The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr IbeKachikwu, has said Nigeria would get more crude-cut exemption from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Nigeria has been exempted twice, the first time for six months and the second time for nine months, from the OPEC decision to cut crude production to shore up prices of the product.
Kachikwu, who made this known at a media interaction in Abuja, said that at the expiration of Nigeria’s crude-cut exemption in March, 2018, further exemption was inevitable.
He said that it was magnanimous of his OPEC colleagues to have understood that the government came in with difficulties and voluntarily gave the exemption but that market stability was an issue.
“So, the question is when do we join but I will recognise stability if I can consistently say that for at least six months, I’ve seen average daily productions that are within the umbrella of 1.8 million barrels.
“The market is still topsy-turvy; today I think we are around 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd).
“A lot of days we are slightly above 1.8 million barrels because of the understanding with our Niger Delta brothers.
“OPEC has no intention of giving an extension taking it back, but it shouldn’t take the butchering of my pipelines to get an exemption.
“I have obviously a mark of March, next year; if I need to draw it up to that point, I will.
“If my numbers are not showing stability (but if we are fine before then) and stability arises (but this is already September so March is really six months).
“It’s very unlikely that I can see stability that convinces me with certainty and predictability that I should exit the exemption between now and March,” he said.
The minister said that he wouldn’t do anything to jeopardise OPEC’s rules.
“We are going to be very transparent on this; I was the ex-OPEC President, we have the OPEC Secretary-General from Nigeria.
“So, my intent definitely cannot be to play games with this but at the same time we have to be very realistic.
“We are committed to the OPEC position; we are committed to the cut principles. We’ll do our best to align as soon as our colleagues begin to feel that we are stable enough.
“I, however, found working with Russia, working with Saudi Arabia and all the other OPEC members that they usually will be very honest in terms of looking at the data.
“They have their own secondary sources to determine what it is that we produce and they are able to see what the numbers are,” he said.
He said the nation was undergoing massive problems in terms of liquidity, income, predictability and financing of projects.
“This period enables us to get our act together and make sure all the things we need to do in the Niger Delta are done.
“People have a much firmer promise to remain stable, not attack our pipelines and we can predict our volumes day-to-day much more determinedly.
“We are seeing incidences of that begin to return but we still have these flip-flops,” Kachikwu said.
He reiterated that Nigeria was given the 1.8 million bpd maximum production, adding that technically, it would not change.
“We won’t be cutting from the 1.8 million but bear in mind that our production is 2.2 million barrels even though we’ve now moved condensates out of it.
“So, the exemption was that we’ll not exceed 1.8 million so anything above 1.8 million we’ll cut, not including condensates.
“When we finish repairing our infrastructure, our capacity is going to be huge.
“I think this country has potential capability to raise production to 2.5 million barrels so there will be quite some sacrifices that we will have to make to align ourselves with everybody.
“But capacity is one thing and ability to build on this capacity is another thing, so it’s still work in progress.”
On pipelines that were damaged, Kachikwu said it would take a while to restore them.
“Some damaged facilities have been repaired, some gone through an aging process and therefore going through natural altrusions as a result of so much impact of the militancy attacks.
“So, it’s not so much now day-to-day attack but the solvability of the infrastructure that was damaged during those periods.
“It requires money, we don’t have straight money to put that in place so you see all those effects that go into determining stability in the oil industry,” he said.
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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