- Nigeria to End Fuel Importation in 2019
All things being equal, Nigeria will cease to import petroleum products and totally depend on its own refined products from 2019, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, disclosed this wednesday.
Kachikwu who made this disclosure while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa, said already, a steering committee headed by him and another technical committee had been constituted to fine-tune the process.
Kachikwu, who also said the council approved a new policy document on the operations of petroleum sector, further disclosed that a gas policy had earlier been approved by FEC three weeks ago to serve as the bedrock for Nigeria’s change of status as an oil producing nation to a gas producing country.
However, he said the new 100-page petroleum policy approved yesterday consisted of plans for the reorganisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with a view to achieving efficiency and accountability; address salient issues in the Niger Delta; guarantee stability and consistency in the oil sector, and aid cash calls.
“Today, we took to council a Nigerian petroleum policy document. As you are aware, three or four weeks ago, we also considered the Nigerian Gas Policy. The essence of that gas policy was to focus increasingly on how to change the imperatives of seeing Nigeria as an oil producing country to a gas producing country because we are a lot more privileged to have gas than we have oil.
“Today’s document focused on oil. What are the imperatives for changing the policies in the oil sector? It dealt with certain fundamentals and some of the policies that we had already begun to pursue now crystalised in FECpolicy memo. For example, we are working assiduously to exit the importation of fuel in 2019. It captured the cash calls change which we have done which enables the sector to fund itself through incremental volumes.
“It captured the reorganisation in the NNPC for efficiency and enabled accountability. It captured the issues in the Niger Delta and what we needed to do as a government to focus on stability and consistency in the sector. It is a very comprehensive 100-page document that deals with all the spectrum in the industry. The last time this was done was in 2007 and it has been 10 years and you are aware that the dynamics of the oil industry has changed dramatically.
“Apart from the fluidity in pricing and uncertainty in terms of the price regime in crude oil, we are pushing for a refining processing environment and moving away from exporting as it were to refining petroleum products. That’s one change you will see. Secondly, how we sell our crude is going to be looked at. There is a lot of geographical market that we need to look at, long term contracting and sales as opposed to systemic contracting that we have been doing.
Those are the fundamentals. It is a document that if well executed, it will fundamentally take the change process that we began in 2015 to its logical conclusion hopefully in the next couple of years,” he said.
Giving a detailed breakdown of the planned stoppage of fuel importation soon, Kachikwu said 2019 timeline had already been set for the agenda and government was working assiduously towards meeting the target.
According to him, both the steering committee which he heads and the technical committee headed by the Chief Operating Officer of the NNPC, had had a series of meetings with individuals whom he said were prepared to invest in the project.
The minister said the plan was neither about the sale of refineries nor their concession but rather a financing scheme in which he said some groups would build the refineries while others would finance them, pointing out that at least 30 persons had already indicated interests in the financing scheme.
Kachikwu also disclosed that as a result of efficiency in the management of the oil sector, the daily consumption of fuel which he said used to be 50 million litres per day when he came on board in 2015 had now drastically dropped to 28 million litres per day.
“In terms of the specifics, what a policy document does is that it gives you a general guideline in terms of where you are headed, then you go into the specifics in other separate documents for the purpose of execution. If you take the 2019 timeframe for refinery for instance, it won’t tell you what I’m doing today but will tell you that I have set a timeline to exit importation and to get the refineries working by 2019.
“But if you ask me specially off the shelve, what are we doing on that? There is a steering committee already in place which I head. There is a technical committee team already set up headed by chief operating officer in NNPC. We have had series of meetings with individuals who are willing to put money into the refineries.
“I need to state this clearly. This is not a sale. This is not a concession. This is a financing scheme and there are over 30 people who have indicated interest in that financing. They are going to go through the usual due process mechanism to see who qualifies for that financing. What we have resolved however, which we have at least had a landing on is that each of the refineries would be repaired by the individual company that built the refinery.
“Who does the work is different from who does the financing. We are still dialoguing on who is going to get the financing opportunity but who is going to get the contracting opportunity to do the work is already decided. If you check the companies that built, I think it is Chioda in the North; Saitem in Warri if I’m not mistaken. I have forgotten the one in Port Harcourt but all of them have reached agreement with us in terms of willingness and readiness to do the work.
“Government is not putting money into this. It is going to be a sector-led effort and they will recover their money through incremental volumes that will arise from the production increase arising from the repairs. We are doing about 30 percent performances on most refineries now. So, if you get them to above 90 per cent template, we are going to use some of the product line to pay for some of the debts and free ourselves from the importation problems.
“All the refineries today repaired do not cover all our consumption. So, we are banking on the fact that some level of efficiency and upgrade will increase the refineries’ capacity. That is one. We are banking on the fact that the efficiency steps we are taking will reduce the consumption. We have gone from the 50 million litres per day consumption when I resumed office down to about 28 million litres per day,” he stated.
Also briefing yesterday, the Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, said FEC approved a new employment policy which encapsulates the current realities in the labour market.
He also disclosed that the new wage committee approved by FEC in May was yet to be constituted because some groups such as the organised labour and employment associations were yet to present their nominees.
“Today, the FEC received the National Employment Policy to guide this government. The last employment policy operating in Nigeria was approved in 2002. It is 14 years old and in that same 14 years, a lot of things have changed in the labour and employment industry and market. Things like employment for people with disabilities, decent work programme for people, doing jobs without polluting the environment and other aspects that are just new and contemporary in the labour market.
“So, this policy was reviewed in 2013 with technical assistance from International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the major stakeholders, the employers were involved, the unions, workers and of course, the government to crystalise this document which aims at giving decent jobs to people.”
He said: “Job creation is something that cuts across all sectors. It is multi-sectoral and not limited to even one ministry, not even limited to even the public service alone. The public sector is involved. The private sector is also involved. So, this document seeks to capture all these so that the relevant and affected persons will apply this so that we can apply this and fight unemployment and under-employment together,” Ngige said.
In her briefing, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said the council also approved National Social Protection Policy, which she described as “a framework which seeks to provide social justice, equity and inclusive growth, using a transformative mechanism for mitigating poverty and unemployment in Nigeria.”
According to her, some of the social investment programmes of the federal government such as homegrown school feeding, N-Power, and conditional cash transfers were drawn from the draft of this policy.
“So, what we had done is to submit to council the policy today and council approved the policy that is likely aspirational but which seeks to ensure that every Nigerian citizen has at least the minimum of what is required in terms of human development and human protection,” she stated.
Japan Donates US$6.5 Million to WFP to Stem Food Insecurity in South Sudan
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a contribution of US$6.5 million from the Government of Japan. This contribution is timely at the start of the lean season when more than 7.2 million people in South Sudan are expected to face acute food shortages.
This latest contribution consists of US$4.5 million for life-saving food assistance to people who are severely food insecure and US$ 2 million to restore livelihoods and enhance resilience.
WFP will use this contribution to support 115,000 people in Jonglei, Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Lakes States, where food insecurity has reached catastrophic levels due to continuing violence, two years of excessive flooding, displacement and the loss of livelihoods, livestock, infrastructure and homes that have left millions of people highly vulnerable and unable to provide for themselves.
“It is our sincere wish that Japan’s grant helps save the people from food insecurity accelerated by natural disaster, communal violence and displacement and bring those suffering people back to a normal living environment which is the precondition to pave the way to nation building and economic development in South Sudan,” said H.E. Tsutsumi Naohiro, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of South Sudan.
The contribution will also support WFP’s livelihoods and resilience-building programmes, which include creation of community assets such as access roads and multi-purpose water points. These communal assets are geared towards improving families’ access to local markets to sell their produce and purchase food and other essentials, as well as their access to clean water.
“We are grateful to Japan for this timely contribution at a time when food needs are the greatest but funding for humanitarian assistance is dwindling because of the economic impact of COVID-19. This noble gesture demonstrates the government of Japan’s commitment towards alleviating suffering and contributing to peace in South Sudan,” said Matthew Hollingworth, WFP’s Country Director in South Sudan. “It is a great boost towards our saving lives and changing lives efforts.”
The Government of Japan has funded food assistance to developing countries since 1968. Japan has supported WFP’s work in South Sudan since 2013, contributing more than US$35 million.
Oil Firms Borrowed N130B From Banks in February – CBN
Operators in the downstream, natural gas and crude oil refining sectors of the Nigerian oil and gas industry borrowed N130b from Nigerian banks in February amid the significant rise in global crude oil prices.
The debt owed by the oil and gas companies rose to N4.05tn in February from N3.92bn in January, according to the latest data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria on Monday.
Operators in the upstream and services subsectors owed banks N1.26tn in February, down from N1.27tn a month earlier.
The combined debt of N5.31tn owed by oil and gas operators as of February 2021 represents 25.29 percent of the N21tn loans advanced to the private sector by the banks, according to the sectoral analysis by the CBN of deposit money banks’ credit.
Oil and gas firms received the biggest share of the credit from the deposit money banks to the private sector.
The slump in oil prices in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic hit many oil and gas companies hard, forcing them to slash their capital budgets and suspend some projects.
A global credit rating agency, Moody’s Investors Service, said last month that the outlook for Nigeria’s banking system remains negative, reflecting expectations of rising asset risk and weakening government support capacity over the next 12 to 18 months.
“Nigerian banks’ loan quality will weaken in 2021 as coronavirus support measures implemented by the government and central bank last year, including the loan repayment holiday, are unwound,” said Peter Mushangwe, an analyst at Moody’s.
The rating agency estimated that between 40 percent and 45 percent of banking loans were restructured in 2020, easing pressure on borrowers following the outbreak of the pandemic.
Another global credit rating agency, Fitch Ratings, had noted in a December 8 report that Nigerian bank asset quality had historically fallen with oil prices, with the oil sector representing 28 percent of loans at the end of the first half of 2020.
It said the upstream and midstream segments (nearly seven percent of gross loans) had been particularly affected by low oil prices and production cuts.
“However, the sector has performed better than expected since the start of the crisis, limiting the rise in credit losses this year due to a combination of debt relief afforded to customers, a stabilisation in oil prices, the hedging of financial exposures and the widespread restructuring of loans to the sector following the 2015 crisis,” it said.
The rating agency predicted that Nigerian bank asset quality would weaken over the next 12 to 18 months.
Fall in Economic Activities in Nigeria Created N485.51 Billion Fiscal Deficit in January -CBN
The drop in economic activities in Africa’s largest economy Nigeria led to a N485.51 billion fiscal deficit in January, according to the latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In the monthly economic report released on Friday by the apex bank, the weak revenue performance in January 2021 was due to the decline in non-oil receipts following the lingering negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic on business activities and the resultant shortfall in tax revenues.
In part, the report read, “Federally collected revenue in January 2021 was N807.54bn.
“This was 4.6 per cent below the provisional budget benchmark and 12.8 per cent lower than the collection in the corresponding period of 2020.
“Oil and non-oil revenue constituted 45.4 per cent and 54.6 per cent of the total collection respectively. The modest rebound in crude oil prices in the preceding three months enhanced the contribution of oil revenue to total revenue, relative to the budget benchmark.
“Non-oil revenue sources underperformed, owing to the shortfalls in collections from VAT, corporate tax, and FGN independent revenue sources.
“Retained revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria was lower-than-trend due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“At N285.26bn, FGN’s retained revenue fell short of its programmed benchmark and collections in January 2020, by 41.3 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively.
“In contrast, the provisional aggregate expenditure of the FGN rose from N717.6bn in December 2020 to N770.77bn in the reporting period, but remained 14.4 per cent below the monthly target of N900.88bn.
“Fiscal operations of the FGN in January 2021 resulted in a tentative overall deficit of N485.51bn.”
The report noted that Nigeria’s total public debt stood at N28.03 trillion as of the end-September 2020, with domestic and external debts accounting for 56.5 percent and 43.5 percent, respectively.
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