19 Apr

Daily Watch – Adeosun insists Nigeria is ‘not sick’, Militant group vows more pipeline attacks

  • Nigeria, currently going through its worst economic crisis in years, has not turned to the IMF for financial assistance because it is “not sick”, finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, has said. The economy grew 2.8 percent last year, its slowest pace in decades, and in March annual inflation rose to a near four year high of 12.8 percent. Last month the IMF said it had again cut its growth forecast for Nigeria, predicting that gross domestic product growth would slow to 2.3 percent in 2016. It has said it hopes exchange rate limits imposed by Nigeria will be removed. “Nigeria is not sick and even if we are, we have our own local remedy,” Adeosun said at the World Bank and IMF’s spring meetings in Washington. Adeosun’s spokesman, Festus Akanbi, said the comment was “an apparent response to a question on why the government has refused to apply for IMF loans”.
  • Nigeria is said to have lost about $3.3 billion (N653 billion at the CBN rate) as a result of a ten-year tax break granted by successive administrations to some of the world’s biggest Oil & Gas Companies –Shell, Total and ENI. Apart from the sheer value of the lost revenues from tax incentives, decisions to grant them are often shrouded in secrecy and not based on a thorough public cost-benefit analysis, according to agencies of the civil society and trade unions, who met last week in Abuja to deliberate on “tax incentives and the implications for development in Nigeria.” Calculations based on the annual accounts of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) company by Johannesburg-based Action Aid International –a non-partisan, non-religious development organisation –show that foregone tax revenue from Shell is $1.668 billion; Total – $977 million; and Eni’s share- $677million. The tax breaks, granted in 1990 under military rule, kicked-in in 1999, lasted 10 years, and the impacts are still being felt.
  • The group that claimed responsibility for the Forcados attack on Valentine’s Day has said it will carry out more strikes, just days after President Buhari vowed to crack down on “vandals and saboteurs”. The Niger Delta Avengers has said it carried out the attack on a Shell underwater pipeline in February which interrupted oil flows and forced the company to shut down its 250,000 barrel-a-day Forcados export terminal for weeks. Last week Buhari said the government would crack down on pipeline saboteurs. And on Sunday the vice president’s office issued a statement that said a permanent pipeline security force was being considered. “We are not deterred by such threats as we are highly spirited and shall continue blowing up pipelines until the Niger Delta people are no longer marginalized by the Nigerian actors,” said the Niger Delta Avengers in a statement.
  • Ikeja Electric has asked the Industrial Court to stop the NLC, NUEE and SSAEAC from barricading the entry and exit points of her Corporate Headquarters. In the suit marked as NICN/LA/228/2016, Ikeja Electric also asked the court to stop the respondents from disrupting or shutting down its operations. Ikeja Electric urged the court to stop the respondents from restricting the free movement of its staff, customers and technicians in and out of all her business premises pending the determination of the suit.