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Fuel importation regime to end by Q1, 2024 — FG

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…Eyes contribution of Port Harcourt, Dangote Refineries

…Says no control over rising price of kerosene

…Says NNPCL still government-owned

…Assures $250m CBN funding would facilitate investments into domestic gas

The Federal Government on Monday has projected that an end will be brought to the importation of petroleum products into the country by the first quarter (Q1) of 2024.

The Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva at the resumption of the “PMB Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023)” organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture on Monday said by Q1 2024 the rehabilitation of the Port-Harcourt refinery would be partly completed while the 650,000 barrel per day (bpd) capacity Dangote Refinery would also be on stream.

The scorecard series inaugurated Oct. 18, 2022, and featured 16 ministers was meant to showcase the achievements of the Buhari administration.

Presenting the scorecard of his ministry, Sylva specifically said that the 60,000 bpd capacity refinery within the Port-Harcourt Refinery complex would be ready for production by Q1, 2024.

Chief Sylva also expressed optimism that oil production would continue to improve as security in the Niger Delta region is beefed up, insisting that the Federal Government’s target of three million per day production was realisable.

The Minister added that the Dangote Refinery, the largest single-train refinery in the world with an investment of over $25 billion US dollars would also be on stream before the end of 2023 in addition to several modular refineries projects in the country.

He, therefore, assured that with the combined production of the Port Harcourt refinery, Dangote refinery and modular refineries, Nigeria would end the importation of petroleum products into the country.

The Minister disclosed that to ensure local supply of the productions by the private refineries, the Federal Government deliberately took a 20 per cent equity stake in the Dangote Refinery.

The Minister disclosed that the Federal Government took a 30 per cent equity stake in each of the 5,000bpd WalterSmith modular refineries in Ibigwe, Imo state and 10,000 bpd Duport Modular Refinery in Edo state among others.

He said that the government is currently addressing the challenge of access to crude oil being faced by the modular refineries.

The Minister also reiterated the position of the Federal Government that subsidy regime was no longer sustainable.

According to him, the huge fund being spent on subsidies could be deployed to other developmental projects that would impact positively many Nigerians.

He added that the removal of subsidy would attract more investment into the petroleum sector as many private people would be willing to invest in building refineries.

The Minister explained that it was important for Nigerians to understand that petroleum products prices are market-driven and based on the prevailing exchange rate, adding that petroleum products were still being sold at the cheapest rates in Nigeria compared to its neighbours.

While insisting that the best way to make petrol readily available for all Nigerians was through the removal of subsidies, which is not sustainable, the Minister however pointed out that the government is to ensure that the price is market-driven.

“If petroleum product prices are market-driven it would drive a lot of investments. A lot of private investors want to come in and invest in the Nigerian petroleum industry but who would want to invest under a subsidy regime?

“If you build a refinery, how is your refinery going to make a profit under a subsidy regime? But if you have a market-driven situation, a lot of investors will come and the problem of access to petroleum products will be a thing of the past,” Sylva stated.

…We have no control over rising price of kerosene

Meanwhile, he said that the Federal Government has no powers to intervene in the rising price of household kerosene, a major cooking energy for low-income earners and rural dwellers in Nigeria.

The Minister pointed out that the price of kerosene had already been deregulated and could no longer be controlled by the government.

He said, “Kerosene, which is the fuel for the average household, is already a deregulated product. It is not necessarily within the purview of the government but a now a commercial decision. Companies will import and sell kerosene at a commercial rate. It is a deregulated product.”

The latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows that kerosene price has risen by 145.86 per cent from N441 per litre in November 2021 to N1,083 per litre in November 2022.

He said the government was committed to the expansion of gas development, adding that the $250 million funding from the Central Bank of Nigeria would facilitate investments into domestic gas usage in Nigeria.

…NNPCL still government-owned 

The Minister dismissed the notion that the new Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) which was created under the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) was an independent company, pointing out that it remains under the Petroleum Resources Ministry.

“NNPC is not a private company; it is still 100 per cent government-owned. What has happened is that NNPC is now a commercial company and we allow it to operate commercially but it is still NNPC Limited, 100 per cent owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria and still under the purview of the Ministry of Petroleum,” Sylva pointed out.

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Tinubu launches policy to curb over $4bn revenue loss to import-export infractions

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…To boost trade, generate $2.7bn revenue

President Tinubu has launched a policy to curb over $4 billion revenue loss to import-export infractions.

President Bola Tinubu inaugurated the National Single Window Project, aimed at streamlining Import-Export Activities across the country at the Presidential Villa Abuja on Tuesday.

The project is a cross-government website to facilitate trade by offering a single portal for trade actors, both Nigerian and international, to access a full range of resources and standardised services from different Nigerian agencies.

The Committee incorporated egg-heads drawn from representatives of the Federal Ministry of Finance, representatives of the Marine and Blue Economy, those of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment as well as Federal Inland Revenue Service.

The Committee also comprised representatives of the Nigerian Customs Service, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, the Standards Organization of Nigeria, the Nigerian Maritime Administration on Safety Agency, NIMASA, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC.

The policy is encapsulated under the National Single Window Steering Committee which will explore real-time digital trade compliance.

A statement from the Presidency stated that the benefits of the initiative are immense.

“The paperless trade alone is estimated to bring an annual economic benefit of around $2.7 billion US dollars.

“This initiative will link Nigeria’s ports, government agencies, and key stakeholders by creating a seamless and efficient system that will facilitate trade like never before.

“The initiative will allow businesses to save time and resources, allow small enterprises to reach global markets, inclusion of the informal e-commerce sector, and increment in the country’s tax base.

“The National Single Window will also prevent revenue leakage and facilitate effective trade which will create a more transparent, secure, and business-friendly environment that will attract investment and spur economic growth in Nigeria.

“This initiative is a testament to the administration of President Tinubu’s commitment to regional integration and belief in the power of collaboration,” the statement read.

Speaking at the inauguration, President Tinubu said the country cannot afford to lose an estimated $4 billion annually to bureaucracy, delays and corruption.

He noted that it was time for Nigeria to join the ranks of countries like Singapore, Korea, Kenya and Saudi Arabia that have experienced significant improvement in trade efficiency after implementing a single window system.

Tinubu said he was optimistic that through the newly launched project, Nigeria will expedite cargo movement and optimise inter-African trade.

He added that the initiative is a testament to his administration’s commitment to regional integration and collaboration.

His words, “Today, marks the beginning of a new era of unyielding commitment to prosperity, efficiency and endless possibilities. The National Single Window is not just a project. This initiative is not just a policy but a bold statement of our commitment to progress, prosperity, and the well-being of every Nigerian.

“It is a symbol of our determination to build a better future for ourselves and generations to come.

“The benefit of this initiative is immense paperless trade alone, which is estimated to bring an annual economic benefit of around 2.7 billion US dollars.

“Countries like Singapore, Korea, Kenya and Saudi Arabia have already seen significant improvements in trade efficiency. After implementing a single window system. It is time for Nigeria to join the ranks and reap the reward of a streamlined, digitised trade process. We cannot afford to lose an estimated $4 billion annually to red tape, bureaucracy, delays and corruption at our ports,” he said.

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Presidential Conditional Grant: We have commenced disbursement of N200bn grant to beneficiaries — Minister

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The Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite has revealed that the Federal Government has commenced the disbursement process for the Presidential Conditional Grant scheme.

The scheme, which targets nanobusinesses — enterprises with one or two workers and an annual turnover of less than N3 million aims to provide each beneficiary with N50,000.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment declared, “We are pleased to inform you that the disbursement process for the Presidential Conditional Grant Programme has officially commenced. A number of beneficiaries have already received their grants, marking the beginning of our phased disbursement strategy.”

The ministry further explained, “In collaboration with telecommunications providers, we have successfully resolved the initial delays in sending out shortcodes for NIN verification and application continuation.

“By Friday, 19th April 2024, a significant disbursement will be made to a substantial number of verified applicants. It is essential to understand that disbursements are ongoing, and not all applicants will receive their grants on this initial date.”

The Presidential Conditional Grant Programme was launched last year to alleviate economic hardship following the removal of fuel subsidies in the country.

It is expected to reach one million small businesses across the 774 local government areas and the six council areas in the Federal Capital Territory.

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Dangote Refinery crashes Diesel price to N1,000

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In an unprecedented move, Dangote Petroleum Refinery has announced a further reduction of the price of diesel from N1,200 to N1,000 per litre.

While rolling out the products, the refinery supplied at a substantially reduced price of N1,200 per litre three weeks ago, representing over 30 percent reduction from the previous market price of about N1,600 per litre.

This significant reduction in the price of diesel, at Dangote Petroleum Refinery, is expected to positively affect all the spheres of the economy and ultimately reduce the high inflation rate in the country.

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