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Ethiopian Airlines Leads Singapore’s Charm Offensive in Nigeria



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  • Ethiopian Airlines Leads Singapore’s Charm Offensive in Nigeria

The Singapore Tourism Board recently showcased delights awaiting Nigerian tourists in the Southeast Asian country at an event in Lagos. However, tour operators highlighted a burning issue that needs to be addressed, reports Demola Ojo.

A new drive to entice Nigerian tourists to Singapore is being spearheaded by Ethiopian Airlines in collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board. Africa’s leading airline (fleet size, fleet age, connections and more) has being making commercial flights into Nigeria from the time of Nigeria’s independence.

As an organization that preaches pan-African, Ethiopian Airlines has made its mandate to connect Africa to the rest of the world. It flies to 94 international destinations and more destinations in Africa than any other airline. In recent times, it has helped ease access to Far East destinations like Japan and China.

The airline serves Nigeria from four locations (Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Enugu) with the most modern planes in the world; the Airbus A350, the Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner.

Ethiopian recently announced plans to reinstate flights from Addis to Changi Airport in Singapore. Starting June 1, Ethiopian will fly to Singapore five times a week. Marrying Africa’s leading travellers with one of the world’s most attractive destinations makes good business sense; especially when the pitch includes reduced time of travel between Nigeria and Singapore at more competitive rates.

In a bid to showcase what Singapore has to offer Nigerians, key travel personnel from the Asian country were present in Lagos last week for a roadshow that attracted leading tour operators in Nigeria and the travel media. The roadshow was a collaboration between Ethiopian Airlines and the Singapore Tourism Board.

Representing the four main nationalities in the multi-cultural country (Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian) were Neo Wei Shan, a manager at Changi Airport, Sidney Chua and Dilshaad Buhariwata from the two leading tour companies in Singapore, and Mohammed Firhan, Area Director Middle East and Africa for the Singapore Tourism Board. Together, they sold Destination Singapore to all present.

Singapore’s Allure

Despite being a small island of 5.5 million inhabitants, Singapore welcomed 16.4 million tourists last year, more than three times its population. However, the percentage of that number from Nigeria and Africa in general is minute; it is a number the Tourism Board will like to see increase.

Being an all-year round destination with a tropical climate is just one of the many advantages Singapore has over other destinations competing for tourist dollars. This asides the fact English is the official language. Another selling point is the city-state’s multiculturalism which is reflected in its cuisine, art and architecture. It is a shopper’s paradise, a family destination with a vibrant nightlife all wrapped into a carefully-planned green city.

Singapore is also big on nature and wildlife and offers night and river safaris, with a quarter of the 2,800 animals in its world famous zoo are considered threatened.

Singapore hosts many sports events with the Formula One race at Marina Bay one of the biggest. Held in September, it is usually the best time to enjoy the country as so many events are held around this time, including concerts featuring the world’s biggest entertainers. Of course this also translates to paying a premium for hotel rooms.

The Singapore Grand Prix is unique because it is a street race held at night. The racing cars drive through the streets rather than a racecourse. It means tourists can see the race from their hotel rooms. This year will mark the 10th anniversary of the Grand Prix at Marina Bay, so it’s expected to be bigger than ever.

Another smart move by Singapore to attract tourists is by positioning itself as a gateway to other countries in Southeast Asia through cruise holidays. There are packages that enable tourists see up to five other countries in the region including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia and more.

Changi Airport in Singapore is a destination in itself. Being such a tiny country made up of dozens of islands, all flights are international flights. Due to its location (and vision) it is a major hub connecting east to west and one of the world’s busiest airports. Changi the airport with the most awards in the world and amenities like a rooftop swimming pool for traveller’s to relax is just one of many reasons why.

The Visa Snag

After the presentations which wowed the audience, Nigeria’s leading travel agents and tour operators were unanimous in their observation. They all concluded that Singapore isn’t a hard sell and doesn’t even need much marketing because the product is world class. However, the difficulty in getting visas, even for high net worth individuals, has limited the number of Nigerian tourists to Singapore. Businessmen have had to contend with single entry visas, including those who have visited up to twenty times, while the High Commission doesn’t sit in Nigeria.

If the visa process is seamless they suggested, there would be a stream of Nigerian tourists to Singapore, with E-visa being the answer. “It is the prerogative of the immigration authorities in Singapore,” Mohammed Firhan said. “We’re in dialogue with them to ease the visa process not only for Nigeria, but for other parts of Africa.”

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

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Crude Oil

Nigerian Oil Theft Escalates to 400,000 Barrels a Day, Exposing Systemic Corruption



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A recent report has revealed that Nigeria’s daily oil losses surged to 400,000 barrels as efforts to curb crude oil theft remain ineffective.

This escalation from 100,000 barrels per day in 2013 underscores the severe and worsening challenge facing the nation’s oil sector.

The report, produced by the public policy firm Nextier, is the result of several months of in-depth investigation.

It reveals a complex web of sophisticated networks involving powerful actors, foreign buyers, security personnel, transporters, and government officials.

This elaborate system facilitates the large-scale theft of crude oil, which has been a significant drain on Nigeria’s economy.

From 2009 to 2021, Nigeria lost 643 million barrels of crude oil, valued at $48 billion, due to theft. This loss represents more than half of the nation’s national debt as of 2021.

The situation has also severely impacted Nigeria’s ability to meet its OPEC quotas, which have dwindled from 2.5 million barrels per day in 2010 to just 1.38 million barrels per day.

The report, authored by Ben Nwosu, an associate consultant at Nextier, and Ndu Nwokolo, a managing partner at Nextier, paints a grim picture of the local dynamics fueling this crisis.

It highlights the involvement of multiple small-scale artisanal actors, who are often supported by local political and security forces. These local actors contribute to the creation of underground economies, further complicating efforts to curb theft.

Environmental hazards are another grave concern. Illegal refining processes, characterized by uncontrolled heat and poorly designed condensation units, have led to numerous explosions. Between 2021 and 2023 alone, these operations resulted in 285 deaths.

Despite these dangers, illegal refineries continue to thrive due to economic necessity and systemic corruption.

Nigeria’s four refineries, which have a combined capacity of 445,000 barrels per day, are currently operating at only 6,000 barrels per day due to mismanagement and corruption.

This shortfall forces the country to rely heavily on imported refined products, further exacerbating the situation.

Massive corruption in oil importation and subsidies has led to billions of naira being unaccounted for between 2016 and 2019.

Moreover, the government’s inability to support modular refineries has perpetuated reliance on illegal operations.

Security forces are often implicated in the theft, providing protection for a fee. Although recent measures, such as the destruction of illegal refineries, have offered temporary relief, these efforts have been short-lived.

New illegal operations quickly emerge, perpetuating the cycle of theft and corruption.

The authors of the report emphasize that addressing this complex issue requires more than punitive measures. They call for a comprehensive approach that tackles the root causes, including the need for effective governance and economic opportunities for affected communities.

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Crude Oil

Brent Crude Falls Amid Anticipation of China’s Industrial Output Report



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Brent crude prices fell on Monday, reversing some of last week’s gains as traders anxiously awaited the release of key economic data from China, the world’s largest importer of crude oil.

After climbing 3.8% last week — the first weekly rise in four — Brent crude edged down toward $82 a barrel. Similarly, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was trading near $78 a barrel.

The market’s attention is now focused on China’s scheduled release of industrial output and crude refining figures for May, which are expected to provide crucial insights into the economic health and energy demand of the country.

China’s oil refining — known as crude throughput — is anticipated to be flat or even decline this year for the first time in two decades, excluding the downturn experienced in 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This projection is based on a survey conducted by Bloomberg among market analysts.

In 2023, China processed a record volume of crude oil as demand rebounded, but signs of robust supply and persistent concerns over Chinese demand have kept oil prices trending lower since early April.

The situation was further complicated by OPEC+’s recent decision to increase output this year, which initially unsettled the market. Key members of the cartel have since clarified that production adjustments could be paused or reversed if necessary.

“Crude has room for growth,” said Gui Chenxi, an analyst at CITIC Futures Co. “The third quarter is typically the peak season globally and should drive oil processing and demand higher.”

Market participants are keenly watching the forthcoming data, as any indications of weakening demand could weigh heavily on prices.

Conversely, stronger-than-expected industrial activity could support prices and offset some of the recent bearish sentiment.

The ongoing uncertainty has led to cautious trading, with investors reluctant to make significant moves until more concrete information is available.

This cautious approach underscores the delicate balance the oil market is trying to maintain amid fluctuating global economic signals.

As the world’s top crude importer, China’s economic performance is a key barometer for global oil demand. The data expected from China will not only influence immediate trading strategies but also provide longer-term market direction.

In the meantime, the oil market remains on tenterhooks, reflecting the broader uncertainties in the global economy.

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Crude Oil

Fed’s Decision to Hold Rates Stalls Oil Market, Brent Crude Slips to $82.17



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Oil prices faced a setback on Thursday as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to maintain interest rates dampened investor sentiment.

The Federal Reserve’s announcement on Wednesday indicated a reluctance to initiate an interest rate cut, pushing expectations for policy easing possibly as late as December. This unexpected stance rattled markets already grappling with inflationary pressures and economic uncertainty.

Brent crude, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, saw a drop of 43 cents, or 0.5% to $82.17 a barrel, reflecting cautious investor response to the Fed’s cautious approach.

Similarly, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil also slipped by 46 cents, or 0.6% to settle at $78.04 per barrel.

Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM Oil, commented on the Fed’s decision, stating, “In the Fed’s view, this is the price that needs to be paid to achieve a soft landing and avoid recession beyond doubt.”

The central bank’s move to hold rates steady is seen as a measure to balance economic growth and inflation containment.

The Energy Information Administration’s latest data release further exacerbated market concerns, revealing a significant increase in U.S. crude stockpiles, primarily driven by higher imports.

Fuel inventories also exceeded expectations, compounding worries about oversupply in the oil market.

Adding to the downward pressure on oil prices, the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued a bearish report highlighting concerns over potential excess supply in the near future.

The combination of these factors weighed heavily on investor sentiment, contributing to the decline in oil prices observed throughout the trading session.

Meanwhile, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East continued to influence market dynamics, with reports of Iran-allied Houthi militants claiming responsibility for recent attacks on international shipping near Yemen’s Red Sea port of Hodeidah.

These incidents underscored ongoing concerns about potential disruptions to oil supply routes in the region.

As markets digest the Fed’s cautious stance and monitor developments in global economic indicators and geopolitical tensions, oil prices are expected to remain volatile in the near term.

Analysts suggest that future price movements will hinge significantly on economic data releases, policy decisions by major central banks, and developments in geopolitical hotspots affecting oil supply routes.


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