The continued closure of land borders by the Federal Government is counterproductive to the Nigerian economy, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has warned.
President of MAN, Ahmed Mansur, who stated this on Thursday, urged the FG to reopen the borders to ease the economic difficulties facing Nigerian traders and other people.
“There is a definite urgency to reopen the borders and re-establish that the normal protocol and normal trade treaties continue to take place because it is in our interest,” he said.
Nigeria had in August 2019 closed its land borders to curtail illegal importation of drugs, small arms and agricultural products into country from neighbouring West African nations.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, recently said the nation’s land borders may be reopened soon.
According to the MAN president, one year is enough time to address the reasons for the border closure.
He said some Nigerian manufacturers exporting goods through the land borders may permanently lose their market share in the West Africa sub-region with continued border closure.
Mansur, who spoke while featuring on a television programme in Lagos, however, stressed on the need for a regulatory framework to ensure the safe reopening of the borders.
“We are aware that the border closure is a two-way thing; it affects us and it also affects our neighbours. Since the closure last year August, our (West African) neighbours have recognised the futility of what they were doing and the need to respect agreements.
“There may be need to put in place further arrangements to ensure that the purposes with which the borders were closed are not defeated,” he submitted.
Mansur said his association has been in constant dialogue with the Office of the National Security Adviser, ministries of trade and finance as well as various Nigerian agencies including the Nigeria Customs Service, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, amongst others.
“Many of the agencies have been looking inward to see what they can do to improve their operations. For instance, we are aware that the Customs Services is now introducing more computerised systems for import control. I believe the agencies are rising to the occasion.
“I believe that the issues that necessitated the border closure in the first instance have significantly been ameliorated and under such circumstances, it is counterproductive to continue to keep the borders closed.”
Bloody clashes: Sanwo-Olu’s RTEAN ban timely, say auto journalists
The Nigeria Auto Journalists Association (NAJA), the umbrella association of automotive reporters in Nigeria, has commended the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for his swift action in suspending all activities of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in the state following the recent restiveness between rival members of the group in Iyana-Iba, Ojo and Lagos Island areas of the state.
Mike Ochonma, Chairman of NAJA, made the commendation in a press statement he issued after the ban on the activities of RTEAN.
The chairman of NAJA stated that the ban by his the governor became imperative to prevent further breakdown of law and order in the state.
He called for more restraint and caution from RTEAN members to allow the state government to take necessary steps that would not only restore peace and decorum from the association, but more importantly, guarantee the security of lives of defenseless Lagos commuters going about their normal business.
The governor had also announced the constitution of a 35-man caretaker committee to take over activities of the union henceforth.
Heading the committee is Sulaiman Adeshina Raji with Bamgbose Oluseyi as deputy chairman.
During the clash last Wednesday, the transport union members were seen in a trending video clip engaging themselves in a free-for-all, hauling stones, bottles, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons at each other.
Two persons were reported killed during the clash.
Major marketers hail NNPCL’s acquisition of top downstream firm, OVH Energy
The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), an umbrella body of the largest downstream oil and gas companies in the country, has congratulated the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) on the successful acquisition of OVH Energy Marketing (OVHEM) Limited, a major downstream operator.
MOMAN in a statement issued yesterday by its Chairman and Managing Director of Ardova Plc, Mr. Olumide Adeosun, welcomed and encouraged the ongoing market consolidation geared towards bringing stability, cost and logistics optimisation in the downstream sector.
OVH is the owner and operator of the Oando- branded retail service stations across the country, and the company and NNPCL are member companies of MOMAN.
The Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of NNPCL, Mallam Mele Kyari and the Chief Executive Executive Officer of OVH Energy Marketing Limited, Mr. Huub Stokman, had announced the acquisition transaction last weekend at an event held in Abuja.
However, commenting on the development, Adeosun said, “We send hearty congratulations to NNPC Retail Limited and OVH Energy Marketing Limited on the successful acquisition of OVH Energy Marketing Limited by NNPC Limited.
“Both companies are active MOMAN members who are committed to our core values of health, safety, the protection of the environment, quality, customer service, innovation, technology and compliance with international corporate governance codes.
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“MOMAN welcomes and encourages the ongoing market consolidation which will bring stability, cost and logistics optimisation, enhanced competition and best practice sharing as we progress to a deregulated market.”
Kyari had said OVH Energy’s Oando- branded retail service stations would be rebranded into the NNPCL’s brand and merged with NNPC Retail Limited with full integration scheduled to take place by the end of 2023.
Both Kyari and Stokman were, however, silent on the financial implication of the deal and what would be the fate of OVH Energy Marketing’s employees when the formal takeover takes place by 2023.
The acquisition tagged by NNPCL as ‘Acquisition for Growth’, was expected to see the national oil company become the owner of entire assets of OVH Energy Marketing, licensee of the Oando retail brand and ASPM Limited, custodians of the Lagos Midstream Jetty, also known as West Africa’s first privately owned midstream jetty.
OVH Energy boasts of distributing over one billion litres of refined petroleum products annually while ASPM Limited is focused on strengthening Nigeria’s downstream value chain through the Lagos jetty.
In the short term, the acquisition would see the NNPCL receive a jetty (ASPM) with 240,000 metric tonnes monthly capacity, eight Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plants, three lubes blending plants, three aviation depots and 12 warehouses.
The deal would also bring over 380 additional filling stations under NNPCL retail brand in Nigeria and Togo, on its journey to attaining 1,500 stations, making it the largest petroleum product retail network in Africa.
OVH’s expertise spans the provision of jetty services and the marketing and distribution of refined petroleum products for retail, commercial and industrial purposes.
The NNPCL GCEO had explained that the strategic move was aimed to create the leading downstream energy company in Nigeria and West Africa, driven by operational efficiency, best-in-class management, and physical infrastructure while offering premium petroleum products and related services to customers, in line with global standards.
Through this acquisition, he said the NNPC Retail Limited would build on the existing success of OVH Energy and operate model service outlets leveraging OVH’s extensive asset base and commercial capabilities.
Kyari further stated that the NNPCL was bringing to the table, its 45 years of experience and strong capability to bear on the management of the facilities.He maintained that securing the country against energy poverty would mean access to petroleum products in addition to managing the energy transition, which he said has become a reality.
NMDPRA seals 16 gas plants, arrests five suspects in Edo
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has sealed 16 illegal gas facilities in Edo State.
Some filling stations were also sealed over an alleged breach of rules and regulations.
The agency arrested five suspects during the exercise.
The agency’s state comptroller, Ebi Ogionwo, said the clampdown was to curb the activities of illegal and unlicensed oil and gas operators in the state.
He alleged that some misguided operators were setting up oil and gas facilities in areas not suitable for the business and without necessary approval from the agency.
Ogionwo said, “It is an offence for anyone to site such facilities without due approval from the NMDPRA. The agency is out to bring sanity to the operations of midstream and downstream petroleum business in the state.”
He further warned investors against taking laws into their hands by setting up gas and petroleum facilities in areas not approved by the agency.
Ogionwo said five suspects arrested during the exercise would be charged to court.
“There are laws, guidelines and regulations that people must follow before setting up oil and gas facilities. So, the purpose of the operations is also to check the level of compliance by those who have set up these facilities in the state and take necessary actions that are required,” he said.
Ogionwo added that the illegal operations of oil and gas facilities compromised the safety of lives, property, environment as well as deprived both the state and Federal Governments of the revenue that should accrue to them through taxes and other sources.
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