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Economy

Federal Government to End Crude Oil Discounts in July

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NNPC to Put an End to Crude Oil Sales Discounts by July 2020

The Federal Government through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has set a July deadline for the end of its oil sales discount.

Mallam Mele Kyari, the Managing Director, NNPC Group, disclosed this in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Wednesday.

He said the corporation was looking at June 30 or latest by July.

The Federal Government had lowered crude oil sales during the peak of COVID-19 to lure buyers following a significant drop in global demand for the commodity.

However, with crude oil now trading at about $40 a barrel and economies gradually reopening, the NNPC is now looking to normalise prices.

This is coming after Saudi Arabia, Russia and other top crude oil producers increased prices for next month.

Responding to a question, if the corporation would continue to offer discounts on crude even with prices gradually recovering, Kyari said: “Absolutely not, discount will go away, definitely within the shortest period of time. As you know, what we did in the last two months was to close that gap much shorter than what it was, and by the end of June or July we will see a situation where we can take out that discount because it’s no longer necessary.”

Speaking on the importance of OPEC and allies’ decision to retain and extend production cuts agreement, the Managing Director said the decision was to rebalance the global oil market, adding that they have already started seeing the sign of its workability.

“What this means is that this will give us the rebalancing of the market, we can see a rebound in prices with time so that we don’t have to produce oil and give out for free. And we have started seeing the sign that this works.

“We are pulling down the supply and getting a balance that will come to a situation where we can at least recover our costs and get some margin out of these businesses, which is a good thing to do,” he stated.

Kyari said the cartel and allies’ effort was to stabilise the oil market and sustain oil at around $42 and $45 per barrel in the near-term.

He said: “What we did to oil price was to bring some form of stability by the end of the year, probably we can see settling at $42 to $45 at the end of the year. And you can see the short term response as a result of the OPEC+ intervention and I don’t think that is completely sustainable save the production cuts are implemented in full by the end July.

“If that happens, we see sustenance of the current level of $42 to the Brent and potentially grow to a region of $42 to $45 by the end of the year. I don’t think we will see any sort of $30 oil in the near future if this situation is sustained.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Economy

France, Nigeria to Build New Partnership

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France is currently aiming at building a new partnership with Nigeria, with the dispatching of its Minister in charge of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Franck Riester, to Nigeria.

Riester, who was expected at the time of filing this report on Monday, is scheduled to visit Nigeria from 12-14 April, 2021.

A statement from the French Embassy in Nigeria said: “Franck Riester is visiting Nigeria from 12 to 14 April, a visit that follows up on the priorities set by French President Emmanuel Macron during his official visit to Nigeria in July 2018 and his desire to build a new partnership between Africa and France.

“As the largest economy in Africa and the economic engine of West Africa, Nigeria is indeed a major partner for France, the first in sub-Saharan Africa with bilateral trade amounting to a total of 4.5 billion USD in 2019 (2.3 billion USD in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic).”

It disclosed that the minister will have several official meetings in Abuja and Lagos, in order to underline the importance of the bilateral economic relationship and to prepare the summit on the financing of African economies in Paris on 18 May.

It revealed that the objective of the mission is also to further strengthen the links between the French and Nigerian private sectors, and “in this regard, the minister will have in-depth discussions with the main Nigerian economic actors to strengthen bilateral cooperation and investments, both in Nigeria and in France, particularly in the logistics sector”.

It said while in the country, the minister would meet with young Nigerian entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries sector, to discuss the major role of their country in African creativity and the development of the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, with the support of France.

It further said: “The minister will also open the ‘Choose Africa’ conference, a €3.5 billion initiative by President Emmanuel Macron dedicated to supporting the development of start-ups and SMEs in Africa to enable the continent to benefit fully from the opportunities of the digital revolution.”

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Economy

COVID-19: USAID to Provide $3m Grant, Technical Assistance to Combat Food Insecurity in Nigeria

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing financial grant and technical assistance worth $3 million to combat food insecurity in Nigeria compounded by COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement by the agency on Monday said: “On April 12, 2021, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Nigeria launched a COVID-19 Food Security Challenge that will provide $3 million in grant funding and technical assistance to youth-led and mid-stage companies working in food value chains in Nigeria.”

The statement lamented that Nigeria is experiencing food insecurity compounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic and its effects on the food value chain in the country.

It stated that the pandemic has disrupted the already fragile agricultural value chains, especially smallholder farmers’ ability to produce, process and distribute food, which has disrupted agricultural productivity and markets, and negatively impacted livelihoods, especially among vulnerable households, women and youth.

The USAID Mission Director, Anne Patterson, said: “We are launching the COVID-19 Food Security Challenge to help innovative Nigerians alleviate food insecurity.

“This assistance encourages private sector-led solutions to boost food production, processing and create market linkage along the agriculture value chain in a sustainable way across Nigeria.”

The statement revealed that in launching the challenge, USAID seeks commercially viable youth-led and mid-stage companies already working in food production, processing, and distribution, noting that successful applicants will present ideas that demonstrably help farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain increase, agricultural productivity and food security within the next six months.

According to the statement, the challenge will award 15 to 25 youth-led companies up to $75,000 each and award 10 to 15 mid-stage companies up to $150,000 each.

Winners will receive funding and technical assistance to rapidly expand their activities to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on Nigeria’s food value chain and improve the resilience of vulnerable households to the negative impacts of the pandemic.

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Economy

FG Plans to Deliver Solar Energy to 25M Nigerians

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The Nigerian federal government has commenced its plan to deliver electricity through solar energy to Nigerians whose communities are off the national power grid.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who spoke during an event to mark the programme in Jangefe, Roni Local Government Area of Jigawa State, restated the determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to give more Nigerians access to cheap and environmentally friendly renewable power.

Osinbajo said the Solar Power Naija programme would continue across the six geopolitical zones in six states, namely, Edo, Lagos, Adamawa, Anambra, Kebbi and Plateau, in the first phase, and then move to the entire 36 states and the nation’s capital, thus, covering 25 million Nigerians at completion.

Jangefe community got 1,000 solar home system connections for its about 5,000 population, as part of a 100,000 scheme, with a local solar power company implementing aspects of the scheme.

According to Osinbajo, the president had emphasised that Nigeria could no longer rely solely on the grid if government is to electrify the whole country, which meant that an effective strategy had to be developed for decentralising power supply.

The Solar Power Naija programme, which is designed by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), is an ambitious initiative that aims to create five million connections through a N140 billion financing programme that will support private developers to provide power for five million households, which means providing electricity for up to 25 million Nigerians.

The vice president disclosed that the programme was a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement supported by concessionary lending via the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and commercial banks. He emphasised that structures had been put in place to make the cost of the connections affordable for the target communities.

In addition to the concessionary lending rates, Osinbajo explained that the government had provided subsidies and rebates for private developers to the tune of over $200 million under the REA and World Bank Nigeria electrification programme.

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