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Playing ostrich? Nigeria plans to spend $2.2 billion Eurobond on fuel subsidy

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Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, has revealed that the country plans to tap 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) this month or next of the money it raised in a Eurobond sale last year and target more local borrowing in 2022 to help fund its costly petrol subsidies as oil prices rise.

“Rising oil prices has put us in a very precarious position because we import refined products … and it means that our subsidy cost is really increasing,” she said on the side-lines of an Arab-African conference in Cairo.

In February, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari in a letter sent to the National Assembly requested for consideration and approval to accommodate the additional fuel subsidy funding. The request was for an additional provision of N2.557 trillion for petrol subsidy payments in 2022 noting that country’s budget deficit would rise to 4% of GDP as the government eyes new domestic borrowing. The deficit was originally set at 3.42% of GDP.

Despite her increasing debt profile, Nigeria’s government in January postponed its planned removal of subsidy on petroleum products till further notice. Petrol subsidy payments reportedly gulped overN1.15 trillion 2021 alone, resulting in low revenue for federal, state and local governments to cater for developmental projects.

But the price of oil has soared. The West African country depends almost entirely on imports to meet its domestic gasoline needs, even though it is a crude oil exporter. It is also facing shortages after taking delivery of some unusable substandard gasoline.

While it remains unclear by how much the commencement of active local refining will reduce the landing cost of petrol, the Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, recently disclosed that its refinery would begin operations in Q3 2022, starting with a capacity of 540,000bpd.

Nigeria’s daily demand for refined crude oil was estimated at 442,000bpd, as of 2018, which still comes below the proposed initial capacity of 540,000bpd. Many other modular refineries are also expected to come on stream. Beyond a possible reduction in the landing cost of petrol, achieving self-sufficiency in refining petrol will help conserve the country’s scarce FX.

Ahmed said that the government was working with lawmakers to boost revenues and that the rise in oil prices means that borrowings will increase more than planned.

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World Bank predicts Mozambique economy growing at 5.7% on average

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The World Bank has predicted that the economic growth in Mozambique is expected to accelerate in the medium term averaging 5.7% between 2022 and 2024, as a result of demand recovery and economy benefits from the start of liquefied natural gas production this year.

In a report released Thursday, the World Bank said the start of LNG production at the offshore Coral Project and the expected resumption of other LNG projects would help spur the southeast African nation’s growth in the intervening year.

The World Bank said a three-year extended credit facility arrangement agreed by Mozambique with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and budget support from other partners would further help to strengthen its economic recovery.

The IMF’s executive board had, in May, approved a $456 million program for the country, the first since the global lender suspended support to Mozambique six years ago.

However, the World Bank warned that risks remained for Mozambique’s growth, especially from rising import prices due to the conflict in Ukraine, a possible surge in COVID infection waves, and insurgency in the north.

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Nigeria, Algeria, Niger to revive Saharan gas pipeline talks

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The governments of Nigeria, Algeria and Niger Republic have held talks to revive a gas pipeline project across the Sahara which had been put on hold for over 40 years, with the potential opportunity for Europe to diversify its gas sources as the world faces a short fall as a result of the Russian-Ukraine war.

The three countries, represented by their various Petroleum Ministers, met in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on Wednesday and resolved to set up a task force to revive the project and designated an entity to update the feasibility study.

A statement by Niger’s Oil Ministry after the two-day meeting stated that the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline project estimated at $13 billion, could send up to 30 billion cubic metres a year of supplies to Europe.

The statement added that the energy ministers of the three countries will meet again in Algiers at the end of July to “validate the proposals of the newly installed task force.”

“The pipeline should allow Europe to diversify its sources of natural gas supply but also allow several African states to access this high value energy source,” the statement said.

“With a length of 4,128 kilometres (2,565 miles), the pipeline would start in Warri, Nigeria, and end in Hassi R’Mel, Algeria, where it would connect to existing pipelines that run to Europe,” it said.

The gas pipeline idea was first proposed more than 40 years ago with an agreement signed between the three countries in 2009, but progress stalled stalled following a lack of follow through by the countries.

Earlier this month, Nigeria also took steps to revive another gas pipeline project that would pass through West Africa, Morocco to Europe.

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