Marketers Lament Rising Cost of Cooking Gas
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM) has appealed to the federal government to urgently intervene in arresting the hike in the prices of cooking gas across the country.
The group, in an open letter jointly signed by its Executive Secretary, Mr Bassey Essien, and its National Public Relations Officer, Mr Raphael Aguele, on Friday, lamented that the sharp rise was unbearable and was affecting their business.
In the letter addressed to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, the body decried the fact that the price of 12.5 kg of cooking gas has increased from N3,300 to N4,200 and N5,500 at retail outlets in the last few months.
NALPGAM appealed to the government to put in place a policy that would encourage full domestication of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), also known as cooking gas.
The marketers said every local producer of gas should be mandated to domicile all molecules produced in the country as against the situation of being a major exporter of gas produced as well as a major importer of gas.
“If all molecule of gas produced should be domesticated, the local markets will be adequately supplied and prices stabilised.
“By this way, the concerted efforts of the federal and state government agencies to encourage the use of gas would not be in vain.
“Thus, we urge your urgent intervention to address the plight of stakeholders; else all the expansion programmes of the government would be an exercise in futility,” NALPGAM said.
The marketers noted that the government, in line with its aspiration to deepen gas utilisation in Nigeria, had urged investors to harness investment opportunities in the entire gas value chain to bridge the gap in other domestic gas usage in the country.
They said the significant growth in local consumption of LPG had been hinged on many Nigerians converting to cooking gas for domestic and commercial uses.
According to NALPGAM, the country’s local consumption which hitherto stood at about 70,000 metric tonnes as of 2007 had grown to over one million metric tonnes as at end of 2020.
“A major challenge with LPG utilisation in Nigeria is the issue of inconsistent availability and ever galloping gas price with the attendant depot landing costs and other associated charges.
“The domestic availability has been skewed majorly to 65 per cent import dependence, while only 35 per cent has been attributed to local supply.
“The price of LPG has exponentially skyrocketed over the last few months.
“The cost of LPG early in 2020 was N3.4 million per 20MT truck, but by December 2020, it had gone up to N5.4 million; N5.6 million in January 2021 and N6 million per 20 MT by February.
“The galloping price increases have not only choked marketers but have also strangulated consumers, thus making a mockery of the whole gas expansion plan of the government,” the marketers said.
They noted that the gains made in the huge conversion rate to LPG usage which had moved the per capita consumption from 1.5kg to over 3kg have gradually reduced because of the domestic costs of LPG.
The marketers said a majority of users of LPG were gradually reverting to the use of kerosene and firewood with the obvious known health implications.
NALPGAM also alleged that LPG operations at the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (Oredo IGHF Plant), Ologbo, Edo State were dominated by “middlemen”.
They said: “These middlemen without identifiable LPG bottling plants are hawking LPG allocations from plant to plant for patronage at exorbitant prices.
“Equally, disturbing is the fact that gas plant owners in the Edo/Delta region with their verifiable large storage capacities have not been granted any off-taker facility despite the location of the project in the region.”
Oando Bounces Back to Profitability, Posts N34.7bn Profit in 2021
By Dipo Olowookere
After swimming in troubled waters for years, Oando Plc, an indigenous oil company, has bounced back to profitability, recording a profit after tax of N34.7 billion in the 2021 fiscal year compared with the loss after tax of N140.7 billion posted in the 2020 accounting year.
This improvement in the net profit was buoyed by a higher operating profit and an increase in finance income to N44.1 billion from N9.3 billion in 2020.
It was observed that the operating profit rose to N78.7 billion in 2021 from an operating loss of N74.3 billion in the previous reporting year, primarily driven by higher revenue as well as a net reversal of asset impairments totalling N112.1 billion.
In the 2021 financial statements presented to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, the company said its revenue revved up by 51 per cent to N722.5 billion from the N477.1 billion achieved in the preceding year.
This was triggered by high product prices, with realized average crude oil price increasing by 105 per cent to $70.12 per barrel from $34.21 per barrel a year earlier.
Also, natural gas rose by 40 per cent to $9.96/boe from $7.13/boe, and NGL jumped by 27% to $6.98/boe from $5.48/boe.
In the year, Oando reported a 40 per cent shortfall in its upstream production to 26,775boe/day from 44,550boe/day, while the downstream achieved an 8 per cent rise in traded crude oil volumes of 17.4 million versus 16.1 million in FYE 2020, as traded refined petroleum products surged by 39 per cent to 962,370 MT from 694,653 MT.
“2021 was defined by contrasting themes for Nigerian oil producers, with buoyant oil prices tempered by an increasingly challenging local operating environment.
“Bullish oil prices throughout the year saw us record a 105 per cent increase in average realized oil sale price whilst a surge in militancy and sabotage across the Niger Delta resulted in a 40 per cent decline in average hydrocarbon production compared with 2020,” the chief executive of Oando, Mr Wale Tinubu, said.
Commenting further on the unaudited results, he said, “Despite the challenges, a strong revenue performance, coupled with the refund of a long-standing receivable, contributed to a net profit of N34.7 billion.”
“As we continue to drive the growth of our existing businesses whilst also exploring creative solutions towards curbing the incessant pipeline sabotage incidences that continue to plague our local industry, we are also committed to investing in climate-friendly and bankable energy solutions via Oando Clean Energy Limited, thus expanding our portfolio from oil and gas to include non-fossil energy solutions. We will continue to update our esteemed shareholders as progressive developments are made in the coming year,” Mr Tinubu added.
NGX CEO Lauds Geregu Power’s Significant Impact on Stock Market
By Dipo Olowookere
The chief executive of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, Mr Temi Popoola, has heaped praises on Geregu Power Plc for its positive impact on the local stock market.
Speaking on Tuesday at the closing gong ceremony to commemorate the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the organisation as a listed company on the exchange, Mr Popoola said the power-generating firm had boosted the value of the trading platform since its listing last year.
“It (Geregu Power) has also contributed significantly to the volume of trades done on the market since its listing,” he said, commending the board for instituting best practices in corporate governance and playing a leading role in the country’s power sector.
Since its listing on NGX, Geregu Power has added more than N800 billion in market capitalisation to the bourse as the market continues to price up its shares amid strong revenue generation and dividend yields.
Also, Mr Popoola pointed out that the company exhibited quality corporate governance, as “Geregu was one of the first set of listed companies to file their annual reports on the exchange.”
In his remarks, the Chairman of Geregu Power, Mr Femi Otedola, thanked the NGX for providing a platform for listed companies to source cheaper funds from the capital market.
“We promise to sustain our partnership for many years to come and reiterate our commitment to best practices of corporate governance,” the billionaire businessman said, as the chief executive of the power firm, Mr Akin Akinfemiwa, also restated the company’s dedication to positioning itself to be more valuable to shareholders and the business community at large.
On his part, the Chairman of NGX Group, Mr Umar Kwairanga, commended Mr Otedola for his longstanding contributions to the capital market, expressing optimism that the listing of Geregu Power as the first power-generating firm and its experience in the capital market would encourage other players in the sector to come and list on NGX.
Also, the chairman of NGX Limited, Mr Abubakar Mahmoud, represented by a Director at NGX, Mrs Angela Adebayo, said, “It is our hope that NGX and Geregu Power would continue to work together to sustain our partnership and consolidate our shared values for improved outcomes that will be beneficial to the market and the Nigerian economy.”
Zenith Bank Proposes N2.90 Dividend After Impressive Growth in Gross Earnings
By Dipo Olowookere
The board of Zenith Bank Plc has proposed the payment of N2.90 per share as a final dividend for the 2022 accounting year, bringing the total cash reward to shareholders for the year to N3.20 per share after it earlier paid 30 Kobo as an interim dividend.
The tier-1 bank, in its audited financial statements for 2022 released to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Tuesday, announced the dividend payment amid an impressive double-digit growth of 24 per cent in gross earnings to N945.5 billion from the N765.6 billion reported in 2021 despite the persistent challenging macroeconomic environment and headwinds.
The financial results showed that the surge in gross earnings last year was driven by a 26 per cent year-on-year growth in interest income from N427.6 billion to N540.2 billion and a 23 per cent year-on-year growth in non-interest income from N309 billion to N381 billion.
Also, impairments increased in the year by 107 per cent to N124.2 billion from N59.9 billion, while interest expense rose by 63 per cent to N173.5 billion from N106.8 billion.
It was observed that the increase in impairments, which also resulted in an increase in the cost of risk to 3.3 per cent from 1.9 per cent, was attributed to the impact of Ghana’s sovereign debt restructuring programme. The growth in interest expense increased the cost of funds from 1.5 per cent in 2021 to 1.9 per cent in 2022 due to hikes in interest rates globally.
The continued elevated yield environment positively impacted the bank’s Net-Interest-Margin (NIM), which grew from 6.7 per cent to 7.2 per cent due to an effective repricing of interest-bearing assets.
Operating expenses grew by 17 per cent, though the inflation rate was at 21.91 per cent as of February 2023, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
In the year under consideration, the profit before tax recorded a marginal growth of 2 per cent to N284.7 billion from N280.4 billion due to an improvement in all the income lines.
A look at the balance sheet revealed that customer deposits increased last year by 39 per cent to N8.98 trillion from N6.47 trillion in the previous year. This growth in customer deposits came from all products and deposit segments (corporate and retail), thus consolidating the bank’s market leadership and indicating customers’ trust.
Total assets increased by 30 per cent from N9.45 trillion in 2021 to N12.29 trillion, mainly driven by growth in customer deposits. With the steady and continued recovery in economic activities, the Group prudently grew its gross loans by 20 per cent from N3.5 trillion in 2021 to N4.1 trillion in 2022, which increased the Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratio modestly from 4.2 per cent to 4.3 per cent.
The capital adequacy ratio decreased from 21 per cent to 19 per cent, while the liquidity ratio improved from 71.2 per cent to 75 per cent, with both prudential ratios well above regulatory thresholds.
In 2023, Zenith Bank said it intends to expand its frontiers as it also reorganises into a holding company structure, adding new verticals to its businesses and growing in all its chosen markets, both locally and internationally.
In recognition of its track record of excellent performances, Zenith Bank was recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital, for the 13th consecutive year, in the 2022 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking published by The Banker Magazine; Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020 and 2022; Best Bank in Nigeria, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria 2021 and 2022 in the World Finance Banking Awards; Best Corporate Governance Bank, Nigeria in the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards 2022; Best in Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, by the Ethical Boardroom; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Innovation In Retail Banking, Nigeria in the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards.
Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021 and Retail Bank of the year for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022 at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.
Similarly, Zenith Bank was named Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020, Most Innovative Bank of the Year 2019 by Tribune Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2020 by Independent Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2021 by Champion Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2022 by New Telegraph Newspaper, and Most Responsible Organisation in Africa 2021 by SERAS Awards.
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