- As Switzerland says there is No visa issuance to Nigerians in Lagos
Oil prices yesterday fell close to its lowest in a week as the market discounted the latest talk by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that it would extend output cuts beyond June.
Brent futures for May delivery were down 53 cents, or 1 per cent, at $51.09 a barrel.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was down 68 cents, or 1.4 per cent, at $47.54 per barrel on the last day the April contract is the front-month, its lowest level since March 14.
That decline also came ahead of the release of weekly United States (U.S.) crude inventory data that is expected to show a crude stock build of 2.6 million barrels, according to a Reuters poll.
Sources within OPEC have indicated that its members increasingly favour extended production cuts but want the backing of non-OPEC memers, such as Russia, which have yet to deliver fully on existing reductions.
“OPEC is sticking with a plan that has not worked,” said Phil Davis, managing partner at PSW Investments in Woodland Park, New Jersey, noting they are not offering more cuts and no new countries are joining in the cuts.
The group and some non-OPEC producers agreed to curb production from Jan. 1 by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) for six months to drain crude from record stockpiles. But inventories remain stubbornly large.
“We think it is very unlikely that Russia will actively take part in any extension of the production cuts that goes beyond paying lip service to the agreement,” Commerzbank said in a note, adding that it would be premature for investors to “pin their hopes” on an extension.
Commerzbank said OPEC cuts would need to last into the fourth quarter to achieve the group’s goal of reducing record oil stockpiles in industrialised nations to their five-year average.
In the meantime, the Consul-General of Switzerland in Lagos, Mr Yves Nicolet, on Wednesday notified Nigerians that his consulate was not in the business of issuing visas to applicants.
Nicolet told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that it was advisable for Nigerians and non-Nigerians seeking visas to Switzerland to always visit the Embassy of Switzerland in Abuja.
“We want Nigerians and non-Nigerians to know that the Consulate- General of Switzerland in Lagos is not in the business of issuing visas to persons wanting to travel to Switzerland.
“This Consulate-General does not have a visa section, and so, we do not and cannot issue visas. And we do not intend to open a visa section in the near future.
“We really want Nigerians and other visa applicants to know that the Consulate-General is charged with promoting economic and cultural relations between Switzerland and Nigeria,’’ he said.
Nicolet recalled that his government had had its Embassy in Lagos since 2004, until it decided to close all its representation in Lagos and moved the Embassy finally to Abuja.
He said that his government later realised the growing presence of Swiss companies and the community in Lagos and had decided to inaugurate the Consulate-General of Switzerland in Lagos in March 2016.
The Envoy also disclosed that his government’s decision to inaugurate the representation in Lagos was because of the state’s economic position, as the most populated city in Africa.
Nicolet said that it was his consulate’s cardinal objective to continue to facilitate economic and cultural relations between both countries.
He said that that the Swiss Government decided to establish the consulate, after it had closed its representation in Lagos some years ago, to strengthen bilateral relations between both countries.
The consul-general also said the consulate was established to attract more Swiss investors to Nigeria, as well as promote the investment and business interest of Nigerians in Switzerland.
“The first objective of this consulate is to improve the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Switzerland, as well as try to bring more Swiss investors to Nigeria.
“It is also the responsibility of this consulate to promote the investment and business interests of Nigerians in Switzerland,’’ he added.
Upshot with additional report from NAN