- FG Begins Talks With illegal Crude Oil Refiners
The Federal Government on Monday announced that it had commenced discussions with illegal refiners of crude oil in order to have them work as duly recognised modular refinery operators.
It also stated that it would ensure that militancy in the Niger Delta ended by the end of this year, adding that it would sustain its engagements with stakeholders in the region in that respect.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, disclosed this at the 10th Nigerian Association for Energy Economics/International Association for Energy Economics Conference in Abuja.
The theme for this year’s NAEE/IAEE conference was, ‘Energy, Economy and the Environment: The Interplay of Technology, Economics and Public Policy’.
Kachikwu, who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Dr. Bello Gusau, said the Federal Government was working out how to involve illegal refiners in the new modular refinery scheme.
He stated, “In the past two weeks, we have opened discussions with some of these refiners and government is assiduously working to ensure that this initiative is carefully implemented without polluting the environment.
“This will not only provide legal jobs and sources of income for the populace, but will also contribute to our national policy initiative target.”
The minister explained that the ministry’s focus was on seven key initiatives and outlined them to include the introduction of new policies that would drive the growth of the oil and gas sector.
Kachikwu said, “Number two is enabling the business environment and attracting investors. Thirdly, unleashing investment options to support forex. Number four is to improve our domestic capacity for local petroleum products’ production and attaining self-sufficiency by 2018.
“Number five is to sustain engagements with oil-producing communities and attain zero militancy in the Niger Delta region by the end of the year 2017. The sixth is to increase efficiency in the industry and automate business processes to account for every drop of oil that is produced in the country.”
He noted that the last key focus area of his ministry was to adopt a sustainable stakeholder management framework that would address the various issues and circumstances in the sector.
The minister added, “Our engagements in the Niger Delta is already yielding very significant results with the absence of any major incident on our facilities.
“A comprehensive and holistic development is currently being worked out with all stakeholders and government parastatals, including the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Niger Delta, the Niger Delta Development Commission, the Amnesty Office and the various state governments.”
Kachikwu further stated that the first instalment for the payment of the cash call arrears by the Federal Government to international oil companies as agreed between both parties would be done by the end of this month.
He, however, did not state the amount to be paid as the first instalment of the over $5bn debt owed the IOCs by the Federal Government.
Earlier in his address, the President, NAEE, Prof. Wumi Iledare, lauded the Federal Government’s cash call exit agreement, but cautioned that plans to fund the Joint Venture cash calls should be reviewed.
He said, “Of course, I hasten to suggest the new attempt to fund the JV cash calls should be reviewed periodically within the context of the overall goal.
“Perhaps a pseudo-Production Sharing Contract, or at best a form of overriding royalty funding arrangement is worthy of consideration in order to retain a participatory interest in the JV agreements without the obligation of cash call for energy security reason.
“What this means for the economic metrics and the government’s take requires a review of the fiscal terms such as royalty rate and capital cost recovery mechanism.”
Prepaid Meter is Free, Buhari Warns DisCos, Agents
President Muhammadu Buhari once again warned Power Distributing Companies (DisCos) and their agents selling prepaid meters to electricity customers against the Federal Government directive that meter is free.
Ahmed Rufai Zakar, the Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, who represented Buhari at the FGN/NLC-TUC ad-hoc committee on electricity tariff stakeholders held in Ibadan, Oyo State on Wednesday, said President Buhari understood people’s concerns on issues surrounding electricity and was determined to curb and deal with unscrupulous individuals in the power sector.
He said, “We have made it very clear through the regulators direct order as well as intervention from the Ministry of Power that the meters are to be provided to Nigerians at no cost.
“Even for meters that were paid for, there is the directive from the regulator to the discos that they would need to find a way to reimburse those citizens over time.
“In cases where we find any disco or disco representative selling the meters or exploiting Nigerians to be able to get meters by paying, we would take the full measures of the law.
“The President has mandated that these meters must be free. We have also said that they must come from local manufacturers.
“This would create jobs and revive our industry.”
Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS
Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.
“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.
“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”
Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.
Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.
The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.
He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”
Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.
“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.
“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”
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