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Ghana’ll Soon Reopen 400 Nigerian-owned Shops – Ekweremadu

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  • Ghana’ll Soon Reopen 400 Nigerian-owned Shops – Ekweremadu

The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has said respite is coming the way of the Nigerian business community in Ghana as the government of the West African country has promised to reconsider its policy on foreign businesses, following his intervention.

Ekweremadu said the implementation of the policy had led to the shutting of over 400 shops owned by Nigerians in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.

The lawmaker, who is a former Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States, gave the indication on his Facebook page on Sunday, following his discussions with the Regional Minister of the Ashanti Region, Simon Osei-Mensah.

The Government of Ghana in August this year ordered the sealing off of over 400 shops belonging to Nigerians at the expiry of an eviction order issued by the Ministry of Trade.

Ekweremadu noted that the freedom of the peoples of the sub-region to ply their trades in any part of West Africa was central to the prosperity of ECOWAS.

He said, “I spoke with the Regional Minister of Ashanti, Ghana, my brother and former deputy at the ECOWAS Parliament, Simon Osei-Mensah, over the weekend on the pains of the Nigerian business community in the Ashanti Region of Ghana on the sealing off of over 400 Nigerian-owned shops in Ghana, especially in Kumasi.

“We shared thoughts on the need to uphold the spirit and letters of the various ECOWAS Protocols as well as the pursuit of the ECOWAS Vision 2020, which aims at a transition from an ECOWAS of states to ECOWAS of peoples.

“Osei-Mensah assured me of the safety of Nigerian businesses and people in Ghana, noting that he would personally take up the matter with the authorities to ensure that the shops were reopened immediately.”

Ekweremadu added, “Nigeria and Ghana have come a long way and it is my hope that we will continue to nurture this relationship for the mutual benefit of our respective countries.

“Meanwhile, I am in touch with the Nigerian business community in Ghana, including the National President, Nigerian Union of Traders Associations, Ghana, Mr Chukwuemeka Nnaji, and I have urged them to remain calm, law-abiding and continue to live in peace with their hosts in the spirit of African and ECOWAS brotherhood.”

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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Economy

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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Economy

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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