PETER OBI LAMENTS EXIT OF MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES FROM NIGERIA I am compelled to address the alarming exodus of multinational companies from Nigeria, which has cost our nation a staggering N95 trillion in the past five years. According to The New Telegraph, in the last year alone, over ten multinational giants such as GlaxoSmithKline, Equinor, Sanofi-Aventis, Bolt Food, Procter & Gamble, Jumia Food, PZ Cussons, and Kimberly-Clark, Diageo and others, have exited Nigeria, citing eerily consistent reasons. According to The Punch, “Multinational firms exit Nigeria over harsh business climate.” The Guardian reports, “Insecurity, high energy costs force companies to leave Nigeria.” The Nation states, “Poor business environment, inconsistent policies drive companies out of Nigeria.” These companies have highlighted the same problems across the board. It is clear these issues are not coincidental but symptomatic of a larger governance problem. Why are we not facing and solving these problems head-on? The responsibility lies with our leadership, those we put in charge to urgently address these challenges. Tackling these issues requires creating a business-friendly environment that fosters investment, innovation, and growth. This includes prioritizing security, stabilizing our policies, and reducing energy costs. We must also cultivate a culture of transparency, accountability, and good governance. We can build an economy that benefits all Nigerians, not just a privileged few. Let us unite to transform Nigeria into a nation conducive to business, attractive to investment, safe and prosperous for all citizens. Together, we can make Nigeria a beacon of hope and progress in Africa and the world. A new business friendly Nigeria is possible. -POPeter Gregory Obi


WHY PETROL, DIESEL PRICES MAY NOT DROP DESPITE DANGOTE REFINERY – EXPERTS Experts have indicated that the commencement of production at the Dangote Petroleum Refinery may not lead to a substantial decrease in petrol and diesel prices. Despite the refinery’s strategic location in Lagos, Nigeria, the input costs for its operations are heavily import-dependent, and the volatility of foreign exchange rates is expected to hinder any significant price reductions for these premium commodities. This perspective was shared by Hector Igbikiowubo, Publisher of Sweet Crude Reports, and Ugodre Obi-Chukwu, Founder of Nairametrics, during an appearance on “Inside Sources with Laolu Akande,” a socio-political program aired on Channels Television on Friday. Both Igbikiowubo and Obi-Chukwu praised Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, for overcoming numerous challenges to realize his vision of building a functional refinery. They stressed that Dangote’s achievement underscores the Federal Government’s lack of excuses for not revitalizing Nigeria’s four dormant refineries and urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to increase crude supply to the Dangote refinery. Recently, Dangote announced that his refinery would continue to import 24 million barrels of West Texas Intermediate crude due to insufficient local crude production and supply by the NNPC. The experts noted that while the private refinery might not solve all of Nigeria’s energy security needs, its operations would significantly improve the availability of premium petrol products in the country. Igbikiowubo stated, “The Dangote Refinery cannot solve the problem because the Dangote Refinery will continue to pay for crude oil in USD (United States Dollar). The question now is how come the NNPC isn’t allotting all of its 445,000 barrels per day to the Dangote Refinery for refining? Why is it convenient to export crude oil when you have a facility like the Dangote Refinery up and running? You make more money if you export refined petroleum products than if you export crude oil.” Obi-Chukwu concurred, noting that the operational costs of the Dangote Refinery, dominated by the US dollar, might not translate into lower costs for end consumers. He explained, “As much as the refinery is local, most of the input cost for that refinery is still going to be imported. Whether it is the personnel that will service the refinery. “Whether it is the spare parts that will be changed and serviced. Even the crude itself is also being imported. A lot of the breakdown of the cost still has foreign components in there. “So, it is quite unlikely that you might see a substantial amount of savings to the end consumers. Nevertheless, even if we get 10% savings, it is still better than what we currently have.” The refinery, which began operations last December with a capacity of 350,000 barrels per day, aims to reach its full capacity of 650,000 barrels per day by the end of the year. It has started supplying diesel and aviation fuel to marketers in the country, with petrol supply expected to commence by mid-July. The experts stated that, while the Dangote Refinery is operational, the country’s four refineries, which are located in three different locations across the country, should be brought online to ensure the country’s energy security. The four dilapidated state-owned refineries are located up north in Kaduna, with three units in the southern region – Port Harcourt and Warri. Despite billions of naira spent on turnaround maintenance, attempts to get them working over the last two decades have failed. The newspaper publishers believe that the Bola Tinubu administration should do everything in its power to make the state-owned refineries operational. Igbikiowubo said, “The essence of having the NNPC refineries working is to guarantee energy security for the Nigerian state.” He said though the NNPC has about 20% stakes in the Dangote Refinery, the refinery…


ENUGU REVENUE BOARD SEALS 200 SHOPS IN MARKET OVER NON-PAYMENT OF FEES The Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue has sealed over 200 shops at Ikpa Market located at the university community of Nsukka in Enugu State. As at 9am on Friday, almost all the shops were still sealed. Shop owners were seen standing away from their shops discussing the development. A shop owner, Madam Monica Ozioko, said the state revenue task force came yesterday, and sealed the shops. “We are asked to pay the sum of N21,000 before we can open the shops,” she said, adding that, “It is very difficult for me in particular. It is a yearly taxation. We begged them to split it, but they refused.” James Itodo has a shop inside the motor park. He said, “It is really too much. How much do I make to be able to pay this sum instantly? But we must borrow to pay to have hope of survival.” The story is however different for one Emenike. He said his shop was among those demolished at Ogige Market by the government. “They demolished my shop at Ogige Market some months ago, and I managed to relocate here,” he said. “But before I could even settle down, the same government is now demanding that we pay N21,000. The government should feel our pains. The governor is working, but the taxation is becoming too much.” Revenue officials guarded by armed policemen were seen monitoring compliance by the traders.Some traders were seen on queue paying the levies after which they were issued receipts to reopen for business.


N53B EBONYI AIRPORT LIES IDLE OVER A YEAR OF INAUGURATION June 19, 2024, marks the 390th day since the Chuba Okadigbo International Airport in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, was opened by former President Muhammadu Buhari on May 26, 2023. Notably, the airport had a soft launch on April 26, 2023, when former Governor David Umahi oversaw the landing of two inaugural Air Peace flights on the airport’s runway, ahead of its official inauguration. The inauguration ceremony was a grand affair, marked by festive splendor and grandeur. In attendance were high-ranking officials from both federal and state governments, as well as esteemed dignitaries from across the nation, all gathered to witness the momentous occasion. However, despite the fanfare and the billions of naira spent on the airport, it has yet to take off. During the inauguration, former Ebonyi governor and current Minister of Works, David Umahi promised that the project would bring prosperity and boost the state’s economy. However, nearly a year and a month later, the airport has yet to generate any revenue for the state government, which urgently needs funds to implement its development plans. To make matters worse, shortly after the inauguration, reports emerged that the airport’s runway had developed defects, leading to a boycott by airlines, which have largely avoided landing at the airport. Besides the runway issues, the airport, which was operating without a functional radar system despite the massive investment of N36 billion in its construction, was eventually closed down for renovations. This was a surprising turn of events, given the significant funds borrowed to build the airport. According to the new governor of Ebonyi State, Francis Nwifuru, the Federal Ministry of Aviation had suggested overlaying the concrete runway with asphalt to address the defects, following the state government’s unsuccessful attempts to rectify the issues through engineering solutions. The ministry’s recommendation comes after the concrete runway, built using cutting-edge technology, developed problems that couldn’t be resolved by the state’s efforts. Although the airport had not seen any commercial air traffic, except for a single, specially arranged flight by the current governor, Nwifuru, the administration had invested an additional N17.3 billion in the airport, bringing the total expenditure to N53 billion. This significant investment has yet to yield any tangible returns, as the airport remains idle. “A governor called me and we discussed at length on the approval of N13.75 billion for the airport that is deemed to have been completed and handed over,” the governor once said. “The question that the governor asked me is the question every reasonable Ebonyi man is asking. The truth is that the mindset of those that started the airport was germane; but did we get it right? In the area of runway, we didn’t get it right because the runway is jumping and it is destroying aircraft tyres. Initially, we thought the problem was caused by the expansion joints. “That’s what we believed initially and we said, okay, let us close all the expansion joints and know why it is jumping but it is still jumping and it has spoiled a lot of aircraft and that is why many airlines have refused to land there. “And for us to get it right, we approached the Federal Ministry of Aviation and asked them what we can do. They told us that we need to do certification, put thyroids and start laying asphalt. I said wow, we are into trouble. When you look at the amount that was sunk into that airport, it is not something you get up and say you want to abandon.” The governor acknowledged that the state government has invested a substantial amount of money in the airport, and despite the defects in its construction, it cannot afford to write off…


WESTERN MULTINATIONALS FLEEING NIGERIA BEING REPLACED BY ASIAN, TURKISH FIRMS As United States and Europe-based multinationals exit Nigeria, Asian and local companies are stepping in to fill the void, Bloomberg has reported. Last week, London-based Diageo Plc sold its controlling stake in Guinness Nigeria Plc to Singapore’s Tolaram Group Inc. The Fouani Group, a local firm, operates a diaper and sanitary pad plant in a complex where Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co. shuttered a $300 million facility making the same products. Lagos-based Fidson Healthcare Plc is expanding its manufacturing range after the UK’s GSK Plc closed its Nigerian distribution arm. Turkish diaper-maker Hayat Kimya AS has also established itself in Nigeria. Nigeria, with a population of more than 200 million, is Africa’s most populous nation, in theory presenting a huge market for consumer goods. But rampant unemployment, widespread poverty and insecurity, a plummeting currency, sky-high inflation and decades of economic mismanagement have turned it into a graveyard for multinational consumer goods companies. The naira has swung wildly in recent months and is 56 per cent down against the dollar over the past year, the most of any African currency. That’s made it difficult for companies that import goods and service foreign debts to make a profit as they struggle to pass the necessary price increases to consumers. And while the central bank has now cleared a $7 billion backlog that companies were seeking to repatriate the difficulty in doing so in recent years made many businesses unsustainable, Bloomberg added. The gaps in the market left by the departing multinationals present an opportunity for domestic companies and foreign firms that focus on sourcing raw materials in Nigeria and manufacturing locally, thereby avoiding the currency risk that has hounded some foreign companies out. And while the departures show just how unattractive the Nigerian consumer market has become they also highlight the success of strategies of companies such as Hayat and Tolaram, which have each turned their brands into household names. For companies such as Tolaram, used to operating in challenging environments such as Indonesia, the answer has been to localise as many costs as possible. That’s helped it turn Indomie instant noodles into one of Nigeria’s most popular brands, and led it into joint ventures with US cereal and snack maker Kellanova and Danish dairy giant, Arla Foods. “Brands can’t continue to operate the way they’re used to. You need to adapt to the market accordingly,” said Girish Sharma, an executive director at Tolaram. “There is hardly anything in Indomie that we import. We have our own flour milling, we have our own palm oil refining, we have our own packaging.” Tolaram operates 24 “fully backwardly integrated” plants in Nigeria, meaning the company produces the raw materials they need, and is even setting up its own oil palm plantations, Sharma said in an earlier interview. GSK, by contrast, imported its products. That doesn’t mean that local firms aren’t struggling. “In theory, we think we can better manage the difficulties of doing business in Nigeria,” said Jide Ogundare, managing director of MBO Capital Management Ltd, which took over supermarkets run by Shoprite Holdings Ltd. when the South African company quit Nigeria in 2021. “In actual fact, we face the same challenges as the foreigners except that we can’t leave and go elsewhere,” he added. Still, despite the narrowing margins and reduced spending power, the weaker naira is making Nigerian manufacturing competitive. “We’re exporting to some West African countries like Mali and to East Africa and our target is to export to another five to 10 countries by the end of next year,” said Imokha Ayebae, Fidson’s executive director. The exodus of firms including Kimberly-Clark Corp., Sanofi SA and Bayer AG are hindering Nigerian President Bola Tinubu’s…


HOW TINUBU’S GOVT SPENDS MONEY SECRETLY, FAILS TO RELEASE BUDGET PERFORMANCE REPORTS Since it came on board in May 2023, the President Bola Tinubu’s administration has failed to publish budget performance reports for the information of Nigerians, as mandated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, SaharaReporters can report. This is the first time since 2015 that an administration will fail to publish this report, going by available data from the budget office of the federation, which suggests that the government had been carrying out its expenditure in secrecy. Budget performance reports are aimed at showing how the government is spending money and on what it is spending public funds on. Each quarter is three months, simply meaning that the federal government is expected to publish its expenditure and revenue generation every month. These documents are usually accessible on the budget office website and are normally published on a periodic basis of every three months. Data checks show that in 2015, three quarters budget performance reports were published, the administration also published the fourth quarter budget performance of the three quarters published. In 2016, all four quarters reports were published, same as 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2020, three quarters budget performance reports were published. Four quarters were published in 2021 and 2022. As of 2023, two quarters were published before expenses between January and June. However since the emergence of Tinubu, no budget performance report has been published per data on the budget office of the federation website. In years before 2015, Budget performance documents publication have also been a norm. In 2009, all four quarters budget performance documents were published. In 2010, only one quarter was published, in 2011 four quarters were published, 2012 four quarters, 2013 saw three quarters published, while 2014 witnessed two quarters budget performance documents publication. The budget performance reports have been useful for demanding accountability on different fronts by different stakeholders of the country. It also shows the fiscal balance and position of the federal government, helping citizens to ask questions on management of their funds. The refusal of the Tinubu led administration to publish budget performance reports is also a violation of the country’s fiscal responsibility act. Section 30 (2) , of the act mandates the ministry of finance to publish in the mass and electronic medium and on the Ministry of Finance website budget performance report not later than thirty days after the end of each quarter. Already, there are challenges of corruption and poor management of public resource in Nigeria. ‎


ANAN REJECTS PROPOSED ICAN AMENDMENT BILL The Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) has rejected the ongoing amendment of some sections of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) establishment Act. ANAN said if the amendment is allowed to sail through, it would cause rivalry among professional bodies in Nigeria. The President of ANAN, James Ekerare Neminebor, stated this at a public hearing organised by the National Assembly on the proposed amendments. Represented by a member of Council of ANAN, Suleiman A.S Aruwa, the ANAN President said the proposed amendments offend the membership of ANAN. He, therefore, called on the legislative Committee to expunge the sections to avoid distortions of the Accountancy profession. On the amendment of Section 14 of the Principal Act, by inserting a new Section 15 which states that, “Chartered Accountant shall be entitled to practice of hold himself out to practice as an Auditor, a Reporting Accountant, Financial Accountant, and Corporate Reporting Services among others,” the ANAN president said ICAN should restrict her scope to accounting, auditing and assurance practice.He said the amendment of Section 19 of the Principal Act now Section 27 conflicts with the proposed amendments to the new Section 15 in content and context.


IPOB TELLS SOUTH EAST GOVERNORS TO CANCEL CONTRACTS WITH EEDC The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has asked governors in the South East to cancel all power contracts with Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) for allegedly impeding the development of the Region. The group stated that the company was incapable of providing reliable, adequate, and affordable electricity to support the economic stimulation and growth of the Southeast. In a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, on Monday, IPOB said that the company was only making money from the people of the Southeast without providing reliable electricity. It urged the Southeast governors to leverage the electricity deregulation policy of President Bola Tinubu’s government and engage other local or foreign electricity generation and distribution companies to take the place of the EEDC. “The current electricity deregulation policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria has given powers to the state government to generate and distribute power to their state. Therefore, Southeast governors must not subject the Eastern Region to darkness in order to please the insatiably greedy EEDC and its owners. Electricity is a catalyst for economic development and growth, which Ndigbo must not be denied at a time like this. “Southeast governors have no excuse for not providing reliable and efficient electricity in their states. The time of giving excuses with the monopoly of NEPA, PHCN, or EEDC is over. Now, the Federal Government Electricity deregulation has given them the power to hire and fire any electricity company in their state. Eastern region governors can come together and partner with a reputable power company that can provide steady and affordable electricity for the entire region. The governors must ensure that there is adequate electricity in the region without further delay,” the group said. IPOB also stated that it was privy to the letter written to southeast governors, universities, institutions, companies and communities by EEDC to settle their debts or face disconnection in the region. It begged the EEDC to shelve the idea, saying, “We don’t want to use force on them and if they want to test the power IPOB possesses, we will let them taste the venom. If they venture to cut any lights in the South East this time around, we will react because we have endured enough.“The South Eastern Governors must wake up and demonstrate their willingness to drive economic development of the East via the provision of steady and affordable electricity by cancelling all power deals with incompetent and extortionist- Enugu Electricity Distribution Company,” it said


MY REFINERY WILL REDUCE FUEL PRICE IN NIGERIA – DANGOTE The Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has said his $20 billion 650,000 barrels per day Lagos-based refinery will crash the price of fuel as it reduced the price of diesel in Nigeria. Dangote disclosed this at a recent Afreximbank Annual Meetings and AfriCaribbean Trade & Investment Forum in Nassau, The Bahamas. Asked to speak on whether or not his refinery would crash the pump price of petrol, which sells at an average of N700 per liter, Dangote gave no affirmative answer, explaining how the price of diesel fell from 1,700 to N1,200 when his diesel flooded the Nigerian market. He noted that his refinery currently has 4.78 billion liters of storage capacity for refined petroleum products. “The issue of gasoline is certainly a different issue. That one is being dealt with by the government. But let me give you an example. In diesel, which the industries, transporters and everybody consume; when we first started, it was N1,700, and the dollar conversion was about N1,200 then. Immediately when we started, within two weeks we brought down the price to N1,000. We took it from N1,700 to N1,200 and from N1,200 to N1,700, we have given more than a 60 percent drop in price. “With the currency now back up to about N1,500 per dollar, the price is still below N1,200. That’s a big improvement, from N1,700 to N1,200. And the diesel is available, we are not living from hand to mouth anymore,” Dangote replied when asked about a possible petrol price cut. “The country doesn’t have strategic reserves in terms of petrol, which is very dangerous. But in our plant now, when you came, we had only 4.78 billion liters of various tankage capacity. But right now, we’re adding another 600 million. “So effectively, as we go forward, the refinery will be the strategic reserve of the country in terms of petroleum products,” he noted. Dangote alleged that the reason why international oil companies refused to sell crude oil to his refinery was that they did not want him to succeed. “And I think that is the process that we’re now really going through. But the truth is that, yes, the country, the sub-region, and also the continent, of sub-Saharan Africa, need this refinery. So, you expect them to fight through non-supply of crude, non-purchase of the product, but I think it’s all temporary. We’ll get there,” he added.Recall that Dangote Refinery turned to the US for 24 million barrels of crude supply monthly.Consequently, the refinery shifted the date to commence supply of fuel to July 10–15, 2024, from June.


N1.3B BILL: ENUGU GOVT SLAMS EEDC, DEMANDS REFUND OF INVESTMENT IN ELECTRICITY SECTOR The Enugu State Government has slammed the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) over its billing and the disconnection of power supply to government offices. It described the actions as unlawful, malicious, callous, and vexatious. It also faulted EEDC’s claim of government’s indebtedness to the company to the tune of N1.3 billion, explaining that besides prompt payment of all electricity bills received from the EEDC since May 2023, Governor Peter Mbah’s administration had cleared a two-month backlog of debts in line with the governor’s commitment to offset all legitimate electricity debts inherited from his predecessors. Earlier on Tuesday the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) had sealed the Corporate Head Office of the EEDC. Reacting to the sealing of its corporate office, EEDC’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Emeka Ezeh, described the action as strange, noting that the operations of the company had been disrupted. He added that the government had not notified them of any offence the company committed to have warranted such treatment. He said: “As at now, there has not been any clear information/communication from ECTDA explaining their action. “We, however, suspect that this action might not be unconnected to the notice of disconnection published by EEDC informing indebted customers of intention to commence disconnection today, Tuesday 11th June, 2024. “Enugu State Government happens to be one of the indebted customers with over N1 billion owed to EEDC. It is important to state that the majority of the state government’s facilities are metered (so, it is not a case of estimated billing).” However, the government in a letter sent to the EEDC Managing Director/CEO dated, June 11, 2024, and signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, faulted the claim of the company regarding its alleged indebtedness. It directed that all MDAs should immediately be metered. The letter was titled, “Re: Notice of Disconnections to Indebted Customers and Actual Disconnections of Enugu State Government Offices.” It read in part: “Enugu State Government received the disconnection notice published in national daily newspapers. We have also received the information that EEDC has disconnected some Enugu State government institutions. “We note that both the publication of notice of disconnections and the actual disconnections on Saturday 8th June, 2024 were based on wrong premises and total disregard to NERC rules and standing Order on estimated billing of Maximum demand customers. “Accordingly, the state government notes as follows: That EEDC letter dated 7 June 2024 addressed to His Excellency the Governor of Enugu State that the outstanding electricity bill is N1,319,571,131.21. “That the said outstanding electricity bills are estimated billing of Maximum demand agencies and parastatals of the state government carried over from the last administration as the current administration has diligently and promptly paid all bills received from May 2023 to date including 2 months from the carried over bill which it has shown commitment in good faith to settle. “That NERC Order NO/NERC/197/2020 paragraph 13 subsection (a) states: ‘Any Maximum demand agencies and parastatals customer not provided with meter by 1 March 2017 shall not pay any electricity bills presented by a DisCo on the basis of estimated billing methodology and these customers are advised to report to the Commission. “Paragraph 13 subsection (b) states No DisCo shall disconnect any Maximum demand agencies and parastatals customers that were not metered by 1 March 2024 on the basis of the customer’s refusal to pay an invoice issued on the basis of estimated billing after the compliance deadline.” Continuing, the government stated, “Considering the provisions of NERC Order, the recent disconnections of government offices, parastatals viz: College of Medicine ESUT Teaching hospital, Housing development corporation, State Secretariat, etc. is unlawful,…