Airlines May Ground Flights As Fuel Scarcity Bites Harder

Airline operators have urged passengers to expect more delays or cancelled flights as the scarcity of aviation fuel, known as Jet A1, bites harder, adding that scheduled operations may stop altogether, unless more fuel is delivered in the next few days.

Airlines May Ground Flights As Fuel Scarcity Bites Harder
Airlines May Ground Flights As Fuel Scarcity Bites Harder

Since last week, domestic airlines have faced severe challenges sourcing aviation fuel for their scheduled flights.

THISDAY gathered yesterday that Total, a major supplier of the product, imported two ships of aviation fuel, but was directed to wait until the ships with petrol were discharged. The consequence is that the scarcity of aviation fuel would linger for some time.

In response to the scarcity, foreign airlines have devised means of fuelling their aircraft outside Nigeria and only top up on arrival in the country.

THISDAY learnt that as a result of this, many passengers might not be accompanied on their flights by their luggage, as the foreign airlines are forced to drop the luggage in order to carry more fuel, much to yhe displeasure of passengers when they arrive their destinations.

BA takes fuel from London and sometimes they stop in Malta so to avoid refuelling in Nigeria, even though they have a supply contract.

“The other day, Air France came to Abuja and met with Total. They normally take about 60,000 litres, but they asked for 20,000 litres, which is like a top up. That is what most foreign airlines are doing now,” an inside source told THISDAY.

Another challenge the airlines are facing is the delay in trucking the product from Apapa, which could last for hours and when it arrives the airport, airlines would wait for another two hours for the product to settle so that contaminants would not get into the aircraft tanks.

“Yesterday I called Total and they brought fuel from Apapa but it had to wait for two hours to settle down, otherwise residue can get into the tank and possibly cause an accident,” explained a top official of a major Nigerian carrier who added that passengers should stop blaming the airlines for flight delays or cancellations at this time because the situation was beyond their control.

Also a senior official of Arik Air told THISDAY that the airline gives priority to its international flights and provides them with fuel before its domestic flights, because of the image of the country and to prevent the loss of market share to foreign airlines.

“We have kept our New York, Johannesburg and London flights going because there is competition. Everyday we are looking for 850,000 litres to fuel our airplanes. So we give fuel first to London, New York and South Africa flights.

“Our London flight takes about 70,000 litres. But we are an indigenous carrier so we suffer it more and if we go and buy in London, it will be very expensive because we have to buy in foreign exchange.

“So the allegation against us by passengers is unfair. We are not saying we couldn’t do better, but the way we are being accused is unfair,” the Arik official told THISDAY.

Several operators who spoke to THISDAY, expressed concern that if there is no urgent action to supply aviation fuel in the next 36 hours or discharge ships on Nigerian waters, scheduled commercial operations might be jeopardised.

Shell says theft from its Nigerian oil pipeline network fell in 2015

Theft of crude oil from the pipeline network of Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary fell to 25,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2015, the company said on Monday, roughly 32 percent less than the previous year.

Shell says theft from its Nigerian oil pipeline network fell in 2015
Shell says theft from its Nigerian oil pipeline network fell in 2015

The number of sabotage-related spills on the SPDC network also declined to 93 in 2015, compared with 139 the previous year, Shell said in its annual sustainability report.

It attributed the decrease to divestments in the Niger Delta and increased surveillance and security by the Nigerian government, but said theft and sabotage were still responsible for around 85 percent of spills from SPDC operations.

President Muhammadu Buhari has said theft siphons as much as 250,000 bpd of crude of its roughly 2 million bpd of production and last week promised to crack down on groups responsible for pipeline attacks.

Still, the issue has continued to plague the country. Shell currently has a force majeure in place on Forcados crude oil exports following an attack on a subsea pipeline in February, while Italian oil major ENI reportedly declared force majeure on Brass River exports late last week.

(Reporting by Libby George and Karolin Schaps; Editing by Mark Potter)

Etisalat Nigeria appoints new Directors

Etisalat Nigeria on Tuesday, announced the appointment of Adeolu Dairo as Director, Consumer Segment, Elvis Ogiemwanye as Director, Brand & Experience and Eric Uwaoma as Director, Enterprise Segment. The appointments followed a rigorous process, focused on identifying and selecting the best internal talents within the organisation and will further support the company in the delivery of innovative products and services to meet the demands of its customers.

Etisalat Nigeria names Adeolu Dairo, Elvis Ogiemwanye and Eric Uwaoma as Directors
Etisalat Nigeria names Adeolu Dairo, Elvis Ogiemwanye and Eric Uwaoma as Directors

Adeolu Dairo was previously Head, Customer Value Management (CVM) where he was responsible and instrumental in deepening Etisalat’s organizational capability in marketing and customer analytics. In his new role as Director, Consumer Segment, he will lead his team in articulating and implementing the key pillars of Etisalat’s marketing strategy in the High Value, Mass market and Youth Segments.

Elvis Ogiemwanye was previously Head, Youth Segment where he successfully worked with his team to build Etisalat’s youth brand (EasyCliq) as well as develop the teen segment (Cliqlite). As Director, Brand & Experience, he will assume overall responsibility for execution of strategies that enhance the Etisalat brand value and equity as well as customers’ experience across all touch-points.

Eric Uwaoma was previously Head, Enterprise Sales where he played a pioneering role in setting up Etisalat’s Enterprise team, from recruiting experienced sales executives, to developing processes and growing the company’s share of the business market. In his role as Director, Enterprise Segment, Eric will be responsible for leading the entire Enterprise function – including sales, marketing, and after-sales support – to continuously improve Etisalat’s share and profitability among all business customers across the country.

Mr. Francesco Angelone, Chief Marketing Officer of Etisalat Nigeria said “over the years, Adeolu, Elvis and Eric have played pivotal roles in driving many of our positive customer and market results. These appointments reflect the fact that, as an organization, Etisalat remains committed to growing its people through careers that meaningfully build on experiences – including work-related challenges, opportunities, and achievements – to prepare talented employees for more responsibility even as the business evolves.”

He affirms that “at Etisalat, we are committed to empowering individuals and our communities to empower the nation; therefore we look forward to the benefits of the transforming leadership that will follow these new appointments.”

Ogbeh, Ministry officials uncover N12.6bn projects inserted by NASS

Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, and the Ministry’s officials have discovered 386 projects worth N12.6billion reportedly inserted into its budget by the National Assembly.

Ogbeh, Ministry officials uncover N12.6bn projects inserted by NASS
Ogbeh, Ministry officials uncover N12.6bn projects inserted by NASS

The ministry’s budget of N40.918billion had been reduced to N31.618billion.

According to The Nation, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma will brief President Muhammadu Buhari today.

Three projects unconnected with the agriculture sector were included in the ministry’s budget.

These border on erosion control in Federal University, Kashere, Kwadon and Garin Alhaji at N200 million, N100 million and N45 million.

A source told the newspaper that: “In the Agric sector, 386 projects were inserted, which totalled about N12.6 billion.

While N5.3 billion of the main ministry’s budget is taken away, about N7.2 billion is infused into almost 40 agencies and parastatals of the agric ministry.”

Other smuggled projects are provision of 58 boreholes for 29 rural communities and an additional 50 boreholes for 50 rural communities in the sum of N175 million and N150.4 million.

“Curiously, the communities are not named”, the source said, adding: “Similarly, of the N90 million allocated to the Cocoa Research Institute in Ibadan, various sums are allotted the following seven sub-heads: provision of rubber seeds and seedling in Igbotako, Okitipupa, (N5m), training and empowerment of youths in poultry farming in Oluyole, Ibadan (N20m) and provision of cassava processing plant in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State(N10m)

“Of the four sub-heads under the Rubber Research Institute, Benin, two areas are equally outside the focus of rubber. These are training and empowerment of youth and women in fish farming in Ndokwa, Delta State as well as fabrication and installation of cassava processing machines in Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State at N10m and N20m.

“Also, N1 billion was allocated to two projects in Kwara South Senatorial District, including the construction of rural roads for N700 million as well as empowerment of women and youths in agricultural products for N300 million.”

OPEC meeting ends without deal on oil production

OPEC meeting ends without deal on oil production
OPEC meeting ends without deal on oil production

The world’s biggest oil producers have failed to reach agreement at a meeting aimed at freezing output and reassuring markets that a recent recovery in prices could be sustained.

Sunday’s talks in Qatar’s capital saw the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) – and, unusually, other producers – trying to agree that average daily crude oil production in the coming months would not exceed levels recorded in January.

Qatari Energy Minister Mohammed Saleh al-Sada said – after six hours of negotiations that consultations would continue between the parties until an OPEC meeting in June.

All participating countries will consult among themselves and with others,” he said.

Oman’s Oil Minister Mohammed al-Rumhy said one reason a deal could not be reached was that not all OPEC members were present.

“Until this morning we thought there would be a deal. We didn’t know Iran wasn’t coming,” he told Al Jazeera.


Nigerian president’s China trip most successful in economic terms: expert

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent visit to China can be considered as the most successful and profitable given what he has gained in terms of economy, a Nigerian financial expert said Friday.

President Buhari in China
President Buhari in China

In an interview with Xinhua, Johnson Chukwu, chief executive officer of Cowry Asset Management Limited, a Nigerian financial advisory and research firm, said that while Buhari’s other foreign trips might have gained political attention, his trip to China has yielded fruitful results for Nigeria-China ties and regional cooperation in terms of economy.

The visit provided an opportunity for the Nigerian leader to seek development assistance, promote infrastructure development, and attract investment from the Asian country, the financial expert said.

China is Nigeria’s largest import partner, he said, adding that Nigeria has maintained a deep and strong relationship with China through many administrations.

Chukuwu said the currency swap deal on yuan transactions, signed by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited and the Central Bank of Nigeria, would help boost bilateral trade.

The currency swap agreement, he added, would allow Nigerian banks to issue letters of credit in yuan in place of the U.S. dollar.

“We have a lot of machinery and equipment from China apart from consumer goods,” he said, adding that the deal would help businessmen “have the access to another foreign currency — the yuan — to bring in the goods.”

According to the expert, about 22 percent of Nigeria’s exports will be settled in the yuan instead of the U.S dollar, which will “relieve the country of much pressure on foreign reserves at this time,” he added.

Nigeria has not applied for an IMF loan because it is ‘not sick’: finance minister

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria, which is going through its worst economic crisis in years, has not turned to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial assistance because it is “not sick”, its finance minister said.

© Reuters. Nigeria's Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun speaks at a news conference in Lagos
Nigeria has not applied for an IMF loan because it is ‘not sick’: finance minister

Africa’s top oil exporter, which has the continent’s biggest economy, has been hit hard by the fall in crude prices since oil sales account for around 70 percent of its income.

The economy grew 2.8 percent last year, its slowest pace in decades, and in March annual inflation rose to a near four year high of 12.8 percent.

Last month the IMF said it had again cut its growth forecast for Nigeria, predicting that gross domestic product growth would slow to 2.3 percent in 2016. It has said it hopes exchange rate limits imposed by Nigeria will be removed.

The central bank has resisted calls to devalue the naira currency, though a Reuters poll this week predicted that a dollar shortage, which has hamstrung businesses that need the greenback for imports, would prompt a devaluation by September.

“Nigeria is not sick and even if we are, we have our own local remedy,” said Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun on Friday at a panel discussion in Washington where she attended spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank.

Adeosun’s spokesman, Festus Akanbi, said the comment was “an apparent response to a question on why the government has refused to apply for IMF loans”.

Discussions between Nigeria and the World Bank are continuing on a possible loan or credit facility that would be tied to policy reforms.

“We have resolved to build resilience into the country’s economy to hedge against future oil shocks. We are doing a combination of things to diversify our economy,” added Adeosun.

Nigeria wants to boost non-oil income by 87 percent to offset the impact of the oil slump and squeeze informal small traders to boost tax revenues by 33 percent, according to government plans seen by Reuters.

President Muhammadu Buhari plans a record 6.06 trillion naira ($30.6 billion) budget to stimulate the economy but he is yet to sign the bill into law due to wrangling with parliament.

Oil scarcity persists in Africa’s largest oil producer

ABUJA, April 16 (Xinhua) — One thing is common in major cities in Nigeria these days — long queues for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) at gas stations, sometimes stretching to two or more kilometers.

Oil scarcity persists in Africa's largest oil producer
Oil scarcity persists in Africa’s largest oil producer


Fuel scarcity is commonplace in Nigeria, Africa’s largest producer of oil, but this latest episode of oil shortage across the country has lingered for about two months without any solution in sight.

Early this month, authorities in the West African country said the long queues at filling stations would disappear by April 7. It is already more than one week after the given deadline, yet the scarcity persists, leaving motorists, who spend long hours on queue for the essential commodity, to groan.

In Abuja, the nation’s capital, the situation is worse. Most petrol filling stations are usually jam-packed, even when they are not yet selling the product. It is common to see motorists engage themselves in undignified scrambling for oil till wee hours of the night.

Felix Akolawole, an economic analyst, told Xinhua he once had a terrible experience shuttling between his office and the filling station, all in a bid to fill up the fuel tank of his car.

Akolawole said the real solution to the problem was for government to remove the subsidy on oil and ensure that local oil refineries in the country begin to work perfectly.

According to him, the corruption and mismanagement of petroleum funds are responsible for this plight, and it appears obvious that Nigeria cannot afford to continue with the petroleum subsidy.

“I hope the government can fully take charge of its responsibilities to construct more oil refineries and make them work to full capacity, to bring an end to this problem,” he said.

Despite its crude oil reserves profile, 70 percent of Nigeria’s domestic petroleum products demands are met through petroleum importation. This costs the country more than 62 billion U.S. dollars, which is sufficient to meet the initial investment requirement to build four refinery plants, he added.

The analyst called on the government to quickly find lasting solution to the lingering fuel problem in Abuja and other states, so that business operators or government workers could use the productive hours wasted on long queues for the economic development of Nigeria.

In many cities in Nigeria, motorists who can not wait in the relatively long queues at filling stations, resort to buying the product at prohibitive cost from black markets.

As the nationwide fuel scarcity lingers on, a liter of petrol now sells for 300 naira or more in most parts of the country, as against the government approved pump prize of 86 naira.

In Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub, many commuters now find it difficult to get commercial vehicles to different destinations, even as some transport operators increased the fares by 100 percent or more.

The city is virtually grounded as only few vehicles now move about, with many passengers stranded at bus stops, while queues of desperate motorists stretched for kilometers at some filling stations.

It is the same situation in other cities including Abeokuta, Ibadan, Minna, Maiduguri, Bauchi, Ado Ekiti and Benin City.

Some business operators said the ongoing fuel crisis had become a clog in their regular operations.

Sule Abore, a businessman, said the current situation had brought hardships to his family as his business was almost ground to a halt.

It is noticeable that most travelers are usually stranded at various motor parks across the country or forced to reschedule their journey due to hike in transit fares.

Nigeria’s Oil Minister Ibe Kachikwu, who doubles as the Group Managing Director of the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, said the persistent fuel scarcity bedeviling the nation was not limited to arrears of subsidy payments to local oil marketers but further worsened by a huge catalog of issues and problems in the downstream sector.

“We wish to re-assure Nigerians that we are on top of the petroleum products supply and distribution situation, and we remain committed to eliminating this endemic issue once and for all,” he said.

Although the minister said the state-run oil firm has so far made progress in nationwide petroleum supply and distribution to all states and ensured product availability, with current supply to states in excess of the normal consumption, Nigerians still wonder how long the acute oil shortage will last.

Kachikwu reiterated the commitment of the national oil firm to eventually end the lingering fuel scarcity in the country, noting the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, a major stakeholder in the regulation of the sector, and the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) had assured that the fuel scarcity problem would soon come to an end in Abuja, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Lagos, and other cities in the country.

Adeosun: 363,000 Companies Never Paid Any Tax

Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has disclosed that in the last seven months, the Federal Government has discovered 363,000 companies operating in Nigeria that have never paid any tax before. These companies were said to have evaded several billions of naira in taxes.

Adeosun: 363,000 Companies Never Paid Any Tax
Adeosun: 363,000 Companies Never Paid Any Tax

Adeosun, who made this disclosure yesterday at a panel discussion on “Sub-Saharan Africa: Just a Rough Patch” on the side-line of the ongoing 2016 spring meetings of the IMF-World Bank in Washington DC, USA, said getting the tax evaders to fulfil their tax obligations and ensuring unpaid taxes are remitted to treasury is a major priority of the government.

Adeosun stressed that there were enormous revenue realisable from taxation to keep the economy going on a sustainable level without bothering about oil revenue. Realising that taxation is a goldmine yet untapped, she pointed out that the government had been working assiduously to ensure it plugs all loopholes in tax revenue collection.

According to her, “there are still low-hanging fruits in revenue collection. We are using technology, we are using cashless platforms and we are very serious about hitting those targets. Are there risks, yes, are we aware of them, are we trying to mitigate them in our action plan, absolutely yes.”

Lamenting that at the moment, the economy recorded only 5 per cent government revenue to GDP but now targeting 10 per cent, Adeosun noted that the level of compliance in VAT revenue collection was 12 per cent.

Adeosun explained that the federal government’s approach was focused on improving the efficiency of tax collection and broadening the tax base.

“We are using technology to enhance collection, linking up databases from diverse government agencies, auto debits of VAT from corporate entities and government contractors and the rollout of Biometric Verification Number (BVN) across bank account holders. We have also ensured that FIRS staff receive increased incentive pay for delivery on targets,” she said.

Contrary to widespread notion, the minister insisted that Nigeria’s economic future is not gloomy. “We have a framework for our economic future,” she argued.

According to her, “this framework for the future will tackle our problems through three critical areas, namely fiscal discipline, targeted investment, diversification of the Economy.”

In the area of fiscal discipline, she said plugging the leakages must be approached simultaneously by tackling corruption, inefficiency and negligence. This, she noted, the administration had been doing.

Said the minister: “This administration has a strong focus on transparency and an increase in government openness. We will remain solid in our anti-corruption drive and continue in our commitment towards a streamlined administration.

“We will guard against wastage and leakages within the system, strengthening institutions weakened over the years through corruption, inefficiency and in some cases simple negligence.

“We have lacked sufficient and adequate systems for monitoring how funds are being utilized nor did we embed the controls to arrest the leakages.” “Therefore, along with the transformative capital investment we are undertaking, we will concurrently develop the much needed systems and controls for monitoring, tracking and ultimately optimising the investments we intend to make,” she added.

Specifically, she stated: “The government has launched offensive against corruption. As part of our fiscal housekeeping, we have introduced programmes designed to audit and rationalise personnel related expenditure, which accounts for over 40 per cent of total government expenditure, reduce overheads, increase expenditure efficiency, and consolidate extra-budgetary revenues.”

Besides, Adeosun noted that, the government will focus on policies that will stimulate economic growth, reduce the cost of governance and strengthen institutions to combat corruption extract efficiencies in public service, she said.

More importantly, the minister pointed out that, the government is focusing on infrastructure development to unlock economic growth rather than things that will attract spending such as travels and training.

In addition, she noted that the government was working hard to diversify the economy and growth of the non-oil sector.

IMF Deputy managing director, Mitsuhiro Furusawa, said even though there was currently a slowdown in economic growth in Africa and globally, he was optimistic in medium and long term prospect of the continent. Essentially, he said the Africa Rising mantra was not over as he was optimistic about the future. “I see a bright future.”

He nevertheless pointed out that, despite the global slowdown in growth, many countries were moving fast. “For instance, the China GDP has moved faster. Thirteen countries including Ivory Coast are enjoying growth in the last four years in their business environment. So, I am optimistic. I went to Chad and the situation there is different. Though the growth is slow but the stakeholders are trying. There is a lot of significant variation in the region. And some policies being introduced are favourable to the system. So Ivory Coast is gradually recovering from the rough patch.”

UK supports Nigeria with £32m

he United Kingdom has increased its humanitarian support and will be providing up to £32 million over the next three years to help deliver basic, life-saving assistance and protection to some of the estimated seven million people in need of humanitarian assistance due to insurgency in the North-East.

UK supports Nigeria with £32m
UK supports Nigeria with £32m

The funds will be channeled through the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations, and will be used to provide support for critical life-saving areas including nutrition, food security, water and sanitation, and protection of civilians affected by the conflict.

Technical expertise will also be made available to the Government of Nigeria to support the humanitarian response.

Following the announcement, the UK Minister for International Development, Nick Hurd, said in Abuja that the UK is committed to helping Nigeria to provide humanitarian assistance and protection for people affected by the conflict in northeastern region.

“We welcome Nigeria’s efforts to support the affected population,” Hurd said.

“We look forward to continuing to work with all partners to strengthen the humanitarian effort to reach the most vulnerable, many of whom are in areas that are difficult to access.”

Hurd also noted that the humanitarian needs in the North-East were enormous and growing, saying that a sustained, large-scale government-led response is needed to meet people’s basic needs and to help them to rebuild their lives once security conditions allow them to return to their places of origin.

This new funding is in addition to more than £8.2 million provided by the UK since 2014 to help respond to the life-saving humanitarian needs of people affected by the conflict though violence, displacement, and loss of livelihoods.

In addition, the UK minister announced an increase of £16.7 million pounds the UK is giving to Nigeria’s growing solar energy market.

According to a statement issued on Friday by a spokesman to the British High Commission in Nigeria, Joe Abuku, the additional funding is in support of a UK-sponsored “Solar Nigeria Programme” that was approved in September 2013 with a budget of £37.1 million pounds.

The statement said, “The programme has already supported access to household energy for more than 130,000 people since it was launched in 2014. It has also supported improved healthcare and education for about 185,000 people in Lagos, and earlier this week it won the award for ‘Outstanding international development project – infrastructure’ at the 2016 British Expertise International Awards.

“The purpose of this project is to strengthen the market for solar photovoltics generated in Nigeria, and in doing so improve the lives of poor Nigerians and reduce carbon emissions. it achieves this purpose by targeting three inter-related sets of challenges. The first is very low levels of household energy access, the second is climate change, and the third is poor outcomes in health and education, in particular in the north of the country, due to poor access to energy. Better outcomes can be achieved in each area through scaling of markets for solar PV.”