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.
Seyi Makinde Proposes N266.6 Billion Budget for Oyo State in 2021
The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has presented the Oyo State Budget Proposal for the 2021 Fiscal Year to the Oyo State House of Assembly on Monday.
The proposed budget titled “Budget of Continued Consolidation” was said to be prepared with input from stakeholders in all seven geopolitical zones of Oyo state.
Governor Makinde disclosed this via his official Twitter handle @seyiamakinde.
According to the governor, the proposed recurrent expenditure stood at N136,262,990,009.41 while the proposed capital expenditure was N130,381,283,295.63. Bringing the total proposed budget to N266,6444,273,305.04.
The administration aimed to implement at least 70 percent of the proposed budget if approved.
He said “The total budgeted sum is ₦266,644,273,305.04. The Recurrent Expenditure is ₦136,262,990,009.41 while the Capital Expenditure is ₦130,381,283,295.63. We are again, aiming for at least 70% implementation of the budget.”
He added that “It was my honour to present the Oyo State Budget Proposal for the 2021 Fiscal Year to the Oyo State House of Assembly, today. This Budget of Continued Consolidation was prepared with input from stakeholders in all seven geopolitical zones of our state.”
World Bank Expects Nigeria’s Per Capita Income to Dip to 40 Years Low in 2020
The World Bank has raised concern about Nigeria’s rising debt service cost, saying it could incapacitate the nation from necessary infrastructure development and growth.
The multilateral financial institution said the nation’s per capita income could plunge to 40 years low in 2020.
According to Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, Country Director for World Bank in Nigeria, the decline in global oil prices had impacted government finances, remittances from the diaspora and the balance of payments.
Chaudhuri, who spoke during the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Federal Government, said while the nation’s debt is between 20 to 30 percent, rising debt service remains the bane of its numerous financial issues and growth.
“Nigeria’s problem is that the debt service takes a big part of the government revenue,” he said.
He said, “Crisis like this is often what it takes to bring a nation together to have that consensus within the political, business, government, military, civil society to say, ‘We have to do something that departs from business as usual.’
“And for Nigeria, this is a critical juncture. With the contraction in GDP that could happen this year, Nigeria’s per capita income could be around what it was in 1980 – four decades ago.”
Nigeria’s per capita income stood at $847.40 in 1980, according to data from the World Bank. It rose to $3,222.69 in 2014 before falling to $2,229.9 in 2019.
Nigeria Will Have no Business With Fish Importation in the Next Two Years- FG
At the 35th annual conference of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON) held in Abuja on Monday, the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Sabo Nanono, expressed plans of the federal government to initiate and implement programmes that are aimed towards diversification, especially in the agricultural sector.
The minister explained that the fishery sub-sector contributes about 4.5 percent to the National Gross Domestic Products, with an estimation of over 12 million Nigerians actively involved in fish farming and production.
He further said that despite this number, Nigeria produces 1.1 million tonnes of fishes annually, while there is a total demand of 3.6 million tonnes of fish and this puts Nigeria is at a deficit of 2.5 million tones. The shortage is supplemented through importation.
“Let me inform you that the vision of Mr President is to grow Nigeria’s agriculture sector to achieve a hunger-free nation, through agriculture that drives income growth, accelerate the achievement of food and nutritional security, generate employment and transform Nigeria into a leading player in the group of food and fish markets, and to create wealth for millions,” he said.
He also explains the ministry’s plans of diversification and development of various empowerment programmes that aid job creation.
“In line with the theme of this conference, the ministry has developed various programmes to increase domestic food/fish production and the main target is the empowerment of the youth and other groups especially the women,” he stated, adding: “All these programmes are tailored towards wealth and jobs creation, arrest and prevention of youth restiveness”.
He said the government has directed all fish importers to commence backward integration for local consumption and export to international markets, these are part of the measures of the ministry to generate employment and reduce importation of fish into the country.
In regards to this plans, Nanono said that the ministry is optimistic that Nigeria will have no business with fish importation in the next two years, considering that several companies have complied to the laid down policy.
Representing the Director of Federal Department of Fisheries, Mr Imeh Umoh, he stressed that the fishery is one of the value chains in the ministry and a force that drives wealth, job creation, contribute to food nutrition, poverty reduction and creation of diverse investment for Nigerians “especially during the economic recession which is occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Nanono said that considering the current economic situation due to the global health pandemic and the ongoing economic recovery programme, the contribution of the fisheries and aquaculture sub-sector of Nigeria will make a significant impact in terms of job creation, income generation, poverty alleviation, foreign exchange earnings and provision of raw materials.
Mr Adegoke Agbabiaka, President of FISON said that in the last decade the government has made a paradigm shift under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda and is now considering agriculture, including fisheries and aquaculture, as a business and this will aid to achieve self-sufficiency in fish production.
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