• CBN injects fresh $349.34m into forex market
By Chineme Okafor in Abuja and Obinna Chima in Lagos
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that Nigeria’s plan to end importation of refined petrol by December 2019 was not negotiable, and would be achieved as planned.
The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, stated this yesterday at the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston Texas, United States.
A statement from the Group General Manager, Public Affairs of the corporation, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja said Baru explained that NNPC would ensure that its ongoing arrangement with the original builders of its refineries in Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna, to return them to at least 90 per cent capacity utilisation before the 2019 deadline would be met.
Baru said in the statement that the NNPC was committed to actualising the December 2019 target set by the federal government for it to end the importation of petroleum products, and that measures had been taken to achieve this.
He also explained that the desire to transform Nigeria from a net exporter of crude oil to a net exporter of petroleum products would in the months ahead become a reality.
According to him, tendering exercises for companies interested in the rehabilitation programmes of the four refineries using a contractor-financing model had been completed and successful companies for the different projects would soon be announced.
“This model is expected to be a self-sustaining financial model with near zero reliance on the federal government funds. For smooth running and implementation; we are also changing the operating and commercial framework of the refineries to make them work efficiently and be commercially viable,” said Baru.
He stated that the corporation and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources were also collaborating to encourage the establishment of modular refineries in the Niger Delta to encourage job creation.
So far, he noted that about 35 expressions of interest for the establishment of modular refineries had been declared and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had issued licenses to 13 of them.
CBN Injects Fresh $349.34m into Forex Market
Also yesterday, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in its last intervention for the week injected $349.34 million into the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) segment of the foreign exchange (forex) market.
Figures made available by the CBN indicated that the interventions were meant to meet obligations in the agricultural, airlines, petroleum products and raw materials and machinery sectors.
The Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Isaac Okorafor, who confirmed the releases, reiterated that the bank would continue to intervene in the forex market owing mainly to its commitment to guarantee liquidity in the market and boost the production sector.
According to Okorafor, the continued interventions by the CBN in the forex market in addition to the recent currency swap with the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) would ease pressure on the country’s reserves.
He expressed confidence that the 16 Billion Renminbi (RMB) 16 billion ($2.5 billion) deal would provide adequate local currency liquidity to Nigerian and Chinese industrialists and other businesses, stressing that the deal would protect Nigerian business men and women from the harsh effects of third currency fluctuations.
Speaking further, he explained that the bank, in injecting funds into the market, was playing its role of safeguarding the international value of the legal tender currency through exchange rate stability.
He said the CBN was also committed to diversifying the Nigerian economy from oil.
The central bank had in its last SMIS injected $339.89, while also intervening in the interbank forex market to the tune of $210 million, comprising $100 million for the wholesale segment and $55 million for both the SMEs and invisibles segment on Wednesday.