PORT HARCOURT REFINERY BEGINS OPERATION JULY The 210,000-barrel-per-day Port-Harcourt refinery may finally commence operations by the end of July after several postponements. The new date was disclosed on Monday by the National Public Relations Officer, Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu. He stated that the development would stimulate economic activities, reduce the price of petroleum products and ensure adequate supply. Last year in December, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, announced the mechanical completion and flare start-off of the biggest crude refinery in Port Harcourt. The refineries comprise two units, with the old plant having a refined capacity of 60,000 barrels per day and the new plant has 150,000 BPD. The refinery shut down in March 2019 for the first phase of repair works after the government secured the service of a technical adviser of Itay’s Maire Tecnimont to handle the reviews of the refinery complex, with oil major Eni appointed technical adviser.On March 15, 2024, it was reported that the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, stated that the Port Harcourt refinery would commence operations in about two weeks.


WE.INCREASED OUR IGR BY 400% IN FIRST QUARTER OF 2024 – ENUGU TRADE MINISTRY The Enugu State Commissioner for Trade, Investment and Industry, Mrs Adaora Chukwu says the ministry increased its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), by 400 per cent in the first quarter of 2024. Chukwu disclosed this during a Media Chat with correspondents on Friday in Enugu. The Commissioner said the ministry generated N86 million between January and April, 2024 representing 400 per cent increase compared to the N28 million generated in the same period in 2023. Chukwu said the money was generated from taxes from business premises and other permits. She said other sources of revenue would come from investments, equity, and cash flow, adding that the ministry was working hard to revive and activate non operational assets in the state which would generate more revenue. Chukwu, who described the ministry as ‘unique’, said its strategic objective was to create an enabling environment and ensure security for investors. “We designed a roadmap for investment opportunities in the state and came up with the way of de-risking investment, having launched an aggressive investment promotion campaign to attract investors across the sectors. “We engaged with investors and today we are seeing remarkable results as we witnessed significant results in our investment in infrastructure space. “In transport, we are about to secure some commitment from developers and investors to help complete the International Airport aimed at making Enugu State the regional hub for export. “Apart from this, we decided to build a cargo terminal and are currently in discussion with the apex bank to help us build the Quality Assurance Centre to standardise all the export commodities from Enugu State,” Chukwu said. On agriculture, she said the state was moving from an agrarian economy to a more industrialised economy and had secured investment in setting up Agro Processing Zone. According to her, the Agro Processing Zone will kick off either the last quarter of 2024 or first quarter of 2025. “The state also secured investments in the United Palm Ltd targeted at reviving the non -operational assets and expanding their value chain in agriculture. Contract has been awarded for its revitalization. “In the hospitality sector, we have secured investment to revive moribund assets like the Presidential Hotel and also awarded contracts to complete the International Conference Centre with a five star hotel to promote tourism. “Imagine completing the International Airport, an international flight coming in and you have all these facilities. “In Energy space, we are also trying to activate the dormant assets like coal mines as well as natural gas as we are engaging some investors to help us revitalise them,” she stated. Speaking on tax policy, Chukwu added that the administration streamlined revenue generation by harmonising demand notices, “where my ministry, Board of Internal Revenue, ESWAMA are now on one demand notice”.


NIGERIA WOULD HAVE NO NEED TO IMPORT PETROL FROM NEXT MONTH – DANGOTE Africa’s richest man and Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has assured that following laid down plans of the Dangote Refinery, Nigeria as a nation will have no need to import gasoline from next month. Dangote also said his refinery has capacity to supply West Africa’s petrol and diesel needs, and the continent’s aviation fuel demand. The entrepreneur made this announcement at Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit in Kigali on Friday, while expressing optimism in the transformation of Africa’s energy landscape. “Right now, Nigeria has no cause to import anything apart from gasoline and by sometime in June, within the next four or five weeks, Nigeria shouldn’t import anything like gasoline; not one drop of litre.” He also outlined progresses made by the oil company to ensure that Africa as a continent becomes self-sufficient when it comes to the energy sector. “We have enough gasoline to give to at least the entire West Africa, diesel to give to West Africa and Central Africa. We have enough aviation fuel to give to the entire continent and also export some to Brazil and Mexico. “Today, our polypropylene and our polyethylene will meet the entire demand of Africa today and we are doing base oil, which is like engine oil, we are doing linear benzyl, which is raw material to produce detergent. We have 1.4 billion people in population, nobody is producing that in Africa. “So, all the raw materials for our detergents are imported. We are producing that raw material to make Africa self-sufficient. “As I said, give us three or a maximum of four years and Africa will not, I repeat, not import any more fertilizer from anywhere. We will make Africa self-sufficient in both potash, phosphate, and urea, we are at three million tonnes and in the next twenty months, we will be at six million tonnes of urea which is the entire capacity of Egypt. We are getting there.” Dangote also went further to outline the achievements of the company since the commissioning of the refinery in February. “For some of us, despite the boom of the capital market of the US, you know, Google, Microsoft and the rest, we didn’t really participate, we took all our money and invested in Africa. “We had this dream, just about five years ago and we said we want to move from five billion (dollars) revenue to thirty billion revenue and we made it happen. It is possible and now we have made it happen and now we have actually finished our own refinery. “Our refinery is quite big, it is something that we believe that Africa needs. If you look at the whole continent, there are only two countries that don’t import petroleum products which is a tragedy. They are only Algeria and Libya. The rest are all importers. “So, we need to really change and make sure that we don’t just go and produce raw materials, we should also produce finished products and create jobs. “One of the things we also need to know as Africans is that we produce raw materials and export them, when you export raw materials and somebody now keeps importing things into your continent and dumping goods. what you are importing is poverty and exporting jobs out. So, we have to change that narrative,” he said. “We just commissioned in February and now we are producing jet fuel, we are producing diesel and by next month, we will be producing gasoline. What that would do is that we would be taking most of the African crude that are being produced and also be able to supply not only Nigeria, because our capacity is too big…


COURT DENIES BINANCE EXECUTIVE BAIL A Federal High Court in Abuja has refused to grant bail to Tigran Gambaryan, an executive of Binance Holdings Limited, a cryptocurrency firm. The judge, Emeka Nwite, held that the reason for declining to grant Gambaryan bail is because he is likely to “jump bail” if granted. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Gambaryan alongside Binance Holdings Ltd and Nadeem Anjarwalla, (currently at large) on a five-count charge bordering on alleged tax evasion, currency speculation and money laundering to tune of $34,400,000. The defendants deny any wrongdoing. In his ruling, the judge said several factors including the nature of offence and its severity must be considered when trying to decide whether or not bail should be granted to the defendant. After the ruling, the EFCC called its first witness, a staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission who said the operations of Binance in Nigeria is unlawful because it is unregistered and unregulated.The witness further said the activities of Binance in Nigeria negatively affected the value of the Naira in the foreign exchange market.


WE’RE NOT PAYING N100B TO REVIVE UNITED PALM PRODUCTS LTD – ENUGU GOVT Enugu State government has explained that it is not committing N100 billion into its partnership with a private firm to revive the moribund United Palm Products Ltd (UPPL). In providing more facts on the deal, the state government empahasised that it “is not releasing N100 billion or any dime to Pragmatic Palms Ltd”, adding that instead, Pragmatic Palms Ltd, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the partnership, will finance the revitalisation of UPPL. In a statement issued by the senior special adviser to the governor on external relations, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, the state government said Pragmatic Palm Ltd would provide finance for 60 percent of the transaction value while the Peter Mbah administration would provide the plantations valued at 40 percent equity. Anichukwu said UPPL is one of the numerous initiatives of the late premier of the defunct Eastern Region, Dr. Michael Okpara, and had been moribund for decades. He said UPPL was expectedly one of the many moribund assets penciled down for revitalisation by Governor Peter Mbah in line with his campaign promise to convert the state’s dormant assets to productive assets and grow the state’s economy exponentially from the current $4.4 billion to $30 billion through private sector investments. Anichukwu further clarified that this culminated in the N100 billion deal between the state government and Pragmatic Palms Ltd., a subsidiary of Diamond Stripes Ltd. on Thursday, May 9, 2024 after months-long negotiation and due diligence that started way back in 2023. He sad, “Because several parties/investors are involved, it became imperative, as is the best international practice, to register a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) as the platform to transact the deal. Pragmatic Palms Ltd. was duly incorporated before the signing of the agreement. “For the avoidance of doubt, however, although it is not the case in this instance, it is apposite to also note that the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020, provides for Pre-incorporation Contract. “Section 96 (1) of CAMA, 2020, provides: “Any contract or other transaction purporting to be entered into by the company or by person on behalf of the company prior to its formation may be ratified by the company after its formation and thereupon the company shall become bound by and entitled to the benefit thereof as if it has been in existence at the date of such contract or other transaction and had been a party thereto. “As demanded by the Enugu State government, Pragmatic Palms Ltd provided a guarantor, which is Diamond Stripes Ltd, a reputable and huge company that has done investments worth over $20 billion spanning power and renewable energy sector, port sector, and agricultural sector since 2013. Diamond Stripes Ltd is the sole investor in Onitsha River Port and has invested heavily in the agricultural sector where it is the largest owner of silo complexes in Nigeria. It was involved in the acquisition of 600mw Shiroro Hydroelectric Power plant in 2013, concessions of 30mw Gurara Hydroelectric Power Plant in 2019, and establishment of 300mwShiroro solar power project in 2021. “The state’s interest in the N100 billion UPPL deal is well secured, benefitting from Governor Peter Mbah’s experience as an investment finance expert and an entrepreneur, who has handled multi-billion-dollar projects himself. Besides asking for and getting a corporate guarantor on the part of Pragmatic Palms Ltd, the government also demanded for and got bank guarantors from Pragmatic Palms. Importantly, performance targets and timelines were equally set in the Agreement for Pragmatic Palms Ltd. failing which the Enugu State Government is free to revoke the deal and reassume total ownership of United Palm Products Ltd. “In addition, the Enugu State Government is represented on the company’s board, including…


COURT ORDERS EVICTION OF FATHER MBAKA’S INVESTMENT OVER NON-PAYMENT OF RENT An Enugu North Magistrate Court, has executed a Warrant for Possession of Premises occupied by Aqua Rapha Investment Company limited owned by fire brand Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, the Spiritual Director of popular Adoration Prayer Ministry. The company uses the rented apartment located at at No. 4 Savage Crescent, GRA, Enugu as depot for wholesale business distribution of her products at the heart of Enugu metropolis, but allegedly defaulted in paying the rent. The eviction judgment pronounced Friday, which lasted several hours, saw the company’s products, equipment, files and other documents evacuated from the building and dumped on the major road just opposite Shoprite main gate in Enugu. While executing the eviction order, the court bailiff also recovered a sales vault containing a total cash of N773,520 before sealing and putting the building, which hitheto served as wholesale apartment of the company, under lock and key. Explaining what led to the eviction, the Counsel to Dr. and Mrs Ben Ogbu, Barr. James Edeh, said that his client, the property owners, were tried of the unfaithfulness of the managers of the company in paying agreed rent as contained in the signed tenancy agreement. He noted that the company failed to abide fully with the initial three years tenancy agreement entered into in 2016 which elapsed in 2018. “The company failed to pay an agreed installment of N300,000 meant for rent for 2017 and 2018 after paying that of 2016 and lump sum of the tenancy agreement,” . “Even when the initial agreed tenancy elapsed in 2018, the company find it difficult to come and renegotiate the agreement but waited after we took them to court to come and drop N4 million without renegotiation or signing a fresh agreement to be supervised by me.” “Before paying the N4 million after being in oblivion for some years, the company representative, Mr Nwankwo, was instructed to meet with me as the lawyer managing the property but he did not abide by the simple instruction. “We have been in court since 2020 on this matter and we have repeatedly served the company and its lawyers; they only appeared once and no more. After waiting and being patient for many years, the court issued a Warrant for Possession of Premises by the original owner.” Reacting to the development , lawyer to Aqua Rapha Investment company Ltd, Barr. Fidelis Okeke, said that the eviction was unfair, adding that “This is unlawful execution”. Okeke said , the company was up to date with its rent payment, saying we have paid everything. “I will go back to my chamber and study everything concerning this embarrassing execution and I will assure you it will not stand. By Monday, I will be in court to challenge this.“The company will surely seek redress in court and claim huge damages for this insult and reputation damage,” he stated.


ENUGU GOVT PULLS DOWN BANKS, BUSINESS VENTURES AT HOLY GHOST MOTOR PARK TO BUILD MODERN MOTOR STATION Commercial banks, motor parks and other business ventures located beside Ogbete main market, the Holy Ghost Cathedral and the Nigerian railway crossing have gone down for the construction of a modern terminal station, the first of its kind in Enugu state initiated by Governor Peter Mbah’s administration. They were pulled down seven months after the state government gave them notice to vacate their businesses from the area to pave way for the modern terminal station project. In the past seven days, the structures accommodating several business enterprises in the area has been reduced to debris by earth moving equipments of the contractor handling the project. However, the destruction was done with a human face. The Enugu state commissioner for transport, Dr ObIozor who conducted news men round the site on Saturday,May 11,disclosed that all the business owners who submitted their account details were paid compensation through the management of Nigeria railway cooperation,the landlord of the site.. He said those who are yet complete the process will also be treated same when they are true, as Governor Mbah is keeping to his words on paying compensation. Dr Obiozor revealed that the affected transport companies will also be given the option of ‘first refusal’ when the Ogbete terminal station is completed,hopefully in the next twelve months. As a measure of easing traffic grid lock,economic expansion and job creation etc,the Enugu state government plans to also construct terminal stations at Gariki Awkunanaw and Abakpa Nike axis of the metropolis in the first phase. While Nsukka town, Oji River etc will come in the second phase.


TARIFF HIKE: LABOUR MOVES TO SHUT NERC, DISCOS OFFICES NATIONWIDE Members of the organised labour, on Sunday night announced that they would shut down offices of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Distribution Companies nationwide. They said the offices would be under lock and key until the Federal Government accedes to their request on total reversal of electricity tariff hike. The commission had astronomically hiked the electricity tariff from N65/kwh to N225/Kwh for Band A users. The Federal Government later approved a marginal slash, which labour rejected and demanded full reversal. Both Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its counterpart from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had last week warned the commission to immediately reverse the hike on or before Sunday, May 12. The movement also warned the commission to announce the stoppage of what it described as “discriminatory practice” of segregating electricity consumers into arbitrary bands. Giving an update on Sunday night, the head of information at NLC headquarters, Benson Upah, in an official notification sent to journalists, said members of the movement would converge on Labour House by 7:00am.“NLC invites you to cover the picketing of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission headquarters in Abuja,” Benson said in the official notification sent to our correspondent last night.


TINUBU DIRECTS CBN TO SUSPEND IMPLEMENTATION OF CYBERSECURITY LEVY The president of Nigeria, Ahmed Bola Tinubu has informed the Central Bank Of Nigeria(CBN) to suspend the implementation of the Cyber security Levy policy. The president also ordered a review of the policy, which a large number of financial experts rejected. Recall that on Monday, 6th of May, The CBN issued out circular imperative order mandating that all Financial institutions in the State, including money Operators and payment service providers, carry on with the new cyber security Levy following the provisions detailed in the Cybercrime( Prohibition, Prevention, etc)(Amendment)Act 2024. According to the Act, it was slated that a supposed fee of 0.5% of the value of all electronic transactions in the country would be charged. The collected charges will then be wired to the National Cyber Security Fund, which the office of the National Security Advisers oversees. However, the Bank and other money provider Services were supposed to start implementing the new policy on its customers from the 20th of May, 2024. The implementation was suspended because of the economic burden and pressure it would be on Nigerians. A report also made it known that President Ahmed Bola Tinubu wasn’t comfortable with the sudden announcement and timing of the new Policy and has requested a review. “Tinubu wasn’t present when the directive was circulated, and he wants to avoid portraying his government as insensitive. “Currently, the CBN has postponed the instruction to banks to begin charging people. This shows the President’s sensitivity; his aim isn’t to burden Nigerians with taxes. Consequently, he has instructed a review of that law.” A source quoted.


ENUGU GOVT SET TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION OF HOLY GHOST MOTOR PARK – COMMISSIONER The Enugu State Government says it is ready to commence the building of a dual terminal for interstate and intrastate transportation at the Holy Ghost area of Enugu city. The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Obi Ozor, disclosed this on Saturday in Enugu while briefing journalists on the demolition exercise which began on Friday at the busy Holy Ghost area. He said the clearing of the area followed the agreement reached with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and the Federal Ministry of Transportation over the land which belonged to the NRC. “Today, you are standing in front of a proposed site for Enugu Central Station which is a dual terminal for interstate transportation and intrastate transportation. “The land here is owned by NRC and leased to 29 tenants for an average of 10 years to 25 years. “The state government has entered into agreement with the NRC and the Federal Ministry of Transportation to lease the land for the construction of the proposed terminal.’’ The commissioner said that before beginning the clearance, the state government, through the NRC, had paid compensations to deserving tenants in the area. “Apart from the compensations, we also engaged all stakeholders since last year and we gave notices since October, 2023.’’ Ozor said further that the timeline for the project was 12 months, adding that the project was the phase 1 of the planned state’s transportation infrastructure project. “The terminal will commence before the end of the month and in 12 months, the government of Dr Peter Mbah will deliver this project for the benefit of seven million Enugu citizens. “It is not only this, we are going to build another one in Garki, Abakpa Nike areas and Nsukka making them four under phase 1, of the transport infrastructure project, ” he said. He said that the management of the project would be private sector driven, adding that transportation was a big business. Ozor said it was only a serious governor like Mbah that could take such a bold decision that had attracted commendations from citizens of the state.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Holy Ghost area of Enugu has been noted for its notoriety because of various transport companies conveying passengers day and night to all parts of the country.