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Port Harcourt Refinery to Commence Operations in December – FG

The Federal Government through the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva has said the old Port Harcourt refinery will become functional by the end of the year.

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The Federal Government through the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva has said the old Port Harcourt refinery will become functional by the end of the year.

The minister made this known while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.

According to him, the 60,000 barrels per day capacity refinery is presently being rehabilitated just as works are ongoing on both Warri and Kaduna refineries.

He said “The rehabilitation of the refineries is ongoing. As we said earlier, the old refinery in Port Harcourt, which is about 60,000 barrels per day capacity, will be functional by December and, of course, we still have some time in the contracting time to conclude the rest of the Port Harcourt Refineries.

“Works in the Kaduna and Warri refineries are also progressing very well. We will soon be embarking on an inspection visit and some of you journalists will be able to go with us to ascertain for yourselves what the extent of work is.”

Also speaking on Nigeria’s Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Sylva disclosed that the development is still in progress, adding that it was one of the steps that must be achieved before the removal of the petrol subsidy.

He said, “On the CNG development, it’s very much in progress. That is part of the promises we made, part of the things we want to put in place before the removal of subsidy.

“Subsidy has still not been removed because some of these conditions that were agreed upon have not been met and we’re definitely working assiduously to ensure that all the facilities are in place, the pumping stations, and the conversion kits.

“I can assure you that work is going on very much in that regard. We may not be in a position to announce exactly what we are doing now or where we are, but I can assure you that work is very much ongoing.”

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Economy

Nigeria Has Lost N531 Million on The Suspended Abuja to Kaduna Train Service

Federal Government has lost about N531 million in revenue on the suspended Abuja to Kaduna train service. 

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Lagos-Ibadan Train Services - Investors King

Federal Government has lost about N531 million in revenue on the suspended Abuja to Kaduna train service. 

The Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Fidet Okhiria disclosed that the country has lost N531 million between March 28 when terrorists attacked Abuja to Kaduna train to September 2022. 

Okhiria noted that the money would have been remitted to the federal government. 

It would be recalled that terrorists unleashed an attack on the Abuja to Kaduna trail which led to the death of eight passengers. About 41 others were injured while scores were kidnapped.

Although some of those that were kidnapped have been released, about 22 are still in the den of the terrorists. Reports had it that about 970 passengers were onboard the train during the attack. 

In response, the Nigerian Railway Corporation halt service along the Abuja to Kaduna train corridor. 

According to the Managing Director of NRC, while speaking to newsmen in Lagos, he said the corporation will not resume service on Abuja to Kaduna rail until all those who remain with the terrorist are released. 

The Managing Director further disclosed that four members of the railway corporation are among those still held captive. 

He, however, expressed optimism that all those still in captivity will soon be released. He noted that the Minister of Transportation is leading the struggle for the safe release of those still in captivity. 

Meanwhile, the federal government has set up a committee to ensure maximum security for train passengers and all train facilities.  The committee is to liaise with the appropriate ministries and agencies to fine-tune a safer railway system. 

“We are talking about present-day technology so that we can have real-time monitoring. We will also be deploying a lot of security agencies to be at strategic locations”.

Some of the places the committee has visited include the office of the Inspector General of Police(IG) and the Ministry of Information.

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Economy

Federal Government to Create Jobs Through Sugar Production

Nigerian government to create jobs and earn foreign exchange through sugar production

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Sugar - Investors King

Nigerian government to create jobs and earn foreign exchange through sugar production. 

The Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Zacch Adedeji disclosed during an interview in Abuja that Nigeria will soon be competing globally in sugar production. 

Zacch Adedeji pledged that the National Sugar Development Council under his leadership will open doors for job creation and foreign exchange. He further stated that the sugar production sector has a lot of potential that can enhance the economy if the sector is vigorously explored. 

He also stated that the implementation of the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP)  has been able to attract huge investment to the sugar sector. 

Investors King could recall that the Federal Executive Council in September 2012 approved the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) as a government strategy roadmap for the development of the Nigerian sugar sub-sector.

According to the NSDC boss, “The Federal Government, through the National Sugar Development Council, is committed to building a globally competitive sugar industry that would boost the local economy, provide jobs for Nigeria’s teeming youth population and position Nigeria as a net exporter of the commodity.”

Adedeji also disclosed that the council is trying to address this issue of inadequate qualified indigenous manpower. He noted the council has created the Nigeria Sugar Institute in Ilorin, Kwara State to help drive local production and possibly export in the future. 

“The Institute has commenced the training of young Nigerian graduates both in field and factory operations through an exchange programme with famous sugar institutes like the National Sugar Institute, Kanpur, India as well as the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute, in Mauritius”. 

Meanwhile, the Federal Government at its weekly Federal Executive Council meeting (FEC) yesterday approved the second phase of the National Sugar Masterplan. The MasterPlan which is a 10-year plan is aimed to save $350 million yearly from foreign exchange and also create 110,000 jobs.

While addressing newsmen after the meeting, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo disclosed that the second phase of the National Sugar Masterplan will span from 2023 to 2033. 

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Economy

CBN Not Mandated to Sell Dollars to Airlines, Godwin Emefiele Tells Foreign Airlines

The Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that it was not mandated by any law to sell dollars to foreign airlines operating in the country.

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Emirates Airlines

The Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that it was not mandated by any law to sell dollars to foreign airlines operating in the country.

The central bank governor Godwin Emefiele while speaking at the monetary policy committee meeting stated that the apex bank is committed to clearing up trapped funds of foreign airlines, however, it was not the CBN’s responsibility to provide the funds in dollars.

The CBN governor said, “The sector is a sector that has always enjoyed priority allocation. For other sectors where there are priorities like the airlines, we have always granted them the priority that they desire because we know people want to travel and they don’t want to be constrained by the need for them to travel. 

“In spite of this, we have seen that the number of travels or naira value of tickets issued by the airlines has increased. We decided to release $265 million when the pressure was building aggressively. 

“We will do everything possible and are determined to clear the backlog and consistently, at all the retail interventions. As long as the bank accounts are funded, we will continue to ensure that the cumulative backlog is cleared. 

“But I think it is important for me to say this — the foreign airlines are saying this because they said we should respect bilateral air services agreements (BASA) that say proceeds of all their ticket sales must be repatriated out of the country.

“It did not say you must repatriate all your dollars. There is no law that makes it compulsory that you must buy your dollars from the central bank. When you put money in your account, what it means is that you tell your bank to buy your dollar.

“Your bank will go to the legitimate or approved sources which in this case is the I&E to buy dollars and pay for your ticket sales proceeds.

“If they don’t find, they may resort to the CBN but it doesn’t mean that the CBN is under compulsion to provide your dollars because it is good for me to say this so that people don’t just rest on the conclusion that CBN is under compulsion to provide the dollars.” 

Recall that the issue of trapped funds had generated several reactions from aviation stakeholders and the non-repatriation of airlines revenue had grown from $450 million in May to $464 million in July. The CBN intervened by releasing $265 million to clear part of the forex backlog.

It should be recalled that earlier this month, Investors King had reported that the federal government of Nigeria sought to sanction airlines selling tickets in dollars.

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