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Dangote/BUA Rift: Edo Shuts Obu Mines

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  • Dangote/BUA Rift: Edo Shuts Obu Mines

The Edo State Government has ordered the immediate shutdown of the mines in dispute between the Dangote Group and BUA International Limited at Obu in Okpella community, Etsako East Local Government Area of the state.

This just as leaders of the community have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the matter in order to ensure an amicable resolution and avert a crisis.

Governor Godwin Obaseki, who announced the closure of the mines during a meeting with some leaders from Okpella at the Government House, Benin City on Monday, explained that the decision was based on a directive from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, and the need to prevent the breakdown of law and order in the area.

There had been claims and counter-claims about the ownership of the mines by the Dangote Group and BUA Group.

The Executive Director, Dangote Group, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, had in a statement on Sunday accused the BUA Group of illegal mining limestone deposits in its (Dangote) Mining Lease No. 2541.

However, BUA, through its Group Head of Corporate Communications, Otega Ogra, not only denied the allegation, but also accused the Dangote Group of ignoring a judicial process on the matter, adding that the firm had mining rights to the sites with ML 18912 and ML 18913.

But Obaseki said that the state government was following the rule of law by ensuring that laid down procedures for addressing such a dispute were adhered to.

He explained, “What we understand as a government is that there is a dispute or claims between two parties over an existing mining right and the Mining Act of 2007; the Federal Ministry of Mines, through its cadastre office, decides on who to and how to issue leases.

“In this particular case, there are multiple claims and they have now gone to court. We have documents from the Federal Ministry of Mines instructing that the party currently mining that particular site should vacate pending the outcome of the decision in court.

“So, the position of the Edo State Government today is that the court orders must be obeyed. The Federal Government’s instructions must be obeyed. That mine should be shut until the determination of the suit in court. Whoever the court says owns it will now have claim to the mine.”

The governor also allayed the fear that a total shutdown of the site would affect revenue generation as the factory located therein would still be functional.

Obaseki added, “My understanding is that this is one of several mines available to investors and I am not sure that it will affect the revenue, because I am not sure it will lead to a shutdown of that particular factory.

“In any case, we have to understand that both companies are currently building factories. BUA is expanding, Dangote is building and there is enough limestone in the area to feed all the plants. So, I am sure it is going to be resolved.”

Meanwhile, the affected community maintained that Obu was located in Edo State and not in Kogi State as was allegedly described by the ministry.

The community in an open letter signed by its lawyer, Mr. Ayuba Giwa, added, “In the result, the Presidency is prayed to do justice to all parties in this matter, including and particularly Okpella, where the host community of Komunio belongs, and in accordance with the Mining Cadastre Office’s new template for processing of consent for the acquisition of mineral rights/titles in Nigeria.”

In its reaction to the latest development, BUA said in a statement on Monday, “We heard of the alleged closing down of the Obu mines in Okpella, Edo State by the Governor of Edo State. Whilst this remains in the territory of hearsay, our position on this matter remains very clear. Just as the Edo state Government said in its statement, this is an issue no state government has jurisdiction over as it is a federal Issue.

“It is, however, interesting to note that the mine under contention, ML2541, has been claimed repeatedly by the Ministry of Mines and Dangote to be in Okene, Kogi State. Thus, we are curious and are at a great loss as to why the governor of Edo State is closing down a mine in Edo State, which has been claimed by the other parties involved to be outside his state in Okene, Kogi State and which the purported ML2541 licence also states clearly.

“The Ministry has written us prior and our response was published in our open letter to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on December 4, 2017. This case remains in a competent court of jurisdiction, which has ordered all parties – BUA, Dangote, the Ministry of Mines and others – to maintain the status quo and we will continue to abide by the dictates of the court as a responsible corporate citizen.

“We are, however, yet to receive some form of official communication asking us to close our mining sites ML18912 and ML18913 in Edo State, thus this alleged closing down report still remains in the territory of hearsay. We will respond accordingly when and if we get an official communication from the proper authorities.”

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

ECOWAS@46: Commission Seeks Trade Partnership With OPS To Deepen Intra-African Trade

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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.

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Economy

IMF Retains 2.5 Percent Economic Growth Estimate For Nigeria

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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.

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Economy

FG to Put an End to N360 Billion Annual Electricity Subsidy Payments in 2022 – Osinbajo

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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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