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Nigerians groan as fuel scarcity resurfaces



  • FG to build new refineries, to reduce oil impact on economy

Barely 24 hours after reports indicated the possibility of partial deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector, and days the country had a breather from scarcity, long queues have resurfaced at filling stations across the country, as most of them indulged in product hoarding ahead of the deregulation. This comes as  survey carried out by public opinion poll released by NOIPolls, revealed that 85 percent of Nigerians are buying the petrol above the regulated price of N86.50, per litre.

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, couple of days ago, had said, its members had overcome foreign exchange, Forex challenges as they have been granted Forex access to import petroleum products. Also, Major Oil Marketers, MOMAN, disclosed to have more than 10 days stock at the depots, with about four other vessels not yet discharged, averaging 85million litres of petrol.

Vanguard gathered that buyers are again struggling to get the scarce product at whatever cost, leading to traffic logjam on major roads in the Lagos metropolis, while many of the stations visited along Apapa, Badagry Road, Ajegunle, Amukoko and Festac were shut down claiming they had no product. Specifically, MRS, Mobil, at Festac, Total, and Faweye Oil and Gas claimed they had no fuel and were waiting for delivery soon. The NNPC and Total at Second Rainbow, Amuwo, and Forte Oil, at Berger were dispensing at regular prices but had very long queues to contend with.

Meanwhile, depot owners in Apapa have refused to sell at the government approved ex-depot price, as a number of the depots in the area were allegedly selling petrol to marketers at about N90 and N95 per litre, far above the approved price of N76 per litre.

Specifically, most of the independent marketers’ depots at Ibafon, such as Acorn Plc, Aquitane Oil and Gas Ltd, Ascon Oil Ltd, Eterna Plc, First Nigerian Independent Oil, Ibeto Petrochemical Industries, Sahara Energy Resources, SEA Petroleum & Gas Company, Taleveras Group of Companies, T-Time Petroleum Services, Zenon Petroleum And Gas, and Total Nigeria Plc, were not selling, as they said they have run out of the commodity.

Meanwhile, according to the latest public opinion poll released by NOIPolls, a majority of Nigerians, about 85 percent, bought petrol above the official pump price of N86.50; and at an average pump price of N176 per litre in April this year. The report revealed that the North-East and South-East geopolitical regions of the country recorded the highest average prices of N199 and N194 per litre respectively.

“In addition, amongst the 85 percent who bought petrol above the approved pump price of N86.50, almost 6 in 10 (59 percent) respondents in this category bought the product between N150 and N250 per litre. “Furthermore, 50 percent of respondents bought petrol from Independent Marketer filling stations, 24 percent from Major Marketer filling stations, and 14 percent from Black marketers; leaving only 12 percent who said they bought the product from Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC filling stations.”

Petrol for power The Poll also revealed that perennial power outages contributed significantly to the petrol scarcity as about 73 percent of respondents said they use the product to power their ‘generators’. “Similarly, 58 percent use petrol to power ‘cars’ and 28 percent use petrol to power ‘Tricycles & Motorcycles’ popularly known as Keke and Okada. Finally, the poll highlighted the mixed opinions expressed by Nigerians on the issue of petrol subsidy, as 48 percent say they support subsidy removal of subsidy, while 52 percent say they do not support the removal.”

Furthermore, the survey revealed that “about 8 in 10 adult Nigerians (81 Percent) say they bought petrol in April 2016; with about 50 percent of that population buying products from Independent Marketer filling stations despite NNPC being the sole importer of the refined product. “The South-East zone (68 percent) presented as the zone with the highest in this category.”

Continuing, the report said that “24 percent confirmed that they bought petrol from major marketers and the South-West zone (33 percent) accounted for the largest proportion of Nigerians in this category which can be attributed to the heavy presence of Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to ensure that marketers comply with the official pump price.

In the meantime, Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachukwu, has said new refineries will soon be built to curb incessant fuel scarcity bedevilling the country.

Apart from tackling the scarcity in the country, when fully operational, Nigeria will also stand a chance to export to other countries.

The minister was speaking in Kaduna, on Tuesday, during a townhall meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Information.

This was as the Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed, said the Federal Ministry of Information decided to organise the townhall meeting to intimate Nigerians on how government had fared in the last 11 months.

The minister noted that “Nigerians voted for us, believing that we will carry out our promises. So, how have we fared so far? Well, we campaigned on three broad areas—to tackle insecurity, fight corruption and revive the economy.”

On the fight against insecurity, he said: “I am happy to inform this gathering that we have performed a rare feat by subduing Boko Haram, making it impossible for the group to carry out any more spectacular attacks as it did in the past, when it virtually strolled into Abuja to attack the Police Headquarters and the United Nations Complex.

“Some will argue that the insurgents are still carrying out sporadic suicide bombings and other attacks, even though they are now very few. Well, our answer to that is simple: By its very nature, no insurgency ends suddenly. They taper off with  time. Insurgencies are not conventional wars and no agreements are signed to silence the guns.”

On the fight against corruption, the minister said: “Today, Nigerians are less tolerant of corruption and corrupt people than before. This is because we have raised the bar in the fight against this cankerworm. We have also brought to the attention of Nigerians the cost of corruption. Thanks to the sensitisation campaign we launched earlier this year. Nigerians now know the cost of corruption, instead of just talking about it in the abstract.

On the economy, he said: “This administration has decided to turn the disaster of the fall in the price of oil to a blessing, by working to diversify our economy away from oil.
“Agriculture, solid minerals, culture and tourism are some of the sectors we are currently working to rejuvenate so they can earn huge revenues for the country and create jobs. While these efforts are on, the administration has decided to plug all financial leakages through the Treasury Singles Account (TSA), into which trillions have accrued so far.”

Also, Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, disclosed the determination of the Federal Government to reduce the impact of oil on the economy.

Addressing participants at the Ogun State Investors’ Forum, which opened in Abeokuta, the state capital, on Tuesday, Adeosun said although oil accounts for 70 per cent of all government revenue, Nigerian was actually not an oil economy as it constituted only 13 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

“By fully harnessing the potential of our non-oil sectors, we can create a more diversified and resilient revenue base, which would provide the necessary fiscal buffers to insulate the economy against the impact of external shocks in the future,” the minister stated.

While reiterating the resolve of the Federal Government to redefine spending in order to get maximum impact, the minister explained that the current administration was determined to ensure that from now on, government spending in Nigeria would achieve maximum impact.

Noting that government spending in previous years had been ineffective and not directed in the right areas, the minister reiterated the focus of the government on investing in critical infrastructure to enable growth.

Adeosun also spoke on the need for the Federal Government to play its role so that states can focus on their core functions.

According to her, the Federal Government would level the playing field by removing rent-seeking opportunity to unleash entrepreneurial activity and job creation, adding that “we must engage in economic patriotism to support local job growth.”

She commended the Ogun State government for patronising local entrepreneurs in producing its conference bags.

Adeosun concluded by giving the assurance that government was fully aware of the current economic challenges facing individuals and businesses and was working very hard on resetting the economy on the path towards achieving sustainable growth.
She added that better days were ahead, with President Buhari’s resolve to checking corruption and wastage.

In a related development, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that power generation was picking up after last week’s vandalism of power stations in the Niger Delta.
He announced this while addressing newsmen after inspecting facilities at Shiroro Hydro Power Station (SHPS) in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, on Tuesday.

Fashola said there was a slight increase of three megawatts from the previous week drop to 2005 megawatts in the country.
The minister, however, said measures were being taken to ensure stability in the supply, adding that generating companies should live up to expectations.

“I don’t want us to focus on megawatt; for me, they are just bus stops; we will only announce them as milestone that we have reached the bus stops, but we know our journey is much more longer.
“I have spoken on our incremental power, to steady power, to uninterrupted power and that is the journey.

Vanguard with additional report from Tribune


WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners



…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live



The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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