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Oil Market Uncertainties ’ll Affect 2017 Budget – Minister

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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.

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Buhari Seeks UK, EU Countries’ Partnership On Green Energy Policy 

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President, Muhammadu Buhari, has stressed the need for a long-term partnership between Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and the European Union (EU) on green energy policy.
Buhari, who made the call in an interview with Bloomberg News, said the UK and EU countries should invest in the planned 4000 km pipeline meant to bring Nigerian gas, regarded as the largest reserves in Africa, through Morocco, to Europe.
According to the President, when completed, the gas pipeline project would help to address gas supply crisis in Europe.
“We need long-term partnership, not inconsistency and contradiction on green energy policy from the UK and European Union.
“Investment is hampered by their broad-brush moratorium on overseas gas projects, while at home the same projects are classified as green.
“It does not help their energy security, it does not help Nigeria’s economy, and it does not help the environment. It is hypocrisy that must end.
“To change, the UK and EU countries should invest in our planned 4000 km pipeline to bring Nigerian gas, the largest reserves in Africa, via Morocco, then onto Europe”, he said.
The President explained that the gas pipeline project, connecting Nigeria to Europe, which was conceived four years ago, had since been unveiled.
Recalling that on June 2 the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) entered into an agreement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for its construction, he said, “concurrently on July 1, the NNPC will become a Limited Liability Company and be subject to more robust auditing and commercial disclosure obligations.
“It will help stimulate investment and boost transparency, where corruption has deterred the former and stymied the latter.
“My administration is the first to pass this landmark reform in our oil and gas sector, after two decades of predecessors’ failure to do so, no doubt due to vested interests,” he stated.
Buhari, however, noted that criminality and terrorism in Nigeria’s oil-producing regions had continued to hamper oil production.
Consequently, called on the Western allies to sanction all terrorist groups operating in the Niger Delta region and other oil-producing states in the South-East and South-South zones.
“It would help if our western allies designated IPOB as a terrorist group, given their complicity in damage to pipelines and infrastructure,” he said.
Buhari also revealed that the country had invested in the security forces, including the one billion dollar military deal with the U.S. for the acquisition of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft.

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Nigerians Collect 3m Passports From 2019-2022 – Aregbesola

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Minister of Interior Affairs, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, says a total of three million passports were issued to Nigerians between 2019 to 2022.
He used the opportunity to warn officers and men of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) against extortions and hoarding of passport booklets to create an undue scarcity in the system.
The minister, who disclosed this at the official launching of the Enhanced e-Passport in Benin, Asaba and Warri passport offices, and the commissioning of the passport production centre at the Benin Passport office, Edo State Command, lauded the achievement of the NIS.
“It will interest you to know that between 2019 and now, as difficult as that era was, the Nigerian Immigration Service has issued over three million passports to Nigerians. It is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.
“Last year alone, 1.3 million passports were issued. Also, last time I checked, over 250,000 passports remained uncollected by applicants”, he said.
He assured that the exploitation of Nigerians seeking to get their passports will no longer be tolerated by him, saying that erring officers will be seriously dealt with.
“Whoever disregard any Nigerian,  whoever exploit any Nigerian in their quest to get this document will be dealt with personally by me. This is the last time I am going to warn”, he said.
Aregbesola said President Muhammadu Buhari expressed regrets on hearing that Nigerians are always denied passports, stressing that with the enhanced e-Passport, denial of passports will no longer be experienced.

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NDLEA, NAGAFF Collaborate Against Illicit Drug Importation

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National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has called for a working relationship with 100 percent Compliance Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) in order to curb the Illicit importation of drugs through the seaports.
Speaking at a courtesy visit to the secretariat of the 100 percent Compliance Team in Lagos, Commander, Tin Can Island Port NDLEA, Mr. Aminu Abubakar warned freight forwarders and their importers to desist from Illicit drug clearance from the ports stressing the need for proper sensitisation of importation.
While calling for the support and cooperation of the NAGAFF Compliance Team, Abubakar urged freight forwarders to desist from the spread of hard drugs through the seaports by sticking to their legitimate duties.
He noted that since the NDLEA launched the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) in Abuja, several seizures have been made during cargo examination at the ports, with freight forwarders arrested and jailed for their  involvem in the importation of hard drugs.
The NDLEA boss stated that from January 2022 till date, the agency has intercepted 1500 Kilograms of Tapendatol with a value of over N6million amongst others at the seaports.
According to him, Tapendatol is another type of Tramadol drug which is more potent and dangerous than the usual Tramadol.
“The agency has different units and strategies through which we fight the menace and monster of drug abuse, and trafficking into our country.
“This is the suppression of the supply of drugs, which we do at the seaports. We profile some containers at the seaports, and based on the profile, we target such consignment and ensure we conduct proper examination.
“Sometimes we work with intelligence information or on the basis of profile which informs what we do.
“The agency has some strategies, which include counselling drug abusers and public enlightenment on the effects and prevention of drug abuse. There are also rehabilitation centers”, he said.
It will be recalled that the Chairman of the NDLEA recently launched call centers which would soon be operational, where one can report issues or seek for help.
“We have gotten 1500 kilograms of Tapendatol drug worth over N6million from Apapa and Tin Can ports.
We can only imagine what it will do if it gets to places where it is intended. Nigeria is already in crisis. We have the problem of banditry, kidnappings and youth restiveness and the root cause of these acts emanate from abuse of drugs”, he stated.
On his part, the National Coordinator of the 100 Percent Compliance Team, NAGAFF, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, explained that most freight forwarders become liable to the crime of hard drugs importation because 60 percent of freight agents at the ports use their company names to import consignments on behalf of the importers.
While assuring NDLEA of the group’s support, the NAGAFF Compliance boss noted that about eleven members of NAGAFF have been innocently detained in prison due to such acts.
Tanko, however, stressed that freight forwarders should desist from using their company’s name to ship in consignments in favour of the importers to avoid being liable when there are infractions.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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