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‘Blame Buhari for hardship in Nigeria’ – Ex-Emir of Kano Sanusi

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The former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, has blamed the current hardship in Nigeria on former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Sanusi said it would be unfair to blame President Bola Tinubu for the hardship Nigerians are experiencing.

Speaking on Sunday during a virtual religious event, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, said Buhari’s administration failed to heed his counsel on how to salvage the country from economic woes.

The former Emir also vowed to criticise Tinubu if he sees any wrong economic policy in the future.

According to Sanusi: “If I am to be fair and just to President Bola Tinubu, he is not to blame for the current hardship; for eight years, we were living a fake lifestyle with huge debt from foreign and domestic debts.

“I can’t join other Nigerians criticising Tinubu on the current economic hardship, and I am not saying he is a saint free from wrongdoing, but in this current economic situation, President Tinubu is not to be blamed.”

He insisted that there was no other alternative than to remove the subsidy on fuel.

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IOCs frustrating rollout of petrol, says Dangote Refinery

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Dangote Group has accused International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country of deliberately sabotaging Dangote Refinery’s plan to roll out petrol into the market.

According to the company, the IOCs are doing this to ensure that the country remains dependent on petrol imports perpetually.

It added that they have employed underhand tactics in crude pricing and deliberately stalling supply to frustrate Dangote Refinery.

Vice President of Oil and Gas, Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), Devakumar Edwin, made this known yesterday in Lagos.

He, however, added that despite these challenges, the refinery is on its last lap of testing ahead of roll out next month.

He explained that the IOCs have raised local crude prices above the international market price, forcing it to import crude from countries as far as the United States, with its attendant high costs.

He also criticised the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), for granting licences indiscriminately to marketers, who, according to the firm, import “dirty refined products into the country”.

Edwin said: “The Federal Government issued 25 licences to build refineries and we are the only one that delivered on promise.

“In effect, we deserve every support from the government. It is good to note that from the start of production, more than 3.5 billion litres, which represents 90 per cent of our production, have been exported.

“We are calling on the Federal Government and regulators to give us the necessary support in order to create jobs and prosperity for the nation.”

According to him, while the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has been trying its best to allocate crude to Dangote Refinery, such efforts are being frustrated by the IOCs.

Speaking further, Edwin said: “It seems that the IOCs’ objective is to ensure that our Petroleum Refinery fails.

“It is either they are deliberately asking for ridiculous/humongous premium or they simply state that crude is not available.

“At some point, we paid $6 over and above the market price. This has forced us to reduce our output as well as import crude from countries as far as the U.S., increasing our cost of production.

“It appears that the objective of the IOCs is to ensure that Nigeria remains a country which exports crude oil and imports refined petroleum products.

“They (IOCs) are keen on exporting the raw materials to their home countries, creating employment and wealth for their countries, adding to their GDP, and dumping the expensive refined products into Nigeria – thus making us dependent on imported products.

“It is the same strategy the multinationals have been adopting in every commodity, making Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa to be facing unemployment and poverty, while they create wealth for themselves at our expense. This is exploitation – pure and simple.

“Unfortunately, the country is also playing into their hands by continuing to issue import licences at the expense of our economy and at the cost of the health of Nigerians, who are exposed to carcinogenic products.

“In spite of the fact that we are producing and bringing out diesel into the market, complying with ECOWAS regulations and standards, licences are being issued, in large quantities, to traders who are buying the extremely high sulphur diesel from Russia and dumping it in the Nigerian Market.

“Since the U.S., EU and UK imposed a Price Cap Scheme from 5th February 2023 on Russian Petroleum Products, a large number of vessels are waiting near Togo with Russian ultra-high sulphur diesel and, they are being purchased and dumped into the Nigerian Market.

“In fact, some of the European countries were so alarmed about the carcinogenic effect of the extra high sulphur diesel being dumped into the Nigerian market that countries like Belgium and the Netherlands imposed a ban on such fuel being exported from its country, into West Africa.

“It is sad that the country is giving import licences for such dirty diesel to be imported into Nigeria when we have more than adequate petroleum refining capacity locally.”

According to him, the decision of the NMDPRA to grant licenses indiscriminately for the importation of dirty diesel and aviation fuel has made the Dangote Refinery expand into foreign markets.

He appealed to the Federal Government and the National Assembly to urgently intervene for the speedy implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 and to ensure the interests of Nigeria and Nigerians are protected.

He added: “Recently, the Government of Ghana, through legislation, banned the importation of highly contaminated diesel and PMS into their county.

“It is regrettable that, in Nigeria, import licences are granted despite knowing that we have the capacity to produce nearly double the amount of products needed in Nigeria and even export the surplus.

“Since January 2021, ECOWAS regulations have prohibited the import of highly contaminated diesel into the region.

“The same industry players fought us for crashing the price of diesel and aviation fuel, but our aim is to grow our economy,” Edwin said.

He noted that because the refinery meets the international standard as well as complies with stringent guidelines and regulations to protect the local environment, it has been able to export its products to Europe and other parts of the world.

NMDPRA said it would respond to Dangote Refinery’s allegations today.

Asked for the Authority’s response, Corporate Communications General Manager, Mr. George Ene-Ita, texted: “We will respond in the morning, pls.”

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100% of SIM cards used in Nigeria locally-made, says NCC

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said 100 per cent of the SIM cards used in the country are manufactured locally.

Head of New Media and Information Security, Babagana Digima stated this at a training for media executives in Lagos, tagged ‘Upskilling Media Stakeholders on Trends in Telecommunications’.

Digima attributed the feat to the commission’s commitment to encouraging local content and indigenous participation in the industry through the Nigeria Office for Development in Indigenous Telecommunications Sector (NORDIT).

He said: “The NCC, by Section 1D to F of our Act, has spelt out our function to encourage indigenous participation of telecom companies, as well as the national policy for promotion of indigenous content in the Telecommunications Sector which established NORDIT.

“Indigenous participation is one of the key areas NORDIT has played a major role.

“As recent as two years ago, almost 99 per cent of SIM cards used in Nigeria were imported. But when NORDIT came, we made it one of our key low-hanging fruits that in five to six months, SIM cards will be manufactured locally. We directed all the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to source their SIM cards locally. And this has been working since. As at now 100, per cent of the SIM cards used in Nigeria are manufactured locally, no more importation.”

Digima added the commission is also advocating to encourage indigenous participation in all aspects of telecoms. According to him, NORDIT has provided grants and incentives to some companies to ensure the industry develops.

“We are currently sponsoring the manufacture of Corrugated Ordinal Duct, and the company that will be established will be the first in Africa to manufacture such kind of product.

“We also encourage tower manufacture, fibre manufacture, and have been in touch with Coleman Cables, which are currently manufacturing fibre cables. They have even overtaken the only company in Egypt in manufacturing capacity and they are expanding.

“I am sure a lot of companies are very happy with what we have done,” he added.

Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr Aminu Maida, said the initiative to upskill senior media executives was borne out of the need to bridge the gap between the commission and how it is understood by the public.

Maida, represented by the Executive Commissioner (Technical Services) Abraham Oshadami, said the commission needs to develop a mechanism that would enable consumers and stakeholders understand how things work in the industry.

He said: “These have led to the birth of this beautiful initiative. If our industry must succeed, there must be proper enlightenment and education.

“So, your physical role cannot be over-emphasised, and that is why these are carefully selected executives from across all platforms. It is to enable you understand the commission and see the operational interventions that the commission has engaged in over the time, as well as our challenges.

“This will enable us work together to shape the landscape and also help consumers understand what is happening.”

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Nigeria records N6.52tr trade in goods surplus in Q1 2024

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The Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics (Q1 2024) released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that Nigeria recorded a trade surplus of N6.52 trillion in the first quarter of 2024 (Q1 2024).

This is a significant improvement in trade when compared to the N3.63 trillion trade surplus in Q4 2023 and the N20.93 billion trade surplus in Q1 2023.

In the first quarter (Q1 2024), Nigeria’s total trade was ₦31.81 trillion, suggesting a 46.27 percent increase from the value recorded in the fourth quarter of 2023 (N21.74 trillion) and a 146 percent increase from the value recorded in the corresponding period of 2023, which stood at N12.95 trillion.

Total exports amounted to N19.16 trillion, and imports amounted to N12.64 trillion. On a year-on-year basis, the growth rate of exports was higher than that of imports, with exports growing by 51 percent and imports by 40 percent.

In Q1 2024, crude oil exports were valued at ₦15.48 trillion and accounted for 81 percent of total exports, while non-crude oil exports stood at ₦3.68 trillion, accounting for 19 percent of total exports.

Analysing the trade statistics reveals that Nigeria’s strong performance in oil exports was mostly responsible for its favourable balance of trade position in the first quarter of 2024. The growth in trade needs to be interpreted with caution given currency depreciation within the last 12 months.

We need to diversify our export basket to increase the share of non-oil exports to over 50%. Hence, the government needs to assess and improve its ongoing non-oil export promotion initiatives, to boost and diversify export earnings, given the Nigerian economy’s extreme susceptibility to changes in commodity prices due to the concentration of exports on a small number of commodities, particularly crude oil.

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