- NNPC to Shut Refineries for Maintenance
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation will soon shut down three of its four refineries, according to the Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, has said.
Baru, who said this on the sidelines of the inaugural Nigerian Pipeline Security Conference and Exhibition, stated that the purpose of the closure of the refineries located in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna was to rehabilitate and restore them to nameplate capacities.
According to him, the rehabilitation work will restore the refineries to nameplate capacities by 2019 when the country is expected to end the importation of petroleum products.
He said, “As you know, it has been the perception of the public that the repairs of the refineries are never done thoroughly. So this time, our intention is to shut down the refineries when we are ready, and then fully bring them back to what they should be as new refineries.
“Obviously, it is going to be a complex procedure and as such, we have to break down the various work packages to ensure that all the various workforces have sufficient focus, and if you notice the time that we inaugurated eight committees on the refineries rehabilitation, the work streams are composed of the general managers and executive directors level, and they will be having a day-to-day look at it, while the steering committee is at my level and that of the chief operating officers, all looking at the problems the workstations have and they will proffer solutions immediately.
“We intend to focus on the repairs of the refineries with all that it takes to ensure that this time, when we are done by 2019, these refineries will be as good as new.”
The shutdown of the refineries may not significantly affect the supply of petroleum products in the country as much of what is being consumed by Nigerians is currently being imported.
In a statement made available by Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, NNPC disclosed that Baru, in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive had inaugurated eight committees to oversee the complete revamping of the refineries.
The committees included workstations for rehabilitation, stakeholder management, financing, legal, procurement, pipeline, crude oil supply and security, and staffing and succession planning.
The statement said the oil corporation had received over 28 Expressions of Interest from private funding sources for the refineries’ rehabilitation project, while more were being expected before the end of this year.
Baru said, “I am convinced that the teams we have selected here today will give the necessary direction towards returning the refineries back to their optimal levels of performance.
“We want to show everyone that we can fully run the refineries. You must all work together to operate them at 100 per cent capacity as this is the only way to ensure profitability. We can fix the refineries but without the right people to operate them, they will go back to where they were or even worse.”
The Chief Operating Officer, Refineries and Petrochemicals, NNPC, Mr. Anibor Kragha, said the 2019 target was possible because the corporation had both the political will and the economic climate to guarantee complete rework of the refineries.
According to him, the Federal Government will not suffer financially from the project as the financial model approved for it will be paid from the operational profits as payment is hinged on performance.
Scarcity of Day-Old-Chicks Cripple Poultry Farmers in Akwa Ibom
Despite billions of Naira spent on Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry Limited by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, poultry farmers in the state said they had to order day-old-chicks from outside the state as the 200,000 capacity poultry farm developed specifically to make day-old-chicks and other poultry products available at affordable prices is almost empty at the moment.
The farmers expressed frustration over many challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from outside the state. Usually, Ibadan, Enugu and sometimes as far as Kaduna, while the hatchery built and inaugurated in 2016 remains idle.
Mr Ekot Akpan, one of the poultry farmers who spoke with the pressmen said the state had not had it this bad.
Akpan said: “For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non-economic factors. And, quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.
“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprice of owners of the means of production.
“There seems to be no government regulation of the poultry industry. How, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.
“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes.
“For instance, in 2016, the state government said it has constructed an hatchery, and the intention according the government was to ensure availability of day old chicks at affordable price to farmers, but, quite, unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result.
“Farmers are still getting their day old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?
“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at humane prices, but, from all indications they acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing,” he said.
CBN Predicts 2 Percent Growth for Nigeria in 2021
Despite the economic recession and numerous uncertainties encompassing Nigeria in recent months, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said the nation will grow by 2 percent in 2021.
Speaking at the 2020 bankers’ dinner organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Godwin Emefiele, the Governor, CBN, said implemented government intervention programmes will aid the nation’s recovery by next year.
Emefiele further stated that the intervention efforts represent around 3.5 percent of Nigeria’s current Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said, “Our actions in 2021 would be guided by the considerations that emerged from the Monetary Policy Committee meeting of November 23 & 24, 2020, which sought to address the major headwinds exerting downward pressure on output growth and upward pressure on domestic prices.”
On fast declining foreign reserves, the Governor said the institution has adopted a demand management framework designed to boost the production of items that can be produced locally and aid conservation of external reserves.
“Due to the unprecedented nature of the shock, we continued to favour a gradual liberalisation of the foreign exchange market in order to smoothen exchange rate volatility and mitigate the impact which rapid changes in the exchange rate could have on key macro-economic variables,” Emefiele stated.
The CBN projection came few weeks after the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)’s report showed Africa’s largest economy contracted by 3.62 percent in the third quarter following a 6.10 percent decline posted in the second quarter. Nigeria officially slid into the worse economic recession in almost 30 years and the second economic recession under the current administration.
While, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has projected that Nigeria would rebound from the recession in this final quarter or the very first quarter of 2021, falling revenue generation, rising capital flight amid weak demand due to the negative impact of coronavirus on earnings, household incomes and lack of jobs remain a concern.
COVID-19 Vaccine: Crude Oil Extends Gain to $48 Per Barrel on Wednesday
Oil prices rose further on Wednesday as hope for an effective COVID-19 vaccine and the news that the United States of America’s President-elect, Joe Biden has begun transition to the White House bolstered crude oil demand.
Brent crude oil, a Nigerian type of oil, gained 1.63 percent or 78 cents to $48.64 per barrel at 11:50 am Nigerian time on Wednesday.
The United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil rose by 1.36 percent or 61 cents to $45.52 per barrel.
OPEC Basket surged the most in terms of gain, adding 3.16 percent or $1.37 to $44.75 per barrel.
This was after AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech announced the positive results of their trials.
Moderna and Pfizer had claimed over 90 percent effective rate in trials while AstraZeneca said its COVID-19 vaccine was 70 percent effective in trials but could hit 90 percent going forward.
“The possibility of having a vaccine next year increases the odds that we’re going to see demand return in the new year,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
Also, the decision of President-elect Joe Biden to bring Janet Yellen, the former Chair of Federal Reserve, back as a Treasury Secretary of the United States is fueling demand and strong confidence across global financial markets.
“President-elect Biden’s cabinet choices, particularly Janet Yellen’s Treasury Secretary position, are adding to upside momentum across a broad space of asset classes,” said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates.
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