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Amidst Panic Buying, Experts Urge Nigerians To Buy Basic Needs

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For fear of possible lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, Ibadan residents, in Oyo State, yesterday, trooped to markets in the metropolis to stock up foodstuffs.
Our source, who monitored some major markets in Ibadan, reported that people were seen in large numbers buying foodstuffs and other basic necessities.
Most sellers jettisoned the safety protocols and were going about their businesses.
At Bodija and Oja Oba markets in Ibadan, only a few buyers were seen with nose masks and hand gloves, while some park managers were seen making use of hand sanitisers, as they ensured that cars were parked at the markets’ car parks.
While some buyers complained of increased prices of some items, sellers were cashing in on the situation to make brisk business.
One of the buyers, Mrs Moradeyo Hamzat, said only a few food items had their prices hiked.
“A measure of ‘Garri Oyo’ is now being sold for N180 as against N130 that it used to be, while yam that used to sell for N1,500 is now N2,500.
“I also noticed that the price of rice, both local and foreign, and those of vegetable oil did not change,” she said.
Also, Ms Adeola Adedigba, said she was in the market to stock up, as she did not want to be caught in the web of the government declaring total lockdown.
She stated that the prices of pepper and tomatoes had doubled, adding that there had been over 50 per cent increase on some other food items.
“I can only wish for things to get better, as many people do not have money to stock their homes at this time,” Adedigba said.
A seller at Bodija market, Mrs Aminat Bamgbose, said there had been a 20 to 30 per cent increase in prices of foodstuffs, while demand had jumped up to 50 per cent.
She stated that only a few sellers in the market were following safety protocols, such as covering of noses with nose masks and using hand sanitisers.
A yam seller, Mrs Aina Oriowo, said it was not their intention to increase the price of their goods but that the demand was getting higher than the supply.
Oriowo noted that sellers also paid cut-throat prices to purchase goods, as middlemen were scared of the situation and were bent on making quick gains.
Another seller, Alhaja Monsurat Anisere, said that the goods they bought were equally expensive, adding that by the time other costs were added, the selling price would have to slightly increase.
She debunked the insinuations that sellers were taking advantage of the buyers at this time.
When asked why sellers at Bodija markets were not adhering to safety protocols, she said that the virus was not for the common man.
Some economic experts have cautioned Nigerians to only spend their money on buying their basic needs.
A financial expert, Mrs Lolade Adesola, said since no one knew how long the situation would last, people should be smart in their spending at this time.
“Let’s be indoors and find ways to block all leakages and wastage of money because it might affect employers of labour in the long run, if the situation persists.
“The private sector may want to downsize if the situation worsens. So people should conserve whatever amount they have now,” Adesola said.
Also, an economist, Mr Raji Rasaki, said Nigerians should prioritise their needs and look inward.
“The common man should rely less on imported food, because, in the past, the food we consumed majorly were being produced in the country.
“Let’s look inward at what we can do that will fetch us something in the nearest future, like going back to subsistence farming.
“Let’s start planting what we can eat so that our reliance on foreign goods will reduce to the barest minimum,” Rasaki said.

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COVID-19: Wike Slams Curfew On Parts Of State Capital …Suspends Obio/Akpor Council Chairman , Deputy … Grants Waivers To Categories Of Professionals

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Following the violation of the market closure order, the Rivers State Government has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on Obiri-Ikwerre Junction (Ozuoba, Rumualogu) to Choba and from Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City local government areas.
In a broadcast, yesterday, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike said that the State Security Council reached the decision after it monitored compliance with the state government’s directive.
He said: “With effect from Tuesday, March 31, 2020, there will be a dusk-to-dawn curfew from Obiri-Ikwerre Junction (Ozuoba, Rumualogu) to Choba and from Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction, Ikwerre Road.
“All beer parlours and public drinking joints are hereby closed because they have suddenly become an extension of night clubs that were earlier shut down.
“Any beer parlour or public drinking joint found to be open shall be acquired by the state government.
“All landlords are advised to warn their tenants who use their property as beer parlours or public drinking joints to adhere to this directive.
“Traditional rulers, youth leaders and Community Development Committees are to ensure that beer parlours and public drinking joints in their areas remain closed.”
The Rivers State governor charged traditional rulers, youth leaders and Community Development Committees to ensure that all beer parlours remain closed.
He added: “Any traditional ruler who allows markets to be open in his domain will be deposed.
“Government is investigating the illegal operation of markets at night at Woji and Elelenwo communities. Further violation by residents of these two communities will attract declaration of curfew.”
Wike said further violation of the directive for markets to remain closed will attract a state-wide curfew.
The Rivers State governor announced waivers to different categories of persons in view of the directive of the state government.
They include: Medical and pharmaceutical personnel, food and beverages, essential oil and gas staff, petroleum products and media workers and newspaper distributors. All these categories of staff must identify themselves with valid identity cards.
The governor declared: “My Dear Good People of Rivers State, based on suggestions by well-meaning Rivers people, government is looking into the setting up of food markets across the state.”
The Rivers State governor announced the immediate suspension of the council chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area and his deputy for failing to implement the state government’s directive on the closure of markets.
He said: “Let me reiterate that this government will continue to do what is right no matter who is involved. As you are all aware, no conventional war has grounded global life and economy like Coronavirus has done.
“Everybody is affected. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to defeat Coronavirus. I want to sincerely express my heartfelt gratitude to our health professionals on the frontline of this fight. Let me also thank all the security agencies, individuals and organisations who are collaborating with us to make Rivers State safe.
“I am confident that with our collective resolve, our dear state will contain the spread of this virus.”

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Nigeria Earned $32.6bn From Oil, Gas In 2018 -NEITI

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Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), yesterday, disclosed that Nigeria earned a total of $32.63 billion from the oil and gas sector in 2018, a 55 per cent increase on the $20.99 billion recorded from the sector in 2017.
In a statement on the release of the 2018 oil and gas industry audit, NEITI also announced plans to release the 2019 audit report this year, effectively clearing the backlogs of the audits of the extractive sector and making the reports more timely and relevant.
Giving a breakdown of the $32.63 billion earned in 2018, NEITI stated that company-level financial flows into government coffers were $16.6 billion, while flows from sales of federation crude oil and gas accounted for $16.billion.
It said, “A five-year trend analysis of the earnings from the extractive sector showed a 54.6% drop from $54.6 billion in 2014 to $24.8 billion in 2015. The earnings further dropped by 31.2% to $17.05billion in 2016, but increased by 23% to $20.99 billion in 2017 and by 55% to $32.63 billion in 2018.
“Though the last two years bucked the trend of persisted decrease since 2014, the revenues from the sector in 2018 were still a staggering 40% below the $54.6 billion earned in 2014 when oil prices commenced a precipitous fall.
“The NEITI 2018 audit reconciled payments by seventy-one companies and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) that met the materiality threshold set for the exercise. A total of eight government entities were also covered by the audit.
“Out of the $32.63 billion earned from the sector in 2018, the sum of $19.92 billion was transferred directly into the Federation Account, while $5.21 billion and $4.04 billion were transferred into the Joint Venture (JV) Cash Call Account and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) designated accounts respectively.
“The NNPC designated accounts are the Naira and dollar accounts where domestic crude sales and the federation equity, royalty, petroleum profit tax and in-kind oil sales are paid into respectively before remittance to the Federation Account.
The report further disclosed that “$2.10billion was transferred into third parties project financing accounts and $1.37billion were recorded as subnational transfers.”
On production, NEITI stated that the total crude oil production in the country within the period under review was put at 701 million barrels, representing a slight increase of 1.5% when compared to 690 million barrels produced in 2017.
Giving a breakdown of crude oil production, NEITI disclosed that Joint Ventures (JVs) contributed highest production of 315 million barrels, followed by Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) which recorded 270.610 million barrels.
In addition, it noted that other funding arrangements like Sole Risk (SR), Marginal Fields (MF) and Service Contracts (SC) accounted for 92.2 million barrels, 22 million barrels, and 1.3 million barrels respectively.
NEITI said, “JV companies’ production increased by 3.12% in 2018 compared to 2017, while PSC operators’ production decreased by 10.90%. Similarly, SR operators’ production increased by 58.72% in 2018 compared to 2017. Production from the SC decreased by 10.27% while production from MF operators increased marginally by 1.18%.”
NEITI further disclosed that total crude oil lifted for both export and domestic sales in 2018 was 701 million barrels, representing a 1.9% increase when compared with total liftings of 688.3 million barrels in 2017.
In its analysis of the total lifting in 2018, NEITI stated that 255.6 million barrels or 36% was lifted by NNPC on behalf of the Federation, while companies lifted 445.5 million barrels or 64% of total liftings.
It said, “The liftings by NNPC indicates an increase of 5.95% when compared to 241 million barrels lifted in 2017. Further analysis showed that out of 255.6 million barrels lifted by NNPC in 2018, actual sales were 255.3 million barrels valued at $18.2 billion.
“Out of the 255.6 million barrels lifted on behalf of the Federation by NNPC, a total of 107.63million barrels was recorded as Domestic Crude Allocation (DCA) in 2018. Out of this figure, 94 million barrels or 87% of the DCA were utilized for Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP), while the balance of 13.58 million barrels or 13% was delivered to the refineries.
“Ordinarily, 160.2 million barrels (or 445, 000 barrels per day) should have been allocated for domestic consumption but only 107.63 million barrels or 67% of the customary allocation for domestic consumption was allocated in 2018.
“The sum of N2.295 trillion was realized as proceeds from sales of domestic crude oil allocation in 2018, out of which the following deductions were made: N722.3billion for under – recovery of imported petroleum products, N28.3 billion for crude and product losses and N138.95billion for pipeline repairs and maintenance cost.
“In 2018, total crude oil losses due to theft and sabotage was 53.28million barrels, an increase of 46.15% when compared to 16.824million barrels recorded in 2017”.
Similarly, the report put total products losses in 2018, due to pipeline breakages at 204,397.07 cubic meters.
“On gas production, the NEITI 2018 oil and gas report revealed that the total gas production for the year under review was 2,909,143.69mmscf, while total gas utilization was 2,909,143.55 mmscf.
“From the report, $307.20 million was realized from the sales of Federation gas of 633.55thousand metric tons in 2018. This represents increase of 7.10% when compared to 721.80thousand metric ton valued at $286, 85 million realized in 2017.
“The national gas reserve stood at 200.79tcf as at end of 2018. This is made up of 101.98 tcf of Associated Gas (AG) and 98.81 tcf of Non-Associated Gas (NAG). With the 2018 annual gas production quantity, the gas Reserves Life Index (RLI) was estimated at 92 years”, the report disclosed.”
On management of Joint Venture Cash Call, the report disclosed that aggregate cash call funding for 2018 amounted to $5.98billion.
In addition, the report noted that: “outstanding Cash Call Liabilities amounted to $3.66billion, comprising $3.41billion (93%) legacy liabilities and US$260million (7%) performance balance payable to JV operators”. Another feature of the oil and gas report is on social expenditure.
“Total social expenditure (mandatory and voluntary expenditures) was $902.67million. This consists of voluntary contribution of $59.27million (6.57%) while mandatory contribution stood at $843.39million (93.40%)”.
The mandatory contribution was made up of NDDC’s 3% levy of $683.38million and NCDMB’s 1% levy of $160.01million. Oil and gas industry contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018 was put at 7.8%.
“The flows in the industry accounted for $32.64billion in absolute terms. This represents 7.8% of the total GDP Current Basic Price of ($ 418.12billion)”.

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Lagos Discharges Five Coronavirus Patients

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Lagos State Government yesterday discharged five coronavirus patients at Infectious Disease Centre, Yaba Mainland Hospital.
This brings to eight the total number of discharged patients from the centre.
The patients, who had been quarantined at the isolation centre for weeks, looked stable and unruffled.
Although, the discharged patients preferred annonimity, they expressed joy and satisfaction over the treatment they received.
While thanking the State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his support and proactiveness, they pleaded that the workers at the Centre should be given life insurance.
While speaking to reporters, one of the patients said: “I came in here on the 15th and after the test showed positive, I was asked to come back the next day. So I was admitted here.
“Initially, there were hitches but it later turned out fine. The health workers did fine, all our challenges were attended to. I’m a living witness together with my other colleagues.”
He gave an impressive hope, saying people should not panic as the virus could be defeated.
“We can beat it. I want to assure others that this is not their resting place. Encourage yourselves, take your medications and in no distant time, you will get out of here.
“I want to appeal to the federal government and Lagos State government that, they should remunerate all those workers who have volunteered to work accordingly, so as to serve as encouragement to others, adding that, “If they are not here as first responders, many would have died.”
Another patient saidL “I was admitted last Sunday. Initially there were challenges, the following day, they brought bed, mask and some equipment.
“Apart from what my colleague said, the workers should be insured. Proper insurance will let people do what they have to do.
He narrated a scenario where the workers could not attend to him because he tested positive, saying “they went back and I slept of. I woke up around 3 a.m. So they deserve life insurance to encourage them to do their job.”

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