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Thread: Latest Nigerian News from Forex Forum Nigeria.

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    How we plan to achieve 2.3mb/d oil production this year –Kyari

    What does Nigeria take home from this OPEC meeting?
    This meeting is part of the OPEC general meetings, but more important than that is that the market is suffering some form of instability and there was a necessity to balance that market which brought about the cooperation between the OPEC and non-OPEC members and in assessing the situation, it’s very obvious that there are some forms of imbalance from the market and that could lead to some distortion in the market.

    Therefore, the purpose of this meeting is to see how we could sustain the stability by looking at all fundamentals in the market and eventually all the parties (producers and buyers) will benefit from it.
    You came to this meeting with some expectations. Now the meeting is over, are those expectations being met?
    Our expectations were to come here and reach some consensus and alignments. So, our expectations are that, the conference will make the best decisions that are good for the market and that was what they did and we are not disappointed. As you can see, after the meeting, there were some alignments agreed to by all the parties.
    How did you arrive at such consensus despite the stance by some aggrieved members such as Iran?
    I think what everybody needs to know is that OPEC has a very good governance structure that responds to all situations. For instance, it is clear that the decisions of the conference are for the ministers and then they have the board of governors who review all the technical inputs of all the lower levels of the organisation to analyse and guide the board of governors and the technical committee which also advises the board of governors.
    When you escalate it to the level of the ministers, it is a different ball game because that becomes a sovereign issue; countries have their positions, they have their view points and sometimes they like to sell their view points to the other parties so that eventually at the end of the day you have a consensus that is acceptable to all. One good thing with OPEC is that, it has never failed in reaching consensus.
    What are you doing back home to make sure that when there is such kind of alignment, Nigeria can take part in it unlike now that we don’t have the capacity to produce more oil like some other members?
    Nigeria has been a very prominent member of OPEC; we are in alignment with all the decisions that took place over time. If there is production cut, Nigeria participates fully. We must understand that every country wants to be a reliable supplier of crude oil so that both your buyers and the market can plan with you. We have a number of challenges in the Niger Delta region which make it unpredictable for the market to know how much Nigeria will bring on the table despite the stability we achieved in the last six months because of the intervention by the government.
    What Nigeria would like to see is a situation where we have a stable and predictable production so that the market would plan with us. Of course, we would be glad to be part of the production cut by the OPEC or any other adjustment that may ensure stability of the market.
    How would the Declaration of Cooperation impact on Nigeria’s economy and the oil and gas sector in general?
    In many ways. First of all the Declaration of Cooperation brought stability in the market and not just that, in the real sense, it also brought more revenue to our governments and it was those revenues that were actually utilized to build infrastructure in the country and a number of intervention projects. Beyond that we also have this situation of Nigeria given the grace of providing the platform where we can now plough more investments as many of us are aware. We have done some sort of alignments with our partners, the IOCs. Part of it is for us to make some payments to them which wouldn’t have easily come without such increase in revenue.
    So it has helped us substantially in balancing our budget and also balancing our investments in the oil and gas industry. You can see that we are among the biggest beneficiaries of the cooperation and I am sure you have seen from the OPEC report, there was almost $35 billion average of gain every month as a result of this activity and surely part of that amount comes to our account.
    What kind of reaction do we expect from the market after the 174th OPEC meeting decision?
    When you increase supply, if there is no parallel increase in demand we should expect downward trend of crude oil prices, but mind you in all the discussions including the OPEC reports, it clearly shows that there is increase in demand of oil in the international market. So it is possible that this increase in supply may help balance the market, therefore, we are not expecting substantial reduction in the price in the near future.
    Is it not a bad signal that few days after the signing of the budget by President Muhammadu Buhari, this decision is coming from the OPEC of increasing supply which may likely lead to reduction in prices?
    I don’t think the oil benchmark in budget will become unrealistic in the short term and therefore I don’t see any challenge for the budget as a result of the decision by OPEC. Even if it does, budgets are living documents; when you underestimate in term of your revenue from crude oil, you can always have ways of supplementing that revenue. We should also realize that government revenue is no longer completely reliant on crude oil and gas. We are all aware that most of the revenue actually is not coming from oil and gas, which is a real shift in our country’s finance structure.
    Some media reports are still linking movement in oil prices with OPEC decisions and some are saying the decisions are political in nature. What is your take on that?
    OPEC is not a price fixing organisation; it tries to close the gap between supply and demand. When you do that you would have appropriate price. Whenever you have escalated demand, your supply is not meeting up you may likely have very high price sometime very unrealistic and in many cases affecting everybody - not just the producing countries. You will have increase in the prices of goods and services across the globe.
    So very high prices are not always good for even the producing countries, and therefore the decisions by OPEC are not meant to jerk up prices so that the countries will get more money. Higher oil prices usually cause global crises. If you recall, the global crises in 2008 did not just affect the consumer nations but everybody and at the end of the day you all lose. So balancing the market is in the best interest of all.
    What strategy has NNPC and government put in place to have some stability in oil production in the country?
    As you know, many of the disruptions we recorded were actually as a result of the agitations and sometimes the activities of vandals. There is a very narrow difference between the two. But the reality today is that government at the highest level, with the participation of the vice president and the minister, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has ensured that there is balance between the expectations of the communities in which we operate and also the expectations of the producers at the environment. It has resulted in that semblance of stability in the last six to seven months. That means that the engagements by the government which is different from what we used to have, where some of these boys were given some stipends to just keep quite, is working.
    In the next five to six months, it’s very obvious that even if we are not going to have 100 per cent peace, we are going to witness better environment to operate in such that everybody benefits - from the communities to the producers.
    With this stability in the region, why are we still producing 1.7 million per day; why are we not moving further?
    When you talk about 1.7m barrels per day, you are actually talking about crude oil production for OPEC purpose. Condensate is out of the discussion of OPEC. The total national production which includes condensate is revolving around a little above 2 million barrels and there are a number of interventions to make sure that we wrap off this production.
    New production are coming up, for instance Egina is coming in by Total E&P, with about 200,000 barrels per day capacity that will automatically ramp of our production to 2.2 million barrels per day and there are a number of investments that are going on which will naturally increase our production. But mind you, as you are producing, natural decline sets in and so you have the balance in between. That is why are very comfortable in the government circle with that figure.
    We can make up to 2.3 million barrels per day, probably at the terminal end of 2018. So in terms of production numbers it will grow because of the activities that are going on now such as the stability in the region, the investments that are going on and the general understanding and clear acceptance that we have a government that is supporting peaceful resolution of issues in the country.

    ---------- Post added 07-11-2018 at 01:44 PM ---------- Previous post was 07-10-2018 at 01:51 PM ----------

    First City Monument Bank (FCMB), a leading financial institution has organised another program in a series of free training interventions in its impact planning project for small and medium business owners and operators.

    This is in pursuit of the lender’s resolve to support and nurture small and medium enterprises to achieve growth and stability in business. An integral aspect of the Bank’s agenda towards the nation’s economic development, the lender re-assured its customers it would sustain the tempo of support to existing and upcoming SMEs through increased lending, capacity building, free advisory, value-added products, as well as providing them services capable of increasing overall performance in business.

    At the event which held in Lagos on Friday, 29th June, 2018 and tagged “Business Empowerment & Sustainability Training for SME Customers”, the Bank focused on budgeting, cost and budget management. Facilitators also took participants through the intricacies of raising capital for business and getting businesses ready for loans as well as preparing them for other investors’ invitation in partnership.

    Addressing the participating SME customers of the Bank, Divisional Head, Corporate Services, FCMB, Felicia Obozuwa, said the bank recognised the role of entrepreneurs in the society and their capacity in driving growth and sustaining the economy. She added.

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    Don’t delay signing Africa Free Trade Pact, SA President tells Nigeria

    President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has called on Nigeria not to delay in signing the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) that seeks to create unhindered access to markets by Africans across member countries.

    The CFTA will bring together 54 African countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than $3.4 trillion.

    Nigeria, South Africa and five others African countries last year refused to sign the agreement sighting various reasons. Nigeria did say it needs time to consult relevant stakeholders before signing on.

    Mr Ramaphosa at the 25th anniversary celebrations and annual meeting of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), holding in Abuja, Nigeria disclosed that the 31st Session of the AU Assembly in Mauritania just over a week ago, South Africa joined its counterparts in signing the agreement.

    Forty nine countries including South Africa have signed the AfCFTA leaving out just six countries that include Nigeria. He said Nigeria and South Africa are critical to the success of the trade policy thus Nigeria should sign on soon as possible.

    “No pressure Nigeria, take your time but don’t take too long to sign the CFTA, Africa is waiting” he said.

    Responding on the call to sign on, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun said Nigeria is about concluding on the consultations. She said: “We must consult. Nigeria is a federation of states, local governments and various stakeholders. So we must go through the process of consultations. That is what we are doingnow and that means Nigerians decision must reflect the views across the country.”
    “We must never be in a hurry to get things wrong, we must get things right. So we must follow all through the due process and that’s simply what we have been doing,” Adeosun noted.

    President/Chairman of the Board of Directors, Afrexim Bank, Dr. Benedict Oramah said the bank is “creating infrastructure that will help boost trade. In Nigeria we’re developing a testing and certifications Centre so that getting qualified for exports is no longer an issue.”

    He said by 2017, Afrexim had approved more than $60 billion in credit facilities to African businesses.

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    As MPC meets, 2019 elections, US rate hike may shape outcome – Experts

    Ahead of the third Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) this year, slated for today and tomorrow, analysts have once again enumerated the policy options open to the committee.
    Analysts at the FSDH are of the view that the MPC may hold rates and that though there are justifications to ease the policy, the view of the MPC members that fiscal injections and rising rates in the international market would have adverse impacts on price stability in Nigeria, may not allow them, to ease policy.

    “Weak economic and credit growth in Nigeria do not support a rate hike,” they noted.
    At its May 2018 meeting, the MPC maintained the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 14%, with the asymmetric corridor at +200 and -500 basis points around the MPR; retained the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Liquidity Ratio (LR) at 22.50% and 30% respectively.
    FSDH researchers expect that the US Federal Reserve may increase rate when it meets in September and December 2018. The expected Fed’s action may push funds further into the US Treasury market, and also push global yields upwards, leading to additional pressure in emerging markets therefore, tight monetary policy will be appropriate in this context.
    FSDH Research believes measures to stimulate growth are required. The expected growth in government’s spending in the second half of the year should increase economic activities, with positive impacts on the income of households and firms.
    The inflation rate has maintained a consistent downward trend since January 2018. FSDH Research’s forecast shows that it may drop to single digit in August 2018, provided there is no food crisis that could lead to escalating food prices
    FSDH Research also notes that possible capital flight and adverse developments in the crude oil market are also possible risks to stable prices.
    The weak economic recovery and rising crises in some parts of the country are responsible for the weak credit growth. An expansionary policy may be appropriate to expand credit if the social crises are resolved.
    Similarly, analysts at Afrinvest have highlighted that: “Amid concerns on policy normalisation in global systemic central banks, rising yields on emerging market assets - resulting from downside risk factors consequent on sustained foreign capital flow reversals since Q2:2018, flimsy domestic economic recovery, steady moderation in inflation, polity fragilities and disquiets around fiscal spending ahead of the 2019 general elections, the MPC must keep a delicate balance between growth and price stability.
    “We believe the committee will maintain status quo on all policy rates in order to avoid upsetting the current economic momentum,” the said.
    Afrinvest position is on a balance of factors underscored by careful analysis of sustained positive conditions in global commodity markets alongside emerging market risks and continued disinflation amid steady but weak growth momentum.
    They noted that continued disinflation and positive external conditions create a compelling case for a rate cut in order to stimulate currently weak growth momentum; “but, as we have hinted in our earlier reports, the CBN has already eased liquidity conditions considering lower yields in the fixed income market. We believe that the argument for cutting the MPR now will only be for policy consistency. Although rates will converge, the impact will be negligible.
    “In addition, risk factors to exchange rate stability, which we believe is the current policy anchor, in light of ongoing capital outflows, may tilt the scale towards a hawkish stance. Nevertheless, monetary tightening is a potential downside risk to growth though it may attract and sustain capital flows. Thus, a neutral position gives the CBN opportunity to assume a position which would not be inimical to the twin goals of growth and price stability.
    “Furthermore, the CBN retains its flexibility which could prompt quicker responses to emerging conditions in global financial markets as they affect external sector stability.”
    They also noted that the uncertainty usually associated with change of government in Nigeria will become full blown in H2:2018 ahead of the 2019 general elections as foreign investors are likely to flee to ‘safer haven’ economies.
    Renowned economist and past member of the MPC, Dr Adedoyin Salami, speaking on the economic uncertainty in the economy ahead of 2019 elections, said stakeholders are concerned about oil production which has dropped to around 1.8 million barrels per day suggesting some rumbling in the creeks again which is beginning to undermine oil output.
    The election uncertainty is not a Nigeria specific challenge. It is part of the democratic circle and the international response of capital should be expected.
    Speaking on the likely spike in inflation figures before the end of the year, the economist said: “Focusing on the Federal Government alone is an understatement of the country’s spending. The combined states and federal budgets has risen from N14 trillion to N18 trillion and that money would be spent.
    “If half of the state governors are not eligible for re-election, they would likely not want to leave any money for their successors. A lot of money being spent means a potential higher levels of inflation and exchange rate demand.”

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    FG raises N748bn from oil tax, royalty in 2017 – DPR

    The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) said the Federal Government earned N748 billion from taxes and royalties paid by oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria in 2017.
    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this was contained in DPR’s report made available at a workshop organised for energy reporters in Lagos on Friday.

    The report said the revenue represented about 83 per cent of the agency’s target.
    The report also stated that the agency renewed close to 25 oil blocks, which had combined revenue of about 1billion dollars.
    According to the report, the agency granted approval for 16 new field development plans in 2017, which would increase the nation’s oil and gas production by 560,463 when completed.
    “We renewed 19 expired leases in 2017 to enhance upstream investment influx and accelerate oil and gas reserves and production growth.
    “We actively supported the implementation of a major gas commercialisation programme, which seeks to create a regulatory framework to facilitate gas flare monetisation to end gas flaring by 2020,” the report said.
    The agency said it issued ten licences and approval for development of gas production and processing facilities that culminated in the commencement of the operation of the plant.
    The agency said it revised and issued new DPR procedure guide for the determination of quantity and quality of petroleum products in Nigeria.
    The DPR said it initiated early lease renewal programme to accelerate revenue generation for government.
    It added that this was meant to fund national budget and incentivice upstream investment by ensuring security of tenure, long gestation and payback period for oil and gas investments.
    The agency further said it facilitated improved cooking gas penetration with local consumption growing from 390,000 metric tons to 470,000/metric tons with a potential to hit 500,000 metric tons milestone.
    “We increased national gas reserve base from 192.07trillion cubic feet to 197.74 trillion cubic feet representing 3.5 per cent increase over the preceding year.
    “We increased operator compliance on National Production Monitoring System (NPMS) by commencing the upgrade of the NPMS to real time data captured in 26 crude oil terminal locations.
    “This improved the efficiency in the administration of crude oil export and production accounting,” the report added.

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    NPA to open eastern ports with N1bn investment – Usman

    The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, has expressed the agency’s willingness to open up the eastern ports with N1 billion investments.

    Usman revealed that the move would also decongest the western ports and also eliminate the chaotic traffic into Apapa.

    The eastern ports include the seaports based in Warri, Onne, Calabar and Port Harcourt which, in the perception of operators, have been grossly underutilized and partly responsible for the seeming over-concentration of businesses in the Lagos Ports Complex (LPC) and Tin Can Island ports, both in Lagos.

    Statistics shows that more than 70 percent of the cargo that comes into the two ports in Lagos, Apapa and TinCan are used within the Lagos and southwest axis. There are arguments that improving the capacity of the other ports would stimulate the economies of the areas and affect the cost of products and services positively.

    This position, especially as it concerns the improvement of the living condition of residents in the port communities as well as creating job opportunities for youths in the areas, was what the Hadiza Bala Usman team met when it took over the affairs of the Nigerian Ports Authority in July 2016.

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    Confusion dogs Nigeria Air

    As some Nigerians are celebrating the launch of the proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air, others posit it’s a misplaced priority, waste of meagre funds and the idea should be jettisoned. Another group also questions why the Federal Government would invest so much in it and end up with a paltry 5 percent equity as announced.

    However, a significant number of others feel the investment in the national carrier is wise and should be followed through to success. Those in this category make case for the value addition on the Nigerian aviation sector as the over 70 bilateral air service agreements (BASA) routes currently unutilised could be used for, among others, the impact on job creation as hundreds of aviation professionals will be employed, and the forex savings that will accrue when Nigerians keep their money within the country’s economy when flying Nigeria Air.

    Could the process have been different?
    Some commentators have said the unveiling was largely hurried as a lot of basics had not been followed. For instance, before the unveiling and even till now, a proper company and management of the Nigeria Air haven’t been constituted. There is neither physical business address nor a functional website that provides basic information - such as frequently asked questions, on the Nigeria Air. Perhaps the physical address, with a minimal management staff that would midwife Nigeria Air should have been put in place, regardless of its management for now. This is critical as the few management staff would also be involved in building the structures; negotiating the aircraft lease and working on the several BASA routes that would be immediately activated by December 19, 2018 when Nigeria Air commences operation.
    These commentators express worry that the minister and the national carrier implementation committee were still the only ones directly involved in all the deals on Nigeria Air and discussing with prospective investors. Another issue they raised is that government should have licensed an ALC to precede the national carrier.

    The ICRC had also approved the outline business case for the Aviation Leasing Company (ALC) and the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, all facilities that are critical to support the national carrier when established. In fact these approvals came before that of the national carrier.

    Industry experts argue that if the ALC was established, through a public private partnership arrangement as proposed in the OBC, the company would be involved in the aircraft lease for Nigeria Air, thus retaining huge sums of foreign exchange within Nigeria. But that in as it now stands, government will have to lease the aircraft through lessors abroad, a situation that would lead to more capital flight than if Nigeria had retained the service. Again for a new airline, the dry leases might be more expensive as the risk profile of Nigeria Air is uncertain.
    The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is a regulator of the industry yet it is still a member of the implementation committee. This raises concern on the ability of NCAA to do a due diligence licensing and regulatory procedure on Nigeria Air.

    Explaining issues on Nigeria Air, the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, recently said there is no secrecy in the build up to Nigeria Air as the entire process was guided by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission’s guidelines/regulations.

    He said because it’s a PPP, it has three stages - the project development stage, procurement stage and implementation stage. The project development stage was just concluded with the approval of the outline business case. Once the process gets to the PPP procurement stage, there will be an RFQ, Information Memorandum and RFP bidding process which will be made public, competitive and transparent. It is only after the PPP procurement process that the strategic equity investor will be known,” he said.

    He also explained that government was not funding the entire project but providing startup capital in the form of an upfront grant/viability gap funding. Once the strategic equity investor is in place, he will be expected to build on the initial investment made.

    “The $8.8m represents startup capital for offices etc required for takeoff. But $300m is the entire airline cash flow funding requirements (aircraft, operations and working capital) for three years (2018, 2019 and 2020). This funding can be in the form of equity or debt,” the minister explained.

    On how the funds would be sourced since it wasn’t budgeted for in the 2018 budget, Sen. Sirika said: “Government’s upfront grant/VGF contribution to equity will be funded through either a supplementary budgetary allocation (highly preposterous with the crisis at the National Assembly) or development financial institutions like AFREXIM bank, AFBD, ISDB etc, who have indicated keen interest in funding the national carrier project because of its bankability and profitability profile,” he said.

    On how Nigeria Air can be profitable, he said, “As part of efforts to make airlines viable in Nigeria, the ministry is making moves to have the National Assembly pass a fly Nigeria act. This act will require that anybody travelling on a ticket bought with public funds must travel on a Nigerian carrier unless the route is not served by a Nigerian carrier. However, with your private funds you can do as you like. Many countries including America have such as Act.”

    He said Nigeria Air is for now a 100 percent government owned company, adding that government will divest majority of its equities after one year of operations and retain 5 percent.

    Of course majority of Nigerians are excited about a national carrier but the same Nigerians will not spare the government if the national carrier is not properly set up to be commercially viable.

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    ‘Russia, Turkey, China keen on Katsina refinery’

    There is already an existing relationship between Nigeria and Niger. Niger shares boundary of over 1000 kilometers with Nigeria from Borno to Katsina, to Jigawa and to Sokoto. Niger has fortunately been blessed with abundance of hydrocarbon. Today, they have a reserve of over 1 billion barrels of crude that has been proven. In addition to that, they are also well blessed with solid minerals but unfortunately they are positioned in a land-locked environment. They have no access to any big ocean through which international trade can be easily transacted and with the existence of crude, the best means of transportation to the international market is the ocean and that Niger is not blessed with. The distance between Niger and the closest river that can take a vessel or ship is about 2005km.

    So, since the discovery of oil, Niger has been looking for potential market, incidentally over 40 per cent of the petroleum product consumption in Nigeria is in northern Nigeria. Kano in particular provides the largest consumer state outside Lagos being a commercial city and the distance between Kano and Niger is just 180km maximum. Kano is surrounded by Jigawa, Bauchi, Sokoto and Gombe and they all take their petroleum product from around Kano.

    So, based on the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and Niger, one of the options the Nigerien government has been considering is to see how they can bring in their crude into Nigeria because there is a massive market for petroleum product in Nigeria. Today we import over 70% of petroleum products requirement from far away Russia, US and many other European countries.
    So, here comes the opportunity. There is the crude that is landlocked looking for market and here is a market in Nigeria that is looking for products.
    Nigeria is well favoured because of the distance. To do an 18-24 inch diameter pipeline will cost you about $1.2 to $1.5 billion per kilometer. So, it makes more economic sense to run a crude pipeline into Nigeria at a shorter distance, maximum up to Kaduna which is about 500km from the source of crude. But if you take Katsina it is between 180km down to 500km depending on how far into Niger you are bringing the crude. So, that makes economic sense.

    These decisions are just based on our knowledge; they are going to be authenticated and confirmed by internationally reputable consultants who have the wherewithal to do a robust study that will determine the best, convenient, most economically viable location. Part of our mandate is to identify such consultants that will bring in a feasibility study that is bankable.

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    Prices of goods to rise as haulage cost shoots by 500%

    There are strong indications that the cost of imported goods may rise following the rising cost of haulage of cargo at the Apapa port in Lagos by over 500 per cent in recent times.

    Importers, yesterday, expressed worry over the latest development occasioned by the gridlock in the area.

    The importers alleged that truck drivers have hiked their charges per container from the sea ports in Apapa to warehouses in Lagos from N120,000 to N700,000.
    They wondered if they could cope with the sudden hike, stressing that only a few months ago, haulage of a 1×40 container was N120,000 while 1×20 was transported for N80,000.

    President of the Association of Progressive Traders (APT), Jude Okeke, of Trade Fair Complex, Lagos, said the prices of goods will continue to go up if drastic action is not taken by government.

    “Before the traffic congestion that has become synonymous with the ports’ access roads, it was easy to bring cargoes to the markets with little transport fare but right now the story is different. The increase will be shifted to the consumers.

    “Today, the thought of having one’s container berthing at the Apapa Wharf sends shivers to one’s spine because of the trouble associated with such venture,” Okeke said.

    He said importers might be compelled to use neighbouring countries’ ports to ship in their cargoes.

    The APT president pleaded with the Federal Government to open up other sea ports in the country to decongest the Lagos ports and make transactions easy for them

    Mr Emeka Amadi, Chief Executive Officer of Glory Land Shippers, who also spoke on the increasing cost of hauling cargo, said the Apapa road had defied all known solutions.

    He said: “Even the Presidential Order given some weeks ago by the vice-president is temporary as the containers have lined-up in the area, blocking every available space.

    “That is why the price of transportation of cargo is on the increase. You do not expect somebody’s truck to be on the road for days without the person charging money to cover for the days,” he said.

    The chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Dr Remi Ogungbemi, however, in a swift response said the development was sequel to the pull and push in market forces, particularly the Apapa gridlock which pushed up prices, rather than a deliberate act from his members.

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    Agribusiness attracts $375m funding from banks

    The Central Bank of Nigeria and NIRSAL Plc’s initiative to de-risk agribusiness in the country has facilitated funding from commercial banks across the value chain to the tune of $375 million, the Managing Director/CEO of NIRSAL, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, has said.

    Speaking, yesterday, at the signing of agreement between NIRSAL Plc and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) on the imperatives of creating Climate Risk Profiles in Nigeria, Abdulhameed said in addition to that, the agency trained over 700,000 farmers on good agronomic practices and financial management.

    It also provided high quality agricultural inputs and affordable finance to more than 500,000 smallholder farmers under three farming seasons between 2017 and 2018.

    According to Abdulhameed, effective decision-making is crucial to the success of any business, hence creating climate risk profiles will strengthen existing decision support systems in agriculture and present a more palatable investment atmosphere to investors.

    It will also build the capacity of stakeholders for identifying and managing climate risks in agribusiness, facilitate the development of robust response plans and programmes for a climate-resilient agricultural sector, he said.

    He stated that the agreement with CIAT will ensure that all climate risks that can jeopardize the future of the agriculture sector are dimensioned and adequately addressed.

    The African Director of CIAT, Dr. Debisi Araba, in his remarks, explained the centre’s involvement in the generation of sub-national climate risk profile reports for Kenya which are instrumental in triggering a $250 million World Bank fund earmarked for climate change mitigation through agriculture.

    The capabilities of CIAT, Dr. Araba said, include the ability to anticipate climatic variations, leading to smart agricultural risk management.

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    Stocks to 9-month low on mixed earnings, political risk

    Stocks dropped to a more than nine-month low, yesterday, at the end of trading at the Nigeria Stock Exchange hurt by mixed second-quarter earnings and worries about political risk in the run-up to next year’s presidential election.
    The stock index fell for the fifth straight session, down 0.4 percent to 36,154 points. Stocks have fallen 5.1 percent so far this year, after climbing 42 percent last year.

    Second-quarter earnings have been mixed, with most lenders posting declines in loan growth, citing a weak economy, while several consumer goods’ companies have recorded lower profits.

    Newly-listed fertiliser firm Notore reported a wider loss before taxes for the nine months to June. Its shares have dropped 8.8 percent in the week after listing.
    Political developments ahead of an election next year, in which President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking re-election, have also dented investor sentiment, analysts say.

    “Recent declines have been concentrated on a few large-cap stocks. Pressure on Nigerian Breweries may be on the back of slightly disappointing H1’18 earnings, but Dangote Cement numbers were in line with expectations,” said Michael Famoroti, chief economist at Vetiva Capital.

    Last week, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Nigeria’s third most senior elected official, defected from Buhari’s ruling party to the main opposition and is fast becoming a leading critic of the president.

    Top decliners were FBN Holdings, Fidelity Bank, Transcorp, Diamond Bank and FCMB, all down more than 4 percent. Nigerian Breweries, the local unit of Dutch brewer Heineken, shed 2.9 percent.

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