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Lekki Free Trade Zone Investment Rises to $15 Billion

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  • Lekki Free Trade Zone Investment Rises to $15 Billion

The Lagos State Government has disclosed that the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), Africa’s fastest growing economic zone, had attracted $15 billion from domestic and foreign investors in the last eleven years of its existence.

In 2016 alone, the state government disclosed that the largest manufacturing conglomerate in West Africa, Dangote Group and other companies invested over $6 billion in LFTZ. Of the $6 billion, it said Dangote alone invested $4 billion.

The Commissioner for Commerce, Industry & Cooperatives, Mr. Rotimi Ogunleye gave the update at a recent news conference he addressed alongside his information counterpart, Mr. Steve Ayorinde and the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Lekan Akodu, among others.

Currently, the zone is under the management of Lekki Free Zone Development Company (LFZDC), a joint venture partnership established in May 2006 pursuant to the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Act (NEPZA).

The LFZDC comprises a consortium of Chinese Companies by the name China-Africa Lekki Investment Ltd (CALIL) with 60 per cent stakes and Lekki Worldwide Investments Limited (LWIL) owned by the Lagos State Government holding 40 per cent stakes.

At the recent conference, Ogunleye said the zone, which was established by the administration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had already attracted 116 domestic and foreign investors, 16 of which had started operating.

The commissioner said LFTZ had attracted highest investment in Nigeria, noting that the zone alone had attracted $15 billion; attributing it to the creative approach the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode adopted to attract domestic and foreign investments.

Aside, the commissioner said 116 investors “have registered to operate within the zone. Of the 116 investors registered to operate in the zone, 16 have already commenced operation excluding Dangote Group with a plan to invest $11 billion in the zone.

“This is the where the economic transformation of the West Africa region, including Nigeria is done daily. I can assure you that the zone has become the preferred destination for investors. While some factories are currently under construction, 100 investors have also signified their intention to register and situate their business within the zone.”

Before the end of the 2017 fiscal year, Ogunleye disclosed that the state government and investors will inject $64 million counterpart funding into LFTZ to fast-track development within the zone.

Apart from $15 billion investment the zone had attracted, the commissioner said N740 million had been paid to host communities and families as compensation, citing the communities that benefited to include Yegunda and Abomiti.

He explained that the communities within the arm of the zone where Lekki-Epe International Airport zone would be sited, saying the government compensated the communities in fulfillment of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the host communities.

At a recent different session, the Special Adviser on Central Business District (CBD), Mr. Agboola Dabiri said there were 60 abandoned buildings belonging to the federal government on Lagos CBD, which he said, had been converted to criminal hideouts.

He said most abandoned buildings had been converted “to criminal hideouts where hoodlums perpetrate their nefarious activities. Some of the abandoned buildings harboured as many as 100 hoodlums. Some of them were located at Tinubu Square and Marina.”

Dabiri, however, said the state government would do something about the abandoned buildings in order to dislodge criminals occupying them as their abode. One of the biggest challenges on Lagos Island is over-population.”

He ascribed the challenge to the state’s thriving economy, noting that Lagos State “is the only thriving State in Nigeria where people sell their goods around 5.00 a.m. and by 8:30 a.m., they are gone. The crowd there is too much. We are talking about human traffic.

“Managing human traffic is not easy. When you have large number of people coming to the CBD, it comes with waste challenges. On the Island CBD, about N3 billion exchange hands on a daily basis in terms of transactions,” the special adviser said.

He, however, said all illegal structures and shanties in and around Idumota pedestrian bridge had been completely demolished, thus providing an opportunity for the people to make use of it for the first time since over 15 years of abandonment.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Slip as Japan’s Rising Inflation Signals Rate Hikes

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Crude oil fell in early trading on Friday as concerns over sustained high interest rates in both Asia and the United States weighed on the outlook.

This trend is attributed to Japan’s increasing inflation, which is prompting expectations of imminent rate hikes by its central bank.

Brent crude edged declined by 11 cents to settle at $85.60 per barrel while the U.S. crude oil declined by 9 cents to $81.20 per barrel.

Recent data revealed that Japan’s core consumer prices rose by 2.5% in May compared to the same month last year. This increase marks a growth from the previous month, suggesting that the Bank of Japan is likely to raise interest rates in the upcoming months to curb inflation.

In the United States, data released on Thursday showed a decrease in the number of new unemployment claims for the week ending June 14, indicating continued strength in the job market.

This persistent robustness in employment raises the likelihood that the U.S. Federal Reserve will maintain higher interest rates for a longer period.

Higher interest rates typically have a dampening effect on economic activity, which can subsequently reduce oil demand.

The prospect of prolonged elevated interest rates in two major economies has therefore put downward pressure on crude oil prices.

Despite the downward trend, oil prices received some support from the latest figures from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The data showed a drawdown in U.S. crude inventories by 2.5 million barrels in the week ending June 14, bringing the total to 457.1 million barrels. This exceeded analysts’ expectations, who had predicted a 2.2 million-barrel reduction.

Also, gasoline inventories fell by 2.3 million barrels to 231.2 million barrels, contrary to forecasts that anticipated a 600,000-barrel increase.

“Gasoline finally came to life and posted its first strong report of the summer driving season,” remarked Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York, highlighting the surprising uptick in gasoline demand.

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Nembe Creek Oil Field Halted After Leak, Impacting 150,000 bpd

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Nigeria’s oil output has taken a significant hit following the shutdown of the Nembe Creek oil field due to a major oil leak.

The Nembe Creek oil field, responsible for producing approximately 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day (bpd), was forced to cease operations on June 17, 2024.

The leak occurred on the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL), a critical pipeline that transports oil from the Nembe Creek oil field to the Bonny Oil Export Terminal.

The operator of the pipeline, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company, confirmed the leak and the subsequent shutdown in a statement released yesterday.

Aiteo reported that the leak was discovered during routine operations in the Nembe area of Bayelsa State, located in Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta region.

This region is notorious for environmental degradation due to decades of oil spills, which have severely impacted local agriculture and fishing industries.

Following the discovery of the leak, Aiteo activated its Oil Spill and Emergency Response Team and shut down all production from Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 as a precautionary measure to prevent further environmental damage.

“While we regret the production losses and the potential environmental impact, our current priority is to expedite an efficient spill management process in line with regulatory standards and collaborate with all stakeholders to restore production and mitigate associated risks,” said Victor Okronkwo, Managing Director of Aiteo Eastern E&P.

The exact cause of the leak remains unknown. Aiteo emphasized that the shutdown was a precautionary step to contain the spill and minimize environmental harm.

The company has notified its joint venture partners and relevant regulatory bodies, including the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), about the incident.

This development comes as a setback for Nigeria, which holds Africa’s largest natural gas reserves and is a major oil producer.

The country’s oil sector has faced numerous challenges, including aging infrastructure, theft, and environmental issues, which have hindered its ability to maximize production and exports.

The Nembe Creek shutdown also highlights ongoing concerns about the safety and reliability of Nigeria’s oil infrastructure. The NCTL has been a frequent target of oil theft and sabotage, exacerbating the challenges of maintaining a steady oil output.

Energy analysts believe that the latest incident could impact Nigeria’s ability to meet its export commitments and exacerbate the country’s economic challenges.

The Nigerian government, under President Bola Tinubu, has been making efforts to attract investment into the energy sector to boost production and address infrastructure deficits.

“The government will hope this offers confidence not only in the quality of the Nigerian resource base, but also in the government’s pledge to improve ease of doing business,” said Clementine Wallop, director of sub-Saharan Africa at political risk consultancy Horizon Engage.

As Nigeria works to address the immediate spill and restore production, the broader implications for the country’s oil sector and its environmental impact remain to be seen.

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Brent Crude Nears Seven-Week Highs as Market Eyes US Inventory Report

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Brent oil, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, remained steady on Thursday, hovering just below seven-week highs as the escalating conflict in the Middle East raised concerns over potential supply disruptions.

At the same time, the market eagerly awaits U.S. inventory data for further indications of demand trends.

August Brent crude rose 28 cents, or 0.3%, to $85.35 a barrel while the U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil gained 13 cents, or 0.2%, to $81.70 a barrel.

“There was no WTI settlement on Wednesday due to a U.S. public holiday, which kept trading subdued,” noted Ricardo Evangelista, an analyst at ActivTrades.

“However, oil prices are likely to remain supported around current levels due to a growing geopolitical risk premium driven by conflict in the Middle East.”

Israeli forces have intensified their operations in the Gaza Strip, targeting areas in the central region overnight while tanks advanced into Rafah in the south.

The escalating violence has heightened fears of a broader conflict that could impact oil supplies from the region.

“Expectations of an inventory build appear to be overshadowing fears of escalating geopolitical stress for now,” said Priyanka Sachdeva, senior market analyst at Phillip Nova.

Investors are keenly awaiting the release of U.S. inventory data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) later on Thursday, delayed by a day due to the Juneteenth holiday.

An industry report released on Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API) indicated that U.S. crude stocks rose by 2.264 million barrels in the week ending June 14, while gasoline inventories fell, according to market sources.

The summer season typically sees an uptick in oil demand due to increased refinery runs and weather-related risks.

“Ongoing production cuts by the OPEC+ group, combined with seasonal demand, should tighten oil balances and lead to inventory draws during the summer months,” J.P. Morgan commodities analysts wrote.

Refining margins have also improved, with the ICE gasoil futures premium to Brent crude jumping to $20.63 a barrel on Wednesday, a two-month high.

“Firmer fuel refining margins provide a healthy dose of encouragement for those expecting improvements on the demand side,” commented Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM.

In other economic news, the Bank of England’s decision to keep its main interest rate unchanged at a 16-year high of 5.25% ahead of the national election on July 4 has been noted by market observers.

Higher interest rates generally increase the cost of borrowing, which can slow economic activity and dampen oil demand.

As the market braces for the upcoming EIA inventory report, analysts and traders are closely watching for any signals that could influence oil prices in the near term.

The delicate balance between geopolitical tensions and supply-demand fundamentals continues to play a critical role in shaping the oil market landscape.

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