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Government Mulls e-services Firm to Drive Inclusion

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Adebayo Shittu
  • Government Mulls e-services Firm to Drive Inclusion

The Federal Government has announced plans to establish an electronic company, to achieve an all-inclusive economic growth, noting that this would go a long way to avail Nigerians in remote areas, easy access to government services.

The Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, also said plans are underway to establish a Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST) banking and insurance company, to get every individual into the financial inclusion scheme.

The minister, who spoke during a stakeholders’ conference on, ‘digital addressing system and address verification system,’ organised by NIPOST, said: “We are also looking at establishing a NIPOST Property and Development Company, to make judicious use of NIPOST underutilised facilities wasting away.

“It is our plan as part of the general reform to ensure that most of these lands that are vacant and unused, are leased out to the public to establish property development. Some of these lands will be available to build housing estates, event centres, garages, and others to earn revenue for the federal government.”

He explained further, saying: “In two years from now, NIPOST will be the best leading federal government agency in terms of its impactful influence on the life of every Nigerian, and courtesy of its upgraded processes, it would also help in bringing in the largest amount of money into federal government coffers.

‘‘There are communities which are about 200 to 300 kilometres away from the state capitals, so with the help of these offices, people can assess government services from their local communities. By the time we conclude in establishing all of these companies, there will be no one person in Nigeria, who will not be affected positively by NIPOST multifaceted companies.”

Earlier, the Postmaster General of the Federation, Bisi Adegbuyi, said NIPOST has opened up new windows of opportunities for the organisation to realise its objective of providing digital addressing system for Nigerians that is hyper specific and predicated on latest technologies.

He said its Address Verification System (AVS) is the new game changing products that will avail digitally verified addresses to all Nigerians and legal residents as well as help organisations ascertain the authenticity of the addresses provided by the residents.

He said the new system is not a replacement to the present Nigerian Addressing System, stressing that the present only brings an element of standardisation into the system that a vast and complex country like Nigeria needs.

He said the global postal sector is undergoing an era of unprecedented change spurred by the rapid evolution of information and communication technologies, saying that postal organisations have come to realise the need to change their business models in order to survive.

The Assistant Secretary General of Pan African Postal Union, Kolawole Raheem Aduloju, in Africa, ecommerce is currently growing at 25.8 per cent compared to the 16.8 per cent of the average growth for the rest of the world, but said Africa remained the fastest growing continent in the globe.

He said there are many barriers to the growth of cross-border e-commerce, such as complexity of the postal product offering, lack of adequate infrastructure support, and outdated and inefficient postal–customs–transport processes, security challenges, high cost of doing business, lack of collaboration between stakeholders.

He added that globally, B2C e-commerce is valued at about $1.2 trillion considerably smaller than business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce, valued at more than $15 trillion.

He added that the segment is growing faster, especially in Asia and Africa, but stating that Africa still account for just about one per cent of the global volume and are mostly import based items.

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

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Crude Oil

Nigeria Pumps 236.2 Million Barrels in First Half of 2024

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markets energies crude oil

Nigeria pumped 236.2 million barrels of crude oil in the first half of 2024, according to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).

This figure represents an increase from the 219.5 million barrels produced during the same period in 2023.

In January, Nigeria produced 44.2 million barrels of crude oil while February saw a slight dip to 38.3 million barrels, with March following closely at 38.1 million barrels.

April and May production stood at 38.4 million barrels and 38.8 million barrels, respectively. June’s output remained consistent at 38.3 million barrels, demonstrating a stable production trend.

Despite the overall increase compared to 2023, the 2024 production figures still fall short of the 302.42 million barrels produced in the same period in 2020.

This ongoing fluctuation underscores the challenges facing Nigeria’s oil sector, which has experienced varying production levels over recent years.

On a daily basis, Nigeria’s crude oil production showed some variability. In January, the average daily production peaked at 1.43 million barrels per day (mbpd), the highest within the six-month period.

February’s production dropped to 1.32 mbpd, with a further decrease to 1.23 mbpd in March. April saw a modest increase to 1.28 mbpd, which then fell again to 1.25 mbpd in May. June ended on a positive note with a slight rise to 1.28 mbpd.

The fluctuations in daily production rates have prompted government and industry leaders to address underlying issues.

Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), has highlighted the detrimental effects of oil theft and vandalism on Nigeria’s production capabilities.

Kyari emphasized that addressing these security challenges is critical to boosting production and attracting investment.

Kyari also noted recent efforts to combat illegal activities, including the removal of over 5,800 illegal connections from pipelines and dismantling more than 6,000 illegal refineries.

He expressed confidence that these measures, combined with ongoing policy reforms, would support Nigeria’s goal of increasing daily production to two million barrels.

The Nigerian government remains focused on stabilizing and enhancing oil production. With recent efforts showing promising results, there is cautious optimism that Nigeria will achieve its production targets.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Steady Amid Mixed Signals on Crude Demand

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Crude oil

Oil prices remained stable on Thursday as investors navigated conflicting signals regarding crude demand.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, settled at $85.11 a barrel, edging up by 3 cents, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dipped by 3 cents to $82.82 a barrel.

The stability comes as the U.S. economy shows signs of slowing, with unemployment benefit applications rising more than expected.

Initial claims increased by 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 243,000 for the week ending July 1, prompting speculation that the Federal Reserve might cut interest rates sooner than anticipated. Lower rates could boost spending on oil, creating a bullish outlook for demand.

Fed officials suggested that improved inflation and a balanced labor market might lead to rate cuts, possibly by September.

“Healthy expectations of a Fed rate cut in the not-so-distant future will limit downside,” noted Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.

However, rising jobless claims signal potential economic easing, which could dampen crude demand.

John Kilduff of Again Capital highlighted the impact of a slowing economy on oil consumption despite a significant drop in U.S. crude inventories last week.

Global factors also weighed on the market. China’s economic policies remain steady, though details are sparse, affecting investor sentiment in the world’s largest crude importer.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank maintained interest rates, citing persistent inflation.

An upcoming OPEC+ meeting in August is expected to assess market conditions without altering output policy, according to sources. This meeting will serve as a “pulse check” for market health.

Overall, oil prices are caught between economic concerns and hopes of a rate cut, maintaining a delicate balance.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Slide on China Demand Concerns, Brent Falls to $83.73

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Crude Oil - Investors King

Oil prices declined on Tuesday for the third consecutive day on growing concerns over a slowing Chinese economy and its impact on global oil demand.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dipped by $1.12, or 1.3% at $83.73 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped $1.15, or 1.4%, to close at $80.76.

The dip in oil prices is largely attributed to disappointing economic data from China, the world’s second-largest economy.

Official figures revealed a 4.7% growth in China’s GDP for the April-June period, the slowest since the first quarter of 2023, and below the forecasted 5.1% growth expected in a Reuters poll.

This slowdown was compounded by a protracted property downturn and widespread job insecurity, which have dampened fuel demand and led many Chinese refineries to cut back on production.

“Weaker economic data continues to flow from China as continued government support programs have been disappointing,” said Dennis Kissler, Senior Vice President of Trading at BOK Financial. “Many of China’s refineries are cutting back on weaker fuel demand.”

Despite the bearish sentiment from China, there is a growing consensus among market participants that the U.S. Federal Reserve could begin cutting its key interest rates as soon as September.

This speculation has helped stem the decline in oil prices, as lower interest rates reduce the cost of borrowing, potentially boosting economic activity and oil demand.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell noted on Monday that the three U.S. inflation readings over the second quarter “add somewhat to confidence” that the pace of price increases is returning to the central bank’s target in a sustainable fashion.

This has led market participants to believe that a turn to interest rate cuts may be imminent.

Also, U.S. crude oil inventories provided a silver lining for the oil market. According to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures, U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 4.4 million barrels last week.

This was a much steeper drop than the 33,000 barrels decline that was anticipated, indicating strong domestic demand.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also weighed in, suggesting that while the global economy is set for modest growth over the next two years, risks remain.

The IMF noted cooling activity in the U.S., a bottoming-out in Europe, and stronger consumption and exports for China as key factors in the global economic landscape.

In summary, while oil prices are currently pressured by concerns over China’s economic slowdown, the potential for U.S. interest rate cuts and stronger domestic demand for crude are providing some support.

Market watchers will continue to monitor economic indicators and inventory levels closely as they gauge the future direction of oil prices.

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