Bread producers and caterers on Friday threatened to withdraw their services nationwide due to the unprecedented increase in bakery materials and the neglect of the Federal Government to this matter.
In a communiqué issued by their national body – Association of Master Bakers and Caterer of Nigeria, they stated that the cost of flour, sugar and other materials used in bakery business had skyrocketed beyond the reach of many bakers.
In the communiqué, which was issued after the National Executive Council meeting of the association in Abuja, and made available to our correspondent on Friday, the bakers stated that they would down tools from July 13, 2022.
They also revealed that efforts to get government’s intervention in the matter had been unsuccessful, as there had been no positive response from the concerned ministries, departments and agencies of government.
The communiqué, signed by the association’s executives, led by its National President, Mansur Umar, stated that the council reviewed the “neglect of the Federal Government in addressing the challenges facing our sector as captured in our letters acknowledged by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria and unproductive intervention of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“Increase in prices of bakery materials especially flour and sugar having reached unprecedented levels, for example, flour is now between N25,000 and N27,500, so also other ingredients.
“The National Wheat Cultivation Committee already constituted is yet to be inaugurated after over one year. NAFDAC, SON, NESREA have turned the bakers into money making machine by charging our members outrageous levies even at this very challenging moment.
“Consequently, the NEC in session resolved that all zones, state, Local Governments and units of our association should commence full mobilisation of our members nationwide to embark on withdrawal of services starting from Wednesday July 13, 2022 for an initial period of two weeks.”
The, however, noted that its “members should await further directives.”
This came as it was gathered that the hike in bakery materials was what led to the recent increase in the cost of bread and other items produced from flour.
How Nigerians Can Access eNaira – CBN
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that from next week, Nigerians will be able to transact on eNaira wallets through the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data code on mobile phones.
Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, disclosed this at the Grand Finale of the 2022 eNaira Hackathon in Abuja on Thursday.
Aside from transacting, Emefiele said Nigerians could also open an eNaira wallet on any phone of their choice through the designated USSD code.
He explained that Nigerians would only have to dial *997# from their phones to carry out transactions on their phones.
He said, “Nigerians, both banked and unbanked, will be able to open an eNaira wallet and conduct transactions by simply dialing *997# from their phones.
“Shortly after this, both merchants and consumers with bank accounts can use the NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP) to transfer and receive eNaira to any bank account.
“This will further deepen the integration of the eNaira with the existing national payment infrastructure.”
DAILY POST reports that President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the e-Naira last year.
Fuel Subsidy Hits N1.593tn, Refinery Rehabilitation Gulps N54.66bn
Latest data on the amount spent in subsidising Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, seen in Abuja on Monday showed that the government subsidised the commodity with N1.593tn between January and June 2022.
It was also gathered that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited pumped N54.66bn into refinery rehabilitation during the six months period.
Figures obtained from the NNPCL’s presentation to the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee meeting for July 2022 showed that subsidies on petrol were implemented in June. The company transited from a public oil firm to a commercial entity last month.
It also made it clear in July that subsidy on petrol was now a burden of the Federal Government and not its own responsibility.
An analysis of the July presentation to FAAC showed that fuel subsidy or under-recovery/value shortfall, as described by NNPCL, rose to N1.593tn in the first half of 2022.
Figures from the report indicated that the amounts spent as subsidy on the commodity in January, February and March were N210.38bn, N219.78bn and N245.77bn, respectively.
A total of N271.59bn, N327.1bn and N319.18bn were spent as subsidy in April, May and June respectively.
On refinery rehabilitation, the oil company spent N9.11bn in January, made no expense in February and March. It invested another N9.11bn on the facility.
It spent N9.11bn in each of the months of April and May 2022 on refinery rehabilitation, while investing N18.22bn on the plant in June.
In April this year, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said the April 2023 completion date for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery was feasible and that the plant would refine 60,000 barrels of crude by early next year.
“This project kicked off second quarter last year and where they are now is quite impressive. It is on schedule. The commitment is to deliver 60,000 barrels per day from this refinery by the first quarter of next year, and, of course, we are quite happy,” Sylva had stated while inspecting the facility.
The NNPC officially signed the contract with Tecnimont SPA for the $1.5bn rehabilitation programme of the Port Harcourt Refining Company in April 2021 and had promised that the facility would be completed in 18 months.
Meanwhile the company’s July presentation to FAAC stated that the sum of N391.529bn was the gross domestic crude oil and gas revenue for the month of June 2022.
It noted that the value shortfall on the importation of PMS recovered from June 2022 proceeds was N319.176bn while the outstanding balance carried forward was N1.01tn.
“The estimated value shortfall of N1,490,413,402,007.66 (consisting arrears of N479,688,823,026.00 plus estimated June 2022 value shortfall of N1,010,724,578,981.66) is to be recovered from July 2022 proceed due for sharing at the August 2022 FAAC meeting,” the company stated.
The Chief Executive Officer, NNPCL, Mele Kyari, had during the unveiling of the newly commercialised oil firm, stated that the company was now a private outfit and had nothing to do with FAAC anymore.
Responding to a question on what would happen to NNPC’s monthly FAAC contributions, kyari replied, “We are now a private company. Would MTN go to FAAC?”
When probed further to tell if there would be no more FAAC remittances from the company going forward, he said, “We will pay our taxes, royalties and deliver dividends to our shareholders.”
Asked about the arrears to FAAC that were not delivered by the firm over the years, the CEO said, “Which arrears? That’s Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.”’
On how the oil firm would handle subsidy on petrol being a commercial entity, Kyari replied that fuel subsidy was not a burden of NNPC.
The CEO had said, “Subsidy is not NNPC’s burden. Subsidy is the decision of the state and in every jurisdiction anywhere in the world, countries see them differently. In some countries, they put petroleum tax on top of the market price of these products.
“So, when decisions are to be made in some jurisdictions, they will reduce the level of taxation. That also is another form of subsidy. In some countries, you have zero taxation but you will pay the market price for the commodity. That also in a way, in fiscal system, looks at it from a subsidy point of view.
“In very many countries, a leader can decide that I don’t even want my countrymen to buy it at the market price. I’m ready to reduce that price for them so that they can buy.”
Kyari added, “In either case, whichever way the decision and the policy of the state decides, you know NNPC is there in the space to provide the product to the state at commercial value and, of course, it is also our duty to deliver to the customer at the price that the state wants.
“So it is no longer an NNPC issue. NNPC will have no issue with this. NNPC will be happy to supply because we will now see the state as our customer.”
Subsidy on petrol has remained an issue of concern among Nigerians and international agencies, as its humongous cost has continued to drain the treasury of the Federal Government.
Nigeria’s Debt To World Bank Rises By $660m
The total debt owed to the World Bank Group by Nigeria rose by $660m in the first six months of 2022, the Punch has learnt.
This is according to data from both the Debt Management Office and the financial statements of the World Bank.
According to data from the DMO, Nigeria debt to the Washington-based bank was $12.38 as of December 31, 2021.
The financial statements of the World Bank for fiscal year 2022 show that Nigeria owes the lending institution $13.04bn as of June 30, 2022.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association, which make up the World Bank, have, over the years, advanced loans to Nigeria.
The IBRD lends to governments of middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries while the IDA provides concessionary loans – called credits – and grants to governments of the poorest countries.
Nigeria’s debt to the IDA and IBRD stood at $12.55bn and $486m respectively as of June 30, 2022, compared to $11.97bn and $410.60m in December 32, 2021.
According to a recent Punch report, rising debt has pushed Nigeria up the World Bank’s top 10 IDA borrowers’ list.
The World Bank Fiscal Year 2021 audited financial statements for IDA showed that Nigeria was rated fifth on the list with $11.7bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2021.
However, the newly released World Bank Fiscal Year 2022 audited financial statements for IDA showed that Nigeria has moved to the fourth position on the list, with $13bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2022.
This shows that Nigeria accumulated about $1.3bn IDA debt within a fiscal year, with the country taking over the fourth top debtor position from Vietnam.
This debt is different from the outstanding loan of $486m from World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
The top five countries on the list slightly reduced their IDA debt stock except Nigeria.
Nigeria has the highest IDA debt in Africa, as the top three IDA borrowers (India, Bangladesh and Pakistan) are from Asia.
The World Bank disclosed recently that Nigeria’s debt, which might be considered sustainable for now, was vulnerable and costly.
The bank said, “Nigeria’s debt remains sustainable, albeit vulnerable and costly, especially due to large and growing financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
However, the Washington-based global financial institution added that the country’s debt was also at risk of becoming unsustainable in the event of macro-fiscal shocks.
The bank further expressed concerns over the nation’s cost of debt servicing, which according to it, disrupted public investments and critical service delivery spending.
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