- FG Acquires Drilling Rigs for Minerals Exploration
In a bid to make the mining sector to contribute more to the Gross Domestic Product, the Federal Government has acquired two drilling rigs to be used in the exploration of minerals deposits across the country.
At the inauguration of the rigs in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Mr Bawa Bwari, said with the new acquisition, the government had demonstrated the will to diversify the nation’s sources of revenue.
The minister also inaugurated the installation of seismometers, equipment that can help the nation to pick up early warnings on possibilities of earthquakes across the country.
Bwari said, “As we are all aware, one of the policy thrusts of the present administration is the diversification of the economy hinged mainly on development of solid mineral resources. Considering the mining sector value chain, exploration is key to its success. The Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, being the key agency of the ministry involved in exploration, much is expected in terms of delivering on quality geoscience data.
“However, because of poor funding, a lot of her activities have been hampered by dysfunctional facilities that include obsolete drilling rigs. This negative narrative is changing because of the new thrust of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
He added, “New field vehicles and state-of-the-art exploration equipment have been procured. Some laboratory facilities have been rehabilitated and inaugurated, while greater premium on capacity building of staff is being pursued.
“In consonance with this new narrative, the NGSA has just procured two high calibre drilling rigs following the approval of the Federal Executive Council. This is against the background that the agency had been without a functional rig for the past 30 years.”
The Director General, NGSA, Mr Alex Nwegbu, said the acquisition of the drilling rigs marked a major milestone in the operation of the agency.
He said the newly acquired HYDX-5A rigs had the capacity of probing down to 1.5-kilometre depth, an unusually impressive capacity.
According to him, the rigs can also be adapted for borehole drilling.
Newgbu said with the acquisition of the rigs, the agency could now be sure of the geological data that it would generate.
While at the premises of NGSA, the minister also inaugurated the installation of seismometers for use in the detection of earthquakes.
He explained that the installation of the equipment became necessary following the tremor that shook some parts of the Federal Capital Territory recently, admitting that climate change had forced the government to have a rethink on its stand on the possibility of earthquakes in the country.
Bwari stated, “You know of the recent occurrence of tremor in Abuja. Two years ago, there was one in Kwoi, Kaduna State. After the Kwoi incident, we said we have to be proactive. We budgeted for seismometers. We bought them. As we were about installing them, the Abuja occurrence took place.
“Today, we are going to install one seismometer in Abuja out of the six we intend to install across the country. They will be installed based on geological requirements.
“A lot is happening in the world as per climate change. So, some of the things that ordinarily we should not expect are happening in a lot of places. You see floods in areas that you never expected flood would take place.
“So, today, we cannot pretend that we are not prone to this kind of occurrence. It has happened and we have all witnessed it. The ministerial committee we set up will start sitting on Thursday.”
A presidential committee on the incidence recently submitted its report, saying that the country should be wary of the possibility of earthquakes.
Dangote Fertiliser Plant to Commence Shipment of Urea in March 2021
Dangote to Sells Petrol in Naira, Plans to Commence Urea Shipment in March 2021
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said Dangote Fertiliser Plant will commence shipment of Urea in March 2021.
The CBN governor disclosed this during an inspection tour of the sites of Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals Complex Fertiliser Plant and Subsea Gas Pipeline at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos on Saturday.
Emefiele further stated that Dangote Refinery would sell refined petroleum products in Naira when it starts production.
This he said would save the country from spending 41 percent of the nation’s foreign exchange on importation of petroleum products yearly.
“Based on agreement and discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the oil companies, the Dangote Refinery can buy its crude in naira, refine it, and produce it for Nigerians’ use in naira,” Mr Emefiele said.
“That is the element where foreign exchange is saved for the country becomes very clear. We are also very optimistic that by refining this product here in Nigeria, all those costs associated with either demurrage from import, costs associated with freight will be totally eliminated.”
Emefiele explained that this will make the price of Nigeria’s petroleum products affordable and cheaper in naira.
“If we are lucky that what the refinery produces is more than we need locally you will see Nigerian businessmen buying small vessels to take them to our West African neighbours to sell to them in naira.
“This will increase our volume in naira and help to push it into the Economic Community of West African States as a currency,” Mr Emefiele said.
UK Budget 2021: Will Sunak’s Budget Run Into Unintended Consequences?
Rishi Sunak’s Budget will encourage higher earners to consider their “international financial options” and will drive businesses away from the UK, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organizations.
The warning from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as the Chancellor delivered his 2021 Budget in the House of Commons, his second since he took on the role.
Mr Green says: “The Chancellor has got an extraordinarily difficult hand to play as he tries to stem the economic damage caused by the pandemic, support jobs and businesses and, crucially, rebuild the public finances.
“Whilst Mr Sunak is being hailed a hero for the continued and unprecedented levels of support, it should also be remembered that he is – in a stealth move – dragging more people firmly into the tax net.
“He is raising taxes under the radar.
“Yes, there is no income tax rise. However, he is freezing personal tax thresholds, meaning as incomes rise and thresholds don’t, he is able to raise money by fiscal drag.”
Earlier this week, the deVere CEO noted: “Those most impacted by this stealth move will be looking at the financial planning options available to them, including international options, in order to grow and protect their wealth.”
Rishi Sunak also confirmed that corporation tax will increase to 25% from 2023, up from the current level of 19%.
Of this tax hike, Mr Green goes on to say: “Lower corporation tax helps job and wealth-creating business to survive and thrive. It also helps attract business to move and invest in the country.
“Instead of increasing taxes, Mr Sunak should have relentlessly focussed on growth and stimulus policies for businesses. This would have been of greater help to firms, the economy, jobs and, ultimately, the Treasury’s coffers.”
He adds: “Again, this corporation tax hike is likely to serve as a prompt for businesses to consider their overseas financial options.”
The deVere CEO concludes: “The Chancellor had to perform a tough juggling act. But stealthily dragging more people into the tax net and raising corporation tax might have negative, unintended consequences for the Treasury’s bottom line.”
Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme
Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme
A total of 611,231 meters have been deployed as at January 31, 2021 under the Meter Asset Provider initiative since its full operation despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other extraneous factors, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said.
NERC disclosed this in a consultation paper on the review of the MAP Regulations.
The proposed review of the MAP scheme is coming nearly four months after the Federal Government launched a new initiative called National Mass Metering Programme aimed at distributing six million meters to consumers free of charge.
“The existence of a huge metering gap and the need to ensure successful implementation of the MYTO 2020 Service-Based Tariff resulted in the approval of the NMMP, a policy of the Federal Government anchored on the provision of long-term low interest financing to the Discos,” NERC said.
The commission had in March 2018 approved the MAP Regulations with the aim of fast-tracking the closure of the metering gap in the sector through the engagement of third-party investors (called meter asset providers) for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of meters.
It set a target of providing meters to all customers within three years, and directed the Discos and the approved MAPs to commence the rollout of meters not later than May 1, 2019.
But in February 2020, NERC said several constraints, including changes in fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding, had led to limited success in meter rollout.
NERC, in the consultation paper, highlighted three proposed options for metering implementation going forward.
The first option is to allow the implementation of both the NMMP and MAP metering frameworks to run concurrently; the second is to continue with the current MAP framework with meters procured under the NMMP supplied only through MAPs (by being off-takers from the local manufacturers/assemblers).
The third option is to wind down the MAP framework and allow the Discos to procure meters directly from local manufacturers/assemblers (or as procured by the World Bank), and enter into new contracts for the installation and maintenance of such meters.
“Customers who choose not to wait to receive meters based on the deployment schedule of the NMMP shall continue to have the option of making upfront payments for meters which will be installed within a maximum period of 10 working days,” NERC said.
The regulator said such customers would be refunded by the Discos through energy credits, adding that there would be no option for meter acquisition through the payment of a monthly meter service charge.
“Where meters have already been deployed under the meter service charge option, Discos shall make one-off repayment to affected customers and associated MAPs. Such meters shall be recognised in the rate base of the Discos,” it added.
NERC urged stakeholders to provide comments, objections, and representations on the proposed amendments within 21 days of the publication of the consultation paper.
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