Fynecounrty is a 60-year-old woman who depends solely on kerosene for her daily cooking.
She is grateful to the Federal Government for initiating the Kero-Correct programme that slashed the cost of kerosene from over N100 per litre to N50 per litre.
Fynecountry was all smiles when she bought 25 litres of kerosene at the NNPC Mega Station in Port Harcourt at N50 per litre, as she insisted that she had never bought the fuel at such a low price in the last five years.
“I am grateful to the Federal Government for this initiative; it has helped me and other mothers who depend solely on kerosene to cook for our families. At least, these 25 litres of kerosene I bought at a cheap rate will last for a long time.
“I commend the government and wish that it continues, as kerosene will directly get to several communities at a cheap rate,’’ she said.
Similarly, a 48-year-old trader and mother of five, Mrs Fortune Abang, also benefitted from the Kero-Correct programme.
“I have been buying kerosene for between N130 and N140 per litre for more than one year and it appears there will be no end to the high price.
“However, the Kero-Correct programme has really saved me and many families from the big burden of looking for kerosene and buying it at a high price.
“I thank the Federal Government for initiating the programme. Many families, especially people at the grassroots, can now afford to buy kerosene at a cheap price and use it for their daily cooking.
“Kerosene is the cheapest domestic fuel used by many families in Nigeria for their daily cooking.
“At times, when my children return from school, they advise me to desist from using firewood because their teachers told them that continuous falling of trees provokes deforestation.
“For me and other families that cannot afford the high cost of kerosene, we had to resort to using firewood for our daily cooking. But thank God, the price of kerosene has been reduced through the Kero-Correct programme,’’ she said.
The South-South Zonal Coordinator of the Kero-Correct programme, Mrs Edith Johnson, said: “The exercise is aimed at bringing kerosene at the regulated price to all nooks and crannies of the country in a three month-campaign.
“The main purpose of the campaign is to force down the price of kerosene and ensure its distribution to every household in the country at the rate of N50 per litre and 25 litres per individual,’’ she said.
Explaining the programme’s processes in the three-month campaign, Johnson said: “Under the campaign, the NNPC is to distribute 1,500 tankers of kerosene to 37 NNPC mega stations, 12 floating stations and 524 NNPC affiliate stations.
“The product will be distributed transparently to the right customers and some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been nominated to monitor the process,’’ she said.
Mr Anthony Egbuche, the team leader of the 25 NGOs which are collaborating with the NNPC on the Kero-Correct programme, said that the programme was basically aimed at getting the product to the final users in a hitch-free manner.
“The aim is to enable the ordinary people to buy kerosene at N50 per litre and we will monitor the programme strictly so as to ensure that the end users actually get the product,’’ he said.
Egbuche said that the NGOs would remain at the various centres to ensure that the masses actually benefitted from the programme.
However, a Port Harcourt-based historian, Mr Ajomiwe Ezuma, said that kerosene sales at a cheap rate to Nigerians would surely alleviate the sufferings of many persons and homes.
“You will recall that the search for kerosene had brought untold hardship to many families, particularly those who suffered explosions caused by fake or adulterated kerosene.
“The present exercise by government is a step in the right direction, and we hope that it will be continuous so as to make kerosene available to all households, especially those in rural communities,’’ he said.
Johnson said after the three months of the Kero-Correct programme, an impact assessment survey of the scheme would be carried out to determine the government’s next line of action.
Egbuche stressed that in three months’ time, many homes would have access to kerosene procured at the regulated price, adding that if the government decided to extend the programme, the price of kerosene would crash and Nigerians would be better off for it.
All the same, Johnson urged Nigerians to endeavour to buy kerosene from NNPC mega stations and affiliate stations.
“This campaign is borne out of the federal government’s desire to supply kerosene to the people who really need it, so as to reduce the level of hardship associated with efforts to procure the product in Nigeria,’’ she said.
Mbonye is of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Lawmakers Want CBN To Halt Naira Devaluation
The House of Representatives has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to urgently put in place a policy to check further devaluation of the naira to the United States dollar and other international legal tenders.
The House decried that while the Nigerian currency was losing value, others in Africa were appreciating.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the House unanimously adopted a motion moved by the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Pensions, Mr Bamidele Salam, which warned the CBN of the implications of further devaluing the naira.
The motion was titled, ‘Matter of urgent public importance on the need for the Central Bank of Nigeria to urgently put in place monetary policies to stop the free fall of the naira against the dollar and other international legal tenders’.
Salam recalled that the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, while addressing the Bankers’ Committee at a summit on the economy in Lagos earlier in February, informed the committee about the naira devaluation against the dollar.
The lawmaker also quoted Emefiele as saying at the summit that the official exchange rate stood at N410 to the dollar.
“That is 7.6 per cent weaker than the rate of N379 published on the central bank’s website,” Salam noted.
According to the lawmaker, while the value of the naira relative to the dollar had declined by nine per cent in the last six months, the South African rand and Ghanaian cedi had appreciated by 11.4 per cent and one per cent, respectively.
Salam also recalled that the CBN adopted multiple exchange rates in 2020, in a bid to avoid an outright devaluation.
He noted that the official rate used as a basis for budget preparation and other official transactions differed from a closely controlled exchange rate for investors and exporters known as the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Rate Fixing Methodology.
He stressed that the naira had traded in a tight range between N400 and N410, while the NAFEX rate was different from the parallel market, considered illegal by the CBN, where the naira closed at 502.
Salam said, “The House is concerned that devaluation is likely to cause inflation because imports will be more expensive any imported goods or raw material will increase in price; aggregate demand increases, causing demand-pull inflation. Firms/exporters have less incentive to cut costs because they can rely on the devaluation to improve competitiveness.
”The concern is that the long-term devaluation may lead to lower productivity because of the decline in incentives.
”The House is further concerned that devaluation of the naira makes it more difficult for Nigerian youths especially in the IT sector, whose businesses are online and must necessarily transact businesses in the US dollars.
“It also reduces real wages. In a period of low wage growth, a devaluation that causes rising import prices will make consumers feel worse off “.
Four West African Countries To Buy Nigeria’s Unutilised Electricity
Four West African countries, Niger, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso, are collaborating to buy the unutilised power produced in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the Executive Board of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), Sule Abdulaziz, disclosed this at the WAPP meeting on the North core project in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Abdulaziz, who is also the acting Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), said the four countries were collaborating to make the power purchase from Nigeria through the North core Power Transmission Line currently being built.
He explained, “The power we will be selling is the power that is not needed in Nigeria.
“The electricity generators that are going to supply power to this transmission line are going to generate that power specifically for this project. So, it is unutilised power”.
He said Nigeria was expecting new generators to participate in the energy export for the 875km 330KV Northcore transmission line from Nigeria through Niger, Togo, Benin to Burkina Faso.
Abdulaziz said, “In addition, there are some communities that are under the line route, about 611 of them, which will be getting power so that there won’t be just a transmission line passing without impact”.
The WAPP chairman noted that the project, funded by World Bank, French Development Council and the African Development Bank, had recorded progress, adding that the energy ministers would be addressing security issues for the project at another meeting in Abuja.
He said, “Nigeria has the greatest advantage among these countries because the electricity is going to be exported from Nigerian Gencos (generation companies).
“So, from that, the revenue is going to be enhanced and a lot of people will be employed in Nigeria”.
The Secretary-General, WAPP, Siengui Appolinaire-Ki, said the cost of the project was about $570 million, adding that part of the investment in each country would be funded by that particular nation.
According to him, the countries in the partnership, including Nigeria, are also being supported by donors.
He said the funding agreement was ready as partner countries were awaiting the disbursements.
Appolinaire-Ki, however, said the donor agencies had said they needed a Power Purchase Agreement between the buying and the selling countries to be executed before releasing the fund.
Reps Probe N275bn Agric Loans Under Yar’Adua, Jonathan, Buhari
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the disbursement of loans and credit facilities by the Federal Government in the agriculture sector since 2009.
The period under review covers the administrations of the late Umaru Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan as well as the present President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The resolution was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Chike Okafor at the plenary last Wednesday, titled ‘Need to investigate disbursements of all agricultural loans/credit facilities to farmers from 2009 to date to enhance national food security’.
Okafor said, from 2009 to date, the Federal Government had approved the disbursement of funds to farmers in various schemes to the tune of over N275billion, ranging from Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme to the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, to help farmers improve agricultural production and guarantee food security in Nigeria.
The lawmaker also noted that apart from increasing food supply, the schemes were to grant agricultural loans to large and small-scale commercial farmers to lower the prices of agricultural produce, generate employment and increase foreign exchange earnings.
He said, “The House is aware that since the approval, most farmers have not been able to access the loans due to stringent requirements being demanded by banks from prospective borrowers and the alleged siphoning of over N105billion meant for farmers by management of NIRSAL.
“The House is concerned that food production has not attained the expected level, despite the approval of over N275billion facilities to farmers.
“The House is worried that the projected diversification of the economy from oil production to agricultural production and increase in agricultural output, food supply and promoting low food inflation will not be achieved if farmers are unable to access loans meant to increase agricultural production”.
Adopting the motion, the House resolved to mandate the Committee on Banking and Currency to “investigate disbursements and compliance of all agricultural loans/credit facilities to farmers from 2009 to date to enhance national food security in the country”.
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