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EU Restates Commitment to Improving Trade with Nigeria

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  • EU Restates Commitment to Improving Trade with Nigeria

The new European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Ketil Karlsen, has stated that the mutual trade partnership between Nigeria and the EU would be sustained for the benefit of both countries.

Karlsen said this in Lagos at the launch of the 6th and 2017 edition of the EU-Nigeria Business Forum, with the theme: ‘Youth as Engine of Broad-Based Economic Transformation’. He disclosed that the export trade volume from Nigeria to Europe in 2016 amounted to 20 billion euros. This, he said represented 39% of Nigeria’s export for that year.

“The trade partnership between the European Union and Nigeria is already very significant. We are each other’s biggest trade partner in this part of the world,” Karlsen said.

He said this year’s forum was focussed on youths and women and how the ICT industry and agriculture can provide jobs to many Nigerians with the support of European investors, stressing which he said was one of the main priorities in the country.

Furthermore, he stated that in the coming years, EU and Nigeria would have many issues to discuss to consolidate their mutual relation.

“How good to have a conducive environment for European investment such as through economic partnership agreement (EPA), which is one of the key priorities.

“How good we could get in dialogue about issues relating to migration and mobility; given the real opportunities for work and employment and jobs for young Nigerians in Nigeria.

“And of course we want to continue working with Nigeria as the like-minded partner, the strong, regional, international and global partner that Nigeria is for the European Union,” he remarked.

However, he noted that for Nigeria to attract more foreign investors, the country needs to have strong will to fight corruption.

“It needs to ensure there is transparency; having the legal certainties that the system will address and not live out impunity and corruption issues – something that reassures international investors that they can safely invest their money in a country like Nigeria.”

In his keynote address, Minister of Communication, Mr Adebayo Shitu, said the theme of the forum was apt and timely, stressing that it brought attention to a segment of the Nigerian population that should have been increasingly contributing to the economy. He said over $60 billion had been invested in the ICT sector since year 2001.

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

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Nigeria’s Q3 Foreign Trade Skyrockets: Crude Oil Revenue Surges by 83.23% to N8.54tn

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Nigeria’s foreign trade expanded by 53.16% year-on-year to N18.80 trillion in the third quarter (Q3) of 2023.

The surge was primarily propelled by an impressive 83.23% spike in crude oil revenue to N8.54 trillion, a substantial increase from N4.66 trillion recorded in the same quarter of the previous year.

This was reported by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its ‘Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics (Q3 2023)’ that highlighted the nation’s trade balance and economic outlook.

The report noted that total exports rose by 60.78% to N10.35 trillion.

Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, CEO of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, emphasized the importance of viability in retaining exploration leases.

He said, “Based on PIA (Petroleum Industry Act), the commission is focused on delivering value for the nation so only firms that are technically and financially viable will keep their leases.”

The report outlined the dominance of crude oil in exports, constituting 82.50% of total exports, while non-crude oil products contributed N677.57 billion or 6.55% of total exports. The positive trade balance stood at N1.89 trillion.

The top five export destinations for Nigeria included Spain, India, The Netherlands, Indonesia, and France, collectively accounting for 45.98% of total export value.

On the import side, China, Belgium, India, Malta, and the United States were the major sources, comprising 57.18% of total imports, valued at N4.84 trillion.

While these promising trade figures indicate a robust economic performance, challenges in the oil sector persist, with the country’s crude oil production below the 2023 target.

The government’s commitment to increasing production aims to boost revenue and fund strategic national projects, as highlighted by Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri.

The surge in exports, possibly linked to the recent naira devaluation, underscores the intricate relationship between economic policies and trade dynamics, shaping Nigeria’s economic trajectory.

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Federal Government to Earn Over $500 Million in INTELS Deal

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has unveiled an agreement with INTELS Nigeria Limited that is set to bring substantial financial gains to the federal government.

The comprehensive deal, negotiated over weeks, not only resolves a contentious pilotage contract but also promises to bolster Nigeria’s coffers by over $500 million.

The accord encompasses a multifaceted approach to financial benefits, including an interest waiver of $193,317,556 and a significant reduction in the interest rate on outstanding debt.

The debt, originally at a six-month London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR) + 6.5%, has been revised to a more favorable six months Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) + 3%.

Such financial restructuring is anticipated to save the government a staggering $326.8 million over the next 15 years.

NPA, in a detailed breakdown, elucidated that the agreement further involves spreading the debt repayment over 15 years, with the initial two years being interest-free.

Additionally, there is a commendable reduction in the commission percentage, dropping from 28% to 24.5%, a move that aligns with the government’s commitment to optimizing financial resources.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, received accolades for his tireless efforts in steering the negotiations to a successful conclusion. NPA expressed gratitude for his commitment to putting Nigeria first, emphasizing the critical role played by the minister in resolving the long-standing INTELS dispute.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, however, denied benefiting from the reinstatement of INTELS contracts.

He clarified that his divestment from the company remains unchanged, emphasizing that he cannot be a beneficiary of the restored pilotage monitoring business.

NPA’s move to ensure a resolution with INTELS is not only seen as a financial triumph but also as a strategic step towards fostering economic stability.

The agreement is poised to have a positive ripple effect on revenue generation and underscores the government’s commitment to diplomatic and economically viable solutions.

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Nigeria’s Refinery Output Plummets by 92% in a Decade

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Nigeria’s local refineries recorded a 92% decline in output over the past decade, according to the Statistical Review of the World Energy 2023 report.

The data unveils a drastic drop in refining capacity, plummeting from 92,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2012 to a mere 6,000 bpd in 2022.

This disconcerting revelation is echoed in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) Annual Statistical Bulletin 2023, which underscores an 81% reduction in Nigeria’s crude oil refining capacity, falling from 33,000 bpd in 2018 to 6,000 bpd in 2022.

Despite owning four government-owned refineries, located in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna, with a collective capacity of around 4.45 million bpd, Nigeria continues to heavily rely on importing refined petroleum products.

This dependency raises questions about the nation’s resilience and self-sufficiency in the energy sector.

Minister of State for Petroleum, Heineken Lokpobiri, had previously announced plans for the Port Harcourt refinery to commence operations by the end of the current year, with the Warri and Kaduna refineries expected to follow suit in early 2024.

This revelation comes amid rising concerns over Nigeria’s continued reliance on importing refined petroleum products, even with substantial investments in refinery infrastructure.

The decline in local refining exacerbates the challenge, leading to soaring petrol prices and a strain on the nation’s economic landscape.

Industry experts stress the urgency of revitalizing local refineries, emphasizing that dependence on imports is neither sustainable nor conducive to the country’s economic well-being.

As Nigeria grapples with the complexities of its energy dynamics, the impending revival of local refineries stands out as a crucial solution to navigate these challenging times.

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