Economy

Supply gas to coastal terminals outside Lagos, marketers urge NLNG

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Some cooking gas marketers have appealed to the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) to supply gas to other coastal terminals outside Lagos to reduce the inherent pressure on the terminals in the Southwest.

The marketers said the appeal was necessitated by the indiscriminate hike in the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) commonly referred to as cooking gas across the country.

They made the appeal in separate interviews with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos on Sunday.

NAN reports that the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM) had on Nov. 7 raised alarm over indiscriminate hike in the price of gas in the last two weeks.

Its Executive Secretary, Mr Bassey Essien, said that the price of a 20 tonnes of LPG which sold between N3.15 and N3.5 million suddenly moved to N 4.2 million.

However, Mr Azubuike Offor, the Managing Director, Chizufek Nigeria Ltd., said there was need for NLNG to increase the frequency with which its vessels deliver LPG from Bonny to the terminals.

Offor urged the management of NLNG to deploy vessels of smaller capacities to access the coastal terminals if product availability must be achieved.

He said that NLNG could also help by increasing the supply to the Nigerian market and making sure that there was no gap in its supply.

According to him, one of the major implications on the ongoing hike in cooking gas is that it makes rubbish of all the efforts by the government in deepening the use of gas in the country.

Offor said that was because a lot of people would not be able to buy the product because of the high cost.

He noted that the government removed Value Added Tax (VAT) to help reduce the price of gas.

“The current hike has reflected negatively on the price as 12.5kg now sell between N4,000 and N4,500 in Abuja and will probably get to N5,000 by Monday morning.

“This recent hike will have a huge adverse effect on the economy as a lot of gas plants that do not have enough capital to trade with will be forced to close shop.

“A lot of employees will be downsized leading to unemployment.

“I believe that the lasting solution to this problem is for NLNG to increase its domestic supply to the country since what we are told is that this hike is a result of the law of supply and demand,’’ he said.

According to him, government can also help by updating the facilities in the ports for easier discharge of LPG at the ports.

“The ports in the Eastern zones should be brought to par because it does not make sense that the vessel will load in Bonny, bring it to Lagos and trucks will come to Lagos and take the product back to the East,’’ Offor said.

Mr Chinonso Okenwa, the Managing Director, Nokson Gases Company Ltd., said that the only lasting solution to the incessant increases was a streamlined industry.

Okenwa said this would create a level-playing field where NLNG and other domestic sources would be able to deliver enough gas to all the terminals at a fair price and a steady schedule.

He noted that the law of demand and supply would bring down the prices, saying that NLNG should be applauded for the role they had played in growing the industry.

According to him, when former President Olusegun Obasanjo mandated the LPG exporter to dedicate a specific volume for the domestic market, only NLNG provided a route to market.

He noted that Chevron and Mobil should be compelled to also set aside an appreciable volume from Escravos and other channels.

“A domestic price that covers the cost of production and profit for the producers should be fixed by the producers and gas should stop being priced on an international pricing benchmark for a product produced and consumed locally.

“Prices should not rise for us because it is winter abroad and demand abroad rises and more volume of LPG needs to be allocated to the local market.

“NLNG should work out modalities for supplying the depots (Warri, Oghara, Port Harcourt and Calabar) outside Lagos with product.

“This can be done even if it requires a mother vessel that loads at bonny and a smaller daughter vessel that loads from it and drops at the smaller depots outside Lagos due to their draft issues that prevent bigger vessels from coming there,’’ Okenwa said.

The marketer said that the hike of cooking gas would negatively affect poor Nigerians who had switched to the option due to the high cost of Kerosene.

He said that an increase in gas prices would impoverish the masses and cause them to switch to firewood and charcoal which had attendant effects against their health and the environment.

Okenwa said: “Its effects on the local market can be up to N5,000 or N6,000 per 12.5kg as against the previous price of N3,000 to N3,500 per 12.5 kg cylinder of gas.

“The implication of the hike on the economy will be a reduction in the purchasing power of the masses, increased health care costs from the adverse health effects of using dirty fuels.

“There may also be job losses in gas plants who suffer reduced patronage and an unpredictable market place, capital flight due to importation of gas, among others.’’

Similarly, Mrs Tina Abazie, the General Manager, Allied Gas Ltd., said that the price hike would simply mean a lot of consumers would find it very difficult to buy cooking gas.

According to her, they will likely resort to a more readily available and cheaper source of energy which will be a drawback on the government’s plan to promote the use of LPG as the safest and cleanest form of energy in the country today.

She said that priority should always be given to LPG and not just other petroleum products at all the terminals, while adequate infrastructure should be put in place to reduce unnecessary bottlenecks at the various terminals.

Abazie advised NLNG to flood the market with enough cooking gas to meet the growing demand.

“ This story of demand being more than supply is not palatable to hear at all. If NLNG are having challenges to meet supply then they should let us know.

“ This is definitely killing our businesses and the last thing our economy needs right now, ’’ she said.

However, one of the terminal operators who preferred not to be mentioned told NAN that the one of the major reasons for the hike was the VAT introduced by Federal Government on imported gas.

The source said that inability of NLNG to meet up marketers’ demand, made some terminal operators sought importation from outside the country.

The operator also said that diversion of gas supply to the new terminal in Port Harcourt also contributed to the ongoing hike in the country.

The terminal source said that in ensuring adequate supply across the country by NLNG, they delivered to Port Harcourt twice without supply to Western region, which created gap.

The source also said that currently LPG was scarce, saying that there was no LPG in the terminal to supply marketers.

The source was optimistic that the scarcity would soon be abated as an NLNG vessel is expected to deliver gas to Lagos.

Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed/Adeleye Ajayi

Economy

SMEDAM, NIPC harp on matchmaking of SMEs with MNE to boost opportunities

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The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Ms Yewande Sadiku, says  matchmaking and linkage programmes will enhance opportunities for Small all and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Sadiku made the assertion during a two-day  training/matchmaking/ of SMEs with Large Local Corporates (LLC) and Multinational Enterprises (MNEs).

The event was organised by NIPC and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) in Lagos on Thursday.

Sadiku, who was represented by an Assistant Director of NIPC,  Mrs Edit Udofia, said that both SMEDAM and NIPC had been engaging different categories of entrepreneurs on  linkage programmes in the last few months.

“The first phase of action plan which was the pilot programme was agreed to focus on agro-industry / agro allied machineries, metal and foundry, plastic and rubber, electrical and industry services, and to be later spread to other sectors.

“After signing Memorandum of Understanding  between NIPC and SMEDAN in January 2019, a Joint Technical Committee was inaugurated for the implementation of the work plan.

and the Lagos event is what is happening here today,” Radda said.

A former Chairman, Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Osun branch, Mr Ali Alabi, commended the efforts of SMEDAN and NIPC in improving  the capacities of SMEs.

Alabi said that the programme would enable SMEs markets to be known, adding that  it would also improve their productions.

He urged robust networking among  SMEs, MNEs and LLCs to enable them to remain in business.

Alabi said that for small businesses to thrive,  there should be  hand holding from government and big enterprises.

Mr Olarenwaju Oyekanmi, Managing Director of Alagura Farms Ltd., manufacturers of cassava for industries.
 hailed SMEDAN and NIPC  for organising the programme.

He, however, decried low turnout of  big manufacturing companies at the event, and called for  fine-tuning to achieve better results.

Edited by: Ijeoma Popoola
(NAN)
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Economy

NDIC commends media for being part of its 30 years success story

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The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has commended the media for being part of the corporation’s 30 years success story.

 

The Managing Director of the corporation, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim gave the commendation in a goodwill message at a workshop for business editors and members of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) on Thursday in Yola.

 

Ibrahim, represented by Mr Ibrahim Kudu, an Asst. Director said the workshop, was fostering the needed understanding and collaboration between the media and the corporation.

 

He said that the topic for the workshop with title the  ‘Nigeria Banking System Stability-Tackling Emerging Issues’, was in recognition of what the future held for the banking industry.

 

With the recourse to technology and fintechs, the entire dynamics of banking has been altered to such an extent that it poses serious challenges for both operators and regulators.

 

‘“Let me at his point restate that the media is crucial to our success story in the past 30 years.

 

It is to this end that we will not rest on our oars towards sustaining the relevance of the workshop through the choice of robust and informed topics and highly qualified resource persons.

 

After all, the entire banking landscape has remarkably changed since the time the corporation was established,“ he said.

 

The managing director urged the media to avail themselves of opportunities provided by the workshop to gain knowledge of contemporary issues in the financial industry.

Edited by: Shuaib Sadiq/Felix Ajide
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Economy

Gov. Sanwo-Olu vows continuous support of MSMEs in Lagos

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Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Thursday vowed continuous support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the state to boost the economic strength of Nigeria’s business hub.

The governor made the pledge in his address at the opening of the 4th Lagos State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises fair in Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folasade Jaji, said the potential of MSMEs was too attractive, numerous and enormous to be ignored by any government of the 21st century.

It gives me a deep sense of satisfaction that we have committed to ensuring that the micro, small and medium enterprises sector of our state’s economy grows and flourishes beyond limits.

In recognition of the importance of this sector in achieving our economic goals, this administration is focused on making Lagos a 21st century hyper-city through supporting local businesses.

The potential of the MSME sector in creativity, entrepreneurship development, wealth creation, value addition and employment generation are too attractive to be ignored by any discerning government.

This government will continue to create opportunities for MSMEs to thrive by focusing on the development of complementary infrastructure that helps improve competitiveness and productivity locally and globally,” he said.

Dr Lola Akande, the state Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, said MSMEs deserved huge support for the vital role they played in driving the economy of the state and the nation at large.

Without equivocation, MSMEs have been playing an important role in our state and the nation.

It therefore behoves the government at all levels in strengthening these agents of economic change.

As one of Nigeria’s most endowed economies, Lagos State has a lot of business opportunities and entrepreneurial potential which are being tapped by industrious and innovative citizens for the growth and development of the economy.

Under the able leadership of Gov. Sanwo-Olu, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives would continue to sustain all programmes aimed at enhancing the status of MSMEs,” she said.

Also speaking, the Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mr Sanni Okanlawon, encouraged Nigerians to patronize Made-in-Lagos and Nigeria products.

MSMEs in Nigeria are paid little or no attention in spite of their potential as the bedrock of social economic development.

The bane of most MSMEs is the inability to finance their operations but in recent developments we have seen MSMEs accounting for economic growth and development.

It has become expedient as a state and nation to step activities towards supporting the profitable cause of the small business enterprises.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank the governor for supporting Lagos MSMEs through this fair and other initiatives,” Okanlawon said.

Edited by: Abdullahi Mohammed/Wale Ojetimi
(NAN)
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Economy

NCRIB urges FG to insure railway projects

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The Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) on Thursday urged the Federal Government to ensure that the huge investment in the railway system was protected through insurance.

Dr Bola Onigbogi, President of NCRIB gave the advice at the December edition of the council’s Members Evening hosted by Africa Alliance Plc.

Onigbogi said this was necessary because it was one of the prudent ways to protect the national asset and guarantee that it endures.

As a critical stakeholder in the economy, I like to also use this medium to first commend the federal government for the enhancement of public transportation in Nigeria through the strengthening of the nation’s railway system.

Aside from aiding commerce and reducing road accidents, the railway system will also create more jobs for Nigerians, ” she said.

Onigbogi also commended the government on the closure of the country’s land borders, saying it would protect local production of goods and services.

It is advisable that the government should use the opportunity of the closure to encourage the acceleration of local capabilities so that our strides towards self-sufficiency would be guaranteed.

It is a fact that no country could wholly depend on foreign countries for survival, but this must come with utmost sincerity on the part of the government, ” the NCRIB President said.

Onigbogi reaffirmed her commitment to run a progressive tenure that would be anchored on two pivots, namely: Image Management and Strategic Engagement, having assumed office on November 31.

She said the choice of image management was not far-fetched, especially when considering the remote image and reputation which insurance brokers had attracted in the scheme of things in the country.

Everywhere you go, there is gross misconception about who a broker is and what he does.

It is often sickening to at best hear many mixing our identity up with that of the stock brokers and this must stop under this administration.

We would be more strategic and aggressive in our projection of the insurance brokers brand across all geographical areas of the country by deploying indepth image making strategies, ” she said.

Onigbogi said the council would devote good time to enhancing the capacity and competences of the insurance brokers.

She said the council would also forge effective collaboration with the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) to remove all those “toxic traits” that could jeopardise attempts at projecting the industry and the insurance broking professionals in bad light.

Let me also say that this tenure would devote attention to professionalism, international relations, secretariat empowerment, mentoring and enhanced collaboration with the regulatory authorities.

I would like to inform our distinguished members that this administration will be open to advise and constructive engagements by members.

“It will also be all-inclusive. Myself and the Management would operate with the TEAM acronym that says ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’, ” she said.

Edited by: Oluwole Sogunle
(NAN)
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Economy

NPA to enforce compliance on management of ballast water — Official

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) will enforce compliance on the management of ballast water in order to minimise hazards associated with it, an official said on Thursday.

Mr Sani Shehu, Senior Manager, in the NPA’s Environmental Department, made this known at the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN), capacity building training on International Maritime Conventions, in Lagos.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that ballast water is water carried in ships’ ballast tanks to improve stability, balance and trim.

It is taken up or discharged when cargo is unloaded or loaded.

When ships take on ballast water, plants and animals that live in the ocean are also picked up, which cause harmful ecological, economic and health challenges in the host environment.

According to Shehu, ballast water is a vector through which Harmful Acquatic Organisms and Pathogens(HAOP) are transferred from one place to another.

Shipping has been widely recognised as a major component of international trade, driving the most effective means of transporting bulk cargoes and passengers across borders of water from one place to another over long distance.

For safety of ships and oil tankers, ballast water is required to maintain stability throughout their voyages, especially when empty or having insufficient load,” he said.

Shehu said that before now, NPA was not checking for compliance because the convention had not come into law.

He said that Ballast Water Management Convention was a new thing that NPA wanted to capture into its activities.

The official said that before, for ships that had the same coastal line with Nigeria like Ghana, the authority might not bother to check; but for international ships, they needed to discharge their ballast water 200km away from the county.

Shehu said that going forward, a sample of ballast water of an incoming ship would be taken to a sediment reception facility for analysis, to check for harmful species.

He said out that in the whole of West Africa, it was only Nigeria that had the sediment treatment facility.

Shehu listed some of the challenges of the convention as: source of funds, no ballast water sediment treatment facility and insufficient trained manpower to the programme.

He said that as regards the Marpol 73/78 Convention, it was introduced due to the oil pollution of the territorial waters which was recognised as a problem, necessitating regulation.

Shehu said that for implementation and enforcement, signatory nations pledged to comply with the convention and laws, as the effect was damaging to the marine life, wildlife, fishing, tourism and wetlands.

He said that zero tolerance of illegal discharge from ships could only be effectively enforced when there are adequate reception facilities in ports.

According to him, NPA has environmental department in ports to checkmate this.

Shehu said that the Basel Convention was also established in 1980 to control the transboundary movement of hazardous waste and their disposal.

He said that the objectives were to ensure disposal of hazardous waste was done closer to source of generation, minimise the generation, apply strict control across borders and prohibit shipment of hazardous waste.

Shehu said that 60,000 tones of e-waste pass through Tin-can port annually, hence the need to check its disposal due to its negative effect.

Earlier, Mr Anya Njoku, President MARAN, said that the training was to help remove ambiquity when reporting maritime news, to avoid misleading the public and government.

The training was organised in collaboration with NPA and the Nigerian Shippers Council.

Edited by: Abdullahi Mohammed/Oluwole Sogunle
(NAN)
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