Nigeria expects oil prices to be above $45 a barrel next year, the head of state oil firm NNPC said on Thursday.
“Our firm belief is that in 2016, we will probably average above the $45 a barrel price range,” Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu told reporters in Abuja.
“We are watching the prices. If there’s a need for us to meet between January and June, we will,” he said, referring to discussions among members of the OPEC group of oil-exporting countries.
President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday, December 22, present a 6.07 trillion Naira budget proposal to the National Assembly, which is predicated on $38 per barrel oil benchmark.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had on December 7 approved the Medium Term Expenditure Framework which pegs the 2016 Budget at six trillion Naira.
This decision was reached at FEC’s emergency meeting presided over by President Buhari.
Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of National Planning, Udo Udoma, who joined the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said that the crude oil price would be $38, because of the uncertainties in the price of oil.
A former Minister of National Planning, Shamsudeen Usman, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to come up with a set target on how to tackle the power challenge in Nigeria.
Dr. Usman, who spoke at a meeting in Abuja on Saturday, also advocated for a system to monitor success being made.
He said “it is only when this is done that the nation can achieve the much desired socio-economic development”.
He stressed that topmost in the needs of Nigerians was power supply.
At the meeting, other experts were of the opinion that the models used in tackling power challenges and the activities of pipeline vandals contributed to lack of steady power supply.
They suggest the full implementation of past policies which were formulated to make the sector vibrant.
While others have come up with resolutions on how best government can tackle the issue of electricity in the country, it remains to be seen if the decisions reached at the meeting will be used to add value to the development of the power sector in Nigeria.
The Minister of National Planning, Dr Abubakar Suleiman, has urged members of the Kwara State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to unite and work harmoniously for the success of the party in next year’s general elections.
Dr Suleiman, who made the call during a reception held in his honour following his appointment as the Minister of National Planning, also absolved President Goodluck Jonathan of any blame in the insecurity witnessed in the country.
The reception was attended by party members across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state.
The Minister, who arrived at the Ilorin International Airport, was welcomed with a long convoy provided by the party members resulting in a gridlock over a period of time.
Those who could not gain entrance made do with the space provided outside.
He thanked the entire members of the party for the honour and urged them to exhibit the spirit of oneness in choosing the gubernatorial candidate of the party in the state.
He asked party members to always ask questions on how the resources of the state are being spent by the government.
The State Chairman of the Party, Iyiola Oyedepo, thanked the party faithful for their support and loyalty to the party and pledged to continue providing the wherewithal for the growth of the party.
Other speakers at the occasion include; the Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Suleiman Ajadi, Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Professor Shuaib Abduraheem and Former Minister for Transport, Issa Bio Ibrahim, among others.
A PDP Chieftain in the State, Bola Shagaya urged party members to avoid rumours and work for the progress of the party in all elections.
The contractor who handled the power sub station in Amasiri in Ebonyi State, is to be blacklisted because of non performance.
This follows its failure to execute the contract within the agreed time frame.
The Minister of State for Power, Mallam Wikili Mohammed, disclosed this to State House correspondent after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC meeting. He said that the contractor, Tecno Electric and Engineering Company would have all the directors prosecuted and banned from performing any other contract in the country.
According to him, the contract has been re-awarded to a new contractor, North Power Engineering Limited, at a cost of 5.8milllion dollars and is to be completed in 12 months.
The sum of 5.8million dollars is to be spent on the expansion of the power transmission supply in Ebonyi State and some parts of Cross River State.
In the transport sector, 2.9million Euro would be spent for the provision of boats for use in the nations ports.
Also approved by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, was the National Integrated Infrastructure Master-plan 2014 -2043.
The National Integrated Master-Plan for Nigeria from 2014-2043 is said to be one that would change Nigeria as a nation. The final copy of the master plan covers all the key sectors of the economy and is designed to match modern economies anywhere in the world.
The Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Sulaiman, said that the 30-year master-plan would cost over 3.05 trillion dollars to implement and would bring Nigeria at par with the developed world.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, was said to have also intimated the Federal Government about the private sector’s contribution of walk-through body scanners in Nigeria, for use at the borders to check the spread of Ebola Virus Disease.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday, in Abuja swore-in the Former Corporal Marshal of Nigeria, Osita Chidoka as the Minister of Aviation .
President Jonathan also appointed Mr Boboye Oyeyemi as the new Corp Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), taking over from Mr Osita Chidoka.
Also sworn in, is Doctor Abubakar Suleiman as the Minister of National Planning.
Speaking to the new minister and the new Corp Marshal, the president told them that Nigerians are expecting much from them and urged them to bring their wealth of experience to bear in their new positions especially now that his administration was coming to an end.
The President said that it was the first time an in-house person was appointed into the new position of the Corp Marshal urging him to work with his colleagues to improve on the foundation laid by Osita Chidoka.
Officials of West African apex banks have expressed optimism of introducing a single currency in the region by January 1, 2015 if issues of macro-economic stability and inflation are addressed by member countries.
The banks’ officials gave the expression at a a meeting organised by the West African Monetary Zones committee in Abuja on Monday.
The Supervising Minister of National Planning, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, said achieving a single currency within the ECOWAS sub region was significant to the growth of the region’s economy.
Ambassador Yuguda therefore called on leaders in the sub region to fastrack policies and programmes that would help in achieving the set target at the right time.
He maintained that one key decision that would be taken at the meeting was how to attain a single currency within the region.
Although previous dates for the commencement of the policy was not achieved, government officials at the meeting believe the implementation of key policies by member countries is key to the attainment of the objective by 2015.
Yuguda stressed that, achieving the aspiration of a single currency might not be without some challenges, explaining that officials of international bodies have promised to give a hand of support.
They also advised that the non-tariff barriers in the sub region should be removed.
Several dates for the implementation of the single currency policy in the West African region had been fixed before but was not actualised, but Ambassador Yuguda, however, said that the experts’ hopes are high that it would be actualised within less than six months left.
The meeting, which had experts in attendance and representatives from member countries, was the 37th meeting of the West African Monetary Zone.
The Trade Unions in the oil and gas sector would not be embarking on the industrial action, in protest of the Federal Government’s plan to sell the country’s refineries.
The leadership of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association PENGASSAN and NUPENG reached this decision after a 5-hour close door meeting with the Ministers of Petroleum and Labour.
Reading the communiques after the meeting, the Minister of Labour, Mister Emeka Wogu, said that Government would not sell the nation’s refineries.
In his reaction, the President of PENGASSAN, Babatunde Ogun told Channels Television that the agreement would serve as evidence to Nigerians that they (unions) are not trouble makers if the government decides to go back on its promise. He expressed confidence that the Federal Government can effectively manage the refineries if it makes the required investments and decisions.
“If government cannot keep to agreement, it means that government is not really serious…. If you are supposed to do something and you don’t do it for almost 10 to 14 years, then you cannot say government cannot run it (refineries),” he said, adding that “if they have challenges about funds, we can always look for funds.
Also, President of NUPENG, Igwe Achese said the “materials for the turn-around maintenance of the Port Harcourt refineries are on ground already and that’s why we are confident that in this first quarter, the Port Harcourt refinery turn-around maintenance will be concluded and then we can be thinking of the next one.”
The reported approval by Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, for the sale of the nation’s four refineries has been denied by the Presidency.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, told journalists at the Presidential Villa that President Goodluck Jonathan has not given and does not plan to give approval to that effect.
The oil and gas workers unions had threatened to embark on a nationwide industrial action following the announcement that the four refineries had been slated for privatisation in 2014 by the Bureau for Public Enterprises, BPE.
Mr. Abati, however, dismissed the threat by the oil and gas workers, insisting that if the reason for the proposed strike is the issue of the refineries, then the action would not take place.
An attempt to sell the refineries was first made during the administration of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, but the decision was reversed by his successor, the late President Umaru Yar’adua.
Also, a presidential committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan in the wake of the corruption scandal in the oil and gas industry had recommended the sale of the refineries as a way to avoid the wastage of government funds.
There had been news that the President has approved the constitution of a steering committee chaired by the Minister of Petroleum Resources with 13 members including the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Minister of Power, Minister of Labour and Minister of National Planning, to oversee the privatisation process.
The national bodies of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers, (NUPENG) had announced plans by their associations to commence an industrial action in the first week of January 2014, if the Federal Government failed to rescind its alleged decision to privatise the refineries.
They claimed that the planned privatisation was an attempt to hand over the nation’s refineries to cronies of the Federal Government.
Hundreds of people had assembled at the Ilorin International Airport ahead of the arrival of his corpse.
Dignitaries present at the prayer for his burial were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo and the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed.
Also present were members of his grieving family, which included former Senator Gbemisola Saraki and former Governor of Kwara state, Dr Bukola Saraki.
The Minister for Interior, Abba Moro, Minister of National Planning, Usman Shamusideen, and the former Minister of Defence, Alhaji Haliru Bello,were also present.
The late strongman of Kwara politics had been battling with an undisclosed ailment for months and had sought treatment in a series of foreign hospitals.
The late politician fondly called ‘Oloye’ was the Waziri of the Ilorin Emirate.
Mourning on Facebook
Meanwhile, the former Governor of Kwara State and son of the late politician, Dr. Bukola Saraki, posted on social media that his late father would be “sorely missed.”
The former governor, who is now the chairman Senate Committee on Environment wrote the following on his Facebook page:
“Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un ; “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” (al-Baqarah:156) With gratitude to Almighty Allah, we announce the passage to eternity of our beloved father and grandfather, His Eminence, Oloye (Dr.) Abubakar Olusola Saraki, Waziri of Ilorin, former Senate Leader, Second Republic, Federal Republic of Nigeria who answered the call to the great beyond, in the early hours of today in Lagos (17 May 1933 – 14 Nov 2012).”
“We take solace in knowing that our father lived an exemplary life of service, and selfless devotion to development of his people and nation. Baba will be sorely missed. We pray for the repose of his soul that Almighty Allah grant him Al-Jannah Firdaus. Amin.”
The Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman has inaugurated a committee to review the first National Implementation Plan which is geared at assessing the attainment of the federal government’s Vision 2020.
Speaking with journalists after the inauguration in Abuja, Dr. Shamsudeen said that the plan is expected to provide policies, programmes and projects to the private sector, federal and state governments.
He said that the macroeconomic target of the first phase of the plan has a gross domestic target of $300 billion, per capita G.D.P of $2008 and a projected investment of 32 trillion.
Chairman of the committee, Mister Moses Akpobasah promised to provide Nigerians full details of the assessment of the plan.