The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) on Tuesday called on Federal Government to diversify the economy in order to increase its non-oil revenue and make the country less import dependent.
The Chief Executive Officer of NESG, Mr Laoye Jaiyeola, made the call at an advocacy dialogue on Webinar organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos.
It was reported that the Advocacy Dialogue, Series 1.0, had as its theme: COVID-19: “Tough Choices for Banking and other Businesses.”
“Nigeria has been hit by twin shocks – the COVID-19 pandemic and declining oil prices.
“In order for us to mitigate the negative impact of the twin shocks, we need to as a country maintain delicate balance between saving the lives of our people and growing the economy.
“These twin shocks are not necessarily mutually exclusive and both can be pursued simultaneously.
“We need to also diversify the economy from over reliance on crude oil as a source of revenue and focus more on the real sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and SMEs.
“At the sub-national level, the state governments need to look more inward to significantly increase their Internally Generated Revenues.
“Of course, there is a need to consistently improve on the level of infrastructure in the country to make these things happen,” he said.
The NESG boss also urged banks to maintain more diversified portfolio to avert concentration risk and spike in nonperforming loans.
He urged the sector to strengthen control environment to check against anticipated increase in frauds and operational losses.
Jaiyeola urged other businesses to rethink their strategies and models, saying they would also have tough choices to make going forward.
He advised them to ensure proper cashflow management, as cash remained king while synergising and collaborating with other players within their industry.
For consumers, the NESG boss advised that they reconsider their consumption pattern and build savings culture as precautionary measure.
He, therefore, urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Bank of Industry (BoI), among other institutions, to jumpstart activities in the real sector, particularly among the SMEs.
According to him, these institutions have significant roles to play in reflating the economy. He said: “The current position in the country is cyclical and will not be permanent.
“Despite the crisis, there are some opportunities. For example, we still have certain industries thriving in the country, such as information technology, communications, power, etc. “Our core challenge as a country is to progressively diversify the economy, grow the real sector and create a conducive environment for business.
“By doing this, we will not be only able to stimulate significant investment from local players, but will also be able to attract more of foreign direct investments with a view to ultimately moving Nigeria from a “vicious cycle of poverty” to a “cycle of boom and prosperity”.
NUPENG declares confidence in leadership
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has declared support for and confidence in its leadership, with Mr Williams Akporeha as President, and Mr Olawale Afolabi as General Secretary.
The Lagos Council Zonal Chairman, Mr Tayo Aboyeji, made the declaration during the union’s emergency meeting on the crisis within the union.
The Petroleum Tanker Drivers ‘branch of the union had been having a leadership crisis following a delegate conference held on Oct. 31 in Ibadan.
Aboyeji said, “This emergency meeting is necessitated by recent developments in the zone and NUPENG in general, which is necessary for your information.
“As the Zonal Chairman of Lagos Zonal Council, NUPENG, my team and I have complete faith in the national leadership of NUPENG.
“They have shown time and time again that they are committed to the welfare of our members and the growth of our union.
“This engagement with ourselves will afford us in-depth knowledge, understanding, clear perspectives and first hand information to the issue at hand,” he said.
Aboyeji said that the main objectives of the council were to protect and promote the rights and interests of its members, improve working conditions and welfare.
He also said that the union aimed to foster solidarity and unity among members, and to contribute to the development of the oil and gas industry, and national economy.
“In the light of the above, the council holds regular meetings with its branch executive members, employers, government agencies and other stakeholders to discuss and resolve issues affecting the sector.
“The council also organises annual zonal council educational conferences and other capacity building programmes for her members,” he said.
In his remarks, the union’s National Trustee, and a former chairman, PTD, NUPENG, Mr Salimon Oladiti, said information was key in ensuring stability within the union.
Oladiti said, “If somebody can take the leadership mantle of this union, just six years ago and carry out a gigantic project for the secretariat, an eight storey building, completed within six years, we have to say kudos to the leadership.”
TotalEnergies oil leak: Our response minimising impact on environment — NOSDRA D-G
The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) says its response to the estimated 3,000 barrels of crude discharge from an offshore field is to safeguard the aquatic environment.
The Director-General/Chief Executive of NOSDRA, Mr Idris Musa told journalists on Tuesday that the NOSDRA’s commitment to the environment was at the centre of its ongoing response efforts.
The director-general had earlier disclosed that an estimated 3,000 barrels of crude leaked into Nigerian territorial waters on Nov. 15 at the Eginæ facility operated by TotalEnergies 130 kilometres of the Atlantic coastline.
The operator of the Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel had said that the spill was minor and contained with no adverse impact on shoreline and communities.
However, environmentalists have expressed concerns on the biosafety of chemical dispersants used in mopping up the spilled crude as dispersants are generally toxic and its use is restricted near human settlements.
Dispersants are chemical substances used in oil spill control that act by breaking down the oil molecules and making them sediment at the sea bed.
It was learnt that 15,000 litres of COREXIT 9500 type liquid dispersant was sprayed using an aircraft and five vessels to mop up the leak.
On the toxicity of COREXIT 9500 type dispersant used to tackle the leak, Musa noted that the liquid dispersant had lower toxicity to aquatic life which justified its approval for use.
“A lot of research is going on in order to get environment-friendly dispersants that could effectively combat oil spill incidents in the oceans.
“We are in concert with the development; there are other products that have been tested and proven to be non-toxic and effective in shallow waters and near shore.
“We as environmentalists and regulators would certainly not abandon our responsibilities to our environment and our nation,” Musa said.
He assured that the agency was monitoring the toxicity levels near the incident site and beyond and would conduct a post impact assessment to ensure that the marine environment was given a clean bill of health.
The 220,000 metric tonne Egina FPSO has capacity to produce 200,000 barrels of crude daily and can store 2.3 million barrels on board.
Construction of Nigeria-Morocco gas project begins in 2024 — Minister
The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, says the construction of the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project which aims to link the European market is expected to begin in 2024.
Under this project, Gas is expected to be transported through the participating countries, including Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, and Morocco.
Ekpo, while receiving a delegation of envoys from the Kingdom of Morocco led by its Ambassador to Nigeria, Moha Ou Ali Tagma on Monday in Abuja, said Nigeria was ready and interested in the project.
The delegation visited the minister for a bilateral discussion on cooperation and commitment towards finalising the Trans-Atlantic pipeline project and also on the development of its fertiliser plant in Nigeria.
Recall that the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project has advanced with the signing of four Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in June 2023 to ensure progress and strategic direction of the 25 billion dollars Trans-Atlantic project.
MoUs were signed between the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd), Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) of Morocco and the Société Nationale des Opérations Pétrolières of Cote d’Ivoire (PETROCI) among others.
Once completed, the project will enhance the monetisation of the natural gas resources of the affected African countries and also offer a new alternative export route to Europe.
Ekpo, while expressing Nigeria’s interest and readiness, said with its position of 209 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves, there was a need to supply gas to the continent before exporting to other continents.
“I believe by 2024 we will conclude on it. Your company has been relating with the NNPC Ltd and I have been receiving briefs. We also talked about it during the meeting of West African Gas Pipeline Committee Parties.
“For the fact that the pipeline existing within that corridor currently is 20 inches; there is a proposal to increase the size after Togo to 46 inches so that the flow will be large enough.
“Currently the world is talking about climate change and natural gas is the sure way to go with low carbon emission so we have to be serious about utilisation of gas for prosperity.”
On the fertiliser project of the country, he said with the era of natural gas and components used to boost fertiliser industries, all the value chain should be exploited.
Earlier, the Moroccan Ambassador described the project which started in 2016 as the most important in Africa aimed at exporting gas to Europe, adding that between 2016 and 2023 many meetings and MoUs signing had been held.
Tagma said the economic and technical studies being conducted on the project would be concluded early 2024, adding that the participating governments could decide to start its construction in 2024.
“The objective of this project is not to transport gas only but also to offer some opportunities for development of the countries between Nigeria and Morocco for supplying energy,’’ he said.
The ambassador disclosed that its OCP Group, (formerly Office Chérifien des Phosphates), the most exporter of fertiliser in the world had inaugurated plants in Kaduna, Sokoto and Ogun states, then currently opening in Akwa Ibom.
He said the construction of the 1.5 billion dollars fertiliser plant project in Akwa Ibom would commence in December, adding that it would spur investments.
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