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Petrol Scarcity: Reps to Intervene

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petrol scarcity Nigeria

The scarcity of petrol continued on Sunday in many cities across the country, as hundreds of motorists thronged the few filling stations that dispensed the product.

This is coming as the Department of Petroleum Resources announced that it had constituted special intelligence monitoring teams nationwide to ensure prompt delivery of the product to designated filling stations.

The House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), however, said it could not intervene until its resumption from break on April 12.

The queues at filling stations in Lagos and other parts of the country grew longer despite the petrol cargos that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation claimed were discharged on Friday.

For instance, many stations on the Ketu-Ikorodu road in Lagos did not sell the product on Sunday, while the few selling were besieged by desperate motorists.

Some filling stations in Lagos and Ogun states sold a litre of petrol for between N100 and N140, which was above the approved prices of N65 and N65.50 for independent/major marketers and the NNPC stations, respectively.

Many motorists and other consumers had to resort to the black market, where the product was being sold for as much as N200 per litre in some places.

The scarcity and the hike in prices resulted in astronomical rise in fares charged by commercial transport operators.

In Abuja, Nasarawa and Kaduna, petrol queues were noticed at many filling stations. For instance, the queues formed in front of the largest NNPC mega station on the Kubwa-Zuba Expressway on Sunday were massive and stretched several kilometres.

Major filling stations such  as Total, Conoil, Nipco, and Forte Oil that dispensed petrol had long queues, as motorists spent several hours waiting to be served.

But some filling stations in remote locations in Abuja dispensed the product at rates far higher than the official pump prices.

For instance, one petrol station along Byazhim Road in Kubwa, a popular satellite town in Abuja, sold the product at N150 per litre. And it was gathered that the outlet had been dispensing the commodity for that price since Friday.

Another petrol station in Apo, Abuja, also dispensed petrol at N140 per litre, but it still had long queues of motorists and other petrol seekers.

The DPR explained the functions of the newly constituted intelligence monitoring teams in a statement from its Abuja zonal office. It said, “The teams would enforce the government approved price regime and ensure the right quantity and quality of products is dispensed.

“Consequently, the department hereby directs all depots with petroleum products to truck out to designated filling stations as programmed while all filling stations in strategic locations shall continue to operate 24 hours during the Easter holidays.”

The DPR stated that the N2m sanction against depots selling products above the regulated price and the N100,000 fine per dispensing pump for filling stations found to be selling above approved rates were still in force.

It said, “Any marketer found to be hoarding will have the products dispensed free to the public and diversion of products will attract a penalty of N200/litre. In addition, the operating licences of offenders will be suspended for a minimum of three months or may be revoked outright, depending on the magnitude of the offence.”

The National Operation Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Mike Osatuyi, told one of our correspondents that the supply to members of the association had not improved, adding that marketers should be given access to foreign exchange to import fuel.

He said, “Give genuine marketers who know the job and who have the facilities foreign exchange, and the country will be wet with products. They said they want to operate a monopoly and it has failed. It is very unfortunate that we are experiencing this again.”

The NNPC said on Friday that a cargo containing 42 million litres of petrol had completely discharged as of 4pm, adding that two more cargos with a total of 44 million litres were discharging, while another cargo containing 44 million litres had berthed and waiting to discharge.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) said that there was little it could do to arrest the biting fuel scarcity in the country.

The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Joseph Akinlaja, told The PUNCH that members were already out of Abuja and would reconvene on April 12.

“We are on break till April 12. We cannot attend to that matter until the House resumes. Everybody is away now. It is when we resume that we can begin to see what can be done,” he said.

The fuel situation worsened following last Wednesday’s comment by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, that he was not a magician and could not do anything overnight to halt the scarcity.

He said the scarcity was likely to linger up until May, a comment that frightened Nigerians and led to panic-buying of petrol with the attendant extended queues at filling stations.

 

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

Nigeria’s Exports Under US Duty-free Policy Declines to $300.48m

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Nigeria’s Exports to the United States Under Duty-free Policy Declined by 88 Percent to $300.48 million

Nigeria’s total exports under the US duty-free declined by 88 percent from $2,502.86 million to $300.48 million in the first eight months of 2020.

In the latest African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) policy report established in 2000, crude oil export accounted for 99.8 percent of Nigeria’s AGOA exports to the United States in 2019.

In 2019, oil and gas products worth $3.12 billion were exported to the US under the duty-free policy.

However, the plunged in global demand for Nigerian crude oil due to the COVID-19 lockdown weighed on the nation’s oil exports and revenue generation.

The United States imported 5.53 million barrels of crude oil from Nigeria in the first quarter of 2020, down from 15.07 million barrels imported in the final quarter of 2019.

Speaking on the need to improve non-oil export to take advantage of the duty-free like other African nations Mr Olusegun Awolowo, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, who spoke at a virtual event recently said despite efforts to sensitise Nigerian exporters on the need to take advantage of the duty-free trade opportunity, only a few Nigerian exporters are benefiting from it.

He said the record crash in global oil prices is an indication that a mono-product economy like Nigeria is not sustainable and that there is an urgent need to develop non-oil export.

We cannot rely on crude oil export as both our major source of government revenue and foreign exchange generation. We must diversify our export base,” Awolowo said.

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Economy

Road Projects: Nigeria Owes Contractors More Than N390 Billion, Says Fashola

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FG Owes Road Contractors N392 Billion for Road Projects

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has said the Federal Government owes companies handling the 711 road projects across the country a total sum of N392 billion.

This, he said was higher than the N276 billion allocated for road projects in the proposed 2021 budget.

The minister disclosed this on Wednesday while defending the 2021 budget of his ministry before the Senate Committee on works.

Fashola said, “With the situation on ground, a stop has come for new projects and the country needs to prioritise the existing ones in order to complete some of them.

According to him, a total of N6.62 trillion was needed to fund the 711 road projects but because of the limited available resources, there is a need to prioritise the important ones.

He said, “We do not have the resources that we need to fix our road infrastructure at once; the very reason we need to prioritise what want to do.

“The situation on ground requires us to cut our coat according to our cloth and not according to our size because no good will come out of more new road projects now.

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Economy

Waltersmith’s 5,000bpd Modular Refinery in Imo State to Commence Operations

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5,000bpd Modular Refinery Built in Imo State to Start Operations

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has said the 5,000 barrels per day Modular Refinery project built in Imo State is ready for operations.

Sarki Auwalu, the Director, DPR, disclosed this during a pre-commissioning visit to the project site in Ibigwe, Imo State.

In a statement released by Waltersmith, Auwalu was quoted as saying the purpose of his visit was to ensure that the refinery was ready to commence operations.

He said “We can confirm that the refinery is very much ready to commence operations. We have seen all the preparations.

“To us, the plant is alive. The commissioning is just symbolic. Everywhere is ready to start off. My overall assessment is excellent.

“We have been to other modular refineries but we have not seen anything like this – the space, the way it is arranged and the way it will work.”

The 5,000 barrels per day modular refinery is scheduled for inauguration this month. The refinery has crude oil storage capacity of 60,000 barrels and it is expected to deliver more than 271 million litres per year of refined petroleum products.

Auwalu said, “The role we play is to enable businesses and create opportunities. When DPR issues you a licence, it enables you to invest and as a result of that opportunity we create, that business is enabled.

“Waltersmith is one of our success stories. We consider the project as ours. We have been tracking their growth and we are happy to see that our child is growing. It is our plan that they expand and they have the potential.”

Speaking on the project, Abdulrasaq Isah, the Chairman, Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company, said the project is the first phase of a series of refinery projects that will lead to the delivery of up to 50,000 barrels per day in refining products.

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