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Stakeholders Urge FG To Adopt New Economic Strategies For Revenue

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L-R: Assistant General Manager, Five Star Logistics Limited, Mr Nicholas Bruce, representative of Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), Mrs Okam Ada, Executive Director, Stars Investment Company Limited, Iroghama Obuoforibo, and President, Women International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTER), Jean Chiazor-Anishere, during the WISTER Nigeria Business Luncheon/lunch of Membership Directory in Lagos on Friday

L-R: Assistant General Manager, Five Star Logistics Limited, Mr Nicholas Bruce, representative of Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), Mrs Okam Ada, Executive Director, Stars Investment Company Limited, Iroghama Obuoforibo, and President, Women International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTER), Jean Chiazor-Anishere, during the WISTER Nigeria Business Luncheon/lunch of Membership Directory in Lagos on Friday

Some stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, last Friday urged the Federal Government to adopt new economic strategies that would boost the nation’s revenue, amid the declining oil receipts.
The energy experts made the appeal in separate interviews with newsmen on the sidelines of the just concluded international conference of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) held in Lagos.
The Managing Director, Frontier Oil Plc, Mr Thomas Dada, said that the global economic challenges make it imperative for the country to look inwards and tap its indigenous human and material resources.
He said that the inwards search, especially in human capital, would also assist the nation in retaining huge funds lost annually to capital flight.
According to Dada, Nigeria must also look inwards for an effective strategy to maximising its huge petroleum resources earning and utilising it for rapid industrial and economic growth.
He said that the move for increased local content in the petroleum industry was timely and strategic in managing the effects of the dreaded oil price burst, currently threatening activities in the oil and gas sector.
National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo, called for sustained political will in the implementation of the subsisting local content policy.
Okoronkwo said that the local content policy was a won battle for the indigenous players in the industry to accept the challenge of driving the industry.
He said it would save the country from adversities of free fall of crude oil prices in the international market.
The IPMAN boss said that the only way out of the tight oil price curve was for all stakeholders in the industry to foster unity and proffer solutions to bridge the deficits arising from dwindling oil revenue.
He said also that collaboration among local and international players in the industry remains the requirement needed to sustain Nigerian Content Development (NCD).
He pointed out that the indigenous players in the oil and gas industry have escaped the average psychological limits in the country. Okoronkwo explained that the mindset of the industry has developed above the Nigerian psychological template.
Also speaking, Chairman Momas Meter Manufacturing Company (MEMCOL), Mr Kola Balogun, said that the survival of the Nigerian petroleum industry and the success of running policy programmes depend on ability of local service providers to deliver.
Balogun urged government to harness more gas for sustained and rapid industrial growth needed for economic development.
He said that the combination of gas and power form the prime index of country’s economic development and key indicators of standard of living.
“There is a correlation between gas consumption ratio of a country and the nation’s economic development,” he said.
Balogun noted that the current level of gas development in the country remains grossly inadequate in meeting the nation’s economic targets.
“Current total gas production in the country could only deliver 36 gigawatts of electricity.
“There was a critical need for policies that would stop gas re-injection and flaring in order to harness and channel more gas to power generations,” he said.
President, SPE Nigeria Council, Mr Emeka Ene, said that the crude oil price dilemma was a universal concern.
According to Ene, players must face the new reality by adopting cost efficient measures in keeping afloat.
He added that local content remains the only path for the industry through the prevailing market turbulence.
On the domestic environment, he said, gas demand for local industries and power plants has become imperative in the face of the new realities in the industry.
He said that the local content journey has yielded fruits after 13 years’ journey.
Our correspondent reports that the 4-days SPE conference and exhibitions which started on August 3 has “Natural Gas Development and Exploitation in an Emerging Economy Strategies, Infrastructure and Policy Framework,” as its theme.

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Traders Protest FG’s Move To Restore Festac Town

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The move by the Federal Government to restore Festac Town in Lagos to its original status has sparked up protest among traders occupying Agboju Amuwo Planks and Building Materials Market.
The traders on Wednesday, protested at the FHA office in Festac Town against the demolition of their market, following the demolition of illegal structures by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) ahead of the restoration. 
The Tide recalls that there was a petition to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, in 2020 about illegal structures that had taken over Festac Town.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the restoration of Festac town organised by FHA, last year, its South-West Zonal Manager, Mr Akintola Olagbemiro, said, “This year, we commenced the restoration of Festac town, following the consent judgement from the court against illegal occupants of Festac land.
“Our action is to save the residents from the insecurity that has taken over the entire Festac town as a result of illegal structures everywhere”.
The chairman of allottees of First Gate to Third Gate, Mr Kole Olatunji, in his remarks at the meeting said the land from First Gate to Third Gate was allocated between 1985 and 1999, noting that with the consent judgment, original owners of the land as allocated should take over their plots.
But the chairman of plank market, Muhammed Bello, protested the seven-day notice given to traders to vacate the place without alternative arrangements.  
Bello said: “How do they expect us to remove our wares in seven days?
“What we want is that they should allow us to remain there and we will pay whatever amount they ask us to pay”.
Speaking in the same vein, the chairman of Cane Chair and Furniture Association, Emmanuel Okoye said: “We need freedom. Let them tell us where they want us to stay. That place was swampy. We filled the place with several millions of Naira which we got as loans.
“We also rely on loans to do our business. Whatever the government wants us to pay; we are ready to pay to remain there. We have been there for 27 years. What we lost to the demolition is over N300 million”.

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Fuel Tanker Explosion Kills Five, Injures Two In Ogun

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No fewer than five persons were on Wednesday burnt to death, while two others sustained first degree of injury in a fuel tanker explosion at Ajilete, along Owode-Idiroko road, in Yewa South local government area of Ogun State.
Eyewitness accounts revealed that a truck bearing 33,000 litres of petroleum product was descending the steep portion of the road when its tank suddenly detached from truck’s body and tumbled to the ground with a bang.
The explosion, the witnesses said, killed five persons on the spot, while two other persons were injured.
The Tide learnt that the seven victims were all residents of the area where the accident occurred.
Confirming the incident, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Commander, Idiroko Unit, Akinwunmi Olaluwoye, said five deaths were recorded in the accident which occurred at about 8.15 am on Wednesday. 
According to him, the remains of the dead had been claimed by their families.
He disclosed that a bus and a motorcycle were also caught in a web of the explosion and razed.
He said, “no vehicle rammed into the tanker. The tank dropped off from the back of the tanker and exploded. The number of persons involved are seven; five dead, two injured.
“The driver had taken away the head of the truck as at the time we got there. But we have allowed the police to take charge and handle that aspect”.

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Travellers To Access $4,000  As CBN Boosts Forex Supplies

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Nigerians travelling abroad can now access a maximum amount of $4,000 foreign exchange from banks following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) announcement to increase forex supplies.
The CBN had said in a recent statement that it had concluded plans to increase the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet legitimate needs.
This followed the warning by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to Deposit Money Banks to desist from denying customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange.
The purposes to access forex included Personal Travel Allowance, Basic Travel Allowance, tuition fees, and medical payments as well as Small and Medium Enterprises transactions or for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment proceeds, the CBN had stated.
Sources from some of the banks said those travelling on business trips could also access a maximum amount of $5,000 for each trip.
At a virtual Bankers’ Committee meeting last week, the bankers discussed how the CBN intended to assist with forex to ensure availability for the upcoming summer period and the return of students to school in September.
The CBN also said the BDCs would continue to have their weekly allocations.
The committee observed that the rates were going up.
It stated, “The CBN has said that all the banks must make availability at all times and anyone who wants to buy BTA, PTA, medical fees, student school fees and all the eligible invisible purchases to ensure that Nigerians are not forced to go and queue in the parallel market.
“So what the Central Bank is doing is to encourage all banks to make sure that there is available forex at all times, and that his information should be communicated on all our platforms.
“We are asking our customers to come to the branches and for BTA, for example, present the required documents, which are basically your international passport, your visa, your valid ticket and fill up the form in the bank.
“And what we have been instructed to do is ensure that we don’t turn anybody back and that we should request from the Central Bank once we exhaust the forex that we have.
“The idea is to have a hitch-free summer period and the resumption for children to go back to school. The idea is to ensure there is less pressure on the forex and then the rates will come down”.
Speaking during the virtual meeting, the Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said, “I think again as part of the Central Bank’s role in terms of price stability and the need to support small and medium enterprises, there was highlight of the need for banks to go and support SMEs who import small raw materials for them to set up their businesses”.
The Managing Director, Ecobank, Patrick Akinwuntan, said, “All banks are available to ensure forex need is met.”
Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, said the CBN had provided sufficient foreign exchange to meet the needs of all legitimate Nigerian travellers and therefore, the idea of going to any other market should not arise at all.

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