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LPG: Korean firm to build N20.9bn tanks in Nigeria




The trade partnership between Nigeria and South Korea was boosted recently as the latter won the bid to build LPG tanks in a contract worth N20.9 billion ($58 million) in Nigeria.
According to the report, Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., the world’s largest shipbuilder by sales, said it received an order for the amount to build 15 bullet tanks for storing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for Dangote Oil Refining Company, Africa’s largest refinery, beginning in April 2019.

Hyundai Heavy said it was set to deliver the 15 cylindrical tanks – each being eight meters in diameter and 95 meters in length, which can hold 75,000 cubic meters of LPG. The project is expected to further boost the bilateral trade volume between Nigeria and South Korea that was put at $9.9 billion (N3.02 trillion) last year.

The Nigeria Charge De ‘Affairs to the country, Lazarus Basaba, had disclosed the trade position last year during Nigeria’s organised investment forum at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Telecoms World 2017 conference and exhibition.

Early in 2017, the Asian country had expressed concern over the sharp decline in the volume of the country’s bilateral trade with Nigeria, saying the drop was due to investors’ loss of confidence following the revocation of the Korean National Oil Company (KNOC) oil blocs’ issue, OPL 321 and 323.

The trade volume between both countries stood at $1.8 billion in 2015, representing a decrease of $2.7 billion from the previous year, which was $4.5 billion, according to the country’s Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs, Ambassador Jongmoon Choi.

“The trade volume between the two countries was about four billion dollars in 2013 and in 2014 it was about 4.5 billion dollars. This was higher, but unfortunately, our trade volume has been a bit slide back, which concerns us,” he said.
He noted that in 2005, KNOC won bid for two oil prospecting licences under a concessionary agreement in exchange for strategic investments worth seven billion dollars in power, gas pipelines, fertiliser, railway modernisation and construction of shipyard.
“However, in 2009, the KNOC oil blocs were revoked and have since become a litigation issue,” he said.

He stressed the need for a resolution of the KNOC’s oil blocs and appealed for Mr President’s intervention.
Other factors, Choi said, was due to outstanding loan repayment of 15.4 million dollars owed Korean Government Economic Development Fund since 2001 for purchase of coaches and modernisation of locomotives. The minister, who stressed the need to revitalise the trade ties, reiterated South Korea’s determination to increase investments in Nigeria, which, he said, stood at about $500 million.

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Tincan Customs chief to implement 48-hour cargo clearance



Customs Area Controller (CAC), Tin Can Island Port Command, Musa Baba Abdullahi has reiterated the command’s unshaken commitment to achieve 48hour cargo clearance from the port without compromising revenue collection and national security.

The customs chief said efforts are being put in place to maximise benefits of technology and build the command’s manpower to meet with the growing challenges of modern trade.


While addressing maritime journalists in his Apapa office, Musa identified swift dispute resolution as a key component to facilitate trade. He said the command has put in place a faster mechanism to address any area of disagreement in interpretations of guidelines for duty collection and other related matters.


He added that a committee put in place for disputes resolution meets as soon as any dispute arises to avoid port users incurring costs caused as a result of delays in resolving such disputes.


According to him, there is a quicker process of bringing issues to his attention and contacting the headquarters where necessary to avoid delays associated with such disagreements. He said the command has stepped up efforts at keeping officers and relevant stakeholders abreast with the use of technology for the purpose of customs operations.


The Controller disclosed that senior officers and licensed customs agents are being trained at the command’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) Centre on the latest Nigeria Customs Information System (NICIS 2) in batches.


Musa said the training and retraining of customs personnel and stakeholders will continue with a view to getting as many persons as possible knowledgeable in the workings of the system.


He also stressed the need for all stakeholders to increase their levels of compliance with rules and improve on their knowledge as ways of achieving seamless flow of trade thereby achieving faster clearance of goods from the port.

The Controller also advised the maritime media to uphold the ethics of their profession and be fair and truthful in all they do.

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Early rainfall to boost Nigeria’s cocoa mid-crop




Nigeria’s mid-crop cocoa output for 2017/18 could rise by 15 per cent from last season, helped by a mix of rainfall and sunshine in the main growing regions which has helped the trees, President of Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN) Sayina Riman said in a recent interview with Bloomberg.


Drought cut last season’s mid-crop harvest by 40 per cent. The dry weather continued into the main crop of the new season.


Riman said the drought affected the trees, reducing output of between 300,000 tonnes and 320,000 tonnes projected at the beginning of the 2017/18 season.


He said that early rains in March and April have helped boost the mid-crop, which could see the season’s output close at around 290,000.
Riman farms on a 170 hectare cocoa plantation in Nigeria’s second-biggest region of Cross Rivers.


The cocoa season in Nigeria runs from October to September, with an October-to-February main crop and a smaller light or mid-crop that begins in April or May and runs through September.


“Despite the drought of last year which affected cocoa we believe we would be close to 290,000 tonnes for 2017/18 season,” Riman told Reuters.


The International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO), however, gives much lower estimates of Nigerian cocoa output. It forecast last season’s production at 225,000 tonnes.


Riman did not give a reason for the discrepancy. Nigerian government production figures are also significantly higher than ICCO estimates.


Nigeria has recently emerged from recession and a currency crisis which caused a chronic dollar shortage, forcing exporters to under-invoice their goods in order to use the foreign exchange black market to get premium for their hard currency.


The action caused the West African country slip to the sixth producer of cocoa in the world at the peak of the crisis. Riman said Nigeria was getting back to number four grower as exporters now use the official currency markets.

Riman said Nigeria was working on improving its bean quality especially with renewed demand from Europe.


However, bean count, a measure of the number of beans needed to produce 100 grams of cocoa, reached as high as 140 for the main crop.

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Rising Nigerian bonds drags yields down



Nigeria’s local-currency bonds are on a roll, rising for the last eight days and driving their yields below Turkey’s for the first time in more than two years.


The average rate on Nigerian government bonds has fallen around 400 basis since an August-peak to 13 per cent. Yields are now 100 basis points below the Central Bank of Nigeria’s benchmark interest rate of 14 per cent, where its been held since July 2016.

Investors have piled into the naira market thanks to slowing inflation, a stable currency and rising Brent crude prices, which climbed about 25 per cent in the past six months to more than $70 a barrel. In contrast, they’ve turned bearish on Turkey, which has the worst-performing local bonds in emerging markets this year, because of accelerating inflation and loose monetary policy.


Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, may be tempted to commence his long-touted easing cycle and help revive the economy that has faltered since the 2014 oil crash. While that would reduce the attractiveness of naira assets, Nigerian yields are still high relative to other major emerging markets. Aside from Turkey, Argentina and Egypt’s bonds are the only ones to yield more in the Bloomberg Barclays EM Local Currency Index.

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