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Petrol Scarcity: Reps to Intervene

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petrol scarcity Nigeria

The scarcity of petrol continued on Sunday in many cities across the country, as hundreds of motorists thronged the few filling stations that dispensed the product.

This is coming as the Department of Petroleum Resources announced that it had constituted special intelligence monitoring teams nationwide to ensure prompt delivery of the product to designated filling stations.

The House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), however, said it could not intervene until its resumption from break on April 12.

The queues at filling stations in Lagos and other parts of the country grew longer despite the petrol cargos that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation claimed were discharged on Friday.

For instance, many stations on the Ketu-Ikorodu road in Lagos did not sell the product on Sunday, while the few selling were besieged by desperate motorists.

Some filling stations in Lagos and Ogun states sold a litre of petrol for between N100 and N140, which was above the approved prices of N65 and N65.50 for independent/major marketers and the NNPC stations, respectively.

Many motorists and other consumers had to resort to the black market, where the product was being sold for as much as N200 per litre in some places.

The scarcity and the hike in prices resulted in astronomical rise in fares charged by commercial transport operators.

In Abuja, Nasarawa and Kaduna, petrol queues were noticed at many filling stations. For instance, the queues formed in front of the largest NNPC mega station on the Kubwa-Zuba Expressway on Sunday were massive and stretched several kilometres.

Major filling stations such  as Total, Conoil, Nipco, and Forte Oil that dispensed petrol had long queues, as motorists spent several hours waiting to be served.

But some filling stations in remote locations in Abuja dispensed the product at rates far higher than the official pump prices.

For instance, one petrol station along Byazhim Road in Kubwa, a popular satellite town in Abuja, sold the product at N150 per litre. And it was gathered that the outlet had been dispensing the commodity for that price since Friday.

Another petrol station in Apo, Abuja, also dispensed petrol at N140 per litre, but it still had long queues of motorists and other petrol seekers.

The DPR explained the functions of the newly constituted intelligence monitoring teams in a statement from its Abuja zonal office. It said, “The teams would enforce the government approved price regime and ensure the right quantity and quality of products is dispensed.

“Consequently, the department hereby directs all depots with petroleum products to truck out to designated filling stations as programmed while all filling stations in strategic locations shall continue to operate 24 hours during the Easter holidays.”

The DPR stated that the N2m sanction against depots selling products above the regulated price and the N100,000 fine per dispensing pump for filling stations found to be selling above approved rates were still in force.

It said, “Any marketer found to be hoarding will have the products dispensed free to the public and diversion of products will attract a penalty of N200/litre. In addition, the operating licences of offenders will be suspended for a minimum of three months or may be revoked outright, depending on the magnitude of the offence.”

The National Operation Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Mike Osatuyi, told one of our correspondents that the supply to members of the association had not improved, adding that marketers should be given access to foreign exchange to import fuel.

He said, “Give genuine marketers who know the job and who have the facilities foreign exchange, and the country will be wet with products. They said they want to operate a monopoly and it has failed. It is very unfortunate that we are experiencing this again.”

The NNPC said on Friday that a cargo containing 42 million litres of petrol had completely discharged as of 4pm, adding that two more cargos with a total of 44 million litres were discharging, while another cargo containing 44 million litres had berthed and waiting to discharge.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) said that there was little it could do to arrest the biting fuel scarcity in the country.

The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Joseph Akinlaja, told The PUNCH that members were already out of Abuja and would reconvene on April 12.

“We are on break till April 12. We cannot attend to that matter until the House resumes. Everybody is away now. It is when we resume that we can begin to see what can be done,” he said.

The fuel situation worsened following last Wednesday’s comment by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, that he was not a magician and could not do anything overnight to halt the scarcity.

He said the scarcity was likely to linger up until May, a comment that frightened Nigerians and led to panic-buying of petrol with the attendant extended queues at filling stations.

 

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Nigeria Has Lost N531 Million on The Suspended Abuja to Kaduna Train Service

Federal Government has lost about N531 million in revenue on the suspended Abuja to Kaduna train service. 

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Lagos-Ibadan Train Services - Investors King

Federal Government has lost about N531 million in revenue on the suspended Abuja to Kaduna train service. 

The Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Fidet Okhiria disclosed that the country has lost N531 million between March 28 when terrorists attacked Abuja to Kaduna train to September 2022. 

Okhiria noted that the money would have been remitted to the federal government. 

It would be recalled that terrorists unleashed an attack on the Abuja to Kaduna trail which led to the death of eight passengers. About 41 others were injured while scores were kidnapped.

Although some of those that were kidnapped have been released, about 22 are still in the den of the terrorists. Reports had it that about 970 passengers were onboard the train during the attack. 

In response, the Nigerian Railway Corporation halt service along the Abuja to Kaduna train corridor. 

According to the Managing Director of NRC, while speaking to newsmen in Lagos, he said the corporation will not resume service on Abuja to Kaduna rail until all those who remain with the terrorist are released. 

The Managing Director further disclosed that four members of the railway corporation are among those still held captive. 

He, however, expressed optimism that all those still in captivity will soon be released. He noted that the Minister of Transportation is leading the struggle for the safe release of those still in captivity. 

Meanwhile, the federal government has set up a committee to ensure maximum security for train passengers and all train facilities.  The committee is to liaise with the appropriate ministries and agencies to fine-tune a safer railway system. 

“We are talking about present-day technology so that we can have real-time monitoring. We will also be deploying a lot of security agencies to be at strategic locations”.

Some of the places the committee has visited include the office of the Inspector General of Police(IG) and the Ministry of Information.

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Economy

Federal Government to Create Jobs Through Sugar Production

Nigerian government to create jobs and earn foreign exchange through sugar production

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Sugar - Investors King

Nigerian government to create jobs and earn foreign exchange through sugar production. 

The Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Zacch Adedeji disclosed during an interview in Abuja that Nigeria will soon be competing globally in sugar production. 

Zacch Adedeji pledged that the National Sugar Development Council under his leadership will open doors for job creation and foreign exchange. He further stated that the sugar production sector has a lot of potential that can enhance the economy if the sector is vigorously explored. 

He also stated that the implementation of the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP)  has been able to attract huge investment to the sugar sector. 

Investors King could recall that the Federal Executive Council in September 2012 approved the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) as a government strategy roadmap for the development of the Nigerian sugar sub-sector.

According to the NSDC boss, “The Federal Government, through the National Sugar Development Council, is committed to building a globally competitive sugar industry that would boost the local economy, provide jobs for Nigeria’s teeming youth population and position Nigeria as a net exporter of the commodity.”

Adedeji also disclosed that the council is trying to address this issue of inadequate qualified indigenous manpower. He noted the council has created the Nigeria Sugar Institute in Ilorin, Kwara State to help drive local production and possibly export in the future. 

“The Institute has commenced the training of young Nigerian graduates both in field and factory operations through an exchange programme with famous sugar institutes like the National Sugar Institute, Kanpur, India as well as the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute, in Mauritius”. 

Meanwhile, the Federal Government at its weekly Federal Executive Council meeting (FEC) yesterday approved the second phase of the National Sugar Masterplan. The MasterPlan which is a 10-year plan is aimed to save $350 million yearly from foreign exchange and also create 110,000 jobs.

While addressing newsmen after the meeting, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo disclosed that the second phase of the National Sugar Masterplan will span from 2023 to 2033. 

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Economy

CBN Not Mandated to Sell Dollars to Airlines, Godwin Emefiele Tells Foreign Airlines

The Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that it was not mandated by any law to sell dollars to foreign airlines operating in the country.

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Emirates Airlines

The Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that it was not mandated by any law to sell dollars to foreign airlines operating in the country.

The central bank governor Godwin Emefiele while speaking at the monetary policy committee meeting stated that the apex bank is committed to clearing up trapped funds of foreign airlines, however, it was not the CBN’s responsibility to provide the funds in dollars.

The CBN governor said, “The sector is a sector that has always enjoyed priority allocation. For other sectors where there are priorities like the airlines, we have always granted them the priority that they desire because we know people want to travel and they don’t want to be constrained by the need for them to travel. 

“In spite of this, we have seen that the number of travels or naira value of tickets issued by the airlines has increased. We decided to release $265 million when the pressure was building aggressively. 

“We will do everything possible and are determined to clear the backlog and consistently, at all the retail interventions. As long as the bank accounts are funded, we will continue to ensure that the cumulative backlog is cleared. 

“But I think it is important for me to say this — the foreign airlines are saying this because they said we should respect bilateral air services agreements (BASA) that say proceeds of all their ticket sales must be repatriated out of the country.

“It did not say you must repatriate all your dollars. There is no law that makes it compulsory that you must buy your dollars from the central bank. When you put money in your account, what it means is that you tell your bank to buy your dollar.

“Your bank will go to the legitimate or approved sources which in this case is the I&E to buy dollars and pay for your ticket sales proceeds.

“If they don’t find, they may resort to the CBN but it doesn’t mean that the CBN is under compulsion to provide your dollars because it is good for me to say this so that people don’t just rest on the conclusion that CBN is under compulsion to provide the dollars.” 

Recall that the issue of trapped funds had generated several reactions from aviation stakeholders and the non-repatriation of airlines revenue had grown from $450 million in May to $464 million in July. The CBN intervened by releasing $265 million to clear part of the forex backlog.

It should be recalled that earlier this month, Investors King had reported that the federal government of Nigeria sought to sanction airlines selling tickets in dollars.

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