Oil marketers have urged the Federal Government to fully deregulate the downstream subsector of the oil and gas industry to preserve the country’s dwindling foreign reserves and enhance economic growth.
The marketers said in separate interviews in Lagos last Wednesday that the most pressing reform in the oil and gas sector was total deregulation of its downstream segment.
The marketers said the immediate removal of the fuel subsidy remained the best option to grow the oil sector, saying that over N1.3 trillion was paid on subsidy with little or no benefits to the most vulnerable members of society.
Mr Olufemi Adewole, the Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) urged the government to effect a total deregulation of the downstream sub-sector to attract investments and boost economic growth.
Adewole also urged the government to implement the policy (deregulation); stop the subsidies and ensure sufficient petroleum products and address transportation bottlenecks.
He said all these would address inflation, better the economy and ameliorate the economic uncertainty that characterised the polity.
He urged the government to make consultations on the subject and decide on the ideal approach to achieve deregulation.
He added that oil marketers were very willing to offer expertise and suggest methods that would better the lives of Nigerians, the industry, and the economy at large.
According to him, currently there is partial deregulation of the sub-sector such that government, through the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is the sole importer of petrol.
“NNPC imports petrol at a landing cost of N171 per litre and sells at N145 per litre at filling stations.
“Importation of diesel was deregulated and this has created avenues for marketers to import and sell at competitive prices,” he said.
The DAPPMA scribe emphasised that total deregulation of the downstream of the oil and gas subsector remained the best option to address the lingering fuel scarcity and attract new investors into the industry.
“We have to be ready to accept the reality of total deregulation of the downstream sector. I am sure most of the people truly understand the concept of deregulation.
“If we embark on deregulation today, petrol prices will be different across the country; the price may be significantly high at the early stages, but it will reduce gradually as we move on.
“Petrol prices will fluctuate throughout the year, for example, in December and January prices tend to be a lot higher. This is the case in most countries around the world.
“Why is it that refineries are not working in Africa? It is because governments tend to regulate prices.
“If government embraces full deregulation, the private sector and small scale refineries will work effectively to attract investors and patronage within and outside the country,” Adewole said.
He said full deregulation would also encourage people to build businesses along the value chains.
“You can see that most tank farms are having challenges of non-performing loans with Nigerian banks. A lot of that will change because deregulation will bring in some stability to the downstream sector.
“Deregulation will create opportunities for cost reflective tariffs and attract investors because there will be returns on investments. There are no guarantees that you will get your returns on investments with the current downstream operations,” he said.
Alhaji Debo Ahmed, the chairman, Western Zone of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) also urged the government to consider full deregulation of the value chains of the nation’s petroleum sector.
Ahmed said it was high time Nigeria embraced deregulation in full.
According to him, Nigeria can no longer afford to stifle the growth of the oil sector through regulation, adding that the sector should be opened up for active participation of investors, both local and foreign.
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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