The Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Abdulkadir Saidu has commended the efforts of the Federal Government, industry operators and regulators in deepening the utilization of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG). According to him, the effort is paying off in the penetration in the country.
The Executive Secretary made this disclosure in Abuja in a statement he issued on Sunday.
According to him, while domestic utilization ranged between 40,000MT and 54, 000MT from January to April 2018, July 2019 monthly utilization hit 78,000MT.
He said: “this figure is expected to increase in the months ahead as some of government and industry initiatives take root.
“Correspondingly, there has been a steady decrease in kerosene utilization within the same period indicating that Nigerians are increasingly finding value in the switch to LPG from House Hold kerosene for cooking and other domestic purposes.”
Speakin further, he said: “The rapid growth in LPG utilization is in fulfillment of the vision of the government on deepening LPG utilization in the country as encapsulated in the National Gas Policy 2017.”
He assured that government, regulators, operators and other stakeholders will remain focused on the formulation and implementation of a stream of policies that will see to the actualisation of the 5 million Metric Tons cumulative target by the year 2022.
NSE opens week negative, loses N190bn
The equities market closed yesterday on a negative note, to commence the weekly trading activities on the downswing after the market closed last Friday positive.
The market performance indices, NSE ASI depreciated by 0.59 per cent.
The downswing according to market watchers was due to profit takings by investors.
Consequently, the All-Share Index dropped by 160.59 basis points or 0.59 per cent from 26,851.68 index points last Friday to 26,691.09 while the market capitalisation of equities depreciated by N190 billion to close at N12.882 trillion from N13.071 trillion.
On the activity chart, premium sub-sector dominated in volume terms with 88.6 million shares exchanged in 2,058 deals. The sub sector was enhanced by the activities in the shares of Zenith Bank Plc and UBA Plc.
Banking sub-sector boosted by the activities on the shares of Fidelity Plc and Wema Bank Plc followed with 32.3 million units traded in 649 deals.
In all, investors exchanged a total of 307.9 million shares exchanged in 4,609 deals.
Further analysis of the day’s trading showed that Neimeth Pharmaceuticals Plc led the gainers chart with 10 per cent to close at 44 kobo per share while Jaiz Bank Plc followed with 9.89 per cent to close at 78 kobo per share and Ikeja Hotel Plc with a gain of 9.47per cent to close at N1.04 per share.
On the flip side, Wema Bank Plc led the losers’ chart with a drop of 7.89 per cent to close at 70 kobo per share. FCMB Plc followed with a loss of 7.50 per cent to close at N1.85 per share while Caverton Nigeria Plc dropped by 7.41 per cent to close at N2.50 per share.
Waning hope for national carrier
Nigeria has tried unsuccessfully to set up a national airline and is ready to pour money into the project. How realistic is the agenda for the a new national airline for Nigeria? WOLE SHADARE writes
In 2014 before he was elected, President Muhammadu Buhari made the setting up of national carrier one of his priorities if he got to be elected as Nigeria’s president.
Five years has gone past and the country is yet to be bequeathed with one of the promises of Mr. President.
The President did not forget he made such promise.
Since he assumed office, his ministers in charge of aviation and transportation have pursued the project vigorously but it has been described as one step forward, many steps backward not for wont of not taking steps but they have not been clear cut.
It is heartbroken that one of the few countries that started the race with Nigeria has progressed better than Nigeria and has actually set up its own national airlines because of the huge gaps domestic airlines have not been able to fill.
Amid slow pace of action on setting up national carrier for Nigeria, some stakeholders even suggested that Arik and Aero Contractors, two airlines that technically belong to the Federal Government, be merged to make it easier if government is in a conundrum on what to do after boxing itself into a corner.
Minister expresses hope
But the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, would not even discuss that because of the huge liability of the two airlines.
Sirika looks more determined to match his words with actions. He looks committed to delivering on this huge project and has not hidden his determination to achieve this.
The buzz around what people described as a wonderful idea if the government pulls it through is waning as this may end up as another failed project considering the fact that the governments before now had tried unsuccessfully to give the country a national airline, which has divided opinion among those who believe in the idea and others who see it as an unprofitable venture.
State airlines boom
Uganda is the latest African country to pour money into a national carrier. But the aviation industry faces some particularly tough conditions on the continent before it can turn a profit.
Just over three months, a plane belonging to the newly revived Uganda Airlines lifted off from Entebbe for its maiden flight. Fifty minutes later, the jet full of dignitaries landed safely in Nairobi, the capital of neighbouring Kenya.
Ugandans took to Twitter and Facebook to celebrate the successful flight of the Bombardier CRJ-900, one of two such planes currently flying for the relaunched national carrier.
“In some ways this airline is beginning to feel like we are sending someone on the moon if you look at the reactions online,” Angelo Izama, a Ugandan journalist, said.
It’s taken Uganda nearly two decades to get its national carrier back in the skies – the airline was grounded in 2001 after years of losses.
Its relaunch has sparked national pride, with President Museveni describing the inaugural flight as a “historic moment” for all Ugandans.
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda hopes the new carrier will also contribute to the economy.
Ugandans spend $450 million ($405 million) flying with foreign airlines, he said at the inaugural ceremony. That money could rather flow to Uganda.
African countries resurrect airlines
Like Uganda, a number of African countries are championing the idea of a national carrier and are either planning to resurrect their state airlines or pouring money into expanding their fleet and routes.
Ghana, which has been without a state airline since the collapse of Ghana International Airways in 2010, is planning a new national carrier in partnership with Ethiopian Airlines.
In a similar deal, Zambia plans to relaunch its state carrier in late 2019 more than two decades after it was shut down.
Senegal commenced domestic flights with its newly revived national carrier, Air Senegal, in 2018 while Tanzania has announced plans to buy new Airbus jets in order to increase the routes of its state-owned national carrier.
On the one hand, the air passenger market in Africa shows great potential. More Africans are flying than ever before and the numbers are expected to grow by five per cent annually in the next 20 years.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that the continent will see 274 million air passengers by 2036.
People are flying for tourism and also for education or for medical treatment. And a large part is for business reasons.
It’s also an underserved market. It can be necessary to fly from one African country to a neighbouring nation via hubs such Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, Nairobi – or even via Europe or Dubai – because there are no direct flights. African carriers could help fill these connection gaps.
Industry experts also say for African carriers to succeed, the continent needs an open-skies agreement to free up the aviation sector from protectionism.
But so far only 28 African countries have signed the Single African Air Transport Market and only ten of these have begun changing their own laws to implement the deal.
Costly national carriers
National carriers are also costly to run. According to IATA projections, African airlines will lose $100 million this year and most state-owned flag carriers in the region are losing money.
Ethiopian Airlines is sub-Saharan Africa’s only profitable large state-owned airline. Carrying 11 million passengers in 2017, it serves over a hundred destinations on all five continents.
South African Airways, one of the continent’s biggest airlines, has been making massive losses since 2011 and has only survived thanks to huge government bailouts.
The airline is also without a permanent chief executive and has yet to file annual results for the two most recent financial years because of concerns about its viability as a business, reports Reuters.
Anxiety mixed with palpable joy could best describe plan by the Federal Government to put in motion process that would help to establish a national carrier for the country. Apparently worried by loss of huge revenue from the aviation industry, the government had concluded plans to regain some grounds by floating a national carrier before the end of 2018.
It was unpleasant revelation recently that Nigeria has been losing more than $1.5bilion yearly from the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) because of non-utilisation of its international flights allotments. Such a report is a call to duty for any responsive government to find the best way to recover such losses or reduce it. And since from the onset, he (Buhari) has shown the zeal in the possibility of returning the national carrier, the BASA report and others like it, have made it ideal and created appropriate time for something to be done.
First and foremost, it is worth mentioning that the majority of countries in Africa and possibly in the world have national carriers with ownership ranging from private entities to a majority or minority state ownership shareholding.
It remains to be seen if the proposed national carrier will bring the hope for return on Nigeria’s investment.
Seplat, stakeholders harp on pitfalls for FCCP Act
Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc has drawn the attention to critical factors necessary for the successful implementation of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) in oil and gas industry.
The oil firm, according to a statement, made this known in partnership with legal firms, Olaniwun Ajayi LP and London-based, White & Case Law LLP.
The Act, which is a codified set of rules signed into law in January 2019, established the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal.
It was enacted for the promotion of competition in the Nigerian markets at all levels to eliminate monopolies, prohibit abuse of a dominant market position and to penalise other unethical restrictive trade and business practices.
The Chief Executive Officer, Seplat, Mr. Austin Avuru, the statement read, stressed Seplat’s strong regard for compliance and strict adherence to corporate governance ethos in the industry.
Avuru said Seplat remained very concerned about its current and future business environment in Nigeria and will continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to advocate for good laws that will positively impact businesses, especially in the oil and gas industry.
“As an organisation, Seplat is at the forefront of understanding, practicing and advocating proper compliance and corporate governance principles. In these areas, we lead from the front line.
“We have put together this event to draw attention to the gaps in this Act, with a view to getting stakeholders to accommodate the peculiarities of the oil and gas industry in future reviews of the Act,” he said.
The General Counsel at Seplat, Dr. Mirian Kachikwu, expressed optimism that continuous engagement with relevant stakeholders would not only address grey areas in the FCCPA, but also inform possible amendments as may be relevant for businesses in Nigeria, especially in the oil and gas space.
Speaking on the event, Kachikwu said: “Seplat organised this policy dialogue to create ample awareness and enlighten key stakeholders in the oil and gas sector about the challenges that the new law could have on the smooth operation of the industry. The goal is to work with the regulator and government to shed light on grey areas.
“Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Babatunde Irukera, noted that “it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to work together to effect the necessary change identified by a stakeholder.”
The oil and gas industry in Nigeria, Irukera was quoted to have said,”is peculiar in many respects, both in terms of the legal and regulatory framework. The industry is particularly sensitive therefore if players in the industry notify of the need to make changes to a clause in the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to work together to effect the necessary change.”
In the oil and gas industry, the FCCPA provides guidelines on the maximum amount of funds that can be raised by oil and gas companies; how collaborative bidding should be done and other important matters that directly affect the oil and gas industry.
In particular, the Act stipulates that the FCCP Commission’s oversight over mergers extends to Joint Ventures, which are critical to the oil and gas sector.
In a presentation facilitated by Kadijah Yusuf and Folashade Oluyadi (both senior associates at Olaniwun Ajayi), Jonathan Aluju, Managing Associate at Olaniwun Ajayi and Marc Israel, Partner White & Case LLP, discussants at the event drew attention to the need to amend sections of the FCCPA, which hamper the growth of the oil and gas industry or restrict expansion plans of participants in the industry.
The event brought together dignitaries from the oil and industry, legal community, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and other arms of government.
It was attended by Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, President Nigerian Gas Association (NGA), representatives of companies including Shell Petroleum Exploration and Production Company, Platform Petroleum, Oando, First E&P, Petrobras Nigeria, among others.
Mixed grill over fuel supply to border communities
The NNPC trucked out N2.5 trillion worth of petrol in 10 months despite stoppage of supply to filling stations in border communities, and the closure of border in three out of the 10 months. Adeola Yusuf reports
What started with outright closure of land borders that link Nigeria with its neighbouring countries climaxed with a memo dated November 6th 2019.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali [rtd], directed, according to the memo, that henceforth no petroleum product, no matter the tank size, is permitted to be discharged in any filling station within 20 kilometers to the borders.
Expectedly, the marketers of petroleum products kicked and the dust raised by this has figuratively mixed with the fresh air that originally pervaded smooth supply of fuel to millions of Nigerians in border communities.
Order from above
In a circular to zonal and sector coordinators, Operation Swift Response and area controllers, and others, entitled: E11/2019 circular No.027: SUSPENSION OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS SUPPLY TO FILLING STATIONS WITHIN 20 KILOMETERS TO ALL BORDERS, dated November 6, 2019, the Comptroller-General of Customs directed that henceforth, no petroleum product, no matter the tank size, is permitted to be discharged in any filling station within 20 kilometers to the borders, stressing that “Consequently, you are all to ensure strict and immediate compliance, please.”
The circular was signed by Chidi A. Deputy Comptroller – General (E I & I) for: C-G.
Product load rises
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), it was gathered, trucked out N2.517 trillion worth of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol in 526,000 trucks across the country in the last 10 months.
The corporation noted that 17.36 billion litres of PMS were trucked out between January and October, 2019.
Releasing this data as a part of measures to ensure safety and smooth operation in the petroleum products distribution value chain, the NNPC, in collaboration with other stakeholders in the petroleum industry and the Federal Government, said on Wednesday that it had activated the Safe-to-Load initiative to mitigate incessant petroleum products tanker accidents and ensuing fire outbreaks across the country.
The meeting of the stakeholders, which held Wednesday at the corporation’s Towers, Abuja, was sequel to the initiative of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Haulage Operations in Nigeria.
It was aimed at ensuring safety in the whole gamut of bridging process across the country.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, said proffering a lasting solution to the challenge had become imperative given the frequent fire incidents from petroleum tankers with attendant loss of lives and properties.
Safety, digital loading facilities
Mallam Kyari stated that the corporation as a socially responsible entity placed high premium on the lives of workers and citizens, noting that safety was one of the core values of the organisation.
“As an organisation founded on operational excellence, NNPC has a safety checklist for loading of petroleum products from its terminals and is interested in ensuring harmonization of the Safe-to-Load checklists being used by all terminals across the country,” he said.
He stated that the corporation had commenced digitising all its analogue-loading facilities to ensure that all trucks leaving the NNPC depots comply with the required axle limits, emphasizing that the corporation has kick-started installation of weigh-bridges and sprinklers across all loading gantries to forestall incidents.
The NNPC boss said that the corporation currently relied much on the land transportation system to get its products across various locations in Nigeria, stating that a total of 19.23billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) was moved by 583,000 trucks in 2018, while 526,000 trucks transported 17.36billion litres of PMS between January and October 2019.
Using a N145 litre modulated price, the 17.36 billion litres of petrol stood at N2.5172 trillion.
He hinted that efforts were on to fix the corporation’s pipelines to efficiently move petroleum products across the nation.
Kyari, who recognised the support of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, in the Safe-to-Load project, stressed that NNPC as a player in the hydrocarbon business in the country would continue to champion any cause geared towards efficient products distribution for the benefit of all Nigerians.
Speaking at the event, Mustapha, who was represented by a staff of the SGF office, Mr. Ademola Ali, said his office remained committed to ensuring safe roads for petroleum products distribution in the country.
Making a contribution at the event, National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) President, Alh. Kassim Bataiya, solicited the intervention of government in funding the subsector, saying safety on the road was the responsibility of all stakeholders, drivers, law enforcement agencies, among others.
He called for local manufacturing of vehicle components to curtail costs being incurred by transporters.
In his remark, the President, Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), Mr. Otunba Oladiti, commended the management of NNPC for its consistent interventions in cushioning the hardships faced by tanker drivers in their task of distributing products across the country.
He expressed the view that fixing the roads should not be the sole responsibility of the government.
Earlier in his presentation, the President of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Comrade Akporeha Williams, lauded the corporation for always complying with all safety standards in all its depots and restated the union’s commitment to work with the NNPC management in ensuring the success of the Safe-to-Load initiative.
The event had representatives from the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Federal Road Safety Corps, Federal Fire Service, the Nigerian Police, National Association of Road Transport Workers, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria and Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria.
Others were Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Equalization Fund, Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
The dissenting voice
The fuel marketers, however, kicked against the suspension by Nigerian Customs Services (NCS) of fuel supply to filling stations within the border communities.
The Lagos State Chapter of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), which stated this, expressed displeasure against the directive of the comptroller-general of customs, to suspend supply of petroleum products to fuel stations, within 20 kilometers to all the borders.
In a statement issued at the weekend in Lagos and signed by the state Chairman, Mr. Akin Akinrinade, and Secretary, Mr. Akeem Balogun, IPMAN described the decision as punitive and uncalled for, “because the fuel stations are not serving people outside the borders.”
The IPMAN therefore called for the immediate reversal of the order so as not to punish the border communities, the fuel stations owners and the staff working at these stations.
Reacting to the circular issued by the customs, IPMAN reminded the customs that the affected fuel stations were established legally and licensed to serve the communities at the border towns and their environs.
The IPMAN pointed out that apart from jeopardizing the business interest of the fuel station owners, there are thousands of staff and other stake holders that will lose their jobs, thus compounding unemployment problem in the country.
The association noted that what the customs circular showed was that the customs only exhibited their inefficiency and negligence in their duties which the law saddled them with. Fuel station owners are not the problem at the borders.
It said: “Our position at the IPMAN is that we are not and cannot support any act of smuggling of any petroleum products. Our members are entitled to decent living which cannot be taken away from them.”
IPMAN therefore called upon the comptroller-General to rescind the order immediately and called on their staff to be more efficient in the discharge of their duties to the nation.
If it is a Federal Government policy, the government should not inflict hardship on the citizens in the name of policing the borders, the IPMAN said.
The Federal Government border closure policy has enjoyed tremendous support from Nigerians and citizens of other countries, who are development economists.
However, the citizens of Nigeria, who have found themselves out of fate at border communities, should not be denied access to petroleum products simply because of where they have found themselves.
Government, through the Nigerian Customs Services, has the constitutional responsibility to safeguard the borders. Its inability to efficiently discharge this responsibility should not be blamed on hapless individuals.
CBN seeks speedy passage of mortgage bill by states
In order to promote virile mortgage and easy access to land for housing development, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is seeking speedy passage of Mortgage Model and Foreclosure Act by states, New Telegraph has learnt.
According to CBN’s Deputy Director and Head of Nigeria Housing Finance Programme, Adedeji Adesemoye, the apex bank will be working with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to see that the legislative process is scaled up.
He pointed out that for mortgage to thrive in Nigeria, there was need for enabling legal framework that everybody would recognise.
For this purpose, the deputy director said CBN was collaborating with the industry players including the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) in developing the mortgage model and foreclosure act that focuses on providing enabling legal framework for states to use the opportunity.
This, he added, would enable developers have access to land and enable mortgages created to be foreclosed if it is not performing, adding that it would also provide title for people, who want to build their homes and use the particular land as a security to get mortgage in financial institutions.
Adesemoye at a forum with estate developers in Abuja had explained that the model mortgage foreclosure law was already active in states like Lagos, Kaduna and Ogun, while “it is on the way in many other states including Cross River and Plateau.”
He said: “We want the mortgage model and foreclosure act to go through legislative processes in the states to be passed into law.”
Passage of model mortgage foreclosure, he said, would enable states have electronic land registry system and a working mortgage system for easy conduct of searches and timely realisation of collateral of non-performing loans by banks.
‘’We need to streamline all these approval processes, and the fee that is being spent needs to be at the rate than you can do business with,’’ he said.
Apart from this, the CBN’s deputy director also revealed several interventions by the apex financial institution in increasing home ownership in Nigeria through regulations, funding, mortgages, policy frameworks and partnerships.
Adesemoye said the bank was currently addressing the country’s high level of inflation, which has direct effect on mortgages.
He said the National Bureau of Statistics had given an inflation figure of about 11.2, adding that in order to encourage real investment, there was need to have a rate that is above the inflation.
“That floor rate is already set by monetary policy statutory committee responsible for this,” he noted.
CBN and the Bankers’ Committee, Adesemoye said, had been able to put money together from the profit of the bank in order to be able to set up mortgage interest drawback.
He said: “So if you get mortgage loan at 16.5 in the bank today, that loan can actually be drawn back by 40 per cent so that you will be paying 9.9 per cent or below. So it comes back to single digit.
‘’That is to make those who want to raise money particularly in the area where we have the gap, that is the people who want to raise just about N5 million and below where we have the deficit, they can raise money today and be able to pay at that single digit of less than nine per cent.’’
He stated that the contributions of CBN to ensuring affordable housing in Nigeria have been growing over the years.
The CBN’s deputy director restated that the apex bank was partnering with key partners in the industry for the creation of Nigeria Mortgage Guarantee Company.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Housing, Senator Sam Egwu, has pledged commitment to housing sector bills, while tasking estate developers on affordable housing.
Egwu restated the commitment of the National Assembly to enacting and amending bills necessary for Nigeria housing sector development.
He said that as legislators, the National Assembly was prepared to work with all stakeholders in the housing sector by providing the legislative support required to move the sector forward.
NLPGA mulls surge in cooking gas market
●Osinbajo, Sylva lead policy, innovation discourse
The highest body of all stakeholders in the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) sector in Nigeria, the Nigeria LP Gas Association (NLPGA), is condering increase in market share for Nigeria’s multi-billion dollar cooking gas industry.
The association, which declared this at the weekend, noted that it had rallied the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), for a summit where experts from South East Asia and other international gas communities are billed for an industry discourse on issues, developments, policies and innovations around LPG markets.
Themed: ‘Harmonising Development and Growth in Nigeria and Africa,’ the Nigeria LPG Summit 2019, the NLPGA said in a statement, had been scheduled to be peopled by Honourable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva; Managing Director of the Nigeria LNG Limited, Mr Tony Attah; Executive Director, Commercial Operations of Falcon Corporation Limited, Mrs Audrey Joe-Ezigbo; and Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote.
“Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has confirmed to be the Special Guest of Honour at the forthcoming Nigeria LPG Summit 2019,” the statement made available to New Telegraph at the weekend read.
“Hosted by the Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (NLPGA) in partnership with Singapore’s LPG Summit, the Nigeria LPG Summit 2019, which will represent the 9th NLPGA Annual Conference & Exhibition of the Association, is scheduled to hold in Lagos.
The Summit will host stakeholders, experts, exhibitors from South East Asia, and the international gas community to an industry discourse on issues, developments, policies and innovations around LPG markets, the statement added.
Commenting on the summit, the President, NLPGA, Mr Nuhu Yakuba, said the event provided the needed platform for stakeholders and experts to discuss issues surrounding deepening of LPG adoption on the continent.
“Over the years, we advocated the adoption of LPG as an enabler of quality living for Nigerians and citizens across the continent.
“This year’s summit in partnership with Singapore’s LPG Summit will host the largest number of international delegates, critical stakeholders, experts and exhibitors in West Africa.
“The robust representation of participants promises to provide a crosscurrent of ideas and learnings from different markets and climes. Having the Vice President to join in these rich conversations further bolster the confidence that this will shape the policy environment on harnessing LPG opportunities for the benefits of our people,” Yakubu said.
In her remarks, the Director of LPG Summit, Mrs. Neasa Hapiak, noted that the summit provided a platform for the LPG industry and organisations both in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors in the developing world to connect and seek new ways to grow the LPG industry.
“Blessed with a vast gas resource, every stakeholder must seek innovative ways to harness the tremendous endowment of this very clean domestic fuel for use in Africa.
“We have partnered with the Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (NLPGA) to host this world-class event that is not only gathering the brightest minds in the gas industry globally but also to collaborate to find solutions to the LPG challenges that are unique to the global markets.
“I look forward to welcoming participants to this event as I am confident of a very positive and impactful outcome,” she said.
The primary objective of the NLPGA, the association said, was to promote the use of LP Gas in Nigeria at affordable costs. It also aims at protecting the interests of the LP Gas industry and the entire Nigerian socio-economic environment at large, through public policy advocacy, creation and facilitation of commercial and industrial opportunities, provision of business development services and observance of the highest standard of operational and business ethics.
The association aims to promote and encourage the highest standard of professionalism and sound ethics in the LP gas sector as well as empower all stakeholders through information, education and networking.
Other leading experts scheduled to speak at the annual onference &m and exhibition include the Chief Information Officer, Manufacturing, Sub-Saharan Africa, Agri-Business and Service Dept, International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group, Mr Kalim Shah; Deputy Managing Director, World LPG Association, Mr Michael Kelly; Chief Operating Officer, Downstream Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr Adeyemi Adetunji and Chief Executive Officer, Forte Oil Plc, Mr Olumide Adeosun, among several other local and international speakers.
How British oil firm acquired Seven Energy
British independent oil and gas company, Savannah Petroleum PLC, focused around activities in Niger and Nigeria, announced the completion of the Seven Energy Transaction, which it said, refers to the acquisition by Savannah of the Seven Assets and the restructuring of Seven Energy’s existing indebtedness.
The transaction, the company said in a statement, “is as more fully described in the Company’s Admission Document dated 22 December 2017.”
At a court hearing on 13 November, administrators, the statement read, were appointed to Seven Energy International Limited and effected the transfer of the Seven Assets to group companies controlled by Savannah and AIIM.
Following this step, final long-form documentation with respect to the transaction was executed in accordance with the agreed steps as set out in the implementation agreement, and the transaction has now been completed.
Following completion of the transaction, Savannah now owns the Seven Assets, which comprise an 80 per cent interest in Seven Uquo Gas Limited (“SUGL”), which in turn holds a 40 per cent participating interest in the Uquo field located in South East Nigeria (with SUGL assuming responsibility for all operations of the gas project at the Uquo field following the occurrence of the Frontier Transaction).
It also involves a 51 per cent interest in the Stubb Creek field located in South East Nigeria (through 100 per cent ownership of Universal Energy Resources Limited); and an 80 per cent interest in the Accugas midstream business, comprising the 200 mmscfd Uquo gas processing facility, a c.260km pipeline network and long-term gas sales agreements with downstream customers.
One of Savannah’s partners in the transaction is African Infrastructure Investment Managers (“AIIM”) who, as part of the transaction completion, acquired 20 per cent interests in SUGL and Accugas in return for cash consideration to Savannah of $54m which has now been received.
The transaction, the statement read, gives Savannah a material producing asset base, which is expected to generate significant asset-level free cash flows, complementing the company’s prolific Niger exploration and development assets; exposure to significant upside potential, through both volume and margin uplift, via the utilisation of additional capacity within Accugas’ infrastructure; and a strong platform in the well-established and high potential Nigerian oil and gas.
Nigeria’s sprawling malls with empty spaces
Since 2005 when the first shopping mall was commissioned, Nigeria has witnessed growth in the retail sector going by the number of shopping malls adorning the cities. However, the success recorded is gradually being eroded due to rising empty stores in some of the retail malls. DAYO AYEYEMI reports
There is no doubt that the emergence of retail malls has changed the face of shopping in most Nigerian cities since 2005 and 2011 when the foremost Palm Shopping Mall and Ikeja Shopping Mall were launched in Lagos respectively.
Since then, there has been no dull moment as more retail malls came up in Nigeria’s capital – Abuja and other city centres across the federation, revealing new generation of consumers.
However, apart from aesthetics and some fun seekers around, a visit to some of the new malls, especially in Lagos and Ogun states, has shown that all is not well with the economy as many of the stores have been empty for some period.
New Telegraph’s investigation showed that empty stores are evident in The Palm, Ota Ogun State and Novare Mall, Sangotedo, Lekki -Ajah, Lagos.
No empty space was found in the Palms Shopping Mall, Victoria Island and Ikeja Shopping Mall, Lagos as they are full of activities.
According to a report, retailing in Nigeria posted slow growth in value terms at constant 2018 prices.
Reasons such as gloomy economic climate and fluctuations in exchange rate were adduced to the slow growth.
Besides, economic uncertainties serve to limit the budget of most consumers, who focuse on buying basics goods and rein in their spending on non-essential products.
According to the Managing Director of Financial Derivatives Company, Mr Bismarck Rewane, in his latest report on the real estate sector, there is rising vacancy factor in Nigerian mall business.
Analysts from the company pointed out that empty stores in Nigerian malls were on the rise.These, they noted, had reflected dwindling consumer purchasing power and deteriorating state of the economy.
According to the analysts, service charge appears to be eroding profitability of retailers in the malls.
Detailing the retail vacancy rate in a report, analysts from Tayo Odunsi-led Northcourt Real Estate, said the Palms Ota and Atlantic Mall, Lagos led the pack with 77 per cent and 75 per cent vacancy rate respectively.
These are closely followed by Jabi Lake, Abuja- 40 per cent; Apapa Mall, Lagos- 38 per cent;Gateway Mall, Abuja -38 per cent and Silverbird Entertainment – 28 per cent.
The vacancy rates are Port Harcourt Mall -eight per cent; Genesis Centre, Port Harcourt – 25 per cent; Big Treat, Port Harcourt -15 per cent; The palm , Lagos -zero per cent; The Lagoon Shopping Centre – 13 per cent; Silver Bird Mall, laygos – eight per cent; Novare Mall, Lagos – 28 per cent; Maryland Mall, Lagos- eight per cent; Leisure Mall, laygos -12 per cent; Ikeja City Mall, Lagos – two per cent; Festival Mall, Lagos – 14 per cent; E-Centre Lagos – seven per cent; Circle Mall, Lagos -12 per cent ; Atlantic Mall, Lagos- 75 per cent; Apapa Mall, Lagos- -38 per cent; Adeniran Ogunsanya Mall, Lagos – nine per cent ; Silverbird Entertainment – 28 per cent; Jabi Lake, Abuja- 40 per cent; Grand Towers, Abuja- 15 per cent; Gateway Mall, Abuja -38 per cent; Ceddi playza,Abuja- 21 per cent; they Palms, Ibadan -25 per cent; and The Palms,Ota, Ogun – 77 per cent.
In a report, analysts from McKensey and Company estimated that between 2008 and 2020, there would be a $40 billion growth opportunity in food and consumer goods in Nigeria, the highest of any African nation.
According to a shopper at the Palm, Ota, Ogun State, Mr. Simeon Adelanke, who lived in Agbado Area of Lagos, unlike when the mall was newly opened for business, traffic to the mall has reduced tremendously.
Trying to figure out what was responsible for the low patronage, he said new mini retail stores in inner streets could be a major factor. saying these served as alternative to the big retail malls.
He also attributed traffic gridlock and people’s low income to low patronage of malls.
According to him, except it is compulsory, people do not want to travel long distance to Ikeja or Ota malls before shopping.
Another shopper in Ogba, who identified himself simply as Chris, said the high rent of lettable space in some of the malls was responsible for the rising vacancy rate.
He pointed out that rent for a space per square metre (sqm) in newly completed Ogba retail mall was put at N720,000 per annum.
“What is the person going to sell there? Who will buy the items? How is the owner going to sell and make profit with such exorbitant rent,” he said.
Others also blamed low income, traffic gridlock and emergence of mini stores within neibourghoods for rising vacancy rate.
An immpecable source at The Palms, Ota, said many of the stores had been rented out, but owners were yet to open.
According to him, some of the tenants have not opened to business due to reasons best known to them.
Further investigation by New Telegraph revealed that the amount of money for space per square metre in the mall was beyond what people around can cope with.
According to the source, the least lettable space in the mall is 30 sqm, while the highest is 60,000 sqm, adding that per square metre of space costs N30,000 each.
By implication, intending tenant seeking lettable space in the mall should be ready to cough out N900,000 minimum aside from service charge.
Except Shoprite store that people besiege to buy loaves of bread and household items, other stores in the mall experience low sale.
A Lagos-based estate surveyor and valuer, Mr. Stephen Jagun, adduced low purchasing power and poor economy as reasons for rising vacancy rate in some of the new retail malls.
“The purchasing power of the citizens is very low; hence patronage is poor. The shops can come up with ways of driving traffic to their shops. Because if they don’t sell, they’ll not be able to pay their rent,” he said.
Jagun, who is the Principal Partner, Stephen Jagun and Associates, also blamed long distance for low patronage and higher percentage of vacant stores in Novare Palm, Lekki and The Palms, Ota.
He said: “For Novare and Ota Palms, distance is a great factor to their performance. Road to Otta is horrible and those around the shop are not really buoyant.
“For Novare, you have to be in long traffic to visit.”
He, however, expressed hope of a better performance in the malls when various estates around them are fully occupied.
Another estate surveyor and valuer, Mr. Richard Olodu, stated that the advent of value of reality, affordability problem due to economic reality, and competition due to property market penetration by the available alternatives were responsible for rising vacancy rate in most of the retail malls.
Besides, Olodu added that wrong location, inaccurate demographics, assumptive development appraisals, expensive construction rates and wrong lifestyle focus, among others could be responsible.
Chairman, H.O.B. Estates Limited, Chief Olusegun Bamgbade, also blamed serious economic crisis, which has squeezed cash from pockets of low and middle income Nigerians for the rising vacancy rate.
He emphasised that the rising vacancy rate in the malls was a reflection of serious economic crisis in the country, adding that people do not have enough money to patronise retail malls.
He said: “There is a serious economic crisis in Nigeria. People don’t know yet. You’ll only know when you listen to people of varying categories.
“You’ll hear people complain of no money; no shelter; no job; no one to run to; no one to help; etc. That’s why the suicide rate in Nigeria is now endemic. It wasn’t so before.”
Bamgbade pointed out that retail malls created veritable quantum of job opportunities, but their operators did not usually have enough funds to run it.
“Where there’s is fund, they don’t have ready staff for obvious reasons earlier stated. Where there’s fund, and ready staff, the purchasing power of the people is not available,” the HOB chairman said.
He explained that If there had been concerted efforts to improve money supply in circulation, things would have faired better.
According to him, if housing and construction sector have benefited immensely from government policies and actions, there would have been money in circulation.
New Telegraph also gathered that due to unfriendly economy climate, Nigeria did not record any deliveries of new space in the formal retail market as at the end third quarter of 2019
Until the nation’ s economy improves, rising vacancy rate in the retail sector will continue.
Tourism: Expert laments Nigeria, others’ poor standing
With the travel industry contributing just under 10 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employing 300 million workers globally, the opportunities for Africa are immense.
This is the view of President of Skal International, Lavonne Wittman, visited Nigeria last week as the first ever President of Association of Travel Professional, an organisation of tourism leaders around the world, promoting global tourism and friendship.
Wittman, who was also in the country to inaugurate the Port-Harcourt branch of the group, tasked stakeholders in tourism sector in Nigeria and other African countries to partner within and beyond the continent, lamenting that the continent lagged behind in global travel development.
The industry in Africa still lags behind. Notwithstanding the good weather year-round and good tourism sites, only Morocco welcomes as much as 11 million tourists in a year.
By 2030, consumer spending on tourism, hospitality, and recreation in Africa is projected to reach about $261.77 billion, $137.87 billion more than in 2015.
From 1998 to 2015, service exports, including that of “industries without smokestacks” such as tourism, have grown about six times faster than merchandise exports in Africa.
Given these trends, the travel and tourism industry have significant potential in Africa, notably due to the continent’s richness in natural resources and its potential to further develop cultural heritage, music and others.
However, except in a few countries, such as Mauritius and Seychelles, where the tourism sector’s share of the economy is particularly large, tourism in Africa is still at an early stage of development and strongly connected with more general and longstanding development challenges, including infrastructure and security.
She disclosed that there were so many things members of the association could do internationally to bring positive change to the way travel business is done, stressing that they need to get more powerful to bring more benefits to the industry.
Her words: “We are working on that. We need to get more powerful. We have got to have more attractive membership benefit. We have got to see that our SKAL is running correctly and ultimately and holistically attractive. What we are also trying to say is to value business. We have network organisation or South Africa business network and they measure businesses. We come together and say you have given me a $100, 000 businesses and then measure it. It is very difficult to measure at this stage. It is a powerful organization.”
Wittman, the first female and first African President of Skal International, said tourism, more like a big organisation, deals with diverse cultures, languages, and different business ethics across the board, though detests working in silos.
“We (in Africa) really need to be powerful within ourselves before we can market the African continent. We need people to work together and be constant in how they sell Africa. Because most times in Africa, we are just working for ourselves without realising that others can help us do this or that,” she added.
Nigerians to pay more for fuel
…as Customs eye N2.6bn from petrol import tax reimposition
Nigerians are to pay more for fuel particularly Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol if ongoing lobbying by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at the National Assembly scales through.
The NCS, checks by New Telegraph showed at the weekend, is seeking the reintroduction of N1.50 per litre import tax regime on petroleum products, which could fetch it N2.6 billion monthly on petrol imported into the country.
Comptroller-General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali [rtd], a report by NCS sighted by this newspaper showed, had already began the clamour for this petroleum tax regime at the 2020 budget defense session before the House of Representatives Committee on Customs.
The Federal Government in 2004 suspended the tax on imported petroleum products.
Before the suspension, a tax of N1.50 per litre of any petroleum product was paid by importers of fuel.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), sole importer of petrol into Nigeria, had said in a recent data that it imported and trucked an average of 1.736 billion litres of PMS monthly between January and October, 2019.
Using the 1.736 billion monthly import and truck out data, the N1.50 per litre fuel import tax would fetch the Customs N2.6 billion monthly on petrol imported into the country.
Speaking on the development, Ali said it had become imperative to reintroduce the tax regime in line with global best practices.
The same type of tax, he noted, was currently being implemented in about 36 countries at an average of $2.24 per gallon.
“The petroleum tax regime of 2004 before its suspension imposed N1.50 per litre. It is the considered opinion of the Service that this regime be reintroduced in line with international best practices as it’s currently operational in over 36 countries at an average of $2.24 per gallon,” he said.
The NNPC had also said that it trucked out N2.517 trillion worth of petrol in 526,000 trucks across the country in the last ten months.
Releasing the data as a part of measures to ensure safety and smooth operation in the petroleum products distribution value chain, the NNPC, in collaboration with other stakeholders in the petroleum industry and the Federal Government, said it had activated the Safe-to-Load initiative to mitigate incessant petroleum products tanker accidents and ensuing fire outbreaks across the country.
The meeting of the stakeholders held in Abuja was sequel to the initiative of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr. Boss Mustapha, and the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Haulage Operations in Nigeria aimed at ensuring safety in the whole gamut of bridging process across the country.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, said proffering a lasting solution to the challenge had become imperative given the frequent fire incidents from petroleum tankers with attendant loss of lives and properties.
A release by the Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affair Division of the corporation, Mr. Samson Makoji, quoted Kyari as saying that the corporation as a socially responsible entity placed high premium on the lives of workers and citizens, noting that safety was one of the core values of the organisation.
“As an organisation founded on operational excellence, NNPC has a safety checklist for loading of petroleum products from its terminals and is interested in ensuring harmonisation of the Safe-to-Load checklists being used by all terminals across the country,” he said.
He stated that the corporation had commenced digitising all its analogue-loading facilities to ensure that all trucks leaving the NNPC depots comply with the required axle limits, emphasising that the corporation has kick-started installation of weigh-bridges and sprinklers across all loading gantries to forestall incidents.
The NNPC boss said that the corporation currently relied much on land transportation system to get its products across various locations in Nigeria, stating that a total of 19.23billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) was moved by 583,000 trucks in 2018, while 526,000 trucks transported 17.36billion litres of PMS between January and October, 2019.
Using a N145 litre modulated price, the 17.36 billion litres of petrol stood at N2.5172 trillion.
Meanwhile, the customs boss also stated that he had forwarded a proposal for a downward review of vehicle tariff to the finance ministry for consideration.
He said the service was proposing that customs duty on imported vehicles should remain 35 per cent while the levy be reduced from the current 35 per cent to between five and 10 per cent.
According to him, the proposal, if approved, will encourage compliance and boost revenue as the 70 per cent import duty and levy is encouraging smuggling of vehicles
On the issue of porous borders, Ali said Nigeria had about 4,070km of land, adding that in the dry season, the entire part of the North was usually accessible by road.
He said the service was currently working with the Nigerian Air Force on the deployment of geospatial technology so as to check the trend.
He added: “That is why you see motorcycles ferrying rice every now and then as shown in some videos. That is why we want to leverage technology to deal with it. Mr President has already approved e-Customs.
“We’re working with the air force on geospatial technology that will be deployed. Our officers are being trained by the air force. They will work to make the borders secure. Part of the ongoing drill is to develop an action plan and we’re making progress.”
Metro and Crime10 hours ago
At last, Lagos evacuates lion to Lekki Zoo
News14 hours ago
Senate disowns Hate Speech Bill, says it’s Abdullahi’s idea
Politics16 hours ago
JUST IN: Court of Appeal begins hearing Ganduje/Abba’s case
BREAKING NEWS16 hours ago
JUST IN: INEC declares Gov Bello winner of Kogi poll
Metro and Crime14 hours ago
Perm Sec, pregnant wife, two kids burnt to death in Benue — Police
Arts & Entertainments19 hours ago
Box Office: ‘Ford v Ferrari’ races to first place, ‘Charlie’s Angels’ collapses
Sports17 hours ago
Mikel: Hazard’s a lazy player, Lampard hardest working
Sports20 hours ago
Brazil rallies to win U-17 World Cup