Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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IYC, Abuja Chapter Urges FG To Posthumously Honor Major Boro With GCON Award For Niger Delta Advocacy

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The Ijaw Youth Council Abuja /Northern Nigeria Chapter has called on the federal government to immortalize Late Major Jasper Isaac Adaka Boro and give honors him with a post humors national grand commander of the Niger GCON Award for paying the supreme prize in fighting for the emancipation of the Niger Delta and the unity of the Nigerian state.

Comrade Emmanuel Deinma Chairman of Abuja/Northern Nigeria Chapter made the plea at a ceremony commemorating the 56th celebration of the death of the late freedom fighter Isaac Adaka Boro at the Unity Fountain Maitama Abuja.

The Chairman while applauding President Tinubu for the recent appointment of Dr Dennis Otuoaru as the substantive Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Program which also brought about the appointment of Comrade Adams Marbo as the Head of Peace Building and Conflict Resolution/Stakeholders Management to the Administrator urge him to listen to the yearnings of the ijaws by increasing the budget of The PAP to meet up with the economic realities of the time.

Also speaking Benjamin Edubamor and Comrade Sinclair George, critical stakeholders of the iyc on their part called on the Federal Government to inculcate the story of Jasper Adako Boro and the ijaw struggle in the school curriculum of Nigeria so it can be taught in schools across the country.

Comrade Joyce Efeka the woman leader of IYC Abuja/ Northern Nigeria Chapter called on women, youths and stakeholders to continue to emulate the late freedom fighter and teach their children the history and legacies of the hero stating that it was from the agitation of the late icon that brought about the creation of states of the Niger Delta which made it possible for women and the Niger Delta region to to be recognized and adhered to in the Affairs of the country.

The chapter also visited the orphanage and presented various food items and later had a football tournament in honor of the late Ijaw legend Jasper Adaka Boro in Abuja.

Keyamo: Air Travellers To Enjoy Free Wi-Fi At Lagos, Abuja Airports

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Air passengers travelling through Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos, and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja, can now use free Wi-Fi, Vanguard has gathered.

Special Assistant to the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Tunde Moshood, on Sunday, confirmed the development.

Moshood also said plans were in progress to have free Wi-Fi services installed at other airports across the country, saying access to free internet services at the country’s airports conforms with Keyamo’s third agenda.

Moshood, in a chat with Vanguard, said: “Both local and international flyers can now enjoy free Wi-Fi in Lagos and Abuja, at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and Murtala Muhammed International Airport (Terminal 1 & Terminal 2). Stay connected, surf the web and make your journey smoother.

“Look for the NCC Free Airport Wi-Fi, and get connected. Your life does not have to pause while at the airport. Use the Wi-Fi to enjoy all your latest music and download your favourite Netflix programmes.

“Other airports are presently on course. This actually complies with the agenda of the Minister, which is to improve infrastructures across all airports and the aviation industry as a whole.”

Recall that Keyamo had attributed the absence of airport Wi-Fi to bureaucratic hurdles between the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, and the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, which he swiftly resolved by allocating Wi-Fi provision to NAMA.

Collaborating with the Ministry of Communication, Keyamo said he was ensuring imminent access to complimentary Wi-Fi at airports, with discussions underway with international firms for in-flight Wi-Fi.

He said the initiative aligned with global aviation standards, which is to enhance passenger connectivity during flights.

Guardiola Is The First Ever Manager To Win Four EPL In A Row

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Manchester City became the first team to win four Premier League titles in a row after beating West Ham United 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Manchester City became the first team to win four Premier League titles in a row after beating West Ham United 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Manchester City won an unprecedented fourth consecutive Premier League title on Sunday as Phil Foden’s double inspired a 3-1 victory over West Ham. No side in the history of the English top flight had ever won four successive titles, but City have become accustomed to rewriting the record books under Pep Guardiola.

The Catalan coach has masterminded six Premier League wins in the past seven seasons. In four of those years, City have also surpassed 90 points. They were pushed this season to deny Arsenal a first title since 2003/04.

The Gunners celebrated a 0-0 draw at the Etihad last month that kept them one point in front of City with nine games to play.

But the champions were relentless in the run-in, winning their final nine league games, scoring 33 goals.

Guardiola conceded City had felt the pressure in a nervy 2-0 win at Tottenham in midweek that kept the destiny of the title in their own hands.

In the same scenario two years ago, they needed a remarkable late fightback from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 on the final day.

There was far less drama as West Ham melted under the baking Manchester sun in David Moyes’ final game in charge of the Hammers.

Foden was recently crowned the football writers’ player of the year for his best-ever goalscoring season and ended any suspense after just 79 seconds.

Haaland claimed his second Golden Boot in as many seasons in the Premier League despite a day to forget in front of goal.

The Norwegian missed a huge chance to restore the home side’s two-goal cushion when he spooned over another inviting Doku cross.

City should have been out of sight before half-time as Alphonse Areola denied Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland failed to turn in from point-blank range.

Out of nowhere, there was a twist in the tale of the first half when, from a West Ham corner, Mohammed Kudus’ outrageous overhead kick flew high past Stefan Ortega.

Haaland claimed his second Golden Boot in as many seasons in the Premier League despite a day to forget in front of goal.

The Norwegian missed a huge chance to restore the home side’s two-goal cushion when he spooned over another inviting Doku cross.

City swiftly restored order at the start of the second period and fittingly it was Rodri, himself a player of the year contender, who delivered the knockout blow to Arsenal’s title hopes.

The Spaniard has not been on the losing side for club or country since March 2023.

City’s only three Premier League defeats came in the three games the 27-year-old was suspended.

This time Areola should have done better as the Frenchman failed to turn Rodri’s tame effort round the post.

City could cruise to the finish line and extend a remarkable 35-game unbeaten streak in all competitions from open play.

The only blip on that run was a penalty shootout defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals that denied Guardiola’s men the chance of back-to-back trebles.

They can make it double next weekend when Manchester United have the unenviable task of stopping their local rivals in the FA Cup final.

By achieving a degree of league dominance never seen before, City have made their case to be considered the greatest side English football has produced.

There was an anti-climactic end as City players had to tell fans to get off the pitch before the full-time whistle.

Thousands of supporters poured onto the field at the end despite pleas from the club to stay off the playing surface.

CBN Officially Withdraws Cybersecurity Levy

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has officially withdrawn the directive earlier given to banks to enact the process of deduction of cyber security levy to be administered by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).

This was disclosed in a circular to different categories of banks on Sunday evening, mobile money operators, payment service providers and others signed by the apex bank’s Director of payments system management, Chibuzor Efobi and Director of financial policy and regulation, Haruna .B. Mustafa.

According to the statement, “the circular on deduction and collection of the cyber security levy is hereby withdrawn.”

The apex bank had in line with the enactment of the 2024 cyber crime (prohibition, prevention etc) amendment Act of 2024 which provides for a 0.5percent deduction of the value of all electronic transactions to the National Cyber Security Fund which would be administered by the office of the NSA

Recall that aside from general condemnation of the directive, members of the House of Representatives had asked the CBN to withdraw the circular directing financial institutions to commence implementation of the 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy, describing it as “ambiguous”

The development was in response to a motion on the urgent need to halt and modify the implementation of the cybersecurity levy, moved by honourable Kingsley Chinda.

According to the GreenHouse, the CBN is to withdraw the initial circular, and “issue a more understandable one”.

Honourable Chinda had drawn the attention of the House to multiple interpretations of the CBN directive against the specifications in the Cybersecurity Act.

The House then expressed worry that the Act would be implemented in error if immediate steps were not taken, to address the concerns around the interpretation of the CBN directive and the Cybersecurity Act.

The CBN on the 6th of May, 2024, issued a circular mandating all banks, mobile money operators, and payment service providers, to implement a new cybersecurity levy, following the provisions laid out in the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Amendment Act 2024 (“the Act”).

According to the Act, a levy amounting to 0.5 per cent of the value of all electronic transactions, will be collected and remitted to the National Cybersecurity Fund (NCF), overseen by the Office of the National Security Adviser.

Financial institutions were required to apply the levy at the point of electronic transfer origination. The deducted amount was to be explicitly noted in customer accounts under the descriptor “Cybersecurity Levy” and remitted by the financial institution.

According to Andersen Global, the introduction of the new levy has elicited mixed reactions from stakeholders as it will inevitably increase the cost of doing business in Nigeria and may impact the growth in adoption of digital transactions. While the government continues its drive to increase revenue, the introduction of this additional levy may appear ill-timed considering the current economic climate vis-a-vis the government’s commitment to the National Tax Policy of 2017 to reduce the number of taxes in Nigeria.

Financial institutions and payment service providers will also need to adjust their financial and operational strategies to accommodate and account for the new levy to ensure they remain compliant while managing additional costs of compliance. More so, business owners who rely heavily on digital transactions for receiving payment may see an increase in operational costs due to considerations on adjustments in pricing and cost transfer. It is therefore important for stakeholders and businesses to analyse the financial impacts of this directive on their cash flow.

Dangote Petrol Supply: FG May Slash N6 Trillion Fuel Import

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The Federal Government may cut its approximately N6.2tn yearly fuel import bill if the Dangote Petroleum Refinery begins the sale of premium motor spirit as promised by the Chairman of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote.

Dangote, while speaking at the Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit in Kigali, Rwanda on Friday, assured Nigerians that following the laid-down plans of the Dangote refinery, Nigeria would no longer need to import petrol starting next month.

The country’s petrol import was reduced to an average of one billion litres monthly after President Bola Tinubu removed fuel subsidy on May 29 last year, according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics.

According to Dangote, the $20bn refinery can meet West Africa’s petrol and diesel needs, as well as the continent’s aviation fuel demand.

He said, “Right now, Nigeria has no cause to import anything apart from gasoline and by sometime in June, within the next four or five weeks, Nigeria shouldn’t import anything like gasoline; not one drop of a litre.

W’Afria’s needs

“We have enough gasoline to give to at least the entire West Africa, diesel to give to West Africa and Central Africa. We have enough aviation fuel to give to the entire continent and also export some to Brazil and Mexico.

“We have started producing jet fuel, we are producing diesel, and by next month, we’ll be producing gasoline. What that will do is it will be able to take most African crudes.”

The assurance by Dangote, if realised, would reduce the country’s approximately N6.2tn annual spending on PMS import.

With an average pump price of N670/litre, marketers put the average landing cost of petrol currently at N520/litre, considering the price of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, which is the only importer of the product.

Operators also put the average difference between the landing cost and pump price of PMS at N150/litre.

With an average monthly consumption of 1 billion litres, Nigeria currently spends approximately N520bn on the importation of PMS every month. This is N6.2tn annually.

Going by the planned June supply of PMS by Dangote, the country is expected to save a substantial amount from the elimination of shipping and other charges attached to importation, according to operators and industry experts.

The difference between the landing cost and the pump price of petrol is N150 per litre, according to operators.

Landing cost is the total cost of delivering the shipment to Nigeria from a foreign country, including all expenses incurred from the point of production to the point of delivery.

Refined petroleum products often arrive in the country via the Atlas Cove, from where it is transferred to jetties via daughter vessels. From jetties, the fuel is moved to various tanks.

Marketers say this difference of N150 between the landing cost and the pump price has to do with the cost of moving PMS from the port to various filling stations across the country. This also includes marine costs, and the Nigerian Ports Authority charges, among others.

The PMS landing cost is different from that of diesel, aviation fuel, and other petroleum products.

In foreign currency, the country spends an average of $4.16bn annually if converted the N6.2tn at the rate of N1,520 per dollar. However, there are arguments that the NNPCL spends more than this on PMS importation.

The actualisation of Dangote’s promise is expected to strengthen the naira.

According to industry reports, Nigeria spends at least $10bn annually on the import of PMS, aviation fuel, diesel and other petroleum products.

Analysts believe that not less than one-third of the country’s annual foreign exchange expenditure goes into fuel imports.

Importation stoppage

A reliable source at the Central Bank of Nigeria said that the anticipated commencement of fuel supply by the Dangote refinery in June would herald a positive shift in the nation’s economy.

According to the source, the move to halt fuel imports will lead to a substantial reduction in the demand for foreign exchange, thereby strengthening Nigeria’s economic position.

The source further noted that, with the demands on forex reducing, the naira would regain strength.”As the dollar demand reduces, the naira will rebound and that is good for the economy,” the CBN source said.

When contacted, the NNPCL spokesperson, Olufemi Soneye, declined comments.

Soneye said the NNPCL is no longer a corporation and could not comment on Dangote refinery’s impact.

The Director of Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Mohammed Manga, could not be reached for comments on Sunday as calls and messages sent to him went unanswered.

Also, the Director of Corporate Communications, Central Bank of Nigeria, Hakama Sidi Ali, did not respond to calls to her phone. She had yet to respond to a message sent to her line.

But the Director-General of the Centre for the Promotion of Public Enterprise, Dr Muda Yusuf, said the commencement of refining of petrol by the Dangote refinery would be a game changer for the Nigerian economy, especially from the perspective of the effect on the foreign exchange market and domestic energy cost.

Yusuf noted that, currently about 30 per cent of Nigeria’s import bill is on petroleum products.

“This has been estimated at between $10bn and $15bn annually over the decade. This would amount to a substantial easing of demand pressure on the foreign exchange market,” he stated.

Yusuf added further, “Already we have seen the impact of the domestic refining on diesel and aviation fuel importation. Even the prices have dropped. I therefore expect to see a major impact on the exchange rate.

“However, this positive outlook would depend on how much of the feedstock of crude can be sourced locally by the refinery. If the refinery has to resort to crude oil importation, the optimism about the foreign exchange impact may have to be moderated. Because that would imply some significant forex outflows for crude importation.”

He added that Nigeria is likely to see less importation of petrochemical products and other associated by-products from the refining process.

During an energy conference in Abuja recently, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, opined that Nigeria does not need to import fuel, expressing concerns that the bulk of the country’s foreign exchange goes into fuel importation.

“We must find a solution to our forex problem. Nigeria does not need to import fuel. We should free our scarce forex for other sectors of the economy. I am aware that the bulk of our forex goes to the importation of refined oil products.” Lokpbiri stated, expressing optimism that home-based refineries would put an end to fuel importation.

Marketers plan meeting

Meanwhile, fuel marketers said plans had been concluded to meet Dangote for discussions on possible price cuts as his refinery begins the production of PMS next month.

The marketers, under the aegis of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, told The PUNCH on Sunday they would meet with Dangote to negotiate a discount through bulk purchases.

Dangote’s 650,000 barrels per day refinery has been trying to secure crude supplies from the United States following the inability of Nigeria to ramp up production.

The refinery, which is the largest in Africa and Europe when it reaches full capacity, has since commenced the sale of diesel and aviation, but its petrol is yet to hit the market.

In April, Dangote crashed the price of diesel from around N1,500 to N1,000 per litre.

But Nigerians are currently eagerly waiting for petrol, which is the major fuel used by transporters, small-scale businesses and individuals for alternative power generation.

The promise of Dangote to end fuel import may be a relief to marketers and Nigerians, who are yet to fully recover from the recent fuel scarcity that nearly brought the economy to a halt in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the nation.

Speaking in an interview with our correspondent, the National Vice President of the IPMAN, Hammed Fashola, disclosed that the marketers had requested a meeting with the Dangote Group chairman.

According to Fashola, there will be a follow-up to a letter written to Dangote earlier to fast-track a meeting and reach an agreement before the commencement of the sale of PMS.

Fashola had earlier called on the company to consider working directly with the association instead of individuals.

He noted that IPMAN should be a beautiful bride before Dangote for being in control of over 80 per cent of the filling stations in Nigeria.

The IPMAN leader said, “We have our letter with them, we are expecting their response, and we will surely do a follow-up. The letter was sent about a month ago and we are going to follow up. We are just like a ready-made market for Dangote. It is an advantage for him to have us in his programme. I believe that he would like to have us.”

He added that the association would request a discount during the meeting with Dangote.“You know when you come together as a group, you have that negotiating power on your strength. There is no way we will not negotiate for a discount. That is why we don’t encourage individual company participation,” he stated.

Why Emirates retained all staff for 18 months despite flight suspension

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Emirates Airlines for the past 18 months of suspending flights into Nigeria retained all its staff and kept paying salaries, BusinessDay Sunday findings showed.

The airline, which suspended flight operations in November, 2022 because of its inability to repatriate its trapped funds, did not stop paying monthly salaries and rents for all its offices in Nigeria during the period it suspended operations in Nigeria.

Read also: Emirates to announce flight resumption in matter of days, says Keyamo after meeting UAE ambassador

The Emirates, which announced resumption of flight operations in from 1 October 2024, did not also sack any of its staff because it knew its flight suspension was only for a period and did not want to go through the hassle of recruiting new staff when it resumes flight operations into Nigeria.

Kingsley Nwokeoma, president, Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria, (AFARN), told BusinessDay Sunday that Emirates retained its staff because they knew that they were not leaving Nigeria.

“Emirates even recruited some more staff. That’s an airline that plans. Yes, they suspended flights but they didn’t leave. So, coming back is easier because they already have staff on ground that are already trained. They can’t be retaining staff (again). So, whenever they are ready, they are good to go,” Nwokeoma said.

Susan Akporaiye of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) said that she believes Emirates retained its staff because they know they will still come back.

“They knew it was a temporary situation even though they never expected it to last this long. If they had let go of all their staff, the problem of having to start recruiting afresh was going to be cumbersome. So, I know they don’t want to go through that hassle and most importantly, they have the money.

“It doesn’t make sense for people to keep staff for over a year of nothing happening yet they never sacked anyone. Their rent was still being paid and all staff were being paid. Although, some staff left not because they were sacked but because they didn’t like the fact that they were just idle doing nothing. Some relocated and some left to other airlines,” Akporaiye said.

She explained that the airline could afford paying salaries because money is not their problem.

“This airline is very rich. Other airlines may not be able to survive paying staff salary when they are not doing anything. I am also aware that the Emirates in Nigeria is also the one that handles West Africa as well. So, this may be another reason why they retained staff,” Akporaiye explained.

Speaking on its resumption of flight operations into Nigeria, Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Deputy President and Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We are excited to resume our services to Nigeria. The Lagos-Dubai service has traditionally been popular with customers in Nigeria and we hope to reconnect leisure and business travellers to Dubai and onwards to our network of over 140 destinations. We thank the Nigerian government for their partnership and support in re-establishing this route and we look forward to welcoming passengers back onboard.”

With the resumption of operations to Nigeria, Emirates operates to 19 gateways in Africa with 157 flights per week from Dubai, with further reach to an additional 130 regional points in Africa through its codeshare and interline partnerships with South African Airways, Airlink, Royal Air Maroc, Tunis Air, among others.

As a major economic hub in Africa, Nigeria and the UAE have built strong bilateral trade relations over the years, headlined by Lagos as the nation’s commercial centre.

With the resumption of daily passenger flights, the airline’s cargo arm, Emirates SkyCargo, will further bolster the trade relationship by offering more than 300 tonnes of bellyhold cargo capacity, in and out of Lagos every week. Emirates Group recently announced a 20-week bonus for its employees following an exceptionally strong financial performance for the fiscal year.

Dubai’s Emirates Group announced annual profits of $5.1 billion on May 13, a rise of 71 percent, as the airline company set a new record for the second year in a row.

Citing strong customer demand, it said group profits for the past two years hit $8.1 billion, surpassing the losses seen during pandemic-hit 2020-2022.

“The Emirates Group has once again raised the bar to deliver a new record performance,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a statement.

“The Group’s excellent financial standing today places us in a strong position for future growth and success. It enables us to invest to deliver even better products, services, and more value to our customers and stakeholders,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

 

Usyk Beats Tyson Fury To Win Historic Undisputed Heavyweight Championship Fight

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Oleksandr Usyk beats Tyson Fury to win historic undisputed heavyweight championship fight
Oleksandr Usyk beat Tyson Fury by split decision to unify the WBA, WBO, WBC and IBF world titles; Fury and Usyk were fighting at the Kingdom Arena in Riyad to decide the first undisputed world heavyweight champion in 25 years, the first of the four-belt era
By John Dennen in Riyadh
Sunday 19 May 2024 00:52, UK

Oleksandr Usyk defeated Tyson Fury by split decision to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, the first since Lennox Lewis.

Momentum switched in an astonishing ninth round when Usyk seemingly had Fury out on his feet. The Ukrainian smashed a left hook into Fury’s jaw. It shook him all the way through his 6ft 9in tall frame and had him rocking across the ring.

Usyk harried him with further crunching shots, smacking Fury into one set of ropes then another. Fury listed into the strands. He could barely stand and leaned into the rigging.

Tyson Fury made his way to the ring through a tunnel of flames to face Oleksandr Usyk

Referee Mark Nelson darted in then and administered a 10 count, apparently convinced that the ropes had kept Fury up. It could have been a fateful decision. The bell rang to end the round and save Fury from another onslaught.

At the start of the fight Fury had appeared dialled into the best form we’ve seen from him for some time.

Despite the importance of this fight, the historic nature of the occasion, Fury was showboating, early in the fight too. He shimmied his body when stood in a corner in the first round, slipping his head from side to side.

For a moment in the second round he hid his hands behind his back. But it was his long, flickering jab that was connecting, just directing Usyk’s attention away from that right that Fury dug occasionally to the body.

He ended the second round with a cracking right uppercut through the middle that prompted a smile from Fury.

Usyk had shown no sign of being intimidated by his vast opponent. He’d sent a thumping left cross arching over to catch Fury’s head in the opening rounds. Solid straight shots hit Fury’s long body too.

Usyk tracked forward in the third round, as chants of his name rang out.

Fury stayed elusive in the fourth round, sliding along the ropes. But when Usyk had him in a corner, the Ukrainian unleashed his punches forcing Fury to weave away from them.

When Fury found space to work he could direct his attentions at the Ukrainian’s body. But in the sixth round Fury truly sensed blood. A long right to the head hurt Usyk. He had to back away from Fury to recover himself and the crowd warmed to the Briton’s efforts.

The undisputed heavyweight clash between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk attracted stars from around the world including Cristiano Ronaldo and Anthony Joshua

Fury was in the ascendancy in the seventh round, going about his work with an expression of glee. Only right at the end of the round, when Usyk tagged him with his left cross did he sound a note of defiance to remind Fury he was up against no ordinary foe.

That prompted Fury to start the eighth round battering hooks round either side of Usyk’s head. The Ukrainian gallantly pushed himself forward, but it was getting harder for him to find a way round Fury’s long punches.

But when Usyk hurt Fury in the ninth it changed the complexion of the fight.

The Ukrainian sought to press home his advantage in the final round, his lead hook strafing Fury’s jaw. But the Briton slugged back at him to keep Usyk off and take the fight the distance.

The decision was split,114-113 to Fury on one card but in Usyk’s favour 115-112 and 114-113 on the other two.

Spain Blocks Ship Carrying Arms To Israel, Says Middle East Needs Peace Not Arms

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Spain Denies Permission To Ship Carrying Arms To Israel, Says Middle East Needs Peace, Not More Weapons

Spanish foreign minister, José Manuel Albares, has said that the country has refused to grant permission to a ship carrying arms to Israel to dock at a Spanish port.

“This is the first time we have done this because it is the first time we have detected a ship carrying a shipment of arms to Israel that wants to call at a Spanish port,” The Guardian UK quoted Albares as saying on Thursday.

“This will be a consistent policy with any ship carrying arms to Israel that wants to call at Spanish ports,” the minister added. “The foreign ministry will systematically reject such stopovers for one obvious reason: the Middle East does not need more weapons, it needs more peace.”

However, Albares did not provide details on the ship but the transport minister, Óscar Puente, said it was the Marianne Danica that had requested permission to call at the south-eastern port of Cartagena on May 21.

It was reported that El País said the Danish-flagged ship was carrying 27 tonnes of explosive material from Chennai in India to the port of Haifa in Israel.

The announcement comes during a row between Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s Socialists and his coalition partners, the leftwing Sumar alliance, over another ship, the Borkum, due to dock in Cartagena on Friday.

Pro-Palestinian groups say the Borkum is carrying arms to Israel, prompting Sumar to demand that it should be turned away.

But Puente said the Borkum was transporting military material to the Czech Republic, not Israel.

Spain has been one of Europe’s most critical voices about Israel’s Gaza offensive and is working to rally other European capitals behind the idea of recognising a Palestinian state.

Spain stopped arms sales to Israel after it launched a military onslaught against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Marketers Demand Bulk Supply As Dangote Ends Fuel Import June

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The Dangote oil refinery is set to put an end to the monthly importation of an average of 1 billion litres of premium motor spirit in Nigeria.

This was as the Chairman of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, revealed that Nigeria would end petrol imports the moment the refinery started selling the product in June.

PUNCH had earlier reported that the country’s monthly petrol import was reduced by about 1 billion litres after President Bola Tinubu removed fuel subsidies in June, according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics.

The NBS report indicated that the country received fuel importation of 2.09 litres in January 2023, while 1.99 billion litres was imported in February of the same year. It was 2.29 billion litres in March; 1.91 billion litres in April and 2.01 billion litres in May last year.

However, our correspondent observed that the quantity of PMS imported in June, the first post-subsidy month, dropped to 1.64 billion litres.

The downward slope got deeper in July when the import was reduced to 1.45 billion litres.

Speaking at the Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit in Kigali, Rwanda on Friday, Dangote expressed optimism about transforming Africa’s energy landscape.

According to him, following the laid-down plans of the Dangote refinery, Nigeria will no longer need to import petrol starting next month.

Dangote also stated that his refinery can meet West Africa’s petrol and diesel needs, as well as the continent’s aviation fuel demand.

He said, “ Right now, Nigeria has no cause to import anything apart from gasoline and by sometime in June, within the next four or five weeks, Nigeria shouldn’t import anything like gasoline; not one drop of a litre,” he declared.

He added, “We have enough gasoline to give to at least the entire West Africa, diesel to give to West Africa and Central Africa. We have enough aviation fuel to give to the entire continent and also export some to Brazil and Mexico.

“We have started producing jet fuel, we are producing diesel, and by next month, we’ll be producing gasoline. What that will do, it will be able to take most African crudes,” Dangote told the panel.

The Dangote refinery also struck a crude oil supply deal with TotalEnergies

Dangote’s 650,000 barrels per day refinery has been trying to secure crude supplies from the United States following the inability of Nigeria to ramp up production.

The refinery, which is the largest in Africa and Europe when it reaches full capacity, has since commenced the sale of diesel and aviation, but its petrol is yet to hit the market.

A few days ago, the company had put out a tender for two million barrels of West Texas Intermediate Midland crude every month for a year starting in July.

In April, Dangote crashed the price of diesel from around N1,500 to N1,000 per litre.

However, Nigerians were eagerly waiting for petrol, which is the major fuel used for transportation and alternative power generators.

The words of Dangote appeared to have come as a soothing balm to marketers and Nigerians, who are yet to fully recover from the recent fuel scarcity that almost grounded the economy.

In an interview with our correspondent, the National Vice President of the IPMAN, Hammed Fashola, told our correspondent that the Dangote refinery can supply fuel to Nigeria and West Africa.

“We are happy about it and I believe it is possible when you consider the capacity of the refinery. Due to the capacity, I think the Dangote refinery can satisfy our needs as far as petroleum products are concerned, especially petrol. He can even satisfy other West African countries. It is good news,” Fashola stated.

The IPMAN leader expressed the eagerness of marketers to start lifting fuel from the refinery, saying, “We are all waiting, we are eager for the commencement of the lifting on petroleum products from Dangote refinery, especially petrol”.

Asked if the marketers were expecting a price cut like it happened when the refinery started selling diesel, Fashola retorted that the price may not go back to the N200 per litre that it was before the removal of fuel subsidies, but there would be a marginal reduction.

“On price, I don’t want to predict, but when you look at it from the angle of common sense, the price cannot come back to our old price, but I believe there should be some changes in terms of price because when you look at other factors associated with imported petroleum products, there are some costs that will be cut off, not the major ones; but I believe there will be a little price difference,” he maintained.

The marketer stressed that the private refinery would put an end to fuel scarcity in Nigeria as the product would no longer be imported.

Meanwhile, Fashola explained that IPMAN as a body is yet to have an agreement with the Dangote refinery on the supply of premium motor spirit, calling on the company to consider working directly with the association instead of individuals.

He noted that IPMAN should be a beautiful bride before Dangote for being in control of over 80 per cent of the filling stations in Nigeria.

In a recent interview with our correspondent, the Executive Secretary of the Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria, Clement Isong, disclosed that MEMAN members have registered with the Dangote refinery.

“We have all registered with Dangote so that we call buy and sell. All my members are registered with Dangote. Whenever the product is ready and starts coming out, you will see it in our filling stations.

“I confirm that my members have registered with them. We were waiting for the production to start and now it has started and they will start discussing the commercial terms.

“So now the commercial terms will be agreed with each marketer and then they will buy from them. There are several ways you can buy from them. They have loading ranks, over 90, so you can take your truck to go and pick. You can also use vessels to pick. Those are the two ways you pick products,” Isong said.

On pricing, Isong noted, “The price should be the market price because you need to recover your cost and capital, then repay your loans. I don’t know what the market price will be, but I know that with my international experience in the economics of petroleum, nobody does this business to make a loss”.

In January, the Dangote Group confirmed the registration of oil marketers as its distributors, stating, “Three prominent associations, that constitute 75 per cent of the total market in Nigeria have been registered. The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, and the Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria”.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has been the only company importing PMS in Nigeria, capping the price of the product below the cost.

During an energy conference in Abuja recently, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, opined that Nigeria does not need to import fuel, expressing concerns that the bulk of the country’s foreign exchange goes into fuel importation.

“We must find a solution to our forex problem. Nigeria does not need to import fuel. We should free our scarce forex for other sectors of the economy. I am aware that the bulk of our forex goes to the importation of refined oil products.” Lokpbiri stated, expressing optimism that home-based refineries would put an end to fuel importation.

Meanwhile, Nigerians are expressing mixed reactions about the refinery; while some are glad, others said they are tired of waiting.

CNG Vehicles To Save Nigeria $2.5 Billion Yearly – FG Says

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The Federal Government has explained the importance of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to economic development, saying every 1,000,000 vehicles converted to CNG will save the country about $2.5bn.

The Programme Director, Presidential Initiative on Compressed Natural Gas, Pi-CNG, MichaelThe Federal Government has explained the importance of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to economic development, saying every 1,000,000 vehicles converted to CNG will save the country about $2.5bn.

 

The Programme Director, Presidential Initiative on Compressed Natural Gas, Pi-CNG, Michael Oluwagbemi, said the push for CNG by the Federal Government would end the era of pollution, environmental degradation and economic hardship.

 

Oluwagbemi spoke during a one-day South South and Southeast stakeholders engagement meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

 

 

He said the natural gas was in abundance in the nation but people lacked the foresight to utilise it insisting that CNG is cleaner, cheaper and will reduce the cost of transportation.

 

He said: “The initiative of the government is critical to our national development and to the well-being of the people. Rivers State is the heart of the oil and gas region. Over the last five to six decades these resources have continued to waste. Nigeria is the second largest waster of oil and gas. We exploit it and waste it then continue to suffer poverty.

 

“The President has set us on natural gas feature and set up on the nation on the path of growth. The use of gas ensures we have energy savings, mind you the price of Natural gas is controlled by government.

 

“What the President is asking is to do more with the blessings God has given us. If we are able to move three million vehicles in the next three years we are going to end the era of environmental degradation.”

 

Oluwagbemi said that the nation stood to benefit with the energy transition, adding that CNG remained more reliable for the transportation sector of the country.

 

He said CNG had the capacity to reduce the current inflation troubling the nation’s economy.

 

He said: “Nigeria stands to gain a lot from the energy transition in the transportation sector. First and foremost, CNG is our own resource. Natural gas is everywhere in Nigeria. It is a much more reliable source of fuel the transportation sector. No longer will there be crises out of Nigeria impact the economic livelihood of the country.

 

“It has the capacity of reducing inflation. It is cheaper. You can realise between 40% to 50% savings from patrol. This is good for Nigeria and it is safer. It is 18 time safer than our petrol and diesel. IT is cleaner and safer for the environment.

 

“We will stop subsidizing poverty importing unemployment and exporting jobs. We will be using our own natural gas to drive our transportation sector. To a common man this translates to reduction in the cost of transportation. Our jobs is to give incentivise the CNG vehicle. To ensure we close the financing gap that exists.

 

“There is enough demand for natural gas all we need to do now is to open stations, pipelines and conversations centres. When we convert our vehicles, 1,000,000 vehicles they will convert it save the country about $2.5 billion a year. This will also save us 6,000,000 litres a day. These are monies that we can spend on hospitals on roads.”

 

In his remarks, Fola Akinola, the Chief Executive Officer of FEMADEC Energy Limited, said plans had been concluded to open two CNG refueling stations, and two vehicle conversion parks in Port Harcourt.

 

He said: “CNG is an old technology. We want to tell you that you have the opportunity to convert your vehicle from fuel to CNG. The stations will be launched in Port Harcourt and we are launching a refueling unit alongside. Rivers State is going to have a micro refueling unit at Stadium Road and in GRA.

 

“Those that wants to invest in CNG refueling units it is available. Even those who have fuel State facilities can as well invest in this.”

 

The Abia State Government said it had already diverted its N2bn subsidy palliative from the federal government for investment in CNG.

 

The Commissioner for Energy and Environment, Abia State, Prof. Joel Ogbonna, told the Pi-CNG committee that his state had set all grounds ready to key into the presidential directive, adding that the state was ready to kick off.

 

He said: “When Governor Alex Otti came, he declared State of emergency on environment. The governor has set aside N2 billion for the fuel subsidy for CNG. Abia State has set aside the Abia State Poly for trainings in CGN.

 

“We have also development an industrial park to be able to produce gas. We want to also pass a bill so that people will be told what to do to ensure safety so that there will not be hazaCNG.We are ready to take off with the CNG.” Oluwagbemi, said the push for CNG by the Federal Government would end the era of pollution, environmental degradation and economic hardship.

Oluwagbemi spoke during a one-day South South and Southeast stakeholders engagement meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

He said the natural gas was in abundance in the nation but people lacked the foresight to utilise it insisting that CNG is cleaner, cheaper and will reduce the cost of transportation.

He said: “The initiative of the government is critical to our national development and to the well-being of the people. Rivers State is the heart of the oil and gas region. Over the last five to six decades these resources have continued to waste. Nigeria is the second largest waster of oil and gas. We exploit it and waste it then continue to suffer poverty.

“The President has set us on natural gas feature and set up on the nation on the path of growth. The use of gas ensures we have energy savings, mind you the price of Natural gas is controlled by government.

“What the President is asking is to do more with the blessings God has given us. If we are able to move three million vehicles in the next three years we are going to end the era of environmental degradation.”

Oluwagbemi said that the nation stood to benefit with the energy transition, adding that CNG remained more reliable for the transportation sector of the country.

He said CNG had the capacity to reduce the current inflation troubling the nation’s economy.

He said: “Nigeria stands to gain a lot from the energy transition in the transportation sector. First and foremost, CNG is our own resource. Natural gas is everywhere in Nigeria. It is a much more reliable source of fuel the transportation sector. No longer will there be crises out of Nigeria impact the economic livelihood of the country.

“It has the capacity of reducing inflation. It is cheaper. You can realise between 40% to 50% savings from patrol. This is good for Nigeria and it is safer. It is 18 time safer than our petrol and diesel. IT is cleaner and safer for the environment.

“We will stop subsidizing poverty importing unemployment and exporting jobs. We will be using our own natural gas to drive our transportation sector. To a common man this translates to reduction in the cost of transportation. Our jobs is to give incentivise the CNG vehicle. To ensure we close the financing gap that exists.

“There is enough demand for natural gas all we need to do now is to open stations, pipelines and conversations centres. When we convert our vehicles, 1,000,000 vehicles they will convert it save the country about $2.5 billion a year. This will also save us 6,000,000 litres a day. These are monies that we can spend on hospitals on roads.”

In his remarks, Fola Akinola, the Chief Executive Officer of FEMADEC Energy Limited, said plans had been concluded to open two CNG refueling stations, and two vehicle conversion parks in Port Harcourt.

He said: “CNG is an old technology. We want to tell you that you have the opportunity to convert your vehicle from fuel to CNG. The stations will be launched in Port Harcourt and we are launching a refueling unit alongside. Rivers State is going to have a micro refueling unit at Stadium Road and in GRA.

“Those that wants to invest in CNG refueling units it is available. Even those who have fuel State facilities can as well invest in this.”

The Abia State Government said it had already diverted its N2bn subsidy palliative from the federal government for investment in CNG.

The Commissioner for Energy and Environment, Abia State, Prof. Joel Ogbonna, told the Pi-CNG committee that his state had set all grounds ready to key into the presidential directive, adding that the state was ready to kick off.

He said: “When Governor Alex Otti came, he declared State of emergency on environment. The governor has set aside N2 billion for the fuel subsidy for CNG. Abia State has set aside the Abia State Poly for trainings in CGN.

“We have also development an industrial park to be able to produce gas. We want to also pass a bill so that people will be told what to do to ensure safety so that there will not be hazards. We are ready to take off with the CNG.”