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Banks Ready to Fund Refineries Rehabilitation, Says NNPC

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  • Banks Ready to Fund Refineries Rehabilitation, Says NNPC

Banks have expressed their readiness to fund the rehabilitation of the nation’s ailing refineries, the outgoing Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr Maikanti Baru, said on Thursday.

After efforts to secure offshore funding for the rehabilitation of the refineries proved abortive, the NNPC said in February this year that it had to resort to immediate direct funding from internal cash flows and debt financing from the financial markets for the project.

“The government and the NNPC are determined to rehabilitate the refineries and put them back to what they were and be efficient as they should be,” Baru said.

He spoke in Lagos after his induction as a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering during the institution’s 2019 annual lecture, titled ‘Fuelling the Nigerian economy: State of domestic refining and distribution facilities.’

The refineries, located in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri, have a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day but have continued to operate far below the installed capacity for many years.

Baru noted that there were decades of neglect mainly due to funding, saying, “We took some steps in 2016 when we came in.”

He stated that certain bodies had made a commitment to come and support the rehabilitation of the refineries but the negotiations did not yield the desired result.

He said, “So, we now decided as the NNPC, with the permission of Mr President, to go to the capital market to raise the funds to repair the refineries. It is not just repairs but rehabilitation; some units are completely out. We will not just repair them, we are going to modernise them and put them in a better position.

“With the gracious approval of Mr President, we need to do a detailed bankable study before we go to the capital market. So, the NNPC, using its internal resources, now embarked on this detailed study, which will be completed in October. Once we have that study, the banks are ready to fund us and we are going to rehabilitate the refineries.”

Asked if he would be willing to serve in another capacity if given the opportunity after his exit from the corporation next month, Baru said, “Well, the service to Nigeria is everybody’s call. Every patriotic Nigerian should be willing to do that. However, the system that has been put in place is that a public servant retires when he is 60 and also worked 35 years.

“However, if it’s the prerogative of the President to invite you to do more and of course, you should look at it and do more. So, it is graciously accepted my statutory retirement but if he says I should come and serve, I’m willing to serve.”

The NNPC had planned to rehabilitate the refineries in order to attain a minimum of 90 per cent capacity utilisation, using third-party financiers and the original refinery builders to provide the requisite funding and technical support.

The corporation, its transaction advisers and an inter-ministerial team on refineries rehabilitation were said to have reviewed expressions of interest from 28 potential financiers.

But after over one and half years, the negotiations with financiers stalled in December 2018 due to varying positions on key commercial terms.

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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Economy

Federal Government Appeals to Electricity Union Amid Tariff Hike Tensions

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The Federal Government has made a direct appeal to the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) amidst rising tensions over the recent hike in electricity tariffs.

The plea comes as the union continues to voice its dissatisfaction with the government’s decision to remove the subsidy on the tariff payable by Band A customers, warning of potential service withdrawal if the decision is not reversed.

In an interview with our correspondent, Adebiyi Adeyeye, the National President of the NUEE, reiterated the union’s stance against the increase, citing the impracticality of expecting their members to collect higher tariffs from customers without a proportional improvement in service.

Adeyeye emphasized the union’s concerns over the discrepancy between the promised 20 hours of daily power supply and the actual delivery, which he deemed “not feasible” due to existing infrastructural limitations.

The Federal Government, represented by Minister of Power Adebayo Adelabu, called for understanding and patience from the union. Speaking through his media aide, Bolaji Tunji, Adelabu assured that efforts were being made to improve electricity supply across the nation. He emphasized the necessity of these changes for the country’s long-term economic growth and job creation.

“We just want to appeal to the labor union to understand the context of these changes. It’s about working together to address the underlying issues within the power sector. It is not anybody’s joy that there are blackouts all the time,” Adelabu stated.

He added that the steps being taken would ultimately benefit the economy and urged the union to bear with the government during this transitional phase.

Adeyeye maintained that the union’s primary objective is to safeguard the well-being of its members, who are facing increased threats due to the tariff hike.

He stressed the need for immediate action from the government to resolve the issues, stating that the union would withdraw its services if necessary.

As the standoff continues, the public watches with interest, hoping for a resolution that will avoid disruptions to the country’s power supply and maintain a harmonious relationship between the government and electricity workers.

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Minister of Power Pledges 6,000 Megawatts Electricity Generation in Six Months

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Adebayo Adelabu has made a bold pledge to ramp up electricity generation to 6,000 megawatts (MW) within the next six months.

This announcement comes amidst ongoing efforts to tackle the longstanding issue of inadequate power supply that has plagued the country for years.

During an appearance on Channel Television’s Politics Today program, Adelabu said the government is committed to resolving the issues hindering the power sector’s efficiency.

He expressed confidence in the administration’s ability to overcome the challenges and deliver tangible results to the Nigerian populace.

Currently, Nigeria generates and transmits over 4,000MW of electricity with distribution bottlenecks being identified as a major obstacle.

Adelabu assured that steps are being taken to address these distribution challenges and ensure that the generated power reaches consumers across the country effectively.

The minister highlighted that the government has been proactive in seeking the expertise of professionals and engaging stakeholders to identify the root causes of the power sector’s problems and devise appropriate solutions.

Adelabu acknowledged the existing gap between Nigeria’s installed capacity of 13,000MW and the actual generation output, attributing it to various factors that have impeded optimal performance.

Despite these challenges, he expressed optimism that the government’s initiatives would lead to a substantial increase in electricity generation, marking a significant milestone in Nigeria’s energy sector.

Addressing concerns about the recent decline in power generation due to low gas supply, Adelabu assured Nigerians that measures are being taken to rectify the situation.

He acknowledged the impact of power outages on citizens’ daily lives and reiterated the government’s commitment to providing stable electricity supply within the stipulated timeframe.

The Minister’s assurance of achieving 6,000MW of electricity generation in the next six months comes as a ray of hope for millions of Nigerians who have long endured the consequences of inadequate power supply.

With ongoing reforms and targeted interventions, there is optimism that Nigeria’s power sector will witness a transformative change, ushering in an era of improved access to electricity for all citizens.

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Nigeria’s Economic Woes to Drag Down Sub-Saharan Growth, World Bank Forecasts

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The World Bank’s latest report on the economic outlook for Western and Central Africa has highlighted Nigeria’s sluggish economic growth as a significant factor impeding the sub-region’s overall performance.

According to the report, while economic activities in the region are expected to increase, Nigeria’s lower-than-average growth trajectory will act as a hindrance to broader economic expansion.

The report indicates that economic activity in Western and Central Africa is set to rise from 3.2 percent in 2023 to 3.7 percent in 2024 and further accelerate to 4.2 percent in 2025–2026.

However, Nigeria’s growth, projected at 3.3 percent in 2024 and 3.6 percent in 2025–2026, falls below the sub-region’s average.

The World Bank underscores the importance of macroeconomic and fiscal reforms in Nigeria, which it anticipates will gradually yield results.

It expects the oil sector to stabilize with a recovery in production and slightly lower prices, contributing to a more stable macroeconomic environment.

Despite these measures, the report emphasizes the need for structural reforms to foster higher growth rates.

In contrast, economic activities in the West African Economic and Monetary Union are projected to increase significantly, with growth rates of 5.9 percent in 2024 and 6.2 percent in 2025.

Solid performances from countries like Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, and Senegal are cited as key drivers of growth in the region.

The report also highlights the importance of monetary policy adjustments and reforms in supporting economic growth.

For instance, a more accommodative monetary policy by the Central Bank of West African States is expected to bolster private consumption in Côte d’Ivoire.

Also, investments in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and telecommunications are anticipated to increase due to improvements in the business environment.

However, Nigeria continues to grapple with multidimensional poverty as highlighted by the National Bureau of Statistics.

Over half of Nigeria’s population is considered multidimensionally poor, with rural areas disproportionately affected. The World Bank underscores the need for concerted efforts to address poverty and inequality in the country.

Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole faces challenges in deepening and lengthening economic growth. Despite recent progress, growth remains volatile, and poverty rates remain high.

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