Nigeria Has Over 200 Years Of Gas – Omotowa

Natural GasThe Managing Director, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Babs Omotowa, believes gas is the future of Nigeria and has emphasized the need for authorities to put more effort into developing the gas industry.

Mr Omotowa was on Channels Television’s Business Morning on Friday where he spoke about the business of liquefied natural gas and issues in Nigeria’s gas industry.

He admitted that indeed the crash in oil price has had a huge impact on gas prices because 70% of gas price is linked to brent and the implication is that when brent goes down, gas price goes down as well.

However, he noted that gas remains the future for Nigeria.

“Nigeria is in the top ten gas reserves in the world. There is no doubt that most energy experts will tell you that Nigeria is actually more a gas province. I think we still have over 200 years of gas available in Nigeria.

“Remember we have 180 tcf of gas today. Most of that were found by accident. We were looking for oil, we suddenly found gas. We haven’t really gone out aggressively to look for gas and that’s one of the areas we need to focus on as a country.

“How do we incentivise to bring the investments that are required to build this infrastructure?

“We need foreign and local investors to come up with this sort of investment and as a country we need to spend more time thinking about how we can bring in investment to grow the gas industry because gas really is the future, oil was our past.

“Gas can give us not only liquefied gas or domestic power but petrochemicals which gives you a lot of manufacturing capabilities.

He put the potential revenue from the gas industry at about three billion US dollars annually.

While stating that government has to look at incentives to encourage investors, he asked legislators to also look carefully into laws governing the sector and warned against frivolities that could become burdens to investors.

Issues In Nigeria’s Gas Industry

Speaking about the issues that have come up in the gas industry, Mr Omotowa said that they were being addressed as positive results are already being seen.

He highlighted the issues of regulatory uncertainties with the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), under-funding of the industry, infrastructure, security of facilities and long contract approval processes.

“I think in fairness with the current administration since President Buhari has been on seat and the Minister of State for Petroleum, a lot of effort has gone into trying to address these issues.

Mr Omotowa also debunked the belief that the pricing for gas does not favour the company when it has to supply domestically as stiff pricing makes local purchasing hard to come by, so rather it focuses more on exporting it.

He noted that the pricing for gas domestically is “at the right levels” considering the price of domestic gas in the US is lower than the price in Nigeria.

He explained, “Our problem is not the price but that this industry is faced with expenses and costs that are simply not comparative.

“When you think about what we have to spend on security, community development and regulatory government agencies trying to impose so much taxes and fees on us, it just raises the cost up and once these prices are raised up by all these input cost, then the price has to be high.”

Gas Master Plan

Mr Omotowa also explained the different aspects of the proposed Gas Master Plan which was expected to help create a much better business environment in the gas indutry.

First was the area of appropriate gas pricing which he believes has seen progress, as gas price has moved up significantly.

“You had aspects that had to do with trying to have domestic gas obligations for upstream companies. I think we’ve seen progress because I think we are producing a lot more gas to domestic now than we used to before.

“There are aspects to do with increasing the export activities with Brass LNG, OK LNG, and Train 7. I think we are a bit slow on that aspect.

“There have also been aspects to do with building petrochemical plants. Again, we haven’t made much progress in that front.

“So in totality, when you look at the gas master plan, I think in many areas there have been progress and in some areas I think we are still behind but it’s not to be unexpected, because it’s not a plan that was to be completed in a year.

“However, I think we are on the right track, I think with this current administration; the President, the Minister of State for Petroleum, we are really seeing much effort in the right direction.”

Channels Television, AudioNow Partner To Expand Mobile Reach

ChannelsTV-Call-To-Listen through AudioNowChannels Television is in a partnership with AudioNow to increase mobile audience by expanding access for its audiences in the U.S. and the U.K.

Through the partnership, diaspora listeners can access the live audio feed for Channels Television through a simple telephone call from any mobile phone.

Audience in the U.S. can listen to Channels TV by calling: 605.475.4550 while UK audience can listen by calling 0330.332.6369.

The partnership was signed by the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Channels Television, Mr John Momoh and the Chief Executive Officer of AudioNow, Mr Elan Blutinger.

Listeners calling in will connect immediately to Channels TV’s live broadcast and have the option to hear popular programmes they may have missed due to the difference in time zone.

Popular on-demand are Sunrise Daily, Business Morning,  Network Africa and Politics Today.

Calls use mobile minutes with no extra cost. No Internet or smartphone is required.

In his comments after the partnership was sealed, Mr Momoh said: “At Channels TV we are continuously working to expand our reach globally. Now with the help of AudioNow we can more easily reach our diaspora audience through a simple telephone call”.

AudioNow® is the world’s largest Call-to-Listen platform and a leading provider of interactive mobile applications for broadcasters. With its proprietary “HD” voice technology AudioNow® connects over 3,500 radio and television broadcasters around the world, including industry leaders the BBC, VOA, Deutsche Welle and CCTV, to audiences representing 140 different nationalities and ethnic groups and speaking more than 100 languages.

About the partnership with Channels Television, Mr Bluntinger said: “We know Channels TV is a trusted news source for Nigerians. The AudioNow platform will help increase access to this programming for people outside of Nigeria eager for news from home”.

Channels TV, an independent channel founded in 1995, became the first 24 hour television channel in Nigeria and today reaches an audience of over twenty million people throughout Africa and the world. Dedicated to national news and current affairs programming the station has received the ‘Best Television Station of the Year’ award from the Nigerian Media Merit Award Trust 10 times in the last 14 years.

Protests In New York After Jury Frees Officer Involved In Chokehold Death

Protesters_NYProtesters poured onto the streets of New York late Wednesday, upset over a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner.

During the fatal encounter July 17 on Staten Island, Garner raised both hands in the air and told the officers not to touch him. Seconds later, a video shows officer Daniel Pantaleo grab Garner in a chokehold from behind and pull him to the sidewalk, rolling him onto his stomach.”I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Garner said repeatedly, his death was later ruled a homicide.

The grand jury was made up of 14 white and nine nonwhite members, according to law enforcement sources. A total of 12 jurors who have heard all the evidence must be in agreement for a decision. The grand jury found that there was no “reasonable cause” to indict.

On New York City’s West Side Highway, a group of protesters stood face to face with rows of police officers, shouting, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”

“This fight ain’t over. It just begun. I’m determined to get justice for my husband because he shouldn’t have been killed in that way. He shouldn’t have been killed in any way,” said Esaw Garner, his widow. Garner’s mother, who spoke alongside his widow, said she was disappointed by the grand jury’s decision. She called for calm.
“We want you to rally, but rally in peace. Make a statement, but make it in peace,” said Gwen Carr.

They marched at the same time U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, announced that federal officials were moving ahead with a civil rights investigation.

President Barack Obama said the Garner case reflected a longtime “concern on the part of too many minority communities that law enforcement is not working with them, and dealing with them in a fair way . . .We are not going to let up until we see a strengthening of the trust, and a strengthening of the accountability that exists between our communities and our law enforcement,” he said

Pantaleo, according to a statement from his union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association,  “became a police officer to help people and to protect those who can’t protect themselves. It is never my intention to harm anyone and I feel very bad about the death of Mr. Garner. My family and I include him and his family in our prayers and I hope that they will accept my personal condolences for their loss.”

Nigeria Automobile Is At A ‘Norming And Storming’ Stage – Oigaigbe

Chairman LCCI_ Oseme OisaigbeThe chairman of Automobile Group in the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (LCCI), Oseme Oigiagbe, has described the Automobile industry in Nigeria as one in the ‘norming and storming’ stage of development.

On Channels Television’s programme, Business Morning, on Monday, Mr Oigiagbe said Nigeria’s automobile industry was in a stage of getting into its mainstream, a process that would require a very strong will for the industry to grow.

“We are going into the norming and storming stage and we are in the part of setting the record straight. If we do the implementations by following through the tenets of the policy in terms of the conceptual framework, the policy benefits, aims and objective, it will help in ensuring that the automobile industry in Nigeria get back on the mainstream,” he said.

According to the Director-General of the National of Automotive Council in Lagos, Mr Aminu Jalal, said that 11.2 billion Naira had been given out to sort loans to automobile part component manufacturers in the country to ensure that the automotive policy realised its full potentials.

Revealing that the Federal Government has shifted by six months only the full imposition of the new tariff on imported new vehicles from January to July, this year to allow importers to clear vehicles, he pointed out that they had ordered under the old rates and added six more months extension on the importation of used vehicles till December.

Mr Oigiagbe, stressed that an issue the government should address was the reversal of the increasing purchase of used automobile vehicles to that of the new vehicles, with the issues around warranty and ownership resolved.

To ensuring that the industry would have functional power to run, Mr Oigiagbe said that the issue on policy, structure and tariff needed to be regulated in the automobile industry with the introduction of import duty and import levy in Nigeria.

He, however, said persons (dealers) involved in the ‘used vehicle trade’ would get a concession and would not pay levy for cars till December but pay a duty that has been slated by the policy. Mr Oigiagbe further explained that the dealers operating in the new vehicle trade, would  now pay the 35 per-cent duty and 35 per- cent levy tariff to the government as tax.

He also noted that the industry was one of the highest ’employer of labour’ contributing to increasing skill the developmental effort. “The government should train a pull of manpower to achieving the goal in technology, acquisition, accumulation and renovation.

“We need to have people who have the training and adaptability to come to such knowledge interface. There have to be a new paradigm shift of how to acquire the man power, ” he said.

Mr Oigiagbe, advised that there should be a level of ‘interface quality control from product import to product assembling and to finished delivery in order to ensure that Nigeria would not remain to be a dumping ground for substandard goods.

Economic Growth In Lagos Not A Reserved Right – Fashola

fasholaThe Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, on Tuesday said that the economic growth in Lagos and its continued claim to the ‘commercial nerve of Nigeria’ title is not a reserved right as it was worked for by his administration as well as his predecessors.

“If you measure the economy by the opportunity that it offers (jobs, business, number of banks, tele-density, internet penetration), or by the fact that this (Lagos) is the first market for food, goods and services… something definitely is happening here.

“The point I wish to stress is, that is not a reserved right. It is earned by hard work. It is earned by the work that many of my predecessors have done; work that we must not drop the ball upon because the right to remain the commercial centre is not a birthright. It is earned by hardwork.”

Appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Business Morning, the Governor disclosed that expectations for the state’s economy have been met inspite of some unexpected challenges encountered. According to him, challenges have been tackled adequately as the state has the culture of “planning for the worst and hoping for the best.”

Lagos is “where everybody comes”, he said, highlighting vehicular traffic and migration (from within Nigeria and from across the continent), as pointers to the work the government is doing.

“There must be something happening here, otherwise there won’t be people coming here. They would (probably) be leaving.”

He stressed that the level of security, commitment to the protection of human lives, response level of the judiciary, emergency response and the containment of the Ebola epidemic in Lagos was a major indicator of how robust the health system and health capacity is.

“By many multiples, clearly, the economy is heading north”, he opined.

Speaking about the high unemployment rate inspite of the growing economy and increasing growth rate, Governor Fashola explained that the economy in Nigeria “is just about to start”, noting that the huge market size is in need of various services, including electricity, high tech hospitals and schools, 21st century type end to end transport system, etc.

He noted that the purchasing power of the population is a latent capacity that is yet to be unleashed.

He explained that poverty index is only a reflection of the things that are missing (in the economy), noting that the lack of power was a major determinant in the rate of unemployment.

He highlighted the importance of electricity to the economy, disclosing that petty traders had recorded a 40 percent growth increase as a result of trading at night, which had been encouraged by the street lights installed by the government.

Governor Fashola, however, said that power has remained one of the challenges affecting the growth of Lagos State but his administration did not look at the challenges and has so far been able to supply streetlights with power for over seven years.

“Over the last seven years we revived a night economy that had literally died.

“There was no pharmacy or filling station that was opened beyond 8pm but now most of them stay till 12 midnight.”

Governor Fashola explained that sometimes power can be limited because the distribution area in Lagos and Ikeja had been sold. “All of the assets in these distribution areas were provided by Lagos”.

Speaking on the Apapa light rails, he said that about four stations have been completed (Mile2, Alaba, Orile, Costain) which he says is a track of about 7km and now crossing from Costain to Marina which is about 5km.

He noted that the project should be finished by 2015, but further stressed the need for power to be available in order to make workflow easy.

Experts Call For Inclusiveness In Nigeria’s Economic Growth Trajectory

Mike_Adeleye_ExpertsThe disparity between economic growth in the country and welfare indicators is owing to the lack of inclusiveness in the economy’s growth trajectory.

This is the opinion of two human capital development experts, Mike Adeleye and Bisi Adeyemi who were on Business Morning today to focus on the 2014 Human Development Index Report released recently by the United Nations Development Programme where Nigeria was ranked 152 out of 187 countries.

The report, which placed Nigeria among countries with Low Human Development, was released on Monday, August 18.

The report said the disparity between economic growth in the country and welfare indicators can be explained by the lack of inclusiveness in the economy’s growth trajectory.

At the presentation of the report, UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark, said in line with the human development paradigm, the report took a people centre approach and paid particular attention to disparities between and within countries by identifying the “structural vulnerability” group of people who are more vulnerable than others by virtue of their history or their unequal treatment by the rest of the society.

“This vulnerability has often evolved and persisted over long periods of time and may be associated with gender, ethnicity, indigeneity or geographic location. Many of the most vulnerable people and group face numerous and overlapping constrains on their ability to cope with setback,” she said.

The report that placed Nigeria as number 9 among 42 in the list of Low Human Development countries with the first three on the list as Nepal, Pakistan and Kenya and the last as Central African Republic, Congo and Niger also revealed that 1.2 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day and 1.5 billion live in multi-dimensional poverty.

Looking At Ports And Cargo Clearance issues

Cargo clearancePorts and cargo clearance issues was the focus on Friday’s edition of Business Morning.

Two maritime experts; a  member of the Freight Forwarding Group, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Ikenna Nwosu, and the Assistant Secretary, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Apapa Chapter , Emma Okoli, agreed that the challenges of cargo clearing at the Lagos port have been a recurring problem for many years.

They cited issues such as poor infrastructure and logistics as some of the major challenges hindering smooth cargo delivery and clearing at the Lagos ports.

They called on the relevant Government agencies involved to take action to quicken the process of improving the nation’s seaports, as failure to do so may have negative implications on the country’s economy.

3 Killed In Kano Suicide Attack

bomb-explosion1A suicide bomber and three others have been confirmed dead following a bomb explosion at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mega Filling Station, in Hotoro area, along Maiduguri Road, Kano.

The bomb went off about 10AM on Monday July 28.

The suicide bomber, suspected to be a female, had slipped into the crowd of citizens buying kerosene at the Station before detonating the explosives. The suicide bomber and three others have been confirmed dead, eight persons are injured and rushed to the hospital.

According to a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba; “It is instructive to note that the Mega Station did not go ablaze due to the security barricade put in place by the Policemen on duty at the station. Such a situation would have clearly complicated the Emergency response.

“Security Forces have cordoned off the scene, and Police Bomb Disposal Experts are ‘sweeping’ the area.”

Citizens have been advised to stay off the scene, be vigilant and report any suspicious person(s) or activities to security forces.

He added that full scale investigation has commenced, as intensive patrol of the city was ongoing.

Nigeria Can Operate Fraudulent-Free Transactions Online -Dahan

vlcsnap-2014-07-23-15h17m58s92As First Bank partners with PayPal to bring online service payment to Nigeria, the Regional Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, PayPal, Mr Efi Dahan says that Nigerian can now operate a  fraudulent free  transaction online through PayPal.

Speaking on Channels Television’s programme, Business Morning, on Wednesday, Mr Efi Dahan, said “Nigeria is a major country in Africa and PayPal preparation, bring online services  to Nigeria where people can do online shopping making it easier and faster and most secured for customers to use”.

“Nigeria can open a PayPal account leave their credit card or debit card and do online shopping all over the world safe and secure with PayPal,” he said.

Another guest on the programme, was the Group Head, E-Business of First Bank, Chuma Ezirim, who said that the bank partnership with PayPal identifies a way of installing confidence in Nigeria’s online transaction, thereby opening up the market in Nigeria and the diaspora.

Mr Ezirim made an assurance that the PayPal would be different from fraudulent acts, stating how important it is that people should know the benefits of PayPal.

“Most people still pay on delivery because they are scared of online payment, which is susceptible to fraud. What PayPal does is that it hides their card and account details from the merchant of Comcast when paying with your card and account details would not have access to your bank details, that’s why over the world people decide to pay with PayPal,” he noted.

The partnership with PayPal is not restricted to only First Bank’s customers. It has opened up the scheme to Nigeria to have a Nigerian bank issued card.

He assured Nigerians that the usage of PayPal with that of First Bank would not attract hidden charges that would be debited into customer’s account, noting that it is a free transaction.

The First Bank Paypal transaction is the leading online service’s fastest payment online. The services offer consumer an opportunity to buy online and do shopping without sharing their financial information to sales online.

West Africa Is Not Ready For Single Currency – Isemede

vlcsnap-2014-07-22-17h12m47s210As West African countries plan monetary union that will see all countries under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) maintain a single currency, the Director of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture,(NACCIMA) says the region is not ready for such development. 

Speaking on Channels Television’s Program, Business Morning, on Tuesday, Mr John Isemede said that West Africa was not ready for the single currency because most Francophone countries had no control over their interest rate or exchange rate, a situation that would create chances of over devaluation of other countries’ currencies.

“We have been on the project for over 10 years. Ghana and Nigeria was not devaluated the same day but the Francophone countries were devaluated the same day.

“We  don’t have ECOWAS central bank and should get a central bank by oraganising the sub-region, before planning to unify the currency in African countries. We have to put our house in order and put the sub-region as one body,” he emphasised.

The Director General of NACCIMA insisted that “before ECOWAS begins to promote the single currency and businesses, West Africa needs to make the region a conducive place for business”.  He suggested that the monetary agency should use their own local currency through their Central Bank to import goods from Ghana to Sierra- Leone and other parts of African countries.

Another guest on the programme, a columnist, Mr Gabriel Idahosa, also pointed out that ECOWAS was not ready for the change, citing the inflation level of most African countries as a big challenge.

He also stressed that most of the criteria set for African countries as development goals had not been met because of high rate of inflation.

“Most African countries are still struggling to meet the criteria. You will first have to meet the criteria and run it for three to four years by keeping the deposit by four per cent and then a common currency emerges,” he said.

Idahosa called on West African governments to open up the physical structure by making business move freely across the border of most African countries.

Mr Isemede and Mr Idahosa’s comments are coming few days after the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said that the lunching of a Single Currency for the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) by January 2015 might not be feasible.

At a meeting of the West African Central Bank Governors held in Abuja on July, Mr Emefiele called on leaders in the region to redouble efforts in maintaining fiscal and monetary supervision in their countries.

“It is unlikely at this time. Despite this disappointing update, we need to use the new period created by this to redouble our efforts toward the final realisation of this objectives.

“In this regard, there is need for the intensification of effort towards meeting the laid down convergence material, in sensitisation of all stakeholders in the ratification of various West African monetary zone protocols and in their consequent implementation,” Mr Emefiele said.



































Analyst Calls For Better Policies In Tackling Unemployment

adeleyeThe Federal Government has been asked to come up with more policies and framework to tackle the high level of unemployment in the country.

Mr Mike Adeleye, a human capital development expert, is of the opinion that for the private sector to thrive and create employment opportunities, certain modalities have to be properly put in place such as access to finance and improved infrastructure development.

While, commending the Federal Government’s Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS), he raised concerns over the implementation of the scheme.

According to him, for the scheme to tackle the problem of unemployment, there must be a high level of awareness especially among employers.

Mr Adeleye also advised that undergraduates should be encouraged to gain work experience while in school.

He says this will go a long way in reducing the number of unemployed youth drastically.

Pension Fund Competing Well In Equity Market – Stakeholder

Brayant OrjiakorThe Chairman, Seplat Petroleum Development Company, Brayant Orjiakor, said on Tuesday that the pension fund is competing well in the equity market, noting that the World Pension Summit (Africa Special) holding in Nigeria is a great opportunity “for the real impetus to be given to the essence of investing pension funds rightly”.

Speaking on Business Morning, Mr Orjiakor commented on the clamour for pension monies to be loaned out to investors and maintained that “the pension fund in Nigeria has done tremendously well”.

He noted that there had been an increase from “a negative of over two trillion Naira pre-2004 to pension asset of over four trillion Naira in 2014”.

He also stated that “one of the greatest achievements of the Obasanjo administration is putting in place the Contributory Pension Fund which the PENCOM has been driving and it’s also very gratifying that the Jonathan administration has continued to consolidate on this by the new bill they just passed”.

He stressed on the importance of the Summit to lay emphasis on the right issues, especially investment of pension assets. He added that the issue of infrastructure, which is also being discussed, is very important.

“When you look at the infrastructure gap in Africa, in Nigeria and look at the demographics of the continent, you find that having the right access to funds needed for investments in infrastructure is very important for real, sustainable development in the continent.

“For us as a company, we see that the pension asset investment finds good home in very good entities, in the equity market.

“Therefore, when we did our IPO in April of this year, we saw real solid participation by the Pension Fund, competing with the international institutional investors. That is very impressive and going forward, we believe that with the awareness that is being created, not only will that fund grow,  it will find very credible investment outlay in the country and in the continent,” he said.