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India beckons on Nigeria, others for energy needs

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  • Crude sells for $63

As India strives to reduce its energy reliance on the Middle East, Nigeria and other African nations could play a central role in the Asian country’s efforts to diversify its sources of oil and gas, its Oil Minister, Mr Dharmendra Pradhan, has said.

India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer, has asked state refiners to speed up the diversification of oil imports to gradually cut their dependence on the Middle East after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided earlier this month to continue production cuts in April.

“As India seeks to further diversify sourcing of crude oil and LNG, Africa has a central role – largely due to its proximity and absence of any choke points in trans-shipments,” Pradhan told an industry summit.

Reuters reported that India imports over 80 per cent of its oil and has a huge oil import bill.

Africa’s share of India’s oil imports are about 15 per cent or about 34 million tonnes of oil last year, Pradhan said, with the country’s imports of gas from Africa also gradually increasing.

India traditionally buys oil from Nigeria, Angola, Algeria, Egypt and Equatorial Guinea, but in recent years, it has bought the commodity from Cameroon, Chad, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

“Therefore, we would naturally be seeking commercial partners in Africa to meet India’s growing energy needs through imports of crude oil, LNG and other petroleum and energy products,” he stated.

State-run Indian companies have invested $8 billion in oil and gas assets in various African nations and India the third-largest refiner in the world is a major exporter of refined fuels.

Africa is the second-largest destination for Indian refined fuels, Pradhan said, adding that rising demand for technology, fuels, skills and investment in some African nations offer India opportunities for equity investment and two-way tie-ups.

Nigeria is India’s 13th largest country of import behind other crude oil exporters such as the US, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and UAE and in contrast India is Nigeria’s largest export destination.

In the first quarter of 2020, Nigeria’s export to India was N637.5 billion or 15.6 per cent of total exports, with crude oil representing N526.8 billion of the total export amount.

India replaced the US as Nigeria’s largest export destination for crude as demand for crude increased in the second-most populous country in the world.

Meanwhile oil prices have continued to be weighed down by concerns about immediate demand amid a fresh rash of lockdowns in some countries, especially in Europe.

From a high of $71.38 earlier in the month, Brent Crude fell by 4.18 per cent to $61.92 before rising to about $63 on Wednesday.

The US crude prices traded below the $60 a barrel mark, at $59.02, down by 4.13 per cent on the day, but later picked up and sold for $60.66 as analysts point to an oversupply on the market.

Recovery remains fragile as new or extended lockdowns in Europe, including in Italy, France, and Germany, prompted concerns about mobility and oil demand in the next few weeks, while the vaccination programmes in many European countries are lagging behind the United States and the UK, for example, in terms of vaccination rates.

Europe’s biggest economy, Germany, is extending its lockdown through April 18, with a stricter lockdown for Easter to “break the exponential growth of the third wave,” according to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In December last year, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2021 budget based on a crude oil benchmark price of $40 per barrel, with production for this year estimated at 1.86 million barrels per day, although the country has been producing less due to the OPEC quota cuts.

Auto

$1bn investment recorded in auto industry – Minister

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The Federal Government has recorded more than one billion dollars’ worth of investments in the automotive industry. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, said this in Abuja on Tuesday when he featured at the 20th edition of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration scorecard series organsied by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

“Over one billion dollars in investment has been recorded in the automotive sector and we are ready to move on to the next phase for the automotive industry,” the minister said.

He said the review of the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) was almost completed, adding that the plan was going through validation process.

Adebayo restated the ministry’s commitment toward enabling business environment to attract and retain investments.

According to him, the ministry and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) are committed to attracting and protecting investments that genuinely benefit Nigeria and its citizens.

He said that the revised Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) would boost investment.

“Nigeria has successfully revised its model Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) to include a specific provision for investment facilitation, which institutionalizes the principle of assisting investors in completing their investments.

“We are proud to offer Nigeria’s first investment policy to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval.

“This strategic statement, which will outline our priorities, aims, commitments, and expectations, is a turning point for the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment and Nigeria as an investment destination,” he said.

Adebayo, who said that Nigeria had Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) with Singapore, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia to attract and retain investments, said the ministry was developing more.

“We have IPPAs with Singapore, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia to attract and retain investments. The president ratified both accords on Sept. 16, 2022 and we are developing more IPPAs,” he said.

Adebayo said the ministry also distributed 5,571 acceptance certificates worth N7.7 trillion to 2,665,800 firms.

“The acceptance certificates allow businesses claim tax reduction when computing Company Income Tax.

“We also issued more than 130 Production Day Certificates, a crucial Pioneer Status Incentive step,’’ the minister said.

To further accelerate industrialisation, Adebayo said that the ministry was expediting the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) across the country.

According to him, the special economic zones will increase infrastructure availability and provide fiscal incentives for value addition.

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Pay customers with N100, N50, CBN orders commercial banks

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The Central Bank Of Nigeria has directed all commercial banks to pay customers over the counter in N100, N50, N20, N10, and N5 notes, regardless of the amount withdrawn.

Bankers Committee issued the directives to all commercial banks in the country on Monday, and announced the discontinuation of old notes payment of N1000, N500 and N200 across the counters.

It also urged people to use their alternative channels for transactions, while those insisting on new naira notes were advised to use Automated Teller Machine (ATMs).

The directives came on Monday, following a meeting of the bankers committee in Lagos.

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, in a statement on Sunday extended the deadline for old naira notes from January 31 to February 10, 2023.

Emefiele also noted that he obtained permission from President Muhmammadu Buhari to effect the extension.

According to him, the extension, ‘a seven-day grace period’ was as a result of measures put in place to ease the scarcity.

The decision is coming after CBN had previously insisted that it would not extend the deadline.

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Famous 4×4 Grenadier coming to Nigeria, courtesy Coscharis Motors

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Coscharis Motors has announced its readiness to introduce the popular rugged off-road vehicle, Grenadier, to the Nigerian auto market.

This follows the naming of the auto company by INEOS Automotive as its official retail partner in Nigeria.

Nigeria is the sixth market in Sub-Sahara Africa to join the brand after South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Botswana.

A statement on Monday by Abiona Babarinde, the auto firm’s General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Communications, said, “The first Grenadier demonstrator vehicles are expected to arrive in Nigeria in early 2023 with customer deliveries expected to commence within the first quarter.

“All after-sales servicing will be conducted at a dedicated workshop also located in Lagos.”

Commenting on this partnership, the President/CEO of Coscharis Group, Dr Cosmas Maduka, said, “We are proud that INEOS Automotive has appointed Coscharis Motors to represent its brand in Nigeria. “This milestone marks another step in the evolution of our company. With our history and experience of the Nigerian market, we know that the INEOS Grenadier is going to be a serious player in the off-road segment.

“We have no doubt that the Grenadier has what it takes to handle Africa’s tough terrain and that it is the perfect option to meet the specific demands of those who need a capable, refined, and reliable off-road vehicle in the region. We look forward to the first customer test drives and hearing public feedback, because this vehicle is definitely going to stir things up in Nigeria.”

The statement quoted Tim Abbott, INEOS Automotive’s Head of Region South Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa, as saying, “We are carefully selecting our partners across the SSA region, to find people who know their local market and customers, and also understand our brand.

“Coscharis Motors shares our belief that the INEOS Grenadier is the perfect vehicle not only for Nigeria, but for the continent. Our shared passion for off-roading, along with their excellent reputation in the automotive industry, makes it the perfect partnership for Grenadier in Nigeria.”

Coscharis says the Grenadier has been developed to be refined on the road and extraordinarily capable off-road.

“The Grenadier is powered by a choice of two straight-six, 3.0-litre BMW engines. Both the BMW B57 diesel and B58 petrol powertrains have a proven track record, regularly appearing in top ten world’s best engine lists since 2016. They have been used in everything from sports cars to SUVs.

“The two power units bring BMW’s sophistication and refinement to the Grenadier, but they have been enhanced by INEOS Automotive’s engineering team. As well as providing powerful acceleration on tarmac, they also deliver peak torque at low revs – sustaining it through the rev range – for optimal off-road performance,” it states.

It also notes that the carefully calibrated characteristics help the driver to confidently manage the vehicle’s momentum and grip without stressing the engine, ensuring full control when tackling tricky terrain.

It adds, “The refined turbo petrol engine produces 286PS (210kW) and 450Nm (332 lb ft) of torque, while the twin-turbo diesel generates 249PS (183kW) and 550Nm (406 lb ft), for even greater pulling power. Start/stop is built-in, increasing range and preserving air quality when the vehicle is stationary.

“While it is every inch a rugged 4X4, it ticks all the right boxes on the road, too. The chassis combines a five-link suspension setup with Brembo brakes and Bridgestone tyres, meaning the Grenadier is composed, well- mannered and fun to drive no matter what the terrain.”

The firm also reveals that by the end of this year, INEOS Automotive plans to have a network of more than 200 sales and service sites for the Grenadier spanning over 50 countries, including established dealer groups, 4X4 specialists and agricultural equipment dealers.

 

 

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