Nigeria lost a total of N11.08 trillion in 2018 to the activities of oil thieves and illegal refining, the Nigerian Navy said on Tuesday.
According to the Navy, which stated this at its First Quarterly Media Dialogue in Abuja, 1,952 illegal crude oil refining sites in the Niger Delta were uncovered and subsequently destroyed by its troops in the region.
Navy’s Chief of Training and Operations, CTOPS, Rear Admiral Mackson Kadiri, who addressed the media, said the money was lost to maritime crimes,which he noted,included illegal oil refining and theft of other products.
While noting that illegal refining was a major threat to nation’s maritime environment, Kadiri said the activation of Operation Sweep by the service paid off.
He said: “Another threat to Nigerian maritime environment is illegal refining of crude oil.
“In response to this, in 2016, the Nigerian Navy activated what we call Operation River Sweep which is aimed at combating crude oil theft and illegal refining activities.
“In 2017, a total of 1,315 illegal refining sites were destroyed and in 2018,only 637 only were destroyed”, he said.
The nation, according to Kadiri, also lost a total of 277, 040 barrels of crude oil, 23.1 million litres of AGO, 212, 610 litres of PMS, and 1. 2 million litres of DPK to vandals and oil thieves.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has said it detained a Liquefied Petroleum Gas vessel, MT Navigator Capricorn, for contravening sections of the country’s cabotage Act as part of its efforts at clamping down on vessels that do not comply with the provisions of the Cabotage Compliance Strategy.
The agency said in a statement on Sunday: “The vessel was first boarded on October 2018 and all infractions of Cabotage non-compliance were noted and communicated accordingly to the charterer/owners representatives with a 90-day grace period to comply. The 90 days expired on January 31, 2019. It is noteworthy that the owners made an undertaking to remedy the notable infractions when the vessel was issued a detention warning in October 2018.
“While NIMASA is currently engaging the owners and charterers of the vessel on the need to comply with the laws of the land, MT Navigator Capricorn has been moved to the Lagos Anchorage to allow space for other LPG vessels to discharge at the NOJ Jetty.”
The New Cabotage Compliance Strategy, introduced in 2017 by NIMASA, is aimed at allowing more Nigerians to participate in the maritime sector and to prevent foreigners from engaging in jobs that Nigerians are qualified to execute.
Under the NCCS, waivers are denied shipping companies operating in Nigeria, who want to employ foreigners as second officers, second engineers, second mates, able seamen, ratings and stewards.
According to the Director-General, NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, special applications would be considered on merit, but on the condition that such organisation planned to train a Nigerian, and put in place a transition plan to ensure that the Nigerian took over the job within one year.
“There shall be no sacred cow when we commence clampdown on erring vessels. We want to increase the number of Nigerians who participate in the marine aspect of your business and we are working closely with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board to have a joint categorisation of vessels operating under the Cabotage Act in order to ensure the full implementation of the Act,” Peterside was quoted as saying in the statement.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Saturday in Lagos assured residents of its commitment to secure the nation as well as ensure security of lives and property during and after the general elections.
The Air Officer Commanding, NAF Logistics Command, Air Vice Marshal Abdulganiyu Adebisi, gave the assurance during the route march organised for its officers and men at the Sam Ethnam Base in Ikeja.
“The essence of the exercise is not to win prize but to foster espirit de corps and physical fitness of individuals through active participation in exercise of this nature.
“It is important that we remain both physically and mentally fit to carry out our responsibilities as the defenders of our nation’s territorial integrity and encourage the spirit of sportsmanship in our personnel.
“Let me use this medium to re-emphasise that you must all be of good conduct in the forthcoming general elections if you go out to vote.
“Don’t be found wanting of any act that constitutes a breach of electoral law as you exercise your franchise,” he said.
Adebisi further urged the personnel to carry out their duties as directed and remain good ambassadors of NAF.
On the election, Adebisi said the command would work in synergy with other security agencies within the state to ensure free, fair and credible elections.
“Lagosisans should rest assured that there will be adequate security coverage for people to go out and cast their vote in a peaceful and calm environment,” he said.
The News reports that over 200 officers, Air Men and Women, participated in the exercise which saw them march through the base to the Murtala Muhammed Airport axis and back to the base.
The federal government of Nigeria on Friday signed investment agreements with three Development Finance Institutions – Afreximbank, Bank of Industry and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) – for the development of special economic zones in the country.
With the signing, President Muhammadu Buhari, who presided over the ceremony at the Council Chambers of the Aso Rock Villa, declared that the investment company in the special economic zones (SEZ) will become operational.
“Today, we are here to witness the signing of investment agreements, following which the Nigeria SEZ Investment Company Limited will become fully operational,” he said.
The federal government set up NSEZCO Limited as a vehicle for participating in Public-Private Partnerships involving federal and state governments and local and foreign private investors to develop new Special Economic Zones all over the country, offering world-class infrastructure and facilities at competitive costs.
The projects in the pilot phase include Enyimba Economic City, Funtua Cotton Cluster and Lekki Model Industrial Park.
The three DFIs are among the five to partner with NSEZCO and the Ministry of Finance Incorporated. NSEZCO intends to raise at least $500 million in equity over the first five years in order to execute its ambitious strategy of becoming a leading investor in special economic zones in the country. The other investment partners are the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
Called Project MINE (Made in Nigeria for Exports) the development of special economic zones under the direct supervision of the President Muhammudu Buhari, is a presidential special priority intervention aimed at using the zones to attract substantial foreign and domestic investment for the development of world-class facilities dedicated to export-oriented manufacturing in a range of industries across Nigeria.
Project MINE seeks to position Nigeria as the pre-eminent manufacturing hub in sub-Saharan Africa and as a major exporter of made in Nigeria goods and services regionally and globally; as well as boosting manufacturing’s share of Gross Domestic Product to 20 per cent; generating $30 billion in annual export earnings; and creating 1.5 million new jobs all by 2025.
Muhammadu Buhari [Photo: Presidency]
Speaking at the signing ceremony, President Buhari said the federal government set up the Nigeria SEZ Investment Company Limited as a vehicle for participating in Public-Private Partnerships involving federal and state governments and local and foreign private investors to develop new Special Economic Zones all over the country. He said, the projects in the pilot phase include Enyimba Economic City, Funtua Cotton Cluster and Lekki Model Industrial Park.
The president said the federal government is implementing a comprehensive plan including: “The invitation of experienced Special Economic Zone developers and operators to partner with us to upgrade the federal government owned Free Trade Zones in Calabar and Kano, to offer world-class standards of infrastructure and facilities. Whilst we await the completion of the process of bringing in these investors, the Federal Executive Council has approved the award of contracts in excess of N19.45 billion for the needed investment in Calabar and Kano Free Trade Zones and work is currently ongoing. This is the highest amount of capital investment ever in the history of these zones.”
He said: “We have allocated substantial funds to upgrade the capabilities of our people and the systems in the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority to strengthen it as a regulator of our Special Economic Zones; and
“We are allocating substantial resources to the provision of “outside the fence” infrastructure to ensure that our Special Economic Zones are connected to global, regional and domestic markets.
“We are reviewing our incentive framework to ensure competitiveness relative to the other countries with whom we are in the race to attract export-oriented global manufacturing investment.”
He added that the federal government will extend the early successes achieved in Ease of Doing Business to the areas critical to globally competitive export-oriented manufacturing operations.
He thanked the investment partners for their “strong demonstrations of support for the important initiative.”
Okechukwu Enelamah, whose ministry, Industry, Trade and Investment is implementing Project MINE, recalled President Buhari’s choice for special economic zones to hasten industrial development and the mandate to the ministry to attract investors to participate in the project.
“This is the reason we are here today. The investors have all agreed to partner with us,” he confirmed.
He said the initial projects such as the Enyimba Economic City are underway, while a feasibility study is going on in eight states.
The signing of the agreement was done by Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank; Kayode Pitan, Managing Director of Bank of Industry and Uche Orji, Managing Director of NSIA.
Femi Edun, a director of NSEZCO and Bakari Wadinga, Director, Ministry of Finance Incorporated, signed on behalf of the company.
Speaking separately, they all thanked the federal government for the opportunity to participate in the project and said they are happy to be partners because they believe in it and are confident of its success.
Project MINE seeks to achieve the following specific objectives:
· Aid structural transformation of the Nigerian economy by increasing the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP to 20 per cent by 2025;
· Contribute to sustainable inclusive growth by creating 1.5 million new direct manufacturing jobs in the initial phase of Project MINE;
· Increase and diversify foreign exchange earnings to at least $30 billion annually by 2025, by increasing manufacturing sector exports;
· Create local models of global best practice in the provision of world-class infrastructure at competitive costs connecting SEZs to international and regional markets with transport links, uninterrupted power, ICT, water, sewage and other services to ensure smooth and efficient operation of SEZ businesses;
· Promote the “cluster” effect to be gained by locating similar export-oriented manufacturing businesses within the same locality;
· Attract world-class investors with strong positions in global supply chains and investors with the potential to increase the scale of operations rapidly to set up operations in SEZs; and
· Create an enabling environment for SEZ businesses by instituting best in class legal and regulatory frameworks, using technology and streamlined processes to facilitate movement of people, goods and capital and easy access to government services, approvals and permits.
President Muhammadu Buhari has boasted about the economic policies of his administration, saying they are meeting the desired target.
The president stated this in Lagos on Saturday in a meeting with the Lagos business community, adding that the impact of the policies can be seen in the gradual growth of the nation’s economy in the last three years
According to President Buhari, he had kept his promise to boost the economy, through blocking leakages in government finances, increasing capital expenditure and inflows, and implementing the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), among others.
‘‘I firmly believe that our economic policies are beginning to make the desired impact. Economic growth has resumed and is continuing to improve.
‘‘Growth was higher in 2017 than in 2016, data even from external sources shows that it will be higher in 2018 than in 2017. I am confident that as we stay the course, it will be better still at the end of 2019.
‘‘Inflation is coming down steadily, there is stability in the exchange rate and foreign exchange is readily available for genuine business. Foreign reserves are adequate and growing; capital inflows have increased and the trade balance is positive.
‘‘We are paying off debts that were not even publicly acknowledged before now, including those owed to States, the electricity sector, oil marketers, exporters, backlog of salaries of workers and pensioners, amongst others.
‘‘I am happy that the results of the priority we have placed on this sector are beginning to show.
‘‘Our commitment is reflected in the resources that we are providing for infrastructure. In 2016 and 2017, capital expenditure was up to N2.7 trillion while over N800m has been released under the current budget.
‘‘This has been complemented by the inception of the $650 million Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund which will focus initially on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the Second Niger Bridge, the Abuja-Kano expressway and the Mambilla hydropower plant,’’ he said.
The President also highlighted completed and ongoing projects in the transport and aviation sector, expressing delight that the rail projects are generating excitement across the country because it would help local businesses to grow.
‘‘The Abuja-Kaduna railway is up and running. The Itakpe-Warri line is being test-run before going commercial. The completed portion of the Abuja light rail project is facilitating movement to the airport.
‘‘The Lagos-Ibadan railway is nearing completion with people already taking test rides on the completed portions. We are determined to work at the same pace on the Coastal Railway Line and the line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.
‘‘We completed the repairs to the runway in Abuja in record time, and just a few weeks ago, I commissioned the Baro Inland Port. All these achievements will help Nigerian businesses to grow,’’ he said.
“On future plans to sustain the positive economic outlook, the President said the Federal Government would raise more revenue to boost the economic fundamentals and increase the level and quality of government services in support of the private sector.
‘‘I recently inaugurated a Technical Advisory Committee to identify new sources of revenue in this regard. This is also to ensure that Government at all levels have the resources to pay the new national wage, which we are indeed committed to paying.
‘‘Our economic fundamentals are strong and, in the next four years by the grace of God, we are determined to stay the course in terms of partnerships with the private sector; support to the real sector; helping small businesses, providing infrastructure and an enabling business environment,’’ he said.
President Buhari further informed the gathering that his administration has also stimulated growth in the economy by adopting and implementing new strategies to deal with the security situation in the country and tackling rampant corruption.
In what appears as a shake off of tensions around the general election, investors in Nigeria’s stock market on Thursday gained N228.1 billion as market capitalisation of equities rose to N11.722 trillion.
Anaylists had allayed fears that the market might have to wait till May, after the election, before recovering from the presumed political tensions that plunged it into sell-offs in December last year.
The market capitalisation fell below the N11tn mark from N11.72tn on December 31, 2018 but gained 1.98 per cent on Thursday, its best performance in 2019.
The All Share Index increased from 30,821.80 basis points on Wednesday to 31,433.49bps on Thursday.
Banking stocks topped both the traded stocks and value with United Bank for Africa Plc (136.8 million units), Zenith Bank (63.4 million units) and Access Bank Plc (44.4 million units) as top traded stocks by volume.
Zenith Bank (N1.5bn), GTB (N1.2bn) and UBA (N987.1m) were the top traded stocks by value.
Volume and value traded both increased by 21.8 as a total of 436.7 million shares worth N5.88bn exchanged hands in 4,047 deals while banking index, with 5.8 per cent increase on the back of gains in bellwethers, becoming the highest gainer.
Stock prices of Nestlé Nigeria Plc, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Dangote Cement Plc and Lafarge Africa Plc recorded major appreciation as the consumer goods and industrial goods indices increased by 3.4 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has said that the Federal Government recorded fiscal deficit of N910.41 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The CBN stated this in its latest economic report.
It said: “Federally-collected revenue, at N2.41tn, in the fourth quarter of 2018, was 27.4 per cent and 4.8 per cent lower than the estimate and the receipts in the preceding quarter, respectively.
“The development relative to budget estimate was due to the shortfall in receipts from both oil and non-oil revenue in the reviewed quarter. Federal Government estimated retained revenue and total expenditures were N916.44bn and N1.826tn, respectively, resulting in an estimated deficit of N910.41bn in the fourth quarter of 2018.”
According to the report, the cessation of rainfall in the period led to widespread dryness across the country.
The report also said that agricultural activities in the fourth quarter were dominated by harvesting of tubers, grains and vegetables.
“In the livestock sub-sector, farmers continued with the breeding of poultry birds and fattening of cattle in anticipation of the end of year sales,” the CBN said.
It said the end-period headline inflation on year-on-year and 12-month moving average bases for the review period were 11.44 per cent and 12.10 per cent, respectively.
The apex bank maintained a non-expansionary monetary policy stance in the fourth quarter of 2018, aimed at further curbing inflationary pressure.
Broad money supply (M3), on a quarter-on-quarter basis, grew by 8.3 per cent to N33.42tn at end-December 2018, compared with the growth of 5.1 per cent at end-September 2018.
The development, the report said reflected, wholly, the 4.5 per cent increase in domestic credit (net) of the banking system, adding that broad money supply grew by 16.6 per cent, compared with the 7.6 per cent and 0.6 per cent growth recorded at the end of the preceding quarter of 2018 and the corresponding quarter of 2017, respectively.
The report also indicated that growth in M3 was due to the 6.4 per cent and 18.5 per cent increase in domestic credit (net) and foreign assets (net) of the banking system, respectively.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis, narrow money supply (M1), rose by 9.2 per cent, compared with 0.5 per cent and 11.0 per cent at the end of the preceding quarter, due largely to the 19.4 per cent and 7.5 increase in its currency outside banks and demand deposit components, respectively.
Developments in banks’ deposit rates were mixed, while lending rates trended downwards in the review quarter.
With the exception of the one-month and three-month deposit rates which fell by 0.26 and 0.04 percentage point to 8.79 per cent and 9.43 per cent, respectively, all other deposit rates of various maturities rose from a range of 3.68 – 10.10 per cent to 3.86 – 10.52 per cent at end-December 2018.
The CBN report further stated that average savings rate remained unchanged at 4.07 per cent, same as at the end of the third quarter of 2018, while the average term deposit rate rose by 0.12 percentage points to 8.63 per cent at end of the review quarter.
President Muhammadu Buhari has announced that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will soon commence drilling for a deeper search for oil and gas in the Benue Trough.
This, he said, is the next step following the commencement of drilling in the Kolmani River area, located within Bauchi and Gombe States.
President Buhari, who made the announcement on Wednesday while addressing traditional rulers at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Makurdi, Benue State, recalled that as Minister of Petroleum in the 70s, he had seen “very interesting seismic surveys” that promised oil and gas from the Chad Basin through the Benue Trough down to the Delta region.
He said for mostly commercial reasons, investment was directed to the Niger Delta given the promise of quicker results.
He narrated past efforts by him as Military Head of State to diversify the country’s sources of oil to strengthen its unity, promising that his administration will intensify efforts in this direction.
President Buhari welcomed the observation by the Tor Tiv, His Royal Majesty, Professor James Ayatse, that peace had been restored to Benue State following the spike, sometimes back in farmers and herders’ clashes as well as the fact that the President had so far conducted a decent and peaceful campaign.
The President promised to look at requests for more roads, bridges and tertiary institutions made by the royal father.
Earlier, the Tor Tiv had expressed appreciation to President Buhari, “for the way and manner you have conducted peaceful campaign, no riots, no violence, setting good example. We had a challenging time in 2016. Thanks for your intervention, for accepting our appeal to step up security. Operation Whirl Strike has succeeded in chasing away violent herders.”
The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom in his remarks, called for free and fair elections, urging all contestants to abide by the outcome.