Nestle introduces new product from cereal package

By NewsDesk,

The Nestlé Nigeria has introduced a new product from its cereal, known as Golden More Puffs, the development of which was said to be part of its continued quest to provide families with more healthier and delicious food choices.

Introducing the product on Wednesday at a Media Executive Meeting in Lagos, Nestle’s Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Victoria Uwadoka, said it was made purely from grains and cereals.

She said that the new product was produced in Nigeria and for Nigerians and that it fortified with vitamins and iron to contribute to the efforts to address micronutrient deficiency in the country.

“Micronutrient deficiency is the lack of essential vitamins and minerals required in small amounts by the body for proper growth and development.

“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 2 billion people in the world are affected by iron deficiency, which is the most common micronutrient disorder in sub-Saharan Africa,’’ Uwadoka said.

“The major health consequences of deficiency in essential micronutrients include impaired physical and cognitive development, which translates to reduced performance of school-aged children among others.

“It is important to note that annually, Nigeria loses over 1.5 billion dollars in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) directly and indirectly to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.’’

Besides, the Category Manager, Dairy, Nestle,  Aboubacar Coulibaly, said that the Puffs product was made from maize, millet, oats and soya, and that it was also put together with grain smart,  a unique combination of vitamins and iron.

“Food fortification is a strategy that Nestlé has adopted to help address the burden of micro-nutrient deficiency.

“With 50 per cent of our portfolio already fortified with micronutrients, the introduction of Golden Morn Puffs breakfast cereal today is another step towards the fulfilment of our commitment to provide healthier, delicious food choices for all age groups, a journey we have been on for the past 57 years in Nigeria,” he said.

Coulibaly disclosed that 94 per cent of the grains and cereals used in the production of Golden Morn Puffs is sourced locally.

“We are very happy to announce to you today that the work we have been doing with local farmers for the past 7 years on capacity building and grain quality improvement is yielding results.

“Ninety-four percent of the agricultural raw materials for the product we are launching today, Golden Morn Puffs was supplied by Nigerian farmers,’’ he added.

He said that Nestlé Nigeria would continue to invest in the development of nutrient rich delicious food to fulfil its purpose, which is enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future.

 

Seplat petroleum emerges as top gainer on NSE table

By NewsDesk,

On Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) table on Monday, Seplat Petroleum emerged as tops the gainers, with the market indicators resuming for the week with a growth of 0.14 per cent.

However,  All-Share Index appreciated by 59.07 points to close at 40,987.77 compared to 40,928.70 achieved on Friday, while the market capitalisation which opened at N14.784 trillion, increased by N21 billion or 0.21 per cent to close at N14.805 trillion.

From the table, a breakdown of the price movement chart showed that Seplat led the gainers’ table, improving by N27.60 to close at N725.90 per share.

Besides, Nestle followed with a gain of N25 to close at N1,410, while Unilever gained N2.50 to close at N54 per share.

GlaxosmithKline rose by N1.35 to close at N31.35, while Oando gained 65k kobo to close at N7.55 per share.

Conversely, Mobil Oil led the losers’ table, dropping by N10 to close at N190 per share.

Nigerian Breweries trailed with a loss of N4 to close at N126, while Presco shed N2 to close at N70 per share.

Access Bank declined by 25k to close at N11.20, while UAC Property was down by 22k to close at N2.58 per share.

NAN reports that Guaranty Trust Bank was the most active in volume terms, accounting for 37.61 million shares valued at N1.65 billion.

Japaul Oil and Maritime followed with an account of 21.35 million shares worth N10.31 million, while Fidelity Bank traded 13.23 million shares valued at N32.57 million.

Zenith International Bank exchanged 11.08 million shares worth N293.17 million, while United Bank for Africa sold 10.10 million shares valued at N109.54 million.

In all, the volume of shares traded rose by 15.17 per cent as investors bought and sold 192.49 million shares worth N3.13 billion transacted in 3,917 deals.

This was in contrast with 167.13 million shares valued at N2.04 billion exchanged by investors in 3,453 deals on Friday.

NNPC records N250bn trading surplus in 2016

By NewsDesk,

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has disclosed that in 2016, the corporation recorded N250 billion as trading surplus, with 65 unaudited financial statements , between 2011 and 2014, inherited.

It said that the corporation had challenges that led to backlog, a Project Steering Committee chaired by him was constituted to meet with auditors and all relevant stakeholders to identify and isolate key challenges and give them priority attention.

The Group Executive Director, Finance and Account, NNPC, Isiaka Abdulrazak said the corporation recorded a trading surplus of N250 billion in 2016 and that the figure was up from a deficit of N123 billion in 2015.

Abdulrazak, through quarterly publication of the NNPC recently, said that his office inherited 65 unaudited financial statements between 2011 and 2014  and that major elements consist of a review of the Group Audited Financial Statements, particularly for 2016 reveals a positive shift to a trading profit of N250 billion from a trading deficit of N123 billion in 2015, indicating a 300 per cent improvement in trading performance.

According to him, the surplus is despite the decline in the average price of crude oil to as low as 45 dollars per barrel in 2016, compared to 51 dollars in 2015, and 110 dollars in 2014.

He said it was also critical to point out that the 2016 result was a reflection of management’s philosophy to enhance profitability by forcing down costs and improving revenue generation.

“For example, we have discontinued sub-commercial business arrangements such as offshore processing arrangements, disadvantaged crude for product exchange swap and poorly-managed strategic alliances.

“To improve revenues, there have been a number of new initiatives such as the introduction of Direct Sale Direct Purchase, a 20-25 per cent cut on all commercial contracts among others.

“Also, revenue analysis shows a 10 per cent increase from N2 trillion to N2.3 trillion between 2015 and 2016.

“Further analysis shows a 75 per cent increase in petroleum product sales from N820 billion to N1.4 trillion, attributable to the partial deregulation of petrol price,’’ he said.

According to him, the statement of financial position has been riddled with persistent losses over time and this had eroded shareholders’ equity.

“You will recall that I mentioned that the Group trading performance improved to N250 billion trading surplus in 2016 compared to a trading deficit of N123 billion in 2015.

“However, the Group ended with a net loss position mainly due to NPDC revenues shut-in as a result of the security situation in the Niger Delta in 2016, and exchange rate losses among others.

“The Group results would have been positive without these factors,’’ he said.
He said the directorate under his watch had recorded successes in areas like managing foreign exchange intervention pool for importation of petroleum products and savings on insurance premiums.

“This has so far led to more than 340 million dollars year-on-year savings in premiums payable over the period of 2015 to 2018 (about 45 per cent) effective reduction in year-on-year premiums.

“Other successes include reducing the unwieldy number of accounts managed by the corporation from more than 2,000 to a little fewer than 200. All the old accounts under commercial banks have been fully reconciled and closed.

“Another is the settlement of the cash call arrears and self-funding mechanism for joint venture operations, successfully negotiating an agreement 6.8 billion dollars to 5.1 billion dollars, a 25 per cent drop and the implementation of the self-funding mechanism for upstream joint venture operations for the federation.

“This has resulted in higher government take in royalties and taxes, sustained reserves development and production, restoring investors’ confidence, thereby creating windows for financing opportunities.’’

He said the outlook for the next strategic business period would be to focus on –partnering with the corporate services directorate to optimise the utilisation of enterprise resource planning, infrastructure and architecture to provide an end to integration of NNPC business processes.

“Secondly, we are also focusing on delivering on the blueprint of making the corporation initial public offer ready.

“This will involve principally cleansing our legacy financial data and balance sheet restructuring as well as profitability.

“Thirdly, we shall continue to build on successes achieved with the open publication of monthly operations and financial reporting and rendition of audited financial statements in line with the provision of the NNPC Act and other relevant laws of the land.’’

He said in recognition of the achievement, the NNPC board had further mandated management to clear the remaining outstanding reports for the period 2013 to 2016.

Jaguar Land Rover to Cut 1,000 Jobs

Britain’s biggest carmaker, is poised to announce the elimination of around 1,000 posts currently filled by workers on short-term contracts as it grapples with slumping U.K. sales of diesel autos and uncertainty around Brexit.

It added: “In light of the continuing headwinds impacting the car industry, we are making some adjustments to our production schedules and the level of agency staff.

“We are however continuing to recruit large numbers of highly skilled engineers, graduates and apprentices as we over-proportionally invest in new products and technologies.

“We also remain committed to our UK plants in which we have invested more than £4bn since 2010 to future-proof manufacturing technologies to deliver new models.”

Production will be cut at the Castle Bromwich and Solihull sites, with affected staff based at Solihull.

Jaguar Land Rover would not confirm the number of jobs to be lost but said the changes would largely see agency staff not having their contracts renewed. A source told the Reuters news agency that 1,000 roles would be cut.

There are 3,200 people employed at the Castle Bromwich site and a further 10,000 at Solihull.

Some staff roles will also be moved from Castle Bromwich to Solihull.

Speaking to Sky’s Ian King in March, chief executive Ralf Speth had said: “The economy is weaker in the UK than in any other European country but it’s also quite clear that the diesel discussion, additional taxes on the latest technology have created a reaction in the consumer base.”

In January, the firm had said it would temporarily reduce production at its other British plant of Halewood this year in response to weakening demand due to Brexit and tax hikes on diesel cars.

When asked in March if there could be further production cuts at the carmaker’s UK plants, Mr Speth told Ian King: “It’s quite clear that if there’s no demand, then we have to adapt our production levels.

“It’s unfortunate that in the UK demand is not there anymore, and the UK is our home market.

“So in our home market, it’s important that the economy can grow and that we have free opportunity to sell our cars.”

Jaguar sales have fallen 26% so far this year and Land Rover dropped 20%.

Julian Knight, MP for Solihull, said: “The news that has come to us is disturbing, and I am in regular contact with JLR on this issue.

UBA, Lafarge, others ready for NSE’s Premium Board

By NewsDesk,

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has disclosed that Access Bank Lafarge Africa, Seplat Petroleum Development Company, and United Bank for Africa Plc would be migrated to its Premium Board in coming week.

Through a statement issued by the NSE on Thursday, it explained that four companies qualified for migration after they met the Exchange’s listing requirements for the elite board and that theeir movement would occure coming Monday.

It said: “the four companies will be joining Dangote Cement Plc, FBN Holdings Plc, and Zenith International Bank Plc, who were migrated to the Premium Board in 2015.

According to the statement, from Monday, there will now be seven companies on the Board and the Premium Board is the listing segment for the elite group of issuers that meet the Exchange’s most stringent corporate governance and listing standards.

“The Board is a platform for showcasing companies who are industry leaders in their sectors.

“Premium Board features companies that adhere to international best practices on corporate governance and meet the Exchange’s highest standards of capitalisation and liquidity.

“The Board gives a company access to a global pool of investors who are focused on companies managed in conformity to the highest standards in their target markets.

“Access Bank Plc, Lafarge Africa Plc, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc have all passed the Corporate Governance Rating System (CGRS) and have market capitalisation of N347.12bn, N378.60bn, N391.37bn and N374.48bn respectively,”, NSE said.

Commenting on the development, Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Oscar Onyema, OON said that the migration affirmed strides that the listed companies were making towards meeting the highest standards of corporate governance and underpins the robustness of our market.

He noted that the new companies have consistently demonstrated their inherent values to be globally competitive brands and we congratulate them on the attainment of this migration”.

“Companies on the Board are already enjoying the highest levels of visibility and appeal to investors looking for large companies with highest standards of corporate governance. From inception to date, the Premium Board Index continues to outperform the benchmark NSE ASI with the Premium Board recording a total return of 84.99% versus the NSE ASI’s 41.79% as at 11 April 2018. The Premium Board’s performance continues to reinforce the sentiments of both foreign and domestic investors on the importance of corporate governance and sustainability”, he added.

To be listed on the Premium Board of The NSE, the aspiring companies must attain a minimum market capitalization of N200bn as at the date of application, a minimum score of 70 per cent on the Corporate Governance Rating System (CGRS), and maintain a minimum free float of 20 per cent of their issued share capital or a free float value equal to or above N40 billion, as well as meet other standard listing criteria.

The NSE Premium Board and the associated Premium Board Index were launched on 25 August 2015.

Oando’s shares jump, hit N6.60k after regulator’s week suspension

By NewsDesk,

Despite regulator’s week challenges, Oando shares has rose from N5.90k to N6.60 on Thursday trading session at Nigerian bourse, the development of which was recorded after technical suspension was lifted fully by the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

From NSE’s post, about 6.4 million units of the shares of the Nigerian energy conglomerate were exchanged at a value of N42.7million.

The Chief Compliance Officer and Company Secretary, Oando, Ayotola Jagun, stated that the lifting of the technical suspension by the regulator was good news for the company and that it the development would restore and boast shareholders ad investors confidence in the market.

However, Security Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday disclosed that the forensic audit into  affairs of the company was currently underway by Deloitte Nigeria (Deloitte).

“To date the Company has been fully cooperative with both the SEC and Deloitte. In the spirit of goodwill, transparency and full disclosure, we will continue to cooperate with the SEC and its nominated parties in the discharge of their duties as the Capital Markets regulator during this exercise.

`”We are hopeful that the forensic audit will have limited impact on the day-to-day operations of the business and we look forward to a swift and smooth conclusion by the SEC.”

The said it will file its audited accounts for 2017 in May. It was approved by the company’s board on 10 April.

Controversy had dogged the return of the company’s shares from technical suspension, after the NSE created confusion, by first announcing the lifting of the suspension and later countermanding it, saying it got contradictory instruction from the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC).

SEC had condemned the technical suspension on the shares, following petitions by some shareholders on share ownership dispute, governance issues and litigations. SEC also ordered a forensic audit of the company.

SEC on 9 April wrote NSE to allow the firm to return to the market, with most of the issues having been resolved.

In a statement SEC said that it directed the NSE to lift the technical suspension and allow market determination of the share price.

It said that the shares of Oando were placed on technical suspension in October 2017 upon the announcement of forensic audit which aimed to protect investors as a short term measure.

“Suspensions are typically intended for a short period to ensure market stability and thereafter lifted to allow market dictates.

However, the suspension of the shares of Oando plc was prolonged due to several litigations by Oando and other shareholders contesting the propriety of the forensic audit and technical suspension.

“All litigations have now been withdrawn, the independent forensic audit by Deloitte is ongoing and the primary result is expected”, said the statement.

NSE in initially lifting the suspension said it was based on a directive by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The bizarre however happened when midway into trading, NSE stopped trading in the stock, triggering confusion in the market and calls by traders for clarification.

The NSE on Wednesday night announced that trading would continue on Thursday, following consultation with SEC.

In a notice on its website, the Exchange said: “Subsequent to the lifting of the technical suspension, on 11 April 2018, the Exchange received another communication from the Commission to maintain the status quo prior to the Commission’s letter of 9 April 2018, i.e., the technical suspension of trading in Oando’s shares.

“In order to ensure compliance with the Commission’s further communication notwithstanding the fact that The Exchange’s systems cannot implement a technical suspension intraday, the Exchange suspended trading in Oando’s shares. The Exchange regrets any inconvenience that may have arisen due to the foregoing.

“In the overall interest of investors in Nigeria’s capital markets, and following consultation with the Commission please be advised that at the start of trading tomorrow, 12 April 2018, trading in Oando’s shares will resume without any impediment in price movement consistent with the NSE’s market structure.

“The Exchange shall endeavour to keep the investing public and the entire capital market ecosystem informed should there be any further developments on this matter”.

Inflation rate drops in March – NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed in its Consumer Price Index (CPI) report for the month of March that inflation rate dropped from 14.33 in February to 13.34 per cent in March year-on-year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed in its CPI report for March.

The bureau stated that the figure showed 14 consecutive reductions in inflation rate since January 2017 in the report released on Thursday in Abuja.

According to the bureau, the figure is 0.99 per cent points less than the 14. 33 per cent recorded in February.

However, the NBS noted that increases were recorded in the Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP) divisions that yielded the headline index.

On a month-on-month basis, the report stated the Headline index increased by 0.84 per cent in March 2018, up by 0.05 per cent points from the rate recorded in February.

It added that the percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12-month period ended March over the average of the CPI for previous 12-month period was 15.60 per cent.

It indicated that the figures were 0.33 per cent lower from 15.93 per cent recorded in February.

The report, however, stated that urban inflation rate eased by 13.75 per cent (year-on-year) in March from 14.76 per cent recorded in February, while the Rural inflation rate also eased by 12.99 per cent in March from 13.96 per cent in February.

According to the report, the Composite Food Index rose by 16.08 per cent (year on year) in March 2018, down from the rate recorded in February (17.59 per cent).

It stated that “All Items less Farm Produce’’ or Core inflation, which excluded the prices of volatile agricultural produce, rose by 11.2 per cent in March, down by 0.5 per cent points from the rate recorded in February (11.7 per cent).

NNPC updates financial statement, clears 2011-2016 audit

By NewsDesk,

As part of effort toward demonstrating new level of transparency adopted by present Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) management, the corporation has signified in a publication that it had completed outstanding audit of the group’s Financial Statements from years 2011 to 2016.

It was indicated that the audited backlog was since been formally approved by Board of the corporation in line with extant laws governing the operations of the national oil company.

The Chief Financial Officer and Group Executive Director, Finance & Accounts, NNPC, Isiaka AbdulRazaq, said that the corporation had updated its financial statement as expected and that delivery of the audited financial statements would help foster better relations with stakeholders and further promote transparency and accountability in the corporation.

In Q1 2018 edition of the NNPC Magazine, published during last week,  AbdulRazaq stated that drive was to achieve clean slate dated back to August 2015, when the current Management of the Finance & Accounts Directorate took over the mantle of leadership and inherited a total of 65 unaudited financial statements for NNPC Group Corporate and its subsidiaries, covering 2011 to 2014.

According to him, there were, undoubtedly, challenges that led to the backlog which may have been beyond the control of the previous managements and  the important factor was not to look to the past.

He explained that the NNPC management constituted a Project Steering Committee (PSC) under his chairmanship and that the team met on a weekly basis with the auditors and all relevant stakeholders to identify and isolate key challenges and give them priority attention.

“We saw an opportunity to challenge the problem and resolved to clear the arrears in the shortest possible time.

Moving swiftly,

“With this approach, Management achieved the first step of concluding the audit of the 2011 – 2012 financial positions and presented same to the Board in 2016 and in recognition of that modest achievement, the NNPC Board further mandated Management to clear the remaining outstanding reports for the years 2013 – 2016 and the result today is the delivery and Board approval of the audited Group Financial Statements as at 31 December 2016,’’ he said.

Besides,  Managing Director, Nigerian Pipeline and Storage Company (NPSC), Engr. Luke Anele, also revealed plans by the company, which was created out of the old Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), to embark on comprehensive audit of the over 5000km of petroleum products and crude oil pipelines under its watch.

According to Anele, the project which has already been approved by the NNPC Management is to be executed by the National Engineering and Technical Company (NETCO) an upstream subsidiary of the NNPC Group.

“It covers the conduct of integrity test on crude pipelines, the products pipelines and our depots, with special emphasis on refinery attached depots and refinery evacuation lines,’’ he said.

The NPSC MD said the outcome of the project would guide the company in arriving at informed decisions and enable appropriate strategies in the planned Private Public Partnership arrangement for the pipelines.

NNPC, Aregbesola discuss retail filling station establishment in Osun

By NewsDesk,

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanta Baru, and Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, have agreed on collaborative effort that would assist both parting have retail filling station established in the state.

As gathered, establishment of the retail station would improve supply and distribution of petroleum products in the State and the environs, the expected development  which Aregbesola diclosed team taskforce has been set up to protect fuel distribution, as well as working with the NNPC’s depot in Ibadan and marketers in the state.

 

However, the NNPC hinted that in its bid to ensure that Nigerians enjoy benefits of steady supply and distribution of petroleum products, the corporation (NNPC) was working assiduously to expand its network of retail stations nationwide.

The declaration came on the heels of advanced talks between the corporation and the Osun State Government on collaboration over establishing a state-of-the-art retail filling station that would improve the supply and distribution of petroleum products in the State and the environs.

Baru, who also disclosed the corporation’s plan during Aregbesola’s visit to  NNPC officer in Abuja during the week, said that Osun State government has completed a modern 26 nozzle retail station and is planning to lease it out to the corporation.

 

He explained that the partnership between the corporation and the state would not only expand the downstream fuel distribution and retail in the state, it would also ensure adequate products availability as well as improve commercial return on investment.

“Our strategy for the NNPC Retail is to capture as much of the downstream retail market in the country as possible. A state like Osun is very central to our expansion drive. Having looked at the possibilities, we are committed to taking the discussions further.”

“We have reached an advanced stage in our discussions. Next week, we are expected to further discussions on commercial terms of offer with the state Government’s team,” Baru added.

The corporation’s boss stated that over years, NNPC enjoyed tremendous support from Osun state as a neighboring state that hosts the corporation’s System 2B pipeline segments connecting Mosimi Depot with Ibadan, Ore and Ilorin depots.

“I am happy to inform you that over the years, we hardly record any incident of pipeline vandalism or security breach along our System 2B pipeline network that cuts across Osun State. This is attributable to the efforts of the State Government and the law-abiding people of the state,” he added.

He commended the state’s governor for his patriotic support during the recent fuel challenges where he constituted a Special State Taskforce to monitor fuel distribution within and across the state, a move that cushioned the effects of the hiccups on Nigerians.

Aregbesola commend the corporation for its interest in driving development in Osun state and that the his government was prepared to give NNPC necessary corporation needed to flourish in the state.

“We are here to discuss collaboration on fuel distribution and possible opportunities where NNPC can invest in my state. We are progressing with the talks on the mega station and we are satisfied with the discussions so far,” Governor Aregbesola stated.

He said in order to assist the NNPC in ensuring smooth distribution of petroleum products across the state, he has set up a taskforce on fuel distribution, working with the NNPC Depot in Ibadan and the marketers in the state.

“We have mandated them to do everything possible to assist the NNPC achieve its aim of ensuring smooth distribution of petroleum products across the state” he added.

While commending the corporation for getting around the recent fuel situation, Aregbesola said he was aware of the challenges faced by the corporation in its quest to ensure availability of petroleum products nationwide.

“We thank NNPC for its efforts. I am aware that you face lots of challenges. I hope the corporation will overcome those challenges, block all the leakages and ensure Nigerians don’t undergo any stress before they get products,” he concluded.

NNPC approves $2.8bn Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline, stations contract

By NewsDesk,

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has approved that work should begin on 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline and Stations contract estimated at $2.8 billion, the project funding which was expected to be spread across engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and financing of the contract.

It was gathered that process for the awarded project began in July 2013 with advertisement for tenders published by the NNPC in major national newspapers.

However, after a technical and commercial evaluation process, the Federal Executive Council at its 46th meeting in December, 2017, approved the contract valued at over $2.8 billion.

The NNPC spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu,  disclosed that the gas pipeline and stations project comprised Lots one and three, measured 40inch x 614km and that the agreement, which was 100 per cent contractor-financing model, was signed with a consortium of indigenous and Chinese companies.

Speaking in Abuja on Friday, Ughamadu hinted that under the terms of contract, Lot 1, with total length of 40 inch x 200km stretching from Ajaokuta to Abuja Terminal Gas Station (TGS), was awarded to the OilServe/Oando Consortium.

He added that Lot 3, which runs from Kaduna TGS to Kano TGS with a total length of 40inch x 221km, was awarded to the Brentex/China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau Consortium.

“It is envisaged that contract agreement for Lot 3 which covers 40inch x 193km, stretching from Abuja to Kaduna, will be executed in the weeks ahead,” he said.

According to the official, the AKK Project is a section of the Trans-Nigerian Gas Pipeline under the Gas Infrastructure Blueprint designed to enable industrialisation of the Eastern and Northern parts of Nigeria.

He added that the project would enable connectivity between the East, West and North, currently non-existent.

Ughamadu noted that the AKK section had suffered setbacks due to scarce resources, hence, the adoption of the contractor-financing model.

“The two other pipelines, the OB3 and ELPs 2 in the Gas Master Plan Blueprint, are currently at various stages of completion and financed directly by the Federal Government,” he said.

The spokesman quoted the Chairman of Oilserve/Oando Consortium, Mr Emeka Okwuosa, as lauding the Federal Government and the NNPC for providing the opportunities for indigenous companies to flourish in the oil and gas industry.

According to the NNPC official, Okwuosa said that award of Lot 1 of the AKK Project to an indigenous consortium showed government’s determination to encourage local content philosophy.