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Buhari, NNPC GMD, Sylva meet over Iran – US tension, oil price

Buhari who doubles as the country’s Minister of Petroleum Resources met with Sylva at about 3pm to 3.41pm at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu BuhariNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, and the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, on Wednesday met in a closed door meeting in the height of the feud between the United States of America and Iran.The meeting which lasted for few minutes might not be unconnected to the impact Iran/US on global oil prices.

Nigeria’s Brent crude already recorded a rise of 2.4 per cent in price in the past days, increasing a barrel price to $70.24 as of Tuesday. The country’s daily oil production output is put at 2.18 million barrels.

The President had before meeting with Sylva, separately, met with the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Mele Kyari.

After their different meeting with the President, both the minister of state and GMD declined to speak with State House Correspondents.

However, reports have it that recent changes in global oil prices were mentioned, especially on how it could affect the 2020 budget of N10.59tn.

“You know, oil revenue remains a major source of funding the budget.

“So, if we are expecting sales in excess of the $57 pegged as the crude oil benchmark of the budget the President signed into law on December 19, it would naturally have been discussed at the meeting”, a source alleged.

According to the Punch, a petroleum ministry official disclosed that Sylva and Kyari went to see Buhari for routine briefings.

The official too did not rule out the possibility of oil prices being on the agenda.

“The minister went for routine briefing.

“You would have noticed that these briefings are regular, just to keep Mr. President abreast of developments in the ministry.

“Heads of ministries, departments and agencies like the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Godwin Emiefele) and other ministers like that of Finance/Budget Planning (Zainab Ahmed) have also been holding routine meetings with Mr. President.

“Yes, a meeting between Sylva and the President today (Wednesday) may not exclude oil prices in view of the latest developments and the implications on prices for oil-dependent economies like ours,” the official said.

Tensions between the US and Iran started after the killing of the Commander of the Iranian Quds Force, Major General Qasem Soleimani, in a US air strike over Iraq on January 3.

Iran, a key oil producing country, on Wednesday retaliated by attacking US military bases in Iraq, a move global oil price watchers said could further push prices up in the days ahead.

Back home, President Buhari had introduced a budget of N10.33tn for 2020 to the National Assembly in October, 2019.

But this was raised to N10.59tn by the time the lawmakers passed the 2020 Appropriation Bill on December 5.

They also raised the oil benchmark from $55 to $57 per barrel.