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‘Deregulate Downstream Sector To Ease Scarcity’

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Some stakeholders in the oil and gas sector have urged Federal Government to deregulate downstream sector to save the country from frequent fuel scarcity embarrassment during the yuletide period.
They gave the advive in separate interviews with newsmen on Sunday in Lagos against the backdrop of the lingering fuel scarcity in the country.
Chairman, South-West zone of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Alhaji Debo Ahmed, said that the only way to ease the continuous fuel scarcity experienced during December seasons was to fully deregulate the sector to enable marketers to import and sell at profitable price.
Ahmed claimed that government could no longer meet up with petrol allocation distribution to depots within the western zone, adding that most depots hardly received 10 trucks from government against 150 trucks.
According to him, deregulation would have been the best option to address the scarcity; it will ease government from continuous struggling to meet the country’s daily consumption during the yuletide period.
The IPMAN boss said that government should also ensure that the refineries worked at full capacity.
According to him, it is only NNPC that is bringing products because currently no marketers are importing petrol because the landing cost is higher than selling price.
“If the sector is fully deregulated, many marketers will import petrol and sell at actual market price and also save government from paying subsidy.
“Before now, diesel used to be very scarce and challenging but since it has been deregulated, every marketer brings it and sells at competitive price,’’ he said.
Alhaji Dele Tajudeen, immediate past Chairman, Mosinmi depot, said that petrol scarcity might linger for sometime in the country if government failed to deregulate the sector to allow other marketers to import and sell at market prevailing price.
Tajudeen alleged that inability of marketers to import the product caused current scarcity, adding that no marketer could import petrol when the landing cost was higher than the selling cost.
sell to us.
“We cannot import because no marketer can import at that big margin.
“We also noticed a supply gap in what they brought in. It was not enough at a particular time and the result is what we are seeing today,” Adewole said.
Adewole said deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry remained the best option to move the economy forward.
He said it would bring in investments into the sector, adding that only deregulation would encourage the establishment of private refineries in the country.
According to him, the government should summon the courage to fully deregulate and remove subsidy or embark on continuous subsidy regime payment when due.
“If government likes, it can introduce gradual removal of subsidy but it should not go beyond 6 to 18 months period.
“If fully deregulated with rules, you will have the serious investors coming in to invest adequately,” he said.
According to him, deregulation is the answer and the government should talk to the people and let them understand the advantages.
The executive secretary also said that the foreign exchange element affected the business.

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Estate Surveyors Reject Housing Deficit Report

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The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) has disagreed with the report of housing deficit in Nigeria, insisting that there is no proof to justify the report.
The institution also corroborated the assertion of the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, that Nigeria does not have a 17 million housing deficit.
A recent report had indicated that there are 17 million housing deficit in Nigeria. 
President of NIESV, Emma OkasWike, who faulted the report in an interaction with newsmen, Monday, said the body was in full agreement with the minister’s statement and position on the matter. 
“We are in total agreement with the minister on the unreliability of the 17 million housing deficit being brandished in Nigeria for lacking scientific proof.
“We are using this opportunity to reaffirm the importance of data bank and our commitment to the provision of a property data bank for all state capitals and major cities in Nigeria”, NIESV president said.
Wike, however, agreed that there are more demands in housing sector due to mass movement from rural areas to urban centres, adding that when demand exceeds supply, there will be scarcity. 
He said that the solution to the problem lies in having accurate data of empty houses in the cities, which could assist in further planning.
The NIESV president hinted that his institution had been challenged to come up with accurate data on the housing issue, pointing out that such data would help solving the housing problem.
“We have laws in this country, and law is not the problem; it is not enough to say repeal the law, but the implementation is the problem.
“The communities fighting over land, resulted in enacting the Land Use Act, and every section of the Land Use Act has been interpreted by the Supreme Court. The administration of the law is the problem we have in this country, but not the law perse”, he said.

By: Corlins Walter

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FG To Shut Ikorodu Terminal Over Explosive Overtime Cargoes

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Strong indications have emerged that the Federal Government may shut down the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal in Lagos over the recent alarm raised by the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) on some explosive overtime cargoes.
Members of the Governing Board, NPA, had recently expressed worries over some overtime cargoes that have been abandoned for over 44 years at the facility, even as they called on management of the Nigeria Customs Service to expedite actions to evacuate some of the detained consignments.
Speaking with our correspondent recently on the next line of actions by the NPA Board in furtherance to the evacuation of the dangerous cargoes, one of the board members, Hon. Ghazali Mohammed Mijinyawa, said government might shut down the facility due to high risk involved.
The board member reiterated that the explosive cargoes pose serious threat to the facility and the nation, adding that it would be wise for government to shut down the terminal and give rooms for the evacuation of such items.
According to him, the executive board of NPA will hold a retreat to determine the next line of actions on Ikorodu Lighter Terminal in Lagos.
“The executive management would have a retreat and I wouldn’t tell you what the retreat is all about but in two weeks time, we are going to shut the port terminal at Ikorodu and that is what we are going to do”, he reaffirmed.
On the issue of revoking the licenses of some terminal operators,  Mijinyawa said plans were afoot to review the port concession agreement in order to be fair to all parties involved in the process of renewal.
Mijinyawa who is also the chairman, Seaport Concession, NPA, pointed out that the terminal operators had testified that NPA was committed to the concession agreement and would further ensure fair play to all parties involved in the renewal process.
He said, “We have to sit down and have a review of everything and of course if there are those worthy of renewal we just have to give them that opportunity but for the ones that have defaulted, it is better you find out why they default before any necessary actions because you just have to strike a balance.
“It’s not a matter of I am not going to renew the agreement but to find out why are they not functioning properly. Is it because of the Covid? Is it the NPA defaulting? Is it them defaulting? So, you just have to go through the documents and see for yourself before you make a judgment of that; so that we can be fair to all parties”.
 According to him, the terminal operators appreciated the efforts of the NPA on the working relationship between stakeholders as against the backdrop of port operations since 2006.

By: NkpemenyieMcdominic, Lagos

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CBN Not Supporting Solid Minerals Dev  – Minister

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The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, DrUche Ogah, has alleged that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not been supporting the development of the mines and solid mineral sector in the country. 
The minister made the allegation at a two-day public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy.
The forum was aimed at getting inputs of stakeholders to the contents of four bills on how to achieve rapid development of the solid minerals sector.
The bills are Nigerian Minerals Development Corporation Establishment Bill 2021, Solid Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission Establishment Bill 2021, Institute of Bitumen Management Establishment Bill 2021, and the Explosive Act 1964 Repeal and Re-enactment Bill 2021.
The panel is also expected to investigate the loss of $9 billion annually due to illegal mining and smuggling of gold.
Ogah said, “It is unfortunate that the Central Bank of Nigeria did not believe in us. If they believe in us, if they support us the way they are supporting agriculture, we will do wonders for this country.
“This is one ministry that is untapped, that is unknown, that can change the landscape of our revenue.”
The minister said there was need to support research for growth of the sector.
According to him, “Equally, we need to ask the Ministry of Finance to speed up the export policy on solid minerals because that is the only way to have operators into the sector”.
Ogah urged citizens to be involved in checking the activities of intruders in the mining sub-sector.

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