Price of crude oil on Monday hit the highest since November 2018 to sell at $70.76 per barrel.
This follows the ongoing oil supply cut by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the sanctions meted on Iran and Venezuela by the United States.
Early Monday indices showed that Brent and the U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude sold for $70.76 and $63.48 per barrel respectively.
OPEC had last December reached an agreement with its allies to take 1.2 million barrel per day off to boost the market.
The US had earlier slapped a surprise oil sanction on Venezuela aimed at toppling President Nicolas Maduro.
In a bid to recover a debt of ₦343,895,137, Stanbic IBTC bank Plc has renewed its legal battle against a shipping company, Enegas Power limited and two Directors of the company, Mr Frank karkite and Christian Anenih who are the guarantors of the loan.
However, in their statement of defence and counter claims, the defendants are counter claiming the sum of ₦200 million and 250,000 United states Dollars .
Joined as co-defendant is a limited Liability company, Bluebarrel limited.
In an amended statement of claim filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, by Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, the bank alleged that by a letter dated 24th September, 2013 Enegas Power Limited requested a $2,300,000 Asset acquisition facility from the bank to enable it acquire liquefied Petroleum Gas(LPG) Vessel MT ANGAS to enhance its operations.
Consequently, the bank granted the credit facilities in the following manner value and asset finance: ₦ 155,040,000; letter of credit facility: USDI,615,000; Import finance facility: ₦ 155,04,000 to the company to finance 60% of the cost of purchasing of the said vessel named MV ANGAS from Starway Management Property limited Company. The banking facilities was later varied by the bank by the request made by the defendants.
The credit was accepted on behalf of the company by Mr frank Karkite and Mr Christian Anenih in their capacities as the directors of the company and they also secured the loan by their personal guarantee in writing.
As part of the conditions for granting the credit facilities, the bank demanded additional security to cover its total exposure to the company but the company failed to provide same as demanded.
The bank alleged further that the company breached the terms of the credit facilities in that after it had disbursed the credit facilities to it and utilized them, it failed to deliver to Nigeria the financed Vessel for which credit facilities were granted, contrary to its agreement with the bank; the company also failed to pay-back the credit as at when due, as it has refused to pay the balance of the loan amounting to ₦ 343,895,137.00
Wherefore the claims of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc against the defendants jointly and severally are as follows.
The sum of N343,895,13,000, interest on the said sum at the agreed rate of 34% per annum from 1st of January 2017. The sum of ₦5 million being the cost of litigation solicitors fee.
However, in an amended joint statement of defence and counter claims of the defendants filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer, Matthew Egbadon, the defendants averred that the facility was not paid to them but disbursed directly to Starway Management Property limited, sellers of the Vessel MT ANGAS by the bank, as the bank agreed to finance 60% of the cost of purchasing the Vessel while the defendants agreed to provide equity of 40% towards purchase.
There was delay in bringing the vessel to Nigeria which was caused by the refusal of issuance of travelling visa to the Nigeria crew members because of the unforeseen Ebola Epidemic outbreak in Nigeria coupled with the consequential maintenance and harbour services, which led to the incurring of bills on the vessel.
He said the sum which was eventually approved but not fully disbursed by the bank to meet the cost and other incidental matters to facilitate the movement of the Vessel to Nigeria from Istanbul, Turkey was ₦193,716,912.13 and that addition of temporary import bond of ₦37,855,600 was to be issued by the bank, but noted that this was not done.
Consequently, he said the bank flagrantly violated the terms of the credit facility and reneged on the release of additional funds which made it impossible for the company to fulfill her own terms and conditions and bring the vessel into Nigeria. The defendants denied the amount in the sum stated in the bank’s claim and alleged that the bank’s unilaterally altering the interest rate of the facility was unconscionable, fraudulent and meant to embarrass the defendants.
The defendants averred further that after a long wait without disbursement of funds by the bank and with the funds required to fix the vessel increasing, coupled with accumulated crew wages port charges and maintenance fees soaring, It was agreed that the company should source for funds to carry out the repairs, pay port charges and other debts relating to the vessel pending when funds would be made available by the bank.
The defendant then obtained loan from Bluebarrel company through the bank cover as follows N45 million, from Sterling Bank, N35 million from Skye Bank and USD250,000 sourced from overseas.
Eventually the additional facility was approved in April, 2015 by Stanbic IBTC bank the company accepted the offer and again, the bank cyncally and unilaterally varied the terms of the offer.
The presiding Judge, Saliu Saidu has adjourned till 16 of May, 2019 for hearing of the case to commence.
Programme Coordinator of the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC), Tengi George-Ikoli, has expressed fears that the dip in oil prices could send the country back to recession going by the depletion of the Excess Crude Account (ECA).
Recalling the calls for transparency and accountability on the running of the account, she, however, noted that the $183 million in the purse as at last month going by the revelation of the Director, Funds in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Mohammed Usman, notwithstanding, she insisted that the country’s economy remained in danger.
According to her, Nigeria must use all its natural resources to develop others sectors of the economy to make its revenue base independent of fluctuations associated with commodities like crude oil.
Established in 2004, the ECA is operated by the Federal Government to save revenues – in excess of budgetary benchmarks from crude sales.
As of 2005, the ECA, one of Nigeria’s key external reserves, had a balance of about $5.1 billion. It went up to about $20 billion in November 2008 thereby accounting for one-third of the country’s external reserves.
In mid-2010, the account was depleted to less than $4 billion. In April 2018, the balance stood at only $1.8 billion. Last December, its content fell from $ 2.319 billion the previous month to $631 million.
The account has repeatedly faced a series of allegations bordering on poor public accounting, especially as it relates to corruption, opacity, mismanagement and gross abuse amid countless lawsuits.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, had told journalists at the end of the December FAAC meeting that the withdrawals were made to settle the last tranche of the Paris Club refund.
In a related development, former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to account for the N360 billion allegedly withdrawn from the account for security.
In a statement, he claimed that there was no noticeable improvement in security nationwide amid the alleged huge withdrawal.
The Bayelsa-born political activist blamed “corrupt practices for the increasing spate of killings, banditry and kidnapping across the country.”
The London Court of International Arbitration proceeding rules against the government of Djibouti to pay Dubai-based DP World, which owns 33.3 percent of Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT), a Djibouti port.
The tribunal has ordered Djibouti to pay DCT $385 million plus interest for breach of its exclusivity by development of container facilities at Doraleh Multipurpose Terminal, with further damages possible if Djibouti develops a planned Doraleh International Container Terminal with any other operator without the consent of DP World.
The tribunal has found that by developing new container port opportunities with China Merchants Holdings International Co Limited, a Hong-Kong based port operator, Djibouti has breached DCT’s rights under its 2006 concession agreement to develop a container terminal at Doraleh.
It added: “In respect of the development of the Djibouti Multipurpose Port facility, the facts are clear. At no stage before the decision was made to go ahead with that facility with China Merchants did… Djibouti… offer… DCT… the right to develop the proposed container facilities at the DMP.
“Djibouti was therefore in breach of clause 3.6.3 of the Concession Agreement”. China Merchants also operates a $3.5 billion free trade zone it developed pursuant to an agreement with Djibouti, in contravention of DP World’s exclusive right to develop and operate such a free zone under its own concession, which is the subject of other litigation proceedings.”
The tribunal also ordered Djibouti to pay DCT $148 million for historic non-payment of royalties for container traffic not transferred to DCT once it became operational. Djibouti is also ordered to pay DCT’s legal costs.
This is the fifth substantial ruling in DCT and DP World’s favour on disputes relating to the Doraleh terminal.
DCT and DP World said they continue to seek to uphold their legal rights, following Djibouti’s unlawful efforts to expel DP World from Djibouti and transfer the port operation to Chinese interests.
Litigation against China Merchants also continues before the Hong Kong courts.
In February 2018, the Djibouti government cancelled DP World’s contract, signed in 2006, to run the Doraleh Container Terminal. DP World claimed this attempted renationalisation was illegal and began court proceedings, resulting in the the latest ruling.
The Zimbabwean government has brought back the Chinese to the Chiadzwa diamond fields, three years after former President Robert Mugabe drove them out on allegations of looting.
Chinese-owned Anjin was expelled by government on February 22 2016, along with Mbada Diamonds, on grounds that their special grant licences had expired. Prior to that, Mugabe had accused them of massive leakages and smuggling the gems out of the country. Now under President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Anjin and Russian diamond mining company Alrosa will spearhead the government’s target of raising at least US$400 million in revenue by the end of 2019.
They will form partnerships with the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC). “Anjin, which used to operate in the area, is now back on the ground. We expect that it will commence production, at the latest, by end of May. We are looking at it being a significant producer in that regard,” said mines and mining development minister Winston Chitando.
The Russians and Chinese – Zimbabwe’s “all weather friends”, key to the Mnangagwa administration – take up the diamond fields after neighbouring Botswana passed on an offer tabled by Harare.
As part of Zimbabwe and Botswana’s bi-national relations, Harare initially tabled an offer that would have seen Botswana give Zimbabwe a US$500 million loan facility – which is a US$100m more than the year-end revenue target. In return, Botswana would mine diamonds from Chiadzwa.
However, Botswana said that due to budgetary constraints, Gaborone would not be able to support the proposed Diamond Backed Loan facility.
Since the diamond find in 2005, it had been expected and targeted that the mineral would revive Zimbabwe’s ailing economy that was under targeted sanctions owing to human rights abuses and disbanding of the rule of law. However, the local community was only left with unfulfilled promises and human rights watch organisations accuse the government of using the diamond revenue to prop up the regime.
(Source, Sunday Times)
Ghana obtained a provisional Effective Implementation (EI) rate of 89.89 per cent, the highest by an African country, after the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) concluded its Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) this year.
The validation, is in line with the United Nations Aviation Agency’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP).
The ICVM assessed Ghana’s safety oversight system on all eight ICAO Critical Elements (CEs), namely: Primary Aviation Legislation; State Operating Regulations; State Civil Aviation System and Safety Oversight Functions; and Technical Personnel Qualification and Training.
The other CEs that were validated included; Technical Guidance, Tools and the Provision of Safety-Critical Information; Licensing, Certification, Authorization and Approval Obligations; Surveillance Obligations; and Resolution of Safety Concerns.
Ghana, recorded a substantial improvement across all eight CEs, and the team from the UN specialised aviation agency identified no significant safety concerns (SSCs).
It comes after a nine-day follow-up onsite activity by a four-member team of experts from ICAO to validate corrective measures undertaken by Ghana following a USOAP audit in November 2006.
Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, Minister of Aviation, Who announced this at a press briefing in Accra, urged the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to immediately develop an action plan towards the implementation of corrective measures that have been recommended by the ICAO team.
“Ghana’s air transport industry enjoys strong government support, which is a crucial determinant for the aviation sector’s ability to maintain an ICAO compliant regulatory framework and to achieve accelerated sustainable growth of the sector in the years ahead,” he said.
The Minister stated that in line with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s vision of re-positioning the country as the sub-region’s Aviation hub, Parliament recently passed the Ghana Civil Aviation (Amendment) Act, 2019 (Act 985) together with the Legislative Instrument on Aircraft Accident and Serious Incident Regulations,2019 (LI 2375) to ensure enhanced compliance with ICAO’s Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS).
Mr Simon Allotey, the Director-General of GCAA, said the new achievement was an enviable milestone and was a true reflection of the robustness of the country’s safety oversight system, which ultimately translates into improved safety of airline operations.
“By adhering to ICAO’s SARPS related to safety oversight, GCAA effectively ensures that aviation service providers and airline operators maintain an acceptable level of operational safety,” he said.
“Our performance of 89.89 per cent is world-class and places Ghana at the top spot in Africa in terms of safety oversight, considering that the average EI rate on the continent stands at 52 percent, which is lower than the global average of 66.5 percent and below ICAO’s current minimum target of 60 percent,” Mr Allotey added.
The Director-General expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Aviation, Board of Directors, Management and staff of GCAA for the successful outcome of the ICVM, and to the members of the ICAO team for the professionalism, objectivity and cooperation exhibited throughout the process.
The final rating will be communicated to Ghana within six-weeks after validation of the provisional score by ICAO.