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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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Appointments

Union Bank Announces the Appointment of Aisha Abubakar as Independent Non-Executive Director

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Union bank - Investors King

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (“Union Bank”) has announced a change to the membership of its Board of Directors with the appointment of Ms. Aisha Abubakar as an Independent Non-Executive Director effective 9th September 2021, following the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Ms. Abubakar joins the Board of Union Bank following her tenure as Nigeria’s Honourable Minister for Women Affairs and Social Development from 2018 to 2019. Prior to this, she also served as the Honourable Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment between 2015 and 2018. At the start of her career, Ms. Abubakar worked at Continental Merchant Bank Ltd., African Development Bank and African International Bank.

She is an accomplished public sector administrator with over three decades of professional experience in Public Service and Pension Administration, Investment Banking, SME Finance/Rural Enterprise Development and Micro-Credit Administration.

Ms. Abubakar is a Fellow of the International Professional Managers Association (IPMA-UK), and the President of the International Experts Consultants (IEC-UK).

Commenting on the addition to the Board, Mrs. Beatrice Hamza Bassey, Union Bank’s Board Chair said: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I welcome Ms. Aisha Abubakar to the Board. She brings many years of robust experience which will be invaluable in supporting our efforts to steer the Bank forward and deliver on our strategic objectives.”

Also commenting, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Emeka Okonkwo said: “I am pleased to welcome our new Independent Non-Executive Director, Ms. Aisha Abubakar to the Board. We look forward to drawing from her wealth of experience and fresh perspectives as we continue to execute our vision to be Nigeria’s most reliable and trusted partner.”

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AfDB Approves $50M Trade Finance Deal with Standard Chartered Bank

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African Development Bank - Investors King

The African Development Bank Group has approved a $50m Trade Finance Unfunded Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) for StandardChartered Bank.

This was contained in a statement titled ‘African Development Bank approves a $50m Multinational Trade Finance Risk Participation Agreement facility for Standard Chartered Bank’ published on the bank’s website on Wednesday.

The statement said, “The board of directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $50m Trade Finance Unfunded Risk Participation Agreement facility between the African Development Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.”

The essence of this agreement is to promote intra-Africa trade, ensure regional integration and lessen the trade finance gap in Africa.

“The agreement is expected to boost intra-Africa trade, promote regional integration, and contribute to the reduction of the trade finance gap in Africa, in line with implementation aspirations of the African Continental Free Trade Area,”

The bank’s Director for Financial Sector Development, Stefan Nalletamby, stated that “We are excited about finalising this facility with Standard Chartered Bank as it offers us the flexibility to use our strong AAA-rated risk-bearing capacity to increase access to trade finance and boost intra/extra-African trade on the continent, in support of the AfCFTA.

“This partnership is expected to catalyze more than $600m in value of trade finance transactions across multi-sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and energy over the next three years.”

Director-General of the bank’s Southern Africa region, Leila Mokadem, was quoted to have said, “The advent of COVID-19, coupled with stringent regulatory/capital requirements and Know Your Customer compliance enforcement, has seen many global banks reduce their correspondent banking relationships in Africa, while some are exiting the market altogether.

“There is, therefore, an urgent need for financing to reenergise Africa’s trade, which requires more participation of institutions like the African Development Bank.”

The parties in the agreement are expected to share the default risk on a portfolio of eligible trade transactions originated by African Issuing Banks and indemnified by Standard Chartered Bank.

Beneficiaries of this facility are issuing banks in Africa with the ability to grow their trade finance business has been constrained by inadequate trade confirmation lines from international banks.

Other beneficiaries are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and domestic firms which rely on these issuing banks to fulfill their trade finance commitments.

The RPA facility is aligned with the AfDB’s High 5 priority goals which are: light up and power Africa, feed Africa, industrialize Africa, integrate Africa, and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

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SMEs

Standard Chartered Launches Flexible ‘Smart Business Loan’ Product To Support SMEs

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Standard Chartered Nigeria - Investors King

Standard Chartered on Wednesday launched its Smart Business Loan (SBL) product to support Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) in Nigeria.

David Idoru, Head of Consumer, Private and Business Banking, of the bank in Nigeria, said in a statement in Lagos that SBL was an unsecured installment/term loan available to SME clients within key target sectors.

“Qualified SMEs would be able to access up to N20million loan, without providing tangible security/collateral to purchase asset, finance business expansion and other capital expenditure needs.

“This loan was designed to help SMEs meet their short to medium-term needs.

“As a Bank, our purpose is to drive commerce and prosperity in the locations we operate in. This is done through offering cash, lending, trade and wealth management solutions that specifically drive economic growth,” he said.

Idoru said that the bank was constantly looking for ways to ensure SMEs get access to the needed support to enable their businesses to thrive, adding that prior to the product launch, clients were required to provide full collateral cover to access loans from the bank, but SBL had been designed to provide the necessary flexibility to the clients.

“It is accessible to new and existing clients of the Bank with no waiting period, including small and medium scale organisations, who can access up to N20million in loans without collateral for a maximum tenure of two years,” he said.

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