22 Aug

Daily Watch – Avengers declare conditional ceasefire, Buhari seeks emergency powers for economy

  • The Niger Delta Avengers has announced a willingness to discuss a peace deal with the FG. A statement on the group’s website said its disposition to dialogue and a peace deal with government was conditional. The conditions are a multi-side engagement of relevant actors, restructuring Nigeria, and a cessation of military offensives in the Niger Delta. Such negotiations, according to the group, should be “focused on achieving the short, medium and long term frameworks and objectives to de-escalating conflicts in the Niger Delta.” The Avengers have carried out attacks on oil and gas installations, devastating Nigeria’s output and revenue.
  • Aero Contractors, one of Nigeria’s largest domestic airlines, may lay off some of its workers as its financial crisis worsens. The airline has started talks with aviation unions on how best to proceed with job cuts, this after closing some of its routes. While officials denied claims that the airline is on the verge of shutting down completely, The Punch reported that the airline has not been able to bring in some of its aeroplanes that were sent out for routine maintenance due to foreign exchange constraints. However, union officials say that virtually all domestic airlines in Nigeria are being confronted with problems, ranging from double taxation by government agencies in the sector, scarcity of aviation fuel, and difficulty in accessing forex.
  • The New Telegraph reports that President Buhari will submit a Bill to the National Assembly this week, seeking emergency powers for a year. The Bill, titled: Emergency Economic Stabilisation Bill 2016, is in three parts: Objectives and application; Timeliness, thresholds and other limitations; and miscellaneous. In the Bill, the President wants to carry out radical reforms that have both executive and legislative components. The executive orders will involve issuance of visas, registration of businesses, granting of waivers, process of tendering and sale of non-core assets. The emergency powers that have the legislative components include the UBEC Act, procurement process and virement of budget allocations. The objectives of the emergency powers are to reflate the economy by creating more jobs, boost foreign reserves, ensure inflow of foreign exchange, strengthens the naira, resuscitate the manufacturing sector and get contractors back to site.
  • Nigeria’s crude oil production is expected to remain depressed through 2017 as a result of militant attacks, the Energy International Administration, the statistical arm of the United States’ Energy Department, has said. The EIA said the crude oil production disruptions in Nigeria reached 750,000 barrels per day in May 2016, the highest level since January 2009. It said the increased disruptions came as militants continued to focus attacks on oil and natural gas infrastructure in the country. According to trade press reports, exports of multiple Nigerian crude oil grades, including Bonny Light, Forcados, Brass River, and Qua Iboe, have been under periods of force majeure since the beginning of 2016, meaning companies are released from export obligations as a result of circumstances beyond their control.