Okowa signs Delta 2021 budget into law – Newstrends
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Okowa signs Delta 2021 budget into law

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Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has assented to the state’s 2021 Appropriation Bill.

He said the state government would strive to recover from the economic challenges engendered by COVID-19 pandemic.

Okowa, who signed the bill Monday in Asaba, commended the state’s House of Assembly for speedy passage of the appropriation bill.

He said that signing the budget with a month to the end of 2020 would avail the state government the opportunity to plan further towards the implementation of the 2021 budget from January, 2021.

He said, “You have just witnessed my signing into law the 2021 Appropriation Bill, and as I said on October 27, during the presentation of the bill, we are in very difficult times this year, no doubt both in this country and globally.

“And, with the second wave of the pandemic, it will create a further challenge for the recovery of the economy of our nation.

“However, we are optimistic that in the 2021 fiscal year, things will gradually improve and we will be able to get back to the levels of infrastructural development and the human capital development for our people.

“This is very necessary because there is a lot of pain; there is a lot of unemployment and our people are generally getting restive nationally and I pray that God will help us and this nation to rediscover ourselves and to commit every work of our people and our state and nation for the common good of all our citizens.

“The budget is termed ‘budget of economic recovery’ because we are very much aware of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, both on our health systems and the economy of the country, which is still largely dependent on the oil economy,’’ he said.

The governor said a lot was being done to grow the agricultural sector but stated that the programme would take time for it to begin to manifest meaningfully.

According to him, as long as the people are still dependent mainly on the oil economy with the global pandemic going, they will definitely have a lot of shortfall, both in the prices and the volume of oil being sold in the international market.

Okowa said, “This obviously impacted negatively on our budget in 2020 that we had to reduce our budget downward twice in the year.

“However, I want to use this medium to appreciate our various contractors who had continued to stay in their various sites to work even when it is becoming increasingly difficult to make payments on contractual agreements already made.

“We will continue to be very responsible as a state and we will continue to work with them to deliver on our projects.”

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Dangote refinery Vs NMDPRA: Petroleum Minister Lokpobiri intervenes, meets Aliko, Ahmed, NNPCL head 

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Dangote refinery Vs NMDPRA: Petroleum Minister Lokpobiri intervenes, meets Aliko, Ahmed, NNPCL head 

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, on Monday intervened in the open disagreement between the Dangote Refinery and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) over the state and quality of products from the new 650,000 barrel-per-day refinery.

in an apparent move to stop the altercations between the two parties, the minister on Monday met with Aliko Dangote (owner of Dangote refinery) and the Chief Executive of NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed.

At the meeting also, according to a statement from the spokesperson for the minister, Amaka Okafor, were the heads of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and that of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).

The disagreement between the NMDPRA head, Ahmed, and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has dominated the public space.

Ahmed’s NMDPRA alleged that Dangote refinery was producing fuels with high sulphur content.

He said products from the facility, diesel and jet fuel, were of lower quality than the those imported by NNPCL.

Ahmed, who spoke in Port Harcourt, stated that Dangote refinery had not even been granted a full licence to operate, explaining that the facility cannot be solely relied upon to satisfy the fuel needs of the country.

The NMDPRA boss added that he had been under pressure by the Dangote refinery to stop all import of diesel and jet fuel, despite the fact that the imported fuels had lower sulphur content than the ones from Dangote refinery.

But conducting federal lawmakers round the facility in Lagos at the weekend, Dangote said contrary to the position of the head of the NMDPRA, his products were actually of far higher quality than imported fuels.

Dangote rejected the claims by the industry regulator that the products from his new refinery were substandard, expressing doubts over the quality of laboratories used in testing the standard of fuels in the country by NMDPRA.

The statement from the ministry said Lokpobiri convened the high-level meeting with key stakeholders to address and resolve the ongoing issues surrounding Dangote refinery.

Present at the meeting, apart from Dangote, the statement disclosed, were Ahmed, NUPRC’s Gbenga Komolafe, as well as NNPCL’s Mele Kyari.

The statement said, “The stakeholders expressed their gratitude to the minister for his exemplary leadership and timely intervention in facilitating the crucial dialogue. The meeting focused on finding a sustainable and lasting solution to the current impasse affecting the Dangote refinery, with all parties demonstrating a commitment to collaborative and proactive problem-solving.

“The minister emphasised the importance of cooperation and synergy among all stakeholders to ensure the success and optimal performance of the oil and gas sector, which is pivotal for Nigeria’s economic growth and energy security.

“This meeting marked a significant step towards resolving the challenges and underscored the minister’s dedication to fostering a conducive environment for Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.”

To convince his visitors that his position was factual, Dangote and his team tested samples of diesel bought from two separate filling stations and another one from his refinery in his laboratories.

He admitted that when the refinery started, it was turning out about 600ppm to 650ppm, which was still the best quality at the time.

He said the refinery now had less than 87ppm products and was set to hit 10ppm next month, compared to over 1,800ppm and over 2,600ppm, respectively, from the other tested samples.

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Tariff: Kano DisCo moves to reconcile with MAN, after court verdict

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Tariff: Kano DisCo moves to reconcile with MAN, after court verdict

Following a recent court judgment, the Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) has called for a peaceful resolution with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and other affected customers. Sani Bala Sani, the spokesman for KEDCO, released a statement inviting all aggrieved parties to engage in dialogue. The company emphasized its commitment to operating under strict regulations and maintaining a customer-centric approach.

Sani highlighted KEDCO’s recognition of the crucial role of manufacturers and its commitment to improving electricity supply and cost efficiency within its franchise area. This appeal for reconciliation comes after KEDCO’s legal victory against MAN, the Nigeria Association of Small-Scale Industrialists (Kano State chapter), and several companies, including Tofa Textile Limited, Dala Foods Nigeria Ltd, Mama Sannu Ind. Ltd, BBY Super Sack Ltd, and Super Sack Company Ltd.

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These companies had filed a lawsuit in May 2024, challenging the implementation of the April 2024 Supplementary Order on Band A tariff increase. However, on July 19, 2024, a Federal High Court in Kano dismissed the suit for lack of merit. Justice Simon A. Amobeda resolved the plaintiffs’ concerns about the credibility, validity, and legality of the April 2024 Supplementary Order negatively.

Justice Amobeda affirmed that the supplementary order was validly issued under the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) 2024 and complied with the relevant provisions of the Electricity Act. The court found no evidence that Band A customers were unfairly treated compared to other categories and upheld the higher tariff for Band A users, who receive more electricity supply per day. Consequently, the plaintiffs’ claims of discrimination, unlawfulness, and unconstitutionality were rejected.

Tariff: Kano DisCo moves to reconcile with MAN, after court verdict

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Local fuel refining, $750m loan will stabilize naira – Report

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Local fuel refining, $750m loan will stabilize naira – Report

The naira is projected to exchange between N1,423.26/$ and N1,550/$ in the second half of this year, report by United Capital report titled: Balancing Act: Nigeria’s Path to Stability.

The naira yesterday exchanged at N1,570/$ at the parallel market, and appreciated by 6.05 per cent to close at N1,500.32/$ at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM)- official window.

The report released yesterday, said local petrol supply from the Dangote Refinery and a $750 million disbursement from the World Bank will keep naira stable in the remaining months of the year.

The World Bank recently granted the Federal Government a $750 million loan to offer subsidies to developers and operators of solar mini-grids in areas across the country that lack electricity access.

The loan, approved under the Distributed Access through Renewable Energy Scale-up (DARES) project, aims to increase the supply of electricity to households and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) through private sector-led distributed renewable energy initiatives.

The commencement of production of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol by the Dangote Oil Refinery   and Petrochemicals company is also expected to lift the naira.

The development is expected to harness Africa’s abundant crude oil resources to produce refined products locally, even as the company aims to catalyze a virtuous cycle of industrial development, job creation, and economic prosperity

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The report said financial system liquidity is expected to increase by 40.2 per cent in the second half of the year while Bond yields are likely to remain elevated due to the government’s reliance on the domestic debt market. It added that investors are expected to favor short-term rates over longer-term exposure, leading to mixed sentiments in the bonds market.

It said the naira has experienced notable volatility in during the first half of 2024, with much of the weakness attributed to devaluation in January 2024 when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revised its methodology for setting the official exchange rate.

“The currency weakened by 34.33 per cent in the official market, from N988.46/US$ on January 2, 2024, to N1.505.30/US$ by June 28, 2024, and fell by 21.05 per cent in the parallel market, from N1,200/$ to N1,520/$ over the same period,” it said.

It explained that although this adjustment has seen improvements in the elimination of the premium between the official and parallel markets, and improved market turnover, indicating some reform progress, but the local currency has continued to weaken against the greenback.

 “However, the naira continued to weaken, losing 7.3 per cent against the US dollar post-devaluation due to high dollar demand for fund repatriation after the CBN cleared a backlog of foreign exchange requests, coupled with the ongoing dependency on imported petrol,” it said.

The report said the sustainability of these measures’ hinges on improved capital inflows through improved crude oil production and enhanced export revenues replenishing foreign reserves.

 “Should these vital inflows fail to materialize, the efficacy of CBN interventions may wane over time, leaving the naira vulnerable to further depreciation in the absence of robust external support,” it said.

In addition to the power subsidy, the Federal Government plans to provide performance-based grants to eligible mini-grid operators based on new customer connections for isolated mini-grids and a percentage of capital expenditures for interconnected mini-grid projects.

The grant will also cover standalone solar (SAS) systems for households, MSMEs, and agribusinesses, supporting the rapid deployment of SAS solutions in rural and underserved areas through supply- and demand-side support.

Local fuel refining, $750m loan will stabilize naira – Report

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