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DPR awards marginal field letters to qualified companies

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The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says that 50 per cent of short listed companies for marginal field oil operations have been awarded letters in different oil locations in the country.

The award letters were presented to the operators in Abuja on Monday by Mr Auwalu Sarki, DPR, Director/Chief Operating Officer.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a marginal field is an oil field that has been discovered and left unattended for a period of not less than 10 years from the date of first discovery.

Sarki explained that the 57 marginal fields to be explored by the operators are located on land, swamp and offshore terrains in various parts of the country.

He said that the companies presented with their certificates were those that have met all the conditions for the award out of the 161 that were shortlisted.

“A total of 591Expression of Interest applications were submitted; out of these applications, 540 were successfully prequalified during phase 1 of the exercise.

“At the end of phase 2, 482 bids were submitted by 405 applicants. Following the evaluation of the bids, 161 companies were shortlisted as potential awardees out of which 50 per cent have met all conditions and therefore eligible for award today.

“We are set to ensure opportunities are extended to other deserving applications to fill the gap,” Sarki said.

According to the DPR boss, the award marks the end of the bid round process which started on June 1, 2020, but the beginning of the post award phase which is very important.

He said the DPR had developed a strategy to ensure the awarded marginal field operators achieve early development and would continue to follow up and guide the awardees in every step they make.

Sarki noted that a National Oil and Gas Business Opportunity Desk has been established in the DPR.

“This desk synthesises opportunity across the value chain of the industry and creates a platform for investors, financiers, funders, and other intending partners to realise desired objectives,” Sarki said.

He implored the awardees to take advantage of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre for the industry recently commissioned by Mr President which offers services in improved oil recovery, alternative dispute resolution, integrated data analysis and competence development.

Bank-Anthony Okoroafor, the Executive Chairman, Vhelbherg Exploration and Production Development Company Ltd., one of the companies that secured the licence, commended the DPR for its transparency.

“This is the first most transparent exercise carried out by the DPR since 2003; it was open to everybody and there were publications.

“The job is not completed, and for the DPR to complete their work, it has to assist operators to produce in their various locations and ensure we are not suffocated,” Okoroafor said.

He said the move by the DPR to award letters to the operators of marginal fields was in the right direction as it would help boost the country’s oil reserve.

Mrs Timbu Ayinde, the Chief Operating Officer, Dutchess Energy Ltd., another awardee, said they were looking forward to a successful business.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for me in the sector as I have been in the downstream and this is an opportunity for me to go into the upstream.

“We are going to increase crude oil production for Nigeria and for the companies themselves, it is an expansion into the upstream sector; we are going to harness and employ people,” Ayinde said. (NAN)

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Business & Economy

NAICOM unveils real-time platform for deep penetration, efficiency

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The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), has automated insurance industry activities with the unveiling of a new platform to deepen the insurance market and increase the penetration.

NAICOM had in July 2009, embarked on a comprehensive computerization effort tagged ‘project e-regulation’ which was meant to transform its operational procedures and the conduct of its regulatory responsibilities by providing a robust, world class ICT Infrastructure to help implement automated business processes internally and for industry wide supervision via an integrated platform.

Prior to this development, the processing of applications required that applicants physically drop off their applications at the Commission with the attendant challenges of delays in processing times, wasted manpower hours due to back-and-forth in application processing as well as ineffective application tracking system.

Speaking at the unveiling of the new platform in Abuja, Sunday Thomas, Commissioner for Insurance, said “with the completion of the portal there will be process efficiency and faster processing time as applications and supporting documents are submitted online, applicant’s account is updated with the status of the application as it progresses and there is effective Real-time communication between NAICOM and the applicant.

“The Portal also provides a Platform for interconnectivity by all industry stakeholders to support real-time aggregation of data on policies at the time of underwriting and policy issuance. Each policy will be issued with a unique policy identification that will be associated with the policy for the lifetime of the policy.

“The Portal is presently made up of four systems which include, The Policy System that captures all insurance policies issued in Nigeria online real time via Application Programming Interface (APIs).

“This helps to generate a unique policy identification number for all issued policies necessary to ensure fidelity and validity of all policies in the country and manages information on all insurance policies and premiums and also enables insurance customers and third-party entities such as Law Enforcement Agencies to query and validate insurance policies.

“Also, with the Licensing System, the Portal automates the core business processes of Registration/Renewal of Licenses, New Products, AIP no objection & Attestation approvals at NAICOM.

“All of these application processes will proceed digitally from the application stage where all supporting documents are provided, to the review stage, the approval stage and license generation where applicable.

Thomas appreciated the African Reinsurance Corporation (African Re) for its funding of this critical software that would improve efficiency and effectiveness in supervisory and regulatory oversight of the Nigerian Insurance Industry.

“Indeed, this is a welcome development and further demonstration of commitment by development partners to the transformation of the Nigerian economy and the change agenda of the current administration,” he said.

The Commissioner expected that the challenges of poor insurance penetration, public trust and confidence in insurance, and inadequate real time statistical data of the insurance industry will be resolved through the efficient deployment of the portal.

“Also the direct interface with the Industry provided by the portal will ensure greater accountability and transparency while the digital platform will provide a single point of Contact between NAICOM and the Insurance Industry.

“In addition it facilitates the Complaints Management System. This is a customized solution designed to help the Commission manage complaints and handle issues seamlessly as well as ensure that insurance companies are performing highly and clients are serviced adequately.

“The system is also designed to integrate directly with NAICOM existing database, utilizing existing records of customers and insurance companies; it incorporates multiple channels for initiation of complaints including Social media applications (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter),Direct action on the complaint portal, Walk-in complainants, Regular media, Emails &SMS (Short Code)and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD).

“The Portal also ensures Regulatory Returns and Financial Analysis,” he added

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ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisation re-elects Dr. Ezra, as president

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Dr. Ezra Yakusak - MD/CEO NEPC
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Dr. Ezra Yakusak, the Executive Director/CEO of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has been reelected as the President of ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisations (TPOs) Network in Accra Ghana.

Dr. Yakusat, will serve another One-year tenure and will lead 15 other member ECOWAS countries in driving trade within the sub-region.

His re-election is also in line with Article 11 of the ECOWAS TPO Network. The ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organization is a network of all Trade Promotion Organizations in West Africa established by the decisions of Council of Ministers at the Ordinary Session.

Nigeria became the pioneer president in April 2021. Dr. Yakusat, became the president following the expiration of the tenure of Mr. Awolowo as ED/ CEO of NEPC.

A statement by the council said the re-election of Dr. Ezra was at the end of 2nd Annual General Meeting of the Network held at Alisa hotel, Accra, Ghana from 19th – 20th May, 2022.

He was re-elected along with the vice president, Mr. Ben Guy Mbangue from Cote’ D’ivoire.

The duo constitute the Executive Bureau of the Network and the tenure expires after one year. All members present unanimously re-elected the President and Vice President respectively.

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World Bank projects Nigeria’s Diaspora remittances to increase in 2022

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World Bank has projected Nigeria’s Diaspora remittance inflow to increase to $29bn in 2022 because of higher food prices and the continued adoption of official bank channels.

The bank said, migrants from the country are likely to send more money home to help with the hike in the prices of staples.

A report titled, ‘Migration and Development Brief (May 2022): A War in a Pandemic: Implications of the Ukraine crisis and COVID-19 on the global governance of migration and remittance flows,’ the bank stated that remittance flows to low and middle-income countries are expected to increase by 4.2 per cent to $630bn in 2022.

It said: “With risks weighted to the downside, there are several factors that support a view for continued—though more moderate—7.1 per cent gain inflows to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022.

“Momentum for the use of official channels in Nigeria should sustain an uptrend in the year, within flows reaching $21bn.

“Though economic activity is likely to ease in the United States and Europe, fundamentals remain positive for continued gains in remittance flows to the remainder of Africa, as the influence of ‘altruistic’ motivations that were demonstrated in Africa and South Asia during the peak pandemic years will likely carry over to the period of sharp increases in staple food prices.”

The global bank further said remittance inflow to Sub-Saharan Africa was $49bn in 2021, with Nigerian contributing $19.2bn to the total inflow, adding that the use of informal channels to transfer money to the region caused a 28 per cent reduction in inflows in 2020.

“In 2022, remittance inflows are projected to grow by 7.1 per cent driven by continued shift to the use of official channels in Nigeria and higher food prices – migrants will likely send more money to home countries that are now suffering extraordinary increases in prices of staples,” the bank said.

The World Bank stated that the Naira-4-Dollar policy, which was an attempt to return remittance to formal channels, of the Central Bank of Nigeria helped boost inflows by 11.2 per cent in 2021, adding that the stabilisation of the naira against the dollar within a range of 410-415 per dollar over the last year also contributed to the pickup in recorded inflows.

It noted that the increased stability of the Naira and increased use of the e-Naira would help boost the nation’s chances of achieving $21bn in remittance for 2022.

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