The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has warned consumers of the Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) in its Port Harcourt zone to desist from panic buying, saying it had adequate stock despite the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The department said the zone comprising Rivers State and neighboring states currently had 107million litres of PMS in eight of its depots in Port Harcourt and was expecting more product in a few days.
It also warned against buying the product above the current price regime of N125 per liter, explaining that most filling stations had adjusted to the new price.
The Port Harcourt Zonal Head of Downstream, Anthony Oyom, who was accompanied by Mohammed Akwa, an engineer in charge of the zone’s projects, depots and jetties, spoke in Port Harcourt while monitoring the compliance of depots and filling stations to the new price of PMS.
The investigations showed that the depots where the Nigerian National Petroleum Products (NNPC) stored imported fuel had enough of the product.
For instance, depots at TSL Logistics had about 24m litres; Conoil had 5million and was expecting 27million in a few days; Stock-Gap, 22m litres; Liquid Bulk, 42m litres, among others.
Operators of the depots said they were trucking out the product at the new regulated depot price of N113, insisting that they were not lacking fuel at their facilities.
Oyom said: “We went out to do surveillance to all the depots within this axis and also some filling stations to confirm that the depots are selling at the new depot price and also the retail outlets are selling at the new pump price that the minister gave the directive on March 18, 2020.
“We checked six depots and in all of them we saw that they had enough products. Currently we have over 100m liters of stock in Port Harcourt. We are expecting millions of litres in a few days. At the end of this week, we should have at least 150 million litres stored in Port Harcourt.
“We have enough fuel for Rivers State and the immediate environment. Also, retail outlets are complying with the new pump directive. There is absolutely no reason for anybody to engage in panic buying.
COVID-19: CBN Grants Two-Week Market Holidays To BDCs
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has granted a two- week market holidays to the Bureaux De Change operators.
This followed a request by the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria to the CBN for the regulator to grant it market holidays, given the ongoing challenges faced in local and global economies due to the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID -19) pandemic.
In a notice to BDC operators and directors, ABCON President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, said the CBN’s approval meant that sales of foreign exchange to BDCs is now suspended till further notice.
Gwadabe also advised the public not to go into panic buying, hoarding and partronasing the street traders as the CBN has enough reserves to sustain supplies when the BDCs return to operations.
The CBN had also acknowledged the contributions of BDCs in promoting stable exchange rate in recent months despite challenging circumstances facing the Forex market due to drop in crude oil prices.
Gwadabe advised members to observe strict guidelines on the preventive measures on the dangers of the COVID 19, wear their mask, gloves, and frequent washing of hands.
“We also want to advise members to strictly comply with their regulatory obligations on their daily operation. If you are trading, be cautious not to fall under the hand of security agencies. Don’t be involved in giving black market rates,street trading as doing so might create regulatory breach,” he said.
Gwadabe said that CBN/NFIU were tracking large movements of funds within the financial sector and noted the need to be cautious.
“Once again, accept our continuous assurances on serving you better as we continue to ponder on lasting solutions to the growing challenges facing our operations amongst them, crowd management, expansion of scope of our buisiness, lesser penalties, automation, among others,” he stated.
…Suspends Cheque Clearing Amidst Lockdown
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has suspended clearing of cheques until further notice following the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and FCT to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The suspension was announced in a circular to Deposit Money Banks and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) by the Director of Banking Services at CBN, Mr Sam Okojere.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, on Sunday ordered a lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT with effect from 11 p.m. on Monday, March 30 FCT), as a response to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The bank explained that in view of these developments and in furtherance to the Bank’s effort to ensure hitch-free clearing and settlement activities, the CBN had therefore suspended it until further notice.
The apex bank further stated that the clearing of cheques instruments in the Nigerian clearing started from March and for the avoidance of doubt, no fresh cheque instrument would be allowed to pass through March 31.
The CBN noted that only returned cheque would be treated on the said date.
“However, settlement activities for electronic instruments will continue to hold during this period of suspension”, it said.
Nigeria’s Economy Fragile Before COVID-19 Pandemic –Finance Minister
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said that prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Nigerian economy was already fragile.
She said this in a statement issued by her Special Adviser on Communication, Mr Yunusa Abdullahi, on Monday in Abuja.
Ahmed, according to the statement, said this during her meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly where she spoke on implications of the global economic crisis on Nigeria.
The coronavirus pandemic had led to unprecedented disruptions to global supply chains, a sharp drop in global crude oil prices, turmoil in global stock and financial markets, the lockdown of large swath movements of persons in many countries, among others.
These outcomes have had severe consequences on households’ livelihoods and business activities, resulting from drop in global demand, declined consumer confidence and slowdown in production.
But the finance minister said that prior to the outbreak which had led to decline in crude oil prices, the Nigerian economy was already fragile, vulnerable and deteriorating.
She said the global economic downturn had forced international oil prices to drop to as low as $22 per barrel.
The minister said international travels and trade had been severely disrupted, while demand for goods and services is deteriorating as a result of the social distancing policies.
This, she said had led to financial markets uncertainty which had resulted into capital flows’ reversal from emerging and frontier markets such as Nigeria.
She said, “Increasing pressure on the naira and foreign reserves as the crude oil sales receipts decline and the macroeconomic outlook worsens.
“Central Bank of Nigeria, just as in other countries, has resorted to quantitative easing, by reducing interest rates to support economic activity and governments announcing fiscal stimulus plans for healthcare and social safety nets.”
She said the government was working on a fiscal stimulus package to cushion the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable individuals and communities.
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