BPE Denies Knowledge of Agip/Oando Plans to Takeover Port Harcourt Refinery
By Chineme Okafor
Some days ago, Oando Plc claimed it was planning to rehabilitate and operate the 210,000 barrels per day (bpd) Port Harcourt Refinery, but the issue has generated controversies.
A report by ThisDay claimed the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) was ignorant of the proposed rehabilitation and operation under a concession arrangement of the 210,000 barrels per day (bpd) Port Harcourt Refinery by oil firms – Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and Oando Plc.
It learnt in Abuja that despite the BPE’s listing of the refinery along with Warri and Kaduna refineries on its privatisation schedule, it has however not been involved in plans by the federal government to concession the Port Harcourt refinery to Agip and Oando on a repair, operate and maintain basis, a transaction oil and gas business experts have faulted.
One of the top sources within the privatisation agency confirmed to THISDAY that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have carried on the refinery concession plan without its involvement. He explained that the agency was in the dark on the concession arrangement, thus claiming that negotiations with the firms have been without it.
The sources stated that even though the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) which is statutorily responsible for signing off on the privatisation and concession of such national assets has not been constituted by the government, the BPE should have been involved in the refinery concession which the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Ibe Kachikwu, disclosed would be concluded in September.
Mr Kachikwu had earlier in May stated in Houston that the government had got bids from investors to revamp the three refineries, and would make known the preferred offers by September, however, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Oando, Mr Wale Tinubu, subsequently disclosed that his firm had been selected to takeover Port Harcourt refinery, thus raising questions about the transparency of the selection process and the overall transaction.
Similarly, experts who spoke to THISDAY on this stated that the process could be considered unlawful without the approval of the NCP. They also asked the ministry of petroleum resources and NNPC to show evidence of a transparent and competitive selection process from which Agip and Oando emerged as the best candidates to take over and repair the refinery.
One of the experts, Mr Dan Kunle, specifically queried the choice of Agip for Port Harcourt refinery, stating that Agip built the 125,000bpd Warri refinery and should have opted for it instead of Port Harcourt.
Mr Kunle said: “In 2015, I remember vividly the visit of the then GMD of NNPC which happens to be the minister of state now, Emmanuel Kachikwu, to Port Harcourt refinery, and he stated that they had spent $10 million to rebuild it and it was going to come on stream. What has happened, we need to know the truth.”
He alleged that: “The interest of ENI/Agip in Port Harcourt refinery is a manifestation of the long vested interest of Oando in the refinery because they put in bids in the past for it but failed.
“Agip has no technical record in Port Harcourt refinery, they built the Warri refinery and the propane plant in Warri refinery was built by Technimont. I would have expected the minister to look at that history and tell Agip/Eni, that even though they have rights to bid for Port Harcourt, they should look at Warri where they already have a technical record.”
Speaking on the need for the approval of the NCP in such cases of assets’ concession, Kunle stated: “NCP is a life act, and I am surprised that they have not constituted it because they have the mandate to privatise the assets.
“The NCP has to become conscious and wrestle the country from the politics of the petroleum ministry over the refineries. The ministry cannot sell or concession the refineries without the NCP represented by the BPE, and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC). Besides, those companies are already scheduled in the privatisation timeline.”
“If you are doing selective bidding, what makes Eni/Agip to qualify because it is Warri that they should be qualified for? What is the basis, how did they come about the people, where is the advert and prequalification criteria? They must be subjected to ethical corporate governance. This transaction has to be open and clear, otherwise nobody can take it over,” he added.
Stock Market Gains N1.5trn After Tinubu Vows to Jump-Start Economy
By Dipo Olowookere
The first trading session on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited after the inauguration of Mr Bola Tinubu as the new President of Nigeria closed higher by 5.22 per cent on Tuesday.
Yesterday, the stock market did not open its doors to investors due to the public holiday declared by the federal government for the inauguration of the country’s 16th President.
During his inaugural speech, Mr Tinubu promised to make the business environment friendly to investors, stating that he would ensure a minimum of 6 per cent economic growth, unify the exchange rate regimes, address multiple taxes, improve the electricity supply, and others.
These assurances touched the right places and spurred stock investors to buy up some equities in anticipation of good times ahead.
It was observed that most of the sectors of the bourse leapt to levels last seen in years, as the banking space rose by 8.20 per cent. The consumer goods improved by 6.48 per cent, the industrial goods sector appreciated by 6.08 per cent, the energy index increased by 4.04 per cent, and the insurance counter grew by 2.29 per cent.
Consequently, the All-Share Index (ASI) jumped by 2,764.47 to 55,738.35 points from 52,973.88 points, and the market capitalisation rose by N1.495 trillion to N30.340 trillion from N28.845 trillion.
Business Post reports that 64 equities appreciated in price at the close of business today, and 12 shares ended on the losers’ table, indicating a very strong investor sentiment boosted by a positive market breadth index.
The strong demand for stocks on Tuesday pushed the prices of Deap Capital, FCMB, Nigerian Breweries, Jaiz Bank and Eterna higher by 10.00 per cent to 22 Kobo, N4.62, N42.35, N1.10, and N7.70, respectively.
On the flip side, Ikeja Hotel lost 10.00 per cent to trade at N2.16, NCR Nigeria depreciated by 9.80 per cent to N2.76, Tantalizers fell by 8.00 per cent to 23 Kobo, International Energy Insurance went down by 6.98 per cent to N1.20, and Consolidated Hallmark Insurance depleted by 6.56 per cent to 57 Kobo.
The most active stock of the trading session was Access Holdings, transacting 199.6 million units valued at 2.5 billion, FBN Holdings traded 127.9 million units worth 1.8 billion, Transcorp sold 95.7 million units worth N309.2 million, UBA exchanged 82.0 million units valued at N831.5 million, and GTCO transacted 76.4 million units worth N2.2 billion.
Data showed that a total of 1.1 billion stocks worth N15.8 billion exchanged hands in 9,916 deals on Tuesday compared with the 461.8 million stocks valued at N7.7 billion traded in 6,520 deals last Friday, implying an increase in the trading volume, value and number of deals by 133.49 per cent, 105.20 per cent, and 52.09 per cent, respectively.
Adesina Tasks Tinubu on Fiscal Stability
By Adedapo Adesanya
The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Akinwumi Adesina, has tasked President Bola Tinubu to reduce the high cost of governance and ensure fiscal stability.
He made the disclosure during his speech at the Inauguration Lecture for the New President of Nigeria on May 27, 2023, in Abuja, noting that, “The starting point must be macroeconomic and fiscal stability. Unless the economy is revived and fiscal challenges addressed boldly, resources to develop will not be there.”
He noted that Nigeria currently faces huge fiscal deficits, estimated at 6 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“This has been due to huge federal and state government expenditures, lower receipts due to dwindling revenues from crude oil export, vandalism of pipelines, and illegal bunkering of crude oil.
“According to Nigeria’s Debt Management Office, Nigeria now spends 96 per cent of its revenue servicing debt, with the debt-to-revenue ratio rising from 83.2 per cent in 2021 to 96.3 per cent by 2022.
“Some will argue that the debt to GDP ratio at 34 per cent is still low compared to other countries in Africa, which is correct, but no one pays their debt using GDP.
“Debt is paid using revenue, and Nigeria’s revenues have been declining,” he warned.
He lamented that Nigeria now earns revenue to service debt—not to grow, and advised the government to remove the inefficient fuel subsidies, a decision he adhered to on Monday.
In his words, “Nigeria’s fuel subsidies benefit the rich, not the poor, fuelling their and government’s endless fleets of cars at the expense of the poor. Estimates show that the poorest 40 per cent of the population consume just 3 per cent of petrol.
“Fuel subsidies are killing the Nigerian economy, costing Nigeria $10 billion alone in 2022. That means Nigeria is borrowing what it does not have to if it simply eliminates the subsidies and uses the resources well for its national development.”
He advised that rather support should be given to private sector refineries and modular refineries to allow for efficiency and competitiveness to drive down fuel pump prices.
“The newly commissioned Dangote Refinery by President Buhari—the largest single train petroleum refinery in the world, as well as its Petrochemical Complex—will revolutionize Nigeria’s economy,” he announced.
The former Nigerian minister of agriculture also said the country must urgently look at the cost of governance.
“The cost of governance in Nigeria is way too high and should be drastically reduced to free up more resources for development. Nigeria is spending very little on development.
“Nigeria is ranked among countries with the lowest human development index in the world, with a rank of 167 among 174 countries globally, according to the World Bank 2022 Public Expenditure Review report.
“To meet Nigeria’s massive infrastructure needs, according to the report, will require $3 trillion by 2050. According to the report, at the current rate, it would take Nigeria 300 years to provide its minimum level of infrastructure needed for development.
“All living Nigerians today, and many generations to come, will be long gone by then! We must change this. Nigeria must rely more on the private sector for infrastructure development to reduce fiscal burdens on the government,” he hammered.
He also tasked the Tinubu administration to raise tax revenue, as the tax-to-GDP ratio is still low.
“This must include improving tax collection, tax administration, moving from tax exemption to tax redemption, ensuring that multinational companies pay appropriate royalties and taxes and that leakages in tax collection are closed.”
However, he noted that simply raising taxes is not enough, “as many question the value of paying taxes, hence the high level of tax avoidance. Many citizens provide their own electricity, sink boreholes to get access to water, and repair roads in their towns and neighbourhoods.”
“These are essentially high implicit taxes. Nigerians, therefore, pay the highest ‘implicit tax rates’ in the world.
“Governments need to assure effective social contracts by delivering quality public services. It is not the amount collected, it is how it is spent and what is delivered. Nations that grow better run effective governments that assure social contracts with their citizens,” he added.
Nigeria’s Dollar Bonds Rise After Tinubu Inauguration
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria’s dollar bonds rallied after President Bola Tinubu was officially conferred as the 16th president of Nigeria, a day that he announced plans to scrap the fuel subsidy programme, unify the exchange rate regime, as well as reduce high interest rates.
Bonds with a maturity date of 2047 jumped 3.3 per cent to 66.750 cents on the Dollar.
The debt instrument due in 2049 gained 2.9 per cent, and those maturing in 2051 advanced 3.5 per cent.
The gains came as markets in London and the US reopened following national holidays as well as a day after Mr Tinubu’s speech at his inauguration on Monday.
On fuel subsidy, Mr Tinubu said, “Subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources. We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions.
“We commend the decision of the outgoing administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime, which has increasingly favoured the rich more than the poor.”
He said that since there was no provision for subsidy in the budget from July 1, noting that the policy would be removed.
He also planned to bring Nigeria into a unilateral exchange rate regime to help staunch the continued FX crisis that has gripped investors and average Nigerians.
“The Central Bank must work towards a unified exchange rate. This will direct funds away from arbitrage into meaningful investment in the plant, equipment and jobs that power the real economy,” he said.
He also assured both local and foreign investors that his administration would move to reduce the high interest rate that has stymied faith in Nigeria being a destination for good investments.
“Interest rates need to be reduced to increase investment and consumer purchasing in ways that sustain the economy at a higher level,” Mr Tinubu said.
Latest News on Business Post
- Stock Market Gains N1.5trn After Tinubu Vows to Jump-Start Economy May 30, 2023
- Wema Bank Equip Teenagers With Relevant Digital Skills May 30, 2023
- Abidemi Ademola Leaves Unilever Nigeria Board May 30, 2023
- 6 Ways Google is Working With AI in Africa May 30, 2023
- Nvidia Joins Exclusive $1trn Market Cap Club May 30, 2023
- Adesina Tasks Tinubu on Fiscal Stability May 30, 2023
- Adegoke’s Murder: Court Sentences Ife Hotelier Rahman Adedoyin to Death May 30, 2023
- Ope Banwo’s Naija Lives Matter Refocuses Priorities May 30, 2023
- Nigeria’s Dollar Bonds Rise After Tinubu Inauguration May 30, 2023
- CBN to Review Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles May 30, 2023