Press focuses on over $1bn worth of gas sold to Portugal in 2022 by Nigeria, others

APA – Lagos (Nigeria)

The report that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has sold over $1bn worth of natural gas to Portugal this year and that the Nigeria Customs Service yesterday began the collection of excise duty on carbonated and sweetened drinks as contained in the Finance Act 2020 are some of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Friday.

The Punch reports that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited on Thursday said it had sold over $1bn worth of natural gas to Portugal this year.

It disclosed this during the Nigeria-Portugal Business and Trade Forum, which held on the sidelines of the state visit to Portugal by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari,

Speaking at the forum, the Chief Executive Officer, NNPC, Mele Kyari, said Nigeria had been supplying energy to Portugal for decades.

Kyari’s comments and the visit by Buhari were tweeted via the official Twitter handle of NNPC on Thursday.

 “On the President’s delegation is the CEO NNPC Ltd, Mallam Mele Kyari, who highlighted the age-long energy partnership between the two countries, stressing that Nigeria supplies 70 per cent of energy imports to the European nation.”

The oil firm further quoted the NNPC boss as saying, “This year alone, we have sold over a billion dollar worth of natural gas to Portugal.”

Kyari also noted that there were ample opportunities to grow energy supply to Portugal.

He told participants at the forum that Nigeria had invested in critical infrastructure to ensure domestic gas availability and increase gas supply to the international market.

The newspaper says that a total of 2,200,357 Internally Displaced Persons amounting to 452,363 displaced households are now in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria, the Federal Government stated on Thursday.

It disclosed this through the National Emergency Management Agency, stressing that the Boko Haram insurgency, communal clashes and natural disasters were the causes of the displacements.

NEMA revealed this in its 2021 Annual Report, which was submitted by the agency to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Abuja.

A section of the report, seen by our correspondent, read in part, “Among the human-induced disasters, the Boko Haram insurgency has resulted in the displacement of people across North-East and North-Central Nigeria adding to the pre-existing caseload of IDPs displaced by the communal clashes and natural disasters that continue to affect parts of the country.

“The report of round 39 Displacement Tracking Matrix carried out in the North-East by NEMA and International Organsaation for Migration as at December 30, 2021 put the number of IDPs at 2,200,357 amounting to 452,363 displaced households.”

The report stated that due to Nigeria’s geo-climatic and socio-economic condition, as in most countries of the world, Nigeria was vulnerable in varying degree to disaster as a result of climate change to floods, landslides, tidal waves, coastal erosion, sand-storms, dust-storms and drought.

The Guardian reports that medical doctors have given reasons black market or underground/illegal dealings in organ donation, harvesting and transplantation thrive in Nigeria.

They identified lack of regulation and enforcement of medical ethics, poverty, inequality and unconscionable medical practitioners as facilitators.

To address the situation, the experts seek establishment of central coordination of organ transplantation similar to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as well as direct investment, funding and legal framework for transplantation in Nigeria.

A consultant psychiatrist and former Chief Medical Director of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health (LSMH), Prof Femi Olugbile, told The Guardian that there are no properly codified Nigerian laws on organ transplantation; though he added that there is a vague mention of it in the 2015 National Health Act.

Olugbile said the generally observed rules and regulations relate to United Kingdom (UK) and the Western world, who require the donor to be preferably a blood relation, but if there is evidence of no suitable close kin, a volunteer may be sought.

He said the problem with UK is that the volunteer must show reason why he wants to donate an organ to a particular person instead of donating to the pool because there are over 6,000 persons with chronic renal failure awaiting such voluntary donations from living or recently deceased donors in the UK. As such, Olugbile said there must be no cash or other incentive for such donation.

According to him, Western regulations are nominally adopted and loosely enforced in Nigeria and other Third World countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Turkey. While they enforce the voluntary requirement ethically, the ‘kinship’ requirement is often cleverly circumvented.

The newspaper says that the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has expressed concerns about the country’s production capacity, citing cases of deliberate shut of oil wells and pipelines by operators who are trying to deal with theft.

According to the NUPRC, the country’s level of crude oil theft is estimated at a daily average of 108,000 barrels in 2022.

According to the NUPRC Chief Executive Officer, Gbenga Komolafe, the effect of the level of theft has resulted in the declaration of force majeure at Bonny Oil & Gas Terminal (BOGT) and shut-in of wells from fields evacuating through the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) and the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP), noting that similar trend has continued in 2022.

Komolafe, at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) public-private dialogue on crude oil theft and artisanal modular refineries, said the monumental scale of losses arising from crude oil theft had created a hostile environment and disincentive to investors in the Nigerian upstream oil sector and magnitude of divestments in the industry.

He explained further that many operators had undertaken deliberate shut of wells, facilities and pipelines, which had further exacerbated the low production scenario.

“It is instructive to note that the above challenges have also impacted gas production, both for domestic utilisation and export,” he added.

The Nation reports that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday began collection on carbonated and sweetened drinks as contained in the Finance Act 2020.

It has taken off across the country and is expected to begin to yield revenue for the government by the end of June 2022.

The Comptroller of the Lagos Industrial Command of the NCS, IQ Ogbudu ,who disclosed this when the House of Representatives Committee on Customs and Excise visited the Command on oversight, said the policy, which also form part of the Customs and Excise Management Act amendment bill currently awaiting Presidential asset took off on June 1, 2022.

She, however, said that the security challenges in the country was not allowing the service carry out the needed surveillance to uncover illegal distillers that are yet to come under the Customs control, adding however that only 19 companies are currently being monitored by the command as those complying with the excise laws of the country.

She said several other companies producing carbonated and sweetened drinks were yet to be registered by the command since the policy on excise duty on such drink was still new.

According to her, majority of companies operating within the Lagos Industrial area have refused to comply with the provisions of the Customs Act, which required the provision of office accommodation for officers of the service for effective discharge of their function.


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