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Nigeria plays strong, proactive leadership role in OPEC – Barkindo

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Secretary-General, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Dr Mohammed Barkindo, says Nigeria has assumed a strong, proactive role in the oil industry globally.

Barkindo said this while delivering a keynote address at the 17th edition of the annual “Nigeria Oil and Gas Strategic Conference and International Exhibition’’ in Abuja on Tuesday.

“We can truly say that we are living through a golden era of Nigerian statesmanship. This is testimony to the way in which President Muhammadu Buhari has elevated the international profile of our country.

“Nigeria has historically assumed a strong, proactive leadership role in OPEC.

“I am delighted to be able to inform you that following a decision at the 174th OPEC conference on June 22, the African continent gained an additional voice in our organisation, the Republic of the Congo became the 15th member country of OPEC.

“This is a tremendous boost for our entire organisation, a positive trajectory which saw Gabon rejoin OPEC in 2016 and Equatorial Guinea in 2017.’’

The OPEC boss said petroleum would remain a rallying factor that brings units of people together to facilitate day to day activities.

“At this very moment as I speak, schoolchildren are boarding the bus to make their way to morning lessons. Mothers and fathers are returning home after working nightshifts.

“An elderly grandparent is being transported to see their doctor. Farmers are fertilizing their fields. Families are being reunited, communities are being brought together.

“These are scenes being repeated millions of times here and across the globe. What links these seemingly disparate scenes of everyday life? Petroleum.

“Indeed oil is so intrinsic in daily life that we sometimes overlook the fact that our industry has an impact on the individual experiences of billions of people,’’ he said.

Barkindo said although the industry was far from being perfect, actors in the sector could take pride in oil’s role in fueling modern civilisation, lifting millions out of poverty and contributing to sustainable development.

He said extreme volatility in the oil market had very negative consequences for both consumers and producers.

“Low oil prices are bad for producers today and create situations that are bad for consumers tomorrow, and high oil prices are bad for consumers today and lead to situations that are bad for producers tomorrow.

“Volatility is a devastating disincentive for investment, which is the lifeblood of our industry and essential for ensuring adequate supply in the future.

“We saw this during the last industry downturn. From 2014 to 2016, world oil supply growth outpaced that of oil demand, with world oil supply growing by 5.8 million barrel per day (mb/d), while world oil demand increased by 4.3 mb/d.

“By July 2016, commercial stock overhang reached a record high of about 403 mb over the five-year average. The OPEC Reference Basket price fell by an extraordinary 80 per cent between June 2014 and January 2016.

“What was particularly ominous for consumers was the fact that investments were choked-off, with exploration and production spending falling by an enormous 25 per cent in both 2015 and 2016.

“Additionally, nearly one trillion dollars in investments were frozen or discontinued, and many thousands of high quality jobs were lost.

“A record number of companies in our industry filed for bankruptcy. Lack of investment on this scale has very serious repercussions for future consumers, especially given the increase in world oil demand which is expected in the long term.’’

He said according to OPEC’s World Oil Outlook, long-term oil demand is expected to increase by 15 mb/d, rising from 94.5 mb/d in 2016 to 111.1 mb/d in 2040.

“To meet the projected increase in global oil demand, investments worth an estimated 10.5 trillion dollars will be required. Investment is also necessary to offset the impact of natural decline rates, which can be as high as five per cent per year.

“To maintain current production levels, the industry may need to add upward of 4mb/d each year. The situation was bleak, but as the saying goes, the darkest hour is that before the dawn.

“So began the most intensive negotiations in the history of the Organisation. Meetings lasted hours, days and nights.

“I witnessed displays of stamina in those sessions that I have never seen before in my life: including from our own Minister Kachikwu. Thankfully, all these labours were not in vain.

“With the landmark Declaration of Cooperation, 24 now 25 oil-producing nations agreed at the first OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, which held on Dec. 10, 2016 in Vienna on a concerted effort to accelerate the stabilisation of the global oil market through voluntary production adjustments of around 1.8 mb/d.

“The second OPEC, non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting held on May 25, 2017, extended the voluntary production adjustments for another nine months commencing on July 1, 2017.

“Following the third OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting on Nov. 30, 2017, the Declaration of Cooperation was amended to take effect for the whole year of 2018.

“The 174th Meeting of the OPEC Conference and the 4th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting held on June 22 and 23 this year, reaffirmed the partners’ unshakeable resolve to act in the interests of producers and consumers.

“Participating Countries also agreed to strive to adhere to the overall conformity level of 100 per cent for the remainder of 2018,’’ he said. (NAN)

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FG Commissions First Mobile Radio Frequency Monitoring Equipments

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Dr. Adebayo Shittu

Dr. Adebayo Shittu

BY SARAUNIYA G USMAN,ABUJA

The Federal Government, through the ministry of communication has commissioned the first-ever Mobile Radio Frequency Monitory Equipment, National Spectrum Management System, Denial of Service (DOS) Equipment and a National Control Centre.

During the commissioning of the devices today at the Shehu Musa Yar’dua’s Centre,the Minister of Communications, Dr. Adebayo Shittu,
described the development as historic and necessary, looking at the fact that the Ministry is the Secretariat of the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC).

Dr. Shittu who expressed joy on the successful delivery of the equipment and explained that it is a pioneer project of the current administration and being first of its kind after several attempts and efforts by past administrations to get funding for the project proved abortive.

“With these facilities in place, the Ministry now has the capacity to detect, identify and locate the sources of transmissions and is, therefore, able to determine if a frequency user is duly licensed or not”.

“In addition, the use of the state-of-the-art equipment would enable the Ministry to ensure that duly licensed users of radio frequency spectrum operate in compliance with technical specifications,” the Minister maintained.

He disclosed that Ministry of Communications had in March 2017 secured the federal executive council’s (FEC) approval to award a contract for the project to Messrs.’ TCI International Inc., USA at the cost of Nine Million, Eighty-Five Thousand, Forty-Three US Dollars, Ninety-Three Cents ($ 9, 085, 043. 93) for the supply, installation, and commissioning of the sophisticated world class monitoring devices.

The devices include five state-of-the-art Mobile Radio Monitoring Equipment, a National Spectrum Management System, two Denial of Service (DoS) equipment and the establishment of a National Control Centre.

In his words,, “Radio Frequency Spectrum is a very important and scarce resource that supports and drives the Multi-billion dollar wireless telecommunications and ICT industry globally, hence, must be managed well for its efficient, judicious and equitable use by various radio communication services to drive the socio-economic development of our country”, He stated.

The Minister said that each of the five monitoring vehicles would now be deployed to each of the Monitoring Centers in Gusau, Zamfara state to cover the North Western States, Ipaja, Lagos to cover the South Western States and Ogoja, Cross River State to cover States in the South-South while each of the two Denial of Service equipment would be deployed to Abuja and Lagos to serve the North Central and Southern States respectively.

He urged all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Private individuals and organisations that use the frequency spectrum to first obtain authorisation from the Ministry of communications before procuring and operating any radio communications equipment.

Dr. Shittu warned that all operators of unauthorised frequency spectrum should formalise their operational status to avert appropriate sanctions. He added that the ministry has incorporated other components which are aimed to guarantee the durability of the equipment having trained 29 engineers, technologists, and other professionals to effectively Mann the facilities.

The manufacturers, according to him, have given six (6) year warrantee for the equipment to serve without any defect with the company taking care of maintenance and management of the facilities without demanding a dime from the Federal Government.

In her address at the event, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Nkechi Ejele said, the project was born out of a dire need of the Ministry of Communications to show exemplary leadership in the promotion and development of the telecommunications and ICT industry in Nigeria.

Nkechi added that the devices would proffer requisite infrastructure, skills, technical competence and capacity to aid the Ministry in policy formulation for effective management of the natural but scarce frequency spectrum resource, to curb its irregular and illegal usage.

Earlier, the Chief of Defence staff, General Abayomi Olonishakin, who was represented by Maj. Gen. JA Orokpo, described the project as a noble idea, noting that the project has the capacity to play a great role for the Nigerian armed forces in dealing with the terror activities of Boko Haram in the North Eastern Nigeria.

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PT’s candidate to grow economy to $4trn

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PT’s presidential candidate

PT’s presidential candidate


Mr Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, Presidential Candidate for People’s Trust Party, has pledged to grow Nigeria’s economy from $510 billion (its highest in 2013) to $4 trillion in 10 years, if elected.

Olawepo-Hashim told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja the economy would be grown to be at par with that of Malaysia, Thailand and other middle income economies.

“We are not setting standards like we want to become the United States of America; we just want to be where we were in 10 years, where we were in 1960.

“A $510 billion GDP as at 2013 when we celebrated being the biggest economy in Africa is of course too small for 200 million people as our projected population is now.

“Nigeria needs a $4 trillion economy to become a middle income economy; that’s our target and it’s doable and we have set up a strategy to achieve this,’’ he said.

He also proposed to effect a minimum wage of N50,000 for workers, noting that the standard of living for Nigerian workers was quite low.

“I am going to have a N50,000 minimum wage and that is lower than the minimum wage that Nigerian workers were awarded in 1983 which was N125; at that time you needed 55 kobo for a dollar.

“So basically, N125 minimum wage was more than N60,000 of today’s Nigeria; so by the grace of God when elected, the minimum wage by the first anniversary of our government will be N50,000 in Nigeria.

“That is what I believe is decent for an average worker; you can’t deal with corruption when you underpay people,’’ he said.

He said his government would prioritise tourism, restructure the education system and expand income through infrastructure funds, solid minerals, foreign investments, and intellectual capital protection.

He promised to promote knowledge-based economy through effective copy right laws to ensure that innovators get due reward for their work and protect Nigeria’s intellectual property.

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FG, KOICA to Launch Phase2 ICT Project

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Adebayo Shittu

Adebayo Shittu

BY SARAUNIYA G USMAN, ABUJA

The Federal Government and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) are collaborating to launch second phase of partnership in ICT that would develop experts and highly skilled labor in information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Nigeria.

This was disclosed yesterday when a high powered delegation from the KOICA office, led by its Country Director, Sook Hyun Park paid a courtesy visit to the Ministry of Communications, Abuja.

The country Director said that, South Korean government through KOICA has enjoyed a strong partnership with Federal Ministry of Communications in its e-government capacity building project for the past 7 years.

“Our first e-government project which has existed for the past 7 years with a strong partnership with Federal Ministry of Communications would be concluded next year.

We shall keep our effort and support to Nigeria. E-government in the 2nd project which we plan to embark upon, we are interested in developing human skilled labor in ICT areas hence, the need for the Minister to share his expertise and ideas that would be of good direction to the Federal Government ”, the Director stated.

Sook Hyun stated that KOICA’s visit to the Ministry of Communications was aimed at introducing the agency’s upcoming project (phase 2) being worked towards year 2020 and beyond, following the conclusion of the introductory (first phase) which would be concluded by 2019.

In his contribution, Headquarter Coordinator, An Kwangsoo, said KOICA as an agency was set to move from the introductory part of its partnership project which was focused on e-government capacity building, scholarship for masters and PHD Degrees in Korean Universities for Nigerians to a bigger phase in order to assist Nigeria in achieving the implementation of her e-government master plan.

In his remarks, the Minister of Communications, Dr. Adebayo Shittu thanked KOICA on behalf of the Federal Government, for generously investing so much towards the development of Nigeria, particularly in areas of e-government and capacity building.

The Minister said that, Federal Government cannot take KOICA’s selfless cooperation for granted and urged them to sustain the smooth relationship that is being enjoyed by both parties in service to humanity.

He urged the Agency to meet with the Ministry’s e-government department to work together for a very beneficial launch of the 2nd phase of broader partnership between the federal government and the Republic of Korea via KOICA.

In the new phase, Shittu urged the Agency to make conscientious efforts to ensure at least 100,000 civil servants are trained annually, to improve Nigeria’s system of operations to be more effective and efficient.

He also appealed to them to collaborate with the Nigerian Universities by sending technology gurus from the Korean universities to impart technological ideas and knowledge to students in Nigeria who shall in turn train others.

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