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FG Unveils Phases of Autogas Rollout Plan

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autogas rollout plan

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has unveiled the phased plan to convert 200,000 commercial vehicles to run on gas this year.

This followed a meeting between Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva and oil marketers in Abuja towards the deployment of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) popularly called autogas in Nigeria.

According to Mr Sylva, the autogas rollout plan is to ensure that it made available alternatives required before the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol, stressing that the deployment of autogas was one of such key alternatives.

He also stated that the government would be supporting them with 50 per cent of the conversion kits to fast-track the process, adding that additional support as required would be given, going forward.

“We said we must provide alternative fuel and the alternative that we concluded on was the autogas alternative. To provide it for our people,” he stated.

He added, “Since this agreement between us (government and marketers), a lot of work has been going on and we have come to a certain point where we need to take it further. But we cannot move further without ensuring that you as our partners are fully on board.”

In the framework, the government explained that with abundant gas reserves of about 206.53 trillion cubic feet, a population of about 200 million people, and the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act, which eliminated the continuous absorption of petrol subsidy, it was now vital to deploy autogas.

It stated that its priority now was the rapid and strategic introduction of Natural Gas Vehicles as an alternative fuel for transportation in Nigeria in line with the approved National Gas Policy.

“This will pave the pathway to full deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector in Nigeria while reducing the effect of deregulation on transportation costs,” the document read in part.

It added, “The Ministry of Petroleum Resources was charged with the responsibility to provide autogas (LPG, CNG, LNG) as an alternative and competitive fuel for mass transportation

“CNG was selected as the fuel of choice because it holds a comparative advantage due to its ease of deployment, its comparatively lower capital requirements, commodity’s supply stability, existing in-country volumes, and local market commercial structure which relies predominantly on the Naira.

“Hence a single track CNG deployment is proposed in the initial phase and other alternatives can be considered as the market attains maturity.”

Three implementation options were highlighted in the document, as the government stated that in the first option, its target was to convert one million public transport vehicles and install 1,000 refuelling centres within 36 months.

For the first 18 months, it targets to achieve 500,000 conversions and 580 refuelling centres supplied by five Original Equipment Manufacturers, among other targets.

In the plan, the government targets to convert 200,000 commercial vehicles this year, including tricycles, cars, mini-buses and large buses.

The cities captured in Phase 1 of the project include Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Ondo, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Niger, and Rivers.

Cities under Phase 2 were listed as Sokoto, Katsina, Jigawa, Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, Osun, Ekiti, Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Cross River, Abia, Akwa Ibom and Plateau. For Phase 3 cities, they were listed as Kebbi, Zamfara, Yobe, Gombe, Taraba, Adamawa, Benue and Ebonyi

On the selection criteria for network operators, the government stated that the marketer must own and/or operate a minimum of 21 stations nationwide.

The dealer must own and/or operate a minimum of five stations in each proposed city and must be willing to demonstrate creditworthiness and the ability to pay back within the stipulated time frame.

Senior officials of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, as well as other key players in the downstream sector, attended the meeting.

On his part, the Executive Secretary, MOMAN, Mr Clement Isong, explained that marketers were willing to partner with the government and expressed delight in the government’s resolve to support marketers with 50 per cent of the required conversion kits.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Economy

JUST IN: CBN Raises Benchmark Interest Rate to 13%

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killing interest rate

By Dipo Olowookere

For the first time in two years, the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) has been raised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to 13.0 per cent from 11.5 per cent.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the CBN, who announced this development on Tuesday in Abuja, explained that the decision to increase the benchmark interest rate was taken at the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held yesterday and today.

While addressing financial reporters this afternoon, Mr Emefiele said members of the committee were unanimous with the decision to hike the rates as it was the best thing to do after holding them for about two years.

According to the central bank chief, one of the reasons for raising the rate is to control liquidity ahead of the 2023 general elections as politicians would be expected to flood the system with cash in a bid to woo voters.

However, the other parameters were left unchanged by members at the gathering as the Asymmetric corridor remained around the MPR at +100/-700bps, the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 27.5 per cent and the Liquidity Ratio (LR) at 30.0 per cent.

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Economy

Nigeria’s GDP Grows by 3.11% in Q1, What Next?

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GDP

By Lukman Otunuga

There are two ways one could interpret Nigeria’s latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figure of 3.11% in Q1 of 2022.

The optimists will say the country’s economy grew for the sixth consecutive quarter in Q1 while pessimists may highlight how economic growth slowed for the third consecutive quarter.

Either way, Nigeria’s economy continues to display resilience against external and domestic risks. With the improvement in the non-oil sector driving growth, this may brighten the growth outlook. But could these be signs of Nigeria breaking away from the chains of oil reliance to derive growth from sustainable sources? It may be too early to come to any meaningful conclusion. However, the report is encouraging and illustrates progress made by the country in reclaiming stability post-Covid-19.

With economic conditions somewhat improving, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is unlikely to raise interest rates this week. Given how Africa’s largest economy has been able to maintain growth in the past six quarters on the back of loose monetary policies by the CBN, a rate hike could disrupt Nigeria’s economic recovery.

As the global war against inflation rages on, central banks are stepping up.

However, the CBN is likely to remain on the sidelines for now. Nevertheless, inflation is still a cause for concern with consumer prices accelerating for the third straight month to 16.82% in April 2022.

With the general elections around the corner, pre-election spending could translate to rising price pressures. On top of this, the widening policy divergence between the Federal Reserve and the CBN could punish the Naira.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the dollar remains heavily supported by aggressive Fed rate hike bets and is likely to remain strong for the rest of 2022. A powerful dollar is bad news for emerging market currencies including the Naira which continues to depreciate in both the official and unofficial markets.

Lukman Otunuga is the Senior Research Analyst at FXTM

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Economy

NGX All Share Index Weakens Further by 0.13%

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All-Share Index

By Dipo Olowookere

The bearish sentiment on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited continued on Monday as the bourse further depreciated by 0.13 per cent.

Sustained profit-taking especially in the industrial goods sector contributed to the decline suffered during the session as the All Share Index (ASI) slumped by 68.45 points to close at 52,911.51 points compared with the previous session’s 52,979.96 points.

As for the market capitalisation, it depreciated by N37 billion amid sell-offs in 24 stocks to settle at N28.525 trillion as against last Friday’s closing value of N28.562 trillion.

On the first trading day of this week, the insurance sector depleted by 2.32 per cent, the industrial goods sector fell by 0.09 per cent, while the energy, banking and consumer goods counters increased by 0.28 per cent, 0.10 per cent and 0.05 per cent respectively.

Presco led the losers’ chart yesterday with a price decline of 10.00 per cent to trade at N180.00, Global Spectrum Energy Services lost 9.97 per cent to finish at N3.07, Neimeth fell by 9.66 per cent to N1.59, UAC Nigeria depreciated by 8.33 per cent to N13.20, while NEM Insurance retreated by 7.74 per cent to N4.05.

The gainers’ log had 22 members on Monday, with Conoil leading after its value improved by 9.95 per cent to N34.25. MRS Oil gained 9.93 per cent to quote at N14.95, McNichols appreciated by 9.86 per cent to N2.34, Academy Press increased its price by 9.76 per cent to N1.35, while NPF Microfinance Bank expanded by 8.02 per cent to N2.02.

On the activity chart, a total of 263.3 million stocks worth N3.6 billion exchanged hands in 4,856 deals during the session compared with 436.6 million stocks worth N3.2 billion bought and sold in 4,716 deals in the preceding session. This implied that the volume of trades depreciated by 39.68 per cent, while the value of trades and the number of deals increased by 10.15 per cent and 2.97 per cent respectively.

Jaiz Bank closed the day as the most active stock with the sale of 114.0 million units valued at N101.8 million, GTCO transacted 12.9 million shares for N302.8 million, Transcorp exchanged 12.8 million stocks worth N16.7 million, Access Holdings traded 11.7 million equities valued at N115.7 million, while Zenith Bank sold 8.6 million shares for N207.0 million.

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