The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has stressed that the estimated 4.8 per cent global growth will culminate in oil market stability this year.
This is even as the price of Bonny Light, Nigeria’s premium oil grade, dropped from $65.70 to $63.11, while OPEC Basket, and other crudes also dropped marginally over uncertainty about the outcome on the ongoing 49th Meeting of the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) (Videoconference).
However, speaking at the meeting, Secretary General, OPEC, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, stated, “The economic recovery is gaining momentum. This is reflected in our latest global growth estimate of 4.8% for 2021, up from the 4.4% projection we shared at our last meeting. This is a major turnaround from the grim conditions of 2020, with our most recent estimates showing the global economy plummeting by 3.9%.
“2021 is the Year of the Ox in China, a fitting symbol for this sturdy economy. China, which emerged from last year as the only major economy to remain in positive growth territory, continues to exceed expectations and is forecast to grow by 7.4% this year.
“India’s economy, which fell 8.2% in 2020, is now expected to expand by 7.5% in 2021. We had earlier expected these key economies to expand by just under 7% this year. Globally, historic levels of fiscal and momentary support continue to lubricate the economic engines and keep us in forwarding gear.
“Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman, Jay Powell, put to rest any idea of an immediate course reversal when it comes to supporting the US economy. This welcome news was followed by the G20 finance ministers and central bankers announcing on Friday (February 26) that they will continue to support a strong global recovery, and they lent support to the idea of boosting the International Monetary Fund’s firepower so it can further assist developing countries.”
Barkindo,, who noted that the actions of the United States will also impact positively on the market, stated, “The Joseph Biden administration’s massive fiscal stimulus package, which passed its first legislative hurdle by winning US House approval last Saturday, continues to kindle hope for a sustained rebound. Against the backdrop of encouraging developments, oil demand remains on course to grow by 5.8 mb/d to just around 96 mb/d.
“The encouraging global economic developments and resilient demand in Asia are upside factors, especially beyond this quarter. Initial data from January this year show that crude oil processing in India rose to its highest level since November, 2019, fuelled by rising economic and industrial activity.
“This positive regional outlook is underscored by the comments of India’s Minister of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan, at the recent IEA-IEF-OPEC Symposium on Energy Outlooks. Pradham stated that his country’s energy demand is expected to rise by 3% per annum through to 2040, around three times the anticipated global demand increase.
“Our capable OPEC analysts will go into more detail about inventory levels in a moment. For now, let me say that the outlook continues to move in the right direction, and the data we have before us reflects improvements over last month’s report to this Committee. Preliminary data for January shows that OECD commercial stocks declined by around 11mb. At 3 billion barrels, they were around 140mb higher than the same time one year ago and about 126mb above the average for 2015 to 2019.
“Turning to the latest figures on days of forwarding cover, OECD commercial stocks fell by 1.4 days from December to January, to 69.2 days, which is slightly lower than a year earlier, but 7.4 days above the pre-pandemic five-year average.
“The oil storage situation also appears to be aided by a refocus in the US tight oil sector from production to generating cash flow and rewarding investors. US crude production fell by more than 10% in mid-February following extreme winter in key producing states like Texas, helping to offset the rise in US crude stocks due to the significant drop in refinery utilization rates. Also regarding inventories, global short-term floating storage has fallen every month since October and stood at 142mb in January this year, significantly less than the 250mb reached in mid2020.”
He, however, added, “In a further sign of light on the horizon, the key benchmarks have risen steadily so far this year along with other commodities, in particular metals, and traders continue to take a strong positive position in oil. Since January, the futures price structure of all three key markets has been in sustained backwardation, an indication that the market is tightening and the rebalancing process is gaining speed. We have come a long way from a year ago. The days of GDP and oil demand figures being in the red because of the pandemic-induced shock appear to be behind us.”
Paris Club Refund: Suspicious N159bn Judgment Debts Worry NGF
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has engaged Femi Falana, SAN, to challenge the judgments awarding some “consultants and contractors” humongous shares of the Paris and London Club refunds received from the Federal Government by the various states and their local governments.
Falana, in a letter dated April 19, 2021, written to the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, on behalf of the NGF, requested that the plan to issue promissory notes to the purported creditors be suspended, in deference to the legal steps being taken to appeal against the judgments.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria’s letter is sequel to an earlier correspondence dated April 8 sent to the finance minister by a law firm, Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, SAN & Co, on behalf of one of the creditors, Ted Iseghoghi-Edwards.
Investigations on the controversial judgment debts have revealed that Iseghoghi-Edwards is laying claim to $159million for providing consultancy services to the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) to secure the Paris Club refund.
Findings show that a total of $418million judgment debts (about N159billion at the exchange rate of $1 to N380.5) has already been cleared for payment by influential officials of President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
It was gathered that those behind the desperate push for the payment are Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the finance minister.
They have concluded on paying the six creditors through the issuance of promissory notes to be funded from state governments’ allocations for 10 years.
It was learnt that the officials are pushing for the payment despite Mr President’s directive suspending it after the NGF raised an objection to it, and called for a forensic audit of the whole indebtedness.
The Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) has, on different occasions, written to the AGF, querying the claims by Iseghoghi-Edwards and a firm, Riok Nigeria Limited.
RSG Seeks Improved Media Partnership On Projects Delivery
The Rivers State Government has restated its commitment to partner with the media at all times in order to consolidate on the delivery of infrastructural development and good governance.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim stated this, last Monday, in a keynote address at the 2021 Media Day, organised by the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt, District 9141 in Port Harcourt, with the theme, ‘Developing Media Infrastructure for Good Governance’.
“Using the various media infrastructure in which a wide range of debates take place and variety of viewpoints represented, the Rivers State Government led by Governor Nyesom Wike has continued to deliver projects that impact positively for the betterment of Rivers State and her people.
“Between last year and the whole of the first quarter of 2021, Rivers State was on the global map as eminent citizens of Nigeria joined the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to commission projects in eleven local government areas of the state.
“This unprecedented development coming at a time when most leaders were hiding under the cover of the Covid-19 pandemic to cover their ineptitude will surely remain legendary,” he noted.
Nsirim asserted that many social commentators across the country have opined with convictions that the only person who can realistically beat the impressive record is Governor Nyesom Wike himself, especially when the next phase of projects commissioning would commence, “which will unveil some of the most amazing and marvelous legacy infrastructural projects ever seen in Rivers State.
“Project commissioning has become synonymous with the Governor Wike’s administration in the last five years and even against the backdrop of the noisome buzzing of a jobless, fragmented and confused opposition in the state,” he said.
No Reasonable Govt’ll Allow Pantami In Cabinet, Wike Mocks Buhari
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, should resign from office, irrespective of his recent volte-face on his previous support for extremist groups.
The governor noted that in an ideal society, an allegation that the United States of America has placed a serving minister on its watch list as regards to terrorism, should jolt any government into action.
He stated this during an interview with the African Independent Television (AIT) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, yesterday.
“If it was really where a government is working, if an American government says your minister is on a watch list, it calls for concern for you say look there is a problem. The moment a high government official is on a watch list as to regards to terrorism, no government can fold its hands and allow it.”
Wike, said the minister ought to have resigned from the government immediately the information about his extremist views in support of terror groups became a matter of public discourse.
The governor described as worrisome the decision of the Federal Government to remain mute amidst the raging controversy about the minister’s sympathy for global terrorist groups.
“I don’t understand why a reasonable government will allow such a person to be in the cabinet.”
The governor noted that the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government was known for its proclivity to shield persons of questionable characters, even when the country’s secret service presents overwhelming evidence against such individuals.
“But you were here when DSS wrote a report against (Ibrahim) Magu. What happened? Look, I have never seen a country that your secret service wrote a report about the nominee of Mr President, questioning his character and the rest, and that he is not appointable. What happened? So, what are you talking about? What removed Magu is power play.”
Wike also took a swipe at the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for not taking stern disciplinary action against former Governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, who recently claimed he conspired with others to ensure that President Goodluck Jonathan lost the 2015 presidential election.
“If I was the leadership of the party, I would have suspended Aliyu for that comment he made. But, you see nothing will happen. The National Working Committee will not do anything. Why? They need Aliyu to support them.
“I cannot understand why you are a leader; so, to speak, you come out and tell the world why you fought your party. I have never seen a thing like that in my life. Assuming you did it, you now want to rub it on them, and that nothing will happen.”
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