The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, says the 2017 budget implementation will be affected by growing uncertainties in the global oil market.
Kachikwu made the statement at a news conference in Abuja, Wednesday.
He, however, said the Ministry of Finance and the Federal Executive Council were working on measures to cushion the impacts of the shortfall from oil production on the budget.
Kachikwu explained that while the oil production benchmark in the budget was 2.2 million barrels per day (mbpd), the country was producing about 1.7mbpd.
“In terms of the budget impact, definitely, I mean, it is predicated on the number of 2.2 million barrels per day and a price index of 42.50 dollars.
“Within the price cap, I think we’re still reasonably within range. Obviously we have lost quite a lot of months, some months, at least, two or three in which we did not produce what the budget had projected, so there is definitely going to be differential.
“Like you know, the Ministry of Finance is aggressively looking for ways to cover some of these shortfalls; part of that is efficiency, how do we cut down our expenditure?
“Obviously, certain capital items will be affected; if we do not have money, we cannot do certain capital projects that we have in the budget.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that budget will be impacted but we are working hard with the Federal Executive Council to see how we can forecast or predict that sort of impact and see how we can recover,” he said.
Kachikwu said Nigeria would in time join in the production cut initiated by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC members led by the Russian Federation to stabilise the market.
He further said Nigeria, though committed to the deal, would have to get to a predictive level of comfort to voluntarily join in the production cut.
“We’re fairly in consensus of what our position is, there is no disagreement on that. But just to set the record straight, the price of oil today is hovering around 44.70 dollars per barrel.
‘’So, there is a bit of upsurge trajectory which is good, which means the price for Nigeria is probably in the 46 dollars type range.’’
He said the price was ‘’below the 50-dollar mark which is where we’ll feel comfortable’’.
Kachikwu said there were a lot of reasons for the situation, including ‘’a lot of aggressive shale production, and obviously barrels coming out from Nigeria and Libya because of the exemption’’.
He said Nigeria has begun to recover gradually.’’
The minister added: “Over the last one and a half months, we’ve basically began to recover some of our assets that were vandalised and we’ve been getting a lot more cooperation from the militants that they are letting us continue to try and grow those barrels.
“That recovery is going to be gradual.
‘’We’ll still have below the benchmark set for us by OPEC and I think that over the next one or two months, hopefully, we can get to that point when we can say the recovery has been tested, is systemic, and predictable.
“We need to watch that for a couple of months so that we can get to a predictive comfort and then we voluntarily go to OPEC and see how we can contribute.’’
He stressed that Nigeria had been an active member of OPEC for 46 years and that was the reason behind some of the cut analysis and strategies that were got from Saudi Arabia and other countries.
Traders Protest FG’s Move To Restore Festac Town
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”.
Fuel Tanker Explosion Kills Five, Injures Two In Ogun
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”.
Travellers To Access $4,000 As CBN Boosts Forex Supplies
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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