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Oil price projected to reach $80 as Nigeria suppresses brewing crisis

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Goldman Sachs Commodities Research has raised its forecast for crude price, projecting that the price of Brent crude would hit $75 by the second quarter and $80 by the third quarter.

It stated this shortly after the price of Brent crude, against which Nigeria’s crude oil is priced, rose to $68.03 per barrel on Thursday.

Goldman’s prediction also followed the decision of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries at its meeting on Thursday to leave production quotas unchanged.

The $80 prediction shows an increase from the previous $70 per barrel by the second quarter of 2021.

Goldman said, “OPEC’s supply strategy is working because of its unexpectedness and suddenness.

“We believe it is now clear that OPEC+ is in fact pursuing a tight oil market strategy, with our updated supply-demand balance pointing to OECD (inventories) falling to their lowest level since 2014 by the end of this year.”

At the 14th OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial meeting that held virtually on Thursday, ministers approved a continuation of the production levels of March for the month of April, with the exception of Russia and Kazakhstan, which will be allowed to increase production by 130 and 20,000 barrels per day respectively.

Saudi Arabia also agreed to extend its voluntary one million barrels supply cut till April 2021.

“The meeting extends special thanks to Nigeria for achieving full conformity in January 2021 and compensating its entire overproduced volumes,” a statement released at the meeting also stated.

“The ministers thank the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, for his shuttle diplomacy as Special Envoy of the JMMC to Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and South Sudan to discuss matters pertaining to conformity levels with the voluntary production adjustments and compensation of over-produced volumes.”

The ministers agreed to extend the compensation period for countries that exceeded their supply quota till the end of July 2021.

It also cautioned all participating countries to remain vigilant and flexible given the uncertain market conditions and to remain on the course which had been voluntarily decided and which had hitherto reaped rewards.

The next OPEC and non-OPEC ministers’ meeting has been scheduled for April 1, 2021.

Back in Nigeria, the regulators of the oil industry such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Department of Petroleum Resources have continued to measures including persuasion, threats and clampdown to address artificial fuel scarcity in Abuja, Oyo and other states over possible pump price hike.

Just as the NNPC assured the dealers and final buyers that it had enough fuel and had no plans to increase the ex-depot price of petrol, the DPR warned against hoarding and arbitrary hike and went ahead to close down some found to have flouted the instructions.

Operators in the oil sector said the rise in crude oil price meant more revenue for Nigeria but could cause further hike in the fuel prices.

This is because the bulk of the fuel consumed in Nigeria currently is imported.

Petrol queues that surfaced in Abuja and environs last week had spread to other major cities, resulting in over 100 per cent hike in transport fares in some areas.

Oil marketers attributed the scarcity of petrol in the affected areas to the alleged moves by government to hike the price of the commodity.

The NNPC dismissed reports of an upward review in ex-depot prices of petrol. Indeed, it ruled out any increase this month (March).

Major Oil Marketers of Nigeria (MOMAN) also said its members had not increased the pump price of petrol.

But the independent marketers said they could only get the product between N160 and N162 per litre at the depot instead of N148 per litre.

Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Dr Kennie Obateru, said there was no immediate plan to increase the pump price of fuel, adding that there was enough fuel to last for 40 days nationwide.

The fuel queues are fast disappearing as more filling stations get supply and are opening for business.

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Business

VAT claim is about fiscal federalism- Lagos State

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Lagos State government on Thursday said it has a strong case in its demand to collect the Value Added Tax (VAT).

It said its claims were also about fiscal federalism.

The state said VAT collection would neither impoverish other states nor would the process be cumbersome.

Commissioner for Information Strategy Gbenga Omotoso, who spoke on ‘Your View’ on TVC, said: “Lagos has a solid case in the ongoing legal dispute as the crux of the disagreement is about equity, justice and fairness.

“Whichever way it goes, it will also enrich our jurisprudence and enhance the way we see and relate to the law.

“No matter what, Lagos will always stand for true fiscal federalism.”

The commissioner noted that the volume of air, sea and road transport activities in Lagos puts pressure on the state’s infrastructure.

He added that additional revenue from VAT would facilitate infrastructure development for faster movement of goods and services, as well as economic growth for the benefit of Lagos and other states since prices will fall.

On the demand for a special status for Lagos, Omotoso described Lagos as a ‘giant that carries most of the burden of Nigeria on its shoulders and the engine-room of the nation’s financial and business activities.

“Lagos must be empowered to play this role to the benefit of Nigerians”, he insisted.

Omotoso noted that other states can partner with Lagos to generate more revenue or resources by taking advantage of its huge population and massive market to sell their agricultural produce and other products, while profits realised therefrom would be repatriated to create more wealth for farmers and other producers in such states.

According to him, Lagos almost became an orphan following the movement of the Federal Capital Territory to Abuja in 1991, resulting in modest support from the Federal Government.

He was confident there would be resources for more infrastructure and facilities in transportation, health, education, e.t.c, that will benefit Lagosians and others who troop in every day if the state is allowed to collect VAT.

Omotoso added that the state will sensitise residents concerning its position on the debate.

Also yesterday, Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel said states were entitled to collect VAT.

He was a guest on Arise TV News ‘Morning Show’ aired to mark the state’s 34th anniversary.

According to him, it was wrong for the Federal Government to collect and share revenue from VAT because it is generated from businesses and activities in states.

Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, yesterday asked all taxpayers to continue remitting VAT to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

She said in an advertorial: “The ruling of the Court of Appeal employs all taxpayers in all the states to continue to collect VAT on behalf of the government in compliance with the VAT Act.”

But, Emmanuel said despite the huge oil and gas investments in the state, Akwa Ibom receives a paltry N2 billion from VAT.

He backed his Rivers and Lagos states counterparts, Nyesom Wike and Babajide Sanwo-Olu, both of whom have signed their VAT bills.

Emmanuel said: “If my brother state has gone to court, it is the same principle that we stand on. I think we are all in the same bucket, the same basket.

“All the 36 states do not need to join at the same time. Today my brother in Rivers State has gone far enough.

“I think the case has gone to the Appeal Court and there is also a stay of execution.

“Let me allow the rule of law. But for states saying they do not need VAT, maybe they do not know the hidden treasure in VAT.

“If today I sell a house in Uyo, or any other person sells a property, the value is enhanced because of the good roads, electricity, security and water I have created, and the value I have added to the property. Why should the VAT on the property not come to me 100 per cent?

“Just look at the money I have spent on capital projects in the first quarter put at N143 billion, if you take 7.5 per cent of that, why should all not come to me?”

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No going back on mega protest at UN Headquarters – Yoruba Nation, others

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Self-determination agitators operating on the platform of Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS) have vowed to go ahead with the grand finale of its one-million-man freedom march at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the United States on Friday.

The grand finale of the march coincides with the ongoing UN Assembly where President, Muhammadu Buhari, is expected to address the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly on Friday.

Akintoye in a statement, on Thursday, made available to The Nation by NINAS Director of Communications, Maxwell Adeleye, accused the Federal Government of sponsoring a counter-protest at the United Nations Headquarters tomorrow.

He alleged that the Nigerian Government has started hiring black foreigners living in the United States of America with $500 per head to stage a Pro-Buhari and One Nigeria March opposite the United Nations Headquarters.

Akintoye vowed that the will of the people would prevail no matter how the Federal Government tries to scuttle the NINAS Grand Finale March.

Apart from Akintoye, the Secretary-General, Tony Nnadi, who represents the Lower Niger Congress and Prof. Yusuf Turaki, who represent the Middle-Belt Movement at NINAS have also jointly called on the UN to take urgent step to prevent Nigeria from descending into chaos.

NINAS, which described the 1999 Constitution as a fraud against the people of South and Middle-Belt, having been “enacted without the consent of the people,” demanded the conduct of a regional referendum so that the indigenous people can decide on their nationhood, among others.

All the indigenous people of the South and Middle-Belt in the United States and Canada have been urged to troop out in large number tomorrow.

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TCN lost N1.7bn to Borno vandal activities in nine months – Minister

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The Transmission Company of Nigeria says it has lost N1.7 billion in nine months owing to the destruction of electricity infrastructure in Maiduguri, Borno State. Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, stated this on Thursday at a town hall meeting in Maiduguri.
He said the TCN made the revenue loss from January to September this year.
Aliyu, who was represented by TCN Chairman, Sule Abdulazeez, said the loss recorded was on vandalised electricity lines at an average of 740 megawatts per day.
The minister added that in one month, TCN lost an average of N139 million on the wheeling charges and energy lost in the area.
He said a total number of eight 330Kv towers had been brought down by insurgents in Damaturu and Maiduguri within the period.
The minister said an average cost of reconstructing each tower is about N110 million, translating to about N880 million.
“Five towers were successfully erected and stringing completed on Sept. 17, awaiting energisation before the insurgents brought down another two sets of tower (1193 and 1194) at Auna village the next day September.
“Six towers in Oronta village in Abia state were brought down by vandals in Umuahia, while ten drums of aluminium conductors were carted away disrupting erection of a new tower.
“Also, the Escravos to Lagos pipeline was blasted by vandals disrupting gas supply to over six power generating stations in the western part of the country in 2016.”
As a way forward, the minister recommended executing embedded generation such as the proposed NNPC 50MW gas plant, solar farm, and wind farm in Maiduguri.
Maiduguri and environs have been cut off from public power supply since January as a result of the destruction of power infrastructure by terrorists.

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