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Nigeria, Libya in Focus as OPEC Meets Today

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  • Nigeria, Libya in Focus as OPEC Meets Today

Nigeria and Libya will expect to face growing pressure from their counterparts in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to end their exemption from production cuts and accept an output quota, when ministers meet on Thursday (today) for a closely watched summit.

The production cuts deal, which began on January 1 and called on OPEC countries and 10 non-OPEC producers led by Russia to cut a combined 1.8 million barrels per day in supplies, was in May extended by nine months to March 2018.

Nigeria and Libya, which were exempt from the cuts as they dealt with internal unrest that had targeted their oil infrastructure, have ramped up oil production in recent months as their security situations have improved.

While the production outlooks for both countries remain hazy due to political, security and technical challenges, voices had been growing louder within OPEC that their output has recovered sufficiently to join in their market rebalancing efforts, sources told S&P Global Platts.

“I think both countries will be discussed,” an OPEC source told Platts, but he declined to say whether members would insist on imposing quotas.

One option being discussed is a “loose” quota that would be triggered if production in either country rises to a certain level, while another option would be to place a quota right at or above each country’s production target, to at least symbolise that they were willing to accept a cap, other sources and analysts said.

But it would be entirely possible that both countries’ exemptions would be maintained, as they had been vehemently opposed to any output restrictions while recovering from militancy, the sources said.

Nigeria declared in late September that it had agreed to a production cap of 1.8 million bpd, a level the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said would not be achieved until early 2018.

Other OPEC ministers and delegates appeared caught off guard by that announcement, as it contradicted Kachikwu’s previous statements that Nigeria would not join the output agreement until its production stabilised at 1.8 million bpd, from which it would cut.

Kachikwu had told reporters then that he wanted to “change the narrative” and that his country was already contributing to the deal by producing below that level, albeit involuntarily.

The nation’s oil production from January to October this year was close to 1.74 million bpd, according to the Platts OPEC survey, a rise of 300,000 bpd from December last year, but still much below the 1.8 million bpd cap.

Output hit a 16-month high of 1.86 million bpd in August, but has fallen since due to operational and loading delays.

It could face further challenges, with the growing threat of attacks in the oil-rich Niger Delta next year, as the country heads into its presidential campaign season, analysts said.

Counting Nigerian oil production has also been a difficult exercise, with divided opinions on what constitutes crude and what should be counted as condensates.

Nigeria has long said its oil production capacity is at around 2.2 million bpd, with condensate production accounting for between 350,000 and 400,000 bpd. The remaining 1.8 million bpd or so, which coincidentally is its self-declared cap for the agreement, consists of crude oil.

Nigeria this year began counting its Agbami grade, output of which is about 250,000 b/d, as part of its condensate production, which market watchers say makes it easier for the country to keep its crude output below 1.8 million bpd.

But some independent secondary sources used by OPEC to monitor crude output under the deal still count Agbami as crude.

Platts, one of the secondary sources, includes Agbami in Nigeria’s crude oil figure as it is marketed as a crude export blend and not a condensate by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and international oil companies.

In its latest monthly oil market report, OPEC said its six secondary sources pegged Nigerian crude production at an average of 1.68 million bpd for the first 10 months of the year.

Nigeria’s directly reported figures to OPEC showed that crude output from January to October averaged 1.58 million bpd.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Economy

Gov Emmanuel Attracts $1.4b Fertilizer Plant to Akwa Ibom

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The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has signed an agreement for the citing of a multi billion fertilizer plant in his State.

Governor Emmanuel was part of a Nigerian delegation led by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, that visited Morocco to set out the next steps of the $1.4 Bln fertilizer production plant project launched in June 2018.

The agreement between the OCP Africa, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and the Akwa Ibom State Government will birth one of the biggest investments in the fertilizer production industry worldwide.

The signing ceremony took place at the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UMP6).

Mr. Emmanuel signed one of the agreements of the partnership, which covers a memorandum of understanding between OCP Africa, the Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria and the NSIA on land acquisition, administrative facilitation, and common agricultural development projects in the Akwa Ibom State.

Speaking while signing the agreement, Governor Emmanuel said, “Our state is receptive to investments and we are prepared to offer the necessary support to make the project a reality.

“With a site that is suitably located to enable operational logistics and an abundance of gas resources, all that is left is for the parties to accelerate the project development process”, Mr. Udom said.

The agreement reached between the Nigerian Government and the OCP further links OCP, Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), the NNPC, the Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria (GACN), and the NSIA.

The two partners agreed to strengthen further their solid partnership leveraging Nigerian gas and the Moroccan phosphate.

This project will lead to a multipurpose industrial platform in Nigeria, which will use Nigerian gas and Moroccan phosphate to produce 750,000 tons of ammonia and 1 million tons of phosphate fertilizers annually by 2025.

The visit of the Nigerian delegation to Morocco takes place within the frame of the partnership sealed between OCP Group and the Nigerian Government to support and develop Nigeria’s agriculture industry.

Following the success of the first phase of Nigeria‘s Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) and the progress of the fertilizer production plant project launched in 2018 by OCP and NSIA, the Moroccan phosphates group and the Nigerian government delegation have agreed on the next steps of their joint project which is rapidly taking shape.

Several cooperation agreements were inked on Tuesday at the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) by OCP Africa and the Nigerian delegation. Through these deals, OCP reaffirms its unwavering support of agricultural development initiatives in Nigeria including PFI.

OCP Africa and the NSIA have agreed, inter alia, to set up a joint venture which will oversee the development of the industrial platform that will produce ammonia and fertilizers in Nigeria.

The OCP has also pledged to supply Nigerian famers with quality fertilizers adapted to the needs of their soil at competitive prices and produced locally.

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ICPC Says Nigeria Loses $10bn to Illicit Financial Flows 

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says Nigeria accounts for 20 per cent or 10 billion dollars (N3.8 trillion) of the estimated 50 billion dollars that Africa loses to Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).

Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, said this during a virtual meeting to review a report on IFFs in relation to tax, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, spokesperson for ICPC, said in a statement released in Abuja on Friday.

The ICPC Chairman said, “the African Union Illicit Financial Flow Report estimated that Africa is losing nearly 50 billion dollars through profit shifting by multinational corporations and about 20 per cent of this figure is from Nigeria alone.”

The ICPC boss explained that taxes played “very strategic role in the nation’s political economy.”

He said the objective of the meeting was to improve on the awareness on IFFs, especially in the areas of taxation.

The ICPC boss added that the meeting would give participants the opportunity to openly discuss how to effectively use the instrumentality of taxation to curb IFFs through risk-based approach.

“Risk-based approach, that is: monitoring and audit; due process in tax collection; structured tax amnesty framework skewed in public interest; data privacy; timely resolution of audits and payment of tax refunds and intelligence sharing among revenue generating, regulatory and law enforcement agencies,” he said.

Owasanoye also stated that for the contemporary tax man to remain relevant, he must build his capacity in areas of technology management, solution architects and an astute relationship manager.

The Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Mr Muhammad Nani, expressed concerns that IFFs posed a serious threat to the Nigerian economy as the act robbed the nation of resources that were needed for development.

Nani declared that tackling IFFs would expand the country’s tax base and improve revenue generation, which was required for development.

He consequently pushed for policy reforms that would make it difficult for “capital flights” from occurring so that the country would be placed on the path of growth.

Other discussants at the event identified weak regulatory framework, opacity of financial system and lack of capacity amongst others as some of the factors that fuelled IFFs.

The discussants emphasised the need for capacity building of relevant stakeholders as one of the ways to stamp out illicit financial flows.

They commended ICPC for leveraging its corruption prevention mandate to open a new vista in IFFs discourse in Nigeria. (NAN)

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African Development Bank, Egypt Signs Agreements Worth €109 Million to Transform Sewage Coverage in Rural Areas

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The African Development Bank Group has signed financing agreements of €109 million with the Government of Egypt to improve sanitation infrastructure and services for rural communities in Luxor Governorate in Egypt’s Upper Nile region.

The financing consists of a €108 million loan from the Bank, and a grant of €1 million from the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) – an Africa-wide initiative hosted by the African Development Bank.

The funding, provided in a challenging global context, will help meet the Egyptian government’s financing requirements in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and support a sound water and sanitation infrastructure base, a key enabler for the country’s inclusive development.

The Integrated Rural Sanitation in Upper Egypt-Luxor (IRSUE-Luxor) project is set to boost sewage coverage in the region from 6% to 55%, improving the quality of life of citizens, including women and children, who are most affected by poor sanitation.

“Promoting efficient, equitable and sustainable economic development through integrated water resources management is a priority for the Government of Egypt. The IRSUE-Luxor initiative unlocks the socio-economic development potential for inclusive and green growth,” said Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, who signed the agreements on behalf of the Egyptian government.

About 22,000 households (240,000 inhabitants) will benefit from on-site and off-site facilities, through an integrated system of sewerage networks, sludge treatment and wastewater treatment plants.

IRSUE-Luxor contributes to the National Rural Sanitation Program established by the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities, which aims to expand nationwide access to sanitation services from 34% currently to 60% in 2030.

The project also complements the national Haya Karima (Decent Life) initiative that aims to help rural communities across Egypt access essential infrastructure services to improve their living conditions and livelihoods.

Furthermore, the project includes a staff training component to strengthen performance within the Luxor Water and Wastewater Company.

“This intervention is not just about infrastructure development. An essential part of the project is supporting ongoing sector reforms,” said Malinne Blomberg, the Bank’s Deputy Director General for North Africa.

One of several initiatives supported by the African Development Bank in Egypt to optimize the use of the country’s water resources, IRSUE-Luxor will enable about 30,000 cubic meters of treated wastewater per day to be discharged into drainage and irrigation canals and re-used to enhance agricultural output.

The initiative is in line with the Bank’s water sector policy, which promotes efficient, equitable and sustainable development through integrated water resources management. In addition, the operation supports tariff regulation to achieve full cost recovery, which is one of the basic principles of the Bank’s water sector policy.

The partnership between Egypt and the African Development Bank Group dates back more than half a century. More than 100 operations have been deployed, mobilizing more than $6 billion across multiple strategic sectors.

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