Data from Malaysian Palm Oil Council has shown that the country’s Crude Palm Oil export to Nigeria increased by 18.4 percent last year. The rise is even as Africa’s largest economy closed its borders with its neighbours. The report showed that Nigeria’s CPO import from Malaysia increased to 286,964 metric tons in 2019 from 242, 388MT in 2018, up by 44,576MT on a year-on-year basis. The Nigerian government shut its borders in August 2019 in a bid to tackle smuggling and boost local production of agricultural produce in the country. Similarly, to protect the country’s palm oil industry and spur the industry growth, the FG had directed a 35 percent tariff; 10 percent duty and 25 percent levy, on palm oil imports into the country while crude palm oil is also listed on the FG 41 items restricted from forex access. Despite the policies, oil palm imports into the country are still on the rise owing to the huge demand-supply gap. Experts estimated Nigeria’s annual palm oil output at 900,000-1.3 million MT. Import is estimated at over N500 billion annually. With national demand of 2.1 million MT, the supply gap is around 800,000MT.

Chinese companies have begun to walk away from purchase contracts due to the spread of the deadly coronavirus. This has affected the global community as trade plunged deeper into chaos. A Chinese buyer of liquefied natural gas and a copper importer declared force majeure as the virus constrains their ability to take deliveries. China National Offshore Oil Corp., the nation’s biggest LNG buyer, invoked force majeure and told some suppliers it won’t take delivery of cargoes because of constraints caused by the coronavirus. However, French oil and gas giant Total SA rejected the declaration. The Chinese copper smelter Guangxi Nanguo had also declared the same get-out clause, refusing to take delivery of raw materials. The reneges are among the first known cases of the legal clause being invoked in commodity contracts as a result of the epidemic. China is the world’s biggest consumer of most raw materials, from energy products to industrial metals, and disruptions in its purchases create havoc across global supply chains. Now, while global markets bounce back from initial fears over the impact of the virus, the fallout in commodity trade is only worsening as Beijing keeps swathes of the country under lockdown and restricts travel. CNOOC sent the force majeure notice to suppliers including Shell and Total, according to sources. Total confirmed it received one force majeure notification, which it rejected after legal analysis, Philippe Sauquet, the company’s president for gas, renewables and power, said in a company presentation.

Dubai-based mega carrier, Emirates Airlines, has stopped flight operations to Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport due to the inefficiency of the airport’s Instrument Landing System, a navigational aid that guides aircraft to land, especially during low visibility. Until the ILS is fixed, the carrier said, it will continue to boycott the MMIA. Since last Monday, airlines, especially foreign carriers have been diverting flights destined to Lagos to Accra and Dakar due to Harmattan haze, which lowers visibility. Emirates, last Thursday, diverted its Lagos flight to Accra and engaged domestic carrier, Arik Air to airlift them to Lagos. Emirates said its three sets of the crew were stranded in Lagos since Monday but were flown to Dubai on a chartered flight via Abuja, according to ThisDay. Over 1500 Nigerians were said to have been standard in Accra, Ghana as there were no adequate arrangements to airlift them from Accra to Lagos. British Airways has already cancelled its flight to Lagos due to operational constraints. The airline informed passengers via email that its plans to fly those interested back to the United Kingdom. Delta was also reported to have taken its Lagos based passengers back to the US when it could not land in Lagos. However, the US-based carrier diverted its previous flights to Accra and Dakar respectively. The Harmattan haze reduced visibility below 800 meters, so airlines needed the ILS to land but the Category 3 ILS, which enables aircraft to land at zero visibility was installed last year but the calibration was not completed so it could not be put in use. Nigeria’s aviation minister, Hadi Sirika apologised to airlines and passengers over the bad weather and malfunctioning landing systems and said that the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency was working tirelessly to fix the ILS.

The FG has announced the removal of stamp duty from any bank transaction between two accounts owned by the same person or organisation. The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said this while highlighting some of the benefits of the Finance Act 2019 recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari. At the Udo Udoma and Belo Osagie Second Private Equity Summit held in Lagos, the Minister said in order to make things better for citizens, the FG exempted stamp duty from same owner account transfer and also eliminated tax costs from genuine business reorganisation within a group, especially including specific exemption for value-added tax and Capital Gains Tax on the transactions, which were previously dealt with informally. Banks had charged ₦150 on transactions above ₦1,000, but going by the new Act the amount became effective on payments more than ₦10,000. The Minister said the payment of advance income tax has been removed from interim dividends. She added that the government came up with the policy to make the country’s capital market attractive to investors.