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Cement Prices to Drop to N7,000 – N8,000 Per Bag After Govt. Meeting

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Following a high-level meeting between government officials and major cement manufacturers, consumers across Nigeria can anticipate a significant drop in cement prices with bags expected to retail between N7,000 and N8,000.

The agreement, brokered after discussions chaired by Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, seeks to alleviate the financial burden on citizens amidst escalating cement costs.

The decision comes amid soaring retail prices, which had surged to approximately N13,000 per bag in areas like the Federal Capital Territory and Enugu.

Umahi expressed deep concern over the exorbitant rates, attributing them to wholesalers reselling to retailers at inflated prices.

During the three-hour deliberation directed by President Bola Tinubu, various challenges confronting the cement industry were addressed.

These encompassed gas shortages, high import duties, smuggling activities, and poor road networks, all of which had contributed to the price hike.

Manufacturers emphasized the need for government intervention to mitigate these impediments and foster an environment conducive to affordable pricing.

Despite initial resistance, cement producers, including Dangote Plc, BUA Plc, and Lafarge Plc, pledged to adhere to the agreed-upon price range nationwide.

The meeting concluded with a commitment to reconvene in 30 days to evaluate the progress achieved.

The Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, assured continued collaboration with industries to streamline operations and eliminate bottlenecks hindering the backward integration program.

BUA Group’s Executive Director, Kabiru Rabiu, disclosed plans to supply an additional six million tonnes of cement to alleviate supply shortages and reduce price pressures.

The resolution represents a concerted effort by the government and stakeholders to ensure accessibility to essential construction materials, underscoring the commitment to economic stability and affordability for Nigerian citizens.

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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Nigeria-Indonesia Oil Trade Hits $3.8bn in 2023

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The value of Nigeria’s crude oil and gas exports to Indonesia rose to $3.8 billion in 2023, according to the Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Usra Harahap.

This substantial trade figure underscores the robust economic ties between the two nations, particularly in the energy sector.

During a courtesy visit to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nicholas Ella, in Abuja, Ambassador Harahap expressed Indonesia’s keen interest in further deepening its collaboration with Nigeria.

This visit marked an effort to build on nearly six decades of diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries.

“We are looking for ways to maintain and improve the beneficial cooperation and relationship that we have held for the past 59 years,” said Harahap.

He highlighted that the oil and gas sector remains a focal point of mutual interest and emphasized the need for enhanced collaboration.

According to a statement issued by Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa, the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations at the petroleum ministry, the Indonesian ambassador called for a resumption of discussions on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the oil and gas sector.

These discussions had been suspended since 2017. The ambassador also cited an offer from Enugu State to build a 500-megawatt gas power plant as a potential area for collaboration.

In response, Permanent Secretary Ella reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to strengthening its relationship with Indonesia. He acknowledged Indonesia’s role as a significant partner in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector and expressed optimism about exploring further avenues for cooperation.

“Indonesia has been a good friend to Nigeria,” Ella stated. “This visit will help improve the relationship between our countries in promoting Nigeria’s oil and gas for mutual benefits.”

Nigeria’s oil and gas exports are crucial for its economy, providing the bulk of its foreign exchange earnings. In 2023, the country generated a record N29 trillion from crude oil exports, marking a 37 percent increase from the previous year.

This surge is attributed to a combination of higher oil production and the devaluation of the Nigerian currency, which made oil exports more profitable.

While the oil and gas sector continues to be a cornerstone of Nigeria’s economy, officials recognize the importance of diversifying the economy to ensure long-term stability.

The ongoing discussions with Indonesia are part of broader efforts to enhance international partnerships and leverage Nigeria’s energy resources for sustainable economic growth.

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President Tinubu’s New Year Gift: Free Abuja Light Rail Rides Extended

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President Bola Tinubu announced the extension of free rides on the Abuja Light Rail until the end of the year.

This announcement was made on Wednesday during the re-launch of commercial operations on the Abuja Light Rail, with several key political figures in attendance, including the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike.

The initiative, initially introduced by Minister Wike during a recent ministerial press briefing on President Tinubu’s 12-month performance, initially offered a two-month free ride period.

However, President Tinubu has extended this benefit until December 31st, calling it a gift to the people of Nigeria to help them celebrate and ease transportation challenges.

“Our dear Landlord, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), I have heard you say there will be free train rides for two months. I want to appeal to you to make it until the end of the year. Let us give the people reasons to celebrate,’’ President Tinubu declared.

President Tinubu praised the reopening of the Abuja Metro Line as a significant milestone, lauding Minister Wike for the timely completion of the project. Following his comments, the President, along with the FCT Minister, Vice President Kashim Shettima, Senate President Godswill Akpabio, Speaker of the House of Representatives Tajudeen Abbas, Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, members of the Federal Executive Council, and other dignitaries, took a 40-minute ride from the metro station to the airport station.

Minister Wike, in his address, highlighted the rapid progress made on the metro line following President Tinubu’s directive in September 2023.

He noted that although the metro line was inaugurated in 2018, it remained non-functional due to the lack of essential access roads.

The project was completed within nine months, with the Central Bank of Nigeria, in collaboration with the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, the Minister of Finance, and the Accountant General of the Federation, facilitating the payment of $30 million to the contractors, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). The construction of the access roads cost N21.4 billion.

Providing further details, the FCT Mandate Secretary for Transportation, Chinedu Elechi, stated that the Abuja Metro Line has 12 trains, each capable of carrying at least 700 passengers, making 14 trips per day.

He added that Lot 1 and 2 of the metro line would run two trips simultaneously every day, with a cumulative capacity of transporting 980,000 passengers monthly within the Federal Capital Territory.

This extension of free rides is expected to significantly benefit the residents of Abuja, offering them a reliable and cost-effective mode of transportation while also encouraging more people to use public transit.

The move underscores President Tinubu’s commitment to improving infrastructure and public services, enhancing the quality of life for Nigerians, and fostering economic growth through better connectivity.

As the year progresses, the continued free service on the Abuja Light Rail is anticipated to be a cornerstone of the city’s transportation network, easing traffic congestion and providing a modern, efficient alternative for daily commuters.

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Nigeria Aims for N2 Trillion Annual Revenue from Marine and Blue Economy by 2027

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Nigeria has set an ambitious target of generating N2 trillion in annual revenue from this sector by the year 2027.

The revelation came from the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, during an ongoing ministerial briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.

Outlined within a comprehensive strategy, the plan involves a three-pronged approach to significantly increase revenue generation and operational efficiency within the marine sector.

Oyetola highlighted the imperative of automating revenue collection processes to eradicate bottlenecks and enhance transparency and accountability.

By deploying revenue assurance technologies, the aim is to ensure accurate billing aligned with established contracts and services rendered, thereby preventing revenue leakage.

The ministry plans to commission revenue enhancement studies targeting various departments and agencies to identify avenues for maximizing the use of existing assets.

This includes leveraging concessions to the private sector and fostering public-private partnerships to ensure efficient utilization of national assets.

Recognizing the vast potential of the blue economy, Nigeria intends to embark on investment promotion campaigns aimed at both domestic and international investors.

This strategy seeks to unlock new revenue streams within the marine sector, paving the way for sustainable economic growth.

Minister Oyetola emphasized the importance of harnessing Nigeria’s marine and blue economy, noting its significant role in driving economic diversification and reducing dependency on traditional sectors.

He underscored the government’s commitment to fostering an enabling environment for investment and innovation within the sector.

The ambitious revenue target reflects Nigeria’s determination to tap into its vast marine resources, which have long been underutilized.

With strategic planning and concerted efforts, the country aims to position itself as a key player in the global blue economy, unlocking opportunities for sustainable development and prosperity.

As Nigeria charts its course towards achieving this ambitious goal, stakeholders across government, industry, and civil society will play a pivotal role in driving forward the necessary reforms and initiatives to realize the full potential of the marine and blue economy.

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