The CBN will not support the importation of items that can be produced in Nigeria with foreign exchange, Governor Godwin Emefiele, has said. This is even as the country considers full reopening of the economy. Emefiele asked industrial conglomerates to support efforts aimed at growing the economy and returning it to its glory days. He said Tue momentary regulator will not support the importation of items that can be produced in the country because it could not spend its forex reserves on what would not boost the economy and generate jobs for Nigerians. He said in line with the Federal Government’s desire, it was determined to return the Nigerian economy to the period when the manufacturing and agricultural sectors formed the mainstay of the economy. The CBN governor, while acknowledging the challenge of low oil prices to major economies of the world, expressed confidence that the price of crude would not remain at low levels for a long period. He emphasised that the low oil price challenge was surmountable, just as he declared that Nigeria’s foreign reserves of about $37 billion remained robust to support the economy.
Doctors in Lagos have announced plans to go on strike from Wednesday evening because of what they describe as police harassment of health workers who try to move through the city to treat patients during a coronavirus curfew. According to the Nigerian Medical Association doctors’ union, it had become unsafe for its members to “continue to provide healthcare under the present confused arrangement”. The union cited an example in which it said an ambulance carrying a patient was “prevented from moving to a destination while the attending health workers were harassed and temporarily detained”. The country has had more than 6,000 confirmed cases of the virus and 192 deaths. Lagos has been the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria. A lockdown in the state lasting just over a month was eased on 4 May but an overnight curfew was put in place nationwide. Essential workers were given the right to move at all times, but the doctors say this has not been properly implemented. The NMA called all its members in Lagos to “proceed on a sit-at-home starting from 6pm today”, which would continue until rules on movement restrictions were clarified. The Nigeria Police Force spokesman, Frank Mba, said there were no conflicting directives. He cited a statement by the force late on Tuesday, which said: “All essential workers including medical personnel, firefighters, ambulance services, journalists, etc, are exempted from the restriction of movement associated with both the partial lockdown and the national curfew across the federation.” He added that all police commissioners in the country had been told to enforce the exemptions.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics has said that Nigeria imported 28.9 billion litres of petrol among other petroleum products in 2019. The Petroleum Products Imports and Consumption Statistics Report 2019 showed that 20.89 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit, 5.15 billion litres of Automotive Gas Oil, 128.11 million litres of Household Kerosene, 1.07 billion litres of Aviation Turbine Kerosene, 45.98 million litres of Low Pour Fuel Oil and 526.06 milliom litres of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, were imported into the country in full year 2019. Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Slyva said the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved ₦2.9 billion for the provision of water and fire service equipment in the National Oil and Gas Park to be sited in Odukpani, Cross River. The Minister said this at the end of the second session of the virtual meeting of the FEC coordinated from the Council Chamber of the State House, Abuja. The project, Sylva said, when completed, will provide an additional infrastructural facility for the manufacturing of oil and gas components for the sector and boost economic activities in Cross River. The oil and gas scheme is to provide an environment, a corridor for citing industries that would produce components locally for the oil and gas industry.
Data from Baker Hughes and OPEC has shown that active oil rigs in Nigeria have reduced by 23.8 percent to 16 in April amid the collapse in oil prices and demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The report said that the country’s rig count stood at 21 in March while it recorded the second-biggest decline in the number of rigs among its peers in OPEC in April, after Venezuela, whose rig count plunged by 11 to 14. Rig count in Iraq dropped by four to 70; fell by three in the United Arab Emirates to 65; and dipped by two in Gabon to six. But Algeria’s rigs rose by eight to 42, while those of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia rose by four and two to 54 and 116 respectively. Rig count is largely a reflection of the level of exploration, development and production activities occurring in the oil and gas sector. The slump in oil prices caused by the coronavirus pandemic has forced many companies, including international oil companies, operating in the Nigerian oil industry to slash their capital budgets and suspend some projects. According to the CEO of International Energy Services, Diran Fawibe, the oil service sector will be badly affected since there is no way the oil companies will make use of service companies that have suspended or cancelled projects including those by international oil companies. The president, Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists, Alex Tarka, had said that rates for oil rigs were already being renegotiated downwards as members are already feeling the impact because quite a reasonable number of them depend on these drilling operations to sustain their businesses. One of the major independent firms, Seplat, said in March that it was looking to cut costs by at least 30% to counter a crash in crude prices. The CEO of Eroton, Ebiaho Emafo, said in April that the firm had suspended a planned $1.5 billion, 50-well campaign to more than double output to 100,000 barrels per day by 2021. Royal Dutch Shell, among others, on the other hand, had said it would reduce capital spending to $20 billion for 2020 from its previously planned $25 billion, while ExxonMobil cut its budget by $10 billion to $23 billion.