Nigeria’s Oil Output Drops By 150, 000 Bpd Under Shell’s Force Majeure

NIGERIA’s daily oil output has dropped by 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) as a result of the shutdown of Nembe Creek Trunk Line. File photo In its 2018 budget, the Federal Government had earlier projected to produce 2.3 million bpd at the reference price of $51 per barrel. But with this development the target would not likely be met. Already, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited has declared a force majeure to protect itself against any liability with international oil traders and other stakeholders over the supply gap. But the development has not yet impacted on the market as Vanguard’s survey of the oil markets around the world showed that the price of Nigeria’s Bonny Light was still a little below $80 per barrel in the market yesterday. The price of organisation of Petroleum Exporting countries, OPEC basket of 14 crudes stood at $76.75 a barrel, compared with $75.18 the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. Investigation showed that despite increased government romance with stakeholders in the Niger Delta, the region has continued to record pockets of pipeline vandalism, meaning that oil operations may still under threats of disruptions. In its latest report released about two weeks ago, Shell stated that: “Security remains a high priority due to continued crude oil theft and criminality in parts of the Niger Delta. Illegal refining and third-party interference are the main sources of pollution in the Niger Delta today. “Third party interference caused close to 90% of the number of spills of more than 100 kilograms from The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited operated Joint Venture (SPDC JV) pipelines in 2017. ‘’Security in parts of the Niger Delta remains a major concern with persisting incidents of criminality, kidnapping and vandalism as well as onshore and offshore piracy. Although there has been no damage to key oil and gas infrastructure caused by militant activity since November 2016, the security situation remains volatile in this region of the country.”

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National Assembly Raises 2018 Budget By N508bn …May Pass N9.12tn Budget Today

The National Assembly has raised the 2018 budget by over N508bn, bringing it to N9.12tn.

The original estimates presented to the legislature on November 7, 2017 by President Muhammadu Buhari totalled N8.612tn.

The new budget size was contained in the report of the joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation laid before lawmakers in Abuja on Tuesday.

The crude oil benchmark price of the budget was also increased from $45 to $50.5.

The benchmark alteration confirmed an exclusive story by The PUNCH on May 1, 2018 that lawmakers had proposed to increase the benchmark because of the steady rise in the global price of crude.

From about $50 per barrel in November 2017 when Buhari laid the budget estimates, lawmakers noted that the crude oil price had jumped to around $80.

At the House of Representatives, the Chairman, Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Mustapha Bala-Dawaki, presented the report to the House session, which was presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yussuff Lasun, on Tuesday.

Lasun announced that the budget would be passed today (Wednesday).

He asked members to pick copies of the report as early as 8am and read it, preparatory to the consideration and passage of the budget.

“Get your copies as from 8am so that by afternoon, we will begin to pass the budget. This announcement is very important, because we will adjourn the House on Thursday to go for the APC congresses”, the deputy speaker informed his colleagues.

There are other changes to the original document as contained in the National Assembly report, different from Buhari’s proposals.

In the President’s estimates, the recurrent expenditure was captured as N3.494tn. But in the new report, it was raised to N3.516tn.

Similarly, the development fund for capital expenditure was raised to N2.869tn from the N2.652tn proposed by the President on November 7.

The provision for statutory transfers also rose to N530.421bn from N456bn.

Debt servicing provision rose to N2.203tn from N2.014tn. The new figure includes the N190bn for the “Sinking Fund.”

However, the naira/dollar exchange rate was retained at N305 to $1.

The daily crude oil production was also retained at 2.2 million barrels.

Also, the Senate on Tuesday received the report on the 2018 Appropriation Bill from the Committee on Appropriations and might pass the budget today (Wednesday).

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Danjuma Goje, laid the report before the Senate at the plenary on Tuesday.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, had on different occasions said the budget would be passed after the report was presented.

‘We’ll pass remaining parts of PIB in July’

Meanwhile, the ad hoc committee of the House on the Petroleum Industry Bill started a public hearing on the three remaining parts of the PIB on Tuesday.

The committee, which, is chaired by the Chief Whip of the House, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, presented the three bills.

They are the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill, 2018; Petroleum Producing Host and Impacted Communities Bill, 2018; and Petroleum Industry Administration Bill, 2018.

The National Assembly has already passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, 2017, now awaiting the assent of Buhari.

The Speaker of the House, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, who opened Monday’s hearing, disclosed that by July, the three bills would have been passed.

“We are ready to pass these bills before proceeding on our annual recess. The commitment is there to make a break from the delays of the past years,” Dogara assured the session.

On his part, Ado-Doguwa gave reasons why the current 8th Assembly opted to split the PIB into four parts.

He explained that in the past, the PIB suffered setbacks because all the issues were rolled into one bill.

Ado-Doguwa recalled that some of the issues generated controversies and resulted in the entire bill being rejected.

He stated that this time round, the issues were separated in the four bills so that they would be adequately addressed on their merits.

He added, “You are aware that the PIGB has since been passed by this legislature. These remaining three bills are already on course and we are looking forward to passing them as well.

“In this way, we will have separate bills, each addressing a particular oil industry issue in order to avoid the pitfalls of the past.”

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; and the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, were absent at the hearing on Monday.

Commenting on their absence, Dogara said it showed the seeming lack of interest of the executive arm of government in having the PIB in place.

“I can see that the minister and the NNPC boss are not represented here. That is not a problem. On our part, we have resolved that before we break for our annual recess, we will pass these bills”, the speaker said.

FG has capacity to implement N9.1tn budget – Experts

Finance and economic experts said that the N9.1tn budget size was implementable.

Those who spoke to one of our correspondents in separate telephone interviews were the Registrar, Institute of Finance and Control of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Eohoi; a former Director-General, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Chijioke Ekechukwu; and a developmental economist Odilim Enwagbara

Eohoi said in view of the fact that oil prices had been on the upward trend in recent times coupled with the aggressive tax revenue drive of the Federal Government, implementing a budget of that size would not be too difficult.

He stated, “It will be possible to finance the budget of N9.1tn because looking at the oil price, it was at $50 to a barrel when the budget was presented, but now it’s selling for above $70 per barrel. So, it is still within acceptable limit for the lawmakers to raise the benchmark to $50 per barrel.

“There are other windows available for the government to generate more revenue considering the aggressive drive to raise tax revenue from six per cent of the GDP to 15 per cent. So, I think the budget is implementable by the government.”

Enwagbara said at N9.1tn, the Federal Government’s budget was still low compared to the country’s GDP size.

He noted that for the budget to make any significant impact, it must be raised to about 10 per cent of the GDP.

He stated, “Nigeria’s budget is for consumption and what they did is to increase the capital portion of the budget. But I believe we should also raise the budget benchmark price from the $50 proposed by the lawmakers to $80 per barrel to enable us to deploy more revenue to fund the budget.

“The budget should be increased further to about 10 per cent of our GDP because we have one of the lowest budgets in the world. When South Africa is budgeting about $200bn, Nigeria has about $28bn budget for the year, this is very low for us as a country.”

Ekechukwu, on his part, stated, “The increase in the budget figures by the National Assembly can be absorbed by the expected revenue from oil and other sectors.

“This revenue expectation does not obliterate the deficit end of the budget, which will still be funded by debts. Much as the debt profile of Nigeria is rising every day, the debt to the GDP ratio is still not above any tolerable benchmark.

“As far as the increase is not arising from indiscriminate and arbitrary increase for selfish gains, the budget will be implementable.”

An economic expert and Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, said the expected increase in revenue on the back of rising oil prices should either be used to reduce government borrowing or be channelled entirely to capital projects rather than increasing recurrent expenditure, debt servicing and statutory transfers.

He stated, “If the government is projecting an increase in revenue, that increase in revenue should have been used to bring down the amount that it is going to borrow in the fiscal year, and subsequently bring down the debt service costs. That way, the government would have had a more prudent fiscal budget.

“What will be the motivation for increasing the statutory transfers? It simply means that more money is going to the National Assembly, because part of the statutory transfers goes to the National Assembly, the judiciary and some agencies of government that are self-accounting. I think ordinarily, everybody in the National Assembly should be focused on having a more prudent financial position for the Federal Government.”

<< PUNCH.>>

FG Clears Workers’ Promotion Arrears With N34.2bn

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Tuesday said that the Federal Government would settle the inherited debts and contractual obligations to local contractors between 2006 and 2015.

The minister made this known while appearing before the ad hoc committee of the Senate on Promissory Note Programme and Bond Issuance.

The committee is chaired by the Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena.

Adeosun, according to a statement issued by her Media Adviser, Oluyinka Akintunde, explained that the debts owed to various classes of contractors, including the terminal benefits of ex-workers of the Nigerian Airways, would be repaid through promissory notes and bonds issuance.

The minister stated that the unpaid Federal Government obligations constituted a drag on economic activities across many sectors, adding that the present administration was determined to address the problem.

She listed the unpaid obligations to include those to pensioners and salary and promotion arrears to civil servants; obligations to contractors and suppliers, who in turn, owed banks, increasing the quantum of non-performing loans; and unpaid electricity bills by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.

Others are exporters’ owed funds under the Export Expansion Grant Scheme and unpaid refunds due to state governments in respect of projects undertaken on behalf of the Federal Government.

Adeosun stated, “The Federal Government is working towards settling these inherited debts. The Small and Medium-scale Enterprises are the lifeline of our nation.

“The Federal Government will be stimulating the economy by paying these legacy debts.”

The government, according to her, has approved the issuance of promissory notes and bonds to settle its contractual obligations, subject to the approval of the National Assembly.

On the ex-Nigerian Airways workers, the minister explained that their terminal benefits were reconciled and agreed at N45bn following verification.

She debunked claims by the ex-workers that there was a presidential approval for the payment of terminal benefits of N45bn to them.

Adeosun added, “There has been a misconception in the media that the President had approved the payment of N45bn terminal benefits to the workers.

“There is no presidential approval and no appropriation yet for the payment of N45bn to the ex-workers.”

Earlier, the representative of the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Usman, had told members of the Senate ad hoc committee that the government paid N34.2bn to clear the promotion arrears of workers in the MDAs.

Usman, who is the Director of Funds in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, added that the payment process was still ongoing.

“These payments were made to the accounts of the beneficiaries in the MDAs after detailed verification of all documents attached as proof of promotion,” he said.

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NSE Sheds N125bn On Continuing Bearish Trading

The equities market capitalisation went down by N124.9 billion yesterday as bearish trading continued on the Nigerian bourse. The market had shed 0.48 per cent last week due to profit taking in bellwether stocks. While it was expected that trading might resume on positive on bargain hunting, the bears remained in control.

Consequently, market capitalisation fell by N124.9 billion to close at N14.7 trillion, while the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) declined by 0.84 per cent to close lower at 40,677.61. However, activity level was mixed as volume of shares traded grew 2.0 per cent to 218.8 million shares while value of shares traded dipped by 47.3 per cent to N2.2 billion.

In all, 32 stocks lost value while only 11 stocks appreciated. C & I Leasing Plc led the laggards with 9.3 per cent trailed by First Aluminium Nigeria Plc with 8.8 per cent. Japaul Oil & Maritime Services Plc shed 7.5 per cent, just as Okomu Oil Palm Plc, Oando Plc, AXA Mansard Insurance Plc and Diamond Bank Plc depreciated by 5.0 per cent, 4.9 per cent, 4.8 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively.

Diamond Bank Plc last Friday recorded a loss of N9.011 billion for the year 2017 financial year while its PAT for first quarter in 2018 fell by 82 per cent to N784 million, from N5.049 billion in the corresponding period of 2017.

On the positive side, Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc led the price gainers with 4.9 per cent, followed by Sterling Bank Plc with 3.8 per cent. Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc chalked up 3.5 per cent, while FCMB Group Plc and Cutix Plc went up by 3.5 per cent, and 3,2 per cent in that order.

Analysts at SCM Capital Limited said: In the interim, we see a mixed sentiment albeit with a bearish bias. However, we maintain that the current valuation provides attractive entry opportunity.”

On a sectoral basis, four sectors closed lower while only the NSE Oil & Gas Index flat. The NSE Insurance Index led laggards, down 1.7 per cent, trailed by the NSE Consumer Goods Index with 1.6 per cent. The NSE Banking Index and NSE Industrial Goods Index shed 0.4 per cent and 0.2 per cent in that order.

 

<<thisday>>

World Bank Hails FG’s Economic Growth Strategy, Others

The World Bank Group on Monday commended the strategy of the Federal Government in the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

The global lending institution said this in a statement issued in Abuja.

The ERGP was launched last year to restore growth by diversifying the economy, stabilising the macroeconomic environment, investing in infrastructure and improving the country’s business environment, among others.

The main principles of the ERGP are to tackle the constraints to growth; leverage the power of the private sector; allow markets to function, while upholding the country’s core values; and promoting national cohesion and social inclusion.

The bank said in the statement that its executive directors, who visited Nigeria to meet with top officials of the government, were encouraged by the growth plan.

The statement said the delegation of 10 executive directors from the World Bank Group visited Nigeria to get a better understanding of the country’s development priorities with a special focus on the energy sector.

The executive directors held discussions with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; as well as governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Edo, Lagos, Taraba and Yobe states.

The statement quoted the delegation’s spokesperson, Patrizio Pagano, to have said, “Our visit to Nigeria is to help us get a better understanding of the country context, assess the World Bank’s interventions on the ground, and support opportunities that will keep the country on a path of sustained development.

“We commend Nigeria’s implementation of its new Economic Growth and Recovery Plan and the Power Sector Recovery Plan, both of which are important for regional integration to ensure trade and capital flows, which will ultimately lead to greater growth.”

It added that the executive directors also met with beneficiaries of the World Bank’s supported projects in agriculture, education, health, youth employment, community development, soil erosion and public financial management as well as representatives of the private sector, civil society organisations, diplomatic missions and development partners.

During the visit to Nigeria, the delegation visited the newly-inaugurated Azura-Edo Power Plant in Benin City, which is a key project in the government’s power sector reform agenda and is supported by the World Bank Group.

The executive directors, according to the statement, observe that Nigeria has continued to implement institutional policy reforms for restoring macroeconomic resilience and growth across sectors with support from the World Bank Group.

They reiterated the World Bank Group’s commitment to supporting Nigeria’s growth in a way that would be inclusive, job enhancing and reducing poverty and inequality.

The bank said critical to the inclusive growth objective was reforming the power sector, boosting critical investments in human development, and mobilsing finance for development by creating a conducive environment for private sector participation.

<< PUNCH.>>

Power Sector Records N163.9bn Loss in First 131days of 2018

A data of the power sector’s operations obtained from the Advisory Power Team in the Office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has shown that the power sector lost N163.944 billion in the first 131 days of 2018- January 1 to May 11.

This is coming as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said it would not take the current rainy season as an excuse from operators in Nigeria’s power sector for any case of electricity accidents in the country, stating that it would not hesitate to penalise any of them whose operations result to such accidents.

According to the data, the estimated amount lost to insufficient gas supply, distribution, transmission and water reserves in the first 131 days of 2018 is N163, 944,000,000.

The report showed that the country’s power sector has continued to record massive losses in its operations owing to various operational constraints which include inadequate gas supplies, poor distribution and transmission facilities, as well as water reserves management.

“On May 11, 2018, average power sent out was 3,798MWh/hour (up by 522.32MWh/h from the previous day). 2,107MW was not generated due to unavailability of gas, 40MW was not generated due to unavailability of transmission infrastructure, while 1,084MW was not generated due to high frequency resulting from unavailability of distribution infrastructure. The power sector lost an estimated N1, 551,000,000 (One Billion Five Hundred and Fifty One Million Naira) on May 11, 2018 due to insufficient gas supply, distribution infrastructure and transmission infrastructure,” said the report.

In a related development, NERC in a statement from its head of public affairs, Dr. Usman Arabi, in Abuja, explained that in line with its mandate to ensure that electricity is produced and consumed in strict observance of the electricity industry’s health and safety standards, it has noted the impact of rainstorms on electricity installations especially with the onset of the rainy season and would want operators to live up to their responsibilities in this regards.

It stated that the seasonal natural disruptions occasioned by the rainy season has further imposed on the industry operators additional responsibilities to operate in strict compliance with the terms and conditions of their licence and health and safety standards in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

According to it: “Electricity generation, transmission and distribution companies are by this statement reminded of their responsibilities to be on the alert and clear faults along their lines and installations as when and when due as claim of natural disaster will not serve as tenable defence to avert sanctions in instances of accidents.

NERC advised consumers of electricity to report damaged and vandalism of electric installation at the nearest service or business units of their electricity distribution companies to avert loss of lives and property.
The agency noted that it was committed to ensure that quality electricity is supplied across the country in safe and reliable processes.

 

<<thisday>>

N260bn Invested In Roads Under Buhari —FG

Declare emergency on Nigerian roads, NUPENG tells FG

The Federal Government on Thursday said it had invested N260bn in roads across the country in the past three years.

According to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, the funds were expended on the road sector between 2015 and 2018.

Fashola disclosed this in his keynote address at the 4th Quadrennial Delegates’ Conference of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers in Abuja.

The minister stated that under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the Federal Government, about N300bn had been committed to Nigerian roads, stressing that it was one thing to have a plan, and another to commit to the faithful implementation of the plan.

He said, “If you think this is not important, let me remind you that in 2015, only N18bn was budgeted for all Nigerian roads in the Ministry of Works. Only N9bn was funded at the time when Nigeria’s oil was selling at close to $100 per barrel.

“This was at the time of the Transformation Agenda, when commitment fell significantly behind stated objectives. But what has changed under the ERGP is that the Buhari government has committed close to N300bn to roads, and funded about N260bn at a time when oil prices are manifestly below the 2015 figures.”

The minister, who told his listeners that he had yet to start his campaign for the current government, stated that the action points and achievements of the current administration were not accidental.

“On the contrary, they reveal a clear thinking and understanding of what must be done to rebuild our economy and underline the interconnectivity between availability of quality infrastructure and the delivery of energy from petroleum products to drive our economy,” he added.

Fashola said the results of road construction by the government would mean reduced journey time, adding that activities on the roads were been revived, as contractors had returned to various project sites.

The minister stated, “Although there is a very long list of critical roads that support petroleum distribution, I cannot fail to mention the recent award of the Ikorodu-Shagamu Road that services the Mosimi Depot, where work will soon commence.

“Similarly, our ministry is working to finalise the procurement and award of the Apapa, Tin Can, Mile 2, Oshodi to Oworonshoki highway.”

He added, “I just returned from road project inspection in Kebbi and Jigawa states last night, where our contractors informed me that bitumen producers and suppliers were now struggling to cope with demand.

“These are clear signs of a business boom and employment not only for transporters of the products like your members, but also for the manufacturers.”

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers on Thursday called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on the country’s roads so as to reduce the huge number of lives and property being lost to accidents due to the bad state of the roads.

The National President, NUPENG, Williams Akporeha, noted that although the current administration had been working hard to properly fix the highways, a lot still needed to be done.

Speaking at the delegates’ conference, Akporeha explained that the growth and development of a country lies in an effective transportation system.

The NUPENG president said since most people in Nigeria depended on road transport for movement of goods and services, there was a need for the government to address the dilapidated state of the roads to meet the rising demand of users.

He stated, “We know the present regime has been working hard to properly fix our highways, but a lot still has to be done.

“We earnestly call on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on Nigerian roads so as to attract urgent attention, as no economy thrives without good roads and effective transportation system.”

Fashola, who spoke at the event said that excessive speeding by motorists remained the greatest cause of road crashes across the country.

This, be noted, was contrary to the popular belief that the poor state of the roads was the major culprit.

The minister stated that while the poor state of the roads accounted for less than 10 per cent of accidents, more than 75 per cent of recorded accidents were fallouts of excessive speeding by motorists.

Fashola noted that the Federal Road Safety Corps regularly availed him of statistics on road accidents.

According to him, contrary to the erroneous belief that bad roads are responsible for the highest number of road crashes, excessive speeding by motorists is to blame for most of the incidents.

The minister pointed out that besides speeding, other factors, including breach of traffic rules, were responsible for road accidents in the country.

The minister noted that a lot of lives would be saved if motorists adhered to traffic rules and avoid excessive speeding.

In his address titled ‘Roads in Nigeria and the Impact of Petroleum Products Distribution’, Fashola noted that the contributions of tanker drivers to the economy could not be discountenanced.

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NIMC Plans To Bring 70m Citizens Into The Payments System By 2019

The National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, said it plans to enrol and issue National Identity Numbers (NIN) to 70 million Nigerians before the end of 2019. NIMC According to the commission, the aim of issuing NIN is to bring citizens into the country’s payments system The Director-General, NIMC, Mr. Aliyu Aziz, disclosed this in an interview with Bloomberg in Abuja. Aziz stated: “Nigeria plans to issue identity numbers to 70 million citizens by the end of next year, a first step to bringing them into the country’s payments system. “Concerned that large segments of its population remained outside of the banking and payments system, Nigeria formed a partnership with Mastercard Inc. to issue identity cards embedded with their payment chips in 2015. There are plans to expand the collaboration by including other payments companies, with the ultimate target of covering all citizens. “In addition to the facilitation of payments, the identification numbers and the accompanying cards will be used for tax and health insurance administration, voter verification and help keep track of population changes,” Aziz said. He noted that NIMC will integrate and harmonize back-end database of agencies and at the same time allow the agencies to have areas of interaction with citizens. Aziz further stated: “Nigeria, which currently holds centralized data for less than 15 percent of its almost 200 million population, will integrate various identity-capturing and verification systems run by other government departments, banks, and mobile-phone companies. “We currently have silos of identity with several agencies. The NIMC will play the role of the harmonizer and coordinator of the back-end database while allowing all the other agencies to have touch points and areas of interaction with the citizens.”

<<vanguard>>

Naira Depreciates Further To $ 361.36 In I&E Window

The Naira, yesterday, depreciated further by 22 kobo to N361.36 per dollar, in the Investors’ and Exporters’ (I&E) window of the foreign exchange market. Data from the Financial Market Dealers Quote (FMDQ) showed that the indicative exchange rate for the I&E window rose to N361.36 per dollar, yesterday, from N361.14 per dollar on Wednesday, translating to a 22 kobo loss in naira value. This depreciation was buoyed by 67 per cent decline  in the volume of dollars traded in the I&E window. Transactions in the window yesterday stood at  $181.57, down from $500.37 million recorded on Wednesday. Vanguard investigation revealed that naira, yesterday, appreciated by N1. According to naijabdcs.com, the exchange rate platform of the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), the parallel market exchange rate fell to N361.5 per dollar yesterday from N362.5 per dollar on Wednesday.

<<vanguard>>

Forbes Names Dangote Among World’s 75 Most Powerful

Africa’s richest person and President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has been ranked among 75 most powerful people on the planet, ahead of the Vice President of the United States of America, Mike Pence.

According to the Forbe’s 2018 ranking of the World Powerful People, Dangote ranked among world leaders like the Chinese President, Xi Jinping; the Russian President, Vladimir Putin; and the President of the United States, Donald Trump, who were ranked first, second and third, respectively.

The 61-year old Dangote was ranked the 66th most powerful person in the world ahead of Pence, who ranked 67, and Qamar Javed Bajwa, the highly influential Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan, who was ranked 68.

Dangote is the only Nigerian on the list and the second African who made the list, with the other being the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who was ranked the 45th most powerful person on the planet.

The top 10 most powerful people in the world as listed by Forbes are the German Chancellor, Angela Markel, who was ranked fourth; the Founder of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos (5th); the Catholic pontiff, Pope Francis, (6th); Bill Gates (7th); the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (8th); Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi (9th); and the Chief Executive of Google, Larry Page (10th).

In 2016, Dangote was the only black man who made the list released in 2017, apart from the then President of the United States, Barack Obama, and was listed at number 71, just above the then American presidential contender, Trump, who was listed at number 72.

Dangote is the Chairman, Dangote Cement Plc, which produces 44 million metric tonnes of cement annually across the African continent and still plans to expand and increase its output by 33 per cent by 2020.

According to the Forbe’s rich list, Dangote as of March 2018 had an estimated net worth of $14.1bn and ranked among the 100 richest in the world and the richest in Africa, a position he has held for almost a decade.

Dangote reached the peak in 2014 when he became the 23rd richest in the world, and in 2013 surpassed the Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire, Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi, by over $2.6bn, to become the world richest person of African descent.

<< PUNCH.>>