We’ll try and make sure from the (Federal) Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Rilwanu Lukeman (the Minister) and myself – that there are no queues at the filling sations that people became used to several years ago, that resulted in people having a very bleak Christmas because instead of spending time with your family, you are spending time queuing at the filling station.”
This assurance was given by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Hon. Odein Ajumogobia to Nigerians in an interview with The Tide in Abuja in reaction to long queues witnessed at some filling stations in Abuja.
Ajumogobia further assured: “We are doing everything in time to ensure that there is adequate supply of fuel. We are also doing what we can to ensure that people sell the product until such a time the market will be deregulated at the price that government has indicated and with the hope that we in the meantime will build the necessary stakeholders consensus on deregulation.”
The Minister was emphatic that the current situation of some filling stations in parts of the country where long queues are noticed will abate as the government is tackling the situation head-on to ensure no queue is seen at filling stations across the country throughout the yuletide season.
Ajumogobia who was speaking with The Tide after a tour of some filling stations in Abuja where long queues where noticed, including the NNPC mega station along Olusegun Obasanjo Way, Central Business District, blamed the situation on ‘hoarding’ of products and ‘inordinate ambition’ of some Nigerians to make profit at all cost, noting that government has risen to the challenge and would bring relief to motorists throughout the festive season.
“The queues you saw recently were not across the country, although I did see some media reports suggesting they were across the country; they were limited to Abuja. They arose out of a financial dispute between some members of the Petroleum Tankers Drivers’ Association and MTEL; and this led to an embargo of fuel into Abuja. But I am happy to say we were able to intervene and the embargo was lifted,” he said.
The Minister of State for Petroleum explained that the resurgence of the queues last week has been due to hoarding and corrupt tendencies where products have been loaded for distribution into Abuja but have been diverted and not been sold at filling stations in Abuja, adding that they discovered that the tankers often only offload part of their contents while holding on to the rest of it with the aim of profiteering. I think it is absolutely related to the marketers’ expectation of the removal of the subsidy and the deregulation of the market – people are, in anticipation of that, beginning to do what they often do at this time of the year which is to hoard and to try to make inordinate profit.”
He however added that due to the regulated nature of the market, only a few people have licences to import, so they control where their fuel goes and could easily exploit the situation to their advantage. Ajumogobia assured Nigerians that government was doing its best to monitor and regulate, warning that “we will bring to book those who take advantage of their dominant position in the market place by terminating the privilege that a regulation policy confers on them.
He said, the refineries were not functioning presently as a result of “senseless vandalism – damage to the crude lines that feed them, a situation that made the nation to be 100 per cent dependent on importation.
“What government is doing is to issue licences to major marketers under pre-existing arrangement to supplement NNPC’s guarantee of adequate supply. NNPC is doing its own bit to ensure supply but we have to appeal to those who market the product not to exploit their fellow citizens by taking advantage of the fact of this festive season when demand typically goes up as a result of lots of people travelling,” he enthused.
Asked to state categorically if Nigerians should expect a hitch-free Christmas, in terms of the availability and purchase of petroleum products across the country, he snapped: “Yes, we are working to make it hitch-free. We are doing everything we can.”
Ajumogobia assured the nation further: “I think, this is the third Christmas that I would have in the saddle and I think Nigerians will testify that this will be the third Christmas that has been hitch-free from the perspective of fuel supply despite myriad challenges.
Last year, we didn’t have queues at filling stations, the Christmas the year before – 2007 – the same. We hope that this year will be the same.”
Justus Awaji, Abuja
NSE Begins Week On Negative Note, Loses N19.49bn
The Nigerian stock market began the week on a negative note as banking and consumer goods stocks, among others, triggered a N19.49bn loss.
At the end of trading on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange Limited , the NGX All-Share Index dropped by 0.09 per cent to end at 43,270.94 basis points, while the market capitalisation declined to N22.58tn.
Market activities were mixed as the total volume of shares traded decreased by 30.19 per cent while the value traded rose by 34.05 per cent.
A total of 213.13 million shares valued at N2.36bn were exchanged in 4,105 deals, compared to 305.32 million shares worth N3.58bn in 4,450 deals last Friday.
FCMB Group Plc topped the traded stocks in terms of volume, accounting for 27.43 per cent of the total volume of trades while Airtel Africa Plc emerged as the most traded stock by value, representing 28.81 per cent of the total value of trades on the exchange.
14 firms gained compared to 21 losers.
AIICO Insurance Plc was the biggest gainer for the day, topping the gainers’ chart with a price appreciation of 8.57 per cent to N0.76 per share.
It was followed by LivingTrust Mortgage Bank Plc with a rise of 7.95 per cent, ending the day at N0.95 per share.
Analysing by sectors, three of the five major indices closed lower, led by NGX Oil & Gas (-0.56 per cent), NGX Consumer Goods (-0.23 per cent) and NGX Banking (0.18 per cent).
But the insurance (0.82 per cent) and industrial goods (0.002 per cent) indices gained at the end of trading.
… Introduces TIES To Boost Business Loan
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES), which provides undergraduates and graduates with a platform to access loans.
The TIES’ underlying aim is to provide access to capital for Nigerian undergraduates and graduates with innovative entrepreneurial and technological ideas from polytechnics and universities.
TIES intends to shift undergraduates and graduates away from white-collar job pursuits and towards a culture of entrepreneurship development for economic development and job creation.
In a national biennial entrepreneurship competition, the Developmental Component would be distributed in the form of awards to Nigerian polytechnics and universities.
The competition aims to increase undergraduates’ awareness and visibility of high-impact entrepreneurial/technological concepts, foster entrepreneurial talent hunts in Nigerian polytechnics and universities, and encourage commercially viable and transformative technologies.
Interested Nigerian polytechnics and universities shall apply to participate in the national biennial entrepreneurship competition on a dedicated online portal.
Outlining brief details of the project, potential impact and evidence of originality of project, CBN said it is an innovation for students entrepreneurs.
CITN Applauds FG, Tax Authorities On Fiscal Policy Decisions
The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has lauded the Federal Government and tax authorities on the giant strides made on fiscal policy decisions and tax administration measures initiated this year in the area of Finance Act 2021 and the introduction of TaxPromax solution.
President of the institute, Adesina Adedayo, who gave the commendation at the institute’s yearly award ceremony at the weekend in Lagos, assured the government and tax authorities of aligning with the measures and promised to provide professional thoughts and insights on ways through which they could achieve an efficient and effective Nigerian tax system.
Adedayo emphasised the need to address the database, adding that without knowing who the tax-payers are, there is no way they can take money from unknown tax-payers.
Database is the aspect we have been emphasising on as an institute and in doing this, there are so many of pockets of data we have. All the data must be harmonised to have a simple unique tax-payers identification number,” he said.
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