16 Dec

Daily Watch – ICT stakeholders worry about broadband plan, Nigeria records highest oil output drop in OPEC

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has said that the Federal Government will begin a gradual withdrawal of fuel subsidy next year. Speaking before the Joint National Assembly Committee on Finance, Appropriation and National Planning on the consideration of the MTEF, Kachukwu said that the subsidy, put at over N1 trillion in 2015, was no longer sustainable. This decision to gradually remove the fuel subsidy comes amid the continuous fall in oil price globally. Brent crude price hit a 7 year low on Monday trading at a price of $36.5 per barrel, has now fallen below Nigeria’s target 2016 benchmark price of $38 per barrel for the second day running.

BusinessDay reports that industry experts are worried that there are no visible signs of progress in resolving the much talked about broadband penetration challenges facing the country, a month after the appointment of Adebayo Shittu, as the minister for Communications. Stakeholders told the paper that the most prominent challenge in the ICT sector, is that the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NBP) approved by the Goodluck Jonathan administration may not meet the supposed 80 percent population target of wireless mobile broadband coverage by 2017 as proposed, and want the new minister to fast track the implementation of the plan.

OPEC has released its monthly oil market report for the month of November showing crude oil production from Nigeria fell by 205,000 barrels per day in November. This was the biggest drop among OPEC countries for the month with Saudi Arabia coming at a distant second with 89,900 barrels per day. OPEC, in its latest monthly oil market report, put crude oil production from Nigeria at 1.607 million bpd in November based on direct communication, down from 1.812 million bpd in October. Meanwhile Angola, Africa’s second largest producer of Crude saw output drop to 1.722 million bpd last month from 1.762 million bpd in October. Angola has in recent years come neck and neck with Nigeria threatening to usurp Nigeria as Africa’s largest exporter. The data reveal Angola surpassed Nigeria in oil production for the first and second quarter of 2015.

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, has had a telephone conversation with President Buhari over the violence involving the Shi’a Islamic Movement in Nigeria. IRNA quoted Rouhani as telling President Buhari to ensure that “minor disputes must not be allowed to turn into deep differences”. He was also said to have asked about the welfare of the injured victims, especially Ibraheem Zakzaky, the Shi’a leader in Nigeria, then advising Buhari to issue strict orders that could forestall further attacks. The agency quoted him as emphasising the importance of unity among Muslims.