rwanda, it works in the coffee value chain with over 4,000 coffee farmers spread across the East Central African country.

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Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers

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Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers

The Federal Government should close down depots that are selling petrol above the approved price, oil marketers said on Thursday.

National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Sanusi Fari, said the sale of petrol above government approved price by depot owners would soon lead to a hike in the commodity’s pump price.

Fari told journalists in Abuja that the government through its agencies such as the Department of State Services and the Department of Petroleum Resources should curb the development to avoid crisis in the downstream oil sector.

He said some private depot owners were selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers, way above the government stipulated price of N148 per litre.

Fari said, “Our challenge is the inconsistency in the pricing of petrol. Up till a week ago, government was still insisting that the February price for petrol remained unchanged.

“And most of the private depot owners are selling above the government stipulated price. As at today ( February 25, 2021) private depot owners are selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers.”

He added, “In the last six years, only NNPC imports refined products into this country and these tank farms buy their products from NNPC under a controlled price.

“This has affected our businesses seriously because government is insisting that we sell at the rate of N165, which is not going to work.”

The IPMAN president said filling station owners buy the product at N165 per litre from the private depots and incur other expenses such as transportation, rent, etc.

“So government cannot expect us to sell less than what we buy,” he said.

Fari added, “This is why we are calling on government and agencies that are saddled with the responsibility to control petrol pricing to urgently clamp down on depots that are selling above the stipulated price.”

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s sole importer of patrol, recently stated that it never hiked the cost of petrol to depots.

It also enjoined the depot owners to sell the product at the approved rate and called on the DPR to enforce the stipulated price across the depots.

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