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Author: John Ndibe

July petrol pump price ranges between N140.80 and N143.80

By Tanko Mohammed

Performing its advisory role on petrol pump price, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), has fixed the pump price at between N140.80 and N143.80 per litre for the month of July.

Executive Secretary of the Agency Abdulkadir Saidu disclosed this in a memo to all Petroleum Products marketers released in Abuja on Wednesday.

The memo was titled `Advised price for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in the month of July 2020.’

“After a review of the prevailing market fundamentals in the month of June and considering marketers realistic operating cost, as much as practicable, we wish to advise that a new PMS pump price band of N140.80 toN143.80 per litre be for the month of July.

“All marketers are advised to operate within the indicative prices as advised by the PPPRA,’’ he said.

He added that the ex-depot for collection include the statutory charges of bridging fund, maritime transport average, National Transport Allowance and administrative charges.

Since April, PPPRA had continue to issue a monthly price band of PMS for marketers.

In June, there was a slight reduction as the price was fixed at N121.50 per litre from N123.50 in May.

The July new price is N20.30 higher than the June price of N121.50 per litre.

Abdulkadir, stated this in a statement in Abuja, on June 28, 2020 stated that the agency would constantly, on a monthly basis, develop a guiding price for the commodity, with which it would advise marketers.

He noted that the deregulation of the downstream sector was dependent on the enforcement of appropriate laws by strong regulatory agencies, hence its continued intervention.

“For the purpose of emphasis, let me reiterate that different sectors of the polity operate under the guidance of national regulators.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) regulates the banks and the financial sector; Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) regulates telecommunications; National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) regulates the insurance sector and the same exists for operators in Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sector.

“To this end, it is not out of place for the Agency to provide a guiding price band with the aim to protect consumers against price gouging.

“It is important to also state that there is nowhere in the world that deregulation means total lack of control, supervision or oversight.

“While the Market-Based Pricing Regime is a policy introduced to free the market of all encumbrances to investment and growth, it should not be misconstrued to mean a total abdication of government’s responsibility to the sector and citizenry,” he said.

Abdulkadir said that the PPPRA no longer fix prices, but rather provide a guiding price band by monitoring petroleum products prices daily.

This, he said was being done using the average price of the previous month to determine prices for the following month, for appropriate cost-reflective pricing that ensures reasonable returns to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs).

“This methodology is in line with international best practices which range from bi-monthly to monthly price reviews.

“Nigeria adopted the monthly review model considering the average duration for the importation of petroleum products into Nigeria from the closest spot market; North West Europe (NWE) to West Africa (WAF) is about 30 days.

“This period encompasses the Import Financing Process to delivery at retail outlets,” he added

Nigeria assesses oil reserves, moves to spur domestic use of LPG

By Tanko Mohammed

Nigeria has witnessed a slight increase in natural gas reserve and a dip in crude oil as the country makes move to increase domestic consumption of Liquefied Natural Gas (LPG).

The natural gas reserve had become 203.16trillion cubic feet (tcf), while crude oil reserve is 36.89 billion barrels (bb) as at Jan. 1, 2020.

Mr Sarki Auwalu, Director of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), said on June 4, 2020 in an online interactive that there had been a marginal increase of 1.16tcf in proven natural gas reserves representing 0.57 per cent increase from previous 202tcf recorded on Jan. 1, 2019.

According to him, the DPR has set new targets of 210tcf by 2025 and 220tcf by 2030.

Crude oil reserves, he said, declined by 82 million barrels representing 0.22 percentage decrease when compared to the 36.97 billion barrels recorded during the same period in 2019.

He said the on-going bid for 57 marginal oil fields being conducted by the regulatory agency on behalf of Nigeria is to boost the full utilisation of the fields.

”These are fields that have been unutilised and we believe that this was overdue because the last time Nigeria did bid round for the marginal fields was in 2003.

“Between that time and now, a lot of professionals have come into the industry and some companies who were among the 24 successful companies are now considered oil producing companies.

” So, there is a lot of appetite to invest in Nigeria and the government also needs revenue because the benchmark for the 2020 budget has been revised to $27 per barrel.”

The bidding, only for indigenous  companies, he reported would help in boosting the Nigerian economy and also create jobs.

 “The bidders were given awards and not licences, and they were to develop the fields within 10 years. Some of these companies failed to achieve the conditions for the awards. In 2013, they were granted an extension to 2015.

“Thereafter, another extension was granted to them till 2018  and they could not bring the field to production.

“Technically, the government is losing, so that is why they were brought back for bidding and it is an opportunity for the previous bidders to bid again and have another 10 years to develop them again.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria has reported that its cylinder recirculation model is aimed at improving safety and reducing cost to increase usage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), also known as cooking gas.

Ms Brenda Ataga, Project Coordinator of National Gas Expansion Programme, Office of the Minister of State for Petroleum, said on June 4 in a Webinar of stakeholders,  that the model was part of the strategic framework for the implementation of the National Gas Policy.

 “Government has taken a position that to increase the acceptability concept of the LPG, it will introduce into the market, the model known as the cylinder recirculation model.

“This is to eliminate the bulk cost of switching from kerosene and fossil fuel to LPG. So, the intention is to break that barrier with LPG cost,  to make sure that the bulk cost to the end users who require switching is affordable.

“For most people, cost is a real issue. For most people, safety is a real issue, and that is what is being addressed by this strategy that was announced,” Ataga said.

Also, Mr Dayo Adeshina, Programme Manager, National LPG Expansion and Implementation Plan, Office of the Vice President,  noted that LPG penetration in Nigeria was still at five per cent.

Adeshina said Nigeria made a lot of progress in LPG consumption from about 70, 000MTPA in 2007 to over a million MT in 2019.

According to him,  60 per cent of the population use firewood for cooking, 30 per cent use kerosene,  five per cent use charcoal while five per cent use LPG.

Adeshina said apart from household consumption, the government was also moving to increase LPG usage in areas such as agriculture, transportation and manufacturing

He said  this would enable Nigeria to reduce CO2 emission by about 20 per cent and create about 450,000 direct jobs.

Adeshina noted that actualising the target would require infrastructure development, including establishment of 3,000 LPG plants, procurement of 10,000 trucks, 5,000 Bridgers as well as additional skids.

Mrs Audrey Joe-Ezigbo,  President,  Nigeria Gas Association, said increasing domestic utilisation of LPG was a difficult challenge that required collaboration between government, its agencies and the private investors.

She said LPG was one of the agents of economic transformation,  stressing that this could be achieved through a broad LPG policy that protected investment in the sector.

Mr Nuhu Yakubu, President, Nigeria LPG Association,  said the proper implementation of the National Gas Transportation Network Code (NGTNC) would help Nigeria realise its gas potential.

Yakubu said that transportation played a major part in deciding the price of LPG  in Nigeria, hence cheaper transportation would translate to cheaper LPG, which would encourage more patronage.

He also called for increase in domestic supply of LPG to the domestic market from the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company and other oil majors in the country to meet rising demand of the product.

On his part, Mr Michael Kelly, Deputy Managing Director, World LPG Association (WLPGA) said the organisation would continue to support Nigeria’s efforts to deepen LPG penetration.

Kelly said achieving the objective required clear government regulations and enforcement of such regulations, as well as provision of infrastructure to encourage investments in the sector.

Ghana disburses $200m loan for cocoa production

By Tanko Mohammed

Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and lenders have welcomed the first disbursement of $200 million of a syndicated loan facility to boost cocoa productivity in the world’s second-largest producer.

The occasion was marked by a ceremony held in Accra, followed online by hundreds of observers across the globe.

In attendance were COCOBOD and government representatives and participating lenders, which African Development Bank (AfDB), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Development Bank of Southern Africa and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Spa. Commercial lenders were represented by Credit Suisse AG, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, London Branch.

The $600 million syndicated loan agreement was signed in November last year at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg. JICA and the African Development Bank agreed to provide $3.5 billion in joint financing under the fourth phase of the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa Initiative.

“There are challenges with productivity in the country’s cocoa production, as well as with the systems in place for processing and the distribution of cocoa. By strengthening the cocoa bean-centric agricultural value chain and related industries, the facility will help COCOBOD to contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goals,” said COCOBOD CEO Joseph Boahen Aidoo.

COCOBOD will use the facility to raise cocoa yields per hectare and increase Ghana’s overall production. Activities under the facility will include the allocation of financing to sustainably increase cocoa plant fertility, improve irrigation systems, and rehabilitate aged and disease-infected farms. The funds will also help increase warehouse capacity and provide support to local cocoa-processing companies.

“African countries like Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire produce nearly three quarters of the global supply of cocoa. This significant Bank-facilitated loan to COCOBOD aims to improve the quantity and quality of local processing, boosting incomes of local farmers and their communities and generating new and better jobs,” said African Development Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr. Jennifer Blanke, ahead of the event.

In March of this year, after the close of the syndication process, an amended agreement brought on board the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Development Bank of Southern Africa and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Spa, and other commercial lenders.

“This loan marks the first time JICA and the African Development Bank will be providing direct co-financing under the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa initiative (EPSA4) as well as being the first non-sovereign project,” said Chief Representative of JICA Ghana, Yasumichi Araki. “JICA will continue to commit to the cocoa industry in Ghana through innovative interventions to COCOBOD.”

JICA has supported COCOBOD to build capacity to quality-test cocoa beans. Ghana supplies 70% of all cocoa beans imported into Japan and cocoa is seen as one of the nation’s most essential import commodities.

The Development Bank of Southern Africa is also partnering with COCOBOD to further enhance Ghana’s position as one of the leading producers of cocoa in the world.

NSE resumes on positive note in second half of 2020

By Tanko Mohammed

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has resumed for the second half of the year on a positive trend, growing by 0.47 per cent.

Specifically, the All-Share Index inched higher by 115.83 points or 0.47 pe cent to close at 24,595.05 against 24,479.22 recorded on Tuesday.

Also, the market capitalisation grew by N61 billion to close at N12.830 trillion against N12.769 trillion achieved on Tuesday.

The upturn was impacted by gains recorded in large and medium capitalised stocks, amongst which are; BUA Cement, Cadbury, Lafarge Africa, Sterling Bank and PZ Cussons.

Analysts at Afrinvest Limited expected bargain hunting to lift the benchmark index in subsequent trading session.

Analysts at APT Securities and Funds Limited said: “We expect a slow down in market activity in a short while before positive rally picks up in mid to long term owing to anticipating half year earnings release.”

Cadbury dominated the gainers’ chart in percentage terms with a gain of 9.63 per cent, to close at N7.40, per share.

Sterling Bank came second with 9.60 per cent to close at N1.37, per share.

Chams and Japaul Oil rose by 9.52 per cent each to close at 23k per share each, while BUA Cement appreciated by 8.53 per cent to close at N42, per share.

Conversely, Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals led the losers’ chart in percentage terms, dropping by 9.70 per cent, to close at N1.49, per share.

Learn Africa followed with a loss of 7.69 per cent to close at N1.08, while Wapic Insurance declined by 5.71 per cent to close at 33k, per share.

Wema Bank dipped 3.70 per cent to close at 52k, while Jaiz Bank shed 3.51 per cent to close at 55k, per share.

Transactions in the shares of Wapic Insurance led the activity chart with 30.28 million shares valued at N11.19 billion.

UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust accounted for 22.79 million shares worth N79.68 million, while United Bank for Africa traded 20.20 million shares valued at N123.51million.

Transcorp sold 19.38 million shares worth N12.76 million, while Chams transacted 11.65 million shares valued at N2.59 million.

In all, the volume of shares traded as investors bought and sold 198.01 million shares, worth N1.04 billion exchanged in 3,772 deals.

This was in contrast with a total of 280.67 million shares valued at N3.14 billion achieved in 4,464 deals on Tuesday.

New MD tasks NEPZA’s staff on work ethics

By Chris Ndibe

 Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, new Managing Director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), has urged members of staff of the agency to improve on their work ethics to optimise the contribution of the Agency to the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Adesugba made the call when he addressed the maiden meeting with Management staff in Abuja.

He explained that NEPZA provided the country with sufficient escape route for economic recovery Post COVID-19.

A statement by the Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA, Mr Martins Odeh, said quoted Adesugba that the authority’s success or failure would be measured by its actions or in-actions in this crucial period of economic downturn caused by the prevailing pandemic.

He appealed to the management staff of the organisation to see his appointment as a blessing to the sector, adding that the workforce must work as a team and one family to achieve any meaningful results.

“I have years of experience working with government establishments.

“My exposure to agencies like Customs, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission, National Association of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture and as a Legal Practitioner has indeed made me an industry player.

“I shall be bringing my experience to bear so that we can support the government to improve on its revenue derive, especially in the non-oil sector.

“I am prepared to run an open process where the contribution of all shall be measured, tested and applied for the overall good of the Authority,’’ Adesugba said.

He also advised the management to ensure strict compliance with the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) cautionary instruction to avoid the spread of COVID-19 among the workforce, adding that the pandemic was wrecking havoc on human population.

Mr Bitrus Dawuk, the immediate past Acting Managing-Director, said the management staff and the workforce would cooperate with the new MD to take NEPZA to the zenith.

Dawuk who is the director of finance of the agency expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to serve, adding that he would take steps to galvanise support for the MD to lessen his workload.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Niyi Adebayo during the MD’s formal inauguration earlier, expressed confidence in Adesugba’s capacity to deliver on the job.

Aaccording to Adebayo, NEPZA requires close supervision to drive the country’s economy.

“I once again congratulate the new NEPZA MD on his appointment and we hope that you would not disappoint the ministry.

“Remember that NEPZA is a parastatal under the ministry, and therefore, must carry out aspirations of the ministry that would help in growing our economy.

“NEPZA’s successes or failures would always naturally rob-off on the ministry, so the ministry will not be quiet when things are going wrong,’’ the minister said.