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Deregulation: FG Moves Against Sabotage

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The Federal Government yesterday moved to checkmate those who may want to scuttle fuel supply in the country ahead of the planned January 2010 take-off of the deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
The government through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) ordered for the importation of 90 cargoes of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), 28 cargoes of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) and 10 cargoes of Automative Gas Oil (AGO).
It again declared that there was no going back on the planned deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry and warned that erring marketers who indulge in acts that are capable of jeopardising the exercise would risk severe sanctions.
Reading the riot acts in a meeting with major and independent oil marketers and other stakeholders, Acting Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr. Mr. Billy Agha, said the DPR, an agency saddled with the responsibility of regulating the petroleum industry, had braced up with the expected challenges and had taken steps to deploy resources at its disposal to ensure that products distributed to dispensing points were monitored and made available to the public as intended.
He said the massive importation was designed to meet the country’s ever increasing fuel needs during the forthcoming Muslim and Christian festivities that will precede the January 2010 new take-off date of deregulation.
Agha reminded the marketers that they had a critical role to play especially in products distribution and supply and advised them to shy away from actions that are inimical to the successful deregulation of the petroleum sector.
“NNPC has indicated that their coverage of the market is premised on the fact that there may not be supplies coming from third parties, while assuring sufficient and robust supply of the indicated products within this critical period,” he said.
Agha, who expressed concern about the sharp drop in the number of applications for permits to import Premium Motor Spirit and kerosene by major and independent marketers of product, appealed to the marketers to take it as “sacrifice” and continue products importation to ensure availability of adequate supplies in the country.
He said: “It is our fear that in the event of not being able to flood the markets, as anticipated during the critical period, the supply chain will be affected which may lead to scarcity, hoarding of products, diversion and other associated ills of scarcity, the most notable of which is the reduced trucks load-out from the storage depots/facilities” .
While noting that “deregulation would phase out monopoly and allow market forces to dictate the price”, the DPR boss cautioned against hoarding and diversion of products, noting that anybody caught in such act would be punished.
“The key players should get ready for deregulation and be ready to play a critical role so that it could be a success and all of us will move on to the promise land.
There is no going back on the deregulation. The time I do not know, but what I know is that we are deregulating the sector. No going back.
“We therefore appeal to all marketers to as a mater of fact have the interest of the public at heart, and to shy away from actions that are inimical to the successful deregulation of petroleum products in the country. The DPR would not hesitate to impose the necessary sanctions on the erring marketers found violating the laws,” he warned.
Responding, the marketers complained that notwithstanding that government is yet to pay the huge amount owed them as outstanding subsidy, they had gone ahead to secure permit to import products but were not granted approval by the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
They accused the Federal government of failing to follow due process in the deregulation exercise and of not providing the conducive operating environment that will make it succeed.
The government had recently announced that the planned deregulation initially scheduled to take off on November 1, 2009 would now kick-off by January 2010. However, marketers are of the view that a situation where the NNPC is allowed to monopolise fuel importation will create monopoly and endanger competition.
Meanwhile, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) last week resumed operations at its Soku gas plant located in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, after 11 months of closure, a company spokesman confirmed yesterday.
The Federal Government lost over $180 million liquefied natural gas revenue monthly following the closure of the gas plant since November 27, 2008 as a result of the activities of militants and vandals.
The gas plant accounts for 40 per cent of the gas need of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Plant in Bonny Island of Rivers State. NLNG supplies 10 per cent of the world’s liquefied natural gas. Following the closure of the plant, NLNG declared force majeure on 40 per cent of its LNG supplies to European customers.
The company said over 101 vandalised points were detected on the pipelines shortly before closure. When remediation was being carried out, Shell discovered that about 200 places on the 58 kilometres pipeline had been punctured for stealing of the product.
The plant was capable of producing 577 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day but the theft of condensate, which is a by-product of crude oil, has grossly affected production.

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Construction, Real Estate Sectors Contribute N20trn To GDP – NBS

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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said economic activities in the construction and real estate sectors contributed N20trllion to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first three quarters of 2022.
The NBS report also showed that construction services earned N12.9trllion, while real estate contributed N7trllion to the GDP.
It further revealed that the construction sub sector contributed 9.5 per cent to nominal GDP in the third quarter of 2022, which is higher than the 9.26 per cent it contributed a year earlier and higher than the 7.95 per cent contributed in the second quarter of 2022, and also grew by 18.92 per cent in nominal terms (year-on-year) in the 2022 third quarter.
However, the sector dropped 28.75 per cent points, as compared to the rate of 47.67 per cent it recorded in the same quarter of 2021.
According to the national statistics body, real estate services in nominal terms grew by 9.13 per cent, higher by 0.50 per cent points than the growth rate reported for the same period in 2021, and lower by 3.68 per cent points compared to the preceding Quarter.
On a Quarter-on-Quarter, the sector growth rate was 16.38 per cent. The contribution to nominal GDP in Q3, 2022 stood at 4.96 per cent, relative to 5.27 per cent recorded in the third quarter of 2021 and higher than the 4.95 per cent accounted for in the second quarter of 2022.
The NBS calculates the sector’s contribution by adding up gross outputs such as a sum of fees, the value of work done, commissions receivable for the services rendered and other incomes.
It also considers intermediate consumptions such as details of the cost structure, including transportation fees, operational expenditure, minor repairs and maintenance etc.
“From the foregoing, it is clear that the contributed amount had revealed what the private sector could achieve in the nation’s GDP.
“When we talk about real estate, it is driven by private investors. This implies that for any economy to thrive, the private sector must be given a platform and a level playing ground for them to perform.
“It will be of note also that the real estate industry does not require an incubation period. Anytime you start building a house, at least 25 persons will get a job. So, if the government wants to support the economy of the country, more opportunities should be given to the private sector to thrive”, the report stated.

By: Corlins Walter

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Expert Urges Domestic Airlines To Apply As Flag Carriers 

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Sequel to disagreement between the Federal Government and domestic airline operators over the Nigerian Carrier, which is a subject of litigation, a stakeholder in the aviation industry and Chief Executive Officer, Centurion Security Limited, Capt John Ojikutu, (rtd.) has urged domestic airlines to seek government approval to designate one or two of them as flag carriers instead of going to court over the Nigeria Air deal.
He said he had reservations about the lawsuit filed by the Airline Operators of Nigeria against the Federal Government and its foreign technical partners, and majority shareholders, saying there are so many things wrong with the FGN-ET deal.
“What I believe that the private airlines can do instead of wasting their time is to seek government approval to designate one or two of them as flag carriers on at least five Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement routes.
“As far as I am concerned, the airline will die the same way defunct Virgin Nigeria died, and that is my displeasure over that ET partnership.
“So, it is not something that will be forced on the next administration. It is not a government policy that we must have a partnership with ET. So, I am sure the next government will not succumb to that.
“What they have now is a government airline, not a national carrier. Government just called one or two persons. In SAHCOL, two people there have 78 per cent shares, and one person in MRS, who is a foreigner, has 60 per cent. So, invariably, it is the government and one or two people as far as I am concerned”, he stated.

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FAAN Boss Orders Allocation Of PH Airline Building To Airlines

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Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, has urged the Port Harcourt International Airport Manager/Regional General Manager, South-South/South East, Mr Felix Akinbinu, to ensure that airlines are immediately allocated the new airline building without delay.
He noted that the new airline building project is one of the important projects that have been executed at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, and would want the immediate use of the building.
The Managing Director, who gave the directive during the commissioning of the airline building, described the Port Harcourt airport as one of the busiest in Nigeria.
Represented by the Director, Airport Operations, Capt. Mukhtar Muye, Akinbinu noted that there are about 27 airports in the country, and described the airline building as a good edifice.
“This project is very important to us, and I would urge the Regional Manager to ensure that airlines are immediately allocated the building without delay.
“We are very happy to commission this airline building to decongest the terminal building they currently occupy. We know that this is a good edifice that will attract other airlines, includi international airlines, to Port Harcourt Airport”, he said.
Earlier in his address, Akinbinu said the commissioning of the building will go a long way in the provision of office space for airlines and other stakeholders in the airport.
“This building will also help to decongest the domestic terminal building of people who troop in and out to purchase tickets, do sundry enquiries, thereby ensuring effective access control into the terminal building.
“The building consists of eight suites, which are suitable for multipurpose, including banking halls and offices, a large packing space and a gate house for security.
“One of the buildings has been designated as a Magistrate Court, which will serve the airport in the quick dispensation of service”, he stated.
Highlight of the occasion was presentation of goodwill messages from stakeholders at the airport, such as the host community,  the League of Aviation Correspondents.
Alsos, the new Airport Area Command of the Police, and former Police spokesperson in Rivers State, ACP Ireju Barasua, assured of adequate security at the airport, expressing delight that more projects will come to the airport.
In his vote of thanks, the Head of Corporate Affairs at the airport, Mr Kunle Akinbode, thanked all for making the programme a successful one.
The representative of the Managing Director also cut the tape to declare the building open for business.

By: Corlins Walter

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