- Each N’Delta State to Have two Modular Refineries
The Presidency on Thursday said each of the Niger Delta states would host two modular refineries under the Federal Government’s programme aimed at replacing illegal refineries in the region with modular ones.
It said the groundbreaking ceremony for the first set of such refineries would hold in the fourth quarter of the year.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, disclosed this in an update on the government’s new vision for the region which he made available to journalists in Abuja just as the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, was meeting members of the Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Forum at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Akande said, “The Federal Government has started the process of replacing illegal refineries in the region with modular ones, including options on how to involve the communities as shareholders in the proposed modular refineries.
“Groundbreaking ceremony for the first set of such refineries is expected in the fourth quarter of the year.
“In its operations, the Federal Government will supply crude to the local refineries at a reasonably considered price, as an incentive to stop the current practice whereby illegal refiners vandalise and steal the crude. Each Niger Delta State is expected to host two modular refineries each.”
The presidential spokesman said the government had also commenced the process for the opening of the Maritime University at Okerenkoko in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State.
Already, he said a five-man inter-agency committee headed by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, was in the final stages for the official opening of the university in the 2017/2018 academic session.
Akande added that the government had released additional N35bn to step up the Amnesty Programme in the Niger Delta region, which he claimed, was a specific and significant increment when compared with the 2016 budgetary allocation to the office.
He said the increase was already reflected in the 2017 budget with N70bn allocation.
“The Amnesty Office has since paid up all ex-militants backlog of stipends up to April 2017. School fees for ex-militants studying abroad have been paid up to 80 per cent this July while school fees in Nigeria have been paid up to 90 per cent this July.
“Under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, the Presidential Amnesty Programme has deployed 1,294 beneficiaries in different programmes in different universities across the world. 1,230 have graduated; 196 are maritime engineers, 59 pilots, and 120 automobile engineers.
“It has established partnership with the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons, UNDP, EU and UNREC to curb the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the hands of unauthorised persons and groups.
“To enhance a speedy development and restore peace in the Niger Delta region, Federal Government has revamped the Niger Delta Development Commission to drive the creation of development and infrastructure projects in the region,” Akande added.
He said an initial fund of $1bn had been set aside for the clean-up and environmental remediation of Ogoniland.
He explained that $200m would be disbursed yearly for the first five years and work on the project would be conducted in line with international best practices.
According to him, soil and water tests have already been done in preparation for the clean-up and 15 technical assistants hired to be part of the work from Ogoniland.
Akande added, “To drive infrastructure, the Federal Government has released funds for the continuation of various sections of the East-West Road. As of March 2017, the overall project completion is substantial ( Section I – 99.98%, Section II – I – 78.33%, Section II -II – 67.95%, Section III – 99.22%, Section IV – 97.7%) with Sections I and III completed and due for inauguration.
“The Federal Government plans to construct health centres in the states and communities of the region. On completion, they will be fully equipped to address some of the health needs of rural dwellers.
“This project will place the region as one of the most advanced places in Africa for high speed internet access and reliable communication systems.
“To further encourage infrastructure development, Federal Government, through the Petroleum Ministry is also exploring with the International Oil Companies operating in the Delta region on how to relocate their operational headquarters to their states of operations as different from administrative headquarters which often has only about 5% of the members of staff.”
ECOWAS@46: Commission Seeks Trade Partnership With OPS To Deepen Intra-African Trade
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in commemoration of its 46th anniversary has sought partnership with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to deepen intra-African trade and lift millions out of poverty.
This was revealed yesterday by the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Brou, at a webinar organised in collaboration with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) yesterday.
The theme of the webinar is “Optimising Sustainable Trade, Investment and Regional Economic Integration through Effective Partnership between ECOWAS Institutions and the Organised Private Sector”.
Jean-Claude, represented by Mr. Kolawole Sopola, Acting Director, Trade, ECOWAS, said the commission, in recognition of the private sector’s role, created a stronger framework to boost the sector’s capacity for enhanced trade.
He said that the commission had also adopted more than 100 regional standards with 70 others under development on some products.
Brou listed mango, cassava, textile and garments as well as information and communication technology among such products.
“The growing importance of informal trade compels the ECOWAS to create a framework expected to engender more availability and reliability of up to date information on informal trade.
“The framework also seeks to implement reform that is essential to eliminate obstacles to informal trade among others.
“It is important to improve investment, particularly, private investment, in all sectors and I stress that digitalization must be at the center of activities for economic recovery.
“Infrastructural deficit must be addressed as well as sustainable and cheaper energy for the competitiveness of products.”
“The commission is developing projects on roads, renewable energy and education, needed for private sector development; all these to lift millions in the sub-region out of poverty,” he said.
Dr. George Donkor, President of, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) said that many western states showed numerous hurdles to overcome as countries continue to export raw materials, therefore maintaining low levels of development.
Donkor, however, said that reforms were already underway to accelerate the capacities of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) to spur private sector development for intra-African trade.
He noted that the EBID 2025 strategy was aimed at ensuring that the private sector benefitted up to 65 percent of the $1.6 billion available facilities.
“A vibrant private sector is key in driving regional integration and securing its active participation and has the potential to create a win-win situation for all participants.
“Increasing credit to the private sector will enhance capacity and the EBID is ready with strategies to ensure that the sector’s capacity is boosted,” he said.
Also, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, said that collaboration across societal sectors had emerged as one of the defining concepts of international development in the 21st century.
He stressed the need for ECOWAS member states to work together as a bloc to take advantage of the opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“Since the establishment of ECOWAS in 1975, various protocols and supplementary protocols regulating member countries conduct have been signed.
“Our world has limited resources — whether financial, natural, or human — and as a society we must optimize their use.
“The fundamental of a good partnership is the ability to bring together diverse resources in ways that we can together achieve more impact, greater sustainability and increased value for all.
“This is so because it emphasises the need to work together as a bloc to leverage and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“My Ministry will do everything possible to ensure that the vision of the commission is taken to the next level,” he said.
IMF Retains 2.5 Percent Economic Growth Estimate For Nigeria
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has retained Nigeria’s 2.5 percent economic growth forecast for 2021.
The institution said this in its World Economic Outlook (WEO) for July titled “Fault Lines Widen in the Global Recovery” released on Tuesday in Washington DC.
According to it, the slow rollout of vaccines is the main factor weighing on the recovery for Low-Income Developing Countries (LIDCs) which Nigeria is part of.
It also retained its 6.0 percent growth forecast for the global economy for 2021 and 4.9 percent in 2022, adding that though the global forecast was unchanged from the April 2021 WEO, there were offsetting revisions.
The IMF had at its 2021 Virtual Spring Meetings in April, projected a 2.5 percent growth for Nigeria’s economy in 2021, up from 1.5 percent it projected in January.
It said that in LIDCs, the overall fiscal deficit in 2021 was revised up by 0.3 percentage points from the April 2021 WEO, mainly because of the re-emergence of fuel subsidies as well as the additional COVID-19 and security related support in Nigeria.
“Still, at 5.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the overall fiscal deficit remains well below that of advanced and emerging market economies, reflecting financing constraints, about 60 percent of LIDCs are assessed to be at high risk of or in debt distress.
“The public debt-to-GDP ratio for 2021 is projected at 48.5 percent.
“Several LIDCs have announced an intention to restructure their debts and some have sought debt relief under the G20 Common Framework (Chad, Ethiopia, and Zambia),” it said.
On the global scene, the IMF said that uncertainty surrounding the global baseline remain high, primarily related to the prospects of emerging market and developing economies.
It added that although growth could turn out to be stronger than projected, downside risks dominated in the near term.
“On the upside, better global cooperation on vaccines could help prevent renewed waves of infection and the emergence of new variants, end the health crisis sooner than assumed, and allow for faster normalisation of activity, particularly among emerging market and developing economies.
“Moreover, a sooner-than-anticipated end to the health crisis could lead to a faster-than-expected release of excess savings by households, higher confidence and more front-loaded investment spending by firms.”
On the downside, it said growth would be weaker than projected if logistical hurdles in procuring and distributing vaccines in emerging markets and developing economies led to an even slower pace of vaccination than assumed.
The report added that such delays would allow new variants to spread, with possibly higher risks of breakthrough infections among vaccinated populations.
“Emerging market and developing economies, in particular, could face a double hit from tighter external financial conditions and the worsening health crisis, further widening the fault lines in the global recovery.
“Weaker growth would, in turn, further adversely affect debt dynamics and compound fiscal risks.
“Finally, social unrest, geopolitical tensions, cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure, or weather-related natural disasters, which have increased in frequency and intensity due to climate change could further weigh on the recovery.”
On ensuring a fast-paced recovery, the IMF said the highest priority was to ensure rapid, worldwide access to vaccines and substantially hasten the timeline of rollout relative to the assumed baseline pace.
According to it, the global community needs to vastly step up efforts to vaccinate adequate numbers of people and ensure global herd immunity.
This, it said, would save lives, prevent new variants from emerging and add trillions to the global economic recovery.
FG to Put an End to N360 Billion Annual Electricity Subsidy Payments in 2022 – Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday said the Federal Government will end an estimated N360 billion annual subsidy payments in the electricity sector in 2022. This represents a monthly subsidy payment of N30 billion.
Osinbajo disclosed this while speaking at the 14th Nigerian Association for Energy Economics/IAEE conference in Abuja on Monday.
At the conference titled “Strategic responses of energy sector to COVID-19 impacts on African economies“, the vice president, who was represented by Engr. Ahmad Zakari, the Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, said the federal government would be investing over $3 billion in the sector to strengthen distribution and transmission infrastructure across the nation.
He stated that the numerous efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari at ensuring the power sector plays a critical role in the growth of the nation’s social and economic well-being will materialise fully once the ongoing reform in the energy sector is complete.
He said: “Electricity tariff reforms with service-based tariff has led to collections from the electricity sector by 63 per cent, increasing revenue assurance for gas producers and stabilizing the value chain.
“It is anticipated that all electricity market revenues will be obtained from the market with limited subsidy from next year as reforms in metering and efficiency with the DISCOs continue to improve.
“Accelerated investment in transmission and distribution, over $3 billion will be out into this sub-segment of the electricity value chain that will put us on the path to delivering 10 gigawatts through the interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Siemens partnership, World Bank and Africa Development Bank, and others.”
He said as the electricity sector continued to be stabilized, more power was needed for the country’s large population.
“That is why this administration continues to invest in generation to cater for our current and future needs,” he said.
Osinbajo charged the participants to come up with solutions to key energy challenges facing the country, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and energy transition.
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