PPMC Nabs Pipepline Vandals With 1,500 Jerrycans of Petrol


The Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, has recovered over 1,500 jerrycans of petrol siphoned by vandals at Ogere Waterworks in Ogun State.

Topline Leighton, a private security which monitors and patrols PPMC’s pipelines along the System 2B, said the discovery of the oil theft was made on Monday.

The Security Coordinator, Topline Leighton Limited, Mr. Adetona Adigun, said the private pipelines surveillance firm was engaged by the PPMC to monitor the NNPC/PPMC System 2B products pipelines from Atlas Cove Depot in Lagos to Mosimi in Ogun State and other areas in South-west region.

Adigun, who addressed journalists at Ogere Waterworks, said the firm had made a series of discoveries of fuel theft from the System 2B network, which accounts for 60 per cent of petrol supply in the country.

“We have achieved a landmark, which nobody has made, here at Ogere Waterworks in Ogun State. Over 1,500 of jerrycans full of petrol were seized from vandals, together with their equipment.

“This is our commonwealth, and with the collaboration of other security agencies – police, Navy, Civil Defence Corps, we are ready to match them in ensuring that our national assets are secured. It is not going to be business as usual.’ he said.

He said that three suspected vandals were arrested, adding that they would be handed over to the appropriate security agency for prosecution.

“All the arrests that we have been able to make have kept the vandals at bay. We have been having products pumped from Lagos to Mosimi, to Ibadan and to Ilorin. So, now our next line of action is to expand our operations.

“On December 25, 2015, we made a discovery in Ajebo, Ogun State that made the Managing Director of PPMC to come around. We also made another discovery at Ilase and at Robert Island Village, close to the Atlas Cove.

Oil firms’ cash flows worsen, banks jittery

Nigerian indigenous oil and gas firms are recording negative cash flows as the plunge in global oil prices lingers, a development that has sent shivers down the spines of many banks.

Nigerian banks have in recent years increased their exposure to the nation’s oil and gas sector, providing financing for asset acquisitions and development by indigenous firms.

Industry players, who spoke at the 13th Aret Adams Annual Lecture Series in Lagos on Thursday, lamented that the low oil price had severely affected their operations, leading to huge cuts in capital expenditure and affecting their ability to repay loans.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, a major Nigerian independent oil and gas firm, Mr. Austin Avuru, said, “Exploration and production companies are now constrained. I think the banks are more nervous than the operating companies in Nigeria.

“We saw a profit warning yesterday (Wednesday) from First Bank describing impairments that are likely to erode their P&L bottom line when they publish their 2015 results. That is a warning to shareholders and investors and that is because of their exposure to the upstream segment of the oil and gas industry.”

He said exploration investments had almost dried up, adding that the implications would become evident later as addition to reserves would flatten out.

Avuru said, “When people ask me how we are doing, I say we are under water. If you can survive at the end of 2017 under this regime, you will be in business for all time. I suspect that there will be a lot of dead bodies by the end of 2017.

“The biggest problem with the independents is that we are all heavily leveraged. You borrowed to buy our assets. You borrowed to work the assets, and deployed critical capital expenditure so that you can ramp up production; so that you can repay your debts. Then came the drop in price. You cannot grow production because you don’t have the free cash flow to do that. You need production, even more production in this price regime.

“So our biggest problem is our discussion with our bankers. Most of us are now cash negative. As I said, you need more cash to do investment to grow oil production to be able to meet your obligations and that is exactly what you don’t have. For the majors, usually what they need to do is cut capex, fire some employees to balance their books and explain to their shareholders why they are reducing marginally the dividend payout.”

Avuru said the service companies had been hardest hit, adding, “57 per cent of the land rigs in Nigeria today are idle. Each of these will ordinarily be employing some 210 people. In 2013, we were operating seven rigs in Seplat, we dropped our last rig in November 2015. We don’t have a rig working for us now. Service companies are in serious trouble.”

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr. Clay Neff, who described the drop in oil prices as dramatic by any scale or stretch, said, “We are going through challenging times. Development work has dropped significantly. New projects are being slowed down because the economics don’t justify going forward.”

He stressed the need to address the funding challenge facing joint venture oil and gas assets in Nigeria, putting the cash call arrears owed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation at over $5bn.


Dangote distributes rice seedlings to Jigawa farmers

The President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has inaugurated itsthe 8,000-hectare Rice Out-growers’ Scheme in Hadejia, Jigawa State, with the distribution of rice seedlings to farmers.

According to a statement by the group, the scheme, which is part of its partnership with government at all levels to reduce Nigeria’s food imports, has the potential to provide 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.

It said the rice project being executed by the Dangote Rice Limited would be replicated in six other states of the federation.

It said the project was the fallout of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Dangote and the Federal Government, on the one hand, and the Jigawa State Government on the other.

Dangote lamented that the Nigerian agricultural commodities and food imports’ bill had averaged over N1tn in the past two years, with items such as sugar, wheat, rice and fish accounting for 93 per cent of the amount.

He described the situation as unacceptable, adding that this informed his decision to go into agriculture

According to him, under the Dangote Rice Out-growers Scheme, farmers will be given training and other necessary inputs with guaranteed buy-back at agreed prices.

The Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, was quoted as saying that the Federal Government was ready to support the scheme and make it a success.

The Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar, thanked Dangote Rice Limited for choosing the state as a pilot for the project and pledged the readiness of his administration to provide the needed support.

The governor said he had no doubt that the project would succeed in turning around the economy of the state, noting that the company’s exploits in other sectors such as cement, sugar, and lately, oil and gas, was an indication that Jigawa was lucky to host the Dangote rice scheme.

N/Delta: Chevron, IITA partner to train 40 youths in agriculture

A female farmer

Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL)and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan, had concluded arrangement to train 40 youths from the Niger Delta region in agriculture.

Mr Deji Haastrup, General Manager, Government and Public Affairs of Chevron, disclosed this on Thursday in Warri at an event to kick-start the programme.

Haastrup said that the youths would be trained on aquaculture, cassava, plantain, banana production and processing.

He said the programme tagged ‘’Agropreneurship’’ would offer an opportunity for large scale employment leading to self-reliance.

”The pilot programme incorporates young people from the Egbema-Gbaramatu Communities Development Foundation and the Itsekiri Regional Development Committee.

”Other parties that are collaborating with CNL and IITA are the Delta Government and the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND),” he said.

Haastrup said the current programme would gulp about N188million.

He said that CNL would continue to support the people of Niger Delta with a view to making life meaningful for them.

Mrs Clementina Arubi, representative of the General Manager, NNPC-NAPIMS, stressed the need for economic diversification through other ventures, especially agriculture rather than over-dependence on oil.

Also, Mr Michael Johnny, Chairman Egbema-Gbaramatu Communities Development Foundation, in his remarks, commend the effort of the parties that organised the agricultural programme.

He, however, solicited for scholarship for the people as part of the initiatives to widen their horizon.


Blueprint on Development of Agric Sector Will Soon Be Unveiled – Minister


The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, revealed that its blueprint for the development of the agricultural sector will be ready in two weeks’ time.

“In another two weeks at the very farthest, we shall be presenting to you our road map, we shall be presenting it to you before we present it to the country.

“We will give you an idea of how we want to go about what we want to do, the areas of preference and the emphasis we want to lay on improving on production, creating wealth, cutting down on import because today the import bill is extremely high.’’

It is no secret that Nigeria undergoes the fast process of development. Today this country is no longer on the outskirts of the world. In fact, it has become one of the largest newsmakers in Africa. Its economy has outgrown the one of South Africa and it is becoming one of the key affluent players in this region.

The minister revealed that the country’s volume of imports in rice and wheat was already reducing, adding that his ministry’s target was working on milk importation. He expressed optimism in the gradual improvement in tuber production and processing as well as cotton production for the textile industry.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, lauded the approach adopted by the present administration towards developing agriculture.

Organic produce for export

Organic produce for export

By using bio-fertiliser, farmers are reviving land and boosting the nation’s agro exports prospect, Daniel Essiet writes.

While many farmers are battling to survive, because of the financial challenge of setting up a modern farm, organic farming method is helping Herny Adigun, chief executive, Yomex Organic Farm, to succeed.

He uses organic fertiliser, mostly green manure. This helps to provide moisture and nutrients. When he began, his knowledge of farming was not much.  Yet his willingness to learn and hard work have paid off handsomely – and he is an example to emerging farmers everywhere.

Yomex Organic Farm based in Lagelu Local Government Area of Oyo State,  showcases Adigun’s efforts to make his 16-acre farmland a self-sufficient organic.

The farm is one of the largest in the area, with tomatoes, cucumber and vegetables on three acres of land. Besides growing vegetables, Adigun has spacious sheds for poultry and goats. The peculiarity of the farm is its self sufficiency in every aspect, including manure production, and its solar power unit to generate its own electricity is nearing completion.

At the pace he is going, he could begin the process of applying for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification or any international certification as an organic grower. Although his farm is not yet ‘official’, he regards his operation as 100 per cent organic.

While exploring various business ventures, he hit upon organic farming as having a promising growth potential. He foresees a tremendous growth in the demand for organic food in the next few years.

With activities of farmers, such as Adigun, organic production,  has taken off successfully. Companies involved in organic farming are mostly export oriented.

In the last 20 years, a lucrative international market for organic cocoa, spices, vegetables and coffee has attracted more farmers into organic farming.

This is because the demand for such produce in the United States, Europe and Asia far outstrips domestic supply.

The major organic produce importing countries are the United Kingdom, the United States, China, India, Germany and the Netherlands.

A member of the Nigeria Vietnam Business Council, Mr Sunday Anjorin, said European and Asian markets offer good business opportunities for Nigerian organic companies that want to export their products.

According to Anjorin, supermarkets, food and pharmaceutical companies are channels for organic produce.

Others include bakeries, health food shops, specialised organic shops, fast food restaurants and delivery services.

He said organic spices and herbs were in demand in India.

So far, Germany is Europe’s largest market for organic products, with a sales volume of €5.8 billion and an average growth of 15 per cent yearly.

Indeed, food exports are vital to Nigeria’s economy, and increasing participation in organic farming by exporters is a welcome boost to the already strong and expanding sector.

Gradually, the ranks of certified organic farmers is swelling with the Nigerian Organic Agriculture Network (NOAN), an association that unites farmers, processors, exporters and organisations promoting the practice.

To experts and farmers, as organic farming drives growth in productivity, it  also allows farmers to get the most out of soil.

While health-conscious consumers worldwide are providing valuable new organic export markets, most Nigerian farmers are finding it challenging meeting necessary certifications and other requirements to take advantage of the growing popularity of organic foods in industrialised countries.

In most cases, new entrants incur higher costs applying new organic techniques without the higher prices associated with organic label.

Most importantly, the European Union (EU) legislation requires that imported organic foods are produced to the same standards as that from the UK or EU.

On the average, and to win certification, a farm must stop using most pesticides and make other changes, then maintain those practices for three years.

Going organic is governed by strict government standards, which require that products bearing the organic label are made without the toxic and persistent pesticides, synthetic nitrogen fertilisers, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering or other excluded practices, sewage sludge, or irradiation. Beyond this, producers and processors are expected to register with an EU-approved organic control body, and subject to the import controls for organic produce.

While farmers are struggling to comply with the high-level standards needed to meet certification requirements, the EU in June banned some of the nation’s food items. They included beans, sesame seeds, melon seeds, fried fish, meat and peanut chips, among others, from entering Europe till June this year.

According to the European Food Safety Authority, the rejected beans were found to contain between 0.03mg per kg to 4.6mg/kg of dichlorvos pesticide. The acceptable maximum residue limit is 0.01mg/kg.

Addressing a forum in Lagos, the Chairman, Agro-Commodity Export Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr Obiora Madu, said it was imperative for the government to resolve the issue before the June deadline given by the EU to correct the anomaly.

”Yes, there are a lot of export markets beyond Europe but if we do nothing, it is likely to escalate at the same time as other nations join the EU to reject our produce again we are in trouble.

“As a chamber, we are concerned about the trend and are actively at the forefront of sensitising farmers and exporters on compliance to international standard for our produce.”

According to him, food safety implies the absence or acceptable and safe levels of contaminants, adulterants, naturally-occurring toxins or any hazard that may make food injurious to health.

In an interview, Madu noted that the organic export market is growing because of awareness on the dangers of pesticide residues in food and growing disposable incomes of the urban middle classes.

He said organically-grown products don’t have problems because producers don’t use pesticides.

Madu observed that the EU market is one of the toughest to supply because the technical, ethical, quality and packaging standards are so high.

This, notwithstanding, the successful exporters expect buyers to pay a premium for the extra certification and the quality and size standards; however, they are increasingly finding that the EU is still paying lower prices.

For some exporters, there are still opportunities in the world, including the EU, which makes it attractive to new exporters.

With Nigeria like South Africa in its ability to produce diverse agro product ranges, he sees a bright future for aspiring exporters.

Madu stressed the need for collaborative efforts of regulatory authorities and stakeholders in formulating a framework to address the challenges of the agricultural produce in the international market

There are programmes to help farmer groups and small exporters overcome the challenges and take advantage of the remunerative markets. The programmes are designed to increase their technical skills and improve product quality, which will enable them to obtain organic and fair-trade certification.

Some of the programmes focus on stages of the supply chain from production, harvesting and packaging to certification and marketing. The vital part is to pay for the costly certification  and comply with high international quality standards.

On the issue, NOAN President Prof Victor Idowu Olugbemiga Olowe said the group was at the forefront of helping farmers to meet standards for certification.

To make them competitive, he said organic farmers, processors and traders must comply with strict requirements if they want to use organic logo or label their products as organic. He noted that farmers face a number of obstacles in exporting their products, including meeting buyers’ demands on quality, requirements and standards.

According to him, importers require agro exports to have certification. The organic product labels  should bear the name of the producer. The advantage of certification, Olowe noted, is that the exporters are able to brand their goods as “certified organic, not just organic” which would increase value.

NOAN, he argued, is striving to assist farmers to adopt organic agriculture as a model for sustainable food and farming.

One way to achieve this is through a national system certification that demonstrates sustainable production practices and meets food safety practices.

According to him, independent validation of sustainability and quality claims is crucial for organic growers to market their produce.

Globally, the major problem in the organic market is a large number of logos and brands, which confuses many consumers and potential buyers of organic products; and probably has a limiting effect on growth over several years. The other challenge is that exporters are expected to prove with documentation that their produce have fair trade certification.


Cargo firms, Arik, others partner on $5.2b agro export

Cargo firms, Arik, others partner on $5.2b agro export 

The  government of Anambra State  and a courier and cargo company, ABX World,  plan to facilitate the export of about $5.2billion worth of agro-allied products to European countries yearly.

ABX  Anambra, World Chief Executive Officer Captain John Okakpu, who made this known, listed others in the deal as Arik  Air and Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCOL), adding that it would facilitate the packaging and air freighting to European countries.

Okakpu described the partnership as part of the state government’s efforts  to lead the way in its commitment to  developing agriculture.  The gesture, he said, is  capable of generating jobs, eliminating poverty and restoring investor’ confidence in the state.

He said the state had become a trailblazer in this regard, as “different state governments, realising their dwindling fortune in the wake of falling oil revenue, are now interested in the agro-allied exports.” He said Anambra State was leading the way through serious commitment to agriculture , adding that the state is far ahead of others in  grassroots structure and technology deployment to aid farmers.

He said: “When we entered into agreement with them, we discovered that they have gone very far. For instance, the state has over 1400 corporative societies and they have gone to the extent of training most of the farmers and also the certification of the corporative societies.

“The next step was the geo-mapping of the area for easy identification of the farmlands from any part of the world. This is a sure step to curb the incessant rejection of agro-allied produce from Nigeria at the European and the rest of the world markets.

“The EU certified trainers were in Nigeria about three months ago. So, after that training and certification programme, the participants were guaranteed of three years contract to supply agro-allied produce to Europe and can use it for the rest part of the world.

“This is the real capacity building we are talking about. There is no other better way to fight poverty and encourage farmers than to provide markets for them.”

Okakpu added that they are working with other partners, Arik Air and SAHCOL to ensure that about 75 farm products of which Ugu-pumpkin leaf tops the list, are exported from Nigeria to Europe and rest of the world.

He expressed optimism that the project will create millions of jobs in the country as more states queue-in into it.

He said that ABX World will use its partnerships around the world to make a difference, “create agricultural revolution whereby we bring in the off-takers to take agricultural products as long as they meet the international standard and requirements.”

Speaking on the development, Anambra State Commissioner for Agriculture, Afam Mbanefo, said that government’s penchant for agricultural development was to eliminate poverty, create job and improve the internally generated revenue (IGR).

Mbanefo said  Willie Obiano administration wants to be economically independent and buoyant and reduce excess dependence on the Federal Government.

“As a people-oriented administration, Willie Obiano has always sought for ways to create security,  good road network, peaceful night life; these are things that will get people involved, bring in investors and tourism. Now, the agro-allied export is another testament to the government unrelenting efforts to ensure Anambra State farmers do not lack market to sell their products.

“It is very imperative to note that before commencing the exports, the farmers through their cooperative societies received training and certification. In other words, we are confident that these products like pumpkin leaf (Ugu), and others will meet the market standard. As a government, we are happy about this new development and we are thankful to other facilitators like ABX World,” the Commissioner said.

Ethiopian Airlines, Bombardier Seal $63million Aircraft Deal


Ethiopian Airlines and Bombardier Commercial Aircraft have sealed a firm purchase agreement for two additional Q400 turboprop aircraft, that will bring the airline’s Q400 aircraft fleet to 19 aircraft.

The transaction is valued at approximately $63 million.

Group Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines,Tewolde Gebremariam, said: “We are continuously working to have the right fleet with agility, optimal range, load and passenger comfort which is critical for us to keep our leadership position in the market.”

“The Q400 aircraft continues to be an integral part of our expansion strategy in Africa.Through our strategic partnerships with ASKY Airlines in Togo and Malawian Airlines in Malawi, the Q400 airliner has played a vital role in availing convenient connections, as well as increasing frequencies to support air travel growth in Africa and successfully create a missing link.”

”The Q400 aircraft is also our core fleet to our domestic and regional destinations, thereby ensuring excellent passenger experience, operational flexibility and economics. We continue to work with Bombardier to support and maintain the aircraft through our approved Q400 Authorised Service Facility and our Q400 aircraft simulator,”Gebremariam added.

Air Côte d’Ivoire, has announce plans to increase its fleet of seven aircraft to nine by April


Air Côte d’Ivoire, has announce plans to increase its fleet of seven aircraft to nine by April 2016.
The African carrier stated this recently in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire when its received its third new Bombardier Dash Q400 NextGen aircraft, which increases its fleet to seven.
The airline also said that it hoped to increase the cities it flies into to 22 from its present 18 by 2016 and estimated a capital increment of 65 billion to over 100 billion FCFA before the end of next year.
The statement issued in Lagos by the media consultant to the airline quoted its Managing Director, Mr. Rene Decurey as saying that the airline was achieving its target with the delivery of Bombardier Dash Q400 Aircraft, which had enabled it increase regional and domestic routes and frequencies.

Decurey explained that its new aircraft was as fast as a jet, flexible, silent, comfortable and energy efficient, adding that it’s an idle aircraft that could operates both domestically and regionally.

Decurey emphasised that by 2018, the airline would have been profitable, but noted that to achieve this, new route must be opened and new planes must be acquired. With such growth and prospect, he said the airline has invested in training its own pilots and airplane mechanic with the partnership of INPHB and the Aeronautic institute Amaury of Grange (IAAG) and is currently training 15 pilots, and by 2018 would have 20 airplanes mechanics.

NAHCO Pledges Consistent Dividend Payment to Shareholders


The Chairman of Nigerian Aviation Handling Company,NAHCO, Suleiman Yahyah, has stated affirmatively that the company will continue to pay dividends to shareholders.

Yahyah, who spoke at the Closing Gong Sounding ceremony on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, in Lagos, said since the company was privatized and listed on the exchange in 2006, it has remained consistent with dividend payment.

He said: “I want to assure shareholders that this year will not be different. We will continue to declare healthy dividend in line with our consistent dividend strategy.”

According to him, since its privatization, the company has embarked on business diversification programme that cuts across industries and geography.

He said the company has developed strategic global alliances through its membership of aviance, the global alliance of 10 reputable airport service providers operating from 112 stations in 17 countries, and The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), which exists to promote the air cargo industry and world trade.

Yahyah noted that from a single business company, NAHCO has grown into a diversified group that is not only in cargo and passengers handling, but is also into agriculture, free trade zone and energy.

He said:“We are ready to go on the investment in the free trade zone. The licence has been secured, the partnership with International Development Ireland,had been signed, management is in place and market is looking good.”

“We are also investing in our agric zone development ,which is part of free trade zone, a sub element of using our platforms in Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt. Already 10 per cent of our earnings is coming from export.”

So we want to deepen it in view of the difficulty now in the forex market. So we will fast track that investment and hopefully, that should begin show in our performance by the end of 2016. Besides, we are also are moving to other African countries. We are licensed in Senegal and Cote d I’voire. Now is the time to make those investment decisions active.”

He disclosed that NAHCO invested over N10 billion in equipment, saying these equipment made the company to be about 150 per cent self-sufficiency.

He said the company has enough equipment and is ready for the new terminals that are coming Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Abuja terminals.

“Our future remains to deepen our market presence, deepen our corporate governance culture and strengthen the board, which is stable and experienced and management to face the challenges in the economy. We also believe that our agric zone and free trade zone will provide continuous sustainability to the investors,” he said.