The Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi has commended the Skye Bank for the huge investment it has undertaken in the transport sector reforms in the state.
The governor, who was very much excited over transport infrastructure that Skye Bank has put in place to transform transportation in the state, said that the bank’s efforts so far has given challenge to the people of Rivers State who mostly depend on government patronage without investing.
Amaechi made the commendation while speaking at the second Rivers State Transport Summit recently with the theme “The Rivers State Transport Sector Reform; the Journey so far”,
According to him, “over 20 per cent success of the transport system reforms is from partnership and funding by Skye Bank Plc”.
He therefore urged private individuals to also key into the transport sector reforms in the state by investing in the sector, and as well appealed to the Skye Bank management to increase the funding of the scheme by providing more vehicles to meet up with the high demand of commuters.
Also, the wife of the governor, Dame Judith Amaechi, who also is the founder of Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI) in the paper she presented at the summit titled “ Emerging Role of Women in Commercial Transportation; prospects and challenges” pointed out that Lady Cabbies scheme she pioneered is one of the intervention programmes of her NGO, aimed at creating women participation in the transport sector to enable them generate regular income.
She said “the ESI Lady Cabbies is one of the foremost gender commercial transport co-operative group in Nigeria and is managed by ESI”.
Mrs Amaechi also pointed out that the scheme is a boost to the commercial transportation of the state, and in line with the transport reforms programme of the present administration, and that the scheme is also financed by the Skye Bank in partnership with ESI.
On his part, the Commissioner for Transport, Hon George Tolofari said the partnership with Skye Bank Plc has been rewarding, adding that they have been able to build new and modern bus shelters and lay-bys, as well as acquire over 106 buses, currently plying the roads, and over 200 taxis to ease transportation in the city.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Director, Risk Management and South – South operations of Skye Bank Plc, Mr Ibiye Ekonye has said that the Bank has invested over N3 billion on the transport scheme, adding that the bank will continue to partner with Rivers State Government.
He said the bank has introduced a new face of transportation in Port Harcourt; the Port Harcourt City Bus Service (PHCBS) which was launched on June 2nd 2008 to reduce the suffering of Port Harcourt dwellers and also create employment.
The Skye Bank risk management director described the bank as the financier of the transport sector reform in the paper he presented titled “Conceptualisation and the PPP strategy driving the transport sector reform”.
He said that the bank has evolved a reliable and efficient mass transit system in three phases’ medium term (bus), Marin in the medium term and rail for median and larger.
DAPPMAN Raises Concern Over FG’s New Tax Regime
The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) has expressed concern over the new 0.5 per cent tax on gross turnover of the petroleum marketing firms proposed by the Federal Government.
Executive Secretary, DAPPMAN, Mr Olufemi Adewole, said at the maiden edition of the Platforms Africa Continental Forum in Lagos, that the tax would put many firms out of business.
Adewole said there were indications that fuel distribution crisis may soon hit the country, if the government implemented the new tax regime.
He was emphatic that more than half of the fuel marketing firms in Nigeria would close down, if the tax burden was slammed on them.
According to him, the imminent closure of businesses poses threat to the smooth distribution of petroleum products across the country.
“The petroleum marketing firms’ trading margin is too small that they cannot pay such amount sustainably.
“Petroleum marketers operate a very low margin but the turnover is very huge. Unfortunately the margin does not correspond with the turnover,” said Adewole.
He added that the margins they made when fuel sold at N40 per litre was the same when the price rose to N160 per litre and N200 per litre respectively.
According to him, “The Finance Act 2020 says the marketers have to pay 0.5 per cent from their gross turnover by the end of this year.
“It is unimaginable that probably half of the petroleum marketing firms existing now may go under, if the new tax regime is implemented.
“Except the regulator which is Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) approves a new margin for the marketers.”
He said the association had called on government to give petroleum marketers access to foreign exchange at the official Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rate to enhance the supply and distribution of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) across the nation this yuletide season.
According to DAPPMAN, shortage of foreign exchange (forex) coupled with several unauthorised levies, bad roads are among the factors making fuel importation and distribution burdensome for members.
The Tide source reports that the fuel marketers recently bemoaned the acute scarcity of forex in the official market, which is currently threatening the importation, distribution and impacting deeply on prices of petroleum products across the country.
Niger Wants NNPCL To Establish Truck Transit Parks
Niger State Government has urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL) to establish truck transit parks in some strategic parts of the state to reduce traffic on highways.
The government identified towns such as Tafa, Suleja, Mokwa, Bida, Tegina, Lambata and Minna as major areas to be given attention in that regard.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources in Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Idris, made the call during the meeting of National Council on Hydrocarbons organised by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in collaboration with the State Government.
According to him, the establishment of the parks in the identified areas will reduce traffic on highways and generate revenue for the state and country at large.
In the meeting entitled: “Roadmap and Strategic Option towards achieving energy transition in Nigeria”, Idris presented a memorandum from the State Government to the council on the need for the establishment of the transit parks.
He explained that it would also create a partnership between the state and federal government to reduce the negative effects of heavy road traffic on highways.
He explained further that the trucking industry was indispensable to the Nigerian economy as “truckers are responsible for delivering fuel from depots to filling stations where they are dispensed.
“For these reasons, funds need to be released to build truck parks for ease of operations”, he said.
He also called for the establishment of a frontier basin development commission with its headquarters in Niger State.
According to him, the establishment of the commission will expedite the effective implementation of Petroleum Host Community Trust Fund and frontier basin exploration fund as captured in the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 with headquarters in Niger.
He said Nigeria’s frontier basins consist of Anambra basin, the lower, middle and upper Benue trough, the South eastern sector of the Chad basin, the Mid-Niger (Bida) basin and Sokoto basin.
According to him, the basins would be better positioned for the opportunities in the hydrocarbons natural gas, oil and other minerals.
He noted that the establishment of frontier basin development commission would offer greater opportunities to actualise the state dream of oil and gas economic value-chain and industrialisation in Nigerian frontier basins.
Motorists Groan Over Fuel Scarcity
Long queues resurfaced in Lagos as motorists spent hours at filling stations to buy Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol.
The situation was worse on Ikorodu Road, Maryland, Ikeja, Anthony, Bariga, Ilupeju and Gbagada areas as motorists were agitated for spending hours on queues.
The Tide source reports that the development left commuters stranded with gridlocks in major areas of Lagos as motorists queued to buy the product.
The source also reports that only filling stations owned by Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) had petrol and sell at the regulated price of N170 per litre.
Some stations owned by Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) sell between N200 and N210 respectively.
A motorist, who identified himself as Mr Foluso Saliu, told the source that he had been on the queue since 6.30 a.m. hoping to get fuel and return to work.
He said government should find a lasting solution to petrol supply in Lagos to avoid panic-buying.
“Scarcity has been frequent during the ember months and l hope it will be addressed,” he said.
Another motorist, Mr Julius Albert, urged filling stations to avoid selling petrol in jerry cans to allow vehicles to buy on time.
Albert appealed to the government to fully deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry if that was the solution to availability of petrol without stress.
According to him, the product seems to be available in some filling stations but they choose to hoard it and sell at higher prices.
Queues were seen at Mobil, NNPC, Conoil, Oando and Nipco filling stations on Ikorodu Road.
Also, queues were cited at TotalEnergies, TMAAC on Bank Anthony Road and Conoil, opposite LASUTH.
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