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Saturday, 27 April 2019
When Barack Obama took office as America's 44th president, he was faced with an acute, three pronged economic challenges.
The American financial system was in crisis to  a greater extent than at any time since 1933. 
America's international imbalances  was  on a worsening downward slide, The economy was  in  a deep  recession supercharged by falling consumer purchasing power, declining house values, and cascading business losses. 
In addition to the above mentioned, he was faced with four chronic problems viz 
A worsening  thirty years trend of inequality and insecurity Energy crisis and climate change, Increasing cost of health care Decay of America's public spaces and facilities. 
All of the above mentioned scenario sounds familiar? That was the situation in  Almighty America  barely up to 8 years ago And this is our story in Nigeria today Now you will agree with me the story has changed for America. 
America is out of recession  thanks to  a brilliant,  hardworking  and tireless  president 
How was the feat achieved ? 
He blamed the out gone republican government most especially the two George Bush for the Economic mess? 
NO ! 
He clamped  down on any discerning voice of opposition and threw them into jail  with spurious, unfounded criminal and fraud charges? 
He restored confidence in the American economy not just with inspiring words /vague promises  or as in the case with our Nigerian president by engaging in  series of" blame it on Jonathan" propaganda, but by demonstrating that help was on the way. The American economy was vigorously restructured,  
necessary stimuli were injected into the economy, the  federal government embarked on  a  more robust housing and mortgage rescue program. 
Let's learn from United States of America. 
We can kick out recession, We can jump-start the Nigerian economy But we need to be aware of the cost of borrowing because Unnecessary borrowing may further kill our economy rather than revive it.
I advocate for a moderate deficit expenditure based budget. As at January 2015  our GDP stood at $574 billion making Nigeria the largest economy in Africa  and about the 24th largest in the world. 
What Nigeria needs therefore is not a large deficit budget but an ambitious tax hike to increase government income and  an aggressive Industrialisation drive followed by massive increase in employment. 
This is what is required to stimulate the economy and drive us out of recession.
Mr Itohoimo Udosen
Public/Political Affairs Analyst
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Published in Opinion & Analysis

Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) on Thursday laid claims to the five oil wells that were gutted by fire in some communities in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State.

Reports had emerged early Thursday that five wells including, Ojumole-Ikorigho, Isan-West and Isan field, Parable field, Malu field, Ororo and Opokaba, were burning.

Sources said that the fire started in Ajegunle Ikorigho community and spread to communities like Ojumole, which is located in Ikorigho land in the local government.

Although no cause has been attributed for the inferno, CNL confirmed that the fire started last week Thursday.

In a statement on Thursday by the company’s General Manager, Policy Government and Public Affairs, Mr Esimaje Brikinn, the company said efforts were ongoing to put out the fire.

The statement read, “The operator of the joint venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the CNL confirms that at about 10pm on Thursday, April 18, 2019, a fire was observed at the Ojumole Well No. 1, an idle and plugged well with no flowline connected to it. Ojumole field is in NNPC/CNL JV’s Western Niger Delta area of operations.

“The CNL conducted an overflight to evaluate the fire and also mobilised emergency responders to assess the site, contain the fire and boom the area. In addition, CNL notified community stakeholders about the incident and also reported it to the Department of Petroleum Resources, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency and other regulatory and security authorities.

“A Joint Investigation Visit to the site of the incident on Saturday, April 20, 2019, by a team made up of regulatory agencies, community stakeholders and CNL, determined that the fire incident was caused by third-party interference. There was no impact on any of the neighbouring communities.”

Published in Business

The Federal Government of Nigeria has said it would embark on aggressive tax collection to increase revenue from the non-oil sector.

This was disclosed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday while speaking in Abuja at the opening session of the 21st annual tax conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.

At the conference with the theme, ‘Unlocking the potential of taxation,’ President Buhari was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Dutse.

The new approach, according to him, was necessary to achieve the implementation of key reforms in the country’s tax system.

He said, “Our tax system must reflect the nature of our commercial activity levels. Oil is just above 10 per cent of our GDP but it represents a disproportionate share of our tax revenue.

“We will, therefore, develop a framework that mobilises revenue from the non-oil sector. Our tax system must be dynamic in order to respond to an ever- evolving commercial landscape and to increasing technology-driven business models.

“As part of our drive to increase non-oil revenue, we have set an aggressive target for increasing tax collection. This is a reflection of the fact that the current level of compliance is low and in some cases, the effective tax rate paid by those that are compliant is lower than expected.

“On the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme, for instance, 5,122 applications were received, at the end of July 2018, when the Scheme had gone through a 12-month cycle and entered sunset.

“Out of these applications, 1,006 made full payment, 1,613 had outstanding payments to make and 2,503 fell under those who did not furnish adequate information on their tax status.

“Arising from these applications, N92.67bn tax liability was declared. N34.67bn had been paid out of declared liability. The outstanding liability of N56.81bn will be paid in instalments.

“In all, 16,906 assets were declared under VAIDS. Of these, 3,317 are immovable assets, 13,771 are moveable assets, while 205 represented intangible assets and Investments.”

Published in Bank & Finance

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says it has no plans of relocating its Gas Marketing Subsidiary, Nigerian Gas Marketing Company Limited (NGMC), from Warri to Abuja.

This was contained in a statement issued by Ndu Ughamadu, NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, in Abuja, on Friday.

Also, it clarified that supposed plans to spend N120million as yearly rent and another N294million to relocate NGMC to Abuja were false and should be discountenanced by members of the public.

Ughamadu said the clarification was necessary to correct the misleading report on the purported relocation and allocation of the huge sums of money for that purpose as broadcast in the social media by a group.

It described the misinformation by the group as malicious and capable of inciting the public, particularly NGMC’s host communities, against the company.

“NGMC remains committed to staying and executing it business operations in the Niger Delta.

“The company is poised to sustaining the existing relations between it and its esteemed stakeholders and members of the public,” the corporation added.

Meanwhile, the NNPC has also announced that it will increase the nation’s crude oil reserves to 40bn barrels and production capacity to four million barrels per day by 2025 as opposed to the target of Year 2020 set by the Federal Government.

Group Managing Director, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, on Thursday, gave the indication that the corporation was seeking to attract necessary funding from the capital market for the development of the nation’s oil and gas resources.

Baru said, “There is increasing global competition on Nigerian crude oil due to the rise of new production centres across the globe particularly in Africa and Argentina. These portend a new dimension for the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

“Nigeria, therefore, needs to unlock new barrels as quickly as possible to stay relevant in the new emerging world. Without adequate funding, we cannot meet the targets.”

Published in Business

The international oil benchmark, Brent Crude, on Monday, increased by $2.28 to $74.25 per barrel to attain its highest level since late October 2018.

This is coming after the United States President, Donald Trump, announced the decision to end waivers that allowed some countries to buy crude oil from Iran without facing US sanctions.

In 2019 alone, the Brent, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, has risen by about 40 per cent, thanks to production cuts by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

This development is expected to boost Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves, which have been increasing in recent months.

As of April 17, the reserves rose from $42.296bn on February 28 to $44.736bn.

Meanwhile, the 2019 budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari had benchmarked oil price at $60 per barrel with a targeted daily production of 2.3 million barrels.

Published in Business

In a bid to fulfil requirements to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, MTN Nigeria has changed its status from a private company to a public liability company (PLC).

MTN had previously announced that it looks to list on the NSE before July, saying it plans to enter the market by way of listing by introduction.

The telecoms company in a statement on Wednesday said the listing is part of its commitment to localization in the markets in which it operates, adding that it would create a new telecoms asset class for investors and provide a wider group of Nigerians with a chance to participate in the MTN investment opportunity.

Speaking on the announcement, the MTN Chief Executive Officer, Ferdi Moolman, commented, “Our conversion to a Plc is a major step towards listing by introduction on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in the first half of 2019.

“It is a reaffirmation of our long-term commitment to expanding investment opportunities for Nigerians, in addition to providing everyday services to them. We look forward to continuing our engagement with the SEC and NSE to take forward the listing process.”

A listing on the NSE was one of the conditions reached in the resolution of a N330 billion fine placed on the telco by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for its inability to disconnect improperly registered SIM cards.

For the year ended 2018, the company had announced the addition of 6 million new subscribers and a revenue of N965 billion.

The results, which were announced in March 2019, showed that data revenue grew by 39.3% while internet subscribers grew to 18.7 million.

Published in Telecoms
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