- LCCI, NACCIMA, Others Back Atiku on NNPC Privatisation
The Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf; National Vice-President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Remi Bello; and a former President of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Dr. Sam Nzekwe, have supported the position of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Abubakar Atiku, that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation be privatised.
Last week Wednesday, Atiku declared that he would privatise the NNPC if elected, describing the corporation as a mafia-organisation.
Commenting on the development, the LCCI DG said the presidential candidate’s position was the way to go if the NNPC must perform optimally as an oil firm.
Yusuf said, “His (Atiku) position is consistent with the current reforms that are being negotiated. And I think it is consistent even with the Petroleum Industry Bill because the whole idea of that bill is to disengage as much as possible the government from the control and management of the oil and gas industry.
“The government should be restricted to the regulatory aspect of the business and not getting directly involved. That’s my sense of what the reform is all about and that’s my sense of what the PIB is also all about. So what he (Atiku) has said is not so much different from the reforms that are being contemplated by stakeholders.”
He added, “And I believe that that is the way to go. We can have a model where the government will not actually sell all the shares but can retain some, just like the NLNG (Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas) model where the government has 49 per cent and the private sector has 51 per cent.
“The NLNG is being managed by the private sector and you can see the kind of success we are getting from that company. The government is making billions of dollars in terms of dividend and on top of that NLNG is paying a lot of tax also in foreign exchange.”
Also, in his response on whether it was okay for the NNPC to be sold to private investors, the vice-president of NACCIMA stated that the privatisation of the oil firm was the right thing to do presently.
Bello said “I don’t think there should an objection as to whether the NNPC should be privatised. We cannot be talking from the two sides of our mouths because if we believe the saying that the government has no business to be in business then NNPC is the kind of business, that shouldn’t be a public asset.
“So, yes, I think it is the way to go and the corporation should be privatised. Once due diligence is followed and act of corruption is removed, then, of course, that’s the way to go.”
Nzekwe, on his part, stated that the privatisation of the national oil firm was long overdue, but stressed that it must not be sold to the wrong investors in order to avoid the kind of concerns currently faced in the power sector.
He said, “That is what we need right now because there is a lack of transparency at the NNPC. People don’t know what they are doing there. But my concern is that to whom are you going to sell the corporation to? This is because it may end up in the hands of those few Nigerians who will still make it not to work.
“They may buy it at very cheap rates and can’t revamp it as required. However, my opinion is that it be sold in form of shares where an average Nigerian can own some stake in the corporation, instead of selling it to the privileged few and they run it just like what we are seeing now in the power sector.”
Nigeria, Morocco sign MOUs on Hydrocarbons, Others
The Federal Government and the Kingdom of Morocco have signed five strategic Memoranda of Understanding that will foster Nigerian-Morocco bilateral collaboration and promote the development of hydrocarbons, agriculture, and commerce in both countries.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, led the Nigerian delegation to the agreement signing ceremony on Tuesday at Marrakech, Morocco, while the Chief Executive Officer of OCP Africa, Mr Anouar Jamali, signed for the Kingdom of Morocco, according to a statement by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.
Under the agreement between OCP, NSIA and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigeria will import phosphate from the Kingdom of Morocco and use it to produce blended fertiliser for the local market and export.
The statement said Nigeria would also produce ammonia and export to Morocco.
“As part of the project, the Nigerian Government plans to establish an ammonia plant at Akwa Ibom State,” it said.
The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, were part of the delegation and they confirmed that their organisations would take equity in the ammonia plant when the Final Investment Decision would be taken, the statement said.
Sylva said the project would broaden economic opportunities for the two nations and improve the wellbeing of the people.
He added that the project would also positively impact agriculture, stimulate the growth of gas-based industries and lead to massive job creation.
He said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had mandated the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and it agencies and other government agencies to give maximum support for the project.
“He mandated me to ensure that at least the first phase of this project is commissioned before the expiration of his second term in office in 2023,” he added.
According to the statement, the MOUs were for the support of the second phase of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative; Shareholders Agreement for the creation of the joint venture company to develop the multipurpose industrial platform and MOU for equity investment by the NNPC in the joint venture and support of the gas.
Other agreements are term sheet for gas sales and aggregation agreement and MOU for land acquisition and administrative facilitation to the establishment of the multipurpose industrial platform for gas sales and aggregation agreement.
The NCDMB boss described the bilateral agreement as significant to the Nigerian economy as it would accelerate Nigeria’s gas monetisation programme through establishment of the ammonia plant in the country.
The agreement would also improve Nigeria’s per capita fertiliser application through importation of phosphate derivatives from Morocco, he added.
Wabote challenged the relevant parties to focus on accelerating the FID, assuring them that the NCDMB would take equity investment for long-term sustainability of the project.
He canvassed for the setting up of a project management oversight structure to ensure project requirements and timelines are met.
“There is also need to determine manpower needs for construction and operations phase of the project and develop training programmes that will create the workforce pool from Nigeria and Morocco and design collaboration framework between research centres in Nigeria and Morocco to develop technology solutions for maintaining the ISBL and OSBL units of the Ammonia complex,” he said.
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.”
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