In recent times, the management of Nigeria’s oil and gas logistics giant and port concessionaire, Intels Nigeria Limited (INL) has been tackling the country’s Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Authority (OGFZA) over refusal to renew its licence, alleging that the action of the Authority has something to do with politics of 2019.  But in this exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP, Chief Umana Okon Umana, Managing Director of the Authority charged with the responsibility to License, regulate, supervise, manage, control and co-ordinate the activities of Oil and Gas Export Free Zones in the country reveals why Intels is staging what he described as media war against OGFZA, with a view to misleading the public. He also speaks on other issues relating to Oil and Gas Export Free Zones in Nigeria. What is the OGFZA doing to break the monopoly in the oil and gas free zones by some companies? Our mandate as...
By RUTH TENE NATSA, Abuja with agency report - The Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, (NEITI) said Nigeria exported solid minerals worth 9.733 million dollars and  earned N69.2 billion from the sector in 2015. NEITI, on  its latest independent audit report of the solid minerals sector released on Sunday in Abuja said it was an increase of 24 per cent on the N55.8 billion earned from the sector in 2014. It also disclosed that the value of solid minerals exports from Nigeria in 2015 stood at 9.733 million dollars, which was 1.45 per cent of non-oil exports. It noted that lead and zinc dominated Nigeria’s solid minerals export with 79 per cent valued at 7.7 million dollars, while 175 ounces of gold valued at 122,000 dollars  were exported during the period. It said that the solid minerals sector contributed 0.12 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015, a marginal increase of...
Kayode Tokede, Lagos - The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that Naira in circulation has increased to N1.79 trillion in October 2017, a month-on-month (m-o-m) growth of 0.6 per cent. CBN in September had reported N1.78 trillion in circulation, the second lowest, after N1.76 trillion it reported in July this year. Data from the CBN on Naira in circulation was estimated at N1.86 trillion in August 2017, 5.6 per cent increase over N1.76 trillion it had reported in July. The currency in circulation, which is the physical money used for transactions between consumers and businesses, had opened 2017 at N1.99 trillion and closed in February at N1.97 trillion, both retaining highest currency in circulation. However, the apex bank’s total assets hits N22 trillion, a 2.3 per cent m-o-m increase over N21.6 trillion in prior month while total deposits rose by 4.6 per cent to N18.1 trillion from N17.3 trillion in August. The depository...
By CHIKA IZUORA, Lagos And FESTUS OKOROMADU, Abuja - Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) have executed the second and final phase of an Alternative Financing Agreement that would increase crude oil production in the country by about 39,000 barrels per day. The agreement, which was signed in London at the weekend, is also expected to achieve an incremental peak production of about 283mmscfd of gas. Group managing director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, who signed on behalf of his Corporation, said the increment to be achieved by the agreement would spread “over the remaining life of the asset (until 2045).” According to him, the project, which is about 92% completed, will cost about $1.7bn, with $780mn expected to be funded by third-party, while it will produce natural gas liquids and condensate extracted from the Sonam and Okan fields located in OML 90 and 91 in the Niger...

DBN To Expand Opportunities For MSMEs

BY BAYO AMODU, Abuja - As part of efforts to expand the opportunities available to operators in the Small and Medium enterprises sector, the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) will soon sign on Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and more Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) before the end of the year. Disclosing this while receiving a delegation of the KFW Development Bank of Germany, in Abuja, at the weekend, the managing director, DBN, Mr. Tony Okpanachi, said discussions with some DMBs and more MFIs had advanced stage and would culminate in signing deals with them. He also said the bank is currently in discussion with several of them and that before the end of the year, it will sign on more Micro Finance Institutions and some commercial banks. He also said his team undertook a study tour to Germany in order to take advantage of the long experience of KFW which in order to run...
YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos - There are strong indications that additional 11 companies operating at the Onne Free Trade Zone, has decided to voluntarily wind down their operations in the free zones, LEADERSHIP has learnt. This is coming against the backdrop of the withdrawal of 2017 operational license of oil/gas logistics firm, Intels Nigeria Limited  and voluntary winding down of five of its other subsidiaries. The five subsidiaries that voluntarily wound down included, PRODECO International Ltd, West Africa Machinery Services Ltd, Net Global System International Ltd., MGM Logistics Solutions Ltd and ORLEAN Investment Ltd. According to investigation, the decision of the companies to pull out of the free zone was because their investment is tied to operation of Intels. Speaking to LEADERSHIP over the weekend, a source in one of the companies set to quit argued that most of the companies’ operation in the free zone is centred on Intels. The source said, “Most of the...
BY FRANCIS OKOYE, Maiduguri - Despite its ability to produce four million tonnes of rice and cultivation of one million hectares in a year, the road to Zabarmari Community in Jere local government area of Borno State has remained a shadow of itself. According to the indigenes who are mostly rice farmers, apart from poor road network and absence of other basic amenities begging for government’s attention, the community with the population of over 300, 000 settlers also want government to assist the rice farmers with modern farm tools. Government’s intervention through the rehabilitation of the road linking Zabarmari to Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno State, as well as loans to the farmers , the indigenes said will increase production of rice that can feed the north east and by extension , Nigerians. Speaking yesterday in Maiduguri, the chairman Zabarmari Rice Processing and Farmers Association, and an indigene of Zabarmari, Hassan Mohammed,...
By Kayode Tokede, Lagos - Some company chiefs are jail bound for default in payment of Information Technology (IT) tax as the authorities prepare for a clampdown on defaulters. IT tax which was instituted by the National Information Technology Agency Act (NITDA) 2007, stipulates that specified companies are to contribute one per cent of their Profit Before Tax (PBT) to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). The Act prescribed between one and three years jail term for defaulters whether in the financial sectors and telecommunications sectors, or any other company that uses IT to operate. The pool of IT tax fund, the Act stipulates, will facilitate the creation of   Technology centres across the country which will create jobs for the teeming population of IT savvy youths, fight cyber security and drive digital inclusion. But a very reliable source at NITDA told LEADERSHIP, on ground of anonymity, that top companies operating in the country...

UAE Opens New Visa Centers In Abuja

By Blessing Bature, Abuja - The United Arab Emirate has opened a new visa centers in Abuja to fastract good services for Nigerians who wishes to travel to united Arab Emirate. The Director UAE Visa Service Center, Abuja, Al-Ali Osama Abdalla said. This initiative will bring a more efficient visa issuing procedures that aims at facilitating the process for foreign applicants who desire to explore in the areas of education, tourism, trade and investments thereby strengthening the bilateral relationship with the two countries." The process was embedded with a pioneering practice known as " Exporting the border " in which the applicants can complete the whole visa issuance process in their home country using the e- border system. Also speaking, the Assistant Undersecretary for Consular Affairs,Amb. Ahmed Alham Al Dhaheri "affirmed the fact that the opening of the visa centre in Abuja will contribute to the development of bilateral relations between the UAE and the...

NNPC To Invest Ethanol Production

By YAHYA SARKI, Kebbi - The Nigerian National Petroluem Company, NNPC, has concluded plans to invest in the production of ethanol, an organic compound used as automobile fuel, in Kebbi State. An official from the NNPC, Mr.Talson Begen, who lead a delegation to the state stated this to journalist shortly after meeting the Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu on the project at the Government House in Birnin Kebbi . He said that the visit to Kebbi State was the second one and has afforded them to visit sugar cane producing areas in the state such as Kola, Raha, Zuru and Bagudo with a view to engaging with farmers on the project. “We have chris-crossed the state to engage farmers in Kola, Raha, Zuru and Bagudo on the project.” According to him, the project which has the capacity of creating 1 million new jobs in Kebbi is a venture that will...