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Foreign Stocks Fluctuate, As Bigwigs Face Congress

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The stock market turned mostly higher Wednesday, following the lead of financial stocks as the heads of several big banks testified before the United States Congress about the financial crisis.

Stocks fluctuated for much of the morning but strengthened as the questioning of bank officials proceeded with little in the way of confrontation. Investors were being choosy, moving into consumer stocks in response to a higher profit forecast from Kraft Foods Inc. but selling energy stocks as the price of oil fell. Industries seen as safer in a weak economy, like health care and utilities, rose.

Executives including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein, JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO James Dimon, Morgan Stanley Chairman John Mack and Bank of American Corp. CEO Brian Moynihan appeared before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. It is the first meeting of the bipartisan, 10-member panel, which is investigating the near collapse of the financial system in the fall of 2008.

While the executives agreed that banks’ actions contributed to the crisis that paralyzed the credit markets and worsened the recession, investors did not hear anything from the hearings that would encourage them to flee financial stocks.

Still, there is growing public discord over big profits and bonuses at financial companies that has the White House considering a levy on banks to cover about $120 billion in taxpayer losses from the government’s industry bailout. Opponents say it could jeopardize a recovery by the nation’s biggest banks.

Scott Colyer, chief executive at Advisors Asset Management in Monument, Colo., is concerned that imposing a tax on banks would threaten his expectation for a strong economic rebound in 2010. “You don’t want to take money from a group that you’re trying to prop up,” he said.

The questions about banks underscored how many concerns investors are juggling. After a strong first week of the year in stocks, a disappointing profit report from Alcoa Inc. late Monday is causing concern that the robust earnings investors had been expecting for the final quarter of 2009 might not materialize.

In much of 2009, companies boosted earnings by laying off workers and slashing expenses. But cost-cutting cannot be relied upon forever so investors are looking for signs that increases in revenue will lift earnings.

The improved forecast from Kraft was welcome news but its increased projection matches what analysts had already been predicting. Intel Corp. is expected to post results Thursday, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. is scheduled to report on Friday.

In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 40.66, or 0.4 percent, to 10,667.92. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 5.33, or 0.5 percent, to 1,141.55, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 7.21, or 0.3 percent, to 2,289.52.

On Tuesday, the Dow fell 37 points, or 0.3 percent, while the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq lost each lost about 1 percent on concern about China’s bank policies and Alcoa’s results.

Bond prices fell after jumping Tuesday, pushing yields higher. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.75 percent from 3.72 percent late Tuesday.

Crude oil fell $2.05 to $78.74 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The drop in oil hurt energy companies, which also hurt stocks.

The dollar fell against most other major currencies, while gold fell.

Meanwhile, investors sold shares of Google Inc. after the Internet search company threatened to withdraw from China. The company said it will no longer censor its search results in the country after finding that computer hackers had led human-rights activists to reveal their e-mail accounts to outsiders. Google’s public complaints were a rare show of protest in the country and an about-face for the company that long said it would abide by Chinese laws that block some political and socially sensitive content. Google fell $8.97, or 1.5 percent, to $581.51, while Baidu rose $51.51, or 13.3 percent, to $438.00.

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Navy Destroys 14 Illegal Refineries, Confiscates N2.7bn Refined Products

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Troops of the Nigerian Navy conducting Operation “Dakatar Da Barawo” confiscated crude oil and other illegally refined products worth N2.7billion in June.
This is contained in a statement issued by the Director of Information, Naval Headquarters, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan in Abuja.
“The various NN platforms deployed for ‘Operation Dakatar Da Barawo, Calm Waters 11’ and Tripartite Joint Border Patrol, have continued to sustain aggressive patrols to curb the menace of crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering.
“Accordingly, several Illegal Refining Sites (IRS), metal storage tanks, wooden boats, dugout pits and ovens were destroyed between June 13 and June 19”.
He said five suspects were and the operatives destroyed 14 Illegal refining sites.
The Navy also said that 80 storage tanks, 22 wooden boats, 40 ovens, two-speed boats, a tanker, truck, barge and a Toyota Sienna car were recovered during the various operations during the period.
Similarly, Navy ship VICTORY in Cross River intercepted and impounded three wooden boats laden with drums of suspected illegally Refined Petrol (PMS) around Ikang channel, suspected to be transported to Cameroon.
However, the Navy said, the boats, as well as the products, were taken into custody.
Ayo-Vaughan said,”Forward Operating Base (FOB) Bonny in Rivers” also intercepted two wooden boats laden with about 400,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil at Iwokiri.
The wooden boats and products, he said, were destroyed.
Similarly, he said, the Navy ship SOROH in Bayelsa intercepted a wooden boat laden with about 60,000 litres of suspected illegally refined AGO.
Subsequently, the boat and contents, he added was destroyed.

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FAAC: Federal, States, LGs Share N680.780bn May Revenue Allocation

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The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared May 2022 Federation Revenue Allocation to the federal, states and local government councils to the tune of N680.783billion.
This is contained in a communiqué issued at the end of June 2022 FAAC meeting held in Abuja.
According to the communiqué, the N680.783billion total distributable revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N385.004billion, distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N198.512billion and Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) revenue of N97.267billion.
In May, 2022, the total deductions for cost of collection were N36.996billion and total deductions for transfers and refunds were N186.672billion.
The balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was $35.377million.
The communiqué confirmed that from the total distributable revenue of N680.783billion; the Federal Government received N229.563billion, the state governments received N241.824billion and the local government councils received N175.942billion.
The sum of N33.454billion was shared to the relevant states as 13percent derivation revenue.
Gross statutory revenue of N589.952billion was received for the month of May, 2022.
This was lower than the N635.037billion received in the previous month by N45.085billion.
From the N385.004billion distributable statutory revenue, the Federal Government received N185.197billion, the state governments received N93.934billion and the local government councils received N72.419billion.
The sum of N33.454billion was shared to the relevant states as 13percent derivation revenue.
In the month of May, 2022, the gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) was N213.179billion.
This was higher than the N178.825billion available in the month of April, 2022 by N34.354billion.
From the N198.512billion distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue, the Federal Government received N29.777billion, the state governments received N99.256billion and the local government councils received N69.479billion.
The Federal Government received N14.590billion; the state governments received N48.634billion and the local government councils received N34.043billion from the N97.267billion Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL).
According to the communiqué, in the month of May, 2022, Companies Income Tax (CIT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) recorded considerable increases, Import Duty increased marginally while Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Excise Duties decreased marginally.
Oil and Gas Royalties decreased significantly.

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FG Hands Over Licences To 57 Marginal Oil Field Investors, ‘Morrow

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The Federal Government has announced that the successful investors in Nigeria’s 57 marginal oil fields for the 2022 bid round would get their various Petroleum Prospecting Licences, tomorrow.
On May 31, 2021, the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) issued letters of award to investors for the production of crude oil from 57 marginal fields.
Last January, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) announced that a total of 128 awardees emerged as successful bidders in the bid round and had made complete and part payments for signature bonuses in the oil fields.
It also disclosed at the time that 33 awardees did not make payments during the 45 days window given to successful bidders to pay the required signature bonuses for the oil fields and as such had lost their awards to suitably qualified reserve bidders.
Providing updates on the bid round in Abuja, last Saturday, the Chief Executive, NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, announced that the successful awardees would get their licences by Tuesday.
He said, “In fulfillment of the promise made early this year, the NUPRC will on Tuesday in Abuja, issue Petroleum Prospecting Licences to successful awardees of marginal fields in the 2020 bid round, pursuant to the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
“It will also unveil the implementation template for the host communities’ development trust for commencement of the provisions under Section 235 of the PIA, 2021, to positively impact against restiveness in the host communities.”
Komolafe said implementing the development trust would guarantee seamless operations, boost investors’ confidence and provide enabling environment for sustainable improvement of the country’s hydrocarbon resources.
“These will mark the conclusion of some of the most urgent and critical tasks inherited by the commission when it was inaugurated in October, 2021, after the signing into law of the PIA 2021,” he stated.
The commission had in March this year informed all participants in the 2020 marginal field bid round programme that it had put all necessary machinery in place to progress the bid round exercise to conclusion in line with the PIA 2021.
In furtherance of that resolution, the commission constituted an in-house work team to distill and address the concerns of awardees with a view to close out issues affecting multiple awardees per asset and formation of Special Purpose Vehicles by awardees in line with the respective letters of award.
“Awardees were therefore enjoined to avail themselves of the resolution mechanism provided by the commission in the overriding national interest,” Komolafe stated.
He added, “The successful coordination and resolution of the issues culminated in the emergence of the successful awardees that would be handed over licences on Tuesday.”

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