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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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EFCC Grills Suspended Accountant-General of The Federation, Discovers 17 Properties 

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Ahmed Idris - Investors King

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it has traced not less than properties to the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris. 

On Wednesday, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, announced the suspension of Idris who is currently being grilled by the EFCC for fraud amounting to N80bn.

The letter titled: ‘Letter of Suspension’, read in part: “Following your recent arrest by EFCC on allegations of diversion of funds and money laundering, I write to convey your suspension from work without pay effective May 18, 2022.”

Investors King can confirm that an anonymous EFCC official revealed that the 17 properties linked to the former AG of the Federation are located in the UK, Dubai, Abuja, Lagos, and Kano. 

However, he said preliminary investigations showed that the nation’s chief accountant allegedly used proxies to buy some of these properties. The commission would therefore need to invite some of the proxies of the accountant-general.

The official added that from all indications, these properties were purchased while Idris was in office and did not declare them before the Code of Conduct Bureau as stipulated by law.

 “About 17 houses in London, Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Dubai have been traced to him. In Abuja, some of the houses are located in serviced estates,” he added.

Investors King reported earlier in the week that EFCC had arrested the suspended Accountant-General, saying “the AGF raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates.”

“The funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and Abuja.

“Mr. Idris was arrested after failing to honour invitations by the EFCC to respond to issues connected to the fraudulent acts.

“It further alleged that the funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and Abuja,” EFCC added. 

REcall that Ahmed Idris had been under surveillance since last year following allegations that he offered huge sums of money to a family in order to secure the marriage of their 16-year-old daughter.

 

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Nigeria’s Trade Deficit Rises to $765m in Q1 2022  – CBN

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Trade - Investors King

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said the value of Nigeria’s international trade deficit rose by 175.13 percent from $152.94m recorded in January 2022 to $420.79m in March 2022. 

The International Trade Summary on the CBN’s website reports that the total value of international trade as of the first quarter (Q1) of 2022 was $28.77bn. Imports stood at $14.77bn while exports accounted for $14.01bn, reflecting a total trade deficit of N764.69m.

In January 2022, export was $4.74bn and import was $4.89, with a trade deficit of $152.94m.

The value of the trade deficit increases further in February 2022 to hit $190.96m, with exports at $4.70bn and imports at $4.89bn.

There was a massive increase recorded in March 2022 as the trade deficit jumped to $420.79m, with exports at $4.57bn and imports at $4.99bn.

In June 2021, Godwin Emfiele, the CBN Governor has said Nigeria would reduce its imports bill by the first quarter of 2022, especially with the Dangote refinery projected to resume operations. This, he said would help reduce the importation of finished petroleum products.

“Of course for petroleum products, by the time the refinery goes into production by the first quarter of next year and the petrochemical plants we would have reduced our importation by about at least close to 35 per cent,” he said. 

However, Nigeria has failed to cut down on its import bill and the Dangote refinery is yet to be completed and operational. In fact, a recent Fitch report estimated that the refinery won’t be operational until 2024, and that is if Aliko Dangote raises the needed $1.1 billion (N900 billion) necessary for its completion.

In its recent report titled ‘Reforms Towards Resolving Foreign Exchange Challenges in Nigeria’, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) explained how a rising trade deficit caning impact the nation’s economy.

According to the NESG, Nigeria will continue to rely on foreign loans via Eurobonds and multilateral financial institutions to bolster its foreign reserves as long as the nation’s trade balance continues to decline.

In part, the report stated: “Owing to the deteriorating trade balance position, the country is increasingly exposed to external borrowing through Eurobonds and multilateral loans to shore up its external reserves. In 2021, the trade deficit widened to N1.9tn from N178.3bn in 2020.

“The country had persistently recorded a trade deficit since the fourth quarter of 2019 when the land borders were shut. However, maintaining a trade surplus consistently coupled with adequate inflows of foreign investments will contribute significantly to improving the net flows of forex through the economy – which crashed from $100.8bn in the first three quarters of 2014 to $44.5bn in the corresponding period of 2021.”

“Huge dependence on imports has limited the CBN’s ability to effectively manage the demand for foreign exchange,” it stated. 

NESG further said, “Meanwhile, the massive dependence on imports has constrained the CBN’s ability to manage forex demand by prohibiting certain commodities that could otherwise be produced locally from accessing forex at the official market since 2015.

“The result of this policy action has heightened demand pressures in the parallel market, leading to a wide gap between the official exchange rate (now the I&E Window exchange rate) and the parallel market exchange rate. The parallel market premium averaged N104.7/US$ in 2021, 64.9 per cent higher than the average premium of N63.5/US$ in 2020.”

 

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Twitter Agog As Nigerians React To AGF’s Arrest, Fraud Allegations

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Ahmed Idris

The social media has been buzzing all day as Nigerians were in dismay, following the arrest of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly looting a sum of N80bn. 

While many Nigerians lauded the efforts of the EFCC, some said the looted money is far more than what the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is requesting.

In his reaction via the micro-blogging platform, Twitter, the spokesperson of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Reno Omokri said: “Dear ASUU, If the Accountant General of the Federation can steal N80bn, you have no reason to end your strike. Ask Buhari to use the stolen N80bn to pay you and keep the change. After all, the money ASUU is asking for is not even up to N80bn!”

Some Other Twitter Reactions:

The Mouthpiece @Real_AmakaIke said: “Fight Against Corruption In Nigeria Always End With Cruise. Just Loot And Bail Yourself If At All You Are Arrested,And They Will Reward You With Another Political Position. Ahmed Idris’s 80 Billion Naira Fraud Case Has Ended With Immunity. Nigeria Is A Very Big Scam.”

Adenike Danjuma @DeNiike_Ahmed said: “Idris should be persecuted using Sharia law.”

Kwaghngu John @DoshimaJohn“According to the EFCC, the funds (stolen by the AGF Ahmed Idris) were laundered via real estate investments in Kano and Abuja” Real estate investments!!! Folks standing on this table ehn! It will take some balls to vigorously shake this table. A table of crooks & rogues.”

Ayemojubar.js @ayemojubarAlhaji Ahmed Idris, the Accountant General of the Federation stole $137,931,034. Please, how much is ASUU asking for?

Adebola @ThisIsAdemuyiwaOur problem is not religion and ethnicity. Religion and ethnicity are distractions. Alh. Ahmed Idris (Accountant General) who stole N80bn couldn’t have done it alone. He’d have been aided by Southerners from other faiths . Let nobody deceive you.

OKEKE OLIVER (Don Olive) @OKEKEOLIVER2 Ahmed Idris was appointed Accountant General of the Federation on 25th June, 2015, to succeed Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla. His predecessor was sacked by Buhari for alleged misappropriation of N2.5bn naira.

If you make ₦28.3m a year, it would take you 40 years to make ₦1 billion. The Accountant General stole N80bn in 4 years, at ₦28.3M/year it would take you 3,200 years to accumulate that much money. Ahmed Idris you are very very heartless,” another user, Jerry ayuba (@Donjerry_) said.  

Investors King recalls that Operatives of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday, arrested the current Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris in connection with alleged diversion of funds and money laundering activities. 

EFCC, in a statement, wrote: “The Commission’s verified intelligence showed that the AGF raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates.

“The funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and Abuja.

“Mr. Idris was arrested after failing to honour invitations by the EFCC to respond to issues connected to the fraudulent acts”.

EFCC further noted that: “Its verified intelligence showed that the AGF raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities, using proxies, family members and close associates.

“It further alleged that the funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and Abuja”.

The anti-graft agency stated that Idris was arrested after failing to honour invitations to respond to issues connected to the fraudulent acts. 

Ahmed Idris was appointed as Accountant General on June 25, 2015, to succeed Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla who was sacked by Muhammadu Buhari on allegedly misappropriating security agencies’ funds.

EFCC had, on December 7, arraigned the former Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr Jonah Otunla, and eight others before the Federal High Court in Abuja on money laundering charges involving diversion of N2bn from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser.

The defendants were to be arraigned before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba on Tuesday but the arraignment was rescheduled to December 7 due to the absence of the judge, who was said to be attending a training organised for some judges in the country.

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