NNPC, others get fresh order to end fuel scarcity in one week
The House of Representatives has directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and other concerned regulatory agencies to end the fuel scarcity being experienced across the country in one week.
This came after the adoption of motion of urgent public importance by Sa’idu Musa Abdullahi (APC, Niger) at plenary on Tuesday.
Presenting the motion, he said in the last few months, Nigerians had been subjected to untold hardships caused by the lingering petrol scarcity, affecting economic activities and making the already trying times in the country more difficult.
He said the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) advanced several excuses to justify the fuel scarcity.
Abdullahi said, “Firstly, when the scarcity reared its ugly head at the peak of the rainy season in October this year, NMDPRA said the fuel scarcity in Abuja and other northern states was caused by rainfall which submerged the greater part of Lokoja including the highway leading to Abuja, a development that grounded all vehicular movements along that route.
“Soon after floods/rains receded in Lokoja and the petrol scarcity continued, the President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) said the situation persisted because of the supply gap created by the blockade in Lokoja. IPMAN affirmed that there was enough product in the depots and that the lingering scarcity was only caused by the break in supply of the product.
“When the scarcity continued and all the excuses advanced by the stakeholders watered down, the National Operations Controller of IPMAN advanced another reason and argued that the scarcity is because of an unsteady supply of the products.
“Intelligence reports on current fuel scarcity gathered by our security agencies indicated that there is a deliberate plan by some oil marketers to derail the effort of the government in the distribution of fuel in the country by hoarding the petroleum products, thereby creating artificial scarcity all over the country.”
He said while some major marketers are currently selling fuel at government regulated price, some independent marketers sell at higher prices.
According to him, most of such independent filling stations are selling fuel at over N300 per litre.
He said, “It is observed with dismay that those who are gaining from this artificial fuel scarcity appear to be smiling home as a result of this ugly development and this has the potency to provoke innocent Nigerians against the government.
“The inability of the regulators of the petroleum sector to end this artificial scarcity of petroleum products forced the Department of State Security Services to issue an ultimatum to the NNPC, and oil marketers to end the artificial scarcity within 48-hours”.
The House therefore called on the NNPC Ltd to end the scarcity in the next one week to ease the suffering of Nigerians.
It also called on the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to collaborate with the Nigeria Police Force and DSSS to ensure that fuel is sold at the regulated price in all retail outlets.
CBN releases more cash, orders banks to open Saturday, Sunday
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has directed all commercial banks to open for operation on Saturdays and Sundays.
It also said more banknotes had been evacuated from its vaults to commercial banks across the country.
A statement by the spokesman for the CBN, Isa Abdulmumin, said the measures were part of coordinated efforts to ease the circulation of banknotes of various denominations.
It said a substantial amount of money, in various denominations, had been received by the commercial banks for onward circulation to their respective customers.
He said the CBN had directed all banks to load their automated teller machines (ATMs) as well as conduct physical operations in the banking halls through the weekends.
“Branches of commercial banks will operate on Saturdays and Sundays to attend to customers’ cash needs,” the statement added.
Abdulmumin said the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, would personally lead teams to monitor the level of compliance by the banks in various locations across the country.
He urged Nigerians to be patient as the current cash shortage would ease soon with the injection of more banknotes into circulation.
How N4.8tn annual fuel subsidy made Nigeria poorer – NNPC
Nigeria’s petrol subsidy regime has been “fuelling the vicious cycle of poverty” , the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has said.
A total of 133 million Nigerians are said to be living in poverty.
Lawal Musa, Senior Business Advisor to Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer (GCEO) of NNPC, said the Federal Government spends as much as N4.8 trillion annually on petrol subsidy — at the expense of the wellbeing of Nigerians.
He stated this at a joint National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS)/Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
In a presentation titled, “Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and the Nigerian economy’’, he said the amount spent on petrol subsidy payments could deliver infrastructural projects to the citizens.
Musa said deregulation of petrol prices could deliver 500,000 new houses and skill up of 2 million Nigerian students, among others.
According to him, the amount spent on subsidy could provide 7,500 kilometers of road network at N400 million per kilometre and 37 well-equipped 120-bed tertiary health centres at N32 billion per hospital annually.
He added that the subsidy spend could deliver N12 trillion in four years to Nigeria, adding that the cost of petrol subsidy surpasses the direct benefits to the masses.
In addition, the NNPC GCEO adviser said deregulation of PMS prices could also provide additional 27,000 megawatts of electricity to Nigerians as well as build and equip 2,400 hospitals in 774 local government areas.
Nigeria is the largest producer of crude oil in Africa, possessing 28 percent of Africa’s reserve, with petroleum contributing significantly to the country’s economy,” he said.
“The benefits derived have over the years been eroded due to the amount paid on subsidy, a regime [that] has been fuelling the vicious circle (sic) of poverty in the country.”
Musa explained that petrol was sold at the lowest price in Nigeria, among most West African countries, in spite of the average cost of $2.7 per litre globally, which amounted to about N570 per litre.
He noted that verifiable petrol demand data is critical to national planning and energy security.
On his part, Garba Deen Muhammad, NNPC’s spokesperson, said the organisation was engaging with students as critical stakeholders in the new organisation, which he said belonged to over 200 million Nigerians — including the students.
Muhammad said the engagement, which would be done annually, was aimed at enlightening the students and CSOs on NNPC as a new entity, registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), under the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
Nigeria Air will commence operation before May 29 – FG
The Federal Government says the new national carrier, Nigeria Air, will commence operation before the end of the current administration on May 29.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday.
He spoke amid worry about a lingering court case instituted against the project by airline operators of Nigeria.
Sirika gave the assurances during the National Aviation Stakeholders Forum 2023.
He said the Federal Government was already taking measures to overcome the hurdles introduced by the indigenous airlines.
According to him, the project is 98 per cent completed.
“All of the road map items except, perhaps the airline, which in my opinion is at 98 per cent completion, and we will fly within the remaining two months by the grace of God,” the minister said.
“We will also finish the concessions. So, all those things we said we would do when we came in, we did them.”
The minister described as unfair the action of the local airlines, adding that the Buhari government had supported local airlines more than all previous governments.
He accused them of constituting a stumbling block to the actualisation of the national carrier expected to generate new jobs and better opportunities in the industry.
He said the Nigerian Aviation industry is the only one in the world where qualified pilots are without jobs.
He said 50 pilots had come to him complaining about their unemployment status, adding that the national carrier should be able to employ more pilots and create other job opportunities.
He said Ethiopian Airlines, the offered bidder for the national carrier, is highly competent and profitable enough to add value to the Nigerian aviation sector.
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