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FG Begs Dangote to Complete Refinery Before 2019

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FG Begs Dangote to Complete Refinery Before 2019

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Federal Government has disclosed that it relies heavily on the Dangote refinery to fulfil its promise to Nigerians to end fuel importation by December 2019.

To this end, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Ibe Kachikwu, who visited the Dangote oil refinery site at Lekki Free Trade Zone, in Lagos, said government was ready to play its part as a responsible government to assist in making sure the project is completed before the scheduled date.

Mr Kachikwu, who said he was overwhelmed by the dimension of the project, explained that the present government had always believed that the private sector holds the ace in industrialization efforts of the government, and noted that the belief has been reinforced by what Dangote Group was doing.

“It is good to say that private sector is the answer to Nigeria’s problems with a project as big as this. The challenge I will give you today is that of time; I see your time for completion is 2019 December, but I am sure you will understand my greed if I tell you that the refinery component of this project should come earlier than the set date.

“I have made very firm commitment to Nigerians that I must stop the importation of petroleum products by 2019 and I am going to keep to it.

“It is absolutely important that we do this early and given the feat that we have achieved in terms of speed of construction and I urge you to do all within you to achieve its completion before the due date.

“I am sure His Excellency President Buhari will be absolutely enthused if he were to find himself, not only crystallizing the policy position we have taken so far, but also coming here himself to come and open a facility as big as this before the end of his first term.

“Whatever configurations your engineers have come up with, I urge that they go back to the drawing board and get me my refined products before your said date,” the Minister said at the visit.

In his response to the government’s challenge, President of Dangote Group, Mr Aliko Dangote, said he has accepted the challenge and would do all possible to achieve the feat.

“On the Minister’s challenge, we are going to make it by the grace of God. I am sure the Minister will support us to make sure that we meet his challenge.

“What the Minister is trying to do is the best so far for our country, his own version is that Nigeria should not think of exporting crude; you know the problem we have in Africa is that we only export raw materials, not finished goods, so he is saying that, look, we should all do this by adding value and I pray that even at 2.5 million barrels, we should not export much, in terms of the crude.

“We will go back and see what to do to make this happen by fast tracking our processes since the Minister has assured of government’s cooperation and support,” Mr Dangote said.

Earlier in his welcome address, Mr Dangote explained that his group was building the world’s largest single line refinery, Petrochemical Complex, and the world’s second largest Urea Fertiliser plant.

The refinery, according to him will have the capacity to refine 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The Petrochemical Plant will produce 780 KTPA Polypropylene, 500 KTPA of Polyethylene, while the Fertiliser project will produce 3.0 million metric tons per annum (mmtpa) of Urea.

“In addition, we are also building the largest sub-sea pipeline infrastructure in any country in the world, with a length of 1,100 km, to handle 3 billion SCF of gas per day.

“We also plan to construct a 570 MW power plant in this complex. As a matter of fact, gas from our gas pipeline will augment the natural domestic gas supply and we estimate an additional 12,000MW of power generation can be added to the grid with the additional gas from our system.

“We will be adding value to our economy as all these projects will be creating about 4,000 direct and 145,000 indirect jobs.

“We will also save over $7.5 billion for Nigeria annually, through import substitution and generate an additional $5.5 billion per annum through exports of the refined petroleum products, fertilizer and petrochemicals.

We envisage that these projects, which would cost over $18billion, would be completed in 2019,” he said.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

Economy

Buhari Tasks MOFI Board to Grow Assets to N100trn

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MOFI board

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The newly inaugurated board of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) has been given the mandate to grow its Assets Under Management from the current value of N18 trillion to at least N100 trillion in the next 10 years.

A statement issued on Wednesday by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, disclosed that the charge was given at the State House, Abuja, during the inauguration of the MOFI board shortly before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting today.

The President also tasked the new board to “be the clearinghouse for the management of federal government investments and assets in line with global best practices with a view to ensuring that these investments are delivering superior risk-adjusted returns to the government.”

He also called on the new MOFI to “work with other MDAs to create a consolidated national asset register with a view to converting these assets into cashflow-generating entities to support the government’s revenue drive and; partner with the government with a view to using government-owned investments and assets to support the government in delivering on its social and economic obligations to the citizenry.”

To this effect, he directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, to commence the process of amending the MOFI Act and other legislations to institutionalise this reform further and ensure that MOFI is restructured and repositioned to become a trusted custodian and manager of Federal Government investments and assets.

President Buhari said the event was significant as the restructured MOFI will help identify “what we own” and how to get the best out of them.

According to him, the MOFI Act of 1959, now Cap. 229, Laws of the Federation, 2004 “explicitly empowers MOFI to enter into commercial transactions of any description on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria in its own name. As a result, MOFI was used as a Special Purpose Vehicle across different sectors to invest in commercial entities over the last 64 years. To put this in context, MOFI was created even before Nigeria’s independence.”

Speaking further, the President said, “MOFI was not structured to be governed or resourced to deliver on the expected mandate. MOFI’s peers, on the other hand, that were deliberately set up with the institutional framework, governance structure, and execution capacity, have gone on to make major social and economic impacts in their respective nations. Many of these have become global brands for investing domestically and internationally.

“As part of the governance structure, there will be a Governing Council headed by me, a Board of Directors under the leadership of a former Minister of Finance and an Executive Management Team headed by Dr Armstrong Takang.”

President Buhari reminded members of the Governing Council as well as the Board of Directors that this administration expected much from them. Specifically, he tasked Ministers who are members to “create an enabling environment that will facilitate the creation of a National Asset Register that will be harnessed to strengthen our fiscal and economic realities and the optimization of our investments and assets that will be under the purview of MOFI.”

In her remarks, Mrs Ahmed thanked President Buhari for his support and approvals that have made the restructuring and repositioning of MOFI possible, assuring him that Council members and the Board will ensure that the new MOFI delivers on its mandates.

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Economy

US Stocks May Give Back Ground Ahead Of Fed Announcement

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US stocks

By Investors Hub

The major US index futures are currently pointing to a lower open on Wednesday, with stocks likely to give back ground following the strong upward move seen in the previous session.

Traders may cash in on gains by US stocks yesterday ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement this afternoon.

While the Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates by 25 basis points, traders will look to the accompanying statement for clues about the outlook for further rate hikes.

After a slightly cautious start, stocks climbed higher on Tuesday thanks to sustained buying across the board.

Investors picked up stocks right through the day’s session, digesting a slew of stronger-than-expected earnings updates and the latest batch of economic data.

Data showing a slowdown in the pace of growth in US labour costs helped raise expectations that the Federal Reserve will soften its aggressive approach to fighting inflation.

The major averages all ended with strong gains. The Dow ended with a gain of 368.95 points or 1.09 per cent at 34,086.04. The S&P 500 surged 58.83 points or 1.46 per cent to 4,076.60, while the Nasdaq climbed 190.74 points or 1.67 per cent to 11,584.55.

The Dow gained about 6.6 per cent in the month, while the S&P surged nearly 3 per cent, and the Nasdaq gained as much as 11.5 per cent.

Data showing a drop in labour costs has reinforced the view that the central bank will likely slow the pace of its monetary policy tightening and raise the interest rate by 25 basis points.

The central bank’s accompanying statement will be in focus for clues about further interest rate hikes.

On the economic front, data from the Labor Department showed employment cost index wages in the US increased by 1% on quarter in the fourth quarter of 2022, after rising 1.3 per cent in the previous quarter.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index in the United States decreased 0.8% month-over-month in November of 2022, the same as in October and marking a fifth consecutive decline.

A report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said the Chicago PMI in the United States fell back to 44.3 points in January of 2023 from 44.9 in December and compared to market forecasts of 45. The reading pointed to a fifth consecutive month of contraction in business activity in the Chicago region.

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Economy

PDP Created Forex Crisis That Weakened Naira Exchange Rate—Onanuga

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PDP created forex crisis

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Director of Media and Publicity of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Mr Bayo Onanuga, has again said his principal, Mr Bola Tinubu, did not attack President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Cross River State when he said the Naira, under the present government, has lost its value since he assumed office in 2015.

Addressing party faithful and others at the campaign rally of the APC at the U.J Esuene Stadium, the former Governor of Lagos State said, “They (the government of Mr Buhari) moved the exchange rate from N200 to N800 (in the black market).

“If they had repaired it, if they have arrested this, we won’t be where we are today. We will have been greater.

“They don’t know the way, they don’t know how to think, they don’t know how to do [it].”

But in a statement on Wednesday, Mr Onanuga blamed the media for misinterpreting Mr Tinubu’s comments, saying he was only referring to the PDP.

According to him, the APC presidential candidate never blamed the current administration for weakening the Naira in the currency market, stating that PDP created the forex crisis the country was experiencing.

“The reference to exchange rate was not in any way an attack on the Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress administration but an attempt to capture how the economic mismanagement of the PDP created forex crisis in the country since 2015.

“Anyone who followed the entire sequence and context of what Asiwaju said at the rally in Calabar will know he directed his missiles against PDP and Atiku. Let’s we forget, the PDP left the forex reserve at $28 billion by May 2015, when Buhari took over,” a part of the statement today by Mr Onanuga said.

“Asiwaju Tinubu could not have meant President Buhari does not know road, having celebrated numerous times the achievements of the Buhari administration. Tinubu had also said at the campaign fora he would build on the achievements when elected on 25 February.

”It is simply illogical that the same Asiwaju would attack the Buhari administration for not knowing the road,” he added.

“We want to state categorically that all the machinations of the opposition elements to put a wedge between President Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu will fail.

“APC, its leadership and President Buhari are strongly united behind our presidential candidate,” the statement declared.

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