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FG now tracks vessels to curb Crude oil theft



…As Oil and gas stakeholders says only effective policy regulation, implementation can drive sector***

Determined to foreclose the rising waves of crude theft, the Federal Government has commenced the monitoring and tracking of vessels involved in crude oil lifting. 

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu indicated this at the ongoing Nigerian International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) on Tuesday in Abuja, even as stakeholders in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector called for a more effective regulation and implementation of policies, to address the sector’s infrastructure challenges so as to boost the ease of doing business.

 Speaking on the Summit theme which was “Shaping the future through efficiency and innovation”, Kachikwu highlighted that the Federal Government had now acquired the capacity to monitor vessels operating in Nigeria, sequel to Government’s observed irregularities in the movement of some of the vessels mandated to lift crude oil from Nigeria.

 Kachikwu said the data observed from the activities from the movement of vessels would help determine the various loading points of the vessels, the dead weight of the vessels and the volume of crude oil lifted from the country by the vessels.

 The Minister noted that the tracking programme would be extended to the downstream sector, to determine the volume of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, imported into the country.

“It will also be used to know the quantity of the products brought in by each vessel, the depots, the commodities  they are stored, up to the points of retail to motorists.

 “For the first time, we know what we are producing in this country, as to when it is being produced, barrel to barrel, we can tell.

“We can see even vessels that are coming into Nigeria and their activities.

“We have seen some vessels go to a location and pick some cargoes, leave that point, go to another point pick something else and return to the first location, when they should be heading to Port Novo or the U.S., ” he said

He further said that ministry had partnered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to track vessels lifting crude oil from the country.

“What we are trying to do with the EFCC is to gather data and track these vessels, to determine the owners, why did they leave this point, what happened along the way, what is the dead weight of the vessels at the time they were leaving Nigeria and many more.

“So for the first time, we are going to soon be able to tell on a day-by-day basis all the activities that took place in the sector and those of the players,” he said

Dr Kachikwu also explained that the current administration under his watch had reduced the hours wasted in signing documents, stressing that some projects’ signature that took about 24 hours in the past had been reduced to nine hours.

Kachikwu said that government had generated about N1.5 billion through the early renewal of oil blocks.

Meanwhile, some stakeholders in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector have called for effective regulation and implementation of policies to address the sector’s infrastructure challenges to boost for ease of doing business.

The stakeholders made the appeal In Abuja at the 2nd Nigerian International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) with the theme, “Regulatory and Policy Dialogue on Petroleum and Related Business Sector’’.

Mr Sergius Ogun,  a Member, Federal House of Representatives, representing Esan North-East/South-East Federal Government Constituency, Edo State, said that effective regulation and implementation of policies would boost  investments in the sector.

Ogun said that unless government handed off from oil and gas business, effective regulation and implementation of policies that would attract investment in the sector would not be possible.

According to the lawmaker, government should divest from business and investment in the industry to enhance effective regulation and implementation of policies.

“The sector will be more productive and cost-reflective  if government brings down its stakes from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) and allows it to be run as a private entity.

“NNPC should be privatised to boost revenue; government’s business should be to create the enabling environment.

“Government has no business in business; they should create the environment for business to thrive. In most parts of the world, government has access to land.

“They have access to law; they can make laws. They have access to develop capacity, but they don’t have access to the funding,’’ Ogun said.

Dr Tominiyi Owolabi, a Partner in Olaniwun Ajayi Practice, said that the gap between regulation and implementation of policy remained a major challenge.

Owolabi urged government to work on ease of doing business in Nigeria to attract investors.

He advised government to make policies that would move the country away from oil and gas income to focus more on better revenue through legislative clarity as the key to ease of doing business.

According to Owolabi, government has a role to stimulate the industry in pushing things that would revive the sector and create enabling environment for investment.

“If the regulation and implementation of policies to do business in Nigeria is difficult, you will not get investors. We are still playing politics with our legislation.

“Some of the policy statements like the gas policy is dragging too long. We need to put our gas and refineries in place to move the sector,’’ he said.

Mr Bank-Anthony Okoroafor, the Chairman, Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), said that creating effective policy regime with relevant data through analysis would drive the industry better.

Okoroafor said that for effective policy there should be some fundamentals, adding that nobody would respect policy without obligations.

He advocated for policies that would remove multiple taxation to attract investment into the country, saying that Nigeria was not about policy but rather implementation of those policies.

“We should look towards matching willing buyer to willing seller; we are tired of talking without actions.

“There should be incentives and penalties if Final Investment Decision (FID) is delayed,’’ the PETAN chairman said.

Mr Soji Awogbade, Principal Partner, AELEX  said that the man-hours spent in getting things done in Nigeria was more challenging, adding that government ought to have changed the ease of doing business in the country.

Awogbade said that Ghana had a workable model that was more effective on ease of doing business, adding that getting a document signed in ministries took longer hours and was a setback for the industry.


Eid-el-Fitr: Tinubu Urges Sacrifice, Integrity For National Rebirth



Eid-el-Fitr: Tinubu urges sacrifice, integrity for national rebirth

 President Bola Tinubu has urged Nigerians to continue to make sacrifices and exhibit integrity for national development.

Tinubu said this after observing the Eid-el-Fitr prayer at the Eid Ground at Dodon Barracks on Wednesday in Lagos.

The President also called on Nigerians to continue to have faith in his government and remain patriotic citizens.

Tinubu said that the Renewed Hope Agenda of his administration, aimed at bringing prosperity to Nigerians, was being diligently implemented.

Encouraging Muslims to extend the values of sacrifice and resilience beyond the fasting period, Tinubu emphasised the need for Nigerians to prioritise the exhibition of love for their country.

‘’The resilience and sacrifice that we have shown and made during these months should be preserved.

“Be a kind and cheerful giver. We must love our country more than any other country because this is the only one we have.

‘’We must continue to protect the integrity of our government and leadership. The Renewed Hope Agenda is alive, well and fine, and Nigerians should continue to be very hopeful. Without hope, there is no salvation.

“Without hope, there is no development. Without hope, there is no life. Eid Mubarak,’’ the President said at the end of the prayers led by the Chief Imam of Lagos State, Sheikh Sulaiman Abou-Nolla.

Earlier in his sermon, the Chief Imam urged Nigerians to shun all acts of violence, ensure peaceful co-existence, and continue to have faith in the country.

He asked those in leadership positions to remain faithful to their oaths of office and work towards alleviating the suffering of the less privileged.

‘‘Let us not forget our brothers and sisters in Gaza and other areas of conflict,’’ the Chief Imam said.

He offered prayers of God’s guidance, wisdom, and protection for the President and the Lagos State government, as well as for peace and stability in the country.

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Lawmaker Secures Release of 4 Persons Involved in Illegal Arms Manufacturing in Delta



Lawmaker Secures Release of 4 Persons Involved in Illegal Arms Manufacturing in Delta

Sen. Ned Nwoko (PDP-Delta), on Wednesday, disclosed that he had secured the release of four family members involved in manufacturing arms at the Onicha-Olona Illegal Arms Factory in Delta.

Nwoko representing Delta North Senatorial District, who disclosed this in an interview in Abuja, said that the release of the four persons was through collaborative efforts.

On March 12, troops of 63 Brigade, Asaba, uncovered an illegal arms manufacturing factory in Onicha-Olona, Delta North Senatorial District and arrested eight family members in connection with the crime.

Nwoko disclosed that efforts have been made to ensure fair treatment for those involved, balancing justice with the opportunity for rehabilitation and contribution to society.

“Following my recent visit to the headquarters of 63 Brigade, Asaba and productive discussions with the Brigade Commander, I am pleased to announce progress in addressing the situation regarding the illegal arms factory discovered in the Onicha-Olona community, Delta.

“Efforts have been made to ensure fair treatment for those involved, balancing justice with the opportunity for rehabilitation and contribution to society.

“I am pleased to reveal that through collaborative efforts, I have successfully secured the release of four family members implicated in the illegal activity.

“However, our commitment to upholding the law remains unwavering, and endeavours continue for fair judgment and potential pardon for the remaining four individuals,” he said.

The lawmaker stressed that the underlying issue highlighted by the discovery, however, remained of paramount importance.

“We must seize the opportunity to redirect the talents demonstrated by those involved towards lawful and productive endeavours.

“The young man in the family, known for his passion and ability to build drones, exemplifies this potential.

“His skills should be harnessed and put to good use,” he said.

Nwoko added that the Industrial Revolution served as a pertinent historical precedent where individual efforts catalysed transformative change and made possible by governments that created conducive environments.

“We can emulate this model here. We can provide support and opportunities for talented individuals like the young drone builder, and stimulate a new wave of innovation and economic growth in Nigeria.

“As previously stated, Nigeria’s economy faces significant challenges exacerbated by escalating imports, particularly in the realm of arms and weaponry.

“Therefore, we must harness our indigenous talents for the greater good and bolster our local industries,” he said.

Nwoko further said that the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), as well as the Ministry of Science and Technology, have crucial roles to play in this regard.

According to him, by engaging with individuals possessing such skills, we can offer them legal avenues for their expertise to flourish.

“The aim is not only to prevent the proliferation of illegal arms or other weapons manufacturing but also to channel these talents towards legitimate industries for national development.

“I reiterate the need for the government to support and integrate such offenders with specialised skills and talents into the formal economy.

“This initiative should focus on recognising their capabilities and providing opportunities for them to contribute to the development of our local indigenous technology.

“As noted earlier, an individual capable of modifying an AK-47 magazine, originally designed to hold 30 rounds, to accommodate 60 rounds using rudimentary equipment, holds immense potential for greater achievements.

”Such individual can do more with proper legal support and access to adequate resources.”

He disclosed that he was committed to proposing or supporting a new law aimed at assisting talented and skilful individuals involved in illegal activities and also partnering with law enforcement agencies in these endeavours.

“I am committed to proposing or supporting a new law aimed at assisting talented and skilful individuals involved in illegal activities and also partner with law enforcement agencies in these endeavours.”

“They have the intelligence and insights of the potential beneficiaries of this “amnesty” drive towards creating a new cadre of indigenous technologists.

“This law would establish an agency dedicated to providing government support and resources to rehabilitate and engage these individuals in legal and productive activities.

“I tentatively suggest naming this proposed law the “National Talent Rehabilitation and Integration Act”.

“This legislation will not only focus on rehabilitation but also on harnessing the skills and talents of offenders for the benefit of society.

“By providing a structured environment and necessary support, this agency will facilitate the transition of individuals from illicit activities to lawful and productive ventures.

”And they will be contributing to both their personal rehabilitation and national development,” Nwoko added.

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NGX Market Capitalisation Gains N836bn



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

…Tantalizers, NASCON lead the losers’ chart 

The Nigerian Exchange Ltd.(NGX) market capitalisation, which opened at N57.697 trillion on Tuesday, gained N836 billion or 1.45 percent closing at N58.533 trillion.

Also, the All-Share Index rose by 1.45 percent or 1,480 points to close at 103,524.44, as against 102,044.84 recorded on Monday.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return rose to 38.45 percent.

Interest in Telco heavyweight and Tier-one banks such as MTN Nigeria, UBA, Access Corporation, Guaranty Trust Holding Company(GTCO), and sustained interest in Transcorp Power(TransPower) kept the market in the green.

Market breadth closed positive with 35 gainers and 14 losers.

On the gainer’s chart, UBA led in percentage terms of 10 to close at N25.30, followed by MTN by 9.98 percent to close at N243.50 per share.

Julius Berger also gained 9.71 percent to close at N61, While Access Corporation rose by 9.51 percent to close at N22.45 per share.

Veritas Kapital Assurance went up by 9.38 percent to close at 70k per share.

Conversely, Tantalizers led the loser’s chart by 7.89 percent to close at 35k, and National Salt Company of Nigeria(NASCON) trailed by 6.77 percent to close at N53.70.

Morison Industries Plc shed 6.62 percent to close at N1.41, C&I Leasing lost 6.45 percent to close at N3.48, while Cutix Plc dropped 6.30 percent to close at N2.53 per share.

However, analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled lower, relative to the previous session.

The value of transactions was also down by 16.76 percent.

A total of 565.79 million shares valued at N14.23 billion were exchanged in 11,519 deals,  compared to 436.90 million shares valued at N17.09 billion exchanged in 11,344 deals traded on Monday.

On the activity chart, Transcorp led in volume with 170.72 million shares traded at a value of N3.13 billion, Access Corporation followed by 48.57 million shares valued at N1.06 billion.

GTCO sold 39.04 million shares worth N165.80 million, Jaiz Bank traded 36.78 million shares valued at N72.51 million and UBA transacted 31.96 million shares valued at N796.24 million

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