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Oil falls below $62

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Oil fell below 62 dollars a barrel on Wednesday after a report showed a rise in U.S. crude inventories, while concerns about the impact on global supplies of U.S. sanctions on Venezuela faded.

U.S. crude inventories rose by 2.5 million barrels last week, according to an industry group, the American Petroleum Institute, and gasoline stocks also increased.

The government’s official supply report is due later on Wednesday. “The fact that U.S. crude oil and gasoline stocks rose more sharply than expected, as reported by the API after the close of trading yesterday, is weighing on prices,” said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, slipped 49 cents to 61.49 dollars a barrel as of 1053 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 55 cents at 53.11 dollars.

The U.S. announced sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company last week, a move which could further curb supplies, although the development has yet to result in steep price gains.

“It would seem that the market is really not too worried yet about the potential loss of Venezuelan barrels,” said analysts at JBC Energy in a report.

“This is either because the market assumes that the size of the impact will not be large or at least it will be of short enough duration.”

Worries about weaker global economic growth and the trade dispute between the United States and China have also weighed on the market.

Oil fell on Tuesday after a survey showed euro zone business expansion nearly stalled in January.

In his State of the Union address, U.S. President Donald Trump said a trade deal was possible with China. Senior U.S. and Chinese officials are poised to start another round of trade talks next week.

Supply cuts by the OPEC and its allies, including Russia, have been supporting prices. Venezuela, an OPEC member, is like Iran and Libya exempt from making voluntary curbs under the deal.

The producers known as OPEC+ began cutting production from last month to avert a new supply glut and OPEC has delivered almost three-quarters of its pledged cutback already, according to a Reuters survey.

Fritsch of Commerzbank said the Venezuelan issue could still drive oil higher.

“The price has yet to react in any noticeable way,” he said.

“That said, if the other OPEC countries fail to offset this outage, the oil market could quickly become undersupplied, driving the price up.”

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Politics

Oyo state governor publicly declares his N48 billion asset

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Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has published his asset declaration document showing he has in excess of N48 billion in both cash and properties.


PT reported that the governor complied with Nigeria’s code of conduct law that mandates senior public office holders to file their asset details while assuming and exiting office.

It is however not compulsory to make the details of asset public.

Mr Makinde went further on Monday to release details of what he filled in his asset form at the Code of Conduct Bureau in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

He also said he would encourage all his potential cabinet appointees to do so when they are nominated.

He became the first high-ranking public official to do so amongst those that emerged in the last general election.

According to a statement by Taiwo Adisa, a spokesperson for Mr Makinde, the governor’s CCB OYSE/2019/001 form filed on May 28, 2019, showed he had N48 billion in cash and asset.

The asset was categorised in cash at hand, in the bank, landed properties (developed and undeveloped), and household items.

They also include shares and bonds owned by the governor, his wife, Omini Makinde, as well as his companies.

BANK ACCOUNTS
As of May 28, 2019, Mr Makinde’s bank balance stood at N234, 742,296.01. In dollar terms, he has cash valued at $30,056.99 as at the same date.

Properties, including the developed and undeveloped as well as household items indicated on the asset forms, showed that the governor is worth N2, 624,800,500.

In dollar terms, Mr Makinde also declared properties, developed and undeveloped as well as household items valued at $4,400,000.

In South African Rands, the governor declared buildings and household items worth four million, four hundred and fifty-seven thousand, five hundred and fifty-four and four South African Rands.

The houses declared by Governor Makinde include nine buildings in Nigeria, two in the United States of America and one in South Africa.

One of the properties in the United States is described as “jointly owned.”

The details showed the current value of Makinde’s companies stands at N48, 150,736,889, including 33,730,000 units of shares as of May 28.

The governor also has existing Bonds (Eurobond) worth $3, 793, 500 as well as shares, debentures and other securities valued at N120,500,000(One hundred and twenty million, five hundred thousand naira).

FIRMS AND VALUES
The governor also listed companies that include Makon Engineering and Technical Services Limited; Energy Traders and Technical Services Limited; and Makon Oil and Gas Limited.

Makon Group Limited, Makon Construction Limited and Makon Power System Limited were also listed

The asset declaration form indicated that Governor Makinde’s four companies have additional assets denominated as loan notes.

They are as follows: Makon Engineering and Technical Services Limited(N1.7 billion); Makon Power System Limited(N148.4 million); Makon Oil and Gas Limited(N341 million); Energy Traders and Technical Services Limited(N1.159bn) totalling N3.389 billion.

Disclosure of asset by public officials is rare in Nigeria. The lack of transparency plays a key role in the country’s alarming corruption problem.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in 2015 with the pledge to fight corruption, promised to make his asset public.

He only did so after public pressure. Even so, he did not release some details of his asset, including those belonging to his wife and children.

The president and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have yet to make their asset public after winning a second term.

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CBN introduces Standing Deposit Facility (SDF).

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last night introduced fresh rules for accessing its Standing Deposit Facility (SDF). The SDF is the rate at which commercial and merchant banks deposits funds with the CBN.

Nigerian Central Bank, Abuja, Nigeria. Image shot 2007. Exact date unknown.

The CBN stated this in a circular dated July 10, 2019, that was signed by its Director, Financial Markets Departments, Dr. Angela Sere-Ejembi.

It made reference to the circular to all banks and discount houses, Re: Guidelines on Accessing the CBN Standing Deposit Facility, Ref: FMD/DIR/GEN/CIR/05/020 and dated November 6, 2014.

Following the review, the central bank stated that: “The remunerable daily placement by banks at the SDF shall not exceed N2 billion. The SDF deposit of N2 billion shall be remunerated and the interest rate prescribed by the Monetary Policy Committee from time to time. “Any deposit by a bank in excess of N2 billion shall not be remunerated. The provisions of the circular take effect from Thursday, July 11, 2019.”

Crude oil prices jumped three percent to $66.08 a barrel yesterday after major producers evacuated rigs in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of an expected storm and just as United States’ crude inventories shrank more than expected.

While the global benchmark, Brent crude rose by $1.92, to $66.08 a barrel, the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) climbed by $1.75, also three percent, to $59.58 a barrel.

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Atiku berates Buhari as Nigeria’s debt profile rises to N24.9 trillion

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The current debt stock, however, drew instant condemnation from the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. He decried what he described as the rising debt profile of Nigeria under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

A marginal increase of N560.009 billion, representing 2.3 per cent rise in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019 pushed Nigeria’s total public debt, comprising the federal government, states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) debt stocks to N24.947 trillion or $ 81.274 billion as at March 31, 2019, according to data from the Debt Management Office (DMO).

By the latest figures released Wednesday in Abuja by the DMO, indications are that the external debt also increased by N101.646 billion in three months.

The 2.3 percent rise contrasts with the figure of N24.387 trillion ($ 79.437 billion) posted as at December 31, 2018.

According to the DMO, the increase of N560.009 billion in the total public debt in Q1 2019 was due to a growth in domestic debt stock by N458.363 billion.

However, reacting to the debt stock data Wednesday, Atiku said the increasing debt profile of Nigeria, was becoming more than a source of concern.

According to him, the debt situation is now at the stage where all genuine lovers of Nigeria ought to raise the alarm.

He said: “On May 29, 2015, our national debt profile was at a very healthy ₦12 trillion. However, after four years of profligate spending, and even more irresponsible borrowing, our national debt doubled to 24.3 trillion by December 2018.

“As alarming as this is, what is more, troubling is that between December 2018 and March 2019, the administration of General Buhari added an additional and unprecedented ₦560 billion debt to our national debt profile.

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Buhari finally signs AfCTA agreement

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Nigeria at the weekend in Niamey, Niger Republic, officially joined the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as President Muhammadu Buhari finally signed the agreement at the opening of the African Union (AU) Summit.

This is coming as the President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr. Babatunde Ruwase, yesterday hailed Nigeria’s membership of AfCFTA and commended Buhari for signing the agreement.
The president’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement, said Buhari signed the treaty at exactly 10: 47 a.m. in the presence of other African heads of state and governments, delegates and representatives from the private sector, civil society and the media, which attended the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union on the launch of the Operational Phase of the AfCFTA.

The phase one of the agreement was adopted by African Union (AU) Heads of State and Governments at its 10th Extraordinary Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21, 2018.

But Nigeria pulled out of the agreement signing ceremony at the last minute, following agitations from the private sector that the agreement would make Nigeria a dumping ground for goods and services in Africa.

Consequently, the president set up a committee to make wider consultations on the agreement with a view to coming up with recommendations on whether Nigeria should join AfCFTA or not.

The committee, while submitting its report on June 27, advised Buhari to sign the agreement, listing a number of factors, which aided the committee’s recommendations and the benefits accruable from it.

Shortly after signing the agreement yesterday, the president, according to the statement, declared that Nigeria’s commitment to trade and African integration had never been in doubt neither had it ever been under any threat.

The statement added that Buhari told the summit that Nigeria would build on yesterday’s signing of the treaty by proceeding expeditiously with the ratification of the AfCFTA.

‘‘Nigeria wishes to emphasize that free trade must also be fair trade. As African leaders, our attention should now focus on implementing the AfCFTA in a way that develops our economies and creates jobs for our young, dynamic and hardworking population,” Buhari said, adding: “I wish to assure you that Nigeria shall sustain its strong leadership role in Africa, in the implementation of the AfCFTA. We shall also continue to engage, constructively with all African countries to build the Africa that we want.”

The statement, which copiously quoted the president on his observations on the agreement, also said the president congratulated Ghana on its selection to host the Secretariat of the AfCFTA while describing the signing of the agreement on behalf of Nigeria as an honor.

The president recalled his hesitation to sign last year, explaining it was due to reservations at home.

He said he subsequently extensively consulted and sensitized the stakeholders, adding that the outcome was a buy-in by all concerned.

“Our consultations and assessments reaffirmed that the AfCFTA can be a platform for African manufacturers of goods and providers of service to construct regional value chains for made in Africa goods and services,” Buhari said, adding: “It was also obvious that we have a lot of work to do to prepare our nation to achieve our vision for intra-African trade, which is the free movement of ‘made in Africa goods.’

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