By Adedapo Adesanya
The Chairman of Skymark Energy and Power Limited, Mr Muhammad Saleh-Hassan, has called on oil marketers and other stakeholders in the energy sector to cooperate with the federal government in order to end the biting fuel scarcity in Nigeria.
Speaking in Abuja, Mr Saleh-Hassan stressed that oil marketers have a major role to play in ending recurring fuel scarcity in the country, noting that the energy crisis appeared to have defied the government’s efforts and urged his colleagues to be patriotic by shunning sharp practices and putting the people’s interests above high profit-making targets.
”In this circumstance that we have found ourselves, the marketers and other stakeholders should be patriotic by supporting the government in the interest of the masses.
“A critical situation like this is not a time that we should be thinking of our personal interests and gains. We should also think of the interests of the nation and the people.
“This is because you rely on the people to do your business. So, they too need your support to be able to afford the services you are rendering to them.
“You also rely on the government for regulations to also do your business. That is why you should also support the government,” he said.
Mr Saleh-Hassan stated that it was morally wrong for oil markers, as critical stakeholders in the oil and gas sector, to be unpatriotic by aiding and abetting the energy crisis through sharp practices which caused fuel scarcity.
“You are not supposed to take advantage of the situation by insisting that you want to add transport costs or make more money by hoarding your products, sending them to the black market or diverting them to other destinations, where you think that you can make more gains.
“I, therefore, call on the marketers, particularly the Independent Petroleum Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), the Major Oil Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), among others, to support the government in finding a lasting solution in the interest of the masses,” he said.
Mr Saleh-Hassan stressed that fuel subsidy, which will gulp about N4 trillion this year, had not failed.
According to the Skymark boss, sharp practices in the industry are responsible for sabotaging the integrity of subsidy, stressing that it was patriotism, and not fuel subsidy removal, that would solve the fuel scarcity problem, adding that removing subsidy would hit the economy badly.
“If you remove subsidy, it will hit the economy and aggravate the ailing economy and the masses will suffer seriously. There will be severe problems in the economic sector of the country. In fact, it would worsen the current inflation. Essential commodities in particular would not be affordable.
“President Buhari’s decision not to remove fuel subsidy is a kind and commendable gesture to the masses. As a leader, I think he is in the right direction. If patriotism is applied, you can be sure that the subsidy will work,” he said.
Speaking on why fuel depots were empty, in spite of the subsisting subsidy, he said: “The claim in the media circle that depots are empty is not true. Depots are not empty. If depots are empty, where are the independent marketers getting the product they are giving to the black marketers?
“After all, if NNPC imports the products, it gives it directly to the marketers to sell to people at stations at N165 per litre. Is a black marketer an independent marketer? Where do they get the fuel that they sell to people in gallons? he queried.
Mr Saleh-Hassan also said that it was necessary for the government to take more proactive measures to decisively address the fuel scarcity situation.
“The law has to work. We have to go back to the military era when petroleum products used to be escorted by security operatives from depots to the expected destinations to stop independent marketers from diverting them.
“At the point of discharging and distribution, all the trailers should be escorted by security agents to ensure that the products are delivered appropriately to the fuel stations.
“The police clamp down on fuel hawkers who were selling fuel in jerrycans in some parts of Abuja recently was a good move and I commend the IGP for that. This should continue until we see the end of the fuel crisis,” he said.
Mr Saleh-Hassan also called on Nigerians to be patient, adding that the crisis would soon be over as it was not peculiar to Nigeria, saying, “efforts are already being made by the Federal Government to reposition the oil sector.”
He said: “The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has triggered economic woes across the globe and this is already trickling down on the energy sector in different countries in the world and Nigeria is no exception.
“Globally, refineries are not working. Even in America. About two or three weeks ago, there was fuel scarcity in London.
“Prices of refined products in the United Kingdom and United States (US) are not stable. In the US, a gallon of fuel is almost hitting $8. In the UK, to fill a car tank now is about 100 pounds.
“But in Nigeria, the official price is still N165 per litre. So, Mele Kyari, the NNPC GMD, is doing very well and should be commended.”
I Fully Agree Oil Has Been a Curse to Nigeria—Moghalu
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
A former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Kingsley Moghalu, has said oil has been a curse to Nigeria.
He said this in reaction to the discovery of oil in the northern part of the country.
On Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off the Kolmani Integrated Development Project in Bauchi, and he said the country attracted $3 billion investment in fossil energy from the project at a time when the oil and gas sector was becoming less attractive.
“It is, therefore, to the credit of this administration that at a time when there is near zero appetites for investment in fossil energy, coupled with the location challenges, we are able to attract investment of over $3 billion to this project,” Mr Buhari said.
The Kolmani Integrated Development Project is a fully integrated in-situ development project comprising upstream production, oil refining, power generation and fertilizer.
The Kolmani River field has huge commercial deposits of hydrocarbons, which the President said is “over one billion barrels of oil reserves and 500 billion cubic feet of gas.”
But Mr Moghalu, who contested to be the President of Nigeria in 2019 under the Young Progressives Party (YPP), believes that the country has not gained anything meaningful from being an oil-producing nation.
Nigeria is one of the leading producers of crude oil in Africa. Most of the foreign exchange (FX) earnings come from the sale of the commodity. However, oil theft and corruption have subjected its citizens to abject poverty, with the government resorting to borrowing to fund its budgets.
“I fully agree with those who say oil has been a curse to Nigeria. Many of them question the ultimate value of the reported Kolmani oil find in Northern Nigeria.
“But I am also practical enough to know three things. First, some countries like Saudi Arabia, Gulf States, and Norway were smart enough to use oil to build their economies but diversified into other means of wealth creation and also built-up savings (reserves/Sovereign Wealth Funds) for the rainy day that have served them well.
“Secondly, the real secret of the wealth of nations does NOT lie in natural resources. It lies in economic complexity – the ability to prioritize technological innovation and use it to manufacture complex products that are value-added and competitively produced and then exported to dominate the world trading system. Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Switzerland and many other of the world’s wealthiest countries have NOTHING of value under their soil but have used this principle to create wealth for their citizens. That’s why they are rich, but we in Nigeria and most other African countries, with our so-called blessing of natural resources, are in a poverty trap.
“We in fact have the resource curse. 70% of the world’s strategic minerals are in Africa, but the continent’s share of world trade is just 3% in 2022.
“The third thing I am practical enough to know is that, as Nigeria is currently led and configured, the dominant mentality of its political leadership is still fixated on natural resources and resource rents. They simply do not share in, & do not care, about the secret of the wealth of nations.
“Their minds still haven’t evolved to that knowledge or, more accurately, the political will to de-emphasize natural resource thinking and shift to real wealth creation,” the respected economist said in a series of tweets via his verified Twitter handle, @MoghaluKingsley.
Index Rises 2.04% on Interest Airtel Africa, MTN Nigeria Shares
By Dipo Olowookere
It was another positive outing for the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Friday as it closed higher by 2.04 per cent on the back of buying interest in Airtel Africa, MTN Nigeria and 16 others.
The sustained upward movement was buoyed yesterday by the 1.10 per cent growth posted by the insurance sector, the 0.26 per cent improvement in the industrial goods space, and the 0.25 per cent rise in the banking counter.
The trio offset the 2.37 per cent loss printed by the consumer goods counter, as the energy index closed flat when trading activities were brought to an end at 2:30 pm.
Consequently, the All-Share Index (ASI) closed higher by 949.40 points to 47,554.34 points from 46,604.94 points, as the market capitalisation grew by N517 billion to settle at N25.902 trillion compared with Thursday’s closing value of N25.385 trillion.
The stock market was quiet on Friday as the most active stock, FCMB, only traded 16.8 million units, while MTN Nigeria sold 16.4 million units. Fidelity Bank traded 7.5 million shares, Zenith Bank exchanged 6.4 million equities, and Access Holdings transacted 5.8 million equities.
From an analysis of the activity chart, a total of 99.0 million stocks worth N5.5 billion were traded by investors yesterday in 2,780 deals compared with the 138.6 million stocks worth N2.2 billion traded in 3,434 deals, indicating an increase in the trading value of 154.41 per cent, a decline in the number of deals by 19.04 deals and a drop in the trading volume by 28.58 per cent.
Red Star Express ended the day on top of the gainers’ chart after its value rose by 9.66 per cent to N2.27, Regency Assurance appreciated by 8.70 per cent to 25 Kobo, Livestock Feeds grew by 8.16 per cent to N1.06, Prestige Assurance expanded by 7.50 per cent to 43 Kobo, and Airtel Africa improved by 7.41 per cent to N1,450.00.
Conversely, Capital Hotel topped the losers’ log yesterday after it went down by 10.00 per cent to N3.06, Nestle Nigeria fell by 10.00 per cent to N963.90, International Breweries drained by 2.27 per cent to N4.30, GTCO lost 1.48 per cent to N20.00, and Wema Bank depreciated by 0.97 per cent to N3.07.
Naira Gains at P2P, Weakens at I&E
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Naira closed stronger against the United States Dollar at the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) window of the foreign exchange (FX) market on the last trading session of the week by N1 to sell at N786/$1 compared with the previous day’s exchange rate of N787/$1.
Similarly, in the black market, the Naira appreciated against the American Dollar by N2 to trade at N775/$1 yesterday, in contrast to the N777/$1 it closed on Thursday.
However, in the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the forex market, the domestic currency depreciated against its US counterpart by 0.3 per cent or N1.33 to settle at N446.33/$1 compared with the preceding session’s N445/$1.
Data from FMDQ Securities Exchange indicated that the FX turnover at the I&E window on Friday was $117.26 million, lower than the $145.89 million reported a day earlier by $28.63 million or 19.6 per cent.
In the interbank segment, the Nigerian Naira closed flat against the Pound Sterling and the Euro yesterday at N526.97/£1 or N455.56/€1, respectively.
Meanwhile, in the cryptocurrency market, there were recoveries as a majority of the 10 cryptos tracked by Business Post pointed north, with Dogecoin (DOGE) surging by 14.6 per cent to trade at $0.093.
This happened as the crypto market is still reeling after a brutal month, with investor confidence shattered following news that FTX, once one of the biggest and most popular crypto exchanges, went bust.
Binance Coin (BNB) recorded a 5.5 per cent appreciation to trade at $311.11, Ethereum (ETH) saw its value go up by 3.8 per cent to sell at $1,220.31, Cardano (ADA) recorded a 2.9 per cent rise to quote at $0.319, and Solana (SOL) appreciated by 2.8 per cent to trade at $14.41.
Further, Ripple (XRP) recorded a 2.4 per cent gain to settle at $0.4079, Bitcoin (BTC) made a 1.4 per cent improvement to sell at $16,626.37, Litecoin (LTC) jumped by 1.3 per cent to trade at $77.20.
But the US Dollar Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD) remained unchanged at $0.9995 and $1.00 apiece.
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