- Palm Oil: Producers Fault 9% Interest on Loans
Local palm oil producers in the country have reacted to the 9 percent interest rate charged by the Central Bank of Nigeria on Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
According to them, the interest rate was too high and may not spur growth in the sector as the central bank had expected.
The Central Bank had restricted importers of palm oil from accessing forex at the official rate and launched a low-cost loan through the Anchor Borrowers Programme and the Commercial Agro Credit Scheme to stimulate growth in the industry.
However, local palm oil producers were saying operating tree crops with four-year maturity on a 9 percent per annum interest-loan would be suicidal even with the two-year moratorium.
Henry Olatujoye, the National President, National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria, said the interest rate was too high.
He said, “If one obtains a minimum loan of N1bn at an interest rate of nine per cent, one would be paying N90m every year.
“It takes four years for oil palm tree to fruit. It then means that the person will pay N360m on interest alone by the time the fruits come out.”
Olatujoye later adviced government to adopt the Malaysian model in growing the palm oil subsector.
He said, “In Malaysia and other countries that are large producers, the government invests in oil palm plantations belonging to individuals and families.
“They fund the plantations, paying family members every year to plant the crop under a special arrangement.
“In other parts, the interest on loan for palm oil is two per cent or less.”
Dr Victor Iyama, the National President, Federation of All Commodities Association of Nigeria, supports Olatujoye position.
He explained that the nine percent interest rate could only work with crops with three to four months gestation period and not crops with four years minimum.
He, however, suggested that the interest rate should be reduced to four percent to stimulate growth and encourage participation.
He said, “Ideally, agriculture loan should not attract interest rate of more than two per cent. In Japan and China, agriculture loan attracts interest rate of less than two per cent.
“If the interest on ABP is nine per cent; at what point should the borrowers start paying? Unless the interest will mature in four years when the crops start yielding; if not, then it is not sustainable.
“Tree crops should have special rate of interest and should not be included in the category of other crops in the ABP. Maybe they should attract four per cent interest rate (which is even too high) because of the peculiar situation in Nigeria.”
Brent Crude Oil Maintains $43 Per Barrel Despite Surge in US Inventories
Brent Crude Oil Sustains Upsurge Despite Rising US Inventories
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, sustained its upsurge at $43 per barrel on Wednesday during the London trading session despite a report showing a build-up in the U.S. crude inventories in the week ended July 3, 2020.
According to the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA) report released on Tuesday, crude oil production in the U.S is expected to decline by just 70,000 barrels per day from the 670,000 bpd previously predicted to 600,000 bpd.
While this was below the projected decline, it also points to a build-up in U.S stockpiles and suggested that oil production from the world’s largest economy may not decline as previously projected in 2020.
“The EIA’s forecast of a lower decline in U.S. output was partially offset by its outlook for firm demand recovery, which limited losses in oil markets,” Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager of research at Nissan Securities said.
“Still, expectations that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies would taper oil output cuts from August and softer U.S. equities added to pressure,” he said.
The EIA projected that global oil demand will recover through the end of 2021 as demand was predicted to hit 101.1 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter of the year.
Illegal Withdrawals: Rep To Investigate NNPC, NLNG Over $1.05bn
Rep To Investigate NNPC, NLNG Over Illegal Withdrawal of $1.05bn from NLNG Account
The Nigerian House of Representatives has concluded plans to investigate illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from the account of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The decision followed the adoption of a motion titled ‘Need to Investigate the Illegal Withdrawals from the NLNG Dividends Account by the Management of NNPC’ moved by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, on Tuesday.
The House adopted the motion and mandated its Committee on Public Accounts to “invite the management of the NNPC as well as that of the NLNG, to conduct a thorough investigation on activities that have taken place on the dividends account and report back to the House in four weeks.”
Elumelu said, “The House is aware that the dividends from the NLNG are supposed to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Funds account of the Federal Government and to be shared amongst the three tiers of government.
“The House is worried that the NNPC, which represents the government of Nigeria on the board of the NLNG, had unilaterally, without the required consultations with states and the mandatory appropriation from the National Assembly, illegally tampered with the funds at the NLNG dividends account to the tune of $1.05bn, thereby violating the nation’s appropriation law.
“The House is disturbed that there was no transparency in this extra-budgetary spending, as only the Group Managing Director and the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer had the knowledge of how the $1.05bn was spent.
“The House is concerned that there are no records showing the audit and recovery of accrued funds from the NLNG by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, hence the need for a thorough investigation of the activities on the NLNG dividends account.”
FG Gives Radio, Tv Stations Debt Relief, Writes Off 60 Percent Debt
FG Reduces Tv, Radio Stations Licence Fee by 30%, Writes Off 60% Debt
The Federal Government has reduced the existing licence fee paid by all open terrestrial radio and television stations by 30 percent.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on Monday.
He said the Federal Government has also decided to write off 60 percent of the N7 billion loan owed the government by television and radio stations.
He explained that the N7 billion is the total outstanding from television and radio stations on the renewal of their operating licences.
Mohammed, however, said for any station to benefit from the 60 percent debt relief, such a station must be ready and willing to pay the remaining 40 percent within the next three months.
According to him, the debt relief offer would open on July 10th and close on the 6th of October.
Mohammed said, “According to the NBC, many Nigerian radio and television stations remain indebted to the Federal Government to the tune of N7bn.
“Also, many of the stations are faced with the reality that their licences will not be renewed, in view of their indebtedness.
“Against this background, the management of the NBC has therefore recommended, and the Federal Government has accepted, the following measures to revamp the broadcast industry and to help reposition it for the challenges of business, post-COVID-19:
“(a) 60 per cent debt forgiveness for all debtor broadcast stations in the country; (b) the criterion for enjoying the debt forgiveness is for debtor stations to pay 40 per cent of their existing debt within the next three months.
“(c) Any station that is unable to pay the balance of 40 per cent indebtedness within the three-month window shall forfeit the opportunity to enjoy the stated debt forgiveness.
“(d) The existing license fee is further discounted by 30 per cent for all open terrestrial radio and television services effective July 10, 2020.
“(e) The debt forgiveness shall apply to functional licensed terrestrial radio and television stations only. (f) The debt forgiveness and discount shall not apply to pay TV service operators in Nigeria.”
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