FG targets fresh $20bn oil, gas deal

Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), says the Federal Government is set to seal a deal worth 20 billion dollars to boost oil and gas production in Nigeria. Lokpobiri said this on Thursday in Abuja when a delegation of Schlumberger (SLB) Ltd. led by its global Chief Executive Officer, Mr Olivier Le Peuch, paid him a courtesy visit. Lokpobiri said no investment had taken place in Nigeria for some years, hence the downward trend in production. But he assured that the country was set to receive investments of over 20 billion dollars, with one company alone accounting for 10 billion dollars. He said one of the cardinal objectives of President Bola Tinubu was to unlock the potential in the oil and gas sector to harness the benefits of huge deposits. 'We are talking to a lot of the big investors who have always invested big in the country. 'And I am not going to tell you the details now, because it's something I want to announce when the deal is finally consummated,' he sa id. Lokpobiri explained that the Federal Government was committed to creating an enabling environment for investors to tap into the business opportunities inherent in the country. He assured that the Tinubu administration was focusing on creating the best environment for investments to return for the benefit of Nigerians, and also for the benefit of those companies that have always invested in the country. 'We'll bring not only Schlumberger, where the pie is so big, the opportunities are so big, that not only Schlumberger can do it. 'We want to use this opportunity to call on the other international service companies to also come back; there is a new sheriff in town that is determined to do things differently,' he said. He further said the partnership with Schlumberger was significant having made impact in Nigeria's oil and gas industry in the last 71 years. He added that the company's visit to Nigeria was a testament to the fact that confidence was coming back to unlock the potential in the oil and gas sector. 'As a government, we want to continue with this 71-year marriage. If you are married to a woman for 71 years, you've taken all the good parts of her life. So, you can't divorce her and allow her to die. 'Our journey for the past 70 years, from 1958 when oil was found in commercial quantity in Oloibiri in the Niger Delta, SLB has played a very strategic role. 'So, our own, you know, as government of Nigeria, is to ensure that we create the beast environments, not only competitive, but best environment that you can invest in. 'I can assure you that all these things we discussed will be given the most serious attention. And we'll do whatever we can to ensure that we create that environment.' he added. Earlier, Le Peuch, on his part expressed optimism working with Nigeria to boost oil and gas investment while unlocking the performance of the oil and gas industry in the country. Le Peuch further assured of his commitment to strengthen the relationship and partnership with Nigeria to pave way for grea ter success in Nigeria. 'We are ready to work with you as partners, we are ready to contribute to the change that you are willing to put in place, to facilitate a newborn era for oil and gas investment into the country,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Turkish Airlines to resume Lagos flight operations Saturday

Turkish Airlines has announced that it would on Saturday, May 25, resume its flight operations in Lagos, which were suspended following the disruption of its operations in the state, four days ago. 'Due to actions at our counter at the Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport that jeopardised our flight safety and continued for four days, we had to cancel our scheduled flights to Lagos as of Tuesday, May 21. 'Turkish Airlines, prioritizing the safety and security of its passengers and crew, will resume flights to Nigeria on Saturday, May 25, as it has done since 2006. 'As long as the NCAA and FAAN authorities take the necessary precautions and maintain safety of flights, crew, Turkish Airlines Lagos personnel, and passengers at the airport, we will continue to operate with the same sensitivity,' the Airline stated on Friday. It explained that the decision to resume operations was taken after holding meetings with Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN) officials, and evaluating its request. According to the airline, the decision is also informed by the fact that NCAA and FAAN have issued a joint press release announcing that additional security measures will be taken to prevent reoccurrence of such incidents. The airline also said that the FAAN General Manager shared a written statement with it, committing to taking unprecedented measures to ensure safety of its operations. 'We want to thank the authorities for the assurance they provided, and we would like to emphasise that Turkish Airlines is the airline flying to more countries than any other in the world. 'We adhere fully to the laws and regulations of the countries we operate in and act in accordance with international business ethics principles. 'We have informed the relevant authorities that we will not be able to carry out the scheduled flights until our flight safety is guaranteed and requested assurances from them,' the airline added. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the a irline on Thursday described as illegal the picketing of its Lagos office by the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), which forced flight cancellations. It explained that the National Industrial Court (NICN) had on April 30, issued formal notices of injunction restraining NUATE and its affiliate unions from embarking on any industrial action to disrupt its business. NCAA on Thursday, also waded into the matter, paving way for an amicable resolution of the issues, and for the airline to resume full operations, albeit without a definite resumption date. (NAN) Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Nigerian military neutralised 9,300 bandits, terrorists in 1 year – Badaru

The Minister of Defence, Muhammadu Badaru, has said that the Nigerian Armed Forces neutralised 9,300 bandits and terrorists have been neutralised within the last one year. Badaru disclosed this at the Ministerial Sectoral Briefings, organised by the Ministry of Information, to mark the first anniversary of the President Bola Tinubu's administration, on Thursday in Abuja. He also said that about 7,000 others were arrested, and 4,882 assorted weapons and 83,900 ammunitions recovered. The minister said that 4,641 victims of kidnapping had been rescued within the period under review, adding that about 20 commanders of different insurgent and terrorist groups were among those neutralised. According to him, this is achieved in a very short time, adding that, 'we really have to thank President Bola Tinubu for his choice of the officers manning the security agencies in the country. 'In addition to the military, we have close collaboration with the office of the National Security Advisor, Police, Civil Defence a nd all other military, paramilitary and security enhancing agencies. 'This has translated to tremendous progress during this last one year in review. You will all agree with me that those from Borno enjoyed their last Sallah freely,'' he said. The minister said that in an effort to improve the production of crude oil, the Nigerian Armed Forces arrested 1,437 people, neutralised 363, and freed 245 captives in the Niger Delta. 'We destroyed 3,051 dug pits of illegal production, destroyed 1,276 boats, 3,924 storage facilities, arrested and destroyed 408 vehicles and 2,760 cooking oil drums. 'So, most of the illegal factories are now down. And in addition, major vessels have been arrested, and this has helped greatly. 'This is because the president enjoined us to work together in synergy to deliver and end insecurity in the country. 'We have also been working with regional security agencies and countries around us to improve this situation. 'We are collaborating with neighbouring countries to fight insurge ncy, and we have arrested in conjuction with these countries militaries, many weapons and drug traffickers. 'This shows that the collaboration we have with our neighboring countries is efficient and helping us to reduce the inflow of small arms and light weapons,'' he said. Badaru further said that within the year under review, the capacity of troops have been enhanced with the support of the president. 'Thanks to Mr President that has helped us to procure and upgraded a lot of our equipment. That has also enhanced our efficiency and has boosted the morale of troops. On Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), the minister said the signing of the bill by President Tinubu, helped the military to produce locally what they needed. He said the ministry was in talks with more than 50 private companies in Nigeria and abroad that were interested in production. He added that out of the figures, 13 have already started production or about to start production. Badaru also said that efforts were being emp laced to synergise with universities for research and development, so that we can produce much more. Speaking on personnel welfare, the minister said that for troops to have the spirit to fight and also keep the morale, the President had supported the armed forces with lots of welfare packages. 'Their salaries are paid as at when due. We are being funded adequately to take care of the troops out there and also to provide for their accommodation and training. 'That has helped us to boost the morale of our troops heavily. 'We believe that security is a whole society issue, so it has to have a whole society approach, and that is translated in the Renewed Hope Agenda of the present administration,'' Badaru said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NELFUND opens portal for 1st phase of students loan application

The Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) has opened the application portal for the first phase of its student loan scheme, targeting students from federal institutions across the country. The loan website became active early Friday morning, launching the scheme's pilot phase for students of federal tertiary institutions. Mr Nasir Ayitogo, the Media and Public Relations Lead of NELFUND, provided a step-by-step guide for the loan application process. Ayitogo listed the procedures as: CREATING AN ACCOUNT Step 1: visit www.nelf.gov.ng Step 2: Click on the 'Apply Now' Step 3: Click on 'Get Started' Step 4: Answer the questions on this page to continue by clicking on 'Yes, I am a Nigerian' Step 5: Verify your educational information. You would be required to select your school from a dropdown and provide your matric number to check if your school has uploaded your details. Step 6: Click the 'Verify with JAMB' and enter your JAMB details in the screen. (Students whose NIN has not been registered with J AMB will have an input field where they can enter their NIN for validation.) Step 7: Create an account by entering your Email address, Password and Confirm Password in the fields provided and click 'Create Account'. Step 8: Click the email verification link sent to your email. This concludes the process of creating an account. HOW TO COMPLETE YOUR PROFILE : After successful registration, log in by clicking the 'LOGIN' button. Step 1: Enter your email address and password to Login. Step 2: Click on the 'Proceed to Contact Details' button. Step 3: Update contact details with the current information of your Phone Number, Full Residential Address, State of Residence and Local Government Area of Residence and click 'Proceed to Educational Details'. Step 4: Update your educational details by selecting your Higher Institution and inputting your Matric Number, then click 'Proceed to Account Details' Step 5: Verify your BVN by entering your BVN, select your Bank Name and enter your Account Number. Click 'Sav e Changes' to complete your profile. LOAN APPLICATION Step 1: Click on the 'Request for Student Loan' button at the top right of the screen on the home or loans page after logging into the application. Step 2: If you want an upkeep loan, click the check box, and click Continue, if all you need is the institutional charge, click the 'Continue' button. Step 3: Upload supporting documents. The admission letter is compulsory which the Student ID and Institution Invoice are optional. Click the checkbox for the policy and declaration and click 'Continue' Step 4: Read the loan overview and click the check boxes for both the Terms and Conditions and GSI Mandate then click 'Submit Application' Step 5: Click on the 'Loans' button to view the status of your application. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Bola Tinubu enacted an initial version of the student loan policy in June 2023 to grant interest-free loans to students. The scheme, which was supposed to have taken off in October 2023, w as deferred until a re-enactment in April 2024. However, NELFUND finally scheduled the opening of the loan application and issuance portal for May 24, which is now in operation. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Q1: Manufacturers’ CEOs confidence inches up 1.7 points

The confidence index of Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in the first quarter of 2024 has risen by 1.7 points for the first in the last six quarters. Otunba Francis Meshioye, President, MAN, disclosed this during the Public Presentation of the MAN CEO's Confidence Index Report on Thursday in Lagos. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Association's CEO's Confidence Index (MCCI) is used to measure changes, quarterly in the pulse of 400 CEOs of manufacturing concerns to development in government policies and movement in macroeconomic indicators. Meshioye reported moderate improvement in the Aggregate Index Score (AIS) evidenced by the meagre increase from 51.8 points in the fourth quarter of 2023 to 53.5 points. He said the indicators considered during the period under review include changes in business conditions, employment and production levels in the economy. The MAN President, however, noted that the current business and employment conditio ns remained below the average 50 points threshold due to rising inflation, escalating energy costs, exchange rate instability and unstable customs duty rates, particularly in January and February. Meshioye emphasised the need for the development of the manufacturing sector to be at the front burner for economic policymakers as the sector was the most essential for sustained economic growth and shared prosperity. 'The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria acknowledges the government's efforts at revitalising the manufacturing sector evidenced by the recent monetary policy initiatives targeted at salvaging the economy. 'However, it must be made clear that most of these policy initiatives have not resulted in a win-win situation. 'Most notably, the consecutive hikes in the Monetary Policy Rate by 600 basis points to combat inflation and encourage the inflow of foreign portfolio investment will not result in sustainable gains for the naira. 'In its bid to bring high inflation under control, the Apex bank must strike a balance by implementing policies that stimulate foreign investment and promote an enabling environment for domestic manufacturers to flourish. 'It is high time the government focused more on promoting foreign direct investment and exports of high-value-added manufactured goods that are capable of boosting the country's foreign exchange reserves and sustaining the appreciation of the naira,' he said. Meshioye also urged the government to frontally address insecurity, improve electricity supply, promote fiscal sustainability, and ensure policy consistency. He said among other priorities, the fiscal authority must also lend supportive measures by adequately incentivising the manufacturing sector and other productive sectors. 'This is very important to boost non-oil export earnings in addition to the increase in oil export proceeds occasioned by increased oil production, rising global oil prices and the coming on stream of the Dangote Refinery,' he said. In his remarks, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Directo r General, MAN, noted that the performance showed that manufacturing was set on the path of restoration and recovery, with the hope of improvement in the next quarter. Ajayi-Kadir attributed the performance to the undying resilience of manufacturers, the reasonable gains recorded by the Naira in the latter part of the first quarter and the expectation of a reasonable reduction in diesel price. He also urged the government to intentionally prioritise the manufacturing sector by implementing the sector-specific recommendations to revamp the sector and reposition the economy towards sustainable growth and development. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

‘Ningbo in Light and Shadow’ – the Premier Exhibition of the Global 100 Exhibitions on 100 Enterprises launched in Cambodia

On the morning of May 23, the premier exhibition of 'Ningbo in Light and Shadow' was launched in Cambodia. Chen Cong, Minister-Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia, Prak Phannara, Secretary of State to Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, Chhean Leang, Secretary of State to Ministry of Information of Cambodia and Choun Chanphearoun, Deputy Director General of Information and Broadcasting of the Ministry of Information of Cambodia attended the launching ceremony. The chambers of commerce of three levels (Ningbo, Zhejiang and China) in Cambodia, CNS reporters in Cambodia and reporters from Cambodian mainstream media have participated in the ceremony of the premier exhibition. The premier exhibition was jointly organized by Ningbo International Communication Center (NICC), China Pictorial, and Ningbo Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia, covering more than 20 Ningbo companies such as Seduno and Shenzhou International Group, with 120,000 employees in overseas factories in Cambodia. It is reported that this is the first large-scale cultural exchange event in China that uses overseas factories as a platform to promote the image of the city to go global. This photography exhibition has selected 90 excellent photographic works. In addition to showing the mountains and rivers, landmarks and intangible heritage of Zhejiang and China, there are also beautiful pictures from Ningbo, covering the port, industry, city, culture and other aspects. The purpose is to tell the story of China with photos, so that employees of overseas factories can better understand Ningbo. The Sanjiangkou in Ningbo is both the outlet of China's Grand Canal and the starting point of the Maritime Silk Road. The monument 'Point of Departure of the Maritime Tea Route' at Sanjiangkou tells the origin of Chinese tea going global. The remarks of these pictures have brought the viewers back to the ancient time, witnessing a fleet of tea, tea sets, cotton and silk, porcelain was shipped from here to Cambodia and other places around the world. 'Through the text explanation, I have learned that the Phnom Penh - Poipet high-speed railway built in cooperation with China is also advancing, and it will become more convenient to travel in the future, which is very exciting.' said Shen Jinfa, an employee of Seduno (Cambodia) Knitting Co., Ltd. A photo that is related to local social life also transcends the meaning of the photo itself and serves as a bridge to China-Cambodia friendship. 'I've never been to China, I've never been to the location of the headquarters. However, these photos make me have a wonderful imagination of Ningbo far away.' Rasny, an employee of Seduno (Cambodia) Knitting Co., Ltd., said that she is very fond of the historical architecture and cultural art of Ningbo at this photo exhibition. Many Ningbo companies such as Seduno have gathered in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. How to increase the cohesion between employees from different cultural backgrounds is a problem to deal with by many overseas factories. 'Through the photo exhibition, we have l earned about the changes and development opportunities in China, as well as the development of this vibrant city of Ningbo.' Chhean Leang, Secretary of State to Ministry of Information of Cambodia, greatly appreciates this approach, which allows people to know each other's situation intuitively. 'Ningbo in Light and Shadow' Global 100 Exhibitions on 100 Enterprises plans to hold 100 photography exhibitions in 100 overseas factories of Ningbo enterprises. The next step will be launching the exhibition at overseas factories of Ningbo enterprises in Bangladesh, Vietnam and other countries. Source: News Agency of Nigeria