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Petrol subsidy stays till June 2022, says minister •N714b paid in seven months

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Finance,  Budget and National Planning Minister Mrs. Zainab Ahmed

There is no plan to end petrol subsidy for now, the Federal Government  said yesterday.

Finance,  Budget and National Planning Minister Mrs. Zainab Ahmed said provision has been made for the first six months of next year.

She explained that subsidy payment would stop since complete deregulation of the downstream oil and gas sector will start by July 2022.

The minister stated this at a panel session during the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#27) in Abuja on Monday.

“In the 2022 budget, we only factored in subsidy for the first half of the year; the second half of the year, we are looking at complete deregulation of the sector, saving foreign exchange and potentially earning more from the oil and gas industry, “ Ahmed said.

Although The  Nation had reported that no specific provision was made for subsidy payment in the 2022 budget, a top official of the   Finance Ministry,  said yesterday that the government was banking on extra-budgetary expenses for the purpose.

“Money to fund petrol subsidy will be drawn from a special account domiciled in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF),” the official explained.

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At the event, Prof. Doyin Salami, chairman of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC), described subsidy payment as illegal. Also, Director-General, Debt Management Office(DMO) Patience Oniha told participants that the government has so far issued N1.5 trillion promissory notes to its creditors.

Salami said he had argued for a long time that subsidy needed to go since the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) made the payment illegal.

The  EAC  chairman said: “  The  PIA essentially makes illegal to pay petrol subsidy. Yes, there is a period where NNPC(Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) and the new regulatory agencies must calibrate themselves, but at the end of this period – and I think it is about six months, which explains why the minister has said for the first half of the year, there is a provision.

“My view will be if we could get it done sooner than that, it will be excellent. It releases money. The key point is simply this: we are now, any which way, at the tail end of that conversation, except if we choose not to obey the law. My sense is we will obey the law and subsidy will be gone.”

NNPC, the only importer of petrol,  deducts subsidy payment from oil and gas proceeds due to the federal, state, and local governments since no provision was made for it in the 2021 budget.

In seven months, petrol subsidy payments gulped N714 billion.

Explaining the N1.5 trillion promissory notes issued by government creditors, Oniha, added: “We can’t talk about debt alone, we must also talk about revenues.”

The DMO boss explained that “when you borrow and invest  monies wisely, it will enhance growth and development”

She added that that was “why we(government)   issued promissory notes of N1.5 trillion approved by the National Assembly. “

Oniha said: “We can’t talk about debt alone; we must also talk about revenues. When you borrow and invest these monies wisely, it will enhance growth and development which is why we have issued promissory notes of N1.5 trillion approved by the National Assembly.”

She noted that “to include any debt data in the country’s debt stock, it has to be approved by the National Assembly and the Federal Executive Council,

The DMO  chief admitted that Nigeria’s debt service to revenue is high and should not be at the level that it is.  She therefore called for multiple ways of growing revenue to invest in the future.

She said Nigeria’s Debt Management Strategy “provides a framework on how to undertake borrowings in the country”.

Another panelist, Taiwo Oyedele, suggested that “if we want to optimise, we have to harmonise multiple taxation and multiplicity of collection agencies to ensure that revenue collection mechanisms are boosted.”

Oyedele, who is  Africa Tax lead at the PwC,    disagreed with some policies of the government which allows about 60 MDAs(Ministries, Departments, and Agencies) to generate revenue.

According to him,  “it is impossible for that number of agencies to be involved in revenue collection. They   should concentrate on providing services.”

The Nation

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JUST IN: Air Peace Suspends Flights To South Africa Over Aviation Fuel, Visa Delay

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Air Peace

Citing the increasing cost of aviation fuel and scarcity as well as the delay in the issuance of visa to intending passengers, Air Peace has suspended its flights to South Africa.

The suspension, which takes effects from August 22, is for a period of 60 days, the Airline said in a notice.

Daily Trust reports that domestic airlines had been forced to adjust their schedules over the recurring scarcity of Jet fuel as well as the skyrocketing price of the product.

But added to this, according to Air Peace, was delay by the South African authorities to issue visa to prospective passengers which was said to be affecting the load factor on Air Peace’s flight to Johannesburg.

Air Peace in the notice expressed optimism that the issues which warranted the suspension would have been addressed before October.

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It said, “We hereby inform the flying public that effective from August 22, 2022, our Johannesburg flight operations will be suspended till October 8, 2022.

“This development is regretted but has become inevitable due to the delayed issuance of South African visas to travellers, worsening forex crunch and the increasing cost of aviation fuel as well as its scarcity.

“However, having informed the South African High Commission in Lagos of the effects of the difficulty in getting SA visas by Nigerians, which consequence is the abysmally low passenger loads on our flights to and from Johannesburg, we believe that the situation will have improved within the next 60 days. Hence, our willingness to resume operations on the October 8, 2022.

“Passengers whose flights are affected have the option of rescheduling to fly before August 22, 2022 or from October 9, 2022. Passengers can also request a refund…

“We apologise for the inconveniences caused and will keep the public updated while we hope the situation improves.”

Daily Trust

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Davido, Tuface, Ned Nwoko, others on alert as Ferrari recalls nearly every car

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Super-rich Nigerians and celebrities who drive Ferrari will have to surrender their Italian luxury sports car to the manufacturer to fix a major problem.

Ferrari has discovered a big stopping problem, with 19 of its models dating back to 2005 reportedly at risk of a potential brake failure, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Some of those known to have the super luxury car in Nigeria are singer Davido; former Arsenal and Super Eagles sensational striker Kanu Nwankwo; rapper and billionaire daughter DJ Cuppy; Ned Nwoko with his Nollywood wife, Reginal Daniels, and another famous ex-Super Eagles player Obafemi Martins.

MotorTrend, an online auto journal, on Monday reported the NHTSA filing as indicating that the issue had to do with the brake fluid reservoir cap which “may not vent properly, creating a vacuum inside the brake fluid reservoir, and resulting in a brake fluid leak that may lead to a partial or total loss of brake function.”

According to the NHTSA recall report, a whopping 23,555 Ferraris are implicated and will need to be serviced.

Owners are expected to receive messages from Ferrari with instructions for proactive repairs before September 24, 2022.

Considering the average price of a Ferrari is at least hundreds of thousand dollars, some quick math proves billions of dollars worth of Ferraris are potentially defective.

The report said Ferrari would replace the brake fluid reservoir cap and update the software in the affected vehicles to provide for a different warning message if the vehicle should lose sufficient brake fluid.

In the meantime, if your Ferrari flashes a “low Brake Fluid” warning, NHTSA directs you to pull off of the road as soon as it is safe to do so and have the car immediately towed to a Ferrari service centre.

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Buhari overrules NNPC, approves Seplat’s acquisition of ExxonMobil’s $1.3bn assets

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved acquisition of ExxonMobil shares in the United States by Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement on Monday said his Buhari granted the approved as Minister of Petroleum Resources, and in consonance with the country’s drive for Foreign Direct Investment in the energy sector.

He said Exxon Mobil had entered into a landmark Sale and Purchase Agreement with Seplat Energy to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited from Exxon Mobil Corporation, Mobil Development Nigeria Inc, and Mobil Exploration Nigeria Inc, both registered in Delaware, USA.

There had been opposition from the NNPC Ltd, and the Akwa Ibom State Government which hosts most of the assets earlier on the transaction but the ministerial approval puts this to rest.

Adesina added that the President had given ministerial consent to the deal, considering the extensive benefits of the transaction to the Nigerian Energy sector and the larger economy.

He said the President, in commitment to investment drive in light of the Petroleum Industry Act, granted consent to the Share Sales Agreement, as requested by the parties to the transaction, and directed that the approval be conveyed to all the parties involved.

The presidential spokesman said Exxon Mobil/Seplat would carry out operatorship of all the oil mining licenses in the related shallow water assets towards production optimization to support Nigeria’s OPEC quota in the short term as well as ensure accelerated development and monetization of the gas resources in the assets for the Nigerian economy.

Adesina said President Buhari also directed that all environmental and abandonment liabilities be adequately mitigated by Exxon Mobil and Seplat.

The deal worth about $1.3bn will take a 40 per cent stake in four OMLs, including over 90 shallow-water and onshore platforms and 300 producing wells.

 

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