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Fuel Subsidy May Continue Till 2023—NNPC GMD

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fuel subsidy

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has disclosed fuel subsidy will likely not go away this year despite the signing into law the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) by President Muhammadu Buhari some days ago.

It was initially thought that the PIA will automatically wipe out fuel subsidy from the petroleum sector but the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, said it may remain next year and possibly till 2023 when the new law should have been fully implemented.

A few days ago, President Buhari, who is expected to constitutionally vacate office on May 29, 2023, constituted a steering committee for the implementation of the PIA headed by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva. The team was given one year to carry out its assignment.

The Minister had said it would be very difficult to immediately remove petrol subsidy with the new law without putting in place a gradual plan for this, with stakeholders like the labour unions carried along.

Mr Kyari, while speaking on Wednesday at the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) 2022 to 2024 public hearing by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, stated that the country may not exit the fuel subsidy regime in 2022, but stressed that this might be done by 2023 when the Act might have been fully activated.

He also informed the lawmakers at the hearing chaired by Mr James Faleke that his agency was working to track fuel consumption by deploying technology to monitor fuel distribution across Nigeria in a bid to check the activities of smugglers.

He stated that with the electronic monitoring, every truck carrying fuel would be visible as they discharged their load and would see all the fuel stations as they discharged.

Mr Kyari said that the national fuel consumption per day may not be above 60 million litres as being speculated, adding however that anytime NNPC supply less than that, there would be a problem.

He also said that President Buhari had personally directed him to take steps that would curtail cross border smuggling, while also admitting the challenges posed by land borders, aiding activities of smugglers.

The GMD said that those who took crude oil across the border would not sell at the official price.

He said that the corporation was already engaging the Republic of Niger to establish a retail NNPC outlet in the country’s neighbour, a move that would curtail the activities of smugglers.

Speaking on the Dangote refinery, Mr Kyari said that the decision of the NNPC to be on the board of the refinery was a calculated attempt, adding that as of today, Nigeria does not have strategic storage.

“We are taking interest in Dangote Refinery and up till now, he does not want us to take 50 per cent equity and it was structured on the fact that he must buy 300,000 barrels of crude oil from us per day,” he stated.

He said that Dangote Refinery had a choice to buy crude oil from anywhere in the works but was charged to buy from the country, stressing that it was a good deal the NNPC was proud to enter into.

Mr Kyari said that contrary to insinuation, the NNPC has not abandoned the country’s refineries and it was not about taking a $500 million loan to repair them as speculated.

He added that none of the country’s refineries had undergone full-scale rehabilitation since 2000.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Economy

The Importance of Financing a Sustainable Future

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Sustainable Energy Project

By Sunil Kaushal

While climate change may have taken a back seat in a news cycle dominated by COVID-19, war and the cost-of-living crisis, the risks and threats associated with our warming planet remain the biggest long-term threat to our combined economic future.

Banks and financial institutions will be critical to managing that risk this includes financing of sustainable infrastructure, supporting transition and investing in green innovation. In fact, the banking industry has a responsibility to bridge top-down and bottom-up approaches to net-zero and help the public and private sectors realise the vast opportunities the energy transition and the move to sustainable infrastructure promises.

We can do that by providing capital to finance the investment in renewables, climate adaptation technologies and the transition to a ‘circular economy’ which encourages sustainable use of resources.

According to EY, financial institutions recognise that the transition to net zero will involve more than investments and underwriting for “green” assets and businesses such as renewables and electric vehicles. To achieve net zero across the whole economy, legacy carbon-intensive assets and companies will require financing to help them transition to a cleaner future.

For businesses, this means a fundamental change to operations, and that, in turn, requires capital. Insurers, lenders and investors will play a crucial role in making that capital available and in incentivising and supporting their clients and investees as they make their transitions.1

While stimulating growth through investment in roads, buildings and power supplies isn’t a new strategy, now it offers an opportunity to redefine the traditional playbook and focus on investing and financing sustainability for the longer term.

Creating sustainable and climate-friendly infrastructure will, however, require finance that is fit for the future. There is a growing concern, for example, around stranded asset risk – particularly for long-term investments such as infrastructure. Infrastructure projects need to consider risks 10 years and beyond into the future, many of which may not be immediately apparent. These risks include rising sea levels, increasing temperatures, drought, and coastal erosion. There are also financial and economic risks associated with making investments outside an ESG framework, this includes changes to regulatory settings that may disadvantage or penalise these investments.

Projects that are climate adapted from the outset reduce some of these risks and are more likely to stand the test of time, so banks will need to take into account the potential climate risks over the lifespan of the project to ensure resilience and protect investments.

Sustainable infrastructure projects, however, are traditionally more difficult to make bankable. With a bit of thinking, though, there are usually profitable solutions. For example, in a renewable energy plant, you have clear cash flows linked to the price of generated energy or for an energy efficiency improvement project, you have energy savings which can be translated into cost savings, and they can repay the financing.

At Standard Chartered, we are committed to playing our part in supporting sustainable projects in the region. We take a firm stand in accelerating to net zero by helping emerging markets in our footprint reduce carbon emissions as fast as possible and without slowing development, putting the world on a sustainable path to net zero by 2050.

Sustainability has long been a core part of our strategy, and we have committed USD40 billion of project financing services for sustainable infrastructure and USD35 billion of services to renewables and clean-tech projects by the end of 2024. We have also committed to catalysing $300 billion in sustainable investments by 2030. The projects we finance will trade and growth and contribute to a better quality of life through sustainable development.

The need for action from finance providers is to not only decarbonise their own balance sheets but also to help businesses in the real economy move towards a sustainable future. A successful net-zero transition must be just, leaving no nation, region or community behind and, despite the hurdles, action needs to be swift. To meet the 2050 goal, we must act now, and we must act together: companies, consumers, governments, regulators and the finance industry must collaborate to develop sustainable solutions, technologies and infrastructure.

Sunil Kaushal is the CEO of Standard Chartered Africa and Middle East (AME)

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Economy

NGX, Stakeholders to Discuss Ways to Improve Liquidity, Long Term Value

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improve liquidity

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A roundtable aimed to bring together stakeholders in the Nigerian capital market for a discussion on ways to enhance the listing experience, deepen the markets, improve liquidity and identify institutional and capacity-building initiatives needed to develop the market and create long-term value for stakeholders will take place on July 7, 2022.

This event is being hosted by the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited and will have in attendance the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo; the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; and the Director-General of the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda; among others.

The programme called the NGX CEO Roundtable and requires registration is themed Creating the Enabling Ecosystem for Accessing Capital from the Nigerian Capital Markets and will hold virtually from 10:00 am.

A statement from the bourse disclosed that the roundtable will bring together advisers, policymakers, issuing houses, trading license holders, CEOs of NGX listed companies, and other stakeholders to discuss issuers’ concerns regarding the pre and post-listing requirements and other rules impending the process for raising equity on the stock exchange.

“As an agile exchange, NGX is committed to enhancing the competitiveness of the Nigerian capital market as a global investment destination.

“This year’s CEO Roundtable provides an opportunity for engagement between the Exchange and its stakeholders, with a view to enhancing the listing experience; deepening the markets; improving liquidity and identifying institutional and capacity-building initiatives needed to develop the market and create long-term value for stakeholders,” the Divisional Head of Capital Markets at NGX, Mr Jude Chiemeka, said.

He also noted that the event will encourage deliberations on Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) which have experienced a decline both locally and internationally in recent times.

The capital market expert further stated that the roundtable will speak to the emerging greenfield opportunities in the technology sector as it will provide capital-raising insights for fast-growing tech companies across major markets in Africa.

The NGX CEO Roundtable is a platform that ensures continuous dialogue with key stakeholders and provides strategic solutions to economic issues for follow-up implementation by the bourse in its capital market advocacy role.

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Economy

Inflation Menace Targets Transportation Fares

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transportation fares

By Lukman Otunuga

Earlier, we discussed how rising inflation was a ticking time bomb and a growing threat to Nigeria’s fragile economic outlook.

At 17.71%, the country’s annual inflation rate is certainly on a rise, thanks to soaring food and diesel prices.

This month, it was reported that the main ingredient for making Akara jumped a whopping 32% in May while the price of peanut oil surged 47% in the same period. Such a development is bad news and could make this breakfast snack unaffordable for some.

The inflation beast has now set its sights on transportation fares despite the billions of dollars pumped into fuel subsidies to cap prices and cool public dissatisfaction over the higher cost of living.

In an unfavourable development, the average cost of transportation has increased 46% to N582 a trip in May compared with a year earlier. Given how prices have jumped despite Nigeria spending a whopping N1.49 trillion subsidising gasoline in the first four months of 2022, things could get messy as inflation takes no prisoners. Global oil prices surged to multi-year highs thanks to geopolitical risks but Nigeria has been unable to cash in due to poor infrastructure, low production, and fuel subsidies.

This horrible combination places the economy under threat of rising inflationary pressures potentially leading to higher interest rates from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Lukman Otunuga is a Senior Research Analyst at FXTM

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