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NNPC Restates Commitment To End Petrol Scarcity

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L-R: Speaker, Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Chief Ogbonna Nwifuru, President,  Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Rev. Ugochukwu Chime and  Ebonyi State Commissioner for Commerce, Mrs Elizabeth Ogbaga, during Ebonyi State Day at the  on-going 27th Enugu International Trade Fair in Enugu on Monday.

L-R: Speaker, Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Chief Ogbonna Nwifuru, President, Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Rev. Ugochukwu Chime and Ebonyi State Commissioner for Commerce, Mrs Elizabeth Ogbaga, during Ebonyi State Day at the on-going 27th Enugu International Trade Fair in Enugu on Monday.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has reassured Nigerians of its commitment to end the persistent fuel scarcity in the country.
This is contained in a statement signed by Mr Garba Deen Muhammed , Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, on Monday in Abuja.
“We wish to re-assure Nigerians that we are on top of the petroleum products supply and distribution situation and we remain committed to eliminating this endemic issue once and for all within the next few days.
“We genuinely empathize with the attendant sufferings and wish to reassure that we are focused and committed to bring an end to this situation within the next few days.
“We kindly call on all Nigerians to partner with us on this journey to allowing the whole process of change come into fruition,” it said.
It said the current administration inherited a huge catalog of issues and problems in the downstream sector not limited to arrears of subsidy payments to oil marketers.
Other issues, it said, included corruption and inefficiencies in the supply and distribution chain, incessant vandalism of pipelines and poor performance of refineries, among others.
It noted that a combination of these issues resulted in most oil majors completely pulling out from the importation business .
This, it said, led to NNPC assuming a near 100 per cent importation obligation without the necessary logistics put in place.
It said the NNPC management had initiated and made progress on various key solutions to providing a lasting end to these issues.
It added that with the firm support of President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly, the debt burden had been reduced since January 1.
“We have been able to eliminate subsidy payments by managing prices at current levels through price modulation.
This has resulted to savings of over N100 billion monthly for the nation.
“Nationwide petroleum supply and distribution have been ramped up to all states to ensure product availability in the country,” it said.
According to the statement, the current supply to states is in excess of the normal consumption especially in the five major consuming cities.
It added that monitoring had been intensified to ensure full compliance with approved prices adding that violations of approved prices and hoarding of petroleum products attracted penalties.
The penalties include giving out of petroleum products free to the public and sealing off fuel stations found to be hoarding petroleum products and payment of a fine.
Others were withdrawal of Marketer’s Licence and penalising any NNPC, DPR, PPPRA or government agent found conniving and wanting in line with public-service guidelines and procedures.
It encouraged the general public to report product hoarders and saboteurs of the change efforts .
“We encourage everyone to shun panic buying and undue return trips as this attitude emboldens marketers to hoard products.
“Supply constraints due to foreign exchange challenges are being resolved through collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria on innovative ways of closing the gaps in accessing foreign exchange,” it said.
The statement noted that the major international upstream oil companies had indicated their willingness to support major oil marketing companies with some of the required foreign exchange.
It added that corporation was pursuing an improved model for ‘crude oil for refined product’ exchange (the Direct Sale – Direct Purchase arrangement).

 

Chris Oluoh

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Traders Protest FG’s Move To Restore Festac Town

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The move by the Federal Government to restore Festac Town in Lagos to its original status has sparked up protest among traders occupying Agboju Amuwo Planks and Building Materials Market.
The traders on Wednesday, protested at the FHA office in Festac Town against the demolition of their market, following the demolition of illegal structures by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) ahead of the restoration. 
The Tide recalls that there was a petition to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, in 2020 about illegal structures that had taken over Festac Town.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the restoration of Festac town organised by FHA, last year, its South-West Zonal Manager, Mr Akintola Olagbemiro, said, “This year, we commenced the restoration of Festac town, following the consent judgement from the court against illegal occupants of Festac land.
“Our action is to save the residents from the insecurity that has taken over the entire Festac town as a result of illegal structures everywhere”.
The chairman of allottees of First Gate to Third Gate, Mr Kole Olatunji, in his remarks at the meeting said the land from First Gate to Third Gate was allocated between 1985 and 1999, noting that with the consent judgment, original owners of the land as allocated should take over their plots.
But the chairman of plank market, Muhammed Bello, protested the seven-day notice given to traders to vacate the place without alternative arrangements.  
Bello said: “How do they expect us to remove our wares in seven days?
“What we want is that they should allow us to remain there and we will pay whatever amount they ask us to pay”.
Speaking in the same vein, the chairman of Cane Chair and Furniture Association, Emmanuel Okoye said: “We need freedom. Let them tell us where they want us to stay. That place was swampy. We filled the place with several millions of Naira which we got as loans.
“We also rely on loans to do our business. Whatever the government wants us to pay; we are ready to pay to remain there. We have been there for 27 years. What we lost to the demolition is over N300 million”.

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Fuel Tanker Explosion Kills Five, Injures Two In Ogun

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No fewer than five persons were on Wednesday burnt to death, while two others sustained first degree of injury in a fuel tanker explosion at Ajilete, along Owode-Idiroko road, in Yewa South local government area of Ogun State.
Eyewitness accounts revealed that a truck bearing 33,000 litres of petroleum product was descending the steep portion of the road when its tank suddenly detached from truck’s body and tumbled to the ground with a bang.
The explosion, the witnesses said, killed five persons on the spot, while two other persons were injured.
The Tide learnt that the seven victims were all residents of the area where the accident occurred.
Confirming the incident, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Commander, Idiroko Unit, Akinwunmi Olaluwoye, said five deaths were recorded in the accident which occurred at about 8.15 am on Wednesday. 
According to him, the remains of the dead had been claimed by their families.
He disclosed that a bus and a motorcycle were also caught in a web of the explosion and razed.
He said, “no vehicle rammed into the tanker. The tank dropped off from the back of the tanker and exploded. The number of persons involved are seven; five dead, two injured.
“The driver had taken away the head of the truck as at the time we got there. But we have allowed the police to take charge and handle that aspect”.

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Travellers To Access $4,000  As CBN Boosts Forex Supplies

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Nigerians travelling abroad can now access a maximum amount of $4,000 foreign exchange from banks following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) announcement to increase forex supplies.
The CBN had said in a recent statement that it had concluded plans to increase the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet legitimate needs.
This followed the warning by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to Deposit Money Banks to desist from denying customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange.
The purposes to access forex included Personal Travel Allowance, Basic Travel Allowance, tuition fees, and medical payments as well as Small and Medium Enterprises transactions or for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment proceeds, the CBN had stated.
Sources from some of the banks said those travelling on business trips could also access a maximum amount of $5,000 for each trip.
At a virtual Bankers’ Committee meeting last week, the bankers discussed how the CBN intended to assist with forex to ensure availability for the upcoming summer period and the return of students to school in September.
The CBN also said the BDCs would continue to have their weekly allocations.
The committee observed that the rates were going up.
It stated, “The CBN has said that all the banks must make availability at all times and anyone who wants to buy BTA, PTA, medical fees, student school fees and all the eligible invisible purchases to ensure that Nigerians are not forced to go and queue in the parallel market.
“So what the Central Bank is doing is to encourage all banks to make sure that there is available forex at all times, and that his information should be communicated on all our platforms.
“We are asking our customers to come to the branches and for BTA, for example, present the required documents, which are basically your international passport, your visa, your valid ticket and fill up the form in the bank.
“And what we have been instructed to do is ensure that we don’t turn anybody back and that we should request from the Central Bank once we exhaust the forex that we have.
“The idea is to have a hitch-free summer period and the resumption for children to go back to school. The idea is to ensure there is less pressure on the forex and then the rates will come down”.
Speaking during the virtual meeting, the Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said, “I think again as part of the Central Bank’s role in terms of price stability and the need to support small and medium enterprises, there was highlight of the need for banks to go and support SMEs who import small raw materials for them to set up their businesses”.
The Managing Director, Ecobank, Patrick Akinwuntan, said, “All banks are available to ensure forex need is met.”
Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, said the CBN had provided sufficient foreign exchange to meet the needs of all legitimate Nigerian travellers and therefore, the idea of going to any other market should not arise at all.

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