The Federal Government through the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) disclosed that the government has paid oil marketers a sum of N103 billion to keep petrol prices uniform across Nigeria.
According to NMDPRA, these payments were made between December 2021 and August 222. The payment by the federal government to keep prices uniform across Nigeria is called ‘Bridging claims’.
Established in 1975, ‘bridging claim’ is a special intervention put in place by the Nigerian government with the mandate of ensuring that petroleum products are sold at equal prices across the country by paying fuel marketers the incurred transportation cost for every litre of fuel they sell within 100km and 450km from a depot.
Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Northern Axis which is the most affected had earlier embarked on a three-day warning strike on Monday over more than N70 billion unpaid claims.
The warning strike had led to petrol scarcity in Abuja and neighbouring northern states. Investors King observed queues at a few oil outlets that sell petrol to motorists in the FCT.
Following the extensive deliberations between the parties, the Federal Government further commits to fast-track the settlement of all outstanding claims when received from marketers after due verification and reconciliation.
Meanwhile, the public relations officer of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Yakubu Suleiman has called for the cancellation of Grade A and Grade B payment templates.
“Whenever NNPC have (sic) pushed money to their account, they need to be open in the process of payment — not to be selective,” Suleiman said.
“They need to be open so that every sector catchment area has been cashed. There is no marketer grade A or B. We are all members and marketers.
Suleiman spoke on Arise TV’s Morning Show which was monitored by Investors King.
Zambia’s Finance Minister Faces Dual Challenge in Upcoming Budget Address
As Zambia’s Finance Minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane, prepares to present the nation’s budget, he finds himself at a pivotal crossroads.
The second-largest copper producer in Africa is grappling with two pressing concerns: debt sustainability and soaring living costs.
Debt Restructuring Dilemma: Musokotwane’s foremost challenge is finalizing the $6.3 billion debt-restructuring deal with official creditors, led by China and France.
Delays have hindered disbursements from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and left private creditors in limbo.
To reassure investors, a memorandum of understanding with the official creditor committee is urgently needed.
President Hakainde Hichilema emphasizes the importance of sealing these transactions to signal closure on this tumultuous chapter.
Plummeting Tax Revenue: The key copper-mining industry, which accounts for 70% of Zambia’s export earnings, is in turmoil.
First-half mining company taxes and mineral royalty collections have nosedived, adding to economic woes.
This, in turn, has depreciated the local currency, exacerbating imported inflation, particularly in fuel prices.
Rising Food Inflation: Musokotwane faces mounting political pressure to combat soaring living costs, with annual inflation reaching an 18-month high of 12%. Corn meal prices, a staple in Zambia, have surged by a staggering 67% in the past year.
Neighboring countries’ demand for corn has led to smuggling and further price spikes, raising concerns about food security.
Currency Woes: The kwacha’s value has been a barometer for the nation’s economic health. It depreciated by 16% since June 22, the worst performance among African currencies, reflecting the ongoing debt-restructuring uncertainty.
In his budget address, Musokotwane faces the daunting task of striking a balance between debt management, economic stability, and alleviating the burden on Zambia’s citizens.
The international community will keenly watch to see if his fiscal measures can steer the nation toward a path of recovery and prosperity.
IMF Urges Sub-Saharan African Nations to Eliminate Tax Exemptions for Fiscal Health
Sub-Saharan African countries have been advised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to tackle their fiscal deficits by focusing on eliminating tax exemptions and bolstering domestic revenue rather than resorting to fiscal expenditure cuts, which could hamper economic growth.
The IMF conveyed this recommendation in a paper titled ‘How to avoid a debt crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa.’
The IMF’s paper emphasizes that Sub-Saharan African nations should reconsider their overreliance on expenditure cuts as a primary means of reducing fiscal deficits. Instead, they should place greater emphasis on revenue-generating measures such as eliminating tax exemptions and modernizing tax filing and payment systems.
According to the IMF, mobilizing domestic revenue is a more growth-friendly approach, particularly in countries with low initial tax levels.
The paper highlights success stories in The Gambia, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda, where substantial revenue increases were achieved through a combination of revenue administration and tax policy reforms.
The IMF also pointed out that enhancing the participation of women in the labor force could significantly boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in developing countries.
The IMF estimates that raising the rate of female labor force participation by 5.9 percentage points, which aligns with the average reduction in the participation gap observed in the top 5% of countries during 2014-19, could potentially increase GDP by approximately 8% in emerging and developing economies.
In a world grappling with the weakest medium-term growth outlook in over three decades, bridging the gender gap in labor force participation emerges as a vital reform that policymakers can implement to stimulate economic revival.
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