Nigeria’s refineries processed almost no crude oil in the 13 months to end June, according to the latest data published by the NNPC on Thursday. In the same period, operating costs for the country’s three main oil refineries, which the NNPC has shuttered pending revamps, totalled $367 million (₦142.07 billion). “No white product (petrol and kerosene) was produced in June 2020 and apparently for the past 12 consecutive months. The lack of production is due to ongoing rehabilitation works at the refineries,” the report said. The NNPC announced in April that it had closed all its oil refineries as it works to secure funding and a model to upgrade them, adding that when the Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri refineries are revived they would no longer be managed by the company. The NNPC report said that all but a tiny fraction of the country’s domestic fuel had come via an agreement between Nigeria and a large handful of companies to swap the nation’s crude oil for fuels, dubbed direct sale, direct-purchase. Just under 40,000 megatons of crude was the only oil processed by the country in the reporting period, the report added, only 2 percent of the country’s refining capacity.
The African Development Bank said on Thursday its board had re-elected Akinwumi Adesina for a second five-year term as AfDB president. The Abidjan-based bank conducted the vote to reappoint Adesina during its annual meeting on Thursday, which is being held via video link, with Cote d’Ivoire’s minister of national planning and the chair of AfDB’s board of governors, Niale Kaba, announcing the results. Adesina, who was running unopposed, gained 100% of votes cast, the bank said in a statement. His reappointment comes after the bank’s ethics committee and an independent panel investigated whistleblowers’ allegations he had abused his office and cleared him of all wrongdoing in July. Adesina will begin his new term on September 1.
The CBN plans to resume dollar sales to retail currency operators by the end of the month, just as its airports reopen for international travel, it said on Thursday. The regulator suspended forex sales to bureaux de change operators in March as a coronavirus-induced lockdown cut demand for individuals with dollar expenses, to help protect the naira after a 15% devaluation prompted by an oil price crash. It later weakened the naira in a move to unify its multiple exchange rates. The bank said it will sell $10,000 to each of the country’s 5,000 retail currency operators on 31 August, according to a bank circular, down from the $20,000 each it sold to the traders. A BDC official told Reuters it planned to sell dollars to them twice in a week, compared to four times in the past. Traders cannot resell dollars bought from the central bank at more than ₦386 naira, the circular said. The naira traded at ₦477 to the dollar on the black market on Thursday, patronised by individuals with dollar expenses abroad, which is 20% weaker than where the official market quotes the currency at ₦386.15. The central bank resumed dollar sales to commercial banks in April in view of the gradual easing of the lockdown. However, demand has been swelling and piling up pressure on the naira, particularly from individuals and from foreign investors that need to repatriate funds abroad.
Former Malian President Ibrahim Keita, who was detained during the country’s coup on 18 August had been freed, Mali’s new military rulers said Thursday. The junta, which calls itself the National Committee for the Salvation of the People said on Facebook it was “informing public and international opinion that Keita has been released and is currently in his residence. According to a Keita relative, the 75-year-old former leader had returned overnight to his house in the Sebenikoro district of the capital Bamako. Keita’s release had been a key demand of Mali’s neighbours and international organisations, including the African Union and European Union. The former president, prime minister Boubou Cisse and other senior officials were seized by rebel troops led by young officers who staged a mutiny at a base near Bamako. Following the coop, Keita in the early hours of 19 August appeared on national TV to announce his resignation, saying he had had no other choice, and wanted to avoid “bloodshed”.