UBA Leads Consortium To Fund NNPC’s $1.5bn Investment

The United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) has acted as the lead arranger of a consortium of Nigerian commercial and international banks in a $1.5 billion Pre-export Finance Facility for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its upstream subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Leadership Report.

UBA is providing $200million (Naira equivalent) to support investment growth and liquidity requirements.

The facility is expected to provide capital for investment in NNPC’s production capacity, which is of strategic importance to the Nigerian economy and the country’s leading source of foreign exchange earnings.

UBA’s position as Lead Arranger recognises the Group’s strength in structuring and deploying financing to the oil and gas sector, and the depth and liquidity of the Group’s balance sheet, the bank said in a statement yesterday.

The $1.5 billion facility is structured in two tranches as follows: the first tranche of $1 billion, to be repaid over a period of five years, will be provided in dollars, with UBA acting as the Facility Agent Bank; the second tranche of $500 million will be provided in local currency, over seven years, with UBA acting as Lead Bank, providing $200 million in Naira equivalent.

Both facilities will be repaid from an allocation of 30,000 barrels per day of NPDC’s crude oil.  UBA has a strong track record in the resources sector across Africa, having facilitated oil prepayment deals with the NNPC, including its 2013 $100 million participation in the PXF Funding Limited transaction, and a further $60 million in the 2015 Phoenix Export Funding Limited transaction.

In Senegal, UBA was responsible for the EUR 240m revolving crude oil financing facility for the Société Africaine de Raffinage and in Congo Brazzaville co-funded the $250m crude oil prepayment facility for Orion Oil Limited.

Other participants in the NNPC deal include Standard Chartered Bank, Afrexim Bank, Union Bank and two oil trading companies, Vitol and Matrix.

Speaking on the recent support for the Nigeria’s petroleum industry, UBA Group chairman, Tony O Elumelu said, “This has been one of the most economically challenging years that Nigeria has witnessed.  With the sharp drop in the price of oil and the ensuing hardship that followed the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the private sector must come together and contribute meaningfully to the economy.

This facility is clear evidence of this – UBA is providing investment that will significantly improve Nigeria’s production capacity and in doing so also demonstrating the strength, depth, and sophistication of our commercial banking capability.  I believe that together, working with governments, we can create more jobs and more wealth for people, not only in Nigeria, but across Africa”.

The United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with over 20,000 employees and serving over 20 million customers.

UBA operates in 20 African countries and globally in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France, providing retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

Meanwhile, there is palpable fear and anxiety in the downstream oil sector as possible job loss looms, following review of Nigeria’s Labour Act.

Operators in the sector have already hinted that if the ongoing review of the Act, currently receiving accelerated hearing in the National Assembly scale through, many people will be thrown out of job.

A document prepared by a conglomerate of oil marketers  explained the preparedness of the operators to lay off staff if position of stakeholders are not compiled and enshrined in the document.
Specifically, a private sector downstream position paper on the proposed review of the Nigerian Labour Act, by Adaeze Nwakobi OVH Energy/chairperson, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) Legal and Government Policy Committee, strongly warned of the negative outcome of the review.

the House of Representatives is currently considering amendments to the Nigerian Labour Act Cap LI LFN 2004.

The amendment Bill which has passed through the second reading largely seeks to abolish casualisation of workers in Nigeria and labour outsourcing.

However, operators in the industry understand that the Ministry of Labour is currently reviewing all major Nigerian Labour legislation, including Labour Act with the intent to repeal the current Labour Act and a focus on prohibiting of labour outsourcing.

Nwakobi warned that the downstream companies are very concerned about the far reaching negative implications the amendment of the Bill portends for the oil and gas industry.

The marketers observed that these are hardship on businesses who already ensure workplace benefits are in place for contract/outsourced staff, extended to them by labour contractors which include leave, health management services, pensions etc as similarly applicable to their permanent staff.

Any attempt to take the Act to the direction the Legislature is driving at will lead to possible increased redundancy in the sector as companies will be forced to cut down on external labour engagements and absence of regularisation provision in the amendment Bill as opposed to immediate imposition of penalty upon default by an employer, they said.

In other words, the downstream sector is seeking the non-passage of the amendment Bill based on the subsisting provision of the Federal Ministry of Labour Guidelines on Contract Staffing/Outsourcing in the oil and gas industry and the position of the International Labour Organisation on labour outsourcing.

They insist that the focus of the law makers should not be to criminalise but to improve on the already existing and globally recognised concept of labour outsourcing to strengthen the Nigerian workforce. This Nwakobi, argued will take into consideration the interests of user enterprises, Labour agencies and workers.

Also, Major Oil Marketers of Nigeria (MOMAN), Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), and Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), have asked the government to draw up a pricing plan formula that will usher in a seamless and market-determined price of premium motor spirit.

Oyetunji Oyebanji, chairman of MOWAN, said, “The downstream end of Nigeria’s oil industry requires significant investment to improve service delivery and to generate employment, help in expanding and growing the economy, and so it needs full and total deregulation with appropriate standards and regulation in terms of consumer protection.

“We are all interested in the future of the country as stakeholders. But we need to make the right policy decisions at the appropriate time. Nigeria cannot, as we know, continue to subsidise fuel.

“Over the last 15 years, we have spent close to N10tn subsidising fuel. This is just unsustainable in this environment, and I think posterity will not judge us properly if we do not make the right decisions.”

MOMAN has disclosed that if the petroleum downstream sector is to play its pivotal and fundamental role in the resuscitation of the nation’s economy, there is a need for full deregulation of the sector.

Oyebanji who is also the managing director/chief executive officer of 11 Plc, formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, said, “We believe that full and total deregulation with appropriate standards and regulation in terms of consumer protection is the way to go.

“We believe that we need to work with the government to achieve this at the soonest possible time. It is an industry that requires significant investment to improve service delivery and to generate employment, to help expand and grow the economy, especially at this very trying time.”

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