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Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote says 650,000 barrel per day oil refinery to begin operations in 2023

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Africa’s wealthiest man, Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote said on Friday his 650,000 barrel per day oil refinery is expected to be commissioned before the close of President Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential term, which ends next year.

Mr. Dangote made the disclosure in response to a question after a meeting with President Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja.

“By the grace of God, Mr. President will come and commission (the refinery) before the end of his term,” Dangote said.

The Dangote refinery is situated on a 6,180 acres (2,500 hectares) site at the Lekki Free Zone, Lekki, Lagos State. It will process about 650,000 barrels of crude oil daily, transported via pipelines from oil fields in the Niger Delta, where natural gas will also be sourced to supply the fertilizer factory and be used in electrical generation for the refinery complex.

Although Nigeria is one of the largest oil producers in the world, the West African country does not refine crude oil locally. State-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has four refineries, two in Port Harcourt (PHRC), and one each in Kaduna (KRPC) and Warri (WRPC) but none has worked to capacity for years despite several investments to succinate the refineries.

The government sees the refinery as a solution to ending Nigeria’s reliance on imports for most refined petroleum products even though Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer and exporter.

The situation with the state-owned refineries in Nigeria and the refusal of past and present governments in Nigeria adds to the high national anticipation surrounding the Dangote refinery but experts have warned that hope should be with caution on Dangote’s project as it only positions a monopoly of an essential commodity like oil.

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Binance in talks with Nigerian govt over executive’s detention

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Following the arrest of Binance’s head of financial crime compliance by Nigerian authorities last month, the company’s CEO said Thursday that the company was working very closely with Nigerian officials.

The trial against Tigran Gambaryan, the executive, and another Binance employee, who are accused of moving more than $35 million, had been put off until May 2 in Nigeria, the country’s anti-corruption body said on April 8.

“What I can say is we are working very closely with the Nigerian authorities to try to resolve the matter,” CEO Richard Teng said, speaking about Gambaryan’s case during the Token2049 crypto conference in Dubai.

Former executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British Kenyan who works as a regional manager for Africa, escaped detention in Nigeria last month. While in Nigeria, Anjarwalla and Gambaryan were arrested by the country’s anti-corruption body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), after arriving on February 26, after which the country banned several websites that traded cryptocurrencies.

Before they were arrested, the head of Nigeria’s central bank said that Binance was being investigated in Nigeria because of “suspicious flows” of cash through Binance Nigeria in 2023. The Securities and Trade Commission of the United States and other government agencies have susbsisting restrictions on bitcoin trade.

Besides the case brought by the EFCC, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria’s tax office, has also charged Binance and the executives with tax evasion.

Sacheendran declined to comment on the charges against the company but stressed that “This was a one-off. It’s never happened to us before”. The Binance head of regional markets told Reuters on the sidelines of the Dubai conference when asked about the detentions.

Additionally, Binance revealed on Thursday that it had obtained a license from VARA, Dubai’s regulatory body. This will enable the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange to target regular people in addition to qualified and institutional ones.

Bloomberg reported earlier Thursday, citing sources, that parts of VARA’s process to give the license included Changpeng Zhao, the founder and former CEO of Binance, giving up vote control of the Dubai unit.

“That’s pure speculation. Again, we don’t comment on media speculation… Our relationship, our dealings with regulators are confidential,” Teng told journalists.

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IMF says South Africa needs to do more to cut spending, lower debt-to-GDP ratio

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A top official from the International Monetary Fund has revealed that South Africa needs to do more to cut spending and lower its debt-to-gross domestic product ratio. The multilateral body stressed that the ratio is expected to rise from 74% in 2022 to almost 86% by 2029.

Era Dabla-Norris, deputy head of Fiscal Affairs, said that the government could cut back on transfers to state-owned businesses, make cuts to subsidies that don’t help specific companies, and make big changes to the way the economy works to boost growth.

She told a news conference that South Africa’s energy and logistics problems had to be fixed right away.

A Statista study shows that between 2023 and 2028, the South African national debt was expected to keep going up by a total of 163.3 billion U.S. dollars, or 59.99%.

The national debt is expected to hit a new high point of 435.46 billion U.S. dollars in 2028, after going up for ten years in a row. Notably, the national debt has steadily risen over the past few years.

The IMF says that the general government’s gross debt is made up of all its debts that need to be paid back with interest and/or capital at some point in the future.

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