According to a report by PREMUIM TIMES The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) yesterday asked Nigerians to prepare for fuel scarcity.
IPMAN Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Dankigari, lamented that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which sells the product for N133 per litre was no longer loading and that private depots around Calabar were already selling the product between N138 and N140 per litre.
Dankigari said marketers had decided to keep their trucks since the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) was already owing them over N200 billion for bridging the product, warning that there will be scarcity of petrol and kerosene in the next few days.
“If care is not taken, there will be fuel (petrol) scarcity because private depots have started increasing their rates; they are selling the product at a higher rate now in Calabar,” he told The Nation.
“Secondly, the cost of diesel is increasing. It is between N250 to N270 per litre. You can see that the cost of diesel is high but it is equally available because it has been deregulated. In addition, PEF that is supposed to be paying the transport fare is not paying.
“So, the marketers have decided to keep their trucks. The money PEF is owing marketers is now over N200billion. If this trend continues, there will be scarcity and the products will be very difficult to get. There is no kerosene at all.
“The major problem is that in Calabar, marketers are buying this product at N138 to N140 from the private depots. You know that what the NNPC said we should collect is N133, but they are not loading”, he added.
Dankigari noted that the foreign exchange rate was too high for his members to import products into the country.
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers say there is no going back on its planned warning strike scheduled to commence on January 11.
Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, the South-West Zonal Chairman of the union told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Monday that the union had mobilised its members for the strike.
He said that the union was determined to forge ahead with the planned warning strike, which would take place on from Jan. 11 to January 13.
Korodo said: “The warning strike notice had been given since the National Executive Council meeting that was held in Port Harcourt in December and we picked second week of January which commences from January 8.
“As I am speaking to you now, all zones including Lagos have mobilised to ensure the success of the strike as directed by NEC body of NUPENG.
“We are having another NEC meeting in Abuja on January 10, to appraise the preparation for the planned strike and meet the government officials.
“It has been the practice of the Nigerian government to wait until the ultimatum day before they start to run from one place to other to find solutions to it.
“If this warning strike is not properly handled as we have mobilised to ensure success of our action, nobody should blame the union.”
Korodo said that if the government had met the NEC of NUPENG before now, the action could have been “nipped in the bud’’.
NAN reports that NUPENG on December 16 gave the Federal Government a notice of a three-day nationwide warning strike from the second week of January 2017.
The action will be taken over unresolved labour issues with multinationals operating in the oil and gas industry.
President of the union, Igwe Achese, in a statement said that the decision was taken at the end of the NUPENG NEC, meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He warned that the three-day warning strike was preparatory to a nationwide strike if there was no intervention by the Federal Government.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has shifted blames on oil marketers in the country for the excruciating scarcity of kerosene and Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, also known as cooking gas and the high price of the commodities across the country.
The price of cooking gas had shot up from about N3,500 in most places before the Christmas holidays, to a minimum of N5,000 for a 12.5 kilogramme cylinder last week, while kerosene which went for as much as N250 per litre is now sold for a minimum of N500 per litre.
Some retailers of LPG in Enugu, said that though it was normal that during the yuletide period, the price of the commodity normally goes up a bit because of huge demand, they noted that the recent sharp rise in the price, from N3,500 to more than N5,000 was abnormal.
According to one of the marketers, who simply gave his name as Chibuike, the increase in price during the Christmas season is normally between N100 and N300, and at most N500, but this current rise is unprecedented and “we seem not to know the reason for the sharp rise.”
Another retailer, said the product seem not to be available in most of the recognised depots in Enugu, making most of the retailers to obtain the product from black marketers and middlemen.
For kerosene, most of the petrol stations visited in Enugu said they last sold the product sometime earlier 2016 and has not seen the product since then.
However, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Department of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in an interview, said the oil marketers were responsible for the scarcity and the hike in the prices of kerosene and cooking gas.
He denied that the scarcity was a ploy by the NNPC to push for an increase in the prices of cooking gas, kerosene, petrol or any other petroleum product.
Ughamadu said the NNPC had been consistent in bringing in petroleum products into the country, but its efforts were not being complemented by the marketers, who he said had refused to bring in products.
He noted that the LPG market was fully deregulated and though the NNPC was trying in this regard, it could not compel the marketers to bring in the product, especially as it was not a regulator.
Petrol price to increase as landing cost soars to N213 per litre
However, with the landing cost of PMS, popularly known as petrol now at N213 per litre, there are fears that petrol price could increase. Currently, the government is not paying subsidy on the product.
While the modulated bracket of N135-N145 is given as official price for petrol, drafts showed that extra N67.7 is incurred on over 35 million litres of daily imports as the landing cost soared.
According to the Head of Energy Research at Ecobank, Dolapo Oni, “when oil price was at $52 per barrel, the landing cost was N165 per litre. Later when the price rose to $55, the price soared to N210 per litre.
“Now that oil price is averaging at $58 per barrel, the landing cost will hover around N213 per litre,” he said.
The Nigerian Labour Congress is wasting no time this new year to remind president Buhari of his promise to implement the N52,000 new minimum wage and tackle unemployment affecting young Nigerians in 2017.
The congress in a New Year message by its president, Ayuba Wabba also charged President Muhammadu Buhari to deal with the challenge of the power sector through “either reversal of the privatization of the sector or ensuring that those who run the sector provide electricity on regular basis and at rates consumer can afford”.
The NLC leader said with states earning more revenue from sales of crude oil, and more money as a result of the massive devaluation of the naira, labour will continue its campaign to ensure that the incidence of non-payment of salaries as at when due, is no longer a feature of our national life.
Despite the payment of monthly stipends to selected beneficiaries, Wabba lamented that Nigerians were yet to see the massive job creation promised by the APC led government.
“How many jobs has the federal government and the 23 states controlled by the ruling party created in the course of the last 20 or so months, in furtherance of its pledge to Nigerians during the electioneering campaign?” he queried.
He recalled that NLC had during the past May Day and new year messages, as well as other policy pronouncements, made it known that it had some ideas on how, Nigeria can create new and sustainable jobs.
He said, “Unfortunately, no one in government has thought it necessary to give us a hearing on what these ideas are, and what they entail. Presently, we are not even sure which ministry or agency of the government is the focal point on job creation.”
Wabba concluded that the NLC will in the New Year redouble its efforts, using all available means at their disposal to get the federal government to constitute the tripartite panel to renegotiate a new minimum wage, which must be a living wage.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has described the ideal price for crude oil to be at $60 a barrel for the Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, stressing that a higher price risk sparking a recovery in competing supplies from the U.S. shale oil.
The minister stated this while speaking in a Bloomberg Television interview yesterday.
Speaking of what the Television described as the “urgency” felt by OPEC and its partners to end the oil output will ensure they adhere to their December 10 agreement to cut supplies, the minister said the accord should push prices which is at about $56 today a bit higher, yet not enough to trigger a comeback in U.S. shale, according to the minister.
“Sixty, I think would be ideal,” he said. “Once you begin to trend past the mid-$60s, you’re going to have a surfeit of shale producers jump back into the market. Technology is improving with shale every day, and so the cost of production is continuing to drop.
Meanwhile, oil prices have surged after oil producing countries that are not OPEC members agreed to cut output.Brent crude jumped to $57.89 a barrel -the highest since July 2015-before falling back to $56.79, although that was still a gain of 4.5% on the day.
On Saturday, non-OPEC countries agreed to cut their output by 558,000 barrels a day in a deal designed to reduce oversupply and boost prices. OPEC announced last month that it would be cutting its own production.
The OPEC committed to halting the supply of 1.2 million barrels a day, starting from January. The new deal is the first global pact in 15 years. “Once cuts are implemented at the start of 2017, oil markets will shift from surplus into deficit,” said analysts at AB Bernstein.
But some analysts have expressed doubts about the deal’s long-term impact on prices. Thomas Moore, investment director at Standard Life Investments, told BBC Radio 5 live: “You will see the oil price jump this morning – that’s understandable – but I think you need to put it in context.
“This is a cut of 550,000 barrels a day, and of course we have had about a million off OPEC production. But if you think about overall world production, OPEC’s producing 33 million barrels per day, so those numbers of 1.5 million are good, but they are not that good.
“And OPEC accounts for only about 40% of world crude production, so yes, there’s a day-one impact, but I think it’s at the edges here.”
Those taking part in Saturday’s deal included Russia – which will provide the lion’s share of the cut – as well as Mexico and Bahrain among others. It comes after more than two years of depressed oil prices, which have more than halved since 2014 due to a supply glut on the market.
Nigeria has lost over 130 million barrels of crude oil from January to November this year to the activities of 32 militant groups in the Niger Delta region since the resurgence of militancy in the oil-producing region in 2015, the Vice-Chairman of the Security Subcommittee of the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr. Shina Bankole, has said.
This is coming as the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Petroleum Industry Roadmap, better known as the “7 Big Wins”, will stabilise the region for oil and gas business.
Also, the former Minister of State for Energy and the Amayanabo of Nembe Kingdom in Bayelsa State, Dr. Edmund Daukoru, has called on the people of the Niger Delta to listen to themselves and the outside world, adding that blowing up pipelines amounted to cutting their nose to spite their face.
Speaking in Lagos yesterday at the 17th Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Biennial Conference on the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria organised by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Bankole, who is also the General Manager in charge of Security at Chevron Nigeria Limited, said insecurity in the Niger Delta had led to the proliferation of several militant groups, as well as small arms and weapons.
Bankole added that between January and November, 58 incidents of sabotage were recorded where oil and gas facilities belonging to the oil companies were vandalised.
“Again, within the same period, the rate of sabotage on oil and gas assets has led to lost production opportunities by the oil companies. As of today, more than 130 million barrels of crude oil have been lost due to the inability of the oil companies to produce as a result of the activities of the militants,” he added.
He said with the rehabilitation of about 30,000 ex-agitators, the Amnesty Programme introduced in 2009 by the federal government had successfully restored normalcy to the oil-producing region until 2015 when new militant groups began to emerge.
“The resurgence of militancy since 2015 has led to the proliferation of militant groups. As of today, no fewer than 32 of such groups have emerged in the Niger Delta – some with possible ethnic agenda, while others came with a criminal agenda,” he said.
Bankole disclosed that of the over 275 cases of kidnappings recorded across 29 states between January and November, 45 cases were related to oil and gas industry personnel and their dependants.
According to him, of the 99 incidents of sea robberies and pirates recorded within the same period, 19 cases involved the oil and gas industry.
In his keynote address, Kachikwu said the insecurity in the Niger Delta had raised the cost of security by six times over the past 10 years, adding that the entire ecosystem of Niger Delta was under threat as a result of the oil spills caused by vandalism of facilities by militants.
“In the last couple of weeks, the Ministry of Petroleum has launched the 7 Big Wins. The first of the Big Wins is getting the Niger Delta stabilised through engagement, empowerment and enforcement. The other aspect of the Big Wins is righting the wrongs through remediation and education,” Kachikwu, who was represented by his Senior Technical Adviser on Fiscal and Regulatory Matters, Dr. Tim Okon, said.
In his speech, Daukoru, who was one of the discussants, noted that one of the problems facing the Niger Delta was that nobody wants to listen.
“Everybody wants to speak; everybody wants to come forward with a solution. We are not listening to ourselves; we are not listening to the outside world,” he said.
Daukoru said the Niger Delta should listen to themselves and the outside world and channel their grievances properly.
He reminded the agitators that the oil and gas facilities being blown up do not belong to only the federal government but to the entire federation, which includes states and local government areas.
In his welcome address, the Director of DPR, Mr. Modecai Ladan, said the oil and gas industry had witnessed increased activities in the past decade due to the federal government’s policy and action plan to increase daily production to four million barrels and national reserves to 40 billion barrels by 2020.
He however said with the recent upsurge in militancy, crude oil production and revenue had dropped considerably.Read More
Tens of thousands of people turned out Monday for nationwide protests against India’s controversial ban on high-value banknotes, which opposition party organisers say has caused a “financial emergency”.
India is still reeling from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s shock decision nearly three weeks ago to pull 86 percent of the currency from circulation overnight, triggering a chronic shortage of notes in an economy that operates almost entirely on cash.
Around 25,000 people took to the streets of the eastern city of Kolkata, capital of West Bengal state, whose left-wing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has warned of “riots and epidemics” if the ban continues.
An estimated 6,000 more turned out to protest in Mumbai, India’s western commercial hub, police said.
But many ordinary Indians say they support the scheme if it forces the rich to pay their taxes by making them bank undeclared income. Only a handful of states observed a call for a nationwide protest strike.
“We are protesting against the undeclared financial emergency imposed by the government and the hardships people across the country are facing because of this illegal decision,” said Manish Tiwari of the opposition Congress party.
“The decision to demonetise high-value currency was done without any authority and legislation and is clearly illegal.”
Owners of the banned 500 and 1,000 rupee ($7.30, $14.60) notes have until the end of the year to deposit them in a bank, and can only directly exchange a small number for new currency.
But authorities have struggled to print enough new notes to meet demand and economists say the ensuing cash crunch will hit growth.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, a respected economist, said last week it would shave at least two percentage points off growth, which topped seven percent in the first half of the financial year.
“I do not disagree with the objectives but it is a monumental case of mismanagement,” the Congress party lawmaker told parliament.
“The way demonetisation has been implemented, it will hurt agricultural growth and all those people working in the informal sector.”
Over 90 percent of transactions in India are conducted in cash and many of the country’s poorest have no access to banking.
Many have been left without enough cash to buy food or daily essentials, while farmers have been unable to buy seeds and small traders say business has fallen off a cliff.
Nonetheless Modi has repeatedly defended the scheme, accusing its detractors of being tax evaders and urging all Indians to switch to non-cash payment methods.
The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) has decried the high incidence of child and forced marriage in Nigeria, describing it as violence against women.
Speaking at the Pan African Campaign to end forced, underage and child marriages, yesterday, in Abuja, Entity’s deputy country representative in Nigeria, Adjaratou Fatou Ndiaye, noted that gender-based violence has become a preoccupying human right violation.
She added that recent studies have also shown the negative impact of the phenomenon on the economy of the country.
Ndiaye, who was represented by the UN Women Programme Manager, Desmond Osemhenjie, observed that not only that victims of gender-based violence do not effectively contribute to the growth of the economy due to the trauma and pains they go through, there is also the cost of medical and psycho-social support for those who can access it, and may never fully recover.
She noted that reports from the National Demographic and Health Survey in Nigeria shows that 28 percent of all women have experienced physical violence since age 15.
Ndiaye said the major challenge to efforts at preventing and ending violence against women and girls is the substantial funding shortfall, even as she stressed the need for sustainable financing to end gender-based violence and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, between government and states.
In her contribution, Human Rights Watch Senior Nigeria Researcher, Ms Mausi Segun, noted that with 630 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, Nigeria has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates, adding that most of these deaths occur in northern Nigeria.
The Federal Government has commenced strategies to develop cassava leaves value chain into livestock feeds to curb farmers-herdsmen clashes in the country.
Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said this at a seminar on `Unlocking the Potentials of Cassava Leaves as Livestock feed in Nigeria’ in Abuja on Thursday.
He said the seminar, organised by the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), was a wake-up call for stakeholders to deliberate on harnessing the potentials of cassava leaves.
Represented by Dr Egejuru Eze, Director, Animal Production and Husbandry Services in the ministry, Ogbeh said that the livestock industry had been bedevilled by stagnant practices hence, the clashes.
The minister said that livestock had the potential for increased productivity, including milk yield and body weight, when fed with cassava leaves.
According to him, cassava leaves has been found to be a good source of crude protein when made into silage.
Ogbeh said that the cassava leaves value chain would also create jobs for youths and enable farmers make more money from the sale of the leaves.
“Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world with a production figure of 50 million metric tonnes.
“Cassava is a major food crop in Nigeria.
“It is strategically valued for its role in food security, poverty alleviation and a source of raw materials for agro-allied industries in Nigeria with huge potential for export market.
“It provides livelihood for over 30 million farmers,’’ the minister said.
Dr Olufemi Oladunni, Acting Executive Director of ARMTI, said the institute’s mission was to identify problems and develop appropriate interventions to improve managerial practice in the agricultural sector.
“ We gather policy makers, academics, practitioners and other stakeholders to facilitate a constructive discussion on policy development to tackle pertinent issues in agriculture.
“ The incessant farmers and herdsmen clashes, the grossly below optimum yield in livestock production and constant price hikes and scarcity of livestock products need speedy action.
“If we tackle agriculture challenges with effectiveness and efficiency in our practice, the scarcity of food, inflation, poverty, unemployment of youths will be minimal,’’ he said.
In a lecture, Prof. Dolapo Lufadeju, an agriculture development consultant, said Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava, producing 50 million metric tonnes annually and providing livelihood to millions.
Lufadeju said that the initiative of cassava leaves to feed livestock would encourage men and women and create employment for the youth.
“Cassava is a major staple crop that can be used to promote rural industrialisation, starch, adhesive, exotic food, condiments and proven export foreign exchange earners.
“It can be successfully grown in marginal soil, hardiness and tolerance to adverse conditions,’’ he said.
He added that the world cassava production was about 165 million metric tonnes per annum and about 50 per cent was produced by Nigeria, Brazil, Thailand and Zaire.
The National President of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers NUPENG, Comrade (Dr.) Igwe Achese, has released a statement declaring that the union will resist any attempt to sell or scrap the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, by Federal Government, wondering why rumours and media reports about the scrapping of NNPC have refused to go away.
He spoke on Sunday while fielding questions from reporters at the memorial thanksgiving service of his late mother, Mrs. TamunoIbuomi Levi Bereiweriso, at St. James (Anglican) Church, Ogoloma, Okrika, Rivers state.
According to him, “I have heard the news of plots to scrap the NNPC. It’s a speculation that has been on for some time. But, for us as a union, we are definitely going to resist it. The NNPC is not going to be scrapped.
“They said they needed money for Turn Around Maintenance (TAM). They said they want to repair the refineries. But, as we speak, the refineries in the country are not working.
“It’s sad! I am a member of the palliative committee and till date, nothing has happened. So, my answer to any increase is no. We won’t allow that to happen.”
Achese further condemned the sack of workers in the oil and gas industry, asserting that the Federal Government should do more in regulating the activities of multinational oil companies, which are the ones laying off workers.
“We feel that the Federal Government should regulate the multinational companies like Shell. We feel the sack should stop. The government should put in place measures to create stability,” he said.
The NUPENG leader, who condemned the factionalisation of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, at a time when Nigerians need a united labour union, said, “today, Nigerians as suffering. One would ask: what is the task of the NLC? The factionalisation of the NLC is not a good thing”.