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Dangote Refinery may signpost end of poverty in 2019- Soyode



Dangote Cement’s N100bn bonds oversubscribed

…Suspected sea pirates, cultists kill two, injure policeman in Bayelsa***

The Technical Consultant on Refinery to Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr Babajide Soyode has disclosed that the Dangote Refinery, Petrochemical and Fertilizer projects would solve half of Nigeria’s crude oil refining and exporting challenges when completed. It would however not be completed until 2019.

Soyode indicated this on Thursday in Lagos, noting that the 16-billion-dollar investment would ensure availability of products in the downstream sector.

He said the 650,000 barrels per day refining capacity of the Dangote Refinery, when completed, would significantly boost the economy of Lagos and Nigeria in general, adding that the projects would have great multiplier effect on the nation’s economy.

According to him, the good news is that the refinery alone, when completed, can supply 95 per cent of local daily consumption of petroleum products, adding that “Nigeria is likely to be an exporter of petroleum products in

“Indeed, come 2019, the thick cloud of national shame will be lifted and the economic reality will crush the `Walls of Jericho” of politics and sentiments in the oil and gas industry that perpetuate a circle of poverty.

“Our target is that in the next few years from now, we hope and we believe that half of Nigeria’s crude will be refined and exported rather than just exporting crude to create jobs elsewhere.”

Soyode said that the Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals and Fertilizers, reputed to be the biggest in Africa when completed, offered hope in the quest for diversification of Nigeria’s economy from total dependence on oil to other areas like agriculture and solid minerals.

He added that government at all levels had expressed amazement at the size of the project and had reiterated their preparedness to provide enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

He urged government to harness the potential of the private sector to make the nation’s economy recover speedily.

The technical consultant said investment in fertilizer was one sure way the diversification into agriculture could succeed “because it will amount to little if focus is directed to agriculture and fertilizers are being imported.

“If agriculture is the way to go, a critical component of that sector is fertilizer. Nigeria has more arable land than China, which now is the biggest economy in the world, we can tap into our vast land and produce what we need and even export.

“When we complete the Dangote Refinery, Petrochemical and Fertilizer,
there will be opportunities to take on agriculture and say bye to poverty because more jobs will be created.”

Soyode said that the project was an ambitious one and would give Nigeria a new economic direction in the quest for diversification, as excess products would be exported to earn the country the much needed foreign exchange.

In the meantime, suspected sea pirates and cultists have killed two persons in the Akassa-Yenagoa waterways and Ekeki in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.

The armed cultists, numbering over 30, had stormed the Ekeki area of Yenagoa at about 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday shooting at residents and robbing them of their cash and other valuables.

The marauders caused confusion and pandemonium in the area as persons on the streets fled to different directions for safety.

A victim, 30-year-old son of an Ekeki village chief, identified as Ifiemie, was reportedly shot and was rushed to the hospital where he died few hours later.

Also, an unidentified policeman in mufti, who was said to be coming out from a barbing saloon in the area, was shot by the hoodlums.

The policeman, who hails from Ndoni in Rivers State, was reportedly shot while trying to stop the cultists from collecting his mobile phone and cash.

He was said to have been rushed to an undisclosed hospital where sources said he was responding to treatment.

On the sea pirate attack, a victim, identified as Asuku, a former Chairman of the Maritime Workers’ Union (MWU), Akassa Unit, was said to have died in the incident.

The victim was said to have been travelling along the waterways from Akassa to Yenagoa when their boat came under attack.

Sources said the sea robbers attacked the boat along Okobotuo at Lagos camp at about 6.30 a.m.

Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Asinim Butswat, confirmed the killing and activities of cultists but said he had yet to be briefed on the sea pirate incident.

“The boy was killed as a result of a cult clash. Our earlier investigations linked the dead victim to one of the cult groups.

“The policeman was coming out of a barbing saloon when the hoodlums were passing. They dispossessed him of his phone because he was off duty. He tried to resist them but they shot him. But he is responding to treatment,” he said.

Additional report from Guardian NG


NEPZA Boss Says Nation’s Free Trade Zones Not Really `Free’



The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says the country’s Free Trade Zones are business anchorages that have for decades been used to generate revenues for the Federal Government.

Dr Olufemi Ogunyemi, the Managing Director of NEPZA, said this in a statement by the authority’s
Head of Corporate Communications, Martins Odeh, on Monday in Abuja, stressing that the the widely held notion that the scheme is a `free meal ticket’ for investors and not a means for the government to generate revenue is incorrect.

Ogunyemi said this public statement was essential to clarify the misunderstanding by various individuals and entities, in and out of government, on the nature of the scheme.

He reiterated the authority’s commitment to enhancing public knowledge of the principal reason for the country’s adoption of the scheme by the NEPZA Act 63 of 1992.

“The Free Trade Zones are not hot spots for revenue generation. Instead, they exist to support socioeconomic development.

“These include but are not limited to industrialisation, infrastructure development, employment generation, skills acquisition, foreign exchange earnings, and Foreign Direct Investments(FDI) inflows,” Ogunyemi said.

The managing director said the NEPZA Act provided exemption from all federal, state, and local government taxes, rates, levies, and charges for FZE, of which duty and VAT were part.

“However, goods and services exported into Nigeria attract duty, which includes VAT and other charges.

“In addition, NEPZA collects over 20 types of revenues, ranging from 500,000 dollars-Declaration fees, 60,000 dollars for Operation License (OPL) Renewal Fees between three and five years.

“There is also the 100-300 dollar Examination and Documentation fees per transaction, which occurs daily.

“There are other periodic revenues derived from vehicle registration and visas, among others.

“The operations within the free trade zones are not free in the context of the word,” he said.

Ogunyemi said the global business space had contracted significantly, adding that to win a sizable space would require the ingenuity of the government to either expand or maintain the promised incentives.

“These incentives will encourage more multinational corporations and local investors to leverage on the scheme, which has a cumulative investment valued at 30 billion dollars.

“The scheme has caused an influx of FDIs; it has also brought advanced technologies, managerial expertise, and access to global markets.

“For instance, the 52 FTZs with 612 enterprises have and will continue to facilitate the creation of numerous direct and indirect jobs, currently estimated to be within the region of 170,000,” he said.

Ogunyemi said an adjustment in title and introduction of current global business practices would significantly advance the scheme, increasing forward and backward linkages.

“This is with a more significant market offered by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).

“We have commenced negotiations across the board to ensure that the NEPZA Act is amended to give room for adjusting the scheme’s title from `Free Trade Zones to Special Economic Zones respectively.

“This will open up the system for the benefit of all citizens,” he said.

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2023 CLPA: Policy Cohesion Imperative For Implementation Of AfCFTA Agreements, Others



Some policy experts and stakeholders have called for policy cohesion across Africa for the successful implementation of multilateral policy decisions.

They spoke on Wednesday during one of the plenaries at the 2023 Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA), held in Addis Ababa.

The CLPA, the fifth in the series, is organised by the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The 2023 edition has the theme, ‘Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation’.

Dr Medhat El-Helepi (ECA), chaired the plenary with the sub-theme: ‘Land Governance, Regional Integration, and Intra-Africa Trade: Opportunities and Challenges’.

Panelists at the plenary included Dr Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade, ECA; Mr Tsotetsi Makong, Head of Capacity Building and Technical Assistance, AfCFTA Secretariat.

Others were Mr Kebur Ghenna, CEO, of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) and Ms Eileen Wakesho, Director of Community Land Protection at Namati, Kenya.

The event also attracted various stakeholders, including traditional leaders, Civil Society Organisations, and policy decision-makers.

Makong expressed worries over the reluctance of some participants to openly discuss some matters, pleading ‘no go areas of domestic affairs’.

He, however, noted that the issues of land were within the limit of domestic regulations, adding that tenure land security was the solution that would allow intra-African investment that is still low in Africa.

Makong pointed out that the success of the investment protocol under the AfCFTA would depend on countries’ domestic laws that should be in line with the AfCFTA.

“There are guidelines on land reforms that need to be turned into regulations within the domestic systems.

“Policy coherence has to be at the heart of what we do. This can be achieved by engaging everyone including women and youth at the grassroots level.

“Also, you cannot be talking of AfCFTA as of it is just about Ministers of Trade, Economy or Investment. The idea is a totality of the entire governance structure. This is very important,” he said.

Speakers also noted that inclusive land governance was one of the key pillars to enhance Africa’s drive to improve intra-African trade, food security, and sustainable food systems.

They said an inclusive governance system would allow stakeholders to create transparency, subsidiarity, inclusiveness, prior informed participation, and social acceptance by affected communities in land-based initiatives beyond their borders.

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SOLID MINERALS: Alake Revokes 1,633 Mining Titles, Warns Illegal Miners



The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, on Tuesday, announced the revocation of 1,633 mining titles for defaulting on payment of annual service fees.

Alake made this known at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, saying his decision was in compliance with the law, the Mining Cadastral Office (MCO) on Oct.  4, began the process of revoking 2,213 titles.

“These included 795 exploration titles, 956 small-scale mining licences, 364 quarry licences and 98 mining leases.

“These were published in the Federal Government Gazette Number 178, Volume 110 of Oct. 10 with the notice of revocation for defaulting in the payment of annual service fee.

“The mandatory 30 days expired on Nov. 10. Only 580 title holders responded by settling their indebtedness.

“With this development, the MCO recommended the revocation of 1, 633 mineral titles as follows: Exploration Licence, 536; Quarry Licence, 279; Small Scale Mining Licence, 787 and Mining Lease, 31.

“In line with the powers conferred on me by the NMMA 2007, Section 5 (a), I have approved the revocation of the 1,633 titles,” the minister said.

*Dele Alake, Minister of Solid Minerals

He said that the titles would be reallocated to more serious investors.

He warned the previous holders of the titles to leave the relevant cadaster with immediate effect.

He said that security agencies would work with the mines inspectorate of the ministry to apprehend any defaulter found in any of the areas where titles had been revoked.

“We have no doubt in our mind that the noble goals of President Bola Tinubu to sanitise the solid minerals sector and position the industry for international competitiveness are alive and active.

“We appeal to all stakeholders for their co-operation in achieving these patriotic objectives and encourage those who have done business in this sector the wrong way to turn a new leaf.

“Ultimately, the Nigerian people shall be the winners,” he said.

According to Alake, It is indeed very unconscionable for corporate bodies making huge profits from mining to refuse to give the government its due by failing to pay their annual service fee.

“It is indeed a reasonable conjecture that such a company will even be more unwilling to pay royalties and honour its tax obligations to the government.

“The amount the companies are being asked to pay is peanut compared to their own revenue projections.

” For example, the holder of an exploration title pays only N1,500 per cadastral unit not exceeding 200 units. Those holding titles covering more than 200 units pay N2,000 per unit, In short, the larger the area your title covers, the more you pay.

“This principle was applied to ensure that applicants do not hold more than they require to explore.

“With a cadastral unit captured as a square of 500 metres by 500 metres, any law-abiding title holder should not hesitate to perform its obligations,” he said.

The minister said that every sector required a governance system that regulated the conduct of its participants, the procedures for entry and exit, the obligations of the government to participants and the penalties for non-compliance.

He said that the philosophy of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act 2007 was to establish a rational system of administering titles transparently and comprehensively to ensure a seamless transition from reconnaissance to exploration and from exploration to mineral extraction.

“The principal agency for the administration of titles is the MCO, which receives applications, evaluates them, and issues titles with the approval of the office of the minister of solid minerals development.

“Although the MCO has tried to improve its efficiency by adopting new application administration technology, it continues to face challenges in monitoring the compliance of title holders,” he said.“Although the MCO has tried to improve its efficiency by adopting new application administration technology, it continues to face challenges in monitoring the compliance of title holders,” he said.

He warned illegal miners to desist from their illegal activities as their “days were numbered”. 

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