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Fuel scarcity: CDS, IGP, Customs, NNPCL, Oil Marketers, others brainstorm



Fuel Scarcity: Coalition of transporters threaten to picket NNPCL Headquarters

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Limited) on Tuesday engaged with the oil marketers and security agencies to find ways of addressing the lingering fuel crisis in the country.

The engagement, held in Abuja at the instance of the NNPC Limited had in attendance the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba and Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, retired Col. Hameed Ali.

Other in attendance were the Authority Chief Executive, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Farouk Ahmed and leadership of oil marketers including Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Also at the meeting were the leadership of Depots and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) among others.

Malam Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), NNPC Ltd. said the fuel distribution crisis was of a monumental proportion, which had resulted in a number of issues and taken a different dimension.

Kyari decried the fact that Nigerian fuel was being smuggled to other countries and could only be done either by the people in the industry or those connected or buying from the operators including in marine containers.

“We have evidence that some of our customers are actually smuggling the vessels to other countries but we will get to the root of this and the appropriate agency will deal with it.

“We are not dealing with a supply problem, as we speak we have 831 million litres in marine and in various depots; we have 738 million litres that are documented in platforms of the industry regulators. We do not have AGO problem for truck movement.

“Any time the evacuation figure goes beyond 60 million litres in the country we have a problem. Early in 2022 due to the contaminated fuel, evacuation came down to 56 million, then we had a crisis, then we ramped up and achieved normalcy.

“In October 2022 when the flooding happened, trucks could not go to destinations particularly south to north, so evacuation went beyond 60ml and since then we have done possible things to keep it above.

“Therefore, there is no shortage of fuel in the market, they may be in the wrong destination,” he said.

He said that there were changes in some dynamics,  transportation issues, logistics on vessels and handling charges which arrived at ex-depot price of Lagos -N172, Warri/Oghara – N183, Calabar – N185 and Port Harcourt – N180 but no one kept to this.

“Instead, we had a countered submission of N186, N192, and N198 while some depots range from N172 to N260 as ex-depot price.

 “There is simply no way independent marketers will buy and not sell at prices seen across the country.

“This is the reality we are dealing with and the end results are queues. if it is not handled at the depot level, it cannot be controlled at the station level,” he explained.

He also decried the fees and levies imposed on the product that were not supposed to be which added up to the overall pain of Nigerians.

The G-CEO said the issues on pricing were receiving attention to avoid Nigerians being exploited, while framework was being put in place to monitor products to get to actual destination.

“With the volume that we are pushing into the market and understanding we are reaching with the marketers not to sell with greed it will ease the situation, we regret the situation and apologise to Nigerians,” Kyari said.

In his remarks, Iraboh said the involvement of the defence and security establishment and the resolution of the crises in the oil and gas were paramount.

“The challenge of availability of fuel across the country has risen to a proportion that it had become a concern for the defence and security of our country. The government is not handicapped and I need to indicate that there are alternatives and nobody is indispensable.

”I believe that the solution lies within the remit of the framework that you will be establishing and if there is no solution, I pray it did not get to a level where the alternative will be activated,” the CDS warned.

Also speaking, IGP Usman Baba describes the situation as an issue of being patriotic and increasing the monitoring process of the oil distribution which posed a major problem.

“And if the distribution process has loopholes to be exploited there is an alternative to increasing the level of monitoring and supervision and to that effect, it is our role to assist the NNPC in monitoring process for lead way,’’ Baba said.

In his remarks, Ahmed said NMDPRA had sanctioned seven erred depots two weeks ago to serve as a deterrent and also had the mandate to suspend any licence from operating without hesitation.

He urged the oil stakeholders; including IPMAN to collaborate with them to tackle the ongoing constraint which bordered around pricing and logistics, thereby and frowned at speculations that the authority was not sanctioning depots.

MOMAN President, Adetunji Oyebanjo who explained that the industry did not invest appropriately in things needed across the value chain for distribution, described the situation as a critical one which had allowed sharp practices.

DAPPMAN President, Dame Winifred Akpani, while pledging commitment expressed dissatisfaction over the distribution and supply chain, adding that it was needless, giving products to marketers who exploit and would not get them to stations.

Akpani also appealed to the Federal Government to deregulate the product.

IPMAN President, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo however urged the NNPCL to designate certain depots for its members to manage, monitor and load to ease the distribution.

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SON vows to checkmate quackery in management system practice



SON vows to checkmate quackery in management system practice

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) says it has mapped out plans to get rid of quacks involved in management system practice in the country.

Its Director-General, Malam Farouk Salim, made this known on Thursday at a one-day stakeholders’ engagement for the National Register for Conformity Assessment Practitioners (NRCAP) in Lagos.

Salim said the move would put an end to unscrupulous individuals who shortchanged companies and individuals.

According to him, the quacks lacked the required competency to operate in the management system space.

Salim said that conformity assessment practice was central to the sustenance of commercial success and continuity in all sectors.

He said that management system practitioners were vital toward ensuring that practices carried out by the industries “are in alignment with the international best practice in terms of the expectations of existing conformity assessment standards”.

“It is in view of the importance of the authenticity and traceability of products and services to meet the requirements of relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards and other approved specifications.

“SON seeks to pursue the implementation of Part II, Section 4(d) and Part III, Section 5 of the SON Act No.14 of 2015.

“Via the operation of the NRCAP scheme, in order to establish a directory of verified and registered Conformity Assessment Practitioners in Nigeria for all laboratories, management system consultants, Training Service Providers, Certification bodies, inspection bodies, inspectors, auditors and assessors.”

He said that lack of regulation of activities of the practitioners over the years had negatively impacted the industry and country significantly.

Salim listed other impacts including: “poor protection of genuine practitioners, unhealthy competition, poor visibility and recognition of genuine and competent practitioners capable of attracting patronage.

“Others are poor value for money for unsuspecting customers patronising quacks who deliver poor services.”

He also said that lack of official register of competent practitioners to aid national planning and coordination of economic activities that border on standardisation and quality assurance was also a challenge to the growth of the economy.

“This engagement is guided by the strategic collaboration/partnership that SON shares with various organisations over time, especially with the SON Management Systems Certification and Training Services Departments with which you interface through your customers, of which you are expected to bring to bear, your wealth of experience to this national call,” he said.

The SON director-general said that the registration processes, including approved guidelines, expectations of benchmarking Conformity Assessment standards and interests while developing the documents, were taken into consideration to ensure that impartiality of the process was assured.

He said that adequate training was given to the practitioners to boost their service delivery.

Earlier, Bode Oke, the First President, Society for Management System Practitioners of Nigeria, said the group would join hands with SON to stem quackery in the system to ensure that consumers get value for money they spent.

Oke said: “We are here to gain more knowledge and to join SON in the registration of all management system practitioners.

“We are going to partner with SON to ensure that the exercise is successful because we have a lot of companies practicing management systems that are not trained and competent.

“We are working together with SON to ensure that we remove all those incompetent people from the system.

“So that whenever a client approaches practitioners for registration, the client will know that he will not be shortchanged and get value for the money spent,” he said.

Oke said that the roles of system practitioners were vital in business growth and development.

He stressed that the system practitioners were responsible for taking companies through quality management systems certification, environmental management system certification, occupational health and safety certification and food management system certification.

“The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has established standards for all management systems.

“And, therefore, anyone that would lead companies to obtain this certification must be competent.

“This is why SON is regulating all the auditors, consultants and even, the certification bodies because we have some certification bodies coming from outside the country that are not competent, so competency is the key word here,” he said.

In her remarks, Patricia Solarin, a Consultant in the Quality Management System Practice, said that standardisation was germane for industrial development.

Solarin said: “There are so many briefcase-carrying consultants that are going around duping clients and most of these consultants did not even pass their audit test and examination.

“Without standardisation or regulations, it will be difficult to stop the quacks. A lot of companies are being shortchanged, because people taking them through certification do not really know much.

“So, SON is trying to register auditors and consultants, which is a welcome development to ensure that people get value for their hard money spent.”

She commended the leadership style of Salim for taking a bold step to tackle the challenges, urging the government to support SON to achieve greater feats.

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NECA wants FG to tackle challenges stifling businesses



NECA wants FG to tackle challenges stifling businesses

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has urged the Federal Government to demonstrate commitment to addressing monetary and fiscal policy challenges stifling businesses.

The NECA Director-General,  Mr Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde,  made the call in a statement on Thursday in Lagos, listing such challenges as foreign exchange dichotomy, fuel subsidies, multiple taxations, among others.

He made the call, just as he commended the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and government for embracing dialogue to avert the nationwide strike by the workers’ union earlier scheduled to start on March 29.

“The quick response by the government to ease the cash liquidity and the corresponding immediate positive effect on the economy demonstrated that it has the capacity to address policies once it is determined to do so.

“Therefore, we call for similar determination and consultative engagements with the private sector and other relevant stakeholders to proffer solutions to business challenges in order to facilitate competitiveness and productivity, “ he said.

He commended the efforts of the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, and the Minister of Labour and Employment for personally getting involved.

He also lauded them for monitoring the disbursement to ensure compliance with the bank’s directive to end the cash crunch, of which the economic nerve centre and other areas had started witnessing improvement.

“The CBN has shown goodwill and true support for the ailing economy by immediately disbursing cash to the commercial banks.

“Also, by directing the banks to open beyond their normal working hours to ease the cash crunch in the nation: an action which could have been averted in the first place, “ he said.

Oyerinde, however, warned that the ripple effects of the cash swap policy would linger as it would take considerable time for businesses, especially the informal sector, to recover.

He said that many of them had closed due to low purchasing power of consumers.

The NECA chief said that business activities had stagnated in the last 10 weeks of the implementation of redesigning of the currency policy nationwide.

He said this had led to reduced productive output, high inventory and jobs cut, and impediments to personal and business transactions.

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Court Declares Activities of Kogi Transport Management Agency as Illegal



Court Declares Activities of Kogi Transport Management Agency as Illegal

…Says laws establishing KOTRAMA is inhuman***

A Kogi High Court on Thursday declared the activities of the Kogi Transport Management Authority (KOTRAMA), as illegal.

Justice Clement Kekere of High Court 10 made the order while delivering judgment in a case instituted against the agency by an Abuja-based lawyer,  Mr. Martin Atojoko.

Kereke, who faulted the law establishing KATROMA.

“By the evidence before the court, I hereby order that the Law establishing the agency be set aside forthwith.

“This is because the law made by the state house of assembly contravenes the Provisions of the Federal Road Safety Commission Act 2007.

“In all, the laws establishing KOTRAMA is inhuman, and is established to cause hardship on motorists,” the judge held.

The judge also awarded the plaintiff, N100,000 as general damages against the agency.

Atojoko had sued KATROMA and joined the Kogi House of Assembly, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice and the state government as second, third and fourth defendants in the matter.

Atojoko had prayed the court to compel the defendants to pay him N10 million as general and exemplary damages for inter-alia the first defendant’s unlawful and illegal action of detaining and impounding his car.

The plaintiff had told the court in his originating summon that on June 22, 2022, he was stopped by officers of KOTRAMA over an expired driver’s licence while they impounded his Toyota Corolla car.

“My lord, I only got my car back the next day, after paying N10,000 in fines, an action which is but a contravention of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Law of 2007, ” he said.

Atojoko thereafter prayed the court to issue an order declaring that the second defendant could not make laws empowering the first defendant to exercise the powers of the Federal Road Safety Corp (Establishment) Act, 2007 in inspecting the driver’s license of motorists, issued by the FRSC and codifying same in Kogi Road Traffic Administration and Vehicle Inspection Law, 2018.

“A declaration that all the provisions of the Kogi Road Traffic Administration and Vehicle Inspection Law, 2018, empowering the first defendant to exercise the powers of the FRSC in the inspection of the driver’s license of motorists as invalid, illegal, unlawful, null and void ab initio.

“An order that the KOTRAMA cannot fine the plaintiff and impound his vehicle with registration No. 2T1BU4EE9AC312480, without first trying him and finding him guilty before a court of competent jurisdiction.

“An order that the act of the first defendant in impounding the vehicle and fining him without powers to do so is invalid, illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void, ab initio,” he pleaded.

But KATROMA and other defendants through their Counsel, Mr. B.O. Obenege, had debunked the claims of the plaintiff and said that the agency acted within the ambit of the law that established it.

Obenege claimed that the house of assembly Law that established KOTRAMA was not a duplication of the FRSC Law of 2007.

He prayed the Court to hold that the action of KOTRAMA has not contravened the Kogi Law or any other law, and the claimant was given a summary fine of N10,000, all in accordance with Section 1(3) of the Law.

“In conclusion, we urge your lordship to dismiss the case for lack of merit,” Obenege had pleaded with the court.

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