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SPDC Tasks SSEs To Leverage Opportunities

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Small scale entrepreneurs (SSEs) in the Niger Delta have been challenged to leverage on available initiatives and opportunities in the oil and gas sector as well as other economic growth windows to enhance their contributions to community, state and national development.

Social Performance Manager, Shell, Emeka Obi, threw the challenge while addressing participants at the maiden edition of the “Meet-The-Listeners’ Forum” of The Small Business Today Radio Show, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, last Thursday.

Obi, who represented the General Manager, Social Performance and Community Affairs, Tony Attah, said Shell has continued to strengthen efforts to encourage the growth of small businesses in order to curb unemployment and spur economic growth through a number of empowerment programmes, including LiveWIRE, TELSEP, YTEP, micro-credit schemes, agricultural projects, land and marine transport, among others.

With more than 170 participants drawn from three states of Abia, Imo and Rivers at the forum, the small business operators (SBOs) and those preparing to venture into one form of business or the other, were told that the essence of the event was to create an opportunity for them to learn about the requirements for setting up small businesses, and how to cope with frustrations and challenges associated with running a business.

The social performance manager stated that although The Small Business Today Radio Show has done a lot to provide information on how to set up and run small businesses to intending entrepreneurs, but stressed that the forum was meant to answer the litany of unanswered questions asked by listeners to the radio programme, usually aired on Family Love 97.7 FM, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Jeremy 95.1 FM, Warri, Delta State, and Glory 97.1 FM, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

He said the SPDC Joint Venture created the forum to provide more direct feedback from small business stakeholders (SBSs) in the catchment states, and also brought two experienced business practitioners to help discuss in detail, ‘how to find a business that is right for you’, and ‘how to source funds for your business’, adding that the discourse would expose participants to the philosophies and general principles of small business management, requirements and challenges of specific businesses.

Obi emphasised that Shell would be encouraged to do more for small business operators, if they take advantage of the platform to improve their businesses, create more wealth and help to promote sustainable employment of youths in the Niger Delta, and tasked them not disappoint the company as a huge chunk of its contributions to social investments has been dedicated to elevating the opportunities available to small business entrepreneurs (SBEs) in the region.

In his remarks, Producer & Host, The Small Business Today Radio Show, Charles Nwahiwe, thanked SPDC JV, the radio stations and small business stakeholders in the region for availing him the privilege of making an impact in small business development, and appealed for greater participation of corporate organizations to further stimulate and make the business environment more robust.

In his speech, Head, Economic Empowerment, SPDC, Dr Chibuzo Anyim, challenged Niger Delta youths to get off the ground, and start up one business or the other in order to contribute to the development of their immediate communities, and also tasked the more than five participating banks and financial institutions to support the growth of small business operators (SBOs) to facilitate symbiotic and integrated economic development of the nation. 

While the Managing Consultant/Chief Executive Officer, VTB Business Support Services, Port Harcourt, Victor Briggs, presented a paper on, ‘Choosing The Business That Is Right For You’, the Managing Director, Neighbourhood Microfinance Bank, Port Harcourt, Folanmi Fawehinmi, discussed extensively on, ‘Finding Funds To Start & Grow A Small Business’, at the forum, expected to tour Yenagoa and Warri, in a couple of weeks.

Highlights of the event include exhibitions by small business operators, networking and interactions between the small scale entrepreneurs and the major and microfinance banks on areas of support and partnership.

 

Nelson Chukwudi

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Oil & Energy

DAPPMAN Raises Concern Over FG’s New Tax Regime

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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.

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Niger Wants NNPCL To Establish Truck Transit Parks

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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.

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Oil & Energy

Motorists Groan Over Fuel Scarcity

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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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