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Fuel Scarcity ’ll Last 18 Months -FG ….Admits Products Diversion Through Porous Borders …Says No Functioning Refineries, No Solution To Scarcity

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The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday disclosed that it would take the next 18 months for the country to solve the problem of fuel scarcity permanently.
Kachikwu, however, said the government has put various measures in place to address the issue of scarcity within the 18 months.
He said such issues include forex for marketers, repair of refineries and tax consideration for oil marketers .
The Minister, who appeared before the National Assembly Joint Committees on Petroleum, also added that its a shame that Nigeria cannot refine its crude oil after 40 years of activities in the downstream.
According to him, a Presidential committee has been set up to look for how to cushion the effect of higher price crude and lower price downstream sales at N145, adding: “It is 18 months plan before private refineries come on stream.”
Kachikwu added that Dangote and modular refineries are in the pipeline from 2019 and onward to solve the problem.
He said the ministry and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation were working round the clock to find a solution to petrol scarcity.
As part of the solutions to permanently end the scarcity, Kachikwu said the country’s refinery needed to be functional.
He added: “It is what I might call an emergency before the work that we are doing on the refineries that would be finished sometime in 2019.
“I want to remind that over two years we haven’t had queues.
“We are spending night and day to find solutions to nip this in the bud
“Ultimately what this country needs is to have its refineries working and I have said that it is shameful that after 30, 40 years of activities in the downstream, we cannot produce sufficient [petroleum products].
“I have said nobody sells crude in its form in the world and we have to have the technical capacity to do this.”
Kachikwu listed non-payment to marketers as one of the reasons for the scarcity.
The minister also expressed regrets that some people took advantage of the situation.
Also in his presentation, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, enumerated reasons for the scarcity of fuel.
Baru said the situation is now under control.
According to him, part of the reasons for scarcity are the strike by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria on December 18, smuggling due mainly to price arbitrage, false threat of price hike by NNPC leading to hoarding, diversion and smuggling and insinuation of supply gap.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has called for prompt enforcement of the law to check incessant diversion of petroleum products from Nigeria to the neighbouring countries.
Kachikwu made the call yesterday in Abuja during a public hearing organised by the National Assembly Joint Committee investigating the cause of recent fuel scarcity in the country.
The minister also called for adequate policing of the country’s borders to frustrate the continued diversion of petroleum products.
He accused some marketers of illegally maximising profit by diverting fuel meant to be supplied in Nigeria.
According to him, “the incentives are attractive to those diverting these products because while petrol sells for about N300 in some countries, we are selling at N145, so you can see that they are making huge profits.
“Our borders must be properly policed and the law must be enforced in such a way that every marketer must account for every petrol that leaves his depot.”
The minister, while decrying the infrastructural decay in the oil sector, said there the was need for private sector involvement in managing some critical facilities.
Kachikwu said: “For instance, there is need to encourage private sector involvement in the protection of pipelines.”
On their part, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria called on the Federal Government to fully deregulate the downstream sector.
The Executive Secretary of the association, Obafemi Olawore also called for accelerated attention to the Petroleum Industry Bill before the National Assembly.
Olawore said the delay in passing the bill was frustrating efforts to deregulate the sector and ensure increased private sector participation.
Similarly, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, says the Federal Government is working assiduously to revamp the country’s refineries to address the problems of fuel crisis.
Kachikwu said this yesterday in Abuja during a one-day public hearing of the National Assembly Joint Committees on Petroleum (Downstream), investigating the causes of recent fuel scarcity recorded across the country since December 2017.
The minister, who decried the poor state of the refineries over the years, condemned their inability to produce sufficient fuel for the country.
According to him, it is shameful that a country after over 35 years cannot produce sufficient fuel for its citizens.
“I have said that selling crude is a fairly wrong model which is akin to selling our agricultural products in the wrong way and nobody does that anywhere in the world anymore.
“Unless we have operational refineries, there will be no permanent solution to the fuel crisis in the country,’’ Kachikwu said.
He also said that a lot of work was going on to ensure private sector participation in refining crude oil.
“The gearing up of private refineries and the modular refineries will complement the efforts of the government-owned refineries to ensure there is adequate supply of petroleum products in the country,” said the minister.
He said that government had mapped out strategies to ensure availability of petrol which will be sold the at the government-regulated price.
Kachikwu also said that lack of sufficient reserve, low clearance speed of petrol at the ports, diversion of products are some of the reasons for the ongoing fuel crisis being experienced in the country, says Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu.
Mr. Kachikwu said this while speaking before a meeting of the joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives. The meeting was convened to find a lasting solution to the fuel crisis.
“The causes were; first, diversion was very key, second, there were logistics issues,”Once those diversions began, Apapa Wharf was a problem to be able to move things due to bad roads, lack of sufficient reserve in our system making us unable to respond to the supply gap arising largely from the fact that private sector pulled out from supply.
“There has been a loose enforcement on diversion in the country. We have not been able to police our depots adequately.”he said
He explained that disparity in the landing cost has prevented the private marketers from importing petroleum into the country.
“Going forward we need to address the issue of pricing, there is a disparity between landing cost and cost we are selling. If we are going to sell at N145, we need to put some mechanisms in place so that the private sector will go back importation. We have a committee looking at this and we are still going to submit a report for review.
“Currently, the landing cost of product is N170 to N171 and we sell at N145 and the price we are allowed to sell is N145.”
He said the executive is currently working on modalities to permanently resolve the petrol crisis and prevent it from rearing its head any other time.
“We need to make marketers responsible for every tank of fuel up until the point of delivery.

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Be Obedient To God’s Instructions, Oyedepo Tells Congregants

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Wife of the Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church (LFC) Worldwide, Pastor Faith Oyedepo, has urged winners to be obedient in the affairs of the Kingdom (of God).
On his part, the husband, Bishop David Oyedepo, said obedience was better than sacrifice.
The couple spoke at this at the church’s monthly leadership conference at the weekend.
Oyedepo’s wife, while citing Isaiah 1:19-20, stressed the need for Christians to be obedient to spiritual instructions to enjoy the good of the land.
She said: “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (Isa. 1:19-20).
She urged the church to pray for God’s Spirit to serve and be obedient.
In his sermon, Bishop David Oyedepo, while unravelling the mystery of the covenant of obedience, said: “To be obedient is better than sacrifice. Obedience may be costly but the end result is always priceless.
“When you live your life as a seed, its impact lives for generations after you”.

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RSG Unveils, Flags Off 15 Key Projects In 15 Days …Kick-Starts Two New Flyovers, Azikiwe-Illoabuchi Road Dualisation …Opens Orochiri-Worukwo Flyover, Ogbunabali-Eastern Bypass Road, Two Others For Use

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Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital and other urban centres will witness major activities from today, as the state government begins another round of strategic infrastructure projects’ commissioning and flag off across the state, with the unveiling for public use of the Orochiri/Worukwo (Waterlines) Flyover in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu at 11am.
Similarly, the Governor Nyesom Wike-led government will inaugurate the Ogbunabali-Eastern Bypass Road, also in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, tomorrow.
According to a schedule of events made available to The Tide by the government, last Friday, the former Sokoto State Governor, Senator Aliyu Wamakko will perform the ceremony at Ogbunabali Junction.
Also to be commissioned on August 11, by the Director-General of NYSC, Brig.-Gen. M.K, Fadah, is the 5,000-capacity NYSC Auditorium; while the new State House of Assembly Quarters will be inaugurated by the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila on August 12.
However, on Wednesday, August 10, the former Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, will flag off the dualisation of Azikiwe-Iloabuchi Road in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area.
Between August 16 and 26, 10 more projects would either be commissioned or inaugurated across the state.
These include the Government VIP Lounge at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in Ikwerre Local Government Area on August 16; unveiling of the remodelled Waterlines Building on Port Harcourt/Aba Express Road by Waterlines Junction in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area on Wednesday, August 17; flag off of the construction of the 11th flyover at Ikwerre Road by Rumuokwuta/Rumuola Junctions in Obio/Akpor LGA on Thursday, August 18; and the flag off of the 12th flyover at Mgbuoba-Ozuoba/Ada-George Road by Location Junction in Obio/Akpor LGA on Friday, August 19.
Other landmark projects lined up for special commissioning or flag off are the construction of Omagwa internal roads on Saturday, August 20; and flag off of Igwuruta internal roads on Monday, August 22, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area; as well as unveiling of land reclamation, shore protection, road network, drains, power station and water reticulation, and housing complex at Ogbum-Nu-Abali sandfill, Port Harcourt City Local Government Area on Tuesday, August 23.
The rest are the unveiling of a police station at Ogum-Nu-Abali sandfill-Eastern Bye-pass area on Wednesday, August 24; Eneka internal roads in Obio/Akpor on Thursday, August 25; as well as Community Secondary School, Obuama (Harry’s Town) in Degema Local Government Area, Friday, August 26.
Meanwhile, a statement by the Special Assistant (Media and Documentation) to the state Commissioner for Works, Dornubari Kiinee, last Saturday, indicated that following plans to commission the Orochiri/Worukwo (Waterlines) Flyover, both ends of the flyover had been consequently closed on Saturday, August 6, 2022 at 12 noon to enable the ministry prepare for the commissioning ceremony.
The statement explained that “Vehicular movement from Garrison will be diverted through Oroworukwo; traffic from Hotel Presidential Junction will be diverted through GRA Junction. The flyover will be opened for use immediately after the ceremony on Monday”.
The statement further said that “The Ogbunuabali axis will be temporarily closed and traffic diverted accordingly until after the ceremony” on Tuesday.
Kiinee said that, “Furthermore, the dualisation of Azikiwe-Iloabuchi Road will be flagged-off on Wednesday, 10 August, 2022 by former Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko. That road will be closed also and traffic diverted to neighbouring streets for the period of six months”.
According to the statement, “As preparation for the commencement of the construction of the 11th and 12th flyovers reaches its final stage, the Commissioner for Works, Rivers State, Dr. George-Kelly Dax Alabo, wishes to use this medium to inform residents of Rivers State, particularly motorists plying Ikwerre Road and NTA Road that there will be road closures around the axis of Rumuokwuta/Rumuola Junction, and Location Junction by Ada-George, where these projects are to be sited.
“This new development will last for the period of 10 months, which is the stipulated duration of the construction work.
“Motorists are kindly advised to use alternative routes to be outlined thus: Vehicles coming from NTA axis will pass through Farm Road to Ben Wosley along Ada-George Road, or through Ohakwe Street.
“As for Rumuokwuta/Rumuola flyover project, traffic will be diverted to Psychiatric Road; those coming from Wimpy Junction will be diverted to Road 1 through Kala Police Station”.
The commissioner appealed to the people of Rivers State to show understanding and patience with the state government, whilst the meaningful projects are flagged-off and commissioned in record time for traffic decongestion in the metropolis.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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Nigeria’s Economy On Brink Of Collapse, NECA Alerts

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The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, Sunday in Lagos, raised the alarm that the nation’s economy is on the brink of collapse, warning that spiralling inflation, rising energy cost (scarcity of FOREX, the dwindling value of the Naira among others, are bleeding the economy.
Speaking in Lagos, the Director-General, DG, of NECA, Mr Wale Oyerinde lamented that the economy is under the weight of an almost comatose aviation sector, stuttering education system, rising debt, depleting Foreign Reserve and rising fuel subsidy expenses among others.
The newly appointed D-G of NECA advised the federal government to employ a holistic and multi-pronged approach toward resolving the challenges faced by the nation.
According to him, “The nation is currently faced with multiple challenges. With a dire combination of spiralling inflation, rising energy costs (aviation fuel, diesel, etc.), scarcity of FOREX, dwindling value of the Naira and an almost comatose Aviation sector. Also, with a stuttering education system, rising debt, depleting Foreign Reserve and rising fuel subsidy expenses among others, that threatens to lay bare the country’s economy, there is no better time for Government to reappraise current economic policies and deepen its engagement with the Organized Private Sector. While Government’s effort to salvage the economy is commendable, there is, however, a need for a more holistic approach to resuscitate the stuttering economy.
“Being dependent on Crude oil for about 90 per cent of its Foreign Exchange earnings and 80 per cent of its budgetary revenues, Nigeria has always lived dangerously on the precipice, with a major chunk of its revenue dependent on the complexities of global Crude demand and supply. A dangerous blend of self-destructive tendencies, insecurity and fiscal and monetary policy inconsistencies have also conspired to make the situation worse. While revenue continues to shrink, the nation continues to dig its feet deeper into debt.
“At different times over the past few years, various international bodies including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization have warned about the excessive nature of the country’s borrowing. While some Stakeholders have canvassed that the revenue to GDP ratio of the country is healthy, a recent announcement by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning that the revenue to debt service ratio is in the negative calls for urgent concern.
“In April, the World Bank warned that the rising cost of fuel subsidy could significantly impact public finance and pose debt sustainability concerns. Alas, this projection is almost happening. The Fiscal Performance Report released recently by the Federal Government confirmed the accuracy of these projections. The combination of a struggling aviation sector and roads taken over by bandits have also conspired to fuel the situation, leading to rising inflation at 18.6% (according to the NBS). These have continued to worsen the promotion of Commerce and the increase the rate of de-industrialization of some regions of the country.”
The DG of the umbrella body for employers in the country, while recommending how to deal with the multi-face challenges, called for “a deliberate and economic priority influenced approach and wide consultation with Stakeholders should commence, with the view of harvesting alternative policy options to re-energize all sectors of the economy. While the challenges of revenue shortage are acknowledged, burdening businesses with new taxes or levies will be counter-productive and self-destructive action. Over-burdening already burdened businesses will only lead to business closure and an escalation of job losses with consequential effects on our social and economic stability. Government should, in the short-term widen the tax net, reduce wastages in governance, and focus on economic projects that will stimulate the Nigerian economy and guarantee an enabling environment for businesses to operate. An enabling environment for local businesses will create the platform for new foreign direct investment, which could increase FOREX inflow into the country.
“In the medium term, the Federal Government should, as a matter of urgency, fix the four national refineries and encourage the development of Modular ones as a precursor to total removal of fuel subsidy. With over N5trillion budgeted for subsidy payment in 2022, an amount larger than the budget for education and agriculture, this is unrealistic and unsustainable. Economic interventions aimed at improving living standards (to stimulate consumption) and Enterprise sustainability (to promote job creation) should be implemented. While FOREX scarcity persists, allocation of the available FOREX to manufacturing and other productive sectors of the economy should be given priority.”

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