The Nigeria Labour Congress will today (Friday) come up with its position on the recommendation by governors that the price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, be raised from N162/litre to N408.5/litre.
A committee set up by the Nigeria Governor’s Forum had on Wednesday called for immediate removal of petrol subsidy. It recommended a petrol price of between and N380/litre and N408.5/litre.
However, the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday advised the Federal Government to be tactful when removing petrol subsidy. They recommended that it be done gradually.
Also, officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation told our correspondent that the oil firm was awaiting the Federal Government’s position on the recommendation of the governors before it would adjust petrol price.
NNPC has been the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria for more than three years running.
When contacted by our correspondent on Thursday for the position of the NLC on the latest recommendation of the governors as touching petrol price, the Deputy President, Joe Ajaero, replied, “Congress will come up with a position latest tomorrow (Friday).”
Officials of both the NLC and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers in separate exclusive interviews had last week argued that the continued imports of petrol by the NNPC was at the detriment of Nigeria’s refineries.
They also insisted that the government should fix Nigeria’s refineries and stop importing petrol to help halt subsidy and save funds for the country, as they opposed subsidy removal now.
Commenting on the matter, the President, ACCI, Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, said in an interview that it would be painful to raise petrol price to N408/litre this time and called for gradual increment.
He said, “The subsidy removal can be staggered. They (government) can stagger it by either removing about 25 per cent in the first three months, another 25 per cent next, and so on. They can stagger it.
“But as they remove the subsidy people will also want to see the benefits coming.”
Abubakar said the ACCI was in support of subsidy removal, but stressed that the amount saved must be properly channeled into infrastructure development.
On his part, the Director-General, LCCI, Dr. Muda Yusuf, explained that the inevitability of the deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector had not been in doubt.
He said given the huge financing gaps that existed at all levels of government, it was impossible to continue to sustain the subsidy regime, adding that the opportunity cost of petrol subsidy was huge.
Yusuf said, “But the transitioning process from a subsidy regime to a deregulated policy space calls for a strategy that is inclusive and socially sensitive.
“It is a tricky situation that demands tactful handling. It has profound social dimension. There is a strong economic argument, there is significant investment effect and there is a potential substantial political cost.”
The LCCI DG, however, noted that the bigger conversation should be around what should be done to mitigate the short term adverse social effect on the vulnerable segments of the society.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Kennie Obateru, told our correspondent that the oil firm would await the Federal Government’s position on the governors’ recommendation before changing petrol price.
He said, “We really cannot take a position on that now because we don’t want to pre-empt whatever government is going to decide and it is whatever the Federal Government decides that will come to play.
Obateru said the corporation was aware of the recommendation by the governors and admitted that petrol subsidy had truly been a burden on NNPC.
Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Begins Full Operations of Lagos-Ibadan Train, Releases Timetable
The newly completed Lagos – Ibadan standard gauge railway service from Lagos to Ibadan will commence full operations on Tuesday, according to the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
The management of NRC disclosed this in a statement signed by Mr. Jerry Oche in Lagos on Sunday.
According to Oche, the Lagos Ibadan Train Services will henceforth be available in the morning.
He said “The updated timetable for Tuesday to Friday is as follows: Lagos to Ibadan: 8:00 a:m from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Alogo megi Ebute – Meta Lagos. Also, the train will take off from Ibadan to Lagos: 8:00 am from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya.
“The train will take off from Lagos to Ibadan: 4:00 pm from Mobolaji Johnson Station Alagomji, while from Ibadan to Lagos: 4:00 pm from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya.
“The standard gauge train schedule on Saturday from Lagos to Ibadan: 8:30 am from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Alagomeji while the train will leave from Ibadan to Lagos: 8:30 am from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya.
“For Saturday evening from Lagos to Ibadan: 6:00 pm from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Alagomji, while the train will take off from Ibadan to Lagos: 6:00 pm from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya,” Oche said.
He added that the Alagomeji, Abeokuta, and Moniya were still the stop stations of the Lagos Ibadan Train Services
MyOffice to Supply 220 Million Rubles Worth of Licenses to Republic of Burundi
MyOffice, a Russian developer of office software for document collaboration and communication, announced the expansion of cooperation with the Republic of Burundi. MyOffice distribution partner in Africa, Independence.digital, and INGO Tech s.a.r.l., a Burundian IT company and integrator, have signed a contract, under which Russian office software licenses worth about 220 million rubles ($3 million) will be supplied.
This news was reported by Dmitry Komissarov, General Director of MyOffice, at Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum 2021.
In accordance with the contract, over the course of five years, the customer will receive MyOffice Standard and MyOffice Professional licenses, depending on their needs. The purchased office software will be installed on the national servers of the Republic of Burundi. The purchase of Russian software will help bolster the digital independence of the country and organize the secure storage of electronic documents and files. At the same time, full control over user data will be ensured.
MyOffice has been ramping up business relations with the Republic since 2019, when the company announced at the Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum that it would supply 300 licenses of MyOffice Professional to the Government of Burundi. At the time, it was the first international contract for the Russian developer.
“The Republic of Burundi has been successfully using Russian software for two years now. Several top government officials have been trained at a certified training center in Russia and have mastered the office software. The decision to expand cooperation was made in the wake of the positive experience of using Russian office software and our high evaluation of its reliability,” said Rossalyn Kamariza, CEO of INGO Tech.
“The digitalization of the African countries is progressing by leaps and bounds and has a direct impact on their economic well-being. According to the estimates of independent analytical agencies, fast-paced implementation of modern technological products will cause the GDP of the region to grow by $148–318 billion by 2025,” stated Dmitry Komissarov, General Director of MyOffice.
“Our contract for the supply of MyOffice software shows that the government of the Republic of Burundi not only cares about the economic development of its country, but also pays great attention to the security of the digital solutions it uses. In turn, for MyOffice, this commercial delivery during the pandemic, with many international processes slowed down, is an important milestone in bolstering its position on the global market and a spectacular example of the high export potential of Russian IT solutions.”
Cuba’s Central Bank Suspends US Dollar Deposits Nationwide
Cuba, the island country located where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean meet, said this week U.S. dollars will be suspended in the country.
The mandate comes from the country’s central bank and foreign tourists have been told to leave U.S. dollars at home when visiting. The announcement was invoked at a roundtable discussion that was aired on state-sponsored Cuban television.
“In view of the obstacles that the U.S. embargo creates for the national bank system to deposit abroad the U.S. dollars that are collected in the country, a decision was made to temporarily suspend deposits in U.S. banknotes in Cuba’s bank and financial system,” the Central Bank of Cuba (Banco Central de Cuba, BCC) members said.
Yamilé Berra Cires, the vice president of the BCC, explained during the roundtable discussion that at the beginning of the Trump administration’s leadership, the U.S. tightened the embargo’s grip. The United States has had an embargo with Cuba since 1958 and the U.S. has had numerous issues with Cuba during the Eisenhower presidency and Kennedy presidency as well. After the 2008 crisis, the U.S. and Cuba seemed to gravitate toward friendlier terms during the Obama presidency.
However, BCC vice president Berra Cires claims issues have gotten worse since Trump and said 24 foreign banks stopped dealing with Cuba. Berra Cires also said during the roundtable discussion that 95 foreign financial institutions reported on the transgressions of Cuban national banks doing business with counterparties. “It is ever more difficult for Cuba to find international banking or financing institutions willing to receive, convert or process U.S. currency in cash,” Berra Cires further remarked.
“People who will be coming into the country during this time will have to arrive with a currency other than the dollar,” Francisco Mayobre Lence the BCC’s first vice president said.
Of course, after hearing about the USD ban in Cuba, members of the cryptocurrency community wanted Cuba to adopt digital currencies like El Salvador recently did with bitcoin. “It’s like [a] 50-year embargo. It’s really depressing,” one individual wrote about the Cuba situation with America on Reddit. “Will they take crypto now?” another Redditor asked in the r/cryptocurrency thread. Another crypto enthusiast responded to the question and said:
I doubt they want to be the last Latin American country to do so.
Minister-president of the Cuban central bank, Marta Sabina Wilson González explained during the roundtable discussion that Cuba had no choice but to make the decision. “We had no choice but to take this measure, which we are explaining at the Round Table, as we always do when it is a measure that affects the people, who will understand that there is no other option,” the minister detailed.
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