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Another New Post

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Hello World this is a Demo

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Hello World this is a Demo

Hello world this is the website Demo for FO Akinrele

Demo Session

Hello FO! This is a demo session!

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Demo Session

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The Nigerian Oil & Gas Sector in the 1st Quarter of 2020: The Impact of oil price fluctuations on the Nigerian Economy

In the 4th quarter of 2019, Nigeria amended the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Act to unlock the premium rights due to the Nigerian Government from crude oil produced under the PSC arrangement. The expected returns due to the Nigeria, a net oil exporter was expected to increase in 2020 with oil prices encouraging higher inflows...

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The Nigerian Oil & Gas Sector in the 1st Quarter of 2020: The Impact of oil price fluctuations on the Nigerian Economy

In the 4th quarter of 2019, Nigeria amended the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Act to unlock the premium rights due to the Nigerian Government from crude oil produced under the PSC arrangement. The expected returns due to the Nigeria, a net oil exporter was expected to increase in 2020 with oil prices encouraging higher inflows of export earnings into the economy of Nigeria. However, the first quarter of 2020 has witnessed fluctuations in the oil price representing the largest source of instability in exchange rates in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s 2020 Appropriation Act was initially based on crude oil production volume of 2.18 million barrels per day, with a $57 benchmark per barrel. The downward trajectory in oil prices was initially triggered by the disagreement between Saudi Arabia and Russia and then compounded by the economic slowdown due to measures taken across the world to combat the Covid19 pandemic. The result has been a dramatic drop in oil prices as evidenced by the April 15, 2020 price of Brent Crude (the international benchmark pricing for Nigeria’s Bonny light crude oil) at $27.69 per barrel.

OPEC has sought to address this situation with output cuts but experts predict that this will not be enough. Last week OPEC and its allies agreed to deeper output cuts in a bid to save declining oil prices. Following the deal, Nigeria’s Minister for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, announced that the country will now be producing 1.412 million barrels per day, as against 1.829 million barrels per day. With this volume, if crude oil is sold at an average price of $25 bpd in April, then the country would be earning N13.41 billion per day as against the N17.29 billion that was earned prior to the cut.
The International Energy Agency’s projection is that global oil demand in April will be 29 million b/d lower than a year ago; down to a level last seen 25 years back (1995). This demonstrates that cuts in output by producers may not fully offset the near-term falls facing the market.

Nigeria is currently confronted with revenue generation concerns and faces a number of challenges in order to quickly address the revenue shortfall of the budget. This will have an effect on the exchange rates and the value of the Naira will be under pressure vis a vis international currencies including the dollar and pound sterling.
Equally, the government would still find it difficult to close the revenue gap with tax, as the commercial hub centre of the economy, Lagos, has been lockdown for about three weeks to control the spread of COVID-19. If the lockdown is prolonged for 2-3 months, 2020, the revenue and funding gap could be seriously compounded.
If the lock down is not prolonged, there is some light at the end of the tunnel and the industry opinion of experts and the IEA is that there is hope for a rebound in the second quarter of 2020. An excerpt from the IEA report reads as follows:

“Demand is expected to be 23.1 million b/d below year-ago levels. The recovery in 2020 will be gradual; in December demand will still be down 2.7 million b/d.
“If production does fall sharply, some oil goes into strategic stocks, and demand begins to recover, the second half of 2020 will see demand exceed supply. This will enable the market to start reducing the massive stock overhang that is building up in the first half of the year. Indeed, our current demand and supply estimates imply a stock draw of 4.7 million b/d in the second half.”

In the meantime, the global capital expenditure by exploration and production companies has been forecast to drop by about 32% to $335 billion in 2020. This will mark the lowest level since 13 years. Unfortunately, this will come with some negative implications as you can see in the quote below:

“This reduction of financial resources also undermines the ability of the oil industry to develop some of the technologies needed for clean energy transitions around the world.”

Nigeria’s Oil & Gas Sector in Review – 4th Quarter 2019 Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Amendment Bill Passes Into Law 2019

On Monday 4 November 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the historic Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Amendment Bill into law. There is a consensus of opinions that the legislation promises to significantly increase Nigeria’s share of earnings earned from its oil wells offshore. The Act is seen a victory for the...

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Nigeria’s Oil & Gas Sector in Review – 4th Quarter 2019 Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Amendment Bill Passes Into Law 2019

On Monday 4 November 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the historic Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Amendment Bill into law. There is a consensus of opinions that the legislation promises to significantly increase Nigeria’s share of earnings earned from its oil wells offshore. The Act is seen a victory for the campaign for Tax Justice in the oil and gas sector.

The Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act’s provisions of stipulate that the law shall be subject to review to ensure that if the price of crude oil at any time exceeds $20 per barrel, the share of the revenue to the Nigerian government shall be adjusted under the PSC.

In 2017, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu the then Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources disclosed that Nigeria had lost approximately $21 billion due to its failure to implement the premium element governing the country’s oil and gas production sharing contracts (PSCs) as provided under the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act. Under the Act, the Nigerian government was entitled once the price of crude oil exceeded $20 per barrel to exercise rights over a “premium element”, which would have been distributed in accordance with the PSCs between the government and IOCs under an agreed formula in a manner that the Nigeria would have derived more value for its oil.

In 2013, there was a notice to oil companies that we were going to do this, but the Nigerian government did not follow through in terms of going to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) the decision making body of the executive arm of the Nigerian federal government, to get approval. Due to the inertia of the Nigerian government in not taking the required steps in the past 20 years had cost a considerable amount, thus prompting the then Minister to seek the FEC’s approval in 2017 to amend Section 15 of the Act.

Accordingly, since 2017, the federal government initiated moves to amend the Deep Offshore Act, in order to increase the government’s revenue from crude oil sales when prices exceed $20 a barrel.
The Deep Offshore and Inland Basins PSC Act enacted on March 23, 1999, with its commencement backdated to January 1, 1993 to provide the fiscal framework for foreign investments in deep offshore and inland basin acreages in the oil and gas sector.

It was also targeted at addressing the challenges confronting the joint operating agreements (JOA), which paved the way for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to become the concession holder while the international oil companies (IOCs) became the contractors.
Following the agreements entered into by NNPC with eight IOCs in 1993, the country was able to attract foreign investments running into billions of dollars to develop oil acreages located in deep waters offshore Nigeria.

Some of such oil fields include the 225,000 barrel per day (bpd) Bonga oil field operated by Shell, the 250,000bpd Agbami oil field operated by Chevron, and the 180,000bpd Usan oil field operated by Total. Others are the Total’s Egina field, which started production on 28 December 2018, Eni’s Zabazaba and Etan fields located in oil prospecting lease (OPL) 245 offshore Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Zabazaba and Etan fields are estimated to hold a combined total of 560 million barrels of oil equivalent (Mboe).
The Niger delta of Nigeria is estimated to contain 34.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 93.8 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves, is spread over an area of 300,000km². The world’s 12th biggest oil and gas resource. It lies in the Gulf of Guinea and is surrounded by the Cameroon volcanic line to the east and the Dahomey basin to the west.

The delta is estimated to contain 34.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 93.8 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves and has a sediment volume of 500,000km³ and a sediment thickness exceeding 10km in the basin depocenter. The primary source rock in the delta is the Akata formation.

On Monday 4 November 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the historic Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Amendment Bill into law.
The Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act was last The provisions of the Act stipulate that the law shall be subject to review to ensure that if the price of crude oil at any time exceeds $20 per barrel, (even when prices were in triple digits decades after!) the share of the revenue to the Nigerian government shall be adjusted under the PSC.
There is a consensus of opinions that the legislation promises to significantly increase Nigeria’s share of earnings earned from its oil wells offshore. The Act is seen a victory for the campaign for Tax Justice in the oil and gas sector.

In view of the total losses of $21 billion due to the government’s failure to exercise its rights under the Act. It is noted that it would be difficult to recoup past losses, given that oil companies that were not paying the government a premium for sales over $20 a barrel were not breaking the law. However, attempts by the government to recoup money lost cannot be completely precluded. This is viewed by the Nigerian government as a necessary step towards greater transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector as envisaged by the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). It may well also speed up the passage of the PIB and herald the unbundling of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

There are some concerns about the implications of the amended Deep Offshore and Inland basin Act, namely, that all PSC productions will now attract royalty based on combination of water depth and oil price and this will lead to some decline in investments. The amendment will end the incentive of 0% royalties from offshore production such as Agbami, Akpo, Bonga, Erha, Nigeria’s biggest producing fields.
However, the government is optimistic concerns about a decline in investments are overrated and that the amended Act will correct the revenue deficit the Nigerian government has suffered in the sector for a considerable period of time.

Big Wins! – Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Sector in Review – 2017

With crude oil prices remaining robust throughout 2017 and now reaching trading highs of $ 64-$65 per barrel, the international Oil Companies (IOCs) namely ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (the latter being slightly ahead of the former) are leading other IOCs in global operational profitability and flourishing under current global oil prices. In the...

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Big Wins! – Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Sector in Review – 2017

With crude oil prices remaining robust throughout 2017 and now reaching trading highs of $ 64-$65 per barrel, the international Oil Companies (IOCs) namely ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (the latter being slightly ahead of the former) are leading other IOCs in global operational profitability and flourishing under current global oil prices.
In the same vein, the Nigerian oil industry seeks to re-position itself, having recovered from the low crude oil price volatility in 2016 punctuated by interruptions to key production sources arising from militant activity in the Niger Delta. The Nigerian government now seeks to attract more investment in the oil & gas sector, improve production activity, currently 1.85 million barrels per day (mbpd) and ensure that the oil sector continues to perform its traditional role of supporting the Nigerian economy.

The 2018 budget was presented to the Nigerian federal legislature on 7 November 2017. The budget proposal presented by the Minister of Budget and National Planning Mr. Udoma Udo Udoma provides that the government plans to fund the budget with N6.6 trillion (approx. $ 18.3 billion) in revenues from various sources particularly the oil and gas sector amongst which signature bonuses (funds paid by oil companies to the Federal Government upon their successful bid for oil blocks in the oil sector) will contribute 1.7% amounting to N112 billion (approx. $ 311m). Such signature bonuses arise from the planned marginal field bid round, in respect of which guidelines were released in September 2017. With 46 acreages on offer. No specific date has yet been fixed for this bid round and it is hoped that a process which has suffered several setbacks in recent years will finally be concluded in late 2017 or early 2018. The outcome of this bid round shall be an important litmus test of the current indigenous appetite for investment in the upstream oil and gas sector.

Further encouraging signs have come from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The NNPC has stated, in endorsement of the 2018 budgetary projection, that the 2018 crude oil national production projection (for Joint Ventures, Modified Carry Arrangement or External Financing, Production Sharing Contracts, Independents, Marginal Fields and Service Contracts) that about 2,298,000 barrels per day is achievable and realistic in view of the renewed security in the Niger Delta. Such projections are based on price scenarios of $35 (low), $45 (medium – the benchmark used for the 2018 budget) and $55 (high)

This outlook is reassuring given the positive global economic growth and the improved compliance with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) current production cuts for 2017, which cap Nigeria’s crude oil production (excluding condensates) to 1.8mbpd. It however remains to be seen, how much of an impact, OPEC’s production caps on Nigeria will have on Nigeria’s 2018 budget projections.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has on the back of the budgetary projections and highlighted key aspects of the roadmap policy unveiled in 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari titled ‘7 Big Wins’ in the oil and gas sector said that the government would begin the implementation of some fiscal policies to generate about $2 billion yearly in the short term and $9 billion in the long term.

The other big wins have been the delivery of zero fuel availability since 2015/2016; exiting the cash call system giving the multinational oil firms more belief in the need to invest in the country (investments which could be in excess of $ 15 billion). Examples of such investments are Agip and Shell’s Zabazaba Deepwater project and Shell’s Bonga extension project. Other big wins are the improved transparency in NNPC’s operations and deeper engagement and resultant stability in the Niger Delta region through the office of the Vice President, the Niger Delta Ministry, the security forces and the Presidency.

In 2018/2019, the government plans to rehabilitate the refineries and end or severely diminish the importation of refined petroleum products and reveal a package of fiscal policies, which will be subject to the Federal Executive Council approval and thereafter transmitted to the federal legislature for requisite legislative backing. The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources has predicted that this will expand federal government income in the short-term by over $2 billion a year and then on to over $9 billion in the long-term.

The federal legislature continues its work, commenced at the beginning of this year (2017) as regards ensure the passage into law of the entire aspects of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill PIGB (a bill for the establishment of the institutions that will govern the Nigerian oil and gas sector). It is widely understood that the PIGB will need the strong support of the executive arm of the federal government to make it functional for the long-term stability of the oil industry.

To Appeal or Not to Appeal: That is the question

Appealability of National Industrial Court decisions on civil matters: the case of Skye bank Plc v. Victor Anaemem Iwu Before the recent Supreme Court decision in Skye Bank Plc v. Victor Anaemem Iwu (2017) 16 NWLR (Pt. 24) 1, the issue of whether the decision of the National Industrial Court (NIC) on civil matters outside...

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To Appeal or Not to Appeal: That is the question

Appealability of National Industrial Court decisions on civil matters: the case of Skye bank Plc v. Victor Anaemem Iwu

Before the recent Supreme Court decision in Skye Bank Plc v. Victor Anaemem Iwu (2017) 16 NWLR (Pt. 24) 1, the issue of whether the decision of the National Industrial Court (NIC) on civil matters outside fundamental rights was appealable or not was sharply divided between two divergent decisions of the Court of Appeal. The two Divisions of the Court of Appeal interpreted the provisions of Sections 240, 241, 242, 243(2)- (4); 254C(5) and 254C(6) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

The Ekiti Division of the Court of Appeal in four judgments: Local Government Service Commission, Ekiti State & Anor. v. Jegede (2013) LPELR – 21131 (CA); Local Government Service Commission, Ekiti State & Anor. v. Bamisaye (2013) LPELR – 20407(CA); Local Government Service Commission, Ekiti State & Anor. v. Olamiju (2-013) LPELR- 20409 (CA) and Local Government Service Commission, Ekiti State & Anor. v. Asubiojo (20130 LPELR – 20403 (CA), held that the decision of the NIC are appealable while the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal in Coca-Cola Nigeria Ltd v. Akinsanya (2013) 18 NWLR (1386) 225 and Lagos Sheraton Hotel & Towers v. HPSSA (2014) 14 NWLR (Pt. 1426) 45, held that the decisions of the NIC are not appealable, other than decisions on fundamental rights and criminal matters.

The Appellant in Skye Bank Plc v. Victor Anaemem Iwu (supra) at the Court of Appeal faced the quagmire that the panel of Justices constituted to hear the appeal may concur with either the views of the Lagos Division or the Ekiti Division of the Court of Appeal and still leaves the issue not fully settled. It was therefore apposite and commendable that Appellant’s counsel filed an application seeking the Court of Appeal to state a case on the appealability or otherwise of the judgment of the NIC to the Supreme Court in view of the constitutional issues and substantial points of law involved.

The Court of Appeal granted the application and formulated three issues for determination by the Supreme Court namely:

The Court of Appeal granted the application and formulated three issues for determination by the Supreme Court namely:

“(1) Whether the Court of Appeal as an appellate court created by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) has the jurisdiction to the exclusion of any other court of law in Nigeria to hear and determine all appeals arising from the decisions of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria?

(2) Whether there exists any constitutional provision which expressly divested the Court of Appeal of its appellate jurisdiction over all decisions on civil matters emanating from the National Industrial Court of Nigeria?

(3) Whether the Court of Appeal’s jurisdiction to hear civil appeals from the decisions of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria is limited to only questions of Fundamental rights.

The Supreme Court in a full panel of seven Justices out of which only one Justice gave a dissenting judgment, and after considering all the relevant laws including the organic law and the Third Alteration to the Constitution 2010, the Court of Appeal Act and Rules s establishing the Court of Appeal and the National Industrial Court as well as the various decided cases, led to rest the divergent views that held sway prior to 30 June 2017. The Supreme Court in an illuminating judgment held as follows:

“In all, then, on a holistic interpretation of sections 240 and 243(1) of the 1999, appeals lie from the National Industrial Court to the Court of Appeal, that is, all decisions of the trial court are appealable to the Court of Appeal: as of right in criminal cases – Section 254C (5) and (6) and fundamental rights cases –section 243(2); and with the leave of the Court of Appeal, in all other civil matters where the National Industrial Court has exercised its jurisdiction, section 240 read conjunctively with section 243(1) and (4).

The apex court therefore answered the questions posed above as follows:

(a) The Court of Appeal has the jurisdiction, to the exclusion of any other court in Nigeria, to hear and determine all appeals arising from the decisions of the National Industrial Court;
(b) no constitutional provisions, expressly, divested the said Court of Appeal of its appellate jurisdiction over all decisions on civil matters emanating from the National Industrial Court, and
(c) as a corollary, the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal to hear and determine civil appeals from the decision of the National Industrial Court is not limited, only to fundamental rights matters.”

We opine that the above decision of the Supreme Court has removed all barriers and assumptions that shrouded the issue of whether the judgment of the National Industrial Court is appealable or not and has stated in unequivocal terms that the decisions of the National Industrial Court on civil matters apart from fundamental rights are appealable but only with the leave of the Court of Appeal.

Review of Government Policy- Anti- Corruption and Financial Cases: Curbing inordinate delays and lawyers’ dilatoriness

President Muhammadu Buhari in his electioneering campaigns promised to stamp out graft in Nigeria and to this end, will set up special courts to speed up the trial of corruption cases. The President then sought the co-operation of the Judiciary in his administration’s fight against corruption and financial crimes in Nigeria.To redeem the battered image...

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Review of Government Policy- Anti- Corruption and Financial Cases: Curbing inordinate delays and lawyers’ dilatoriness

President Muhammadu Buhari in his electioneering campaigns promised to stamp out graft in Nigeria and to this end, will set up special courts to speed up the trial of corruption cases. The President then sought the co-operation of the Judiciary in his administration’s fight against corruption and financial crimes in Nigeria.To redeem the battered image of the judiciary before the Nigerian public, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, GCON in his speech at the Special Session of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to mark the commencement of the 2017/2018 Legal Year, emphasised the need to avoid all forms of dilatoriness by lawyers in prosecution of corruption and financial crimes cases and/or determination by the Court.

Consequently, on 27 September 2017, the CJN directed the Heads of Courts in Nigeria to set up Special Courts to speedily hear and determine corruption and financial crimes cases and forward the comprehensive list to the Nigerian Judicial Council. The Heads of Courts are to designate one or two courts in their jurisdiction as Special Courts for the hearing and speedy determination of corruption and financial crimes cases and pegged the number of legal appearances for each party to five.

The CJN also announced major reforms in the criminal justice system to effectively monitor and enforce the new policy. The National Judicial Council (NJC) approved the setting up of an Anti-Corruption Cases Trial Monitoring Committee with the mandate to among other things ensure that “both Trial and Appellate Courts handling corruption and financial crime cases key into and abide by the renewed efforts at ridding our Country of the canker worm.” The CJN also directed all heads of courts to clamp down on lawyers who deploy delay tactics in criminal matters before them.

The Committee is made up of 16 members and chaired by Hon. Justice Suleiman Galadima, CFR, a retired justice of the Supreme Court. Other members of the Committee include:

1. Hon. Justice Kashim Zannah (OFR), Chief Judge, Borno State
2. Hon. Justice P.O. Nnadi, Chief Judge, Imo State
3. Hon. Justice Marshal Umukoro, Chief Judge Delta State
4. Hon. Justice M. L. Abimbola, Chief Judge, Oyo State
5. Mr. A.B Mahmoud OON, SAN, President, Nigerian Bar Association,
6. Chief Wole Olanipekun OFR SAN, Former NBA President
7. Mr. Olisa Agbakoba OON SAN, Former NBA President
8. Mr. J.B Daudu SAN, Former NBA President
9. Mr. Augustine Alegeh SAN, Former NBA President
10. Dr. Garba Tetengi SAN, Member, NJC
11. Mrs. R.I Inga, Member, NJC
12. Mrs. Hajara Yusuf Representative, Ministry of Justice
13. Alhaji Kabiru Alkali Mohammed, mni Representative, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).
14 Olanrewaju Suraju Representative, Non-Governmental Organisations
15 Ahmed Gambo Saleh, Esq., Secretary, NJC – Secretary.

The Terms of Reference of the Committee include:

i). To monitor and regularly evaluate the progress and activities of courts designated to try corruption a financial/economic crime cases;
ii). Advise on Practice Directions for approval by the Chief Justice of Nigeria to be applicable in all such courts across the country with a view to eliminating procedural and administrative bottlenecks militating against speedy disposal of such cases;
iii). Advise on the trainings, re-trainings and other refresher programmes for Judges and staff of the designated courts aimed at enhancing their capacities to function effectively;
iv) Come up with an effective feedback mechanism from Heads of Courts to the Council on the activities and progress of cases before designated courts;

We hope that this Committee will swing into action and bring to bear the necessary expeditiousness, such that corruption and financial crimes cases and indeed all cases in court will be heard and determined expeditiously. This will in no small measure redeem the tarnished image and independence of some of our courts.

Unshackling the Power Sector- New Eligible Customer Regulations 2017

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Monday 6 November 2017 released the newly-approved eligible customers’ regulations and outlined the terms that would guide the direct purchase of electricity by end-users from power generation companies. In May 2017, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, declared that eligible power consumers would be free...

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Unshackling the Power Sector- New Eligible Customer Regulations 2017

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Monday 6 November 2017 released the newly-approved eligible customers’ regulations and outlined the terms that would guide the direct purchase of electricity by end-users from power generation companies.

In May 2017, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, declared that eligible power consumers would be free to purchase electricity directly from the Generation Companies (GenCos).
These regulations have been opposed by the Distribution Companies (DisCos) however, NERC on Monday 6 November 2017 presented the approved terms to the Honourable Minister in Abuja, and announced that the 11 electricity distribution companies had been designated as suppliers of last resort in the trading framework of the new regulations.

OPEC has sought to address this situation with output cuts but experts predict that this will not be enough. Last week OPEC and its allies agreed to deeper output cuts in a bid to save declining oil prices. Following the deal, Nigeria’s Minister for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, announced that the country will now be producing 1.412 million barrels per day, as against 1.829 million barrels per day. With this volume, if crude oil is sold at an average price of $25 bpd in April, then the country would be earning N13.41 billion per day as against the N17.29 billion that was earned prior to the cut.
The International Energy Agency’s projection is that global oil demand in April will be 29 million b/d lower than a year ago; down to a level last seen 25 years back (1995). This demonstrates that cuts in output by producers may not fully offset the near-term falls facing the market.

The NERC explained that the regulations were a product of extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders in Lagos, Kano, Yola, Jos, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Abuja. The objective of the regulations was to permit high end-customers the freedom to purchase power directly from the GenCos and as a result, the DisCos may eventually lose a good number of their high demand customers and become standby suppliers of electricity to eligible customers, where such consumers’ contract suppliers fail to meet up with the required supply.

Time will tell the effects that these regulations will have on the industry. What is clear is that the new regulations will break the monopoly DisCos currently have on distribution of Power and this will inevitably create more competition and drive prices down.

Brightening Lights in the Nigerian Power Sector: But How Much Brighter Can They Get?

The major trend witnessed in the Nigerian Energy and Utilities sector over the last 12- 18 months is increased government intervention through policy and regulation. There has been a focus on strong market regulation and a cost reflective tariff system, as evidenced in the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (“NERC”) new electricity tariff, called the Multi-Year...

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Brightening Lights in the Nigerian Power Sector: But How Much Brighter Can They Get?

The major trend witnessed in the Nigerian Energy and Utilities sector over the last 12- 18 months is increased government intervention through policy and regulation. There has been a focus on strong market regulation and a cost reflective tariff system, as evidenced in the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (“NERC”) new electricity tariff, called the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO 2015) effective from February 1, 2016. The MYTO 2015 eliminates fixed charges and prescribes a robust mechanism which ensures that electricity distribution companies fully meter their consumers and eliminate baseless billing within one year.

Improvements in the performance of the Nigerian power sector in the past 2 years have dramatically increased power delivery by 35% and have bought breathing space for major reforms required to attract the investment needed to transform Nigeria’s power sector. Nigerian national power supply has reached new peaks with a daily average of 4,000 MW being achieved with a significant decrease in major blackouts. The improved service delivery in power has produced savings to Nigeria estimated by industry and infrastructure experts as worth over $1.2bn in a full year.

Nevertheless, the 4,000MW now being generated for Nigeria’s population of 180 million is grossly inadequate. In contrast, Brazil generates 100,000MW of grid-based power for 201 million and South Africa generates 40,000MW for 50 million.

Annual public sector investment averaging US$2bn between 2006-2009 leading to only moderate increases in power supply resulted in the Nigerian Government taking the logical decision to privatise the bulk of its power. This culminated in the execution of Share Sale Agreements and Concession Agreements, signifying the hand-over of power sector assets to 14 Preferred Bidders for 15 of the 17 Companies created out of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria on 21 February, 2013.

The current benefits are the outcome of the establishment in 2010 by the Nigerian government of a Power Programme Support Unit (PPSU) in collaboration with and management by the DFID-funded Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF), which is managed by Adam Smith International. The PPSU’s mandate was the rehabilitation of under-performing assets, adding more generating and transmission capacity to the grid, as well as stabilising the network by reducing the alarming number of system collapses. This resulted in the development of a comprehensive rehabilitation plan, with over 10,000 lines of activity, involving repairs and upgrades on plant and equipment across Nigeria, some of which had not been adequately maintained for decades.

However, with average annual per capita power consumption at only 155 kWh, Nigeria ranks amongst the lowest in the world. In contrast to its status as a leading global oil producer. Nigeria’s per capita electricity consumption is 7% of Brazil’s and 3% of South Africa’s. At the same time, at least 50% of Nigerian households have no connection whatsoever to the grid. Self-generation (diesel or petrol generators) in Nigeria is estimated to be 6,000MW.

According to DFID-NIAF estimates, Nigerians and the Nigerian economy pay unduly for the power gap in demand and supply. The poor currently pay more than N80 ($0.38)/kWh burning candles and kerosene, whereas manufacturers pay in excess of N60 ($0.28)/kWh on diesel generation. Meanwhile, everyone else who can afford it pays around N50-70 ($0.24-0.33)/kWh for self-generation. By contrast, grid power, if available, costs between N18 and N23/kWh.

The absence of adequate power is the most significant barrier to economic growth in Nigeria. If the current power situation continues as is until 2020, the Nigerian government estimates that some $97 bn (US dollars) in GDP would be lost every year.

The Nigeria Mining Roadmap: Relaunching the Nigerian Mining Sector

In September 2016, the Nigerian government through its Federal Executive Council (FEC) finally adopted the 103 paged “Roadmap for the Development of the Solid Minerals Sector.” This concluded a process which commenced on March 1, 2016 when a 16 man Committee on the Roadmap for the Development of the Solid Minerals Sector was empaneled by...

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The Nigeria Mining Roadmap: Relaunching the Nigerian Mining Sector

In September 2016, the Nigerian government through its Federal Executive Council (FEC) finally adopted the 103 paged “Roadmap for the Development of the Solid Minerals Sector.” This concluded a process which commenced on March 1, 2016 when a 16 man Committee on the Roadmap for the Development of the Solid Minerals Sector was empaneled by the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi to formulate a course to stimulate the rapid growth of the sector. The Ministerial Committee concluded its deliberations on March 31 2016 and its recommendations were subjected to review by other stakeholders and equally circulated for input to all Governors of the 36 states in Nigeria including the FCT.

The 2016 Roadmap represents the latest mining sector initiative, since the 2012 Roadmap and the passage of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (2007) and Nigerian Mineral and Metals Policy (2008), which amongst other things, created a modern Mining Cadastral Office, refined the tax code and expanded the airborne mapping of the country to sharpen knowledge of the mineral endowments.

The 2016 Roadmap is based on the identification of the current status and hindrances to the development of the mineral resources of Nigeria and proposes solutions to overcome such barriers. It prioritises activities for implementation and provides the time frame for all activities. It creates scenarios and models for successful implementation and monitoring of activities, while also developing a consensus strategy for the buy-in of all stakeholders.

The 2016 Roadmap by providing policy certainty, addresses several sector challenges, which are of major concern to industry participants, stakeholders, institutions and other enablers in the sector, It address challenges such as infrastructure, governance, fiscal incentives and geoscience, particularly the weak mechanisms for gathering, disseminating and archiving critical geological data required by investors and policy makers.

The 2016 Roadmap recommends a set of 8 critical levers for success that the government can put in place to improve the ecosystem for the minerals and mining sector were recommended. These are: i) Integrated Strategy, Proactively Communicated ii) Investor Friendly Regulatory Environment iii) Coordinated Infrastructure Investments iv) Community Partnership v) Investment Funding vi) Institutional Reform: vii) Geoscientific Value Add viii) Mining as Development Catalyst.

The Committee also reviewed how other countries such as Guinea Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Cameroon have used similar levers to improve the competitiveness of their mining sector. It therefore incorporated into the 2016 Roadmap, competitive investor incentives in Nigeria when compared with several other major mining countries, in Africa including a more favourable tax regime and royalties.

A major distinguishing feature between the 2016 Roadmap and its predecessor, the 2012 Roadmap, is the determination of the government to set up an independent regulatory agency, different from the ministry, which has been serving mainly as a facilitator for the mining industry. To date, the Ministry has doubled as both facilitor for business opportunities in the industry and regulator, giving rise to conflicts of regulatory functions.

The new regulatory agency is to be made up of the Inspectorate and Environmental Compliance departments of the ministry. The Artisans and Small Scale units of the ministry would also form part of the regulatory agency.

The 2016 Roadmap also emphasises partnership between the Federal and State governments together with the overlapping of functions between the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the various state Ministries for Mines.

A copy of the Roadmap is available via the following link: http://www.minesandsteel.gov.ng/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Nigeria_Mining_Growth_Roadmap_Final.pdf

Nigerian Infrastructure: The Chinese Are Coming!

In the wake of Nigeria’s economic recession and the need to provide energy and infrastructure for its teeming population, the Nigerian Government has decided to look past its traditional Western trading partners and look East, more specifically China for trade and investment. This also coincides with China’s commitment to establish a strong trade and economic...

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Nigerian Infrastructure: The Chinese Are Coming!

In the wake of Nigeria’s economic recession and the need to provide energy and infrastructure for its teeming population, the Nigerian Government has decided to look past its traditional Western trading partners and look East, more specifically China for trade and investment. This also coincides with China’s commitment to establish a strong trade and economic presence in Africa and invest heavily in the continent.

Nigeria is reported to require US$166 billion to provide energy and infrastructure for its growing population. According to the African Development Bank, Nigeria has an infrastructure deficit of US$300 billion. In fact, overall infrastructure spending (and in turn demand for financing) in Nigeria is expected to grow from US$23 billion in 2013 to US$77 billion in 2025.

With this is view, and the reluctance of Nigeria to increase its’ debt profile to Western Institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, economic, technical, trade and investment partnerships with other economic giants like China have become imperative. Infrastructure funding from China is hoped will bridge the funding gap (caused by dwindling oil prices and dollar scarcity) and support businesses which now need competitive, cheaper and longer term financing to fund infrastructure and other related projects in Nigeria.

Chinese Infrastructure Investments

Nigeria has secured a US$6 billion loan commitment from China to fund infrastructure projects in Nigeria. The Nigerian government can access this credit facility by identifying and putting forward the relevant projects to the Chinese presumably through a series of tranches in respect of each identified project.

Furthermore, it was reported in April this year that Nigeria and China have entered a currency swap deal. The swap deal is designed to facilitate the settlement of Nigeria-China trade by removing the dollar from transactions and trading instead in yuan, whilst also boosting imports from China, whose exports represent some 80 per cent of the total bilateral trade volume. This deal will also enable Nigeria to diversify its foreign reserves It is hoped that this in turn should reduce the demand for dollars on the Central Bank of Nigeria and improve the value of the Naira.

There have also been various agreements on infrastructure agreements between Nigeria and China. They include:

a. North South Power Company Limited and Sino Hydro Corporation Limited (“SCL”) signing an agreement valued at US$478 million dollars for the construction of a 300MW solar power in Niger State;

b. Granite and Marble Nigeria Limited and Shanghai Shibang signing an agreement valued at US$55 million for the construction and equipping of a granite mining plant;

c. Infrastructure Bank of Nigeria and SCL signing an agreement for the construction of a greenfield expressway for Abuja-Ibadan-Lagos valued at US$1 billion;

d. the signing of a US$2.5 billion agreement for the development of the Lagos Metro Rail Transit Red Line project in Lagos State;

e. the signing of a US$1 billion facility for the establishment of a hi-tech industrial park in Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone in Ogun State.

There are also significant investments in the energy sector as well. In June 2016, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) arranged a road show in China to source for investments in the Oil and Gas sector resulting in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between NNPC and several Chinese counterparties worth approximately US$80 billion.

Chinese Infrastructure Investment is being driven by “cheaper financing models”. The Chinese through their financial institutions such as the ICBC export credit agencies (like China Exim Bank) and development finance institutions like China Development Bank and China-Africa Development Fund part finance these specified infrastructural projects on the condition that the contractor services are Chinese (mostly state-owned companies). The contract binding the Chinese Contractor and the borrower government is the Engineering, Procurement and Construction Contract (EPC Contract). These loans like most other external loans are guaranteed by a Sovereign Guarantee provided by the Nigerian Ministry of Finance and security is taken, where applicable, over the commodity offtake arrangements.

The implication of this arrangement is that the Nigerian government is bound to execute the contract to which the loan was obtained for. This will go a long way to curb “white elephant” projects and corruption which has long plagued Nigeria. However, the Chinese government benefits massively as Chinese labour, machinery and expertise is exported to other developing countries thereby improving their Gross Domestic Product(GDP).

The Nigerian Economy: 2016 Third Quarter Year Review – Budget and Currency Exchange Rates

The 2016 Nigerian budget’s expectation of earnings of N820 Billion ($4 Billion) from oil exports in 2016 was based on a production assumption of 2.2 million b/d and a benchmark price of $38/barrel. The N 6.07 trillion ($30.1 Billion) budget proposal for 2016 was predicated on the said benchmark, at the then prevailing official currency...

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The Nigerian Economy: 2016 Third Quarter Year Review – Budget and Currency Exchange Rates

The 2016 Nigerian budget’s expectation of earnings of N820 Billion ($4 Billion) from oil exports in 2016 was based on a production assumption of 2.2 million b/d and a benchmark price of $38/barrel. The N 6.07 trillion ($30.1 Billion) budget proposal for 2016 was predicated on the said benchmark, at the then prevailing official currency exchange rate of N197 – $ 1.

Global prices of crude oil have risen to circa $ 50/barrel from an all-time low in January 2016 of $ 27.10/barrel for Brent crude (the bench mark price for Nigerian crude) and well above budgetary benchmark of $ 38/barrel and thus potentially increasing revenue from oil exports, well above the aforesaid budgetary estimate.

However, the inability of crude oil production to meet daily production targets for prolonged periods in 2016, due to shut downs arising from pipeline vandalism and sabotage of oil infrastructure through militant activities has resulted in an extreme drop in oil revenue earnings. In consequence of this, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) decided to review its longstanding fixed exchange rate regime in order to reduce the severe pressures on Nigeria’s external reserves, alleviate the foreign exchange supply crisis and address the considerable gap between the official and the unofficial (real market) exchange rate.

The CBN on May 24 2016 announced a flexible exchange rate regime aimed at making foreign currencies more accessible. With this action, the CBN nullified the official exchange rate regime of N197/dollar. By this development, the interbank foreign exchange market, which had been dormant for some time, was revitalised on an unrestricted exchange rate basis, while the Bureaux de Change, (BDC), would continue their operations, thus creating multiple exchange windows. Although the CBN would not permit the BDCs to purchase dollars from the interbank market. The markets opened in June 2016 with the flexible official rate at $1 – N280 and the unofficial rate at $1 – N340.

The technical details of the new system are as follows:
A. Market moving to single market through inter-bank via a Reuters / FMDQ order matching system with 10 primary dealers (two-way quote mechanism) and other secondary dealers.

 

NB. FMDQ -The Financial Markets Dealers Association, an association of the treasurers of banks and discount houses in Nigeria, commenced the project to create a self-regulatory organisation (SRO) in 2009 with the primary purpose of deepening the inter-bank OTC market trading in various securities and products. Thereafter the association promoted the formation of FMDQ OTC PLC. The company was licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, as a self- regulatory organisation, SRO, to organise and provide oversight on the Over-the-Counter, OTC, market in the Nigerian capital market in November 2012)

Primary dealers (authorised dealers i.e. the licensed banks) to operate the inter-bank market. CBN may intervene from time to time.

B. Primary dealers (authorised dealers i.e. the licensed banks) to operate the inter-bank market. CBN may intervene from time to time.

C. Proceeds of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) shall be purchased by authorised dealers at the daily inter-bank rates.

D. Non-oil exporters are allowed unfettered access to export proceeds via the interbank rates

E. 41 items formerly constrained by CBN will still not be eligible for trade on interbank

F. To enhance liquidity, CBN may offer long dated 6 – 12 months’ forwards to authorised dealers. Forwards must be traded backed with no authorised spreads

 

G. A new product was introduced, namely the authorised NGN futures on the FMDQ OTC – which will allow non-standardised amounts, no fixed dates or tenors allowing businesses to hedge. Futures will be NGN settled.

It was expected that this would result in a drop and eventually herald the demise of the unofficial (real market) rate as anyone and everyone would be able to buy dollars at any bank or with authorised dealers at a market determined price.

Some volatility was anticipated but It was anticipated that over time, investors and businesses who were reluctant to import dollars into Nigeria would be encouraged to bring in their forex at a price they believe is market determined. That this would enhance liquidity over time.

The volatility did however exceed expectations as the rates fell sharply in the wake of the announcement between June – September 2016. There remains an appreciable gap between the official and the floating (official) rates and the unofficial rates. This has been a major concern for Nigerians and foreign investors alike and confidence in the Naira has been severely dented with the official flexible rate falling sharply to its currently prevailing rate at $1 – N315.25 and the unofficial rate at $1 – N468 on 14/10/2016.

However, it must be said that in many countries where a full float was launched, the value of the home country’s currency did plummet woefully before it found its level. However, the rates between the inter-bank market and the parallel market did narrow and although, this has not yet happened appreciably in Nigeria, economic experts expect that it will also replicate in Nigeria.

The CBN Governor has not dwelt on the controls currently in place such as limits to withdrawals of dollars from your bank domiciliary accounts or spending limits when abroad. However, it is expected that the severe limits will be removed in due time as the market becomes more liquid.

Nigerian Port Concessioning, 10 years of Port Reforms

In 2016, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) took stock of the 10th anniversary of Port reforms in Nigeria amid assurances by the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, that a comprehensive audit of the concessionaires’ operations would soon be carried out to know whether to review their agreement with NPA, especially those whose tenure expires...

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Nigerian Port Concessioning, 10 years of Port Reforms

In 2016, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) took stock of the 10th anniversary of Port reforms in Nigeria amid assurances by the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, that a comprehensive audit of the concessionaires’ operations would soon be carried out to know whether to review their agreement with NPA, especially those whose tenure expires this year.

The Nigerian economy accounts for about 70% of all seaborne trade in the West African sub-region and yet, the system of seaports, established in 1921, had not undergone any systematic process of re-development until the concession programme of port reforms, which commenced in 2000 and was concluded in 2006.

The concessioning programme with concession terms ranging from 10-25 years brought into existence the current system of private port operators in Nigeria, namely Lagos Port with 7 concessionaires, Lagos Tin Can Island Port with 4 concessionaires, Rivers Port (Port Harcourt) with 2 concessionaires, Delta Port Complex with 5 concessionaires, Onne Ports (Federal Lighter Terminal & Federal Ocean Terminal) with 4 concessionaires, Calabar Port with 3 concessionaires.

The concession system has resulted in compliance with international standards, particularly the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code). Security compliance bench-marking to international regulations and elimination of a multiplicity of poorly coordinated federal law enforcement and security operatives, has also served to curb the incursions of unauthorised personnel within the port; along with the several vices long associated with the Nigerian ports, namely, pilferage, bribery and unscrupulous labour and stevedoring practices (including excessive charging). Additionally, plant and equipment inefficiencies and inadequacies have been minimized.

Significant gains have been made as a result of the concessioning such as: shortened turn-around time for ships; significant reduction of costs, seaport congestion, demurrage, overtime cargo and complaints of untraceable or missing cargoes; the rehabilitation/replacement of cargo-handling plants and equipment owned by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) which were hitherto mostly unserviceable.

Nevertheless, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing, with concessionaires, who spoke under the aegis of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) in commemoration of 8 years of port reforms in 2014, cited ills affecting the effective and efficient running of the nation’s seaports to include inadequate power supply and incessant removal of management of government agencies. Others are arbitrary arrest of vessels at berth and attendant consequences, friction among maritime statutory agencies due to overlapping functions and lack of national carrier capacity for the United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 40:40:20 liner code.

STOAN have also recently cited, further challenges in need of attention, namely, inadequate provision of pilotage facilities, which reduces berth occupancy and utility rate; irregular sweeping of the Harbour bed, thus reducing draft and endangering vessels berthing; insecurity of vessels at the anchorage and water front of the Harbours and inconsistent cargo reception and release processes in the terminal together with associated delays.

Infrastructure Investment and the Diversification of the Nigerian Economy in 2016

Firm announced as Legal Advisors to Rendeavour Lagos Project F.O. Akinrele & Co has been appointed by Rendeavour, Africa’s leading urban developer, to provide comprehensive legal structuring and infrastructure advice to the Rendeavour Lagos Project. The Rendeavour Lagos Project is a major infrastructural undertaking in Lagos State and falling within a core practice area of...

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Infrastructure Investment and the Diversification of the Nigerian Economy in 2016

Firm announced as Legal Advisors to Rendeavour Lagos Project

F.O. Akinrele & Co has been appointed by Rendeavour, Africa’s leading urban developer, to provide comprehensive legal structuring and infrastructure advice to the Rendeavour Lagos Project.

The Rendeavour Lagos Project is a major infrastructural undertaking in Lagos State and falling within a core practice area of the firm. The Rendeavour Lagos Project involves a landmark mixed use land development scheme on 200 hectares of land in the north-west quadrant of the Lekki Free Trade Zone (“LFTZ”) in Lagos State, Nigeria. This is being executed via a Public-Private Partnership (“PPP”) joint venture with the Lagos State Government (“LASG”).

F.O. Akinrele & Co’s advisory work is multifaceted and includes negotiation of land rights and title; generation and evaluation of interrelated project documentation and regulation, structuring of investment vehicles including special purpose vehicles (SPVs), joint ventures (JVs) and public private partnerships (PPPs).

The Nigerian Petroleum Sector 2016 Third Quarter Year Review

In our 2016 third quarter year review, we examine specific challenges confronting the Nigerian oil and gas sector as it continues to be affected by global externalities in 2016. This year, the Nigerian petroleum sector continued to confront the downturn in global crude oil prices since the third quarter of 2014. The resultant slowdown in...

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The Nigerian Petroleum Sector 2016 Third Quarter Year Review

In our 2016 third quarter year review, we examine specific challenges confronting the Nigerian oil and gas sector as it continues to be affected by global externalities in 2016.

This year, the Nigerian petroleum sector continued to confront the downturn in global crude oil prices since the third quarter of 2014. The resultant slowdown in upstream exploration funding and investment is currently having an impact on oil well exploration and developmental programs. Equally, the power sector has had to confront interrelated challenges mostly emanating from supply shortages and gas pricing, the preferred fuel for power.

As NNPC has undergone much-welcomed restructuring in 2016 and Nigeria, in its capacity as an OPEC member continues to engage with fellow OPEC members in addressing global crude oil pricing; industry experts predict that funding and investment in the Nigerian petroleum sector will be positively influenced in the medium to long term if also accompanied by regulatory certainty and reform.

However, the short-term key existential and overriding challenge is militant activity. Since February 2016, midstream infrastructure facilities have come under incessant attack and vandalism by the new militants in the Niger Delta, triggering force majeure on production streams, bringing Nigeria’s production down to 1.2m-1.6m barrels per day for prolonged periods from the 2016 budget production estimate of 2.2m barrels per day and reducing the crude oil feed stock to local refineries.

The former government (2011-2015) had despite the news of continued pipeline vandalism, engaged in a militant amnesty programme substantially reducing the disruptions to industry facilities and enabling production to go back up to previous peaks of approximately 2.5 million barrels per day. Nevertheless, the gains of the amnesty were undermined by the revelation in 2013 that crude oil theft was costing Nigeria between 150,000-400,000 barrels per day.

The present government now seeks to re-evaluate the militant amnesty programme and address key Niger Delta security and environmental remediation issues through the establishment of a Joint (Army-Navy-Airforce) Task Force and the inauguration of the $1 billion Ogoni fund in February 2016 for the environmental restoration of Ogoni lands. The NNPC is also strengthening its collaborations with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to better protect its oil installations/pipelines in the country. In NNPC’s monthly financial and operations reports since September 2015, it has prioritised pipeline security reforms that would ensure reduction in crude oil theft as well as address the loss of other petroleum products.

To date, the NNPC continues to strive to fulfil the mission statement in its monthly report for September 2015 that “A comprehensive reform of the pipeline security situation will unlock several industry upsides, including improved upstream oil production due to reduced pipeline disruptions, improved refinery utilisation due to increased crude oil feed from restored pipelines, and reduction of crude/product losses”.

Joachim Okere Is Appointed Partner

Joachim Okere is appointed Partner (Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Group). He joins longstanding Partners, Mr. Adamu Usman (Partner and Head of Banking & Capital Markets and Corporate Practice Group) and Mr. OlumideAju (Partner, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Practice Group).

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Joachim Okere Is Appointed Partner

Joachim Okere is appointed Partner (Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Group). He joins longstanding Partners, Mr. Adamu Usman (Partner and Head of Banking & Capital Markets and Corporate Practice Group) and Mr. OlumideAju (Partner, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Practice Group).

Federal Government & States Over Sovereign Wealth Fund

The decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to establish a National Sovereign Wealth Fund (NSWF) has been greeted with divergent commentaries from various quarters especially from State governments as well as financial and social commentators. Already a bill for the establishment of the Nigerian National Sovereign Wealth Fund has been sent to the Legislative...

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Federal Government & States Over Sovereign Wealth Fund

The decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to establish a National Sovereign Wealth Fund (NSWF) has been greeted with divergent commentaries from various quarters especially from State governments as well as financial and social commentators.

Already a bill for the establishment of the Nigerian National Sovereign Wealth Fund has been sent to the Legislative arm of government as an executive sponsored bill while a seed capital of one billion US Dollars ($1 billion) has been proposed and set aside for the commencement of the Fund.

SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND

A Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) is an investment fund owned by a sovereign state/nation with the mandate to invest in financial assets such as stocks, bonds, precious metals, property and other financial instruments. However, the objectives might include providing liquidity stabilization funds as well as the funding of vital economic infrastructure projects within the sovereign state. The structure and scope of investments in a sovereign wealth fund generally depend on the circumstances of each nation as well as the enabling law however Sovereign wealth funds usually have long-term investment focus. The need for the SWF is that countries through the SWF diversify their revenue streams by devoting a portion of its reserves to an SWF that invests in the types of assets which act as shields against systemic risk, and in the case of Nigeria, against oil related risk.

SOURCE OF FUNDING AND LEGAL ISSUES ARISING (The Nigerian Story)

In view of the seed capital of one billion US Dollars ($1 billion) from the ‘Excess Crude Account, Governors of the 36 States of the Federation commenced an action against the Federal Government before the Supreme Court (Nigeria’s Apex court) over plans to transfer $1 billion from the “Excess Crude Account” to a new a new account to be known as the “Sovereign Wealth Fund.

A seven-man panel of the court, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, has now assumed jurisdiction of the legal dispute following a breakdown of an out-of-court mediation between the parties. Earlier on, the Federal Government had approached the court (at the commencement of the suit) praying that the parties be allowed to explore amicable resolution of the case through negotiation.

The plaintiffs in their consolidated suit, had sought preservative orders of the court restraining the Federal Government from making any withdrawals howsoever from the account styled the “Excess Crude Account” (or any account replacing same by any name howsoever) pending the hearing and determination of a substantive suit. They further urged the court to order that all sums standing to the credit of the said “Excess Crude Account”, (or any account replacing same by any name howsoever) be paid into court or be otherwise secured as the court may deem fit pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

It appears that the substance of the disagreement is not with the setting up of the fund, but with the funding from the ‘excess crude account’ which invariably will deplete their monthly allocations from the Federation accounts.
At the last sitting of the court, the case could not progress as the court was indisposed. It remains to be seen what the outcome will ultimately be.