- Sulphur-heavy Fuels Flow as Nigeria, Others Defer Ban
Nigeria and several other West African states are not expected to implement rules banning imports of sulphur-heavy fuels until December 1 at the earliest after missing summer deadlines, drawing the ire of health campaigners pushing for cleaner air.
Nigeria, Togo, Ivory Coast and Benin promised in late 2016 to ban the use of fuel packed with sulphur that is a major air pollutant, particularly in cities.
Such fuel has long been illegal in Western nations and is increasingly outlawed in the developing world. But deadlines for bans in the four West African states keep being pushed back.
Ghana is the only regional state that has delivered on a pledge and codified rules preventing the import or transport of high sulphur gasoline or diesel.
“The clean fuels lobby declared victory a bit too soon,” Reuters quoted Energy Aspects analyst, James McCullagh, as saying, adding, “This is ultimately a complicated and sensitive decision about politics, the gasoline pump price cap, subsidies and investment in public health.”
Nigeria, the region’s biggest fuel consumer, missed a July 1 deadline and instead launched a task force to examine the issue. The country produces oil but lacks refining capacity so has to import most oil products.
An official of Nigeria’s Environment Ministry told Reuters that the task force aimed to advise the government on a new standard by late September, with new rules possible by December 1.
The United Nations Environment Programme, which has joined health campaigners pressing for change, said smaller nations, Togo and Benin, were waiting for Nigeria to act, while Ivory Coast had not progressed at all.
The five nations had promised cleaner fuel rules under pressure from campaign group, Public Eye, which criticised them and international trade houses for allowing cars, trucks and households to burn fuels banned in much of the rest of the world.
Ghana followed up by slashing sulphur content to 50 parts per million for imported petrol and diesel, from 1,000ppm and 3,000ppm.
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria, which writes import rules, proposed caps of 50ppm for diesel and 150ppm for petrol. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation included prices for them in contracts to swap oil for products – at a cost of at least $25 a tonne more.
But Nigeria did not codify the standards in law, or issue new specifications to importers.
“As it stands, the status quo remains,” one Nigerian fuel importer said, adding “nothing at all” had come from government.
Campaigners are struggling to keep the issue on the public agenda. David Ugolor, a Nigeria-based campaigner who worked with Public Eye, said the cause lacked “someone with a strong political position” to implement the rules. He said the group was looking for ways to put pressure on suppliers.
The NNPC contracts showed 150ppm gasoline would cost anywhere from $20-$30 per tonne more than fuel with higher sulphur, while lower sulphur diesel would add just $10-$15 a tonne, McCullagh said. Because Nigerian gasoline prices are capped, the government would have to raise prices for consumers or shoulder the extra cost.
Given the higher cost of cleaner gasoline, campaigners said Nigeria might only introduce stricter rules for diesel.
“Gasoline (petrol) is the most consumed product, so that wouldn’t necessarily solve the pollution problem,” said David Bleasdale, executive director of consultancy firm, CITAC, saying Nigerian gasoline consumption was about 323,055 barrels per day in 2016 compared with 71,657bpd of distillates, such as diesel.
Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS
Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.
“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.
“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”
Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.
Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.
The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.
He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”
Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.
“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.
“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”
Scarcity of Day-Old-Chicks Cripple Poultry Farmers in Akwa Ibom
Despite billions of Naira spent on Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry Limited by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, poultry farmers in the state said they had to order day-old-chicks from outside the state as the 200,000 capacity poultry farm developed specifically to make day-old-chicks and other poultry products available at affordable prices is almost empty at the moment.
The farmers expressed frustration over many challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from outside the state. Usually, Ibadan, Enugu and sometimes as far as Kaduna, while the hatchery built and inaugurated in 2016 remains idle.
Mr Ekot Akpan, one of the poultry farmers who spoke with the pressmen said the state had not had it this bad.
Akpan said: “For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non-economic factors. And, quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.
“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprice of owners of the means of production.
“There seems to be no government regulation of the poultry industry. How, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.
“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes.
“For instance, in 2016, the state government said it has constructed an hatchery, and the intention according the government was to ensure availability of day old chicks at affordable price to farmers, but, quite, unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result.
“Farmers are still getting their day old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?
“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at humane prices, but, from all indications they acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing,” he said.
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