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NNPCL TO BOOST OIL RESERVES TO 50 BILLION BARRELS The ongoing oil exploration in Nigeria’s frontier basins is to grow the country’s crude oil reserves from 37 billion barrels to 50 billion barrels, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, announced on Tuesday. NNPC also commenced the official spud-in (drilling) for crude in the Ebenyi-A Well in Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State on Tuesday, and stated that the well would support in hitting the 50 billion barrels oil reserves target. This is coming four months after NNPC flagged off oil production in the Kolmani oil well, located between Bauchi and Gombe states, in November 2022. The Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Ltd, Mele Kyari, told the audience at the Ebenyi-A Well site on Tuesday that the oil firm had moved a drilling rig to the location, and was optimistic of boosting Nigeria’s daily oil output to about three million barrels. “Today, we have mobiliaed the drilling rig to this site, here in Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. We are optimistic that the positive outcome of this campaign will contribute to the national aspiration of increasing our hydrocarbon reserves from 37 billion barrels to 50 billion barreis, in the short to medium term and increase our crude oil production to a target of three million barrels (per day). “I wish to reiterate that NNPC Ltd in conjunction with the NURPC (Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission) are committed to conducting exploration activities of the nation’s frontier basins that spans the Chad Basin, Upper and Lower Benue troughs, Bida Basin, the Sokoto Basin, Dahomey, Anambra platform, Calabar embarkment and the Ultra deep water Niger Delta, using the best industry standards and technologies,” Kyari stated He also stated that mobilisation for re-entry into the Chad Basin had commenced, as directed by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), adding that the oil company was making progress in other activities in the frontier basins. CBN BARS BANKS SEEKING UPGRADE FROM EXPANSION The Central Bank of Nigeria has barred banks and other financial institutions seeking a conversion licence from expanding or reducing their current banking network in its new draft guidelines. The CBN discloses this in a circular tagged ‘FPR/DIR/PUB/CIR/001/072’ to banks and other financial institutions, which was titled ‘Regulatory guidelines for change of operational licence for banks and other financial institutions in Nigeria’, and dated 28 March 2023. The draft was signed by the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Chibuzor Efobi. The circular stated, “Under these guidelines, the following prohibitions/restrictions shall apply to eligible banks and OFIs applying for conversion or re-categorisation. The bank or OFI shall not, pending when the application is determined expand or reduce its current banking network; “Roll-out new products and services; carry out any new strategic banking activity but the settlement of rights and obligations shall continue until extinguished in accordance with existing terms and conditions; “Take any business decision after the conversion process was commenced, except in line with the bank’s conversion strategy submitted to the CBN; Engage in any banking activity specific to the proposed new licence; any other requirement that may be prescribed from time to time by the CBN.” The CBN stated that due to increasing requests from financial institutions to either upgrade or convert to other licence regimes, the draft guidelines aimed to provide clarity to eligible financial institutions on regulatory requirements. STOCK MARKET REBOUNDS AS INVESTORS GAIN N261BN After two days of sustaining losses worth N963bn, the Nigerian Exchange Limited rebounded with a N261bn gain for investors. From 53,124.63, the All-Share Index appreciated 479.17 base points to 53, 603.8. Similarly, the market capitalisation moved to N29.201tn.At the end of trading on Wednesday, the year-to-date returns had settled at 3.89 per cent. A total of 236.066 million shares valued at N3.258bn were traded on the floor of the NGX in 3,906 deals.Investors sentiment stayed positive for the second consecutive day, sending 22 stocks to the gainers’ table compared to 12 equities on the losers’ table. The gainers’ table was led by Oando, Caverton and Ikeja Hotel with 9.84 per cent, 8.08 per cent and 7.77 per cent increases in their share value to close trading at N4.91, N1.07 and N1.11 respectively. On the losers’ table, May&Baker led with 8.70 per cent depreciation in its share value to close at N4.20. Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc followed with a percentage loss of 8.06 to end the day priced at N0.57 and RT Briscoe, whose share lost 7.69 per cent and closed the market at N0.24.On the Most Traded tab, Zenith Bank led with 27.086 million of its shares valued at N696.20bn traded in 610 deals. Zenith Bank released its 2022 financial report on Tuesday and reported that it grew its gross earnings by 24 per cent from N765.6n as of the end of the 2021 financial period to N945.5bn in the corresponding period of 2022. GTCO was the second most traded stock with 22.071 million shares worth N551.45m exchanged in 365 trades. Transcorp Plc followed with 91.391 million shares worth N134.23m, traded in 264 deals. FG SAVED N3.9TRN FROM PORT CONCESSION The Chairman, Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup, said the Federal Government’s port concession programme has saved the country about US$8.5 billion (N3.91 trillion) which was hitherto paid to foreign shipping lines as congestion surcharge. The STOAN chairman also said that members of the association, who are the concessionaires, are ready to inject more funds into the port once pending concession agreements are renewed. Haastrup said these while addressing journalists after a courtesy visit to her by the new Country Managing Director of APM Terminals Nigeria, Frederik Klinke. She said in addition to the huge savings to the economy, terminal operators have also made significant investments running into billions of dollars at the six major seaports across the country. “Nigeria’s port concession programme has been a monumental success. Many African countries send representatives here to understudy our port concession regime and how we were able to substantially increase investment and efficiency within a very short period of time. It shows ‘we can-do spirit of Nigerians’. “The port concession programme reduced the waiting time of vessels coming into our ports from an average of 45 days before 2006 to less than three days at present. It has helped in eliminating the notorious congestion surcharge hitherto imposed on our ports by major shipping lines under the aegis of the Europe-West Africa Trade Agreement EWATA. “The elimination of the port congestion surcharge has resulted in saving Nigeria’s trading community over US$500 million per annum. If you multiply that by the 17 years of port concession, that amounts to a savings of US$8.5 billion to date. In naira terms, that is a savings of more than N3.9 trillion to the Nigerian economy” she said. NDIC ASSURES NIGERIANS OF SAFETY OF BANK DEPOSITS The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) on Thursday in Enugu assured depositors of the safety of their money against unusual bank failures.The assurance was given by the Senior Manager, Enugu Zonal Office of NDIC, Mr Othman Afolayan who represented the Managing Director, Mr Bello Hassan at the NDIC Day at the ongoing 34th Enugu International Trade Fair. He said the corporation was determined to enhance public confidence in the financial system by ensuring that customers’ deposits in banks were safe and protected. He explained that the NDIC, in conjunction with the CBN supervised money deposit banks to ensure that they were run in safe and efficient manner.This, he added, was done in line with extant laws and regulations and ensuring the resolution of distress in banks to reduce instances of failure,“We are at the trade fair to showcase the mandate and activities of the NDIC, particularly our contributions to the stability of the country’s financial system. “We want the general public to know and reflect always that their deposits are safe and that in the unusual event of a bank failure, the NDIC is here to protect them, especially the small savers,’’ he said. He, however, advised depositors to ensure that their phones have a strong passwords and avoid sharing their bank mobile app password with third parties. Earlier, the President, the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), organisers of the trade fair, Mr Jasper Nduagwuike, commended NDIC for its continued support for the fair in the last 12 years.