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China Moves Into Nigerian, ECOWAS Markets

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China appears to have latched on a subtle strategy of increasing her sphere of trade and investment influence in not only Nigeria but the entire region of the Economic Community of West African States of which Nigeria is a strategic member.
The country which already accounts for a sizeable proportion of formal and informal imports, into Nigeria recently entered a partnership agreement with ECOWAS, which implementation would touch on a number of countries within the region.
China has been pitching officially and unofficially in the sub region, for a variety of projects including railway rehabilitation works, industrial establishments and space technology amongst others and has paved the road for a region of private sector operators from that country to trade in the Ecowas sub region.
Recently, the Chinese authorities were in Nigeria to discuss with the members of the House of Representatives whom they assured of beneficial mutual relationship with Nigeria.
This followed the signing of agreements on technology development under which China would establish a Satellite Assistance Centre in Nigeria.
The Chinese delegation , led by He Xing, Vice President of the China Great Wall industries corporation told Honorable Dimeji Bankole, the speaker of the House of Representatives that both countries would be able to leverage from each other’s potential. He said the space technology project which would be developed under the supervision of Chinese Space Academy would make it possible for Satellite to be developed and launched into the nation’s air space within the next ten years.
He alluded to Nigeria and China sharing some common developmental experiences, inferring that if China was able to break through its challenges that Nigeria also stood the chance of doing same.
He said his country’s economic situation in the country some 30 years was worse than what is currently being experienced in Nigeria saying that the difference came about because China leaders decided to invest in science and technology which eventually transformed the economic landscape.
On. Tunde Akogun, the House of Representatives leader who represented the speaker said that the collaboration aimed at advancing Nigeria in space technology adding that the bilateral agreement would be treated with dispatch.
The Chinese are equally discussing with state government officials in Osun State for mutual areas of collaboration.
This they did under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, having picked Osun Sate for a pilot programme.
A delegation of the two parties was received by Erelu Olusola Obada, the deputy governor of Osun State, who eventually conducted the visiting delegates of areas of interest in the state.
In the informal sector, a lot of Nigerians are into business relationships with the Chinese which involves amongst others, acting as manufacturer’s representatives for Chinese companies.
This way, a variety of goods of China origin have consistently found their way into Nigeria.
Although, the trade relationships have had their advantages they have at the same time raised some issues.
One of such issues is the quality of certain Chinese products into Nigeria.
Thought comparatively cheaper, they do not deliver when it comes to quality, this has made some observers to suggest ways in which the Nigerian authorities would specify quality standards that must be met before such goods enter into the country.

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Local Firms Produce 30% Oil, Gas – NUPRC

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Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, says indigenous firms account for the production of about 30 per cent and 20 per cent of crude oil and gas respectively.
Speaking at the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG) dinner at the 21st Nigerian Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition in Abuja, Komolafe said “as at today, I am proud to say that indigenous companies contribute about 30 per cent of crude oil and 20 per cent of the gas production, as well as 40 per cent and 32 per cent of oil and gas reserves.”
He diclosed that seven indigenous companies are among the top 20 companies with the highest oil reserves in Nigeria.
Komolafe noted that the commission is not oblivious of the threat posed to the development of the  hydrocarbon industry by divestments of the International Oil Companies (IOCs).
The impetus for divestment by the IOCs, according to him, is mainly attributable to the hostile upstream petroleum environment arising from crude oil theft and energy transition as a global response to the advocacy for reduction in carbon emissions.
As far as NUPRC is concerned, he stated, IPPG and other prospective indigenous players should see the IOCs divestment in some of the upstream assets as an opportunity rather than a threat to the development of the Nigerian upstream petroleum sector.
“It is indeed the right time to look inwards in the sector to prove the capability of the local content in value addition and optimising development of the nation’s hydrocarbon resources”, he emphasised.
The theme of the event was ‘International Oil Industry Divestments- Nigeria’s Energy Security, and The Role of the IPPG in this New Mix’.

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Stakeholder Urges Govt To Hands Off Business 

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A player in the oil and gas sector of Nigeria’s economy, Dr Godswill Ihetu, has said that government should keep its hands off business, saying its interference is detrimental to the growth and sustainability of business.
Ihetu, an octogenarian who had been in the oil and gas sector since 1959, said this while speaking to newsmen at the 5th Nigeria Entrepreneurial Summit and Honours Foundation (NESH) Oil and Gas Roundtable Series in Port Harcourt.
Giving reasons for the huge unemployment indices in the country, in spite of having huge oil and gas reserves, Ihetu stated that the oil and gas sector does not actually employ a lot of people due to the way it is structured, noting that there were inputs from the industry, capable of creating employment if well managed.
According to him, “the industry itself does not employ many people, but there are inputs that are capable of creating employment in the economy, like the Ajaokuta steel plant, petrochemicals”.
He continued that the oil and gas businesses, in which the government had majority share and played managerial role, did not strive due to incessant hire and fire of top officers, adding that such constant removal of captains of such establishments would not allow for continuity of laudable projects.
“30 to 40 years ago, there was a pipeline sending gas to Ajaokuta plant. Can you imagine if that plant had succeeded, the number of people that would be employed? But that huge complex is lying waste and there are many such complexes scattered across the country that are not producing much”, he explained.
He observed that the private sector-driven companies such as Eleme Petrochemical, were doing well, “ but you come to government-owned establishment, you find that the ability to sustain those plants like the refinery is lacking, why?
“Government’s interference, government’s lack of support in making sure that these establishments were created. If the Port Harcourt refinery  was working it would create more jobs for the youths.
“So the oil industry itself is not one that creates a lot of jobs but the pinups from the industry, gas into petrochemicals, gas into power, gas into manufacturing create a lot of jobs.
“Unfortunately, some of those establishments that are government-run have not done very well”, he said.
He urged government to sell majority stake to private sector and let NNPC be a minority shareholder.

By: Tonye Nria-Dappa

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NSC Nets N115.2bn, Records 28 Seizures In Six Months 

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The Onne Customs Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) collected a total revenue of N115,264,159,921.12 between January and June this year.
This amounts to an increase of N78 billion over the N37,097,63.91  in the corresponding period of 2021. The net was N68,597,503,002 in 2020.
Onne Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Auwal Mohammed, disclosed this in a statement made available to our correspondent by the Public Relations Officer of the command, SC. Ifeoma Onuigbo Ojekwu.
According to the statement, the command recorded 28 seizures, comprising nine containers with a duty paid value (DPV) of N531,386,166.78 in the period under review.
“This year’s number of seizures is higher by 20 numbers between January and June 2021.
“Among the siezed goods are machetes brought into the country without end users certificate, military wears, vegetable oil, whisky, soap and used clothing.
Others include used tyres, foreign parboiled rice, tomato paste, used vehicle parts and  others classified as uncustoms goods.
“There is a corresponding decline in smuggling activities accasioned by the aggressive anti-smuggling operation of the ommand.
“This is in order to ensure total compliance with the  policy thrust of the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ali (rtd)  and the extant law of the service”, Mohammed said.
On export, Mohammed said,”our export drive has also yield Fruitful dividends. A total number of  876,775.60 metric tonnes with $495,384,221.99 Free on Board (FOB) value translated into N203,969,499,562 and Nigeria Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) valued N1,075,060,914.52 were also processed during the period under review.
“It is petinent, therefore, to sound this note of warning that our eagle- eyed officers are very much on red alert to checkmate the activities of those who thrive on evasion of customs duties on their consignments”, he stated.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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