The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited is selling Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, at a loss because of its mandate from the Federal Government as regards PMS subsidy, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said on Monday.
Sylva’s remarks came as oil marketers stated that the supply hitches in the downstream oil sector that often leads to fuel scarcity, might persist till June, based on the government’s plan to end petrol subsidy in that month.
The petroleum minister spoke in Abuja at the resumption of the scorecard series (2015-2023) of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Last week, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said the Federal Government had budgeted about N3.6tn for fuel subsidy till June 2023.
Sylva, while speaking in Abuja on Monday, insisted that subsidy had been a burden, but stressed that it was a mandate on NNPC which had made the oil firm to continue selling PMS at a loss.
He said, “The management of the supply situation under this subsidy regime is not easy. We must all agree that so much money is being burnt in our cars, but somehow we have to put funds to continue to keep the country wet.
“Sometimes if you really think deeply you begin to wonder what magic we are doing to be able to keep this country wet consistently. Considering that you buy something, let’s say for N10, and you are to sell it at a loss.
“And then you are expected to go back to buy the same thing, and come back again to sell it at a loss. So at every point in time you are looking for more money to continue to buy it, because you’re mandated to sell it at a loss.”
Sylva added, “So if you are a businessman, look at it from this perspective, that you are now in the business where you are mandated to sell at a loss to the public. That is not an easy job, I must tell you.”
Respond in to a question on how he would feel when buying petrol at N300/litre, Sylva said he would not feel bad about it.
“If you ask me how I will feel as a private citizen to buy petrol at N300/litre, sadly, I will say I won’t feel bad, knowing the actual situation. And if you compare Nigeria to other countries, you will understand,” he stated.
The minister added, “When you convert the N300/litre that you are talking about to other currencies, then you will understand. A lot of you travel to the United Kingdom or the United States, how much do you buy petroleum products there? Even in Arab communities that produce crude oil.”
He said the cost of the commodity in Nigeria was not as high as what was obtained in other countries, but stressed that the current national consensus was that subsidy on petrol was no longer sustainable.
“Unfortunately we are still in a subsidised regime, which all of us know. As a country, I think it is a national consensus now that subsidy is not sustainable, but together we will get there,” Sylva stated.
He said until the cost of petroleum products were market driven, investors would continue to shy away from investing in the downstream oil sector.
“Under a subsidised regime, who is going to invest? If you build a refinery, how is your refinery going to make profit under a subsidised regime? But if you have a market-driven situation, you’ll see that a lot of investors will come.
“And the more refineries we have, this problem of access to petroleum products will be a thing of the past,” Sylva stated.
The Federal Government on Monday revealed that it had acquired shares in four refineries operating in various locations across the country.
It outlined the refineries to include the 650,000 barrels per day integrated Dangote Refinery in Lagos; 12,000bpd Azikel Modular Refinery in Bayelsa; 5,000bpd Waltersmith Modular Refinery in Imo; and 2,500bpd Duport Modular Refinery in Edo.
The government also announced that the 60,000bpd component of the Port Harcourt Refining Company in Rivers State, would begin operations in the first quarter of this year, stressing that the facility had been completed.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, and the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari, disclosed this in Abuja at the ministerial scorecard series of the current administration.
Commenting on the equity of the Federal Government in Dangote Refinery, Sylva said it was 20 per cent, adding that the government had also bought shares in three other refineries.
He said, “We have 20 per cent equity in Dangote Refinery and we have also taken 20 per cent equity in Azikel Refinery. We took 30 per cent in Waltersmith, and we also have 30 per cent in Duport Refinery.
“Duport Refinery is already finished. They’ve concluded the construction. It only remains to start operations. I’m sure that within the next one month or so, Duport Refinery will also start operations.”
The minister explained that the Dangote Refinery already had an established contract with NNPC, in terms of crude oil supply, but noted that some modular refineries usually accessed crude oil from assets closer to the plants.
“So they (modular refineries) have this (crude oil supply) contract with private sector owners of these assets that are near them,” he stated.
They Want Me Dead – Adegboruwa Alleges
Human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa on Saturday raised an alarm over attempts on his life.
The lawyer said he’s been targeted for his convictions, advocacies and actions regarding the campaign for good governance, rule of law and accountability.
In a statement, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) stressed that he does not belong to a political party and has no affiliations.
Adegboruwa said he only deploys his professional experience, knowledge and services to campaign for a better society, where justice and peace shall reign.
“This should not warrant any threat to my life, either from politicians or from the government. Power belongs to God. No human life should be worth the political ambition of anyone.
“This notice is to all Nigerians, the international community, my family, friends, colleagues and fellow patriots that my life is under serious threat.”
The activist added that the government and the security agencies should be held accountable should anything happen to him.
He insists Nigerians want good leadership, efficient management of resources, security of lives and property, durable infrastructure and good governance.
On the 2023 elections, Adegboruwa said any candidate that citizens consider worthy of their votes in free, fair and credible elections “will also be my leader”.
Reiterating that he does not support or oppose anyone, the SAN vowed to continue the “revolutionary struggles” he is trained and known.
Makinde Deploys Free Buses Over Fuel, Naira Crises
The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, on Friday night, announced the deployment of free ‘Omituntun’ transport buses to cushion the effect of the fuel scarcity and naira crises in the country on residents of the state.
Makinde announced this in a state-wide broadcast aired on the state-owned radio service, the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State.
The governor, who frowned upon the violent protests that erupted in the state earlier on Friday, said his government was ready to do whatever was needed to ease the pain of the people.
He, however, urged residents of the state to express their grievances peacefully, adding that his government would not condone the breakdown of law and order.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Taiwo Adisa, noted that Makinde also put security agencies in the state on high alert to avert any breakdown of law and order, according to a report by The Eagle Online.
According to the governor, the Omituntun Mass Transit Buses will be deployed to more routes within the state to convey resident free-of-charge in order to ameliorate the suffering of the people.
The governor also said he was working with the chairmen of local governments in the state to provide immediate palliatives for the vulnerable people in order to alleviate the hardships that the crises had brought upon them.
In the broadcast, Makinde said, “My Dear Good People of Oyo State.
“I am addressing you today because of the prevailing conditions in our state and country that have led to protests and riots, especially in Ibadan.
“First, let me say that I understand the need for these protests. When citizens get pushed to the wall, there is only so much that they can take.
“The continuous fuel scarcity and the scarcity of the naira have led to slow economic activities. I must repeat, I understand, and I feel your pain.
“I have always maintained that peaceful protests are fine. When things are not going how we want them to go, we have a right and even a responsibility to protest.
“Let me also state that while we are protesting, we must we must remember how easily a peaceful protest can turn violent and lead to the loss of lives and property. The violence that erupted in parts of Ibadan today (Friday) is condemnable and will not be tolerated.
“In response to this, I have suspended all campaign activities forthwith. I have also met with the heads of security agencies in Oyo State to restore calm and maintain the peace in our dear state.
“Violence cannot and will not solve our problems, it only creates new ones. We have another opportunity in a few weeks to move this country in a new direction. Use your PVC, not violence.
“We must not allow elements within us who have other motives to take advantage of peaceful protests to perpetrate evil or push their agendas.
“I urge all law-abiding citizens and residents of the state to go about their lawful activities. All our security agencies are on high alert and so, peaceful residents of the state have no cause to fear.
“As a palliative measure, I have directed that the Omituntun Mass Transit Buses should be deployed to more routes within the state for free.
“We are also working with Local Government Chairmen to see what immediate palliatives we can make available to the most vulnerable amongst us to alleviate the hardships that the twin scarcity of fuel and the naira have brought upon our people.
“Once again, we have another opportunity to put an end to oppressive systems and that is through the ballot. For now, I urge everyone to remain calm as we are doing our best to mitigate the hardships.”
New Naira: Seven Notable Quotes From El-Rufai
The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has been firing from all cylinders, claiming some unnamed persons in Aso Villa were working against the All Progressives Congress’ victory during the presidential election.
The PUNCH reports that the governor on Thursday claimed that the said people were inciting voters against the APC.
Below are seven of his salvos:
1. Saboteurs will be unmasked, defeated
“Unmasking them is not as joyful as defeating them. They will be unmasked in time. But we have defeated them when they wanted their own people in the national working committee of the party.
“We have defeated them when they wanted their own anointed person to be the presidential candidate without due regard, due process or respect for those of us that are governors, that have slaved to put this party together, campaigned for it and delivered the election twice. We didn’t matter.’’
2. Saboteurs are political amateurs/lighter weights
“Meanwhile, none of them has contested an election as a councillor, and if they did, they won’t win. I have been elected twice with over a million votes in Kaduna State. I can claim to speak for the people.
‘’None of these people can. We will come to the unmasking stage, this is not the stage. The stage now is to draw the attention of Nigerians that they are elements that are doing this and they don’t mean well for our party, they want to incite voters against our party, so that we lose the elections.’’
3. Saboteurs, cabal misled Buhari
“Once Nigerians know that they will know where some of these funny decisions are coming from and when the election is done and settled by the grace of God in about three weeks, and I’m confident, we are not sleeping.
“We are going to work hard until (February) 27th when all the election results are out and by the grace of God, Asiwaju (Tinubu) is elected and other candidates of the APC; then we will unmask them.
4. Dummies to President
“This has been an ongoing issue and we just feel that some of these things that are being thought of and clothed with good intentions, and dummies being sold to the President so that the electorate will be incited; the people of Nigeria will be inflicted needless pain at the point in addition to all the other challenges that they are facing just so that they will revolt and say, look, we will vote for the other party. It is clear.’’
5. Case for old notes
He stated, “I have a map of Nigeria with blind spots where there is no network; PoS won’t work there. It is not everywhere that you have bank branches. It is not everywhere you have PoS working. So, let’s sit and look at this thing and find out the reasonable time it takes to do this.
“Even the Central Bank Act that gives the President the power to issue to the Central Bank directives with regard to currency redesign says that reasonable time must be given before the currency ceases to be legal tender.’’
6. CBN deadline unreasonable
“The question is: Is a few weeks a reasonable time in a country of one million square kilometres and over 200m people? How many bank branches are in Nigeria? How many ATMs?
“In Borno State, there are only two local governments out of 27 with a bank branch. In Yobe, only two local governments out of 17 have a bank branch.
“Even a cosmopolitan state relatively in the north like Kaduna has two local governments that have no bank branches and 10 with only one bank branch. So, everyone in that local government must come to that one bank branch? And this PoS that you are seeing in every street of Lagos; do you think you have PoS in every street of Kubau, Ikara and Makarfi which are local government headquarters in my state?’’
7. Atiku exploiting Nigerians’ hardship
“But this week, because of a mere extension of 10 days, he’s (Atiku) turning round to say don’t extend; it means there is something. He’s clearly benefiting from this pain Nigerians are going through every day till today.
“I have reports that people in Kaduna cannot buy food and they cannot sell because there are no currency notes around. But the presidential candidate of the PDP is saying don’t extend because he’s gaining from it. The incitement of people against the APC is in his view to his advantage and this incitement is stronger in northern Nigeria where Atiku is to benefit from,’’ he submitted.
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