President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja said Nigeria lost an estimated $50 billion worth of investments in ten years, caused by non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), lack of progress, and stagnation in the petroleum industry.
Speaking at a ceremony on passage and signing of the PIA, which preceded the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the President said the stagnation affected the growth of the economy.
He also cited the lack of political will on the part of past administrations to actualize the needed transformation in the oil and gas sector.
President Buhari said assent of the Petroleum Industry Bill on August 16, 2021, marks the end of decades of uncertainty and under-investment in the petroleum industry.
“We are all aware that past Administrations have identified the need to further align the industry for global competitiveness, but there was a lack of political will to actualize this needed transformation.
“This lack of progress has stagnated the growth of the industry and the prosperity of our economy. In the past ten years, Nigeria has lost an estimated $50 billion worth of investments due to uncertainty created by the non-passage of the PIB.
“This administration believes that the timely passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill will help our country attract investments across the oil and gas value chain.
“In view of the value our Nation and investors will derive from a stable fiscal framework for the oil and gas industry, our Administration has found it necessary to work with the two chambers of the National Assembly to ensure the passage of the PIB,” he said.
President Buhari noted that the signing of the bill was part of the administration’s commitment to building a competitive and resilient petroleum industry that will attract investment, improve our revenue base, create jobs and support our economic diversification agenda.
The President said as a “nation that depends on oil resources for the development of other sectors, Nigeria runs a Petroleum Industry that is governed largely by laws enacted over 50 years ago such as the principal legislation; the Petroleum Act of 1969 and other obsolete legislations.”
He said the Presidential assent of the bill to “Petroleum Industry Act 2021” marked the beginning of the journey towards a competitive and resilient petroleum industry that will attract investments to support the nation’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
“The “Petroleum Industry Act 2021” creates a regulatory environment that would ensure efficiency and accountability across the oil and gas value chain and reposition NNPC to a commercially driven National Petroleum Company that is accountable to the Federation.
“The Act also provides for a direct benefit framework that will enable the sustainable development of Host Communities. I appeal to the host communities to look carefully at the contents of the Bill which in the implementation will bring real and lasting benefits to them.
“Furthermore, the Act provides for a deliberate end to gas flaring which would facilitate the attainment of Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions of the Paris Agreement through a funding mechanism to support gas flare out project in host communities,’’ he added.
President Buhari said the administration believes that the timely passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill will help our country attract investments across the oil and gas value chain.
While directing the immediate implementation of the framework for the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), he urged all relevant stakeholders to comply and reposition for full activation within 12 months.
The President appoints Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, to head the implementation team, urging all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) to adjust to the transition, designed to reposition the economy.
“To consolidate the commitment of this administration to delivering the value proposition of this law, I have approved an implementation framework commencing immediately to ensure the industry envisaged in the new law begins to take shape.
“The implementation process to be headed by the Hon Minister of State, Petroleum Resources is hereby tasked with the completion of the implementation of this act within 12 months.
“I am therefore directing all relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to fully cooperate in ensuring the successful and timely implementation of this law,’’ he said.
President Buhari commended the leadership of the 9th Assembly for their continued pursuit of national aspiration and demonstration of mutual harmony with the Executive in the pursuit of patriotic outcome in the passage of PIB.
“I also commend the entire team in the executive that worked tirelessly to ensure the delivery of this strategic legislation for our country. I thank Nigerians and other industry stakeholders for their contributions and support in achieving this historic landmark,’’ he said.
The ceremony was attended by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy Speaker Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase and other lawmakers, members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari.
AfCFTA: Nigeria-South Africa Chamber Advocate Single Africa Passport, Free Visa
The Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce (NSACC) has called for a single Africa passport and a free visa to ensure the success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Speaking on Thursday in Lagos during the chamber’s September Breakfast Forum, with the theme: `Perspectives on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area in Relation to Nigeria’, its President, Mr. Osayande Giwa-Osagie noted that AfCFTA would boost intra-African trade by 22 percent, adding that its implementation would impact positively on the Nigerian economy.
AfCFTA is a single continental market that adopts free flow of goods, services, and capital, supported by the free movement of persons across Africa.
Giwa-Osagie however said Nigeria must diversify its economy in order to harness the gains of the agreement.
“Current intra-African trade rated at 15 to 17 percent is low and the AfCFTA is expected to boost intra-African by 22 percent. Challenges to its implementation are lack of infrastructure, political instability and lack of economic diversification.
“This gives rise to the need for Nigeria to diversify its economy to harness the gains of the agreement. Given the importance of the free movement of people, there is a need for a free visa for Africa and a single Africa passport.
“While the implementation would help boost the Nigerian economy, the impact would be limited if there are no free movement of people,” he said.
Mr Jesuseun Fatoyinbo, Head, Trade and Transactional Services, Stanbic IBTC Bank, said the business community needed more clarification on tariff reduction or elimination under the agreement.
According to him, the little information available to corporate organisations with regards to tariffs may lead to holding back on investments.
“We have noted increased interests from global multinationals and other corporates in setting up facilities in Africa aimed at serving the continent and exporting abroad.
“So more transparency around tariff reductions both in terms of timelines and details of goods could prompt companies to act,” he said.
Fatoyinbo also called for more attention to the digitisation of trade processes across the continent. “Currently, trade in Africa is largely reliant on physical documentation and this is a major impediment. Policymakers need to prioritize regulatory amendments that allow for the digital signatures, a digital certificate of origin, digital bills of lading, and other documentation,” he added.
Nigeria Borrows $4 Billion Through Eurobonds as Order Book Peaked at $12.2 Billion
The Federal Government of Nigeria has raised a fresh $4 billion through Eurobonds, according to the latest statement from the Debt Management Office (DMO).
Nigeria had set out to raise $3 billion but investors oversubscription peaked at $12.2 billion, enabling the Federal Government to raise $1 billion more than the $3 billion it announced.
DMO said “This exceptional performance has been described as, “one of the biggest financial trades to come out of Africa in 2021” and “an excellent outcome”.
Bids were received from investors in Europe, America, Asia and several local investors. The statement noted that the quality of investors and the size of the Order Book demonstrated confidence in Nigeria.
The Eurobonds were issued in three tranches, details, namely seven years–,$1.25 billion at 6.125 per cent per annum; 12 years -$1.5 billion at 7.375 per cent per annum as well as 30 years -$1.25 billion at 8.25 per annum.
The DMO explained that the long tenors of the Eurobonds and the spread across different maturities are well aligned with Nigeria’s Debt Management Strategy, 2020 –2023.
The Eurobonds were issued as part of the New External Borrowing stipulated in the 2021 Appropriation Act. DMO noted that the $4 billion will help finance projects state in the 2021 budget.
Nigeria’s total debt stood at $87.239 billion as at March 31, 2021. However, with the $4 billion new borrowing, the nation’s debt is now $91.239 billion. A serious concern for most Nigerians given the nation’s weak foreign revenue generation and rising cost of servicing the debt.
CIBN Banking and Finance Conference 2021: Structural Transformation and Growth
Today we highlight one of the sessions, ‘Economic Recovery’, at the recently concluded CIBN Banking and Finance conference. This was a hybrid event in Abuja, Lagos and partially virtual last week. The Covid-19 disruptions have created demand and supply shocks in the global system while unlocking new opportunities for growth.
Given the pre-existing financing challenges and growing spending needs, many developing countries are in dire need of financial support. As a result of the pandemic, the financing gap for the sustainable development goals increased by 70% (over USD4.2bn). The speaker on this session, Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group focused on structural transformation, technology, finance and sustainability.
Recent developments such as the allocation of the USD650bn in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) were highlighted during the session. Although the SDR offers improved liquidity into the system, Africa is set to receive only USD32.2bn (or 6.4% of the total amount). Therefore, it is important that the funds are channeled towards well-targeted sectors that can contribute to sustainable development.
The banking and finance sector plays a crucial role. The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) agreement offers an opportunity for the financial sector to work within a continental market of 1.2 billion people. According to Amina J. Mohammed, three main actions areas will reshape the financial sector and support stronger recovery.
The first, better customer engagement with a dynamic range of relevant products and services that go beyond bank-based financing mechanisms and offer innovative financial products tailored to specific needs of business ecosystems. Second, the adoption of new operating models to drive efficiency and inclusion. Third, a deliberate focus on enabling sustainable development investing.
Furthermore, Nigeria’s banking and finance industry is well positioned to drive specific UN sustainable development goals such as inclusive and affordable credit, especially for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. The industry can also provide support towards climate change.
Technology also featured in the discussion points. Undoubtedly, technology is a catalyst for growth across economies and the pandemic has further exposed the deficit within the sector across developing countries. Investments in digital infrastructure need to be rapidly expanded and scaled up to boost socio-economic development.
The speaker commended the FGN’s efforts on its push towards sustainable economic recovery. Some policy and regulatory reforms highlighted include, regulation of fintechs and related services to strengthen payment systems and regulate data protection; the green bonds which Nigeria first issued in 2017 in support of green projects, including solar energy and the modernisation of the Nigerian stock exchange that has given rise to a new operational structure and leadership.
These are laudable steps. However, we note that there is still room for improvement. To achieve double-digit GDP growth and sustainable development, structural transformation should remain on the FGN’s priority list.
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