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Don’t Hike Fuel Price, PDP Warns FG

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  • Don’t Hike Fuel Price, PDP Warns FG

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday told the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government to perish the thoughts of hiking the price of petrol from the already exorbitant N145 per litre, because such “will not only be criminal but inhuman and completely unacceptable.”

On the same day, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, promised that the pump price of petrol across Nigeria would remain unchanged at N145 per litre, adding that there was an existing presidential directive that it must remain at that rate.

The opposition PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, alleged that the federal government had been lying to Nigerians on oil-related issues “while using the NNPC to bandy figures with intentions to arrive at APC’s predetermined agenda to increase the price of fuel.”

It further stated that the lingering fuel crisis and its attendant black-market price were only a ploy by the APC to justify their intended hike of petroleum prices.

“The APC Government has completely become numbed to the sufferings of Nigerians to the extent that it no longer cares in imposing more hardship on our people. Instead of putting more burdens on the people, the APC Government should come out clear on the sleazes in the oil sector under its watch, particularly the shady oil subsidy payouts and illegal lifting of N1.1 trillion worth of crude using unregistered companies.

“Any increase in fuel pump price would be an indirect tax on Nigerians to fund APC interests and considering the pains Nigerians have suffered under this inept and unfeeling Government, this intended hike will be callous,” it said.

The party recalled that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had in December informed Nigerians that the NNPC had been paying subsidy on fuel.

The PDP said the federal government had refused to tell Nigerians who the beneficiaries were, the amount involved and who authorised the payment, because of the inherent corruption in the deal.

“It is now clear to all that this APC- controlled government will never act in the interest of Nigerians. All the actions and policies of APC, in their close to three years in office, have been targeted against Nigerians and there are no signals that they will change.

“We therefore urge Nigerians to reject this plot to raise the prices of petroleum products even as they gear towards using the next election to end the misrule of the APC, ” the PDP said

Kachikwu: We Have a Presidential Directive to Keep Petrol Price at N145 Per Litre

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources has said the pump price of petrol across Nigeria would remain unchanged at N145 per litre, adding that there was an existing presidential directive that it must remain at that rate.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja, Kachikwu, also disclosed that there would be a massive clampdown of petrol stations across the country that have continued to sell petrol above the government controlled price.

He added that the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), an agency responsible for review of products pricing templates, would review its pricing template on petrol to ensure that pump price at N145 per litre is sustained using the necessary means.

“There are social media commentaries implying that when we met with the committee set up by the Senate President to review the causative factors of the fuel scarcity and find solutions, there was a statement credited to me that said that price might be increased to N180. No such statement was made; no such plan is intended,” said Kachikwu.

He then added: “I needed to clarify this, because sometimes, some of these rumour mongering all add to the difficulties NNPC had in terms of being able to control price speculation. The president mandate on this issue is very specific: we are not increasing price from N145.”

The minister explained that the essence of the meeting (Senate) was, “to find mechanisms to ensure that fuel queues do not come back to Nigeria; that there is a wetting of all the stations so that product is available at every time for Nigerians; that we deal with the problem of private marketers that had pulled out from participation, so that they can participate effectively in the supply of petroleum products in the country, all within the parameters of N145 per litre pump price.”

He stated that being speculative about the development was hurting Nigerians whom he said had, “already gone through a very difficult Christmas period,” adding, “We are working night and day to try and find solutions.”

“It is not a political issue; people should step out of that goal post. We want to provide succour to Nigerians, we want to provide product at N145, that is the presidential mandate; that is the Federal Executive Council mandate; nobody is having a deliberation on that,” he said.

Speaking on the sale of petrol above N145 per litre cities apart from Lagos and Abuja, the minister said: “I think it is very important to make this go universally clear; we are actually looking at steps for those who have breached these processes, what we can do to penalise them and also set very stiff penalties for those who go to sell above N145.”

“Going forward, after the recommendations, there would be very massive enforcement; very firm position on this issue; very firm tracking of product in this country. Nobody deserves this sort of up and down in terms of product supply in this country.

“I want to make that very clear, there is no discussed intended price increase issue; price is N145 per litre at the pump price; it remains that; nothing has changed; there is no mandate to increase that. But we are working very hard, to see that, working with those price parameters, we can provide Nigerians with refined petroleum products all the time, avoid fuel queues and ensure that our business partners in the private sector participate actively.”

He said no petrol station was allowed to sell petrol above the N135 to N145 per litre band the government approved, and that the law will be applied against marketers that have disregarded this.

On the review of the pricing template by the PPPRA to accommodate the sale of petrol at N145, Kachikwu, said: “PPPRA regulates the template and helps us monitor importation into the country so that we are sure of the volumes that come into the country and all that. The template has always been an issue, because as prices change in the international market, some of these templates become questionable.

“There are two lines over this template – there is the actual cost of landing the product on the template and there are other ancillary charges, dealing with logistics, profit margins for the operators and all that, which are the below the line elements.

“As part of this committee’s work, we are also reviewing that template to see whether there are things we need to do, all to help us ensure that we can accommodate sales at the N145 per litre window. That is also going to be looked at. PPPRA is working on that and it is heading a special committee on 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.

Economy

Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

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Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

A total of 611,231 meters have been deployed as at January 31, 2021 under the Meter Asset Provider initiative since its full operation despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other extraneous factors, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said.

NERC disclosed this in a consultation paper on the review of the MAP Regulations.

The proposed review of the MAP scheme is coming nearly four months after the Federal Government launched a new initiative called National Mass Metering Programme aimed at distributing six million meters to consumers free of charge.

“The existence of a huge metering gap and the need to ensure successful implementation of the MYTO 2020 Service-Based Tariff resulted in the approval of the NMMP, a policy of the Federal Government anchored on the provision of long-term low interest financing to the Discos,” NERC said.

The commission had in March 2018 approved the MAP Regulations with the aim of fast-tracking the closure of the metering gap in the sector through the engagement of third-party investors (called meter asset providers) for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of meters.

It set a target of providing meters to all customers within three years, and directed the Discos and the approved MAPs to commence the rollout of meters not later than May 1, 2019.

But in February 2020, NERC said several constraints, including changes in fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding, had led to limited success in meter rollout.

NERC, in the consultation paper, highlighted three proposed options for metering implementation going forward.

The first option is to allow the implementation of both the NMMP and MAP metering frameworks to run concurrently; the second is to continue with the current MAP framework with meters procured under the NMMP supplied only through MAPs (by being off-takers from the local manufacturers/assemblers).

The third option is to wind down the MAP framework and allow the Discos to procure meters directly from local manufacturers/assemblers (or as procured by the World Bank), and enter into new contracts for the installation and maintenance of such meters.

“Customers who choose not to wait to receive meters based on the deployment schedule of the NMMP shall continue to have the option of making upfront payments for meters which will be installed within a maximum period of 10 working days,” NERC said.

The regulator said such customers would be refunded by the Discos through energy credits, adding that there would be no option for meter acquisition through the payment of a monthly meter service charge.

“Where meters have already been deployed under the meter service charge option, Discos shall make one-off repayment to affected customers and associated MAPs. Such meters shall be recognised in the rate base of the Discos,” it added.

NERC urged stakeholders to provide comments, objections, and representations on the proposed amendments within 21 days of the publication of the consultation paper.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed

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Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed

Nigeria is moving in the right direction economically but its movement is not fast, the United Nations stated on Thursday.

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, said this during a meeting at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Abuja.

She said the challenges in Nigeria were huge, its population large but described the country’s economy as great with lots of opportunities.

The UN scribe stated that after traveling by train and through various roads in the Northern parts of Nigeria, she discovered that the roads were motorable, although there were ongoing repairs on some of them.

Mohammed said, “This is a country that is diverse in nature, ethnicity, religious backgrounds and opportunities. But these are its strengths, not weaknesses.

“And I think the narrative for Nigeria has to change to one that is very much the reality.”

Speaking on her trips across parts of Nigeria, she said, “What I saw along the way is really a country that is growing, that is moving in the right direction economically. Is it fast enough? No. Is it in the right direction? Yes it is.

“And the challenges still remain with security, our social cohesion and social contract between government and the people. But I know that people are working on these issues.”

She said the UN recognised the reforms in Nigeria and other nations, adding that the common global agenda was the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mohammad commended Nigeria’s quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as she expressed hope that the arrival of vaccines would be the beginning of the end of COVID-19.

On his part, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, told his guest that the Federal Government was working hard to make Nigeria the entrepreneurial hub of Africa.

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N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN

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N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN

Nigeria spent a total of N10.7tn on fuel subsidy in the last 10 years, the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, has said.

Oyebanji, who was the guest speaker at the 18th Aret Adams Lecture on Thursday, said N750bn was spent on subsidy in 2019.

He highlighted the need for a transition to a market-driven environment through policy-backed legislative and commercial frameworks, enabling the sustainability of the downstream petroleum sector.

“Total deregulation is more than just the removal of price subsidies; it is aimed at improving business operations, increasing the investments in the oil and gas sector value chain, resulting in the growth in the nation’s downstream petroleum sector as a whole,” he said.

The managing director of 11 Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc) said steps had been taken, “but larger and faster leaps are now required.”

According to him, deregulation requires the creation of a competitive market environment, and will guarantee the supply of products at commercial and market prices.

“It requires unrestricted and profitable investments in infrastructure, earning reasonable returns to investors. It requires a strong regulator to enable transparency and fair competition among players, and not to regulate prices,” Oyebanji said.

He noted that MOMAN had recently called for a national debate by stakeholders to share pragmatic and realistic initiatives to ease the impact of the subsidy removal on society – especially on the most vulnerable.

He said, “A shift from crude oil production to crude oil full value realisation through deliberate investment in domestic refining and refined products distribution, creates the opportunity to transform the dynamics of the downstream sector from one of ‘net importer’ to one of ‘net exporter’, spurring the growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Effective reforms and regulations are key drivers for the growth within the refining sector. Non-functional refineries cost Nigeria over $13bn in 2019. If the NNPC refineries were operating at optimal capacity, Nigeria would have imported only 40 per cent of what it consumed in 2019.”

Full deregulation of the downstream sector remains the most glaring boost to potential investors in this space, according to Oyebanji.

He said, “As crude oil prices will fluctuate depending on the prevailing exchange rates, it will be astute to trade in naira to avoid inevitable price swings.

“There needs to be a balance between ensuring the sustainable growth of the crude oil value chain (upstream through downstream) and providing value for the Nigerian consumer and the Nigerian economy.”

He said the philosophy should be for the government to put the legislative and commercial framework in place and let the market develop by itself.

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