World’s largest economies are surpassing pre-Covid oil demand

CC™ Global News

Some of the world’s biggest economies are seeing oil consumption turn the corner and even surpass pre-pandemic levels as falling Covid-19 infection rates drive a recovery in activity.

Oil demand in China, the world’s top energy consumer, will be 13% higher next quarter than in the same period in 2019 before the pandemic, according to SIA Energy. Indian fuel sales extended a rebound last month, while American consumption of petroleum products just hit a record high. Europe has also just had its best August for gasoline demand in 10 years, IHS Markit said.

The improvement in consumption across major economies is buoying oil prices that have rallied around 40% this year. Against this backdrop, the OPEC+ alliance decided to keep restoring crude supply earlier this month, citing tighter balances into year-end.

“The worst for Asian fuel demand is over and we see a soft recovery of oil demand in the coming months,” said Sengyick Tee, an analyst at Beijing-based SIA. China’s overall oil consumption will be led by a more than 20% jump in gasoline use next quarter from 2019, he said.

While motor fuel is powering the recovery as people take to the roads after months of lockdown, the situation for other oil products isn’t as positive. Jet fuel consumption is still languishing because of the lack of international air travel. Indian diesel use is down due seasonal factors, although SIA Energy sees demand for the fuel in China rising 4% next quarter from 2019.

Trucking and construction activities typically decline in India from June to September because of the monsoon. That weighs on demand for diesel, the country’s most popular fuel, before it rises again toward the end of the year amid crop harvesting and festivals.

“Sales volume of petrol has already crossed pre-Covid levels, with diesel likely to reach there in the next two to three months” said Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, chairman of Indian Oil Corp., the country’s biggest refiner.

Refining Ramp-Up

Indian processors will have “limited upside potential” for run rate increases this month as they struggle to cope with excess diesel that’s been produced from the process of making gasoline, said Senthil Kumaran, head of South Asia oil at industry consultant FGE. A turning point may come around October, with runs potentially rising above 5 million barrels a day by year-end, he said.

Chinese run rates have inched up with state-owned Sinopec refining the most crude in 11 months in August, data from local consultancy SCI99 show. However, activity at private refiners in Shandong province is only just over 70% amid a government-led clampdown on the sector. 

Still, with some of Asia’s largest economies reporting tens of thousands of virus infections per day, some threats to energy demand remain even as the region races to vaccinate its people.

“Resurgence risk is a concern that we have built into our outlook, particularly for populous countries such as India and Indonesia,” said Qiaoling Chen, an analyst at energy consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “For now, the worst for Asia oil demand is over, but the downside risks remain.”




Ronald Wayne: The forgotten co-founder of Apple and billionaire that never was.....

CC™ Business News

Ronald Wayne was one of the original founders of Apple, Inc. In the late 1970s, Ronald worked as an engineer at video game maker Atari. While at Atari, one of his co-workers was Steve Jobs. In their free time, Steve Jobs and a friend named Steve Wozniak were building homemade computers. 

In 1976, Jobs and Wozniak decided they wanted to launch their own company. Jobs reached out to Wayne, who had experience setting up corporations, to be a co-founder.

The oldest member of the three-man team, Mr. Wayne sank personal assets into the business and soon became worried that the project was going to run his finances into the ground. He drew the first logo for Apple, drafted the original agreement between the Apple founders, and wrote the manual for the first Apple computer.

Unfortunately, just two weeks after forming the company Ronald decided to relinquish his 10% stake for a payout of $800. When the company became an official corporation, he was paid an additional $1500 US to give up all rights of ownership.

Ronald went back to working at Atari and later owned a stamp shop. He is now retired, and authored his memoirs Adventures of an Apple Founder, and a book about the Constitution and its historic relevance, Insolence of Office, both of which were published in 2011.

Had Ronald held on to his 10% Apple stake, today it would be worth more than $100 billion today. He has said that he made the "best decision with the information available to me at the time" and does not regret his selling of his shares. The first Apple product he ever owned was an iPad 2 which was given to him in 2011. He is the owner of a dozen patents and was featured in the documentary Welcome to Macintosh. He sold the original Apple company agreement signed by Jobs and Wozniak in the early 90s for $500. That document later sold at auction for $1.6 million.

Today, Wayne, who is now 87 years old has a net worth of $400,000. Truly a case of what could have been. 



Elon Musk Mocks Jeff Bezos After Reports Reveal His Investment In a Startup That Seeks to Reverse Aging

CC™ Business News

And as expected, Elon Musk, his "rival" in some businesses, could not remain silent. The founder of SpaceX responded to a tweet that reported on Bezos' new investment and the possible salary of the scientists, with his usual characteristic tone.

"And if it doesn't work, he's gonna sue death!" the billionaire tweeted.

It is no secret to anyone that since the founder of Blue Origin sued the US Space Agency (NASA) for awarding contracts to Musk's SpaceX instead of his aerospace company, the media relationship between the two billionaires has been somewhat tense. 


'Palm oil' reverses crude oil-induced genotoxicity, slows ageing

CC™ Learning Desk

By Chukwuma Muanya

Recent studies have found that oral administration of palm oil tree extracts could be used to reverse damage caused by crude oil contamination of food products and water, and help to slow ageing and raise anti-tumor immune responses against breast cancer cells.

Scientists have also demonstrated that palm oil could be used as the best alternative oil to reduce trans fat in foods. A variety of global researches have concluded that the consumption of industrially produced trans fatty acids can trigger various diseases such as cardiovascular, atherosclerosis, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and infertility.

Researchers have in the first study concluded: "...The oral administration of Elaeis guineensis (palm oil tree) leaves extracts significantly decreased the observed micronuclei erythrocyte (red blood cell) and fragmented Deoxyribose nucleic Acid (DNA)/ genetic material in liver relative to rats fed crude oil contaminated feed (COCF) but with no treatment. The study has established that pre-treatment, post-treatment and co-treatment of rats with E. guineensis extracts reversed the genotoxic effect induced by consumption of COCF in rats."

The study titled "Effect of Elaeis guineensis (Jacq) leaf extracts on crude oil-induced genotoxicity in Wistar albino rats" was published in the journal Scientific African.

In genetics, genotoxicity describes the property of chemical agents that damages the genetic information within a cell causing mutations, which may lead to cancer.

Elaeis guineensis is a species of palm commonly just called oil palm but also sometimes African oil palm or macaw-fat. It is the principal source of palm oil.

The objective of the study was to determine the ameliorative effect of extracts of Elaeis guineensis leaves on crude oil induced genotoxicity. One hundred and twenty mature male albino Wistar rats were mobilized for this investigation. The rats were acclimatized for 14 days on grower's mash. The experiment was divided into three categories: Pre-treatment, co-treatment, post-treatment. In each category, rats were indiscriminately allotted to eight groups. Five rats made a group. Rats fed grower's mash only constitute Group 1. Rats in Group 2 were fed with COCF. Groups 3 to Group 8 were fed with COCF and then administered aqueous, methanol, ethanol acetone, petroleum ether and blended mixture of Elaeis guineensis leaves extract, respectively.

The rats in all groups had water ad libitum and were exposed to each diet for a period of 56 days. Biochemical analyses were carried out. In the various stages of contamination, significant increases were observed in micronuclei erythrocyte and fragmented DNA in the liver of Group 2 when compared with the control..."

Also, another study published in journal Vaccines and titled "Palm Tocotrienol-Adjuvanted Dendritic Cells Decrease Expression of the SATB1 Gene in Murine Breast Cancer Cells and Tissues" evaluated the effectiveness of immunotherapy using dendritic cells (DC) pulsed with tumor lysate (a DC vaccine) in combination with daily supplementation of tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) to potentiate anti-tumor immune responses.

The researchers had previously reported that DC-vaccine immunotherapy together with TRF supplementation induced protective immunity to tumor challenge. Breast cancer was induced in female BALB/c mice. The mice were randomly assigned into the treatment groups. At autopsy, peripheral blood was collected in heparinized tube and the expression of cell surface molecules (CD40, CD80, CD83, and CD86) that are crucial for T-cell activation and survival were analyzed by flow cytometry. Tumor was excised from each animal and snap-frozen. Total RNA was extracted from each tumor tissue for microarray and gene expression analysis. Total protein was extracted from tumor tissue for protein expression studies using Western blotting.

The results show that systemic administration of 1 mg TRF daily in combination with DC-vaccine immunotherapy (DC + TL + TRF) caused a marked reduction of tumor size and increased the survival rates of the tumor-inoculated mice. The expression of CD40, CD80, CD83, and CD86 were upregulated in peripheral blood from the DC + TL + TRF group compared to other groups. In addition, there was higher expression of FasL in tumor-excised mice from the DC + TL + TRF group compared to other groups. FasL plays an important role in maintaining immune privilege and is required for cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) activity.

Microarray analysis identified several genes involved in the regulation of cancer. In this study, the researchers focused on the special AT rich binding protein 1 (SATB1) gene, which was reported to have dual functions, one of which was to induce aggressive growth in breast cancer cells. Tumors from DC + TL + TRF mice showed lower expression of SATB1 gene.

The researchers said further study would be conducted to investigate the molecular functions of and the role of SATB1 in 4T1 mammary cancer cells and DC. "In conclusion, TRF supplementation can potentiate the effectiveness of DC-vaccine immunotherapy," they said.

Tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) is the vitamin E fraction extracted from palm oil, which contains 70 per cent mixed tocotrienols and 30 per cent alpha-tocopherol. Tocotrienols and tocopherols are fat-soluble vitamins related to the vitamin E family. Tocopherols can be found in several vegetable oils such as soybean oil, cottonseed oil, and sunflower seed oil, whilst tocotrienols are primarily found in palm oil, rice-bran oil, and cereal grains such as wheat, barley, and rice. Tocotrienols have been the focus of increasing research interest in the last five-10 years as a unique nutritional compound. The scientific evidence to date has shown that in addition to being powerful biological antioxidants, tocotrienols can reduce cholesterol levels in people with hypercholesterolemia, may slow down the progression of atherosclerosis, and possess anti-cancer properties.

The researchers had previously reported that vaccinating mice with DC pulsed with tumor lysate from 4T1 cells (DC + TL) and daily supplementation with 1 mg TRF inhibited tumor growth and produced a tumor-specific immune response.

Also, another new study published in APCBEE Procedia and titled "Antioxidant Activity of Elaeis guineensis Leaf Extract: An Alternative Nutraceutical Approach in Impeding Ageing" concluded: "While it is too early to extrapolate the results to humans, the research does suggest the potential of E. guineensis as an anti-aging agent not forgetting also its high bio-accessibility and bioavailability throughout the country."

Although scientists have endorsed palm oil as one of the healthiest oils, a study published in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition and titled "Replacing trans fat: the argument for palm oil with a cautionary note on interesterification" concluded: "To replace dietary trans fatty acids (TFA), two practical options exist: revert to a natural saturated fat without cholesterol (most likely palm oil or its fractions) or move to a newer model of modified fat hardened by interesterification (IE)."

Manufacturers are now required to state on food labels the amount of trans fatty acids, also called hydrogenated fats, in packaged foods. Both trans fatty acids and saturated fatty acids are associated with elevated heart disease risk factors. Now, new research questions whether palm oil, whose functional characteristics are similar to trans fats, would be a good substitute for partially hydrogenated fat.

Trans fatty acids (trans fats) are created during a hardening process called hydrogenation, which serves to make oils suitable for use in products that require solid fats, such as baked goods and breakfast bars.

Contrary to views propagated by the Western media that palm oil is not good for health, scientists have found that locally produced palm oil is better than imported vegetable oils, very rich in nutrients and has more vitamin A than carrots.

In fact, palm oil has been shown to be the richest source of tocotrienol- a super antioxidant proven to reverse heart disease and fight cancer. However, palm oil is beneficial only when cooked or boiled not fried. Frying palm oil has been shown to produce dangerous chemicals that may lead to organ damage.

Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the mesocarp (reddish pulp) of the fruit of the oil palms.

Palm oil consumption and its effects on serum lipid levels and cardiovascular disease in humans is still a subject of debate. Advocacy groups with varying agenda fuel the controversy.

The main argument against the use of palm oil as an edible oil is the fact that it contains palmitic acid, which is a saturated fatty acid and by extrapolation should give rise to elevated total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)/bad cholesterol levels.

Palmitic acid is a common saturated fatty acid found in fats and waxes including olive oil, palm oil, and body lipids.

However, there are many scientific studies, both in animals and humans that clearly show that palm oil consumption does not give rise to elevated serum cholesterol levels and that palm oil is not atherogenic (tending to promote the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries).

However, local and international studies are beginning to celebrate palm oil for its health benefits. In fact it is becoming a major article of trade in Europe, United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US).

Red palm oil, a deep orange fat pressed from the palm tree fruit, is a superfood- packed with healthy antioxidants and good for the heart, say companies who sell it.

Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage. Antioxidants are found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables.

The Verdict: The colorful oil is rich in tocotrienols, nutrients in the vitamin E family, and carotenoids, which the body converts into vitamin A. Several studies suggest possible benefits in stroke and liver disease from vitamin extracts made from the oil.

Vice Chair of Alimentarius Codex Commission, Prof. Purwayitno Hariyadi, said that in several countries palm oil has been used as the alternative to replace the vegetable oils that are produced through the Partially Hydrogenated Oil (PHO) that contains trans fat. Hariyadi said large producers of palm oil such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Nigeria should be serious in taking the opportunity of palm oil as the alternative to meet the global demand for trans fat-free food along with the implementation of the WHO policy to eliminate trans fats in 2023.

The Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF), in a position paper on lipids and cardiovascular health, presented by its Executive Director, Dr. Kingsley Akinroye, noted: "...Not all saturated fats have equal cholesterolemic (excess of cholesterol in the blood) effect and studies have indicated that consumption of palm olein (a liquid form of palm oil used in cooking and baking), which is more saturated reduces blood LDL when compared to sources of saturated fats like coconut oil, dairy and animal fats. The beneficial effect of palm oil in increasing High Density Lipo-protein (HDL) that is good cholesterol should be noted...

"In Nigeria, a lot of carbohydrate is consumed, and therefore the cholesterolemic ability of palm oil may be considered minimal. Though it needs to be scientifically documented..."

According to a study published in World Journal of Cardiology, "apart from palmitic acid, palm oil consists of oleic and linoleic acids which are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated respectively. Palm oil also consists of vitamins A and E, which are powerful antioxidants. Palm oil has been scientifically shown to protect the heart and blood vessels from plaques and ischemic injuries.

Palm oil consumed as a dietary fat as a part of a healthy balanced diet does not have incremental risk for cardiovascular disease. Little or no additional benefit will be obtained by replacing it with other oils rich in mono or polyunsaturated fatty acids."

A professor of Pharmacognosy and Chief Executive Officer of Bioresources Development Group (BDG), Prof. Maurice Iwu, told The Guardian: "Contrary to views propagated by the Western media that palm oil is not good for health, scientists have found that locally produced palm oil is better than imported vegetable oils, very rich in nutrients and has more vitamin A than carrots."

Also, a recent study published in Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management, concluded: "...It is reassuring to know that the consumption of palm oil as a source of dietary fat does not pose any additional risks for coronary artery disease when consumed in realistic amounts as part of a healthy diet. However, oxidized palm oil induces reproductive toxicity and organ toxicity particularly of the kidneys, lungs, liver and heart. Therefore, oxidized palm oil should be avoided."

The study is titled "Palm oil, its nutritional and health implications."

The study noted: "Diet for some time now in Nigeria has undergone many changes such as changes in dietary intake of fats and oils. There has been an increasing consumption of partially hydrogenated trans-vegetable oils and a decreasing intake of lauric acid-containing oils. Although popular literature and people generally, usually attribute an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) to elevated levels of serum cholesterol, which in turn are thought to derive from an increased dietary intake of saturated fats and cholesterol.

"The palm oil and palm kernel oil are high in saturated fatty acids, about 50 per cent and 80 per cent respectively and are esterified with glycerol. In developing countries, vegetable oils are replacing animal fats because of the cost and health concerns...."

A study claims that oxidized palm oil is not very healthy. Palm oil gets oxidized when fried. Oxidized oil is the processed oil that usually reaches us. Oxidized palm oil, when compared to fresh palm oil, has adverse effects on the lipid profile of the blood. It is also known to increase free fatty acids, phospholipids (a class of lipids that are a major component of all cell membranes) and cerebrosides (any of a group of complex lipids present in the sheaths of nerve fibers) in the blood. The study also claims that oxidized palm oil is toxic to the reproductive system and damages kidneys, lungs, liver and the heart.

Another multi-country study that analyzed the link between palm oil consumption and mortality due to cardiovascular diseases claims that increased palm oil consumption is related to higher ischemic heart disease mortality rates in developing countries.

Adulteration of palm oil is a common practice in Nigeria, and adulterated palm oil has been linked to cancer, heart disease and kidney failure.

Also, a recent study concluded that with return to a yam-and-palm-based diet and the minimization of wheat gluten and milk lactose, the epidemic of the metabolic syndrome that currently challenges Forest West Africa and her global diaspora would be significantly obviated or remediated.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

Also, an expert panel on lipids and cardiovascular health in the Nigerian Population has alerted to the increase in prevalence of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), especially Cardiovascular Disease (CD) in Nigeria, and the documented evidence of deleterious effects of lipids (fats and oil). The experts from a range of relevant disciplines in a report published in July 2017 edition of the European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety called for an urgent need to advocate for the general public and health professionals to make heart-friendly choices in food consumption even as they declared palm oil healthful. They said red palm oil should be used within the limits of allowed total daily calorie intake from fats, as there is as yet no scientific evidence that shows that consumption of red palm oil, as part of a healthy balanced diet is harmful.



Obasanjo: I thought I knew President Buhari

CC™ Politico News

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said he thought he knew Buhari but everything changed after he became the president in 2015.

Obasanjo said he thought Buhari would have done well in securing Nigeria and fighting corruption.

He said it is worrisome that banditry is happening in the north-west region of the country where the President hails from.

Obasanjo, therefore, asked the president to wake up and fight banditry and other sundry crimes especially in the northern part of the country.

The ex-president, who spoke in an interview with academic and historian, Toyin Falola, said Buhari should start thinking of leaving an enduring legacy as president.

He said, "I thought I knew President Buhari because he worked with me. But I used to ask people that is it that I have not read him well or read him adequately or is it that he has changed from the Buhari that I used to know? I am not subscribing to the people who say we have a new Buhari from Sudan and all that nonsense.

"I know what I believed was his limitations and I have written about it -he wasn't strong in economics, not all of us are strong in anything but you need to have sufficient knowledge of it for you to direct the affairs. He wasn't particularly too strong in foreign affairs but I thought he was strong enough in the military.

"From his performance in his first outing as head of state, I thought he would also do well in fighting corruption. I did not know the nepotistic tendencies of President Buhari maybe because he was not exposed to that sort of situation when he worked with me.

"But with what I have seen now, I believe that maybe he will be thinking of a legacy. Maybe he will also learn from what has happened in recent times. If you are the commander-in-chief and banditry is taking place in your backyard, then you have to wake up."

The ex-president also said some governors are now in a state of hopelessness because of the president's way of handling the insecurity in the country.

The security challenges in the country have assumed a more concerning dimension in recent times as rampaging bandits, bloodthirsty insurgents and ransom-demanding kidnappers terrorize Nigerians with daring audacity.



The Human Brain - A complex but detailed assembly

Editor's Corner

The human brain is probably the most complex but unique creation present in the anatomy of humans. It would be an understatement to refer to the brain as just an extraordinary creation as I would actually go out on a limb and call the brain the most extraordinary creation in the human anatomy. 

The human brain is home, one can say, to everything that makes us tick. In addition to the human mind as well as our various intricate personalities, the brain is the abode of human consciousness, passion, emotion and purpose.

This article marks the beginning of my attempt to find answers to some of the puzzling questions I have always had as to why people do some of the things they do and what the primary triggers for their action or inaction might be. One case that came to mind for me was that of the Vietnamese father in the news a couple of years ago, for killing his four young children. What could have motivated this man to take the life of his own children? The human brain is an organ that essentially is built to learn, hence was this man’s action as a result of some form of defective learning behavior? 

While nature may play a dominant role in our lives, does nurture (one’s environment and learned experiences) however have a more defining role in how we see, interpret and react to events or episodes in our lives? In asking all these questions and having read the details of this particular event, I started to wonder as to what part of his brain cell may have ‘misfired’ and why to lead him to ‘rationalize’ taking the lives of his own children.

In learning to become familiar with our brain, we look to understand not only how its various parts work, but more importantly how we nourish, protect and develop it. I would propose that the human brain in its most basic as well as most complex element is constantly changing and evolving with each experience we encounter. Did the Vietnamese father above therefore ‘readjust’ his notion of what was rational as a result of certain negative experiences in his life or was his action merely a projection of his own self-worth due to a defective processing of information by his brain. 

Was there a critical disconnect between the two hemispheres thus resulting in this defective ‘rationalization’ or was his behavior more as a result of systematic desensitization to what’s wrong as a result of observational learning (modeling) of deviant but admired behavior within the larger American society?

In a society where serial killers, rapists and murderers are ‘revered’ and gain notoriety even over their victims, does the nurture aspect of human brain development through information processing then cloud the Grey area between what is socially acceptable behavior and what is deviant or anti-social behavior? I would hazard a guess that in his native Vietnam, such behavior would lead possibly to immediate execution of the perpetrator or some form of punishment that aims to discourage such anti-social behavior. 

I would also presume that in his native Vietnam, serial killers, rapists and murderers would never be ‘revered’ like the Charles Mansons and Jeffrey Dahmers of the United States; people who actually had movies made about them as well as books written about them.

Therefore it seems as though the human brain, although home to everything from a nature perspective that makes us tick, is however subject to the varying complexities of an individual’s environment and how the same individual reacts or relates to varying stimuli within the said environment. So, while we may nourish our brain by eating the right kinds of foods, getting the right amount of sleep, while also engaging in physiological exercises aimed at maintaining the brain structure at optimum capacity and productivity, the environment might be perhaps the most critical deciding factor as to whether or not information is processed constructively or defectively. 

I would suggest that this might however be open to debate as there are several instances where we can probably show that although the influence of the environment might be a very strong one, how an individual actually processes information on a consistent basis as well as having the right chemical balance within the brain structure may be more of a deciding factor as to the ultimate state of our minds.

Thus, the question arises again. How well do we really know our brain? But more importantly, how do we do our part in ensuring that this most delicate and intricate part of the human ‘anatomy’ remains an asset to the human mind and ambition. The search for answers continues and we are all a part of the process.

© 2021 2CG MEDIA. Coker Confidential™



Nigeria has lost close to $200 billion in investment opportunities over the last 4 years

CC™ Global News

Nigeria may have lost close to $200 billion, representing more than 92 percent of investment opportunities available to the country between 2017 and 2020.

Details of a report by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) on “Investment announcements versus FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) Inflow in Nigeria, 2017 – 2020” revealed that the actual inflows of FDI into Nigeria within the period was about 7.65 percent of the total investment announcements captured by the Commission.

This indicates that most investment announcements and expression of interests to invest did not materialize or translate to actual investment inflow.

The report shows that total investment announcements captured by NIPC during the period amounted to $203.89 billion whereas actual FDI inflow was $15.6 billion, representing 7.65 percent.

Specifically, statistics obtained from NIPC stated that in 2017, only $3.5 billion actual FDI inflow was recorded out of a total investment announcements of $66.35 billion; in 2018 only $6.4 billion FDI materialized out $90.89 billion announced; in 2019, $3.3 billion out of $29.91 billion; and in 2020 only $2.4 billion actual FDI inflow was recorded out of $16.74 billion investment announcements that were captured.

NIPC noted, however, that its report is based only on investment announcements captured by the Commission which may not contain exhaustive information on all investment announcements in Nigeria during the period, adding that it did not independently verify the authenticity of the announcements.

NIPC further reported that in 2017, a total number of 112 projects were announced across 27 States and FCT; in 2018, there were 92 projects across 23 States and FCT; 2019, there were 76 Projects across 17 States, FCT; while in 2020, a total announcements of 63 projects were made across 21 States, FCT and the Niger Delta region.

Further details of the NIPC report revealed that in 2020, the top 10 announcements accounted for $15.59 billion, representing about 93 percent of total announcements.

The details show $6 billion by Indorama Petrochemicals and Fertilizer company from Singapore; $2.6 billion by Bank of China and Sinosure from China; $2 billion by 328 Support Serves GmbH from USA; $1.6 billion by MTN South Africa; and $1.05 billion by Sinoma CBMI of China.

Others are $1 billion by Torridon Investments of UK; $600 million by African Industries Group in Nigeria; $390 million by Savannah Petroleum of UK; $200 million by Stripe from USA; and $150 million by NESBITT Investment Nigeria.

In 2019, the top 10 announcements accounted for $26.29 billion or 88 percent of total. These include $10 billion by Royal Dutch Shell from Netherlands; $5 billion by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company from Nigeria; $3.15 billion by Sterling Oil and Energy Production Company (SEEPCO) from Nigeria; $2.3 billion by TREDIC Star Core from Canada; and $1.5 billion by OCP Group from Morocco.

Others are $1 billion by Tolaram Group from Singapore; $900 million by Yinson Holdings Bhd from Malaysia; $880 million by CMES-OMS Petroleum Development Company (CPDC) from Nigeria; $860 million by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC)/Lagos State; and $700 million by Seplat/NNPC from Nigeria.

The top announcements in 2018 accounted for $79.3 billion, representing 87 percent of total announcements captured by the commission.

The details include $18 billion by Range Developers of UAE; $16 billion by Total from France; $12 billion by Azikel Refinery from Nigeria; $11.7 billion by Green Africa Airways from Nigeria; and $9 billion by Royal Dutch Shell from UK.

Others are $3.6 billion by Petrolex Oil & Gas from Nigeria; $3 billion by CNOOC from China; $2 billion by Vitol/Africa Oil/Delonex Energy from Luxembourg, Canada and Nigeria; $2 billion by General Electric from USA; and $2 billion by Blackoil Energy Refinery from Nigeria/Niger.

The NIPC report revealed that the top 10 announcements in 2017 accounted for $43.1billion, representing about 65 percent of total announcements captured.

The commission did not, however, provide the details of the investors, sector, source and destination.

According to NIPC, the gaps between announcements and actual investments demonstrate investments potentials which were not fully actualized.

The Commission stated: “A more proactive all-of-government approach to investor support, across federal and state governments is required to convert more announcements to actual investments.”

Reacting to the situation, Director General, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Ambassador Ayoola Olukanni, noted that the gap may not be unconnected to the economic recession and COVID-19 pandemic events within the period, aggravated by policy instability.

Olukanni stated: “Numerous studies have established that Foreign Direct Investment is dependent on the market size of the host country, deregulation, level of political stability, investment incentives, openness to international trade, economic policy coherence, exchange rate depreciation, availability of skilled labor, endowment of natural resources and inflation.

“You will agree with me that the four years spanning 2017 and 2020 are characterized by struggle to exit from economic recession, a period of slight recovery, the COVID-19 pandemic, and another period of recession. These circumstances may or may not be responsible for the political and economic reaction that can be witnessed in the uncertainty in the foreign exchange market, increased inflation, increased unemployment, increased political unrest and insecurity and so on.

“What can be established is that Foreign Direct Investment is averse to risk and uncertainty, especially the kind of uncertainty brought about by policy instability and economic policy. An obvious example is the closure of the land borders in 2019, while justifiable through the lens of national security is certain to have a negative impact on Foreign Direct Investment which has a long-term planning horizon.

“In summary, to seek to increase actual FDI is to promote the factors that have been shown, empirically, to positively impact FDI. While the Nigerian economy checks the boxes of most of these factors, economic policy coherence, foreign exchange market stability and insecurity are issues that are currently the bane of FDI inflows.”

Also commenting, an economist and private sector advocate, Dr. Muda Yusuf, who is also the immediate past Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce of Industry (LCCI), said the development reflects low level of investors’ confidence occasioned by structural problems of infrastructure and worsening security situation.

His words: “It is investors’ confidence that drives investment, whether domestic or foreign. Investors are generally very cautious and painstaking in taking decisions with respect to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). This is because FDIs are often long term and invariably more risky, especially in volatile economic and business environments. Uncertainties aggravate investment risk.

“Investors in the real sector space are grappling with structural problems especially around infrastructure. There are also worries around liquidity in the forex market; there are concerns about the accelerated weakening of the currency. There are issues of heightened regulatory and policy risks in many sectors.

“Investors’ confidence has also been adversely affected by the worsening security situation in the country. Meanwhile, the economy is still struggling to recover from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are the likely factors impacting investment decisions.

“Our ability to attract FDI will depend on how well we position ourselves. The critical question will be around expected returns on investment. Overall, it is the investment climate quality that will make the difference. We need to ensure an acceleration of necessary reforms to make Nigeria a much better investment destination. We need policy reforms, regulatory reforms and institutional reforms, among others.

“We should accelerate the ongoing foreign exchange reforms; we need to undertake trade policy reforms to liberalize trade in sectors of weak comparative advantage; we need regulatory reforms to make regulations more investment friendly. We need to create new opportunities in the public private partnership (PPP) space, especially in infrastructure. We need to see more privatization of public enterprises.

“It is important as well to quickly fix the ravaging insecurity in the country. All of these are crucial to boost investors’ confidence.”