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CEO of new oil regulatory agency assures of no job losses

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CEO of new oil regulatory agency assures of no job losses

Mr Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive Officer of the new Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC)

… As CBN says banks remain stable, resilient despite pandemic***

Mr Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC), has assured staff of its defunct Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) of no job and entitlements losses.

NURC, which replaced the defunct DPR, comprised the regulatory framework for the oil and gas industry, as provided for, by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

Komolafe gave the assurance on Thursday in Abuja, while addressing management staff of the newly-created commission at its maiden meeting.

The newsmen report that Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, inaugurated the CEO and members of the Governing Board of the new entity on Oct. 20.

The new CEO also pledged to maintain an open door policy and be fair and just, as well as address every issue in the commission adequately, to spur oil and gas industry development.

The industry technocrat, while stating that changes actually create anxiety and uncertainty in minds of people, noted that people’s jobs are protected under the law.

“Expectation of the law is that people’s jobs are protected under the law, notwithstanding that job location and responsibilities might automatically change.

Also read: Nigeria crude oil production averaged 1.451 mb/d in September – OPEC

“The law also provides that people will not be placed below their previous positions. Our concern is to work to ensure that there is no job stoppage and disruptions of activities in the sense that the industry is time sensitive,” he said.

He called on the staff to embrace team work, having in mind that the challenges ahead are quite enormous.

“Setting up a brand new organisation is not an easy task, but from the expectation of the Act, we are setting a new organisation to put in place a 21st century organisation with brand new culture and vision.

“My leadership will be very objective and fair to all and sundry and subsequently, I will be engaging the staff for productive output and economic growth,” he said.

The minister also inaugurated the governing board and CEO of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), which replaced the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).

The inauguration of the two bodies are critical steps to ensuring effective regulation and best practices in the sector, in line with global standards, he said.

In another development, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says banks in the country have remained stable, robust and resilient in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Director, Banking Supervision of CBN, Mr Haruna Mustafa, said this at the 2021 Financial Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) workshop in Ibadan on Friday.

Mustapha, represented by Mr Adekunle Adeniji, the Assistant Director, Banking Supervision, CBN, said the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) rose to 15.21 per cent as at August, Liquidity Ratio (LR) rose to 42.23 per cent.

He said non-performing loan ratio improved from 6.58 per cent to 5.9 per cent as at August 2021, while banking system credit to the economy increased to 10.99 per cent between January and August.

Mustafa noted that the regulatory measures taken by CBN contributed to the growth.

He listed some interventions by the apex bank to lessen the impact of the pandemic to include reduction in interest rates to five per cent.

Others are: 50 billion naira target credit facility for households and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and re-enactment of Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA 2020) to strengthen the regulatory and resolution architecture for banks and other financial institutions.

The director said CBN would continue to develop additional counter cyclical policy options that could be utilised in periods of stress.

Mustafa explained that macro-prudential regulation and supervision was more critical now than ever.

“We expect financial services to be provided more in a digital manner.

“We will continuously update and assess our prudential rule books and policy to strengthen responses to economic and financial shocks.

“We will continue to deploy effective stress testing methodologies to detect vulnerabilities early to enable appropriate pre-emptive action,” he said.

Mustafa explained that the banking sector had also sustained the growth of key economic activities, which were impacted by the pandemic in the agriculture, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, hospitality and tourism sectors.

 

Economy

FG Threatens To Open Borders for Cement Importation Over Price Hike

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Palpable fear has gripped cement manufacturers following the Federal Government’s threat to throw open the nation’s borders for cement importation if the product manufacturers fail to bring down the cost.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa issued the threat on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with Cement and Building Materials Manufacturers.

The meeting was summoned to address the astronomical increase in the cost of cement nationwide.

The minister expressed concerns that in the past couple of months, the country had witnessed a recurring alarming increase in the prices of cement and other building materials.

“Clearly, this is a crisis for housing delivery. An increase in essential building materials means an increase in the prices of houses.

“We are not the only country facing this challenges, many countries are facing the same type of challenges that we’re facing, some even worse than that.

“But, as patriotic citizens, we have to rally round the country when there is crisis, to ensure that we do our best to save the situation,” he said.

The minister added: “Honestly speaking, we have to sit down and look at this critically and know how you should go back and think of it.

“The government stopped importation of cement in other to empower you to produce more and sell cheaper

Bags of cement

“Otherwise the government can open the borders for mass importation of cement, the price will crash, but you will have no business to do”.

Dangiwa said the reasons given by cement manufacturers for the price increase – high cost of gas and manufacturing equipment – were not enough for such astronomical pricing.

He expressed his displeasure at the position of  Cement Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (CEMAN) that the association “does not interfer with the pricing of cement”.

He said the association should not just fold  its arms when things were going wrong.

“One person cannot be selling at N3500 per bag and another selling at N7000 per bag and you cannot call them to order.

“The association is expected to monitor price control, otherwise the association has no need to exist,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Salako James, Executive Secretary, CEMAN, said the housing policy of the administration of President Bola  Tinubu was laudable and every responsible Nigerian has to key into it.

He, however, identified some areas of concern and appealed to the government to look into them to tackle the issue of cement pricing.

Salako identified the challenges of gas supply to heavy users like the cement industry and urged the government to create a window whereby gas will be bought with Naira instead of dollar.

He also complained about the distribution channel, stressing tha there was a great difference between the price from the manufacturers and the market price.

He, therefore called for government intervention to help stabilise the situation and bring sanity to the economy.

At the end of the meeting, the minister directed that a committee should be constituted to review the situation and come out with implementable resolutions that would benefit the common Nigerian.

The three major cement producers, Dangote Plc, BUA Plc, and Lafarge Plc were represented as well as other industry stakeholders.

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Economy

Cement Price Can Be Lower Than FG, Manufacturers’ Projection — Association 

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…Warns that high price could lead to corner-cutting and building collapse

The National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria (NABMON) says the agreement between the Federal Government and three major cement manufacturers that a 50kg bag of cement, for now, is not supposed to sell for more than N7,000 to N8,000 is faulty.

The National President, Mr Adesegun Banjoko, said this on Tuesday in Lagos.

Recall that the parties, at a meeting on Monday, said that the ideal price of  a 50kg bag of cement for now should be between ₦7,000.00 and ₦8,000.00 depending on location.

They agreed that the current higher prices of cement in parts of the country were abnormal.

The main manufacturers of cement in the country are Dangote Plc, BUA Plc and Lafarge Plc.

According to Banjoko, there is no reason for the price of cement to be sold even at the projected prices, since limestone, which is a key ingredient, is readily available in Nigeria.

He expressed fears that the high price would lead to corner-cutting and building collapse.

The NABMON president expressed the belief that the government and manufacturers could do better and offer lower prices.

Bags of cements

He suggested a reduction or elimination of customs duties on other imported materials used in cement production, adding that this would incentivise manufacturers to lower their prices.

He, therefore, proposed a target price of ₦3,500 to ₦5,000 per bag.

Banjoko said, “There are three issues that make me disagree with the government and the main manufacturers.

“First, limestone is sourced in Nigeria; agreed they have some few other materials they bring in from abroad.

“But if the government is really concerned about life and property lost to building collapse, they should either remove custom duties on such items or reduce them by half to encourage the manufacturers to come down to between N3, 500 and N5, 000.”

He also advised the government to temporarily halt road construction projects that use cement.

Banjoko said that this would free up available cement for vital projects and potentially reduce demand, leading to lower prices.

The NABMON president warned that the high price of cement had added to the existing tensions in the country.

He urged the government to act cautiously with essential commodities like cement, emphasising its impact on public well-being.

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Economy

NGX: Bullish Sentiment Persists, Investors Gain N329bn

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Stock Market Gains N18bn; FTN Cocoa Processors, Prestige Assurance lead Losers’ Chart 

…Unilever Nigeria Plc, Julius Berger lead Losers’ table 

Bullish sentiment persisted on Thursday at the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. (NGX) equity market, as the market indices rose by 0.58 percent.

Specifically, investors gained N329 billion or 0.58 percent, as the market capitalisation closed at N56.961 trillion, as against N56.632 trillion recorded on Wednesday.

The All-Share Index also appreciated by 0.58 percent or 601.72 points to settle at 104,100, compared to 103,498.28 posted in the previous session.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return rose to 39.22 percent.

Continuous buy interests in the shares of BUA Cement, BUAFoods, and Geregu kept the market in the positive terrain.

A total of 284.49 million shares valued at N6.91 billion were exchanged in 8,168 deals, as against 426.86 million shares valued at N12.11 billion exchanged in 8,654 deals.

However, analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled lower relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions down by 42.89 percent.

Guaranty Trust Holding Company(GTCO) led the activity table in volume and value with the trade of 56.61 million shares worth N2.22 billion.

Transcorp followed with 33.17 million shares valued at N418.31 million, while United Bank of Africa(UBA) traded 18.38 million shares worth N442.96 million.

Also, Mutual Benefits Assurance sold 16.76 shares valued at N11.48 million and AXA Mansard traded 12.51 million shares worth N75.57 million.

On the gainers’ table, University Press Ltd.(UPL) led in percentage terms of 9.96 percent to close at N2.87, followed by Juli Plc by 9.84 percent to close at N1.34 per share.

Mutual Benefits gained 9.38 percent to close at 70k, Daar Communications rose by 8.82 percent to close at 74k, while Honeywell Flour garnered 7.50 percent to close at N4.30 per share.

Stock Market Gains N18bn; FTN Cocoa Processors, Prestige Assurance lead Losers’ Chart 

Conversely, Unilever Nigeria Plc led the losers’ table by 9.80 percent to close at N16.10, Julius Berger lost 9.64 percent to close at N50.60, while Morison Industries Plc shed 9.60 percent to close at N2.23 per share.

May & Baker Nigeria Plc depreciated by 6.52 percent to close at N6.45 and National Salt Company of Nigeria (NASCON) dropped 5.37 percent to close at N59.04 per share.

Market breadth closed negative with 26 declining stocks outnumbering 23 advancing ones.

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