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Economy

Oil Prices Close Mixed Despite Drop in Crude Stocks

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crude oil prices

By Adedapo Adesanya

Prices of the major crude oil benchmarks were mixed at the market on Wednesday despite crude inventories in the United States dropping for the fifth straight week.

The Brent crude futures fell 21 cents or 0.46 per cent to trade at $45.65 per barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 5 cents or 0.12 per cent to sell for $43.40 per barrel.

The market had performed well at the onset as both benchmarks settled at a five-month high on Tuesday. It was looking to extend this as data showed that oil stockpiles in the largest oil-producing nation fell by more than expected last week.

Oil inventory declined 4.7 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said. Expectations were for a draw of 3.7 million barrels after a decline of 1.6 million the previous week, marking the fifth straight week of declines.

Earlier, the American Petroleum Institute’s (API)’s weekly report showed crude inventory fell 4.5 million barrels, slightly ahead of expectations.

The reports come as Hurricane Laura continue to affect the US drilling and refining hub along the Gulf Coast, where producers have shut operations in preparation for the powerful storm.

Laura is now a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday. It is forecast to produce an unsurvivable storm surge, extreme winds and flash floods over some US cities.

Business Post gathered that nine oil-processing plants that convert nearly 2.9 million barrels per day of oil into fuel, and account for about 15 per cent of the country’s processing were shutting down.

Oil producers on Tuesday had evacuated 310 offshore oil facilities and shut 1.56 million barrels per day of crude output, about 84 per cent of Gulf of Mexico’s offshore production.

The pressure on prices came on renewed worries over the COVID-19 pandemic, which has squeezed demand and sent prices to a low level last witnessed about five months ago.

This dampened market sentiment after reports this week of patients being re-infected, raising fresh concerns about the novel virus.

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.

Economy

Subsidy Removal: CNG at N130 Per Litre Cheaper Than Petrol—IPMAN

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CNG

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Independent Petroleum Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has advised Nigerians to begin to look into the direction of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as an alternative energy source to cushion the effect of subsidy removal.

The National President of IPMAN, Mr Chinedu Okorokwo, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday, as the federal government continues its dialogue with the organised labour over the hike in the price of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol.

On May 29, 2023, during his inaugural speech, President Bola Tinubu said the payment of subsidy for fuel had ended because there was no provision for it in the 2023 budget beyond June 30.

His announcement triggered the hoarding of fuel by marketers, and when the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited increased the price of the product across its retail outlets, prices of food, transportation and services went up, forcing the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to threaten a nationwide strike, which was supposed to start today but was stopped by the National Industrial Court.

At a meeting on Monday night between the government and the labour unions, it was agreed that the adoption of CNG as an alternative fuel would be the best option, and it was agreed that the CNG conversion programme earlier planned in 2021 should be revived.

CNG, which is a gas mainly composed of methane and produces less emission, is the cleanest burning fuel operating today with less vehicle maintenance and longer engine life.

In the interview with NAN, Mr Okoronkwo said bringing CNG, which was cheaper than even firewood, as an alternative energy, would create relief for the government and its citizens.

“We have also discovered that bringing an alternative that is cheaper than even firewood which is CNG, will not only create relief for the government and its citizens but it is environmentally friendly.

“The CNG is abundantly available in Nigeria than anywhere in Africa.

“In the Niger Delta region, you see billions of tonnes of gas flare being wasted daily, these are huge amounts that should be accruing to our GDP, but we are wasting it because there is no market for it.

“So, we are asking the government to create the market. How do you create the market?

“What Egypt and India did was to give soft loans to be paid back within stipulated periods; from there, you can get vehicles to use gas instead of fuel,” he said.

“There’s a franchise for the bottling of CNG so that an average woman in the kitchen can use it,’’ he added, noting that the introduction of CNG would cushion the effect occasioned by the high price of fuel currently as a litre of CNG would not cost more than N130.

He advised that repairing the local refineries as well would reduce the impact of the removal as it would eliminate the cost of importation and exportation.

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Economy

Nigeria Upgrades Tax-to-GDP Ratio to 10.86% From 6%

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tax-to-GDP ratio

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has disclosed that Nigeria’s tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio has been upwardly reviewed to 10.86 per cent from the 6 per cent earlier reported to reflect better data sources and improved estimation using the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) manual.

The OECD manual is an improvement over the System of National Accounts (SNA 2008) classification of taxes.

Although the System of National Accounts conceptual framework and its definitions of the various sectors of the economy are reflected in the OECD’s classification of taxes, the OECD classifications provide the maximum disaggregation of statistical data on what is generally regarded as taxes by tax administrations.

In a disclosure, the statistics office said the country’s total tax revenue compared with its GDP was at that level in 2021, higher than 8.40 per cent in 2020, which was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the previous year, the ratio was 10.20 per cent, marginally lower than the 10.36 per cent recorded in 2018 but higher than the 9.02 per cent in 2017.

The NBS said the revised computation considered more comprehensive coverage of data at the federal, state, and local government levels and revenue items not previously included in the computations, particularly relevant revenue collected by other government agencies.

The review of the tax-to-GDP ratio was initiated by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, which collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Finance and the NBS for better measurement of the ratio.

The data used were sourced from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), FIRS, NBS, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Joint Tax Board (JTB), and other relevant agencies of government that collect revenue.

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Economy

VFD Group Intends to Join Nigerian Exchange

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VFD Group

By Adedapo Adesanya

VFD Group Plc has announced its intention to list its shares on the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) to allow it to gain access to public equity markets, increase its visibility, and strengthen its financial position.

VFD Group Plc is a leading proprietary investment company with a proven track record of generating attractive returns for its investors through a variety of investment strategies.

The company has a diverse portfolio of investments in various sectors, including banking, technology, media, energy, and real estate. The group has been listed on the NASD OTC Securities Exchange since 2020.

Speaking on this big step, Mr Nonso Okpala, Group Managing Director of VFD Group, stated, “We are excited to take this next step in the evolution of our company.”

“Listing on a major stock exchange will give us access to a larger pool of investors, enhance our profile, and provide superior returns to our investors,” he added.

However, its listing on the NGX is subject to regulatory approvals and market conditions.

VFD Group noted that it would provide additional updates as the listing process progresses.

At the close of business on Tuesday, the securities of the organisation closed on the NASD OTC exchange at N244.88 per unit, the same rate they finished in the preceding trading session.

Business Post reports that the NASD was created to provide an avenue for public companies to transition smoothly into the country’s main stock exchange.

However, it has witnessed the movement of firms from the NGX to the NASD, especially due to the very strict regulatory requirements of the former.

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