Petrol May Sell for N88 Per Litre From Today

Abuja and Lagos — Amid the lingering fuel crisis in the country, there were indications yesterday from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) that the product may be sold for N88 per litre at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) stations and N88.50 in other stations starting from today.

 Petrol May Sell for N88 Per Litre From Today
Petrol May Sell for N88 Per Litre From Today

Until this new template, the NNPC’s official price for a litre of fuel was N86 while for others it was N86.50. The new price mechanism that is expected to take effect today is a requirement of price modulation system that is reviewed every quarter.

The Guardian learnt that the proposal for the price template for the second quarter of the year (April to June) was tabled before the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu by the PPPRA boss, Mrs. Sotonye Iyoyo early this week.

It could not be ascertained yesterday whether the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources, President Muhammadu Buhari, who is attending a conference in Washington DC in the United States, approved the template before leaving the country.

According to an investigation by The Guardian, every aspect of the template was retained except the equalisation fund, which has additional N2 per litre from the previous N4, making it N6.

The breakdown indicates that government is expected to get N400 million daily as the country still operates on over-recovery basis, which means that Nigerians are paying extra N10 on every litre of petrol they buy at the filling stations.

With an estimated 40 million litres of petrol consumed per day, the Federal Government will mobilise about N36 billion into the dedicated account that is opened in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for over-recovery funds in the second quarter of 2016.

 Says the Guardian
Ntel, New Telecoms Firm, Begins Operation April 8

Newest entrant into Nigeria’s telecommunications market, Ntel has concluded plans to roll out services from April 8.Ntel, which plans to start from Lagos and Abuja, said it would offer Nigerians fourth generation Long Term Evolution (4G LTE) network service.

Ntel, New Telecoms Firm, Begins Operation April 8
Ntel, New Telecoms Firm, Begins Operation April 8

The Chief Executive Officer, Ntel, Kamar Abass, who disclosed this yesterday, in Lagos, said that all is set for the commercial launch following link from completion of agreements with channel partners as well as go-ahead from Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Abass said the telecommunications regulator has approved all licence authorization necessary for Ntel to launch its Voice over LTE (VoLTE) network using next generation telecommunications infrastructure.

He said Ntel has deployed about 600 base transceiver stations (BTSs) in the two cities with 2000 sites to be rolled out as the network expands.

Abass said already 200 kilometres of fibre optic transmission cables have been laid in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt for seamless network connectivity. He said Ntel has deployed LTE Advanced, the latest 4G technology with multi-antenna MIMO sites.

We are rolling out physical sites in two cities on our 900MHz and 1800MHz bands to launch Voice over LTE come April 8, 2016. We have signed agreements with trade partners and fulfilled all licence authorisations and payments and we are up-to-date. There are no impediments to our launch,” he said.

Abass said NATCOMS Investments Ltd, the parent company of Ntel has project over $1 billion investments over the next four years.

To ensure smooth take off of its mobile network, the NATCOMS has completed the construction of Tier III datacenter as well as reactivation of SAT3 submarine international fibre optic cable.

It will be recalled that NATCOMS had last year paid $252.52 million to acquire the assets of the defunct first national operator (FNO) to begin commercial operation on its mobile network.

According to Abass, despite the growth of the telecoms sector in Nigeria which has seen voice subscriptions rise from less that 60,000 in year 2001 to over 147 million as at 2015, broadband usage has only grown by 20 per cent.

He said NATCOM has come to fill the gap bringing Nigerians unfettered access to full mobile broadband both on voice and data services.

Over the next four and half years, the total number of mobile broadband customers alone will be greater than all of the customers that have come into the market on mobile since its inception. In other words, we are at a point where a major transformation is in the making. You will see 168 million mobile broadband customers coming into being between now and the end of 2019, which is more than all the mobile customers (both narrow and broadband) that we have seen in the last 15 years.

“That sounds like an enormous transformation. When it comes to the supply of broadband services, we are unique because we have more spectrum, which can deliver more throughput than any network available today and potentially any network in the future. The spectrum we have has unique features which are simply unrepeatable on any other spectrum band” Abass said.

Ambode Promises to Complete U.S.$1.7 Billion Lekki Seaport in 2019

Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has pledged to complete the $1.7 billion Lekki Seaport in 2019, saying upon completion, it would be the deepest seaport in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ambode Promises to Complete U.S.$1.7 Billion Lekki Seaport in 2019
Ambode Promises to Complete U.S.$1.7 Billion Lekki Seaport in 2019

The governor, who reeled out the numerous investment opportunities that abound in the state to prospective investors in critical sectors such as power, agriculture, transportation, health, tourism, housing, ICT and manufacturing, gave assurance that the state was poised for more investments.

Speaking at the formal unveiling of the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment, otherwise known as Lagos Global, the governor said his administration, in anticipation of increased socio-economic activities, had resolved to prioritise the achievement of the four pillars of the Lagos State Development Plan (2012-2015), including economic, infrastructural, social development as well as security and sustainable environment.

Governor Ambode added that the Badagry Creek Industrial Park, a $1.3 billion investment meant for completion in 2018 and the $12 billion Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Park were among other investments coming to the state.

Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Tunji Bello, the governor said ongoing efforts had ensured that the state remained a choice destination for massive Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), including the Lekki seaport project.

Also speaking, renowned economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, while lauding the initiative, said Lagos economy must therefore be a 24 hours one and that the growth of the state required significant co-operation from neighbouring states.

Utomi said Lagos offers hope for rapid growth of the country as it has the capacity to serve as the yard-stick to measure and encourage development, but that there has to be a concerted effort to make the state a more attractive idea of a developmental state, and that there must be a well done plan to round up everything that Lagos represents in terms of possibilities through a branding process.

In another development, poised to improve smooth driving on the ever-busy Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Governor Ambode has ordered the State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) to immediately embark on extensive repairs of the road.

General Manager and Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Works, Ayotunde Sodeinde, who disclosed this in a chat with newsmen yesterday, said LSPWC had already mobilised its workers to commence work immediately on several sections of the road.

“Immediately His Excellency, Governor Ambode, gave us the directive, we have moved into the area to commence extensive work on the roads. We have been here since Tuesday and work has commenced in earnest,” he said.

He said the repair works would include covering all potholes on the road while the drainage systems will also be given a face-lift.

By the Guardians..

2016 Budget Will Lift Millions of Nigerians Out of Poverty – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that the 2016 budget will lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty and that there is no disagreement whatsoever between the Executive and the Legislature on the 2016 Budget, which has been passed by the National Assembly.

2016 Budget Will Lift Millions of Nigerians Out of Poverty - Lai Mohammed
2016 Budget Will Lift Millions of Nigerians Out of Poverty – Lai Mohammed

“There is absolutely no rift, no issue of budget being sent back. Things are just taking their due course,” the Minister said in Abuja on Thursday when he visited the corporate headquarters of the Leadership newspaper, as part of his continuous engagement with stakeholders in the media industry.

He said it was not true that the President has refused to sign the Appropriation Bill passed by the National Assembly, adding: “It takes a few days (after the passage) for the National Assembly to clean up the document in readiness for the President’s assent.”

Speaking further on the budget, Alhaji Mohammed said when it is eventually passed into law, it will lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty, thanks to the six focal areas of social intervention contained therein.

“The first is the employment of 500,000 unemployed university graduates who we are going to train as teachers. Two, we are also employing 370,000 unemployed non-graduates, people with National Diploma and Technical Certificate. The third tranche is the social intervention targeted at 1 million people made up of market women, traders and artisans to be trained and given loans through their cooperatives.

“The fourth one is the home-grown One-Meal-A-Day Programme. Here we are targeting several millions of pupils in primary schools all over Nigeria. The exponential effect of this one meal a day is huge.

 Even if we are targeting five million pupils and we are giving each of them one egg a day, you are talking about five million eggs that will be provided by our poultry farmers. This will also help to increase the demand for maize and then you are going to employ people all around,” he said.

The Minister further disclosed that the Federal Government will also commence the Conditional Cash Transfer to the most vulnerable Nigerians, in collaboration with some development partners, to bring succour to such people.

He said that a special bursary scheme will also come on stream to grant scholarships to students of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in a deliberate effort to support the students financially while also bolstering the nation’s drive for industrialization.

Alhaji Mohammed also disclosed that the sum of N350 billion will soon be injected into the economy to enable contractors to resume work on abandoned infrastructural projects, with timeline and target on project delivery and job creation.

He thanked Nigerians for their patience and the understanding of the challenges facing the government, saying rather than give excuses, the government was working round the clock to alleviate the pains of Nigerians.

An established and well managed solid minerals industry is a path for economic and social growth of Nigeria. The sector, has potentials of providing employments and improve national income earnings far exceeding the petroleum sector if well managed. Our reporter examines the progress, challenges and the ways forward.

Marketing the Nation's Solid Minerals to the World
Marketing the Nation’s Solid Minerals to the World

Solid minerals industries are supposed to provide local raw materials for other industries and bring vital infrastructure and wealth to rural areas.

Before now, the earnings from solid minerals was used to develop roads, education, hospitals and in fact develop the petroleum industry.The decline of the solid minerals industry started with the discovery of oil to an extent that Nigeria became a mono product economy and vulnerable to international oil politics. The domineering role of oil did not allow past governments to attend to global challenges that evolved in the development of the solid minerals sector.

The neglect of the industry led to disorder in the minefield with strong presence of illegal miners whose activities are characterized by inefficient mining, illegal trading of highly priced minerals, severe ecological degradation, spread of diseases and huge loss of revenue to the government through smuggling.

An internal analysis in reaction to the global economic recession led to key policy review which was completed and endorsed at the middle of the 1990s for implementation. The policy review led to a number of important actions including the creation of the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development in 1995.

N824.7 Billion of Oil Revenue Withheld by NNPC Within 6 Months Of Buhari’s Govt

A new report on Thursday said despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s attempt at ensuring transparency in the oil sector, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, still withholds billions in oil revenues from the government account.

N824.7 Billion of Oil Revenue Withheld by NNPC Within 6 Months Of Buhari’s Govt
N824.7 Billion of Oil Revenue Withheld by NNPC Within 6 Months Of Buhari’s Govt

 
The report by the Natural Resource Governance Institute, titled “NNPC still holds blank check” said that within the first six months of the Buhari administration, the NNPC withheld over $4.2 billion (about N824.7 billion) out of a total of $6.3 billion (N1.24 trillion) revenues realised from crude oil sales in the second half of 2015.
The withheld revenues represented about 66 per cent of the total revenue – $1.4 billion earnings from Nigeria’s regular crude oil exports for the period; $3.4 billion from domestic crude oil sales, and $1.5 billion from oil sold from the corporation’s upstream subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC oil fields.
The report said only $2.1 billion (about N413.7 billion) was transferred to the Federation Account.
The group said the unremitted revenues for the six months was about 14 per cent more than the amount withheld by the corporation under the Goodluck Jonathan administration in the first half of 2015, and about 12 per cent higher than the share withheld in 2013 and 2014.
The report said the figure of unremitted oil revenues in 2015 contrasted sharply with 2005 figures, which showed the NNPC remitted about 68 per cent of its total oil sale earnings to the Federation Account and kept only 32 per cent that year.
The report said while part of the withheld funds was used for servicing Nigeria’s share of the joint venture operating obligations, the NNPC did not fully explain what the other retained revenues from domestic crude and NPDC oil sales were used for.

In general, the report said despite the on-going reforms in the oil sector, the NNPC under the present administration was still retaining a major share of oil sale earnings and spending at will.
Some of the reforms by the Buhari government, the report noted, have cut the number of passive, well connected middlemen that pocketed billions of oil revenues, while the administration has cancelled costly, unbalanced NNPC swap contracts as well as seek more efficient replacements.
The report lamented that recent announcements on NNPC reforms and the latest drafts of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, failed to adequately address how NNPC and the government would share future oil revenues
“Until government establishes a clear, legally enforceable rule governing which revenues NNPC can keep and how they can be spent, oil sector corruption and waste could return to their prior devastating levels once the president (Buhari) leaves, or prices rise,” the report noted.
While encouraging government to push ahead with its reform plans for the oil sector, NRGI stressed the need for NNPC to adopt new financial controls and transparency measures for its subsidiaries, especially bordering on the several billion revenues retained each year from NPDC operations and its oil trading and marketing subsidiaries.
The Institute also called for the immediate replacement of the 445,000 barrels per day crude oil allocation for domestic refining with a fit-for-purpose mechanism for supplies to the country’s four refineries.
“The government should move to curb the corporation’s discretionary, unaccountable use of much-needed public funds. Until the government instates clear rules for NNPC financing, both the controversies and the underlying revenue leakages will persist,” the report said.
Describing the NPDC as one of the Nigerian petroleum sector’s “great black boxes”, the report said some of the oil from the company’s fields went to its strategic alliance partners, two of which were paid in oil for purportedly shouldering the company’s financial obligations.
From the production of an average of 30,000 barrels per day of Okono grade crude during the period, the report said NNPC retained all earnings ( about $12.3 billion over the past decade) from the offshore Oil Mining Lease (OML) 119 owned wholly by NPDC.

Ondo residents groan as taxi, okada charge up to N80 per drop

‎As the fuel scarcity lingers, commuters across Ondo State, particularly residents of Akure, the state capital are still going through hard times in search of the product.

 Fuel scarcity: Ondo residents groan as taxi, okada charge up to N80 per drop Fuel scarcity: Ondo residents groan as taxi, okada charge up to N80 per drop
Fuel scarcity: Ondo residents groan as taxi, okada charge up to N80 per drop

Few of the filling stations selling the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popularly called petrol are selling at the rate of N220 to 250 per litre which is against the official N86.50k price per litre released by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRA).

DAILY POST reporter observed that for the past one week, only few vehicles are seen moving around major roads in Akure – like Oba-Adesida, Arakale, Oyemekun, Ondo Road due to the scarcity of the product.

 Already, commercial taxi drivers have increased their official price of N50 per drop to N70 while their other counterparts, the Motorcyclists, popularly called Okada are now charging N80 per drop against their initial N50.Besides, the economy of the state has remain stagnant since the governor, Olusegun Mimiko has refused to pay workers since the past five months.

“You know Ondo state is a civil servants state and workers are being owned and how are you expecting economic activities of the state to be alive?

“If we are receiving salaries regularly, market women, artisans, Okada riders, taxi drivers and others will feel our impact but since we have not paid for the past five months, they are also affected.

 “I can boldly tell you that for the past two weeks, I have been trekking from my house to my office because I don’t have money to take a bike or board a taxi.“Thank God that my landlord permitted us to farm at our backyard, if not, I would have died of hunger,” a local government worker said.

Bamidele Ogunlana, who is a taxi driver also said they cannot longer take passengers at the normal N50 rate because of the fuel scarcity.

According to him, “my brother, I was at the NNPC as from 4.am and I left the place after struggling to get the product around 3.45pm. How will I work for few hours and be collecting N50 from passengers?

“Even those selling at N250 experience long queues and consumers would be fighting each other to get the product.

“This pain is too much, we want President Muhammadu Buhari to act fast to stop this crisis.

“We know that some people are sabotaging this government because of their selfish interest and they can go a long way to destabilize his government.”

Already, black market is now striving in the state as 10 litres jerrycan now sells for N3000.

Untitled

A popular Burundi comedian known as “Kigingi” was arrested this week after poking fun at the president, his family said Friday.

Comedian arrested for cracking joke on president
Comedian arrested for cracking joke on president

Humorist and Buja FM radio host Alfred Aubin Mugenzi was arrested on Tuesday evening by Burundi’s National Intelligence Service (known by its French acronym, SNR) and charged with insulting President Pierre Nkurunziza.

He was apprehended at a hotel in Muramvya, 50 kilometres (31 miles) east of the capital, while on a promotional tour for a beer company.

“He was transferred to Bujumbura and is being held in the SNR dungeons, but no one has been allowed to see him”, said a concerned relative, who did not want to be named for fear of repercussions.

The relative said Mugenzi’s family fears the funny man may suffer the same fate as others taken by the SNR, who rights groups say are commonly tortured or simply disappeared. Many hare reported to have died in jail.

SNR officers told the relative that Mugenzi was arrested “for contempt of the head of state” after a skit he performed in neighbouring Rwanda last year, in which he lampooned football-mad third-term Nkurunziza, showing him refusing to leave the pitch despite receiving two yellow cards.

Nkurunziza’s refusal to stand down after two terms and instead run for a controversial third mandate in 2015 triggered bloody unrest, a failed military coup and months of violence that has killed hundreds of people and driven a quarter of a million to flee the country.

Nkurunziza, a born-again Christian and former sports teacher, is the player-owner of Hallelujah FC, where he is frequently the top scorer.

An intelligence official confirmed Mugenzi’s arrest saying the comic routine was “insulting the president”.

“He will soon be released, this time,” the official added.

Collapsed Power System Restored

Abuja — The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has said that Nigeria’s power generation which collapsed completely on Thursday at exactly 12.58pm to zero megawatt (MW) and lasted for up to about three hours has been restored back to normalcy.

Collapsed Power System Restored
Collapsed Power System Restored

Fashola who did not disclose the current generation level of the system, however stated in Abuja that the collapse was induced by a sudden downing of the three turbines at the Jebba Hydro Power Station. He noted that the turbines were quickly restarted and power generation then began to grow back.

Data from the country’s System Operator had shown that around 12.58pm on Thursday, there was no power available for distribution across the country.

The SO hourly record indicated that Nigeria produced no single megawatt of electricity and the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) got none.

The SO report indicated that the 11 Discos got zero electricity load allocation during the period of the collapse, meaning that that period on Thursday no part of Nigeria got power supply from the national grid.

Supply according to Disco sources was however restored by 3pm, and out of the 450MW that was due Abuja Electricity Distribution Company for instance, only about 50MW was given to it when the situation improved.

Abuja Disco had before the collapse got an allocation of 257.97MW. At that time the national grid had about 2,243.2MW to distribute to the Discos.

By This day

Former LCCI President Remi Bello Hails NCS On Importation Policy

The immediate past President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Remi Bello has commended the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on the re-introduction of the ban on importation of rice through the land borders, describing it as a congenial progress.

Former LCCI President Hails NCS On Importation Policy
Former LCCI President Hails NCS On Importation Policy

According to him, the decision would encourage local production of rice thereby boosting the nation’s economy through farming.

While criticising NCS for reversing the earlier ban placed on the commodity last year, Bello said, “With the kind of investment our people have made to rice production, there should not be any need for us to relax it in the first place and allow imported rice to come in through the land borders.

In all ramifications, it is not the best thing to have happened then but if it is now happening, I believe it is going to help our farmers. It is a welcome development. So it should be encouraged.”

Ships and Ports quoted Bello as saying noting that while the country is not self -sufficient in rice production, with special focus on the agricultural sector, the country will be the better for it at the long run.

On whether the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy restricting foreign currency supply to importers of rice will not be a set back to the reintroduction of the ban, as importers will now be expected to import the commodity only through the seaport.

Bello said: “The objective of the CBN’s restriction is to encourage local production. Even in LCCI we are not canvassing that rice should be included in the items that should have access to foreign exchange. “

By This Day