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Economy

CBN lifts Dangote Refinery, Fertiliser plants with N100billion intervenation fund. —-to save Nigeria 41% forex on fuel importation in 2022.

Tunde Ayodele

The Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) may have committed  a whooping sum of N100billion to the multi- billion  dollars Dangote petrochemical and fertiliser plants as an intervention funds.

This was disclosed by Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the apex bank while on a guided tour of the project in Lagos.
He promised  that the CBN was willing to offer similar  assistance to such landmark projects  capable of impacting on the Nigerian economy .
“The CBN had given a N100 billion intervention to the projects and we are ready to support Nigerian businesses set up to uplift the country economically”, he declared.

Meanwhile,the $15billion oil refinery being constructed by Dangote Group is to save Nigeria from spending about 41 per cent of its foreign exchange on importation of petroleum products next year.

This is coming as the Federal government is thinking of removing fuel subsidy completely.
Government has been complaining it has been spending N120billion monthly to subsidise fuel in the country, saying  that petrol price will go up to N240 per litre.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), all costs associated with either demurrage from import, costs associated with freight would be totally eliminated when Dangote refinery becomes  operational in 2022.
It was gathered that based  on agreement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the oil companies, the Dangote Refinery could  buy its crude in naira, refined it and produce it for Nigerians’ use in naira.
Already, there is hope that the refinery would be completed by the first quarter of 2022, thereby putting an end to the issue of petrol subsidy in the country.
To ensure the take -off of the project in 2022, the management of refinery has embarked on preparing young Nigerian graduates to take over the management of its 650,000 barrels per day single train refinery.
The company has already trained several Nigerian engineers in some of the world’s biggest refineries in India and other parts of the world to gain first-hand experience on how to manage a refinery of this magnitude.
The President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote said in Lagos during the tour of the refinery by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, that the country was blessed with great talents that were capable of running a refinery of this size if given the necessary encouragement.
He noted that the outbreak of the Corona Virus last year, which forced many expatriates out of the construction site, made it possible for the company to identify great talents that exist within the country.
Dangote  explained: “One thing that gladdens my heart is the young Nigerians we have trained to take over the operation of the Dangote Refinery. These young Nigerians are the ones that are going to run the refinery when it becomes operational.
“We want a situation whereby the operation of the refinery will be the sole responsibility of Nigerian graduates.
“We can start the process by bringing in team leaders to keep giving them that training they require to run a world class refinery. However, we will ensure that Nigerian engineers, welders and others are the ones running the refinery. We have created that capacity, human capacity, equipment capacity and every other thing to ensure the successful operation of the refinery by Nigerian engineers.”
Also, Dangote noted that while the refinery would serve Nigeria and other countries across the world, the fertiliser and petrochemicals plants were capable of generating $2.5 billion annually.
He said: “I will like to thank the President personally for helping us and assisting us in making sure that we are now back on track.
“At the tour, the CBN governor said that arrangement was in place to enable refinery sell refined crude to Nigeria in naira when it commences production.
Emefiele said: ”Based on agreement and discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the oil companies, the Dangote Refinery can buy its crude in naira, refine it, and produce it for Nigerians’ use in naira. That is the element where foreign exchange saved for the country becomes very clear.
“We are also very optimistic that by refining this product here in Nigeria, all those costs associated with either demurrage from import, costs associated with freight will be totally eliminated.”
The CBN governor stressed that the refinery would make the price of Nigeria petroleum products cheaper in naira.
He added: “If we are lucky that what the refinery produces is more than we need locally,  you will see Nigerian businessmen buying small vessels to take them to our West African neighbours to sell to them in naira.
“This will increase our volume in naira and help to push it into the Economic Community of West African States as a currency.”
“I am saying that by this time next year, our cost of import of petroleum products for petrochemicals or fertiliser will be saved, which will save Nigeria’s reserve.
“It will help us so that we can begin to focus on more important items that we cannot produce in Nigeria today.”
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Economy

Removal of tariffs on importation of rice, other food items not yet ratified by President Tinubu — Presidency 

The Eyewitness Reporter 
The Presidency has debunked a widely circulated news that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has granted duty-free importation of some staple food items, including rice.
The presidency officials clarified that the matter is just a proposal to President Tinubu by the economic team as part of the measure to address the food crisis ravaging the country.

A leaked memo which circulated on Monday, July 8th, 2024 had said that the government of President Bola Tinubu was considering suspending tariffs on rice and other food commodities’ imports for 150 days to rein in hunger nationwide.

According to the leaked official document, Abubakar Kyari, minister of agriculture and food security, had in a statement earlier on Monday,  said duties, tariffs and taxes on imported maize, husked brown rice, wheat and cowpeas — through land and sea borders — have been suspended.

Kyari, in the memo, said a 150-day duty-free import window for food commodities will be enforced as part of measures to be implemented over the next 180 days to ameliorate food inflation in Nigeria.

According to him, the measures are part of the accelerated stabilisation and advancement plan recently presented to President Bola Tinubu by the economic management team (EMT) under the Presidential Economic Coordination Council (PECC) constituted by the president in March.

The minister has said in the leaked memo that multiple taxes and levies, infrastructural challenges and “sheer profiteering by marketers and traders” have contributed to rising food prices.

But Presidential spokesman, Bayo Onanuga, who had earlier posted the policy proposal on his official X handle but quickly deleted it a few minutes after later clarified that the memo was already circulating across government departments, but said the policy was not imminent as of Monday evening.
He also noted that the leakage of the memo was a regrettable error.

“The policy was mistakenly circulated,” Onanuga said on Monday evening.

 “We are still deliberating internally from the agric ministry to other agencies on how best to proceed with the policy.”

Onanuga apologised for the error and said the government was not oblivious to its potential impact on long-suffering Nigerians.

The retracted policy draft said the measures would be implemented over the next 150 days and involve relaxing duties, tariffs and taxes on importing certain food commodities through land and sea borders.

It would be recalled that the Tinubu government is facing growing anger among Nigerians over its failure to address endemic food shortages urgently, even as inflation hovered at historically high figures.

On Monday, a frustrated citizen attempted to jump to his death from a 40-metre-high radio transmitter over a worsening economic crisis.

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Economy

How I fought local, international oil mafia that tried to sabotage our refinery project- Dangote

The Eyewitness Reporter 
The Chairman of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has accused those he described as oil mafia of trying to sabotage the refinery project.

Dangote who was speaking at the Afreximbank annual meetings (AAN) and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum in Nassau, The Bahamas, on Wednesday, said the group he labeled as stronger than the mafia in drug, tried several times to stop the project from becoming a reality.

“Well, I knew that there would be a fight. But I didn’t know that the mafia in oil, they are stronger than the mafia in drugs,” he said.

When asked if the group is local or foreign, he said, “Both. There is a local one and a global one. It is all mixed up. They tried all sorts but you know, I’m a person that has been fighting all my life. So, I think it’s part of my life to fight.”

‘We’ll end up winning’

Despite the battles, Dangote believes victory is assured.

“I think we will end up winning because the population and the government will be on our side because what we are doing is right,” Dangote said during the event.

In January, the Dangote refinery started production in an event the company described as a “big day for Nigeria”.

“Dangote Petroleum Refinery has commenced production of diesel and aviation fuel,” the group said. “This is a big day for Nigeria. We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone.”

The 650,000 barrel-per-day Dangote refinery is expected to be a game changer when fully operational by helping end Nigeria’s reliance on fuel imports.

It sits on 2,635 hectares (6,500 acres) of land at the Lekki Free Zone on the edge of Lagos and costs an estimated $19 billion.

Though one of Africa’s largest oil producers and the continent’s top economy, Nigeria relies almost totally on imported fuel and diesel because of a lack of refining capacity.

The refinery, first scheduled to open in 2021, was officially inaugurated by then-president Muhammadu Buhari last year.

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Economy

Fuel scarcity looms as Oil workers join NLC strike 

Funso Olojo 
There may be yet another disruption in the distribution of the Premium Motor Spirit(PMS) otherwise known as fuel, as the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers(NUPENG) has directed all its members in all the branches of the union nationwide to comply with the indefinite strike action called by the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC).
It would be recalled that NLC has called out its members and affiliates, including the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on indefinite strike action from today, June 3rd, 2024 over a disagreement on minimum wage with the Federal Government.
In what appears to be solidarity with the NLC, NUPENG has directed all its units nationwide to cease operations and comply with the strike starting from Monday, June 3rd, 2024.
In a circular dated June 1st, 2024, signed by  Comrade Afolabi Olawole, the Secretary General of the Union and addressed to all NUPENG branches and members, the Union instructed all members to immediately put all processes in place to comply with the directive.
”This is to notify all our members and branches in all oil and gas installations, operations and services, including distribution and marketing of petroleum products, that our great Union is fully committed to ensuring total compliance with the directive of Nigeria Labour Congress issued on Friday, 31st, May, 2024 for an indefinite nationwide strike commencing from Monday, 3rd, 2024.
”As a Union, we are deeply concerned and disturbed with the insensitive and irresponsive attitude of the Federal Government to the very critical issue of negotiating a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers in view of the various social-economic policies of this administration that have impoverished the working people of this country.
”Leaders of our great Union at all levels, from the Units, Zones and Branches, should immediately put all processes in place to ensure total compliance with the directive.
”Our solidarity remains constant for the Union makes us strong” the circular, with reference No HQ/Ops/063/2024, said.
Already, Electricity, Judiciary, Medical and Port workers have indicated their resolve to comply with the NLC directive of the strike action
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