15 Feb

Daily Watch – CBN denies ‘fake naira’ problem, AMCON scores another major takeover

  • Despite recording the biggest increase in output among its peers in OPEC, Nigeria has again lost its Africa’s top oil producer status to Angola after it regained it in November last year. For nine months in 2016, Nigeria lagged behind its southern African counterpart in oil production on the back of the resurgence of militant attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta. OPEC, in its Monthly Oil Market Report for February 2017, which was released on Monday, put crude oil production from Nigeria at 1.604 million barrels per day in January, up from 1.37 mbpd in the previous month, based on direct communication. Production from Angola stood at 1.615 mbpd in January, down from the 1.639 mbpd it closed at last year. Nigeria’s output had increased to 1.782 mbpd in November from 1.39 mbpd, compared to Angola’s 1.688 mbpd, OPEC’s December report showed. OPEC, which uses secondary sources to monitor its oil output, but also publishes a table of figures submitted by its member countries, said the group’s total production in January averaged 32.14 mbpd, showing a decrease of 890,000 bpd over the previous month. “Crude oil output decreased the most in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, while production in Nigeria, Libya and Iran increased,” the 13-member oil cartel said.
  • Nigeria said it lost out on as much as $100 billion in revenue last year as attacks by militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta cut crude output to a record low. Production fell by 1 million barrels a day to 1.2 million a day at the peak of the attacks, Emmanuel Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum, said Tuesday in a video clip on his Facebook page. Last year, Nigeria suffered its first full-year recession since 1991 as a resurgence of armed conflict in the delta, combined with lower oil prices, blighted the economy. While recent peace efforts have curbed the frequency of attacks on oil infrastructure, the West African nation has struggled to boost output as one of its largest export terminals remains closed. “We continue to engage,” Kachikwu said, referring to peace talks between the government and local leaders from the delta. “It is a difficult undertaking to try to embark on trying to resolve it once and for all, but we’re very bullish about this.”
  • AMCON on Tuesday, February 14, took over the management of Odengene Air Shuttle Services Limited, operators of the OAS Helicopters, following a court order. There was a heavy presence of heavily-armed policemen guarding the premises while it was sealed off. On the premises of OAS was this inscription: Possession taken today 14/2/17 BY AMCON BY COURT ORDER ON SUIT NO. FHC/4CS/1139/2016. Jude Nwauzor, Head Corporate Communications at AMCON confirmed the development, adding that he was still getting details from the lawyers involved. Nwauzor said the company is owing AMCON, and this development comes barely five days after the corporation took over Arik Air over ₦300 billion debt. OAS is an indigenous aviation company registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission on February 4, 1992, and licensed by the NCAA to render flight services. According to the company’s website, the entity’s flight outfit covers two areas of flight activities: rotary and fixed wing services.
  • The CBN says the number of counterfeit naira notes in circulation is less than one percent, according to a statement by its spokesman, Isaac Okorafor. A former Deputy Governor at the regulator, Obadiah Mailafia, said that 20 percent of the total currency being circulated across the country was fake. Okorafor said that the information given by the former apex bank staff was grossly exaggerated. “While we acknowledge that no currency in the world is immune from counterfeiting, we make bold to state that the rate of counterfeiting in Nigeria has been very minimal due to appropriate policies put in place by the Bank. Indeed, our records at the Bank clearly indicate that the prevalence of counterfeit notes in Nigeria from January to December 2016 was less than one percent. This means that there were only 14 counterfeit pieces out of one million bank notes,” he said.
  • The new management of Arik Air has announced the suspension of its international flight operations to enable the carrier to find permanent solutions to the problem of delays and cancellation of flights. The airline said the decision was aimed at realigning operations and refocusing on satisfying its domestic, West African and other international passengers. The airline said arrangements were being made to refund all international passengers affected by the decision.
  • The acting general manager, Radio Niger, Andrew Achanya has said that the state government had signed a ₦300 million contract to ensure the digitalisation of the state broadcaster. Achanya made the disclosure in commemoration of ‎World Radio Day with the theme for 2017 edition, “Radio is You”‎. He also said that the state government had sent two staff of the station to Italy for two-week training on the job, to enable them to manage the digitisation when in operation. According to him, the effort is also due to the premium government places government on broadcasting and the need to transit from analogue to digitalisation of the radio. The World Radio Day is an annual event usually marked on Feb. 13 to celebrate radio as a medium to improve international cooperation amongst broadcasters and to spur other networks. Radio broadcasting started in Nigeria in 1933 by the British colonial government, named the Radio Diffusion Service which gave birth to the Nigerian Broadcasting Service with radio stations in Lagos, Kaduna, Enugu, Ibadan, and Kano, April 1950. There are about 315 radio stations, both public and private across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja, the national capital today.