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Consumers Groan in Lagos, Abuja as Fuel Scarcity Worsens

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Nigerian petrol station
  • Consumers Groan in Lagos, Abuja as Fuel Scarcity Worsens

The fuel supply situation in the country took a turn for the worse on Tuesday as queues of desperate motorists grew longer at many petrol stations selling Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, in Lagos, Ogun, Kwara and other states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory.

Our correspondents gathered that many of the private depots in Apapa, Lagos, where many marketers get petroleum products from for distribution to other states, did not have PMS while those who had were doing “skeletal loading.”

Fuel queues, which started emerging in some parts of the country on Monday after more than a year of relief from scarcity of petroleum products in the country, were seen spilling onto some roads in Lagos and Ogun states on Tuesday and caused gridlock.

The PUNCH gathered that many depots in Apapa did not have petroleum products on Tuesday, while the few with products recorded low activities.

The ex-depot prices charged by the depots for PMS ranged from N139 to N143 per litre, compared to the official ex-depot price of N133.28.

Motorists and other consumers of petrol complained about the latest round of fuel scarcity, alleging that it might be a ploy to increase the pump price of the product.

They also wondered why the latest crisis was happening at a time Nigerians were preparing for the Christmas and New Year festivities.

Motorists spilled onto major roads like Ikorodu Road, Agege Motor Road, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

Some were seen fighting to get to the pumps, while fuel attendants and ‘area boys’ made brisk business from desperate motorists who wanted to jump the queues so as to be serve quickly. At a filling station in Ogba, the attendants who manned the gates collected N1,000 from each motorist before allowing them inside.

Last week, the Independent Petroleum Markers Association of Nigeria, Lagos State chapter, accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of under-supplying its members with petrol.

The association alleged that the NNPC was also frustrating its members by reneging on the bulk purchase agreement it signed with them to supply the product at N133.28 per litre.

The Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, Mr. Olufemi Adewole, said the increase in price of crude oil had led a corresponding rise in the prices of refined products.

He said, “It is only the NNPC that is bringing products in; we also noticed a supply gap in what they brought in. It wasn’t enough at a particular time and the result is what we are seeing today.

“But they have also equally assured us that they have enough stock and that they are expecting vessels to come in; our members have paid for PFI (pro-forma invoices) for PMS. So, once the NNPC cargoes come in, we will receive the product and sell to Nigerians.”

Asked why marketers were not importing, Adewole said, “Landing cost of PMS today has increased. By the time we land the product based on the international crude oil prices, petrol should be selling for about N165-N170 per litre. But the government is saying we should sell at N145. So, if there is no subsidy, we have to depend on the NNPC to give us the product.”

A top official at one of the depots in Lagos, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the supply dislocations would take days to disappear.

He said, “We are still doing skeletal loading; no depot wants to be out of stock completely because it is not good for business. As of today (Tuesday), there is no vessel dispending PMS from the Apapa jetty, except the one in Oando SPM.

“Marketers are still being owed 2016 subsidy claims. No sane marketer can put his money down now to import petrol. Nobody is talking about when the subsidy arrears would be paid; so everybody has to rely on the NNPC. Also, the landing cost of petrol has increased.”

In Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, major petrol stations sold PMS to customers at the pump price of N145 per litre.

Few filling stations, however, sold the product at the N150 per litre.

It was observed that majority of the independent petroleum outlets had stopped selling as of 5pm on Tuesday. A source said the outlets preferred selling the product to black market operators at night.

In Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, the fuel scarcity has yet to be felt in the metropolis as all the filling stations visited by one of our correspondents sold petroleum products to buyers at the government regulated prices.

There was panic-buying of petrol in Ado Ekiti as motorists were seeing rushing to filling stations to stock up the product.

As of 4pm on Tuesday, the situation was normal at filling stations along Bank Road in Ado Ekiti, including a franchise station of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

Filling stations in Uyo operated normally as there were no queues within the metropolis. However, some stations dispensed petrol at N150 instead of N145 per litre.

The situation in Niger State was similar as motorists bought petrol at the rate of N145 per litre in almost all the filling stations in Minna except the NNPC mega stations that sold it for N143.

Officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources stormed some filling stations in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital on Tuesday to check hoarding of petrol.

The DPR officials led by the Operations Controller, Abeokuta Field Office, Muinat Bello-Zagi, inspected the facilities at the filling stations, especially the storage tanks, to measure the products stored there.

In Abuja and Nasarawa State, motorists waited in queues for many hours to buy petrol.

Along the Kubwa-Zuba Expressway in Abuja, many motorists formed queues in front of the NNPC mega station and the Nipco filling station located on the road, while many others were sighted at some stations around Madalla and Suleja in Niger State.

Queues were also observed in front of the few petrol stations that dispensed petrol along the Abuja-Keffi road in Nasarawa State.

Despite the development, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation described the situation as panic buying, insisting that it had enough product to keep the country wet.

The Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, stated that the situation was due to panic buying, adding that the corporation was doing everything within its reach to address the matter.

He was quoted in a statement issued on Tuesday by the corporation’s spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu, as saying, “For the umpteenth time, I wish to call on all Nigerians to stop panic buying. We have said times without number that the NNPC has sufficient products to cater for the needs of all consumers.”

Filling stations in Akure, Ondo State capital, and some other towns had long queues of vehicles as the petrol scarcity that had hit the state since Monday worsened on Tuesday.

It was observed that some filling stations were shut down while those that opened had long queues of vehicles.

Worried by the development, the Senate on Tuesday summoned the NNPC GMD to appear before its Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) on Thursday over the rising scarcity of PMS across the country.

Baru failed to appear before the committee on Tuesday, leading to the rescheduling of the meeting during which he would be expected to explain the reasons for the scarcity.

The Chairman of committee, Senator Kabiru Marafa, while briefing journalists in Abuja, said plans had also been concluded to commence nationwide inspection of filling stations over the looming fuel crisis.

Marafa stated the Senate would not allow some unpatriotic persons to cause Nigerians any hardships, especially during the Yuletide, stressing that though the lawmakers had adjourned plenary to conduct budget defence sessions for Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government, members of the committee would embark on the oversight visits to the filling stations.

He said members of the committee would be regrouped into sub-committees to make it possible for them to visit all the states.

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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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

JR Firms, an agribusiness firm with headquarters in Nigeria, has announced partnership with Sanit Wing Rwanda through the acquisition of 11 per cent stake in the company.

The CEO of the company, Mr Rotimi Olawale, explained in a statement that the partnership was in furtherance of its goals to ensure food security, create decent jobs and raise the next generation of agrarian leaders in Africa.

The stake was acquired through Green Agribusiness Fund, an initiative of JR Farms designed to invest in youth-led agribusinesses across Africa.

Sanit Wing Rwanda is an agro-processing company that processes avocado oil and cosmetics that are natural, quality, affordable, reliable and viable.

The vision of the company is to become the leading producers of best quality avocado and avocado by-products in Africa by creating value across the avocado value chain.

With focus on bringing together over 20,000 professional Avocado farmers on board and planting of three million avocado trees by 2025 through contract farming, the company currently works with One Acre Fund in supply of avocado to its processing facility.

The products of the company which include avocado oil, skin care (SANTAVO), hair cream and soap are being sold locally and exported to regional market in Kenya.

With the new partnership with JR Farms- the products of the company will enjoy more access to markets focusing on Africa and the European Union by leveraging on partnerships and trade windows available.

Aside funding, the partnership comes with project support in areas of market exposure, capacity building, exposure and other thematic support to grow the business over the next four years.

JR Farms has agribusiness operations in Nigeria, Rwanda, United States and Zambia respectively.

In Nigeria, the company deals in cassava value chain processing cassava to national staple “garri” which is consumed by over 80 million Nigerians on daily basis, while in Rwanda, it works in the coffee value chain with over 4,000 coffee farmers spread across the East Central African country.

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Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers

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Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers

The Federal Government should close down depots that are selling petrol above the approved price, oil marketers said on Thursday.

National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Sanusi Fari, said the sale of petrol above government approved price by depot owners would soon lead to a hike in the commodity’s pump price.

Fari told journalists in Abuja that the government through its agencies such as the Department of State Services and the Department of Petroleum Resources should curb the development to avoid crisis in the downstream oil sector.

He said some private depot owners were selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers, way above the government stipulated price of N148 per litre.

Fari said, “Our challenge is the inconsistency in the pricing of petrol. Up till a week ago, government was still insisting that the February price for petrol remained unchanged.

“And most of the private depot owners are selling above the government stipulated price. As at today ( February 25, 2021) private depot owners are selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers.”

He added, “In the last six years, only NNPC imports refined products into this country and these tank farms buy their products from NNPC under a controlled price.

“This has affected our businesses seriously because government is insisting that we sell at the rate of N165, which is not going to work.”

The IPMAN president said filling station owners buy the product at N165 per litre from the private depots and incur other expenses such as transportation, rent, etc.

“So government cannot expect us to sell less than what we buy,” he said.

Fari added, “This is why we are calling on government and agencies that are saddled with the responsibility to control petrol pricing to urgently clamp down on depots that are selling above the stipulated price.”

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s sole importer of patrol, recently stated that it never hiked the cost of petrol to depots.

It also enjoined the depot owners to sell the product at the approved rate and called on the DPR to enforce the stipulated price across the depots.

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Nigeria Will Benefit Less From African Trade Deal – NESG

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Nigeria Will Benefit Less From African Trade Deal – NESG

Nigeria and other resource-based countries will benefit less from the African Continental Free Trade Area than economies that are more diversified, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group has said.

The NESG, a private sector-led think-tank, said in its 2021 Macroeconomic Outlook that Nigeria could reap more gains through export diversification away from crude oil.

It said trade in Africa remained dominated by raw materials and less processed products, adding that on average, minerals and agriculture accounted for 44 per cent and 16 per cent of intra-African trade respectively between 2007 and 2017.

The NESG said, “Evidence has shown that African economies that are more diversified and have improved transport infrastructure, would benefit more from the trade pact than others that are resource-based and agricultural dependent.

“Putting this in context, South Africa currently accounts for 40 per cent of intra-African manufacturing imports. On the other hand, resource-based countries, such as, Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria – which collectively account for approximately 50 per cent of Africa’s GDP – contribute only 11 per cent to intra-African trade.”

“Another bone of contention is the issue of ‘rules of origin’, which constitutes a significant risk factor. This implies that protectionism practices by some countries could constitute a setback for the establishment of the ambitious single market for Africa. But there are several reasons to be optimistic,” it added.

The group said the World Bank estimates revealed that the AfCFTA would promote manufacturing exports over natural resources, agricultural and services exports, and that manufacturing exports would account for one-third of the projected total exports of $2.5tn by 2035.

It said, “Nigeria could reap more gains through export diversification away from crude oil, as manufacturing exports currently account for an average of nine per cent of the country’s total exports.

“This suggests that efforts should be directed at strengthening domestic value chains, particularly the agro-allied industrial base.

“To achieve this, there is a need to attract private capital, most especially, FDI, that would allow for knowledge and technological transfers.”

According to the NESG, for Nigeria to maximally benefit from the trade deal, there is an urgent need to also address transport infrastructure bottlenecks and provide improved logistics.

It said, “Finding a lasting solution to the Apapa gridlock by creating similar ports in other regions of the country, so as to ensure speedy clearance of consignments needs to be prioritised.

“Nigeria also needs to set standards for locally-made goods to enhance their attractiveness in the regional market.

“The Nigerian government as a matter of urgency needs to operate an efficient and corruption-free land border system, so as to guide against the importation of low-cost sub-standard products into the country.

“It is only when these and many more reforms are implemented that Nigeria can begin to reap the benefits of the trade deal.”

The group noted that owing to the outbreak of COVID-19, the implementation of the AfCFTA was postponed from July 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021.

It said, “The key goal of the free trade pact is to expand the volume of intra-African trade, which stood at 16 per cent in 2018 .“Till date, 36 countries, including Nigeria, have ratified the agreement. The trade deal is expected to create a single market with a combined GDP of $2.5tn and total population or market size of 1.2 billion.”

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