- Elumelu Urges Buhari to Fix Power, Support MSMEs
The Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Group, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari, to address Nigeria’s epileptic power situation as well as ensure that operators of micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) are given the necessary support in his second term.
According to Elumelu, who is also the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, access to electricity is critical to growing the Nigerian economy.
He said this in an interview monitored on Sky News.
“I think power is critical. We know that access to electricity and improvement in that sector will help to galvanise and grow the Nigerian economy and I believe this government is going to do that going forward.
“Another sector that is critical and very important is the private sector and especially the small and medium scale enterprises. We know that countries that prioritise their small and medium scale enterprises do very well in creating employment and alleviating poverty.
“So, I believe this government in its second term will continue and even do more in supporting small and medium scale enterprises through policies and incentives that will encourage these people.
“We are extremely enterprising and our people just need the more encouragement to do great things,” he explained.
Responding to a question about the growing Nigeria-China relationship, Elumelu said: “Nigeria is up for business. Nigeria wants attractive investors. If the Chinese sees Nigeria as a more hospitable and investment-friendly country, Nigerians are ready. “But we think our long historical trading partners like the United Kingdom, the US should also show more interest. I believe that is happening and a lot more will happen especially this second term.”
He dismissed the insinuation that the depreciation recorded by the Nigerian Stock Exchange since the outcome of the presidential election was announced was as a result of the negative sentiment trailing Buhari’s re-election.
“The Nigerian stock market has been quite unpredictable and I don’t really think it fell as a result of the election outcomes.
“I believe that with the elections over now, the country is ready again for business and I think things would get better going forward.”
Commenting on the newly launch UBA UK, he said: “We call UBA, Africa’s global bank and we operate in 20 African countries and is the only African bank that operates and is regulated in the United States of America.
“So, a natural and logical place to berth next is London. So, we are happy to have launched UBA in the UK, to support wholesale banking transactions.
“There is so much historically that happened between Nigeria and the UK, between Africa and the UK and between Africa and Europe. So, we want to take advantage of our spread across Africa, serving over 70 million customers, to link them up with the rest of the world through our operation in the New York, and now, through our operation in London.
“So, as New York is going to sleep, London is waking up and as London is going to sleep, New York is waking up, all to make sure that we continue to support our customers across the globe.”
Oil Prices Slide as U.S. Crude Stockpiles Surge, Heightening Demand Concerns
Oil prices declined on Thursday as concerns over demand intensified due to a larger-than-anticipated build in U.S. crude stockpiles.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped by 0.5% to $83.25 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell by 0.3% to $78.28 a barrel.
The Energy Information Administration’s report revealed a substantial increase in U.S. crude oil stockpiles by 4.2 million barrels to 447.2 million barrels for the week ending February 23rd.
This surge surpassed analysts’ expectations and marked the fifth consecutive week of rising inventories.
While gasoline and distillate inventories witnessed a decline, concerns regarding a sluggish economy and reduced oil demand in the U.S. were amplified.
Satoru Yoshida, a commodity analyst with Rakuten Securities, highlighted that the significant stockpiles have heightened investor worries.
Moreover, the anticipation of delayed U.S. interest rate cuts further weighed on market sentiment, potentially undermining oil demand.
Traders have adjusted their expectations for rate cuts, with an easing cycle predicted to commence in June rather than March as previously anticipated.
Market participants await the U.S. personal consumption expenditures price index for insights into inflation trends, while the possibility of an extension of voluntary oil output cuts from OPEC+ looms over price dynamics, amid lingering uncertainty in the demand outlook and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.
Crude Oil Shortage Threatens Dangote, Government Refineries, Minister Raises Alarm
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, has sounded a clarion call over a looming crude oil shortage that threatens the operations of the newly inaugurated Dangote Petrochemical Refinery and government-owned refineries in Nigeria.
Addressing stakeholders at the seventh edition of the Nigeria International Energy Summit in Abuja, Minister Lokpobiri expressed concerns that unless deliberate efforts are made to increase investments and crude oil production, these refineries may struggle to obtain enough feedstock for petroleum product manufacturing.
The Dangote refinery, a colossal project spearheaded by Dangote Industries Limited, has a daily requirement of up to 650,000 barrels of crude oil, while government-owned refineries could need approximately 400,000 barrels.
However, the current pace of crude oil production and investment in Nigeria falls short of meeting these demands.
Minister Lokpobiri highlighted the need to ramp up production and attract investments in the upstream sector to ensure adequate feedstock supply for the refineries.
He emphasized the importance of efficiently utilizing Nigeria’s abundant oil and gas reserves to enhance domestic energy security and economic prosperity.
Furthermore, the minister underscored the significance of investing in energy infrastructure and transitioning towards more environmentally friendly practices to address Nigeria’s energy needs effectively.
The alarm raised by Minister Lokpobiri underscores the urgency for strategic interventions and collaborative efforts to mitigate the impending crude oil shortage and secure the future of Nigeria’s refining industry amidst evolving global energy dynamics.
NNPCL Pledges End to Nigeria’s Energy Scarcity Within a Decade
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has announced a bold initiative aimed at ending Nigeria’s persistent energy scarcity within the next decade.
Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, revealed this ambitious plan during the opening ceremony of the seventh Nigerian International Energy Summit in Abuja.
Kyari’s announcement comes as a beacon of hope for millions of Nigerians grappling with chronic power shortages and energy deficiencies.
In his statement, Kyari expressed confidence that all issues related to energy scarcity in the country would be resolved within the next 10 years.
Assuring stakeholders of NNPCL’s unwavering commitment, Kyari emphasized the company’s dedication to collaborating with partners to bridge the energy deficit gap and foster prosperity for all Nigerians.
He highlighted NNPCL’s pivotal role as a key partner to oil-producing companies in Nigeria, facilitating the divestment of international oil companies from onshore and shallow water assets in the country.
Furthermore, Kyari underscored NNPCL’s statutory mandate as the enabler of national energy security, emphasizing the importance of sustainable production from divested assets to ensure energy security for Nigerians.
In addition to addressing domestic energy challenges, NNPCL is also exploring avenues for sustainable energy investment across Africa.
Kyari revealed the company’s intention to invest in the proposed African Energy Bank, aiming to secure funding for energy projects on the continent and guarantee regional energy security.
The event, attended by prominent stakeholders including government officials and representatives from international organizations, marks a significant step towards reshaping Nigeria’s energy landscape and fostering economic development through improved energy access.
As NNPCL charts its course towards energy abundance, Nigerians remain cautiously optimistic about the prospects of a brighter energy future.
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