The FG has said that goods coming into the country must have 30 percent local input as part of the condition to reopen the borders. The FG urged ECOWAS countries to respect rules of origin, vowing that Nigeria will no longer tolerate repackaging of imported goods. These were some of the conditions handed down to ECOWAS countries clamouring the re-opening of the land borders, which were shut over smuggling of rice, guns and other contrabands into Nigeria from the neighbouring countries. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama said this during the meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Temporary Partial Closure of Land Borders held at the ministry on Monday. He maintained that goods imported for the Nigerian market must be escorted directly from the port of member states directly to the borders.
Pirates have kidnapped a Norwegian shipping vessel with nine crew members off the coast of the Benin Republic. The vessel was carrying gypsum, a mineral used as a fertiliser, and was at anchor, owner JJ Ugland said. The International Maritime Bureau had declared the Gulf of Guinea as world’s most dangerous piracy hotspot, where some 62 seafarers have been captured off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon this year. The Norwegian-flagged MV Bonita’s remaining crew notified the local authorities after the attack early on Saturday and the vessel docked in Cotonou, the largest city in Benin, later the same day, JJ Ugland said. Although piracy has decreased worldwide, it continues to rise in the Gulf of Guinea and there are fears that the area could emulate Somalia in terms of the threat to shipping. Several abductions have been reported in the Gulf of Guinea in recent months, including eight crew members taken from a German-owned vessel off Cameroon in August, and 10 Turkish sailors off the coast of Nigeria in July.
President Buhari has signed a Bill amending the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act. This is coming after lawmakers passed the Bill last month, which amended the provisions of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act 2004. Under the law which regulates royalty payable on a field basis, oil companies will no longer pay graduated rates for deep offshore production sharing contracts but will now pay a flat rate of 10 percent for finds in fields deeper than 200 metres. The new law also requires the Minister of Petroleum to call for a review of PSCs by the NNPC every 8 years and introduces offenses and penalties for violating the law such a minimum fine of ₦500 million or minimum five years jail time or both upon conviction. It also introduces specific price reflective royalty rates. The previous law required a review of royalty rates where crude oil price exceeds $20 per barrel to ensure additional revenue for the government but this was not effected for over two decades. The amended law now provides for review of royalty rates where crude oil and condensate price exceeds $20 per barrel using different rates according to price benchmarks. The President, during the 2020 budget presentation to the National Assembly, noted that amendment of the contracts law is one of the priorities of the FG, as it has the capacity to generate additional revenue of at least $500 million which will aid the government in achieving the proposed 2020 budgeted revenue. However, International oil Companies have kicked against the amended law saying it will constrain new investment. Industry group Oil Producers Trade Section, which represents oil companies responsible for 90 percent of Nigeria’s oil and gas, said this proposed law change, and the regulatory uncertainty it will create, could significantly undermine profitability for the projects, including large fields such as Shell-operated Bonga and Total’s Egina.
A former governor of Cross River state, Donald Duke, has asked the government to compel banks to reduce interest rates to make credit available and affordable for small businesses. Duke said that Nigeria’s banking industry has been a major obstacle to sustainable economic development because of about 25 percent interest being charged on loans to customers. According to him, Nigeria’s fortune could change for the better if the economy is grown to cater to the country’s rising population by effectively managing revenue from its natural resources and creating conducive environment for citizens to undertake legitimate means of livelihood. He pleaded with the government to recheck its priorities noting that the country spends about ₦1.5 trillion on subsidies, more than the amount expenses on education, health, and infrastructure.