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Fuel Subsidy Returns as Landing Cost Hits N145

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petrol
  • Fuel Subsidy Returns as Landing Cost Hits N145

The Federal Government has resorted to subsidy regime following an increase in the landing cost of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol.

This is coming about eight months after the Muhammadu Buhari-led regime stopped the fuel subsidy, which was costing the government millions of naira being paid monthly to oil marketers importing the product then.

Investigation on Friday showed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, now responsible for about 90 per cent of the importation of the product, is currently bearing the latest subsidy cost on behalf of the government.

The Federal Government had on May 11, 2016 announced a new petrol price band of N135 to N145 per litre, a move that signalled the end of fuel subsidy.

The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency explained then that the rise in crude oil price and prevailing high cost of importation had brought back subsidy.

The PPPRA, in its pricing template released following the introduction of a new price band, put the landing cost and total cost of petrol at N122.03 and N140.40 per litre, respectively.

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

Global oil benchmark, Brent crude, which was trading around $41 per barrel when the petrol price was increased, stood at $55.64 per barrel as of 5.15pm on Friday.

Crude oil price accounts for about 80 per cent of the final cost of fuel, the PPPRA said, in its framework for petroleum products supply, distribution and pricing.

Our correspondent gathered that the cost of petrol stood at $560 per metric tonne or N127.36 per litre plus N7 per litre for freight as of Friday.

The addition of the cost of product with freight charge and other cost elements in the PPPRA template result in a landing cost of N145.09 per litre (using the official exchange rate of N305/dollar) or N222.33 per litre (using the parallel market rate of N490/dollar).

The NNPC, in its latest monthly report, said it remained the major importer of petroleum products, especially the PMS, in spite of liberalisation of petroleum products and government’s intervention meant to ease marketers’ access to foreign exchange.

In the past, marketers were importing 70 per cent of the products while the NNPC was importing 30 per cent, being the supplier of last resort.

Most of the marketers have yet to resume importation of petrol and continued to rely on supply from the NNPC, which sells to them at N131 per litre.

An ex-top executive of the PPPRA, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said, “If the landing cost is more and somebody is bringing the product in and others are not, it means definitely that person, who is bringing it, is running at a loss somehow. So, if you now call that subsidy, it is okay.

“The NNPC is definitely subsidising the product; it is a loss to them also because they get the money from somewhere.”

The Head of Energy, Ecobank Capital, Mr. Dolapo Oni, said, “I believe there is a subsidy, but it is not the subsidy being paid to marketers. It is the NNPC taking a loss so that marketers can sell at N145. That’s a fair system right now because it is better than paying marketers at the same time.

“But it is not sustainable because oil price could keep on going higher and the cost to the NNPC will increase. So, potentially, we expect a fuel price increase at some point. But to what extent, we don’t know. The ideal thing will be to raise the price.”

Asked if the NNPC was subsidising the product being imported, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, could not comment on it, saying only the PPPRA was in the position to give information about the landing cost of petrol.

Last week, oil marketers under the aegis of the Independent Petroleum Products Importers said they owed some Nigerian banks over $1bn used for the importation of petroleum products, with accumulated interest of N160bn.

According to them, they are unable to pay because the sums they owe the banks form part of what they are in turn owed by the government.

The marketers said the government’s debt arose from the petrol subsidy scheme whereby the Federal Government entered into a contract with the IPPI, mandating its members to import and supply petrol to the market on condition that it would pay to the body the difference between the landing cost and pump price as fixed by the government, provided that the landing cost was higher than the selling price.

It said, “When the selling price of petrol was increased from N97 to N145 per litre in May 2016, it was based on an exchange rate of N285/$1, resulting in a 45 per cent increase. On June 20, 2016, the naira was devalued from N285/$1 to N305/$1, which is an increase of seven per cent, but the fixed pump selling price of petrol has not been increased. This means that petrol must be subsidised.”

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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Economy

Ogun Records N13.3B Internally Generated Revenue Monthly in Q1 of 2021

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Revenue - Investors King

Ogun State Government has recorded an average of N13.3billion monthly as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the first quarter of 2021.

The government said it is also planning to raise its yearly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate from the current single digit by 25 percent.

The Commissioner for Finance, Dapo Okubadejo disclosed this to newsmen in Abeokuta ahead of the state’s investment summit tagged: ‘OgunIseya21: Becoming Africa’s Model Industrial and Logistics Hub’, slated for July 13th-14th, 2021.

Okubadejo who doubles as the State’s Chief Economic Adviser noted that the state’s IGR had experienced an upward movement after last year’s shortfall due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the attendant lockdown.

“We had a significant turnaround in the first quarter of this year. In fact, as of April, we have done almost N40bn in the Internally Generated Revenue. Our target this year is to exceed all the previous records we have set in IGR. That’s why we have put in place, all these transformation initiatives, friendly policies and also facilitate this investment summit to further showcase Ogun State as the preferred industrial destination,” he said.

The Finance Commissioner was supported in highlighting the investment potentials of the summit by his counterparts from the Ministries of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Kikelomo Longe; Works and Infrastructure, Ade Adesanya; Culture and Tourism, Toyin Taiwo; Budget and Planning, Olaolu Olabimtan and the Director-General, Public-Private Partnership, Dapo Oduwole.

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Unemployment To Push More Nigerians Into Poverty – NESG

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Nigerian Economic Summit Group- Investors King

On Friday, The Nigerian Economic Summit Group said that many more Nigerians are expected to fall into the poverty trap amid rising unemployment in the country.

The NESG, a private sector-led think-tank, noted in its economic report for the first quarter of 2021 that the country’s economic growth in the period under review was relatively weak.

It said, “Nigeria’s economic growth trajectory is better described as jobless and less inclusive even in the heydays of high growth regime in the 2000s.

“While the Nigerian economy recovered from the recession in Q4 of 2020, the unemployment rate spiked to its highest level ever at 33.3 percent in the same quarter.

“With the COVID-19 crisis heightening the rate of joblessness, many Nigerians are expected to fall into the poverty trap, going forward.”

The group noted that the World Bank estimated an increase in the number of poor Nigerians to 90 million in 2020 from 83 million in 2019.

“This corresponds to a rise in headcount poverty ratio to 44.1 percent in 2020 from 40.1 percent in 2019. The rising levels of unemployment and poverty are reflected in the persistent insecurity and social vices, with attendant huge economic costs,” it said.

According to the report, huge dependence on proceeds from crude oil, leaving other revenue sources unexplored, indicates that Nigeria is not set to rein in debt accumulation in the short to medium term.

The NESG noted that public debt stock continued to trend upwards, with a jump from N7.6tn ($48.7bn) in 2012 to N32.9tn ($86.8bn) in 2020.

It said public debts grew by 20 percent between 2019 and 2020, adding, “This is partly due to the need for emergency funds to combat the global pandemic and alleviate its adverse economic impacts on households and businesses.”

According to the group, Nigeria needs more than an economic rebound, and there is a need to improve growth inclusiveness.

It said, “Nigeria has struggled to achieve inclusive growth for many decades. Since recovery from the 2016 recession, the economy has been on a fragile growth path until it slipped into another recession in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This suggests that the country needs to attain high and sustainable economic growth to become strong and resilient.

“The relationship between economic growth and unemployment rate in Nigeria suggests that economic growth has not led to a reduction in the unemployment rate – jobless growth.”

The NESG said to reverse this recurring trend, there was an urgent need for collaborative efforts between the government and relevant stakeholders towards addressing the constraints to value chain development in high-growth and employment-elastic sectors, including manufacturing, construction, trade, education, health and professional services, with ICT and renewable energy sectors as growth enablers.

It noted that despite the re-opening of the land borders that the Nigerian government shut since October 2019, inflation reached a four-year high of 18.1 percent in April 2021.

“While we expect improved agricultural production in coming months to partially ease inflationary pressures, this positive impact could be suppressed by recurring key structural bottlenecks including insecurity in the food-producing regions, electricity tariff hike, fuel price increase and hike in transport and logistic costs,” it added.

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IMF Queries FG Strategies On Fuel Subsidy, Unemployment, Inflation

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IMF - Investors King

The International Monetary Fund has raised the red flag over Nigeria’s resumption of petrol subsidy payments, describing it as injurious to the economy.

It also reiterated the importance of introducing a market-based fuel pricing mechanism and deployment of well-targeted social safety nets to cushion any adverse impact on the poor.

In a report produced after a virtual meeting with Nigerian authorities from June 1 to 8, the IMF also expressed concerns over the rising unemployment and inflation rates, even as it admitted that real Gross Domestic Product was recovering.

The IMF team, led by Jesmin Rahman, further hailed the Central Bank of Nigeria for its efforts at unifying the exchange rate by embracing needed reforms.

The Fund said: “Recent exchange rate measures are encouraging, and further reforms are needed to achieve a fully unified and market-clearing exchange rate.

“The resurfacing of fuel subsidies is concerning, particularly in the context of low revenue mobilisation.

“The Nigerian economy has started to gradually recover from the negative effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Following sharp output contractions in the second and third quarters, GDP growth turned positive in Q4 2020 and growth reached 0.5 percent (y/y) in Q1 2021, supported by agriculture and services sectors.

“Nevertheless, the employment level continues to fall dramatically and, together with other socio-economic indicators, is far below pre-pandemic levels. Inflation slightly decelerated in May but remained elevated at 17.9 percent, owing to high food price inflation. With the recovery in oil prices and remittance flows, the strong pressures on the balance of payments have somewhat abated, although imports are rebounding faster than exports and foreign investor appetite remains subdued resulting in continued FX shortage.

“The incipient recovery in economic activity is projected to take root and broaden among sectors, with GDP growth expected to reach 2.5 percent in 2021. Inflation is expected to remain elevated in 2021, but likely to decelerate in the second half of the year to reach about 15.5 percent, following the removal of border controls and the elimination of base effects from elevated food price levels.”

The IMF also recognised that tax revenue collections were gradually recovering but noted that with fuel subsidies resurfacing, additional spending for COVID-19 vaccines and to address security challenges, the fiscal deficit of the Consolidated Government is expected to remain elevated at 5.5 percent of GDP.

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