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Xmas: No Long Queues At Filling Stations – Ajumogobia

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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

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CBN Assures On Depositors’ Fund Safety 

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reassured the banking public of the safety of their deposits and the banking system’s resilience.
CBN’s Acting Director of  Corporate Communications Department, Mrs Hakama Sidi-Ali, gave the assurance in a statement on  Monday in Abuja.
The statement, a response to concerns raised about the stability of some Nigerian banks in the wake of Heritage Bank Plc’s license revocation, faulted claims that the CBN was considering revoking the operating licences of Fidelity, Polaris, Wema, and Unity Banks.
It also clarified that a circular issued by the Bank on January 10, 2024, notifying the public about the dissolution of the Boards of Union, Keystone, and Polaris Banks, was currently being circulated as though it was freshly issued.
According to the Director, Heritage Bank’s case was isolated.
“Allegations of further revocation of licences prior to the completion of CBN’s recapitalisation exercise are mere fabrications aimed at creating panic within the system”, Sidi-Ali said.
She stated that bank customers, particularly those of Heritage Bank, need not worry about the safety of their deposits, adding that the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) had commenced payment to the bank’s insured depositors.
The spokesperson urged members of the public to continue their regular banking activities without fear, dismissing any false reports regarding the health of specific Deposit Money Banks.
“The CBN, with its robust regulatory framework, is proactively ensuring the stability of Nigeria’s financial system, thereby guaranteeing the safety of depositors’ funds in all Nigerian financial institutions”, she said.
Sidi-Ali reiterated the assurances of the CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, that the recapitalisation of banks in Nigeria was intended to bolster the banking system and safeguard the sector against risks.

She urged all stakeholders to cooperate in ensuring the success of the process, which she said would be for the overall growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Without prejudice to the ongoing recapitalisation process, I want to restate that the Nigerian banking industry remains resilient. Key financial soundness indicators remain within current regulatory thresholds.

“Customers are, therefore, encouraged to proceed with their transactions as usual, as the CBN is committed to ensuring the safety of the banking system”, she said

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NERC Approves New Tariff Hike For Port Harcourt DisCo

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In spire of calls that the recently hiked “Band A” tariff be reversed, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved a new tariff hike for the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (DisCo).
NERC permitted the PHED to raise tariffs for Band A customers categorised as Maximum Demand 2 Special (A – MD2 Special).
MD customers are customers that have a load of 45kVA and above. They also operate and maintain their dedicated transformers.
From N206 per kilowatt-hour, this category of customers within the Port Harcourt franchise will now pay N225/KWh.
In a regulatory instrument tagged June 2024 Supplementary Order to the Multi-Year Tariff Order – 2024 (“June 2024 Supplementary Order”) for Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc, the NERC said the tariff approval was under the Tariff Review Application by PHED.
“Further to Section 23 of the MYTO-2024, this Supplementary Order seeks to reflect the changes in the pass-through indices outside the control of licensees including inflation rates, naira/dollar exchange rate, available generation capacity and gas price for the determination of Cost-Reflective Tariffs”, NERC stated.
The electricity regilator emphasised the basis for the review, saying the Naira to the US Dollar exchange rate of N1,469.06 per dollar has been adopted for June to December 2024. It said this has been determined by adding a 1 per cent transaction cost to the average foreign exchange rate of N1,454.52 during the period May 1 to 24, 2024 as obtained from the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
It also added that the Nigerian inflation rate of 33.69 per cent for April 2024 as published by the National Bureau of Statistics was applied to revise the Nigerian inflation rate projection for 2024.
“Under Section 116 of the Electricity Act and extant regulations, the commission has considered and approved for PHED, the tariffs (in Table 2) effective 1st June 2024. The approved tariffs shall remain in force subject to monthly adjustments of pass-through indices including inflation rates, naira/dollar exchange rates and gas-to-power prices.
“In line with the policy direction of the Federal Government of Nigeria on electricity subsidy, the allowed tariffs for Bands B – E customer categories shall remain frozen at the rates payable since December 2022 subject to further policy direction by the government.
“With this policy, the estimated subsidy benefit for customers under the PHED franchise in 2024 is approximately N11.49bn monthly”, the NERC stated.
In April, the NERC announced a new tariff for customers in Band A, from N68/KWh to N225/KWh.
It later reduced the tariff to N206.80/KWh based on the rebound of the naira.
Meanwhile, organised labour and manufacturers have kicked against the Band A tariff.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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AMJON Partners School To Train Journalists On Maritime Operations 

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The Association of Maritime journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) has gone into a mutually beneficial collaboration with School of Eloquence to strengthen the capacity and reporting skills of Maritime journalists.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Chairman, AMJON Organising Committee, Mr. Segun Oladipupo and made available to our correspondent in Lagos on Monday.
According to the statement, “This year’s edition, tagged “Special Edition”, is a collaborative effort between the foremost Public Speaking training School,  School of Eloquence and AMJON”.
Oladipupo said the training is slated to hold on Friday at the School of Eloquence premises at Osborne Road, Ikoyi.
“Experts from the Nigeria Customs Service, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and School of Eloquence have been lined up to train journalists on the rudiments of their own operations”, according to the statement.
Speaking, the President of AMJON, Paul Ogbuokiri, said journalism required constant training to be in tune with evolving trends in the industry.
According to him, journalism has taken a leap from what it used to be and journalists need to equip themselves with modern journalism tools that will help them to catch up with the trends.
“We need constant training and restraining to be relevant in this age of journalism. If we fail to update ourselves, we will soon fizzle out,
“This partnership with the School of Eloquence is a right step in the right direction. It will no doubt, energise our knowledge of reportage”, he stated.
On his part, the Chairman, Organising Committee, Segun Oladipupo, said the event would afford members the opportunity to take their reporting to enviable height
He, therefore, enjoined participants to seize the opportunity to learn new trends in journalism and also learn the business side of the job.
He thanked the School of Eloquence for providing a platform for Nigerian journalists to take a flight in their daily assignment.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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