Nigeria-Press-Review

Press spotlights 5 African countries that sealed deal with Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project

APA – Lagos (Nigeria)

The report that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has signed five memoranda of understanding with the national oil companies and relevant entities of five African countries on the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project is one of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Tuesday.

The Punch reports that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has signed five memoranda of understanding with the national oil companies and relevant entities of five African countries on the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project.

The five national oil companies and relevant entities were from Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone.

The signing ceremony, according to a statement from NNPC on Monday, was held in Morocco and was attended by the Group Chief Executive Officer NNPC, Mele Kyari; Dr. Amina Benkhadra, General Director of Morocco’s National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines; Mr Baboucarr Njie, Managing Director of the Gambia National Petroleum Corporation, Gambia; and Celedonio Placido Viera, General Director of PETROGUIN, Guinea Bissau.

Also in attendance were Mr. Amadou Doumbouya, Director-General of the National Company of Oil, Guinea; Mr Foday Mansaray II, Director-General of Petroleum Directorate of Sierra Leone; and Dr. Ben Asante, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Gas Company.

Speaking at the event, Kyari commended NNPC’s partners – ONHYM, who had worked with the NNPC Limited all through the years to bring the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project to limelight.

Kyari said it was comforting to witness the steady growth of the project, especially with the inclusion of NNPC’s counterparts and key institutions from other African countries through execution of the relevant Memoranda of Understanding.

He recalled that on September 15, 2022, NNPC and ONHYM signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the ECOWAS Commission in Morocco, adding that this event was coming a month after the NNPC signed additional MoUs with Petrosen of Senegal and SMH of Mauritania.

He said, “Today, we will be attaining another feat by signing five MoUs with the national oil companies and relevant entities from Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone.

“From inception of the project to this stage, concerted efforts have been made by the governments of Nigeria and the Kingdom of Morocco, which led to the very commendable achievements recorded thus far.”

The newspaper says that Nigeria’s total merchandise trade fell by N1.24tn, from N12.84tn in the second quarter of 2022 to N11.59tn in the third quarter of 2022.

This is according to the ‘Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics (Q3 2022)’ report released by the National Bureau of Statistics released on Monday.

The fall in foreign trade was influenced by the decline in crude oil exports, which fell from N5.91tn in Q2 2022 to N4.66tn in Q3 2022.

The NBS said, “In q3 2022, Nigeria’s total trade stood at N11.59tn, this was lower than the value recorded in the second quarter of 2022 (N12.84tn) but was higher than the value recorded in the corresponding period of 2021 which stood at N10.47tn.

“Total Exports stood at N5.93tn of which Re-exports were N25.04bn, while total imports stood at N5.66tn. In the quarter under review, total exports declined by 19.89 per cent when compared to the second quarter of 2022 (N7.41tn) but it increased by 15.52 per cent of the value recorded in the third quarter of 2021 (N5.14tn).

 “On the other hand, total imports increased by 4.22 per cent in the third quarter of 2022 when compared to the value recorded in the second quarter of 2022 (N5.44tn) and also grew by 6.16 per cent when compared to the value recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2021 (N5.34tn).”

According to the statistics body, the top five export destinations in the period were: Spain, India, France, the Netherlands, and Indonesia. The top five countries for imports were: China, The Netherlands, India, Belgium, and the United States of America.

The NBS disclosed that the majority of the commodities were exported by sea, with maritime accounting to N5.87tn or 98.88 per cent of total exports.

A recent The PUNCH report revealed that the nation’s crude oil output fell to 900, 000 barrels per day (b/d) in August, according to the Monthly Oil Market Report by Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The OPEC report revealed that the nation’s crude oil production dropped from 1 million b/d recorded in July, to 900, 000b/d in August.

The Guardian reports that with less than six months left to the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight-year administration, available data show that government has left more Nigerians poorer and unemployed than it met in 2015, despite coming to power, partly on the promise to create 24 million jobs.

President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, had, in 2015, made campaign promises committing to creating three million jobs, yearly if elected into office, to tackle the high rate of unemployment in the country and lift the masses out of poverty.
But a recent report by Jobberman, in collaboration with Young Africa Works and Mastercard Foundation, shows that the number of unemployed individuals in the country has hit 23 million.

But a recent report by Jobberman, in collaboration with Young Africa Works and Mastercard Foundation, shows that the number of unemployed individuals in the country has hit 23 million.

As election campaigns heighten, there are concerns by stakeholders and the electorate that the narrative and promises by presidential candidates remain the same, even as unfolding challenges portend dire times for Nigerians.

Though COVID-19 pandemic pushed many economies to the brink, leading to huge job losses and recession, Nigeria’s lingering challenges of insecurity, currency devaluation, poor accessibility to foreign exchange by the productive sector, high inflation, difficult operating environment, among others, compounded the country’s woes and outlook.

In fact, a major component of the President’s promise in 2015 was to tackle high unemployment rate. However, reality appears to be far from expectations going by the last unemployment data and poverty levels in the country, in addition to the current wave of brain drain, codenamed Japa, experienced across many sectors.

In his 2015 inauguration speech, the President said: “Unemployment, notably youth unemployment, features strongly in our party’s manifesto. We intend to attack the problem frontally through the revival of agriculture, solid minerals, and mining as well as credits to small and medium-size businesses to kick-start these enterprises. We shall quickly examine the best way to revive major industries and accelerate the revival and development of our railways, roads and general infrastructure.”

Despite these commitments, major industrial firms are barely surviving to maintain decent production.

The Guardian can confirm that the unemployment rate in the country has seriously worsened when compared to when President Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015.

The newspaper says that the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, yesterday, resolved to beam its searchlights on Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc over N4.014 trillion debt allegedly owed by some international electricity customers.

The committee, led by Mr. Wole Oke, therefore, summoned NBET’s Managing Director to offer explanations on why customers situated in neighbouring Togo, Benin and Niger Republics have not lived up to their responsibility.

The committee directed that the NBET chief should appear in person, on Thursday, alongside Dr. Marilyn Amobi, who served as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer from 2016 to 2020, to justify reason for non-rendition of audited accounts for the years: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The resolution was contained in a letter titled: ‘Re-consideration of Auditor General for the Federation Reports’, dated November 30, 2022, with Ref. No: HR/PAC/SCOS/9NASS/QUE.64/48, signed by Oke (PDP, Osun).

The letter reads: “The committee is in receipt of your correspondence and has reviewed your 2017-2019 audited accounts and resolved to request the following additional information/documents to enable the committee carry out its legislative mandate:


“Indebtedness of International Customers (Republic of Benin, Togo and Niger to NBET and TCN from 2018 to 2022).

“External auditor’s report showed that the Nigeria has international bilateral agreement on electricity energy delivery and sales with Republic of Benin, Togo and Niger. Prior to electricity transitional arrangement, these agreements were administered by TCN of Nigeria.

“However, the Ministry of Power on March 15, 2016, directed that the administration of these international customers should be transferred to NBET."


GIK/APA

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