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Petrol Price Hike Not on the Cards – Kachikwu

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  • Petrol Price Hike Not on the Cards, Kachikwu Insists

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said the federal government is not about to increase the price of petrol in the country, at least not in the near future.

Kachikwu, instead, said the government would review some of the elements in the pricing template of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), which are still within its control with operators in the downstream sector to ensure that the price remains in line with market fundamentals.

The minister made the statement shortly after he was honoured alongside former board chairmen and executive secretaries of PPPRA by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), PPPRA branch on Saturday night in Abuja.

He also stated that the recent meeting President Muhammadu Buhari had with traditional leaders and other stakeholders of the Niger Delta on militancy in the region, was the first step in government’s attempts to clear the existing trust deficit in its dialogue with the militants, ahead of its inclusive development plan for the oil-rich region.

While responding to a question on Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) recent defence of the fuel price hike at its retail outlets from N141 per litre to N145, though still within the approved price band, Kachikwu said: “First, I am not aware that the NNPC has increased its price. I need to look into that, it’s a bit of surprise for me, because there are processes in doing this.

“If they have done that, it means they are doing it wrongly. Let me find out what the facts are. Having said that, the reality is that what we did at the point where we did some liberalisation was to enable the market float the price.

“Obviously, as you look at foreign exchange differentiations and all that, it would impact the landing cost of petrol.”

“The worst thing you could do is to go back to the era where we basically were fixing prices. What we ought to be doing is watching prices, making sure that they are not taking advantage of the common man; making sure that the template is respected.

“One of the things I think we had hoped to do, which we should still do before we embark on any price increase is to work on those templates. There are still areas that are within government control.

“These are payments to the Ministry of Transport and the rest, payments to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) that are foreign-currency denominated.

“We are working on the possibility of being able to shift that out so that you still can modulate the prices within where it is right now. But I would hold a conversation with the industry and see how it is going,” he stated.

He further explained that what was key was to ensure that fuel queues do not resurface and those that are investing in petroleum products marketing must be able to predict the “pricing methodologies, the pricing consequences and the actions to be able to justify their investments”.

He added: “At the end of the day, I think PPPRA is the agency that has the authority to say it is time the templates does justify some level of movement, otherwise you have a crisis of individual decisions on pricing.”

On the recent peace dialogue with the Niger Delta region and the sentiments raised against the recent demands put forward by its stakeholders to President Muhammadu Buhari, he said the government was being meticulous in its handling of the issues, adding that the president was committed to a lasting solution to the region’s challenges.

“The Niger Delta is not an easy terrain to deal with, both in physiography and in terms of its politics. Obviously, what has been happening over the last one year has been turbulent for the country, its resources and even the sustenance of the oil industry.

“What we did in terms of that meeting was to be able to bring them to see the president so that we can remove the level of trust deficit that had existed.

“The president is committed to finding solutions to these problems, but he is committed to finding lasting solutions, not one-off measures that would come to haunt us again afterwards.

“That is why he is taking his time to understand how these people operate,” said Kachikwu.

He stated that in addition to the dialogue, the government would be embarking on a series of actions, like the Maritime University, opening of business opportunities in the area, and clean-up of the environment.

“I do not think people should kick; you are never going to have a situation in this country where you are doing something and there won’t be criticism.

“But that should not discourage us. I think some of the efforts we are making are yielding results.

“The militancy is not as pronounced as it is today and I think the militants themselves are very reasonable, as they begin to see some unity, some coalition of their elders and their leaders, as well as their colleagues into unions to be able to find lasting solutions,” he added.

Kachikwu equally described the honour that PENGASSAN bestowed on him and past PPPRA officials like Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, Ahmadu Alli, Dr. Oluwole Oluleye, Abiodun Ibikunle, Goddy Egbuji, Reginald Stanley and Farouk Ahmed, among others, as humbling.

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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ECOWAS@46: Commission Seeks Trade Partnership With OPS To Deepen Intra-African Trade

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in commemoration of its 46th anniversary has sought partnership with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to deepen intra-African trade and lift millions out of poverty.

This was revealed yesterday by the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Brou, at a webinar organised in collaboration with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) yesterday.

The theme of the webinar is “Optimising Sustainable Trade, Investment and Regional Economic Integration through Effective Partnership between ECOWAS Institutions and the Organised Private Sector”.

Jean-Claude, represented by Mr. Kolawole Sopola, Acting Director, Trade, ECOWAS, said the commission, in recognition of the private sector’s role, created a stronger framework to boost the sector’s capacity for enhanced trade.

He said that the commission had also adopted more than 100 regional standards with 70 others under development on some products.

Brou listed mango, cassava, textile and garments as well as information and communication technology among such products.

“The growing importance of informal trade compels the ECOWAS to create a framework expected to engender more availability and reliability of up to date information on informal trade.

“The framework also seeks to implement reform that is essential to eliminate obstacles to informal trade among others.

“It is important to improve investment, particularly, private investment, in all sectors and I stress that digitalization must be at the center of activities for economic recovery.

“Infrastructural deficit must be addressed as well as sustainable and cheaper energy for the competitiveness of products.”

“The commission is developing projects on roads, renewable energy and education, needed for private sector development; all these to lift millions in the sub-region out of poverty,” he said.

Dr. George Donkor, President of, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) said that many western states showed numerous hurdles to overcome as countries continue to export raw materials, therefore maintaining low levels of development.

Donkor, however, said that reforms were already underway to accelerate the capacities of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) to spur private sector development for intra-African trade.

He noted that the EBID 2025 strategy was aimed at ensuring that the private sector benefitted up to 65 percent of the $1.6 billion available facilities.

“A vibrant private sector is key in driving regional integration and securing its active participation and has the potential to create a win-win situation for all participants.

“Increasing credit to the private sector will enhance capacity and the EBID is ready with strategies to ensure that the sector’s capacity is boosted,” he said.

Also, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, said that collaboration across societal sectors had emerged as one of the defining concepts of international development in the 21st century.

He stressed the need for ECOWAS member states to work together as a bloc to take advantage of the opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area.

“Since the establishment of ECOWAS in 1975, various protocols and supplementary protocols regulating member countries conduct have been signed.

“Our world has limited resources — whether financial, natural, or human — and as a society we must optimize their use.

“The fundamental of a good partnership is the ability to bring together diverse resources in ways that we can together achieve more impact, greater sustainability and increased value for all.

“This is so because it emphasises the need to work together as a bloc to leverage and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area.

“My Ministry will do everything possible to ensure that the vision of the commission is taken to the next level,” he said.

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IMF Retains 2.5 Percent Economic Growth Estimate For Nigeria

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has retained Nigeria’s 2.5 percent economic growth forecast for 2021.

The institution said this in its World Economic Outlook (WEO) for July titled “Fault Lines Widen in the Global Recovery” released on Tuesday in Washington DC.

According to it, the slow rollout of vaccines is the main factor weighing on the recovery for Low-Income Developing Countries (LIDCs) which Nigeria is part of.

It also retained its 6.0 percent growth forecast for the global economy for 2021 and 4.9 percent in 2022, adding that though the global forecast was unchanged from the April 2021 WEO, there were offsetting revisions.

The IMF had at its 2021 Virtual Spring Meetings in April, projected a 2.5 percent growth for Nigeria’s economy in 2021, up from 1.5 percent it projected in January.

It said that in LIDCs, the overall fiscal deficit in 2021 was revised up by 0.3 percentage points from the April 2021 WEO, mainly because of the re-emergence of fuel subsidies as well as the additional COVID-19 and security related support in Nigeria.

“Still, at 5.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the overall fiscal deficit remains well below that of advanced and emerging market economies, reflecting financing constraints, about 60 percent of LIDCs are assessed to be at high risk of or in debt distress.

“The public debt-to-GDP ratio for 2021 is projected at 48.5 percent.

“Several LIDCs have announced an intention to restructure their debts and some have sought debt relief under the G20 Common Framework (Chad, Ethiopia, and Zambia),” it said.

On the global scene, the IMF said that uncertainty surrounding the global baseline remain high, primarily related to the prospects of emerging market and developing economies.

It added that although growth could turn out to be stronger than projected, downside risks dominated in the near term.

“On the upside, better global cooperation on vaccines could help prevent renewed waves of infection and the emergence of new variants, end the health crisis sooner than assumed, and allow for faster normalisation of activity, particularly among emerging market and developing economies.

“Moreover, a sooner-than-anticipated end to the health crisis could lead to a faster-than-expected release of excess savings by households, higher confidence and more front-loaded investment spending by firms.”

On the downside, it said growth would be weaker than projected if logistical hurdles in procuring and distributing vaccines in emerging markets and developing economies led to an even slower pace of vaccination than assumed.

The report added that such delays would allow new variants to spread, with possibly higher risks of breakthrough infections among vaccinated populations.

“Emerging market and developing economies, in particular, could face a double hit from tighter external financial conditions and the worsening health crisis, further widening the fault lines in the global recovery.

“Weaker growth would, in turn, further adversely affect debt dynamics and compound fiscal risks.

“Finally, social unrest, geopolitical tensions, cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure, or weather-related natural disasters, which have increased in frequency and intensity due to climate change could further weigh on the recovery.”

On ensuring a fast-paced recovery, the IMF said the highest priority was to ensure rapid, worldwide access to vaccines and substantially hasten the timeline of rollout relative to the assumed baseline pace.

According to it, the global community needs to vastly step up efforts to vaccinate adequate numbers of people and ensure global herd immunity.

This, it said, would save lives, prevent new variants from emerging and add trillions to the global economic recovery.

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FG to Put an End to N360 Billion Annual Electricity Subsidy Payments in 2022 – Osinbajo

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Electricity - Investors King

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday said the Federal Government will end an estimated N360 billion annual subsidy payments in the electricity sector in 2022. This represents a monthly subsidy payment of N30 billion.

Osinbajo disclosed this while speaking at the 14th Nigerian Association for Energy Economics/IAEE conference in Abuja on Monday.

At the conference titled “Strategic responses of energy sector to COVID-19 impacts on African economies“, the vice president, who was represented by Engr. Ahmad Zakari, the Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, said the federal government would be investing over $3 billion in the sector to strengthen distribution and transmission infrastructure across the nation.

He stated that the numerous efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari at ensuring the power sector plays a critical role in the growth of the nation’s social and economic well-being will materialise fully once the ongoing reform in the energy sector is complete.

He said: “Electricity tariff reforms with service-based tariff has led to collections from the electricity sector by 63 per cent, increasing revenue assurance for gas producers and stabilizing the value chain.

“It is anticipated that all electricity market revenues will be obtained from the market with limited subsidy from next year as reforms in metering and efficiency with the DISCOs continue to improve.

“Accelerated investment in transmission and distribution, over $3 billion will be out into this sub-segment of the electricity value chain that will put us on the path to delivering 10 gigawatts through the interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Siemens partnership, World Bank and Africa Development Bank, and others.”

He said as the electricity sector continued to be stabilized, more power was needed for the country’s large population.

“That is why this administration continues to invest in generation to cater for our current and future needs,” he said.

Osinbajo charged the participants to come up with solutions to key energy challenges facing the country, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and energy transition.

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