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FG working on lasting solution to fuel scarcity – Minister

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The Federal Government has asked Nigerians to be patient as it finds lasting solutions to the scarcity of petrol in the country.

Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum resources, made the appeal on Sunday in a statement issued by Horatius Egua, his senior adviser on media and communications.

The minister said the government is aware of the hardship faced by Nigerians as a result of the scarcity.

“In the last weeks, Nigerians have grappled with fuel scarcity, not because of the absence of supply of products but due to inspection failure, which allowed adulterated products into the country,” he said.

“This is regrettable, and the Federal Government sympathises with the citizenry over the unforeseen hardship, occasioned by the inevitable scarcity.

“Let me once again appeal to Nigerians to be patient with the government in finding lasting solutions to the crisis.

“This is unprecedented and showed that we on the government side are not afraid to take responsibility.”

The minister said the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (MDPRA) was monitoring fuel stations and working to ensure the return of normalcy soon.

“It is not a time to trade blames as is customary in Nigeria. It is, therefore, not a time to query anyone but a time to come together to salvage the plight of the average Nigerian,” he said.

“After the storm settles, there will be time enough to investigate and get to the bottom, so that this does not repeat itself.

“President Muhammadu Buhari’s charge to all parties and agencies concerned is to work together to ensure that normalcy returns quickly.

 

 

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We are not auctioning 7,000 cars – Customs

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has dismissed a report that it is planning a special auction of over 7,000 cars.

The Public Relations Officer of Customs, Deputy Comptroller Timi Bomodi, made this known in a statement signed on behalf of the Comptroller General of Customs in Abuja.

He urged Nigerians to always refer to the electronic auction (e-auction) platform (https://app.trade.gov.ng/eauction/) for authentic information concerning auction.

According to him, the e-auction remains the only authentic means of auctioning goods to members of the public.

“Auctions are periodic and advertised in advance on our website to avail the public the opportunity of selecting and bidding for items of their choice.

“It will be recalled that the service deployed the e-auction platform in July 2017 to improve efficiency in revenue generation to the federal government.

“It was also deployed to provide equal opportunities to all Nigerians in the seamless disposal of seized and condemned, and overtime and abandoned cargoes.

“Since its implementation, the e-auction has lived up to expectations by guaranteeing transparency and integrity in the auctioning process,” Bomodi said.

The spokesperson said that the requirements to take part in the e-auction bidding process by interested members of the public were clear.

He said that applicants must process valid Tax Identification Number (TIN), issued by Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), with an active e-mail account.

Bomodi added that the conditions and terms of auction must be carefully considered by an interested person before acceptance.

Bomodi further said an applicant must have an authentic and nationally accepted means of identification.

He explained that those means of identification include international passport, driver’s licence, national identity card or voter card.

He referred the public to the service’s e-auction portal at https://app.trade.gov.ng/eauction/ for further guidelines.

Bomodi used the opportunity to call on owners of vehicles at the various ports to avail themselves of the VIN-Valuation protocols to clear them.

He said the clearance procedure had been simplified, automated and made more user-friendly.

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NUPRC rejects Exxonmobil oil assets sale, dares Buhari

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The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent to the acquisition of ExxonMobil’s assets by Seplat Energy.

The presidency in a statement on Monday said President Buhari as Minister of Petroleum had granted assent to the deal in which Seplat would acquire a 40 per cent stake of ExxonMobil oil assets around Akwa Ibom.

The statement cited the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, as an incentive to drive Foreign Direct Investment and raise oil production from the assets.

However, in a response to media enquiries on the latest development about the transaction, the Commission Chief Executive, NUPRC, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, in a statement, Monday night, clarified that the Commission in line with the provisions of the PIA 2021 is the sole regulator in dealing with such matters in [b]the Nigerian upstream sector.

“As it were, the issue at stake is purely a regulatory matter and the Commission had earlier communicated the decline of Ministerial assent to ExxonMobil in this regard.

“As such the Commission further affirms that the status quo remains. The Commission is committed to ensuring predictable and conducive regulatory environment at all times in the Nigerian upstream sector,” the NUPRC noted.

The NNPC now NNPC Ltd had been in a running battle with ExxonMobil over the transaction insisting that it has the first right of refusal, being in a joint venture with Mobil.

The Akwa Ibom government had also condemned the international oil company for proceeding on the assets lay off without recourse to the state hosting th

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Agric budgets hit N874.83bn, food imports gulp N7.81tn

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The Federal Government budgeted about N874.83bn for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2016 to 2021, whereas the imports of agricultural goods into Nigeria during same period were estimated at N7.81tn, checks by our correspondent showed.

It was gathered that the highest imports of agricultural goods into the country during the period under review were recorded in 2021, as products valued at N2.74tn were imported last year.

On the other hand, the least imports within the same duration were reported in 2016. Nigeria’s agricultural goods imports in 2016 were estimated at N656.4bn.

Operators in the agric business space frowned at the development, outlining a plethora of reasons for the massive imports when compared to what was budgeted and often not fully released to the agric ministry during the review period.

Data from the 2016 to 2021 budgets for the ministry indicated that the government budgeted about N874.83bn for the ministry to drive the country’s agricultural sector during the six-year period.

Whereas data analysed by our correspondent from 24 different quarterly reports obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics on ‘Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics’ with respect to the total imports of agricultural goods into Nigeria showed that N7.81tn was spent on food imports.

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An analysis of the budgets for the agriculture ministry showed that in 2016, the ministry got a budget of N46.17bn for capital projects and N29.63bn for recurrent expenditures, making it a total of N75.8bn for that year.

Its budget for capital projects in 2017 was N103.79bn, while both the combined capital (N118.98bn) and recurrent (N53.81bn) budgets for the ministry in 2018 was N172.79bn.

In 2019, the FMARD’s capital and recurrent budgets were N107.21bn and N57.68bn respectively, translating into a total of N164.89bn.

Its 2020 capital budget was N124.4bn with a recurrent budget of N58.69bn, making it a total of N183.1bn.

The ministry’s 2021 capital budget was N110.24bn. It got N69.22bn for recurrent expenses, bringing its total budget for last year to N174.46bn.

Meanwhile data from the Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics of the NBS on total imports of agricultural goods imported into the country last year was N2.74tn.

Figures from the bureau’s quarterly reports showed that in the fourth, third, second and first quarters of 2021, the agricultural goods imports were N667.16bn, N789.1bn, N652.08bn and N630.2bn respectively.

Food or agricultural imports in 2020 gulped N1.713tn, as the country spent N532.4bn, N503.4bn, N415.6bn and N261.4bn importing agricultural goods in Q4, Q3, Q2 and Q1 respectively in 2022.

A total of N959.48bn was spent on agro-commodities’ imports in 2019, with N233.3bn spent in Q4, N239.9bn in Q3, N249.95bn in Q2 and N236.33bn in Q1.

For 2018, agricultural goods imports consumed N851.7bn. The amounts spent on imports in the fourth, third, second and first quarters were N218.8bn, N224.3bn, N224.5bn and N184.4bn respectively.

The NBS put the total amount of agricultural goods imported into Nigeria in 2017 at N886.7bn. It stated this in its fourth quarter report for 2017.

The Q4 2017 report also revealed the total amount of agricultural goods that were imported into the country in the preceding year of 2016 was put at N656.4bn.

It was observed in the various quarterly reports that the major agricultural goods imported into Nigeria included Durum wheat, crude palm oil, palm olein, among others.

Operators in the sector decried the huge imports of agricultural products into Nigeria, attributing this to the myriad of challenges in the sector.

The National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Kabir Ibrahim, told our correspondent that the drop in exports and huge imports were due to reduced productivity in Nigeria.

He said the lack of agro-inputs and insecurity were also major constraints confronting industry and its operators in Nigeria.

He said, “Our productivity has gone down now, which means that the quantity available to export has gone down and as such we have to rely on imports to meet local demand. This is worrisome to not just farmers but to every genuine stakeholder in the agricultural industry in this country.”

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