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Fuel!
Mass Supply Begins Nationwide In January

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A special joint arrangement by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and 30,000-member independent petroleum marketers will lead to mass supplies of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol in Lagos, Calabar, Port Harcourt and Ogara beginning next month.

The move is part of the arrangement by the government and stakeholders in the fuel supply chain to find a permanent solution to the lingering fuel scarcity in the country.

Officials confirmed on Sunday that the NNPC Limited and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria had agreed and selected Lagos, Port Harourt, Calabar and Ogara as four major fuel supply points from where the product would be moved to other parts of the country by IPMAN members of the independent.

The conclusion was reached after a series of meeting between NNPC Limited and IPMAN .

The new arrangement is expected to boost fuel supply across the country and probably put an end to the persistent fuel queues across the country.

The fuel supply gap across the country has led to queues in filling stations with motorists complaining of their inability to access the product, especially at the regulated pump price of N180/litre.

NNPC Limited currently supplies products to major oil marketers who sell the product at the regulated price of N180/litre to the public. However, IPMAN members have said they have not been able to get fuel at the regulated depot price of N148/litre, adding that filing stations are getting the products from depots at over N200/litre.

The development has led to a situation where the products are being sold at N250/litre and N270/litre in most filling stations.

Last week, NNPC Limited reportedly agreed to sell the product directly to independent marketers at the regulated price of N148/litre

However, officials close to the development confirmed on Sunday that fuel supply to IPMAN members would begin in four major cities, namely Lagos, Port Harcourt, Calabar and Ogara in January 2023.

The development was confirmed by the National Controller Operations, IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi, who told our correspondent that NNPC would begin to supply fuel to depots at the four major cities for independent marketers effective January.

According to him, IPMAN members nationwide would start selling petrol at the government-regulated price of N180/litre effective January if the arrangement sails through.

The IPMAN operations controller also disclosed that the body had started short listing the names of members who would be receiving bulk supplies from the NNPC Limited for onward supply to other members.

He said, ‘By January, we will start getting the products. We are currently gathering names for submission, we are collating our names, and it will have to go through some other process before it will eventually be approved. We have to also arrange for some vessels to drop fuel at some depots in Calabar, Port Harcourt, Ogara and Lagos.”

He also confirmed that the new Managing Director, NNPCL Retail, Hubb Stockman, led the agreement process.

Osatuyi, however, pointed out the oil company increased supply in recent times which he said had reduced fuel queues in some cities.

“The impact of the queue at filling stations is not as high as it was because NNPCL has increased supply. Again, there are long queues at MOMAN stations because they buy at a government-regulated price of N148/litre. But once NNPCL starts giving independent marketers products steadily, price will definitely crash to N180/litre at the pump,” he added.

Osatuyi had over the weekend told Economic Confidential that marketers were holding a series of meeting with Stockman on how to achieve adequate supplies.

He said the signing of the N148/litre deal between NNPCL and oil marketers would hold by January.

“With the series of meetings we have been having with him, latest by January; we will get products directly from NNPCL and we won’t have to go through the depots. By that, prices of products will go down. But what we are asking for again, is consistency in product delivery to us, and let it not be a one-off thing”, he had said.

The development followed complaints by IPMAN members of being previously sidelined by the NNPCL in favour of members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria.

The association had a few weeks ago issued a 7-day ultimatum to the Federal Government over price disparities in products being sold to its members and members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria.

Our correspondent observed that stations belonging to NNPCL sell petrol for N179/litre, members of MOMAN sell products at N180 per litre, while members of IPMAN sell for about N250 per litre depending on the location of their retail outlets.

Defending reasons behind higher ex-depot prices, Executive Secretary for Depot Association of Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, Olufemi Adewole, told Economic Confidential that the price for renting a vessel had jumped from between $65, 000-$75, 000 per day as of a few months ago, to $80, 000/d.

The spokesperson for NNPCL, Garba Deeen, had severally declined to speak on the scarcity despite several calls and messages sent and put through to his official line and email.

On his part, Chairman, MOMAN, Olumide Adeosun had during a session with journalists, advised the Federal Government to implement a phased deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector to cushion the adverse effects of the impact of a sharp rise in Premium Motor Spirit prices.

“Having subsidised PMS for so long, Nigerian institutions now have a diminished capacity to deal with the current local energy crisis. A disruption in any part of the supply chain causes ripple effects and results in queues at stations. As a country, we must begin the process of price deregulation to reduce this inefficient subsidy”, he said.

According to him, if the country wishes to implement a subsidy, it must be in areas targeted to help those it should help such as in agriculture and transportation to reduce food price inflation and generate more jobs for Nigerians.

“In tandem, we must find a way to liberalise supply. We must bring transparency and competition into supply to ensure steadier, more efficient supply at optimum prices. Imported products must compete with locally refined products to find a meeting point between the need for local refining and competitively low but cost-recovered prices for Nigerians for sustainability.

“The exploration, production, refining of crude oil and the distribution of refined products is an international business with ebbs and flows and has specific models, guidelines, rules, and norms designed to protect and sustain consumers of this type of energy and populations impacted by its supply chain. The Government and the industry in Nigeria must demonstrably apply this accepted health, safety, environmental protection, and quality norms to be seen to care for its local populations. To cut corners would be irresponsible, unaccountable, and unsustainable”, he said.

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EDSG Trains Batch- 9 Vigilantes, Hunters.

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….. As Gov Obaseki Signs Edo Security Corps Bill into law

By Sim Omo- Benin City

As part of efforts to combat crimes, criminalities, cultism and other social vices bedeviling the state, the governor Obaseki led administration has commenced training of batch Nine hunters and operatives of Vigilantes, bringing a total of over ten thousand Vigilantes and hunters so far trained by the state to tighten security in every nook and cranny

Similarly Governor Godwin Obaseki has signed the State security Corps Bill into law

Speaking at the commencement of the batch- nine training exercise at the Police Training School in Ogida, the State Co-ordinator of the Edo security and Vigilantes network , Col. Kole Omomia( Rtd) commended Governor Obaseki and the state government for prioritizing security in the state and its continuous commitment to providing the necessary logistics for the state’s security apparatus to function

He noted that the training of the corps operatives which included the hunters, as in the instance of the batch- 9 who are currently here today, are concerted effort and determination of the state government to put her citizens at the fore front to enjoy peace, tranquility and have an enabling environment that would promote growth, development and investments.

Col. Omomia reiterated that the trainees would undergo series of exercises such as medical fitness, bio-data, teekwando, Judo, Drills, Parades and mental fitness and other activities ancillary to the job

According to the State Cord, the training would cut across the three senatorial districts in the state , with about One thousand, three hundred,(1300) Vigilantes and hunters expected to be trained in Batch- 9

He, however,urged the trainees to key into the program with keen interest and participate fully.

Recall that only recently, the state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, singed the Bill establishing the State security Corps, formerly known as the Edo State Security Vigilante Network,ESSVN, into law

By the establishing Act, the Corps is now a statutory body recognised by law and would perform its roles as provided by the Act

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HAILING THE SUPREME COURT ON LG ALLOCATION JUDGMENT

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Prof Mike Ozekhome, SAN,CON, OFR

The supreme court judgement on

July 11, 2024, directing the Federal Government to pay allocations due to Local Government Areas directly to their account thereby abolishing the old practices of State-Local Government Joint Account,is timely and courageous.

What the judgement has done is more like interpreting section 162 of the Constitution, which provides for a joint State-Local Government Account. In which case, money is normally paid to state governors’ accounts and then for them to disburse to the local governments for them to share. But what has been happening is that, as I noted in 2020,over three years ago, the state governors, have been behaving like ”bandits”, waylaing local governments funds along the way and thus impoverishing them leaving them with nothing to work, just a little for salary. And nothing to actually work for the people whom they represent.
I agree totally with the judgement of the supreme court to grant full financial autonomy so that money is released and paid directly to the 774 local government councils which constitute the third-tier of government,to develop their places because the LGAs are grassrooted and nearest to the people. Rather than allow overbearing state governors throw their weight around and muzzle the local governments and seize their purse,they will now allow LGs breath some air of freedom.

If you take a look at our situation, Nigeria is operating a very lopsided federation,more like a unitary system of government. Where the federal government is supposed to be a small government,it is controlling 67 items on the exclusive legislative list. That is why the federal government gets the lion share of the federation account , the lion share of the money that comes to the federation account to the tune of 52.68%. The states get 26.72% while the entire 774 local government councils in Nigeria get just 20.60% of the monthly allocation by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RLASMC.

The question is, what is the federal government doing with almost 53% of the national income? That is because it is a government that is behemoth.That is elephantine. A government that intrudes and intervenes in areas that should not concern it at all. What is the federal government’s business with licensing cars and trucks for states? What is its business with the Marriage Act, dealing with how people marry and wed in Nigeria and how they live together as husband and wife and separate or divorce? What is the federal government’s business with unity schools? A whole FG operating secondary schools? What is their business? Why is the FG not allowing states generate their own power, operate their own railway stations, if they have the capacity? Why should the federal government not allow states have their own police force? Even for the local governments to have their own police force as we have in the United States and other advanced countries of the world where even tertiary institutions have their own police?

The truth is that the federal government is overbloated and overpampered. That is why it is using too much money and make the centre become too attractive,eating deep into funds that ought to be meant for the states and local government areas. The states take not only that which belongs to the states, but also waylays at source that which is meant for the local government areas. No Nation grows that way.

So, I see this judgment as epochal,having

far-reaching effect because money will now be made available directly to the local government areas who will no longer be subservient, like fawning slaves to state governors. In fact, the judgement even went further to say that no state government has the power henceforth to dissolve local government areas. This is because we have been seeing cases where inspite of the provisions of section 7 of the 1999 constitution that give autonomy to local government areas, states normally go ahead and dissolve local government areas ND appoint caretaker committees for them.This is whimsical and capricious.The Supreme Court has said this can no longer go on and that henceforth, no state government should ever be able to dissolve any local government area in Nigeria for any reason whatsoever and howsoever.

The judgement is salutary, timely and regenerative. It should be upheld by all governments and people in Nigeria for better democratic dividends.I see this as victory for our wobbling democracy, even if we are far removed from true fiscal federalism where the federating units control and utilize their God-given resources while paying royalty or tax to the central government. This case is one big plus for tested court room gladiator, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation, who initiated the case at the apex court, invoking its original jurisdiction.Surely,to jaw-jaw is better than to war-war. God bless Nigeria.

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Ex+Abia gov, Senator Kalu backs part-time legislature

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Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has backed calls for part-time legislature at both federal and state levels.

Senator Kalu (APC Abia North) said this would help the nation cut costs and enhance the citizenry’s trust in the polity.

The former Abia governor said this in an interview published on his verified Facebook page over the weekend.

On calls for part-time legislature, Senator Kalu said, “I think it will be a very good idea if my colleagues and other members of the Houses of Assembly will agree that we can sit for three months and do constitutional amendment first.

“So we can sit four times a year and if there’s any emergency, there will be emergency sitting. We can come to do a presidential bid on that basis and go back instead of sitting on a full-time basis.

“Not only the Senate and the House of Representatives, but all the legislative houses in Nigeria will be part-time.”

Senator Kalu maintained that this would be part of austerity measures to reduce cost of governance, arguing that regional government is another viable alternative.

“If we’re going for regional government, it also means that the ministers, the legislators, will be the same. I’ve been tinkering with the idea of how we can save money to run Nigeria because the country needs money.

“I will encourage the President, the National Assembly to make these kind of laws. This will help him, and this will help the system, and this will help everybody,” he said.

The ex-governor explained that contrary to misconceptions among Nigerians, senators are not paid enough.
U
“But I want Nigerians and my colleagues to do a quick constitutional amendment so we can go and be a part-time sitting Senate and part-time sitting House of Representatives, and other 36 state houses of assembly in Nigeria.

“That will bring trust and bring relief to the Nigerian people,” the ex-governor said.

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