Oil Rises To Approximately $56

BY FESTUS OKOROMADU, Abuja - Oil markets were firm on Monday and remained near multi-month highs reached late last week as the number of U.S. rigs drilling for new production fell and refineries continued to start up after getting knocked out by Hurricane Harvey. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at 50.0 dollars per barrel at 0547 GMT, and close to the more than three-month high of 50.50 dollars reached last Thursday. Brent crude futures, benchmark for oil prices outside the United States, were at 55.71 dollars  a barrel, up 9 cents and not far from the almost five- month high of 55.99 dollars touched on Thursday. Brent was 56 dollars on Wednesday. “Demand forecasts from OPEC and IEA… continued to improve sentiment in the market. Refineries are also reporting a much better recovery from the recent hurricanes,” ANZ bank said on Monday. Royal Dutch Shell’s Deer Park refinery in Texas was...
By CHIKA IZUORA, Lagos - The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) said the current government pays about N7.5 billion in monthly pension to its retirees just as the agency commenced verification exercise of federal government pensioners in Lagos State with the view to determine actual government pension liability. Executive secretary of PTAD, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor said about 21,000 existing pensioners will be scrutinized during the two weeks exercise. While monitoring the exercise at five centres designated for the programme, she expressed satisfaction at the turn out of pensioners. Speaking at Ketu centre, Ikeazor explained that the outcome of the exercise will help determine actual pension liability of government and ensure all outstanding arrears are settled. She said the ongoing exercise which will be done across the country will help put to rest all forms of challenges including putting in proper perspective correct pensions profile of government as well as bring conformity in...

Aviation Unions Shun ULC Strike

Aviation unions affiliated to United Labour Congress (ULC), on Monday, shunned directives to shut down the Nigerian airspace as the ULC begin a nationwide strike. The unions are the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP), Aeronautical Information Services Association of Nigeria (AISAN) and the National Association of Air Traffic Engineers (NAAE). The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the unions had earlier at a meeting with the management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) dissociated themselves from the strike. NAN aviation correspondents, who monitored the situation at both the international and domestic wings of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, observed normal flight operations by airlines. As at 9.30am, over 20 local and international flights had lifted and landed at the airport signifying that the unions had not joined the strike. NAN reports that the ULC issued the strike notice following government failure to recognise the body as a labour federation despite...
By ABAH ADAH, Abuja - Stakeholders in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) have advised against any attempt at jerking up the electricity tariff as NERC holds consultations towards reviewing the Multi-Year Tariff Order 2015 which though signed in 2015, became effective from February, 2016. Speakers at the consultation being held by the  Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in Abuja yesterday expressed fear that any upward review (increment) of electricity  tariff may lead to a worse economic crisis now that the country has just managed to wriggle out of recession. NERC is holding consultations with stakeholders in each of six geopolitical zones across the country to look into possibility of coming up with new regulations on MYTO methodology, Business Continuity, and Eligible Customer Declaration, today being the second and final day it is being held  in Abuja for the Northcentral, after it was first done in Lagos for the Southwest last week. According...
By FESTUS OKOROMADU, Abuja And CHIKA IZUORA, YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos - Four persons were feared dead in an inferno that rocked the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) jetty in Apapa, yesterday morning. A source at the scene said the inferno started around 3.00 am, when a petroleum-laden vessel was discharging fuels at the jetty. The source further revealed that three of the affected persons were the loading masters for Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), while the fourth persons is yet to be unidentified as at press time. “The fire, which rages for hours, has destroyed a larger portion of the jetty, but it was eventually put off with the intervention of the Nigerian Port Authority fire service and another vessel that was at berth at that time,” the source said. Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), has confirmed the incident but blamed the accident on activities of hoodlums scooping fuels...
By Bukola Idowu, And KAYODE TOKEDE, Lagos - The value of the naira remained stable yesterday following an inflow of over $1 billion into the foreign exchange market through the  Nigeria Autonomous Foreign Exchange market (NAFEX) also known as the Investors and Exporters window as well as interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria last week. The naira which had weakened to N369 to the dollar last week sold at N368 yesterday while it firmed at the I&E window to N359.06 following an inflow of $131.84 million on Monday. Over $1 billion had been injected into the market last week through the I&E window and CBN interventions. This is asides the dollars that the apex bank sells to bureau de change operators twice a week to aid liquidity in the market. While the CBN had sold N250 million to small and medium enterprises as well as to customers requiring forex for business/personal travel...
By Adebayo Waheed, Ibadan And Mbakaan Kwen,  Abuja - The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, yesterday, declared that Nigeria will finally get out of recession in 2020. The minister, while speaking during a Strategic Retreat organised by the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan at the Training and Conference Centre, Ogere, Ogun State, said it was not yet uhuru for Nigerians as  far as the much-talked-about issue of the country exiting recession as recently certified by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) was concerned. According to him, the report by NBS is only a challenge for Nigerians to work harder so that the country can achieve the seven percent growth rate desirable for total economic breakthrough by the year 2020. The minister enjoined Nigerians to be more steadfast and join force with the federal government  in its determination to change the national economic trajectory in...

Equities Market Sheds N46bn

By OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos - The Nigerian equities market opened the new week yesterday with a decline of N46 billion on weak investor sentiments. In summary, the All Share Index (ASI) shed 132.50 absolute points, representing a decline of 0.38 per cent to close at 34,873.07 points. Similarly, the market capitalisation shed N46 billion, to close at N12.022 trillion. The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are; Seplat, Nigerian Breweries, Presco, Wapco and Oando. The chief operating officer of InvestData Limited, Mr. Ambose Omordion said that “Technically, the market has been weak since mid-August to data as volatility and market correction continues due to profit booking by traders and investors who are indifferent to positive economic data released by NBS recently. “This is however not unexpected given that September is a month when investors, most of who are of productive age, pay school fees at...
By Kayode Tokede, Lagos - With huge percentage of the unbanked populace in the country due to religion belief, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has continued to drive financial inclusion in various ways, by reviewing its guild lines on Islamic Banking (non-interest Banking). Specifically, the CBN in August set up two new financial instruments namely, “Funding for liquidity Facility (FflF)’’ and ‘’Intra-day Facility (IDF)’’ to provide liquidity management for non-interest banks. The two new financial instruments were also designed to help foster growth in emerging Islamic finance industry. Nigeria has the largest Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa, with regulators (CBN and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)) aiming to improve on its financial inclusion programs on Islamic Banking, following a global trend. The global Islamic finance industry has been slowing down, recording single-digit growth in 2014, after three consecutive years of double-digit growth. The global Islamic financial system is projected to reach $6.5...
The managing director/chief executive officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, in this interview with KAYODE TOKEDE, spoke on what Nigerian banks are looking for in funding the agriculture and real sectors of the nation’s economy,  Nigeria’s post-recession era,  impressive half year performance of the bank, among others. Recently, the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the country is now out of recession, as a banker can you tell us some of the damages recession caused the economy? Recession simply means negative growth in an economy over a specific period of time. I am not in a position to quantify the damage but I am in a position to know that a lot of things slowed down in line with the slowing economic growth, because the banking industry is a melting point of what goes on in the economy. For instance, if my bank has a customer at Idumota in Lagos...