The Federal Government has said it would further review its pricing template for petrol with the aim of removing several multi-layered charges and costs that affect the pump price of petrol at service stations across the country.
The government also said it would continue to work with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to find ways of providing subsidised foreign exchange interventions for oil marketers in the country.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, stated at the weekend in a podcast he shared in his social media accounts. The podcast, obtained by newsmen, was centred on the challenges of the country’s downstream petroleum sector and the government’s plans to overcome them.
Kachikwu stated in the podcast that, at the moment, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was importing almost all the petrol used in the country, a responsibility he stated the corporation was undertaking at a huge cost.
According to him, marketers in the country were no longer importing petroleum products because of the unfavourable business fundamentals which had been influenced by the rising prices of crude oil.
“Downstream continues to be an area that has numerous challenges, that is why throwing ideas on them will continue to be something that any minister or chief executive of NNPC will continue to focus on,” said Kachikwu.
He further stated: “The environment has since changed, when we did all these, pricing for crude was more in the $25 to $30 per barrel, today it is in excess of $54, which is fantastic because it means that our revenue stream is improving.
“But, it is a twin window, whenever the price of crude goes up, obviously the price of refined petrol goes up and we begin to have systemic challenge in terms of the pricing on the local base, so that gap has begun to return and today what you find is that the NNPC continues to import massively on behalf of the Federal Government. It has gone back to about 90-95 per cent for the whole country and therefore its books are absorbing some of the cost implications of this.”
According to him: “The second is that once this happens the marketers begin to shift backwards, participation by individual marketers to help us continue the normal business and marketing cycle that should be what you expect is no longer existing. Most of them are not importing.”
Speaking on plans to stem the development, Kachikwu stated: “One of the things we are doing is that we are looking at our existing templating position, and what we are doing with that is first addressing some of the soft end of things that affect pricing.
“We are removing too many multi-layered charges on importation, we are working with the ministry of transport to reduce those to what was initially approve by the president, and as such, we should take away a good chunk of the expenses. We are working to see how the CBN can provide us with a fairly subsidised FX for products priced in dollars.”
Though he did not expressly disclose this, the minister however, hinted that the government might begin to wind down the operations of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) and transfer its bridging responsibilities to oil marketers.
According to him, “We are trying to see how over a period of time, marketers will take over the PEF responsibilities of funding trucking and keeping prices stable across the country.”
He said in the long run, the NNPC would have to reduce its presence in the country’s petroleum downstream sector because of the cost on its books. The corporation, he noted, would have to begin to operate as a profit entity.
Speaking on product availability in the country, Kachikwu assured that, “There isn’t fuel scarcity, we are not short of products, but yet the downstream and midstream sectors continue to remain challenged. And what we are going to do is to analyse what we have done so far and begin to throw solutions to some of these challenges.”
He also explained that since the introduction of pricing modulation, the country has been able to drop its daily products consumption from about 50 million litres to 37 million litres.
“We had issues of pricing efficiency and governance, for at that time the prices we were selling at were so ridiculously below what the sustainable prices are. And you find a situation where basically marketers disappeared from the industry. So, we had massive shortages, queues and everything seem to be breaking down. We’ve since come out from that.
“First we’ve moved from a fully subsidy-based sector to a partially liberalised sector. I say partially because we haven’t quite achieved the template to have a fully liberalised sector. What that has done for us is that it had reduced consumption from 50 million litres to 37 million litres a day,” he stated.
UBEC, RSUBEB Begin Digital School Construction In Rivers
As part of government’s efforts to realize its dream of making the nation’s educational system a global digital community, the Federal Government, through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), have commenced the construction of a modern digital Smart Basic School in the state, with 14-month completion schedule.
The school, which is a pilot modern basic education facility, is designed by UBEC in collaboration with RSUBEB to entrench digitization of ICT-driven basic education system across the 36 states and FCT, Abuja.
Speaking with journalists at a brief handover ceremony of the proposed smart school site to UBEC by RSUBEB at the Community Primary School, Uzuoba in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state, over the weekend, the National Consultant, UBEC Smart School Project, Prof Masud Abdulkarim, said the school was designed to incorporate digital technology into the basic education system in the country, which he said, has been in practice in advanced countries for years.
Abdulkarim stated that the desire of the Federal Government was to ensure that Nigerian children were not left out in the digital space, saying that the school would have great impact on the youth and give them equal opportunity to compete globally in the technology world.
He described the school as the first of its kind in the history of the country, adding that the school would have four categories that would take care of the nursery, handicapped, primary as well as junior secondary students with a maximum of 35 persons per class of two streams.
Abdulkarim noted that with the strategy, no fewer than 700 children would be enrolled into the school.
According to him, the school would afford the children the opportunity to become robotic engineers, artificial intelligence (AI) engineers and ICT engineers, and added that as future leaders, they need to be equipped and encouraged.
The UBEC consultant commended the state government for the provision of the school for the construction of the smart school, and described the site as the most suitable across the 23 states so far visited.
“Let me thank the RSUBEB for the site, in fact, it is the best and most suitable site among the 23 states we have so far visited. Because it has an existing school structure with a fence to protect our equipment and infrastructure. Moreso, the project will impact on the schools around because they will benefit from our Wi-Fi”, he stated.
Abdulkarim called on the host community to jealously guard the project as a growing child, till its maturity to adult stage, saying that they were important stakeholders in the project.
Also speaking on behalf of the Chairman of Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), Ven Fyneface Akah, a commissioner in the board, Chief Faith Amaso, called for synergy between the contractors and host community in other to remove every impediment that may affect the delivery of the project on schedule.
Akah opined that the project, when completed, would improve basic education in the state, and expressed happiness over the commencement of the project in the state.
Rivers United Beat Young Africans Of Tanzania 1-0
Rivers United Football Club of Port Harcourt, yesterday, at the Adokiye Amasiemaka Football Stadium, trounced the Young Africans Football Club of Tanzania 1-0 in a return leg match of the ongoing Confederation of African Football Club Champions League competition.
The stadium, which was filled to capacity, witnessed a trilling encounter, which saw the crowd craving for more.
It would be recalled that Rivers United had defeated the Young Africans of Tanzania 1-0 in the first leg of the championship at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, last Sunday.
Reacting to the feat, the Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Michael John Williams, expressed joy over the victory of the Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt against the Young Africans of Tanzania in the ongoing Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.
The match, which ended 1-0 in favour of the Rivers United FC, took place at the Adokiye Amiesimaka International Stadium in Rivers State, yesterday.
Top government officials in the state, including Rivers Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; LG council chairmen and commissioners, amongst other sports enthusiasts, graced the event.
Speaking on the outcome of the match, Williams stated that the Rivers United players exhibited the Rivers team spirit, which culminated in their victory.
The political heavyweight in Degema LGA, noted that nothing would be impossible for Rivers people to achieve when they work together in unison and firm determination.
He added that the massive support and huge investment in the sports sector by the Governor Nyesom Wike administration, also motivated the Rivers team, who worked hard to secure a back-to-back victory.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
NJC Okays Six Chief Judges, 30 Others For Appointment
The National Judicial Council (NJC), has recommended the appointment of chief judges and 30 others as judicial officers to beef up judicial functions in some states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
At its 95th meeting held on September 15 and 16, 2021, the council considered the list of candidates presented by its Interview Committee, and recommended the 36 successful candidates to their respective state governors for appointment as heads of courts and other judicial officers in Nigeria.
They are Hon. Justice Richard O. Olorunfemi as chief judge, Kogi State, Hon. Justice Joe Itsebaga Acha for Edo, Hon. Justice Akintoroye Williams Akin for Ondo, Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf for FCT, Hon. Justice Ekaette Francesca Fabian-Obot for Akwa Ibom, and Hon. Justice J. O. Adeyeye for Ekiti State.
Others are Hon. Kadi Baba Gana Mahdi as Grand Kadi, Yobe; Umaru Ahmad Liman as Grand Kadi, Bauchi; Hon. Justice Osagede Osado Emmanuel as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Nasarawa; Hon. Justice Mashud Akintunde Akinfemi Abass as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Oyo State; and Siyaka Momoh Jimoh Usman as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Kogi State.
Three judges are recommended for High Court of Gombe, and they are Zainab Abdulkadir Rasheed, Abdussalam Muhammad, and Daurabo Suleiman Sikka.
Akwa Ibom has Effiong Asukwo Effiong; Bauchi has Nana Fatima Jibril; while Kaduna High Court has Abdulkarim Mahmud.
The three candidates recommended for Katsina State are Kabir Shuaibu, Ibrahim Ishaku Mashi, and Ibrahim Abubakar Mande, while Prof Alero Akeredolu was recommended for Ondo State.
Four successful candidates for Oyo State are Olusola Adebisi Adetujoye, Folabimpe Beatrice Segun Olakojo, Prof Taiwo Elijah Adewale, and Kareem Adeyimika Adedokun.
Kogi State has three candidates, and they are Abubakar Sule Ibrahim, Abdullah Sulyman, as well as Aminu Ali Eri.
Two Kadis for Sharia Court of Appeal are Adamu Kuna Jibril and Ahmed Baba Bala, while the four for Bauchi are Musa Sani Abubakar, Mahdi Manga, Khamis Al-Hamidallah Muhammad and Sani Musa with Ondo State having one in the person of Orimisan James Okorisa and Oyo Customary Court of Appeal having Ajadi Olubukola Omolayo.
A statement by the NJC Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, and released in Abuja, yesterday, said that all the recommended candidates are expected to be sworn-in after approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, and their respective state governors, and confirmation by the respective state Houses of Assembly.
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