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South Sudan puts up 14 oil blocs for sale amid dwindling economy



Amid a dwindling economy and the threat of skyrocketing inflation, South Sudan has put up 14 of its oil blocs for sale in a bid to increase production to pre-war levels of 350,000 barrels a day.

The Managing Director of State-owned oil conglomerate, Nile Petroleum Corporation Limited (Nilepet), Chol Deng Thon Abel, who confirmed the development to journalists in the capital, Juba, on Thursday, said interest in the country’s petroleum industry has been growing from within Africa and abroad.

Much of South Sudan’s oil and gas blocks are yet to be fully explored and resources assessed, stalled by conflict, hence the need to sell them off,” Abel said at the end of the country’s 5th annual oil and power forum.

“We have 14 oil blocks that have not been taken, and we invite international companies that are here to seize the opportunity to apply for these blocks.

“South Sudan is actually very busy nowadays attracting international companies to come and invest in the oil industry, and this conference is a very good platform to exchange ideas with international companies,” the MD added.

Going by the sale plans, Nilepet is to take over blocks 3 and 7 by 2027, while blocks 3 and 7 are to be taken over and operated by Dar Petroleum Operating Company, a consortium owned by Malaysian Petroliam Nasional, China National Petroleum Corporation, China Petrochemical, Nile Petroleum and MOG Energy, when the exploration production sharing agreement expires, Abel said.

South Sudan which has the third largest oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa estimated at 3.5 billion barrels, has been producing at only 30 per cent capacity following conflicts that have engulfed the country since gaining independence from Sudan in 2002.

According to statistics, the country currently produces 175,000 barrels a day, about a third of the potential 500,000 bpd, in blocks 1, 2 and 4 and blocks 3 and 7, and block 5A in Unity state.


Kenya’s apex bank sets lending rate benchmark at 8.75%



Kenya’s central bank on Monday announced new monetary policy holding its benchmark lending rate steady at 8.75%.

Kenya’s monetary policy committee however said, its last hike in November was still working its way through the economy, stressing that there are there had been others measures that could help to lower inflationary pressure.

The committee said “this action will be complemented by the recently announced government measures to allow limited duty-free imports on specific food items, which are expected to moderate prices.”

Inflation inched down to 9.1% in December, the second straight month of decrease, but still above the government’s preferred band of 2.5-7.5%.

Policymakers major African countries like Nigeria and South Africa have hiked rates last week, while their Ghanaian counterparts hiked earlier on Monday.

Policymakers raised the policy rate for the first time since 2015 during their meeting in May last year, when they increased it by 50 basis points, citing growing inflation.

They followed that with a 75 basis points hike in September and another one of 50 basis points in November.

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Nigeria’s apex bank, CBN, bows to pressure, extends deadline for use of notes



Nigeria’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has extended the deadline for the use of the old notes till February 10.

The bank’s governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced the extension in a statement signed on Sunday.

According to the statement, the CBN revealed that it sought approval from President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the deadline for the use of the old notes by 10 days.

“based on the foregoing, we have sought and obtained Mr. President’s approval for the following:  A 10-day extension of the deadline from January 31 to February 10 to allow for the collection of more old notes legitimately held by Nigerians,” the statement read.

Nigeria has been on a recent trend of monetary policy in a bid to rescue its struggling economy. Nigeria’s apex bank recently announced plans to introduce new designs of the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes this month.

“A 7-day grace period, beginning from February 10 to February 17, in compliance with Sections 20(3) and 22 of the CBN Act allowing Nigerians to deposit their old notes at the CBN after the February deadline when the old currency would have lost its Legal Tender Status.”

There has been calls and protests in some quarters for the extension of the deadline for the use of the old bank notes, including allegations by the ruling party presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu that the policy was targeted at him and aimed at sabotaging his election.



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