Petroleum product marketers have demanded an upward review in the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit (also known as petrol).
This, they said, would make importation of the product profitable.
They said the free fall of the naira against the dollar had made it unprofitable for them to import petrol and sell at the current rate of N145 per litre.
But the Federal Government said there was no immediate plan to raise the pricce of petrol.
This is coming nearly four months after the government increased petrol prices from N86 and N86.5 per litre to between N135 and N145 per litre.
Some marketers had early last month said Nigerians should prepare for another increase in petrol prices due to the continued scarcity of foreign exchange to finance the importation of the product.
According to a source close to the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, N165 is the pump price that will cover the cost of forex required for fuel importation.
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency had, in its template based on 30 days’ moving average Platts posted price for April 23 – May 23, 2016, put the landing cost and total cost of petrol at N122.03 and N140.40 per litre, respectively.
The costs of the product and freight, which are the elements mostly affected by the exchange rate, were put at $534 per metric tonne of petrol or N111.30 per litre, using an exchange rate of N280/dollar.
Using an exchange rate of N314.20/dollar at the interbank market on Monday, according to FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, the cost of product plus freight was N125.12 and the total cost of petrol stood at N151.93 per litre.
With an exchange rate of N350/dollar, the cost of the product plus freight stood at N139.37; while the total cost amounted to N167.15 per litre.
The naira plunged to all-time low of 420/dollar on the black market last month.
An official of one of the marketers’ associations, who spoke on condition of anonymity to one of our correspondents, said, “Let the government do the needful. We have already said it before that the price is not sustainable. When they fixed that price, dollar was N280 – N285; now the dollar is almost N400 and they want us to bring in products and sell at N145. It is not possible.
“But right now, most of us are getting the product from the NNPC; that is why you still see that there is product everywhere. It is an indirect case of subsidy. It means the government is subsidising it through the NNPC and we are buying at local price. Had it been that we were the ones that sourced the foreign exchange, we can’t sell it at N145.”
The Head of Energy Research, Ecobank Capital, Mr. Dolapo Oni, noted that the current template was adopted when the dollar was about N315 in the parallel market and the naira had not been floated then.
He said then the CBN was still selling at about N220 or so and marketers were augmenting what they got from the CBN with the parallel market supply, adding, “Thus, a range of N275 to N295 was used to arrive at the template price range of N135 to N145.
“The official market is N310 this (Monday) morning while the parallel market is N422. This gives a range of between N151 and N200. I think they’ll probably adopt a range of N330 to N370 (per dollar) so we have a fuel price range of N160 to N170.
Oni added, “The best solution, in my view, however, will be to take the last plunge and just remove cap on prices. It is probably the best in this market. Let competition regulate prices.”
Another source, who is an official of one of the marketing companies in Lagos, said, “The position of the marketers is that if the guaranteed exchange rate of N285 to a dollar will not be met, selling at that N145 is not profitable. And that is the more reason most of the chief executives or finance directors are still going cap in hand to the NNPC to facilitate the forex they promised through international oil companies instead of going to the black market.
“With the current situation in the country, I don’t see the government increasing the pump price of petrol, although it is not profitable to marketers. It would have been very easy if forex is available to marketers at N285/dollar.”
On marketers’ reliance on the NNPC for petrol, the source said, “The advantage in depending on the NNPC product is that the price they give you is better and you are not subjected to any issue of forex. And it is not as difficult as before when you had to queue for a long time because the NNPC has the product.”
Officials from the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the PPPRA stated that it was difficult for marketers to buy forex at over N350/dollar and still sell the PMS at N145 per litre.
“There must be some form of subsidy somewhere, either from where they are getting the product or from the major importer of the PMS into Nigeria, because you cannot buy a dollar at N350 and still sell petrol at N145 if you want to remain in business,” a PPPRA official, who spoke to one of our correspondents in confidence, said.
But the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, said there was no immediate plan to increase the pump price of petrol.
Some former NNPC GMDs had last week said that due to the dollar scarcity and the falling naira, it would be unrealistic to expect the petrol price to remain the same.
However, Kachikwu and Baru, who met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday, said there would be no increase in the price of petrol.
Baru, when approached by reporters, declined to speak at length, referring journalists to the PPPRA.
Asked if there would be a review of the price, he said, “There is nothing like that.”
When Kachikwu was approached for comment, he revealed that there was no memo before the Federal Government asking for a review of the price.
Ex-NNPC GMDs had made the suggestion of fuel hike at a one-day meeting called by Baru, where they argued that the ýcurrent price cap of N145 per litre is not in line with the liberalisation policy especially with the foreign exchange rate and other price determining components such as crude cost, Nigerian Ports Authority charges, among others, remaining uncapped.
In a related development, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, on Monday asked Nigerians to hold former GMDs of the NNPC responsible for the non-functional state of the country’s refineries and the non-profitability of the NNPC.
Sabi, who stated that he was not making his submission as the spokesman for the Senate but as the Senator representing Niger-North Senatorial District, in a chat with journalists in his office, said he was very disappointed with the recent comments credited to the ex-GMDs on fuel price.
He said, “As we have all known, refineries that we have in Nigeria have not been functional because if they had been functional and if that institution had been up and doing in tandem with its peers in other countries that have similar resources, for crying out loud, all of these former GMDs, can they be said to be free of blame on how we got here? Can they?
The Senator lamented that the refineries had failed to perform maximally under the military rule and the 16 years of Peoples Democratic Party’s administration.
Abdullahi said, “I think on this note, let me make it very clear that all of them that are speaking, they do not have the moral standpoint to even advise us on what to do because they had a hand in it (the problem) and I cannot see how you can solve a problem under the same condition that created it.”
COVID-19 to Plunge Global Consumer Spending by 8.6 % in 2020
Global Consumer Spending to Drop by 8.6 Percent in 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has changed almost every aspect of people’s daily lives, and consumer spending is no exception. The uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis caused considerable changes in consumer habits, forcing them to cut down their budgets and prioritize spending.
According to data presented by Stock Apps, the coronavirus outbreak is expected to cut global consumer spending to $44.3trn in 2020, an 8.6% plunge year-over-year.
$4.2trn Drop in Spending Amid COVID-19 Crisis
Falling consumer spending has significant effects on overall Gross domestic product (GDP) growth, considering it accounts for almost 70% of GDP.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, global consumer spending has witnessed steady growth for five years in a row, revealed Statista, IMF, United Nations, World Bank, and Eurostat data. In 2015, it amounted to over $41.5trn. Over the next twelve months, this figure rose to $42.5trn and continued growing. Statistics show that in 2019, consumers worldwide spent a total of $48.5trn, the highest amount in a decade.
However, the coronavirus crisis triggered a sharp fall in 2020, with global consumer spending expected to plunge by $4.2trn year-over-year. Nevertheless, statistics show the following years are set to witness a recovery, with consumer spending growing by 20% to $53.5bn in 2022.
Statista data also revealed that Switzerland represents the leading country globally, with over $40,000 in consumer spending per capita in 2020. Luxembourg ranked second with around $5,000 less than that. Iceland, Denmark, and Norway follow, with $34,300, $25,800, and $25,600, respectively.
60% of Consumers Changed their Shopping Behaviour
The McKinsey&Company survey showed consumers became increasingly cautious with their spending in 2020. Even after countries lifted lockdowns, many consumers still see their incomes fall, forcing them to reduce budgets and change shopping habits.
Statistics show that increased time spent indoors led to significant growth in consumer spending on groceries, household, and home entertainment. Brazil, South Africa, and India lead in this category, with up to 30% consumer spending growth. Major consumer markets like the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and China witnessed around 15% grocery shopping growth in the first half of the year.
However, with consumers being mindful of their spending and turning to less expensive products, 2020 has witnessed a plunge in clothes and accessories, outside entertainment, services, travel, and transportation spending. Respondents in all countries said they cut down spending in these categories between 20% and 50%.
The McKinsey survey also revealed the COVID-19 outbreak triggered a significant change in the shopping mindset. More than 60% of consumers globally have tried a different brand or shopped at another retailer during the crisis, mostly for convenience, value, and quality.
In China and the United States, over 75% of consumers reported trying a new shopping method, and 60% plan to stick with it post-crisis. The United Kingdom and Germany follow with 71% and 54% of consumers who practiced new shopping behavior. In Japan, where lockdowns weren’t imposed, only 33% of consumers changed their shopping mindset.
Survival Fund: Buhari Commences Disbursement of N75 Billion Support Fund
FG to Commence Disbursement of N75 Billion Survival Fund to MSMEs
The Federal Government to commence the disbursement of N75 billion COVID-19 support fund to successful Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that applied for financial support under the National MSME Survival Fund this week.
On September 10, 2020, the Federal Government announced the introduction of two financial support schemes to support around 1.7 million small businesses with N75 billion.
According to Tola Adekunle, the Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs, Office of the Vice President, who doubles as Project Coordinator, Survival Funds Scheme, payment disbursement to some of the beneficiaries of the schemes would commence this week.
He said, “Presently we are doing it in batches of 12 states to be able to monitor the scheme and as we speak now 12 states are ready. We are hoping that by the end of this week, we will be able to pay 12 states.
“We are starting with the artisans and it is 4,500 persons per state, plus 4,500 for transporters, bringing it to about 9,000 for each state. Right now, we have about 54,000 from 12 states.”
Asked by journalists when those on payroll support would start receiving payments, he said “By the end of this month.
“We want to ensure that the staff start getting their salaries and same for the second and third month.”
Adekunle explained that payroll support which was introduced under the survival fund to help businesses that employed between 10 to 50 people, will ensure 10 of the 50 employees are paid between N30,000 to N50,000 depending on their salaries. Payment, he said would commence by the ending of this month.
He said, “We now pay 10 of those people from among the 50 employees and we pay them between N30,000 and N50,000.
“But the minimum we pay is three staffs for three months to support their businesses and to ensure that we are helping businesses to augment their salaries.”
He, however, said the program ended on October 15 but states that were yet to meet their quotas were demanding extension. A demand he said was valid given that only less than 20 states have met their quotas.
“In my own opinion, it is valid but the decision lies in the hands of the committee and the project coordinator so I have to convince them based on data analysis,” he said.
Speaking on the total number of applicants for the payroll support, Adekunle said, “As at the day it closed, we had about 432,000 businesses that had applied. However, we have shortlisted less than 70,000 businesses that qualify and meet the requirements.”
Airtel Compensate Customers Following Service Disruption, Not Anonymous
Fake Anonymous Hacker Did Not Credit Airtel Subscribers, Airtel Compensate Customers For Service Disruption
Airtel Africa on Monday compensated customers by sharing free N1,000 airtime following Friday’s service disruption.
In a text message forwarded to customers, the telecommunication company says “Dear customer, we apologise for the recent service disruption experienced on October 16. “Normal service has been restored and your line will be credited with five minutes of on-net calls and 100MB of data both valid for one day.”
This was before the fake anonymous hacker claimed it has hacked the system of the company and credited all Airtel subscribers N1,000.
Most Airtel users that did not know the reason for the unusual gesture took to their social media to validate the fake anonymous claim, a claim the real anonymous has refuted and warned people to be careful of sharing their vital information with criminals parading as anonymous.
Nigerian youths continue to demand anonymous support as they seek an end to police brutality, harassment and dehumanisation of innocent citizens. The youths have vowed to continue protesting until the demanded reform and changes are effectively implemented, an unusual demand in a nation known for its lackadaisical and nonchalant attitude towards change and reform.
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