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Blame NNPC for rise in fuel smuggling – Customs boss

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Controller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, says the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation should be blamed for the high rate of smuggling of fuel across Nigerian borders.

He said he had on many occasions proposed to the NNPC to establish petroleum retail outlets in neighbouring countries to curtail smuggling of fuel but corporation ignored the proposal.

Ali spoke on Monday during an interactive session with members of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).

The committee said it would use the10-day session to review the MTEF which was submitted to the National Assembly in July.

Responding to concerns raised by a member of the committee, Abdulahi Saidu (APC, Niger) on the increasing daily consumption of PMS in the country, Ali specifically blamed the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for giving licences to filling stations around the borders.

He argued that the establishment of the retail outlets would help to end the smuggling of PMS across Nigeria’s borders.

He said since the price differential was responsible for the smuggling, the NNPC could sell at similar prices to Nigeria, including transport cost.

“We have also proposed to NNPC, if the price differential is the problem, we have our banks, Zenith Bank, GT Bank, operating in the West coast. What stops us?

“The NNPC or DPR should establish petrol stations in our neighbouring countries, and move these products at the cost that we sell, and sell to these people. We will make money. We have the market and by doing so we will completely diminish the anxiety or the penchant for smuggling.

“Because if a Beninoise will get the fuel at the price we are getting and the cost of transportation, which is the minimum, there is no way he will wait for people to import to him at twice the price.

“We have made this proposal, we have made noise about it, no one seems to listen.”

Ali said there was nothing Customs could do to stop smuggling of fuel outside the country because of the method the smugglers use in carrying out their activities.

“There is hardly anything we can do to stop the smuggling of fuel outside the country because they use the creeks, they use land borders, they use virtually everything possible. We cannot be everywhere; we must begin to think out of the box,” he said.

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NCAA to demolish Globacom masts nationwide over ₦5.9bn debt

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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has concluded plans to start dismantling some telecommunication masts belonging to Globacom Ltd, a Global Sattelite Mobile (GSM) telecommunications provider, in various locations across the country over failure to pay N5.9 billion renewal fees for height clearance to the agency.

The development followed a directive from the Nigerian government to some of its agencies and parastatals to go after debtors and defaulters and recover all the outstanding for the government.

SaharaReporters learnt that the matter came to a head following exchange of correspondence between Globacom and NCAA and scheduled meetings designed to ensure payment of the said accumulated fees by the telecommunication network which failed.

In a letter dated October 4, 2021, titled: “Re: Illegal Erection of High Structures and Refusal to Renew Expired Aviation Height Clearance Certificates by Globacom Limited” and addressed to the Managing Director, Globacom, obtained by SaharaReporters, it was affirmed that following the failure by Globacom to pay the the required fees amounting to N5.9 billion, the regulatory agency had no choice but to commence the dismantling of the its masts across the country.

“In the circumstance, having exhausted all avenues for a resolution of this matter, we are now left without choice but to apply the relevant sanctions, including the dismantling of all your non-compliant masts nationwide. And this shall be without further notice to you”, it said.

The letter signed by Legal Adviser/Head, Compliance and Enforcement, Mr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, recalled that, “The meeting to discuss the above subject-matter, was fixed for September 23, 2021, at your instance.

“You may wish to recall that you had on August, 25, 2021, requested that the meeting, earlier rescheduled, at your instance, from Monday, July 26, 2021 to Thursday, August 26, 2021, be further rescheduled to Thursday, September 23, 2021, to enable your Chief Operating Officer/COO to attend.

“It is unfortunate that despite our concurrence to a further rescheduling of the meeting to the requested date, and so informing you through our letter of 13th September, 2021, you failed to turn up for the meeting”, it said.

The letter noted that the Director-General of the NCAA had to abort an official assignment in Europe and return to Nigeria in order to be able to attend the meeting.

“Globacom only wrote the letter under reference three days after, asking that the meeting be rescheduled, without any explanation for the failure of any management staff to show up.

“I am directed to inform you that the NCAA is not disposed to granting this latest (fourth) request to reschedule the meeting, particularly, as no reason was given for your non-attendance on the last date.

“In the circumstance, having exhausted all avenues for a resolution of this matter, we are now left without choice but to apply the relevant sanctions including the dismantling of all your non-compliant masts nationwide. And this shall be without further notice to you”, it said.

In an earlier communication with Globacom, NCAA listed the indebtedness of globacom to include application fee for 2006 to 2007 at N100,000 per mast, totalling N689,800,000, annual renewal fee for 2007-2022 (15years), N50,000 per mast amounting to N6,898 and inspection fee covering N6,898 masts across the nation all totalling N6,064,230,000.

SaharaReporters learnt that Globacom paid the sum of N100 million on July 31, 2019 and had not made any further payment.

An earlier letter from NCCA to Global said total application fee for the period under review stood at N604,800,000 while cost of inspection amounted to N190,930,000.

The letter also stated the position of NCAA in law with regard to regulation of masts.

“Please be reminded that Section 30(3)() of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 empowers the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) by law to prohibit and regulate the installation of any structure (including telecommunication mast), which by virtue of its ‘height or position is considered to endanger the safety of air navigation,” it said.

This is coming two years after the agency asked Globacom and other Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) operators to remove their over 7, 000 masts or risk seeing them demolished.

The NCAA had claimed the masts, erected at different locations within the country close to the nation’s airports, are obstructing flight safety and could cause accidents if not removed.

SaharaReporters

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Nigeria’ll save 40% of forex earnings with Dangote Refinery – Emefiele

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Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has said Nigeria will save 40 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings when the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant is in full operations in 2022.

The CBN governor stated this on the sidelines of the ongoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank annual meetings in Washington DC.

Emefiele said the Federal Government currently spent about 40 percent of its dollar earnings on the importation of petroleum products, putting pressure on the naira to dollar rate.

“By the time the Dangote Refinery begins operation, it would be a major FX saving source for Nigeria,” he said.

“Right now, the overall forex we spend on imported items, the importation of petroleum products consumes close to 30 percent (by the time you add diesel, aviation fuel, petrol and the rest of that).

“The Dangote Refinery has the capacity to produce 650,000 barrels per day. There is a domestic component that is about 455,000 barrels. Even if the 455,000 is what is sold to Dangote in naira alone, it is going to be major forex saving for Nigeria.

“If you look at the cost of freight alone, it is a major saving for Nigeria. That is because if we have to go to Europe or other parts of the world to bring in petroleum products where we pay heavily in freight and in stocking those products in the high sea before we offload them, Nigerians would benefit a lot from the Dangote Refinery.

“That project is one of Nigeria’s backward integration programmes, and we are very proud of it.”

The CBN governor added that the petrochemical part of the Dangote Refinery would save five 5 percent FX from polyethene and polypropylene granules and another two percent from fertiliser.

“On the petrochemical, it is also expected to commence about same period next. That petrochemical plant will be producing 900,000 tonnes of polyethene and polypropylene granules. Nigeria’s annual consumption here is less than 200,000,” he added.

“What does that mean? It is going to save five per cent of our imports. If you save five percent of your imports and another 30 per cent on petroleum products and then on the fertiliser where we would save about two percent of our imports, we are moving close to saving 40 percent of the country’s imports.

“By that time, you will see what we would be doing when people talk about floating the naira, and then let’s see how the currency will depreciate.”

The Dangote Refinery is a 650,000 barrels per day integrated refinery project under construction in the Lekki Free Zone, Lagos. It is expected to be Africa’s biggest oil refinery and the world’s biggest single-train facility, upon completion.

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Nigeria’s inflation rate drops sixth consecutive time to 16.63%

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The National Bureau of Statistics on Friday announced a drop in the Nigeria’s inflation rate, the sixth consecutive decline this year.

Specifically, the NBS stated in its latest report that the consumer price index (CPI), measuring the rate of change in prices of goods and services, dropped to 16.63 per cent in September. This is 0.38 per cent points lower than 17.01 percent recorded in August 2021.

According to the report, increases were recorded in all classifications of individual consumption according to purpose (COICOP) divisions that yielded the headline index.

“On a month-on-month basis, the Headline Index increased by 1.15 per cent in September 2021, this is 0.13 per cent rate higher than the rate recorded in August 2021 (1.02) per cent,” the report stated.

“The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12-month period ending September 2021 over the average of the CPI for the previous 12-month period was 16.83 per cent, showing 0.23 per cent points from 16.60 per cent recorded in July 2021.

“The urban Inflation rate increased by 17.19 per cent (year-on-year) in September 2021 from 17.59 per cent recorded in August 2021, while the rural inflation rate increased by 16.08 per cent in September 2021 from 16.45 per cent in August 2021.

“On a month-on-month basis, the Urban Index rose by 1.21 per cent in September 2021, up by 0.15 the rate recorded in August 2021 (1.06), while the Rural Index also rose by 1.10 per cent in September 2021, up by 0.11 the rate that was recorded in August 2021 (0.99) per cent.”

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