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Marketers Seek N165 Petrol Price, FG Says No

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Adenuga

Petroleum product marketers have demanded an upward review in the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit (also known as petrol).

This, they said, would make importation of the product profitable.

They said the free fall of the naira against the dollar had made it unprofitable for them to import petrol and sell at the current rate of N145 per litre.

But the Federal Government said there was no immediate plan to raise the pricce of petrol.

This is coming nearly four months after the government increased petrol prices from N86 and N86.5 per litre to between N135 and N145 per litre.

Some marketers had early last month said Nigerians should prepare for another increase in petrol prices due to the continued scarcity of foreign exchange to finance the importation of the product.

According to a source close to the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, N165 is the pump price that will cover the cost of forex required for fuel importation.

The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency had, in its template based on 30 days’ moving average Platts posted price for April 23 – May 23, 2016, put the landing cost and total cost of petrol at N122.03 and N140.40 per litre, respectively.

The costs of the product and freight, which are the elements mostly affected by the exchange rate, were put at $534 per metric tonne of petrol or N111.30 per litre, using an exchange rate of N280/dollar.

Using an exchange rate of N314.20/dollar at the interbank market on Monday, according to FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, the cost of product plus freight was N125.12 and the total cost of petrol stood at N151.93 per litre.

With an exchange rate of N350/dollar, the cost of the product plus freight stood at N139.37; while the total cost amounted to N167.15 per litre.

The naira plunged to all-time low of 420/dollar on the black market last month.

An official of one of the marketers’ associations, who spoke on condition of anonymity to one of our correspondents, said, “Let the government do the needful. We have already said it before that the price is not sustainable. When they fixed that price, dollar was N280 – N285; now the dollar is almost N400 and they want us to bring in products and sell at N145. It is not possible.

“But right now, most of us are getting the product from the NNPC; that is why you still see that there is product everywhere. It is an indirect case of subsidy. It means the government is subsidising it through the NNPC and we are buying at local price. Had it been that we were the ones that sourced the foreign exchange, we can’t sell it at N145.”

The Head of Energy Research, Ecobank Capital, Mr. Dolapo Oni, noted that the current template was adopted when the dollar was about N315 in the parallel market and the naira had not been floated then.

He said then the CBN was still selling at about N220 or so and marketers were augmenting what they got from the CBN with the parallel market supply, adding, “Thus, a range of N275 to N295 was used to arrive at the template price range of N135 to N145.

“The official market is N310 this (Monday) morning while the parallel market is N422. This gives a range of between N151 and N200. I think they’ll probably adopt a range of N330 to N370 (per dollar) so we have a fuel price range of N160 to N170.

Oni added, “The best solution, in my view, however, will be to take the last plunge and just remove cap on prices. It is probably the best in this market. Let competition regulate prices.”

Another source, who is an official of one of the marketing companies in Lagos, said, “The position of the marketers is that if the guaranteed exchange rate of N285 to a dollar will not be met, selling at that N145 is not profitable. And that is the more reason most of the chief executives or finance directors are still going cap in hand to the NNPC to facilitate the forex they promised through international oil companies instead of going to the black market.

“With the current situation in the country, I don’t see the government increasing the pump price of petrol, although it is not profitable to marketers. It would have been very easy if forex is available to marketers at N285/dollar.”

On marketers’ reliance on the NNPC for petrol, the source said, “The advantage in depending on the NNPC product is that the price they give you is better and you are not subjected to any issue of forex. And it is not as difficult as before when you had to queue for a long time because the NNPC has the product.”

Officials from the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the PPPRA stated that it was difficult for marketers to buy forex at over N350/dollar and still sell the PMS at N145 per litre.

“There must be some form of subsidy somewhere, either from where they are getting the product or from the major importer of the PMS into Nigeria, because you cannot buy a dollar at N350 and still sell petrol at N145 if you want to remain in business,” a PPPRA official, who spoke to one of our correspondents in confidence, said.

But the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, said there was no immediate plan to increase the pump price of petrol.

Some former NNPC GMDs had last week said that due to the dollar scarcity and the falling naira, it would be unrealistic to expect the petrol price to remain the same.

However, Kachikwu and Baru, who met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday, said there would be no increase in the price of petrol.

Baru, when approached by reporters, declined to speak at length, referring journalists to the PPPRA.

Asked if there would be a review of the price, he said, “There is nothing like that.”

When Kachikwu was approached for comment, he revealed that there was no memo before the Federal Government asking for a review of the price.

Ex-NNPC GMDs had made the suggestion of fuel hike at a one-day meeting called by Baru, where they argued that the ýcurrent price cap of N145 per litre is not in line with the liberalisation policy especially with the foreign exchange rate and other price determining components such as crude cost, Nigerian Ports Authority charges, among others, remaining uncapped.

In a related development, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, on Monday asked Nigerians to hold former GMDs of the NNPC responsible for the non-functional state of the country’s refineries and the non-profitability of the NNPC.

Sabi, who stated that he was not making his submission as the spokesman for the Senate but as the Senator representing Niger-North Senatorial District, in a chat with journalists in his office, said he was very disappointed with the recent comments credited to the ex-GMDs on fuel price.

He said, “As we have all known, refineries that we have in Nigeria have not been functional because if they had been functional and if that institution had been up and doing in tandem with its peers in other countries that have similar resources, for crying out loud, all of these former GMDs, can they be said to be free of blame on how we got here? Can they?

The Senator lamented that the refineries had failed to perform maximally under the military rule and the 16 years of Peoples Democratic Party’s administration.

Abdullahi said, “I think on this note, let me make it very clear that all of them that are speaking, they do not have the moral standpoint to even advise us on what to do because they had a hand in it (the problem) and I cannot see how you can solve a problem under the same condition that created it.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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International Breweries To Train 500 Young Entrepreneurs Through Kickstart Initiative

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Kickstart Initiative - Investorsking

As part of its commitment to bringing people together for a better world and its objective of delivering impactful, developmental and sustainable projects, International Breweries Plc through its social investment arm, International Breweries Foundation has launched the 6th edition of its Kickstart entrepreneurship programme recently.

The initiative is targeted at enterprise growth and development for young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35.

During a media briefing to update the public on the process of this year’s edition, Managing Director, International Breweries Plc, Hugo Rocha expressed delight that the Kickstart Initiative had evolved from the regional programme it used to be, to an inclusive national programme that reaches the six geopolitical zones and 36 states of Nigeria.

“Over the years, we have held the conviction that the energy, zeal, and brilliance of the youths of Nigeria who constitute about 70 percent of the total population should be tapped and channelled to productive use. This is the logic behind Kickstart – to promote a culture of entrepreneurship among young people through training, provision of capital and mentorship,” Rocha said.

Rocha concluded his remarks on a high note, stating that, “as International Breweries celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year, I am pleased that the results of a 3-year impact assessment study that we commissioned on Kickstart came out positive and gives us the confidence to continue to support young people to achieve their dream of entrepreneurship. We remain steadfast in our commitment towards the economic development of Nigeria”

Also speaking at the press conference, Chairman, Advisory Board, International Breweries Foundation, Peter Bamkole explained that International Breweries Plc and its foundation is dedicated to continuing to contribute its quota towards tackling the twin challenges of unemployment and poverty while promoting Decent Work and Economic Growth in line with Goad 8 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UNSDGs).

“By creating Kickstart, International Breweries Foundation set out to be the nursery of innovation in a business where budding enterprise managers are groomed—held by the hand and taken through the rigour of entrepreneurial work. We aim to produce well-rounded entrepreneurs who understand and are prepared to put in the work it takes to do business successfully in a unique climate like ours.” Bamkole said.

Over the past five years, the Kickstart initiative has provided training, mentoring, and seed capital of N325,136 million (in total) for 274 grantees; 708 direct beneficiaries and 2,832 indirect beneficiaries across a wide range of business sectors; with the result of the creation of about 571 jobs and 1,392 new jobs projected across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.

Speaking on the mechanics of the award, Legal and Corporate Affairs Director, International Breweries Plc, Temitope Oguntokun revealed that the award is in three phases: the application phase, the training phase and the pitch fest phase which is the final selection of grantees by judges.

She explained that the Kickstart Initiative will be incorporating an expansive training module that will train 500 young entrepreneurs online, with a number of them going into the bootcamp. This year’s edition also features a streamlined search for entrepreneurs into Agriculture, Modular Retailing, Circular Packaging (Recycling), Technology, and Renewable Energy sectors.

“After a transparent selection process on the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) platform via the link, https://reg.smetoolkit.ng/program-apply/kickstart-nigeria-2021, which will open on the 20th of May, successful applicants will be equipped with critical skills and training on entrepreneurship by experienced entrepreneurs and corporate professionals during a 2-day boot camp. They will partake at the pitch fest where a panel of judges will appraise their proposals before final selection. Winners of the pitch fest will then be awarded grants at the awards ceremony in Lagos,” Oguntokun noted.

The press launch which held last week in Lagos had in attendance dignitaries such as the Director for Employment, Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs Iyabo Seriki-Bello, Director of Partnerships and Coordination for Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria; Dr Friday Okpara; Chairman, Advisory Board, International Breweries Foundation, Mr Peter Bamkole; members of the International Breweries team, past Kickstart Alumni, mentors and a host of others joining online.

Following its trajectory of success, impact over the years, and its extensive yet immersive plans for the 6th edition, Kickstart, under the auspices of International Breweries and its foundation is geared towards transforming Nigeria into an economic powerhouse through the impact of entrepreneurship.

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More and More Under 30s Seeking Financial Advice

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Business Solution - Investors King

A growing number of under 30s are seeking financial advice, according to data released by one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

deVere Group has revealed that there has been a 54% year-on-year jump in the number of enquiries from potential clients under the age of 30 who are seeking to work with a professional adviser to devise and implement a financial planning strategy.

Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comments: “The sharp increase in the number of under 30s seeking out advice, once again, debunks the myth that younger generations are not interested in building a plan for their long-term financial security.

“It would be a reasonable assumption to make that the year-on-year increase has been largely driven by the pandemic.

“It has brought into all-too-real focus how things can quickly change, how important it is to have a back-up/emergency plan, and value more than ever what really matters to them. For most, this includes ensuring that they can enjoy the opportunities and lifestyle that they desire.”

In March this year, a deVere poll of 450 clients found that seven out of 10 people will not splurge excessive savings accumulated over the pandemic.

When asked ‘Are you likely to spend the majority of the extra money you have managed to save over the last 12 months?’ 72% responded ‘no’, 16% said ‘yes’ and 12% ‘did not know.’

Mr Green continues: “Whilst it’s a fool’s game to generalise about any given cohort, anecdotally, our advisers who are working with the under 30s report that there are some definite trends.

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, more than other generations, the under 30s – who are ‘digital natives’ having grown up under the ubiquitous influence of the internet and other technologies – demand digital solutions such as fintech apps alongside their personalised financial advice.

“This gives them immediate, on-the-go, low-cost access to, use and management of their money.”

Another trend, says the deVere CEO, is impactful saving and investing.

“Our advisers say that, typically, younger people want to use their savings and their investments not only to improve their own lifestyles but for the betterment of their communities and the environments.

“Having more control over their financial affairs is a critical part of their wider activism on issues such as human rights and climate change.”
Mr Green concludes: “Perhaps more than ever, the under 30s are showing a desire to be financially resilient and put their long-term financial goals at the heart of their decision-making process.

“I believe that this ‘think about tomorrow first’ attitude is likely to be a permanent phenomenon due to recent seismic cultural, social and economic shifts.”

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Econet Group and Mastercard To Collaborate on Fintech Solutions For Covid-19 Response in Africa

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The Econet Group through its subsidiary Cassava Fintech International (Cassava Fintech) and Mastercard have entered into a strategic partnership to advance digital inclusion across Africa and collaborate on a range of initiatives including expansion of the Africa CDC TravelPass.

TravelPass is a digital health pass developed by Cassava Fintech and offered in conjunction with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). It is accessible to users of Cassava Fintech’s Sasai SuperApp and is recognised as one of the leading initiatives in the fight against the cross-border spread of Covid-19 in Africa. Mastercard is partnering with Cassava Fintech to enhance the security of TravelPass through Mastercard’s Community Pass platform. Mastercard Community Pass is an interoperable digital platform facilitating service delivery for marginalised individuals and communities, including access to critical health services like patient care plan tracking for Covid-19.

The joint initiative between Mastercard and Cassava Fintech seeks to offer a unified solution with greater convenience and enhanced security, that is expected to promote safe cross border travel in Africa in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The partnership will also allow the two organizations to explore collaboration such as the further integration of the Community Pass with Cassava Fintech’s mobile and financial services, acquiring and processing of card payments across the continent, along with the introduction of a virtual or physical card on the Sasai SuperApp.

Cassava Fintech’s CEO, Darlington Mandivenga said the partnership with Mastercard would pave the way for both companies to jointly tackle the challenges facing African economies as they re-open post the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are excited to work with Mastercard to explore solutions that will, among other things, mitigate the risk of falsified presentation of a third party’s Travel Pass at access and transit points,” Mandivenga said, adding that the same technology could also be used in payment solutions.

Cassava Fintech uses an integrated model to provide financial and digital services to ensure a “financially inclusive future that leaves no African behind”.

“We look forward to joining hands with Cassava Fintech in exploring new solutions that will make a difference and benefit the continent. In addition to digital innovation for future travel, Cassava will also leverage our secure payments network to advance access to financial services,” said Mark Elliott, Divisional President, Southern Africa, Mastercard.

Mastercard is a leading global technology company focused on building an inclusive, sustainable digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere, by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible.

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