The current surge in piracy has raised doubt over Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)’s ability to end piracy on Nigerian waters as promised by June 2018. BAYO AKOMOLAFE reports
Despite the Federal Government’s approval of $186 million to secure Nigerian waterways and ports, pirates are still operating in and off the coast of Nigeria targeting foreign shipping crews for ransom.
The fund is meant for the acquisition of new military aircraft, patrol boats and armoured personnel carriers that will be deployed for anti-piracy operations.
With the equipment, the NIMASA last June boasted that piracy and sea robbery would be reduced to zero by June 2018.
Director General, Dr Dakuku Peterside, said that within one year, the country’s waters would be secured from sea robbers.
He noted: “We have before now been facing challenges of piracy, sea robbery within our maritime domain and we have given our words to Nigeria that by next year June 2018, they should hold us responsible for this sea robbery in our maritime domain.
“From next year June, we will move from wherever we are to zero per cent non-piracy on our waterways. That is the first commitment to Nigerian people and we are working day and night everyday in putting things right every day.”
However, four months to the deadline, there is no sign that the agency would be able to keep to this promise as menace of piracy is on the increase.
For instance, in the last seven months, there has been incessant attacks by robbers on Nigeria waters.
Catalogue of attacks
Last July, IMB said that pirates kidnapped five crew members from a cargo ship, a Panama-flagged, MV Oya 1, off the coast of Nigeria, when a group of armed pirates boarded a general cargo ship underway around 15nautical miles South West of Bonny Island.
Also in August, two personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC), Nigeria Police Force and a civilian were ambushed and killed by suspected sea pirates along the Okoron creek in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
Also, last September, sea pirates kidnapped five people from a ship near Parrot Island, south of the Cross River state capital, Calabar.
Within the same period, security operatives on escort mission were attacked by sea pirates along the Ekebiri waterways in Bayelsa State.
Also in October, a container ship, Demeter, was attacked by pirates at south of Port Harcourt while en route Malabo Equatorial Guinea to Monrovia.
A bulk carrier, Venus Bay, was also attacked and boarded by armed pirates last November at Bight of Bon
Similarly, in December, IMB report said that 10 crew were kidnapped from a bulk carrier off the coast of Niger Delta.
The trend continued in January 2018, when 10 crew were kidnapped on board MT Barrett but were released after ransom was paid.
Also, Greek bulk carrier, Skylight, was attacked by pirates in Bight of Biafra, south of Brass, with10 crew. The latest attack was from a Greek bulk carrier, Marine Express, with 22 Indian crew on board.
Already, the agency’s multi-million dollar world-class strategic satellite surveillance system has been out of operation for over one year.
The equipment has the capacity of detecting movements and activities of ships, boats and other crafts operating within the nation’s maritime domain with a reconnaissance back up of a functional helicopter for patrol, pursuit and interdiction.
Besides, the anti-piracy bill before the national assembly has not been passed into law. The bill is aimed at criminalising piracy and all maritime crimes in the country’s maritime domain with attendant punishment enshrined in the Nigerian legal framework.
It would be recalled that in 2017, IMB said that a total of 180 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were recorded.
It noted that 136 vessels were boarded, while there were 22 attempted attacks, 16 vessels fired upon and six vessels hijacked.
Worried by the trend, Peterside said that Nigeria had installed satellite surveillance systems, coastal radar systems, and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) among others to monitor the coastal waters.
The director general noted that the implementation of an integrated national surveillance and waterways protection solution with command and control infrastructure in the agency was part of the government’s deep blue contract to enhance security in the Gulf of Guinea.
Government should put technology in place to fully tackle the menace of pirates on Nigerian waters, which has remained a hot spot.
Stock market opens week bearish
Trading activities on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) market yesterday opened this week on the negative territory as the overall performance measures, NSE ASI and market capitalisation, both fell by 1.53 per cent.
The downswing according to market watchers, was due to profit taking by investors after recent bullish rally.
Consequently, the All-Share Index dropped by 651.09 basis points or 1.53 per cent from 42,638.83 index points last Friday to close at 41,987.74, while the market capitalisation of equities depreciated by N234 billion or 1.53 per cent to close at N15.067 trillion from N15.301 trillion.
Further analysis of the day’s trading showed that Linkage Assurance Plc topped the day’s gainers’ table with 9.09 per cent to close at 96 kobo per share, while Livestock Feeds Plc followed with five per cent to close at N1.05 per share. Fidson Healthcare Plc added 4.92 per cent to close at N4.69 per share.
On the flip side, PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc led the losers’ chart with a dip of 8 per cent to close at N23.00 per share. Lasaco Insurance Plc shed 6.06 per cent to close at 31 kobo per share. Enamelwa Nigeria Plc followed with 4.95 per cent to close at 22 kobo per share.
Market turnover closed negative as volume moved down by -64.80 per cent as against +32.62 per cent uptick recorded in the previous session. Skye Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc and FCMB Plc were the most active stocks that boosted market turnover while Zenith Bank Plc and Guinness Nigeria Plc topped market value list.
Nigeria mulls 700,000 barrels daily oil output surge
…envisages 250,000 barrels from local producers
Nigeria is planning an increase of 700,000 barrels a day in her oil production. Data from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources sighted by New Telegraph showed that indigenous producers from the country aim to pump almost 250,000 barrels per day additional crude by 2020 as part of a wider plan for the nation to lift output to 2.5 million a day.
“We are on course,” Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, who confirmed the data, said in Abuja last weekend, just as he intimated newsmen of the goal to pump 2.5 million barrels a day by 2020. “Capacity-wise, the volumes are there. Infrastructure-wise we suffer a little bit in terms of being able to deliver.”
There are at least a dozen small to mid-sized Nigerian producers pumping between 5,000 and 100,000 barrels each day. Together, they plan to add incremental supply of at least 150,000 barrels a day this year. Aiteo E & P Ltd., Nigeria’s largest independent, didn’t immediately comment about its expansion plans. Shoreline Group, the third-biggest independent, the data showed, wants to double output by December with Seplat Petroleum Development Company, the second-largest, also intending to produce more.
” In all, the country’s total planned increase, a report adapted from the data showed, is 700,000 barrels a day. “Just over a third will come from the state-run Nigeria Petroleum Development Co., a third from independents, and the remainder from oil majors.
The expansion depends, among other things, on peace being maintained in the Niger Delta. A militant group said last month it would attack oil and gas facilities,” the data adapted by Bloomberg showed. “One probability is at least some of the extra Nigerian supply will end up feeding the Dangote oil refinery, the continent’s largest, which is due to start operating next year. While doing that would help rid Nigeria of its dependence on fuels produced overseas, it wouldn’t extricate the country from its commitments to OPEC.
“Back in 2016, Shoreline had to cancel a planned $500 million Eurobond. With oil prices rallying, the company is making a comeback. It agreed a $530 million deal with financiers led by Vitol Group, the world’s biggest independent oil trader, as it seeks to double crude output to 100,000 barrels a day by year end.
“It represents a massive vote of confidence in the future growth of our operations and of Nigerian upstream producers,” Kola Karim, chief executive officer of Shoreline, said in an interview.
“Shoreline’s progress mirrors that of other Nigerian independents.Seplat, said to be among companies bidding for Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s African oilfields, expects to ramp up drilling this year after output recovered from militant attacks and low prices, according to company statements,” the report said. Half a decade ago, these producers were hailed as the future of Nigeria’s production because of their potential to pump 40 percent of the OPEC member’s output. They had bought oilfields that hold at least a third of the West African nation’s 37.5 billion barrels of crude reserves from companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA, and Eni SpA. Their day may still come.
The OPEC deal is currently in place until the end of this year and global demand is rising fast. The International Energy Agency this month revised up its growth estimate for world oil consumption by 100,000 barrels a day, taking it up to 1.4 million.
“As the oil market rebalances in the years ahead, OPEC will have to lift its production cap,” Pabina Yinkere, an energy analyst at Lagos-based Vetiva Capital Management, said by phone, adding that a lot of extra Nigerian crude could be used to feed the Dangote refinery.
“Moves to raise production are in view of expected demand growth.” The oil producers in Nigeria are planning to add barrels at the same time as Nigeria participates in a global pact to restrict oil supply that’s being led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-member nations including Russia. If any one country relents – and similar internal pressures are bubbling up elsewhere – then the entire deal could come under strain.
“If they can pump more in Nigeria, I don’t see why they wouldn’t,” Warren Patterson, a commodity strategist at ING Bank NV, said. “If you get Nigeria exceeding the cap, then you’re going to get others who pump a little bit more. The longer the deal goes on for, the more likely it’s going to fall apart.”
2018: Experts predict vibrant real estate
As oil prices stabilise at 17 per cent higher than 2017 average and direct foreign investment increases, experts see surge in real estate activities in 2018. DAYO AYEYEMI reports
Following improvement in the economy, things are beginning to look up in Nigeria’s real estate sector with market operators getting set to tap into the opportunities, which exist in various segments of the market.
They were, however, particular about the low and middle income residential, millennial and student accommodation sections. Apparently equipped with the dynamism of happenings in the economy, they stated that investors (both local and foreign) were prepared to launch into pockets of opportunities in real estate market. Investors’ hope has been further boosted by the latest Bismack Rewane-led Financial Derivative Company (FDC)’s report on review of third quarter of 2017, which showed that Foreign Capital Inflows (FCI) to Nigeria increased by 148 per cent to $4.15 billion.
This positive trend, analysts said, happened as a result of renewed investor confidence in the economy. Also, the experts noted that oil prices had climbed to 17 per cent higher than 2017 average, expressing confidence that if the situation persists, oil revenues might help mitigate consequences of capital flight.
This newspaper gathered that while some developers are entering into Joint Ventures (JV) with the government to provide affordable housing units for citizens, others are currently repackaging their products to attract financiers and buyers.
In exclusive neighbourhoods such as Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki, where landlords can no longer wait without getting tenants and buyers for their dormant properties, they have been converting their vacant houses to smaller apartments such as one-bedroom, studio and condos to attract people in need of smaller accommodation. This innovation by landlords, according to experts, has caught the attention of working-class singles who want to live very close to their workplaces.
Taking a look at what 2018 holds for the sector, experts, which comprised developers, institutional investors, mortgage providers, media practitioners, property consultants and brokers at Fine and Country West Africa’s investors series, agreed that the outlook was bright and promising for real estate, hinging their prediction on improved economic climate. According to them, the economy has started looking up with pockets of opportunities emerging in the residential segment of the market.
They observed that low to middle income market remained strong all through the recession period while the upper market struggled. “But developers are adopting creative ways of dealing with the persisting challenge with a view to stimulating demand and sustaining their business,” they said.
Setting the pace, Sales Consultant, Fine and Country in Lagos, Mr. David Mba, said that he saw a more vibrant residential market coming as a result of an improved economy in 2018, adding that what were considered challenges in the past have become opportunities. According to him, developers in their bid to share risk and also raise more capital were going into joint ventures, citing Brains and Hammers Limited’s example.
“Only recently, Brains and Hammers Limited, one of Nigeria’s leading real estate and infrastructure development companies, entered into a joint venture agreement with Lagos State Government,” he said. This move, he explained, is believed to be the company’s response to pressing demands from its clients who wanted to acquire property in Lagos.
He said: “The move will see the company developing 750 housing units, comprising 132-tower units and 618 units that will be part of the Jubilee Estate development in Iganmu area of Lagos.
“The Phase 1 of the project comprises 129 units made up of 12 units of 2-bedrooms, 24 units of 4-bedrooms terrace and 93 other units. There are also twin towers made up of 132 units, comprising 60 units of one bedroom, 24 units of two bedroom, and 24 units of 3-bedroom maisonette.”
Other market trends, Mba said, included increase in demand for good value three or four bedroom apartments in Ikoyi precincts, selling within the range of N120 million to N150 million; increase in demand for houses including terraces, semi and fully detached units. Publisher/CEO, BusinessDay, Frank Aigbogun, is of the view that improvement in the economy means increased business activities that will in turn trigger more demand for real estate products such as commercial office, retail and residential buildings.
Fine & Country’s CEO/Vice Chair, Udo Okonjo, stated that the sector’s positive outlook would come with opportunities for only investors who are ready to understand that the market had changed.
From market survey, she stated that there would be opportunities across various segments of the real estate’s market including residential, commercial office and retail. “Lifestyle communities are the new face of residential real estate.
These communities have the advantages of economies of scale and security,” the Fine and Country’s CEO said. She hinted that opportunity currently existed in millennial and student housing, adding that many investors were tapping into these areas.
Dean, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Lagos, Professor Timothy Nubi, confirmed that many investors had already taken position around the university campus and were delivering one-bedroom self-contained apartments for N500,000 per annum.
In a bid to maximise the value of their property, a recent Northcourt Real Estate report 2018 outlook, noted that land owners looked more favourable to joint ventures with developers.
This newspaper also discovered that many developers and investors have been taking advantage of the ongoing construction of Dangote Refinery in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos to acquire more lands in the axis for housing estate development.
As the business investment climate gets betters, necessary actions must be taken by the government to improve ease of doing business in the country.
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