Nigeria has spent over N11 trillion as payment for outstanding subsidy claims over the last six years. This was disclosed on Thursday by the Senate Committee on the downstream Petroleum sector.
The committee which is headed by Senator Kabir Marafa also approved the payment of N129 billion as outstanding subsidy claims to 67 petroleum marketers. The approval followed the adoption of the report of its Committee on Petroleum Downstream on the Promissory Note Programme and a Bond Issuance for Oil Marketers Outstanding Claims.
Calls for subsidy removal: Nairametrics had earlier reported that Nigeria pays the sum of N39.9 billion monthly on Petroleum subsidy payment. In April, the issue of subsidy removal surfaced again after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged the Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy, stressing that the removal could positively improve the country’s slow economic growth.
While the IMF argued that removing subsidy is important due to the low contribution of tax revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed responded that there’s no alternative to prompt such action from the Federal Government.
An alternative to fuel subsidy: Subsidy payment on Petroleum products still remains a big challenge for the nation’s oil sector. As the 8th national Assembly comes to an end, parliamentarians, lawmakers also expressed their dismay on the recurring subsidy issue in Thursday’s plenary session led by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu. Ekweremadu advised that Nigeria needs to proffer a lasting solution to the problem through the provision of functional local refineries.
…the issue of subsidy. We need to do something about provisions of refineries in our country – it is not rocket science. Even if it does not resolve the issue of subsidy, we would have gone a long way in addressing it.”-Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
— The Nigerian Senate (@NGRSenate) May 30, 2019
… told us; the issue of subsidy is now a first line charge on oil drilling which is extremely dangerous.”- Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
— The Nigerian Senate (@NGRSenate) May 30, 2019
Upshots – Due to the importation of petroleum product, the Federal Government pays the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN) huge amount of money that should have been channeled into other sectors to encourage growth. As expressed by Senator Victor Ameh during the session on Thursday;
“People in government have refused to face the problem. Everyone is depending on oil revenue and yet no functional refineries have been set in place.”
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Joseph Akinlaja, recently disclosed
“As for the issue of subsidy, I believe that there is a subsidy that is being paid in whatever name it is called. The executive is responsible for the supply and distribution of petroleum products in Nigeria.
“If oil marketers are instructed not to sell more than N145, and the same government talks about N171.50 as the landing cost, who is paying the difference of N26.50? Somebody must be paying. Definitely, it has to be the government.”
Aviation Unions threaten to shut airspace on Monday, as NLC insists on strike
All aviation workers are directed to withdraw their services at all aerodromes nationwide on 28th September 2020.
Major aviation unions in Nigeria have threatened to shut the nation’s airspace in support of the Organised Labour nationwide industrial action expected to commence on Monday, September 28, 2020.
The unions are the National Union of Air Transport Employees, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals.
This was disclosed by the General Secretary of the National Union of Aviation Employees, Aba Ocheme, in a statement, according to Vanguard.
The unions reportedly asked their members to withdraw services from all aerodromes nationwide indefinitely.
He said, “As such all workers in the aviation sector are hereby directed to withdraw their services at all aerodromes nationwide as from 00hrs of 28th September 2020 until otherwise communicated by the NLC/TUC or our unions. All workers shall comply.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress on Friday also insisted that it will go on with its planned mass action scheduled for Monday, September 28.
In a communique by its General Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, the NLC asked its members across the nation to come out in large numbers to protest the increase in fuel and electricity prices.
The order was given despite a fresh court order obtained by the Federal Government, barring the NLC and the Trade Union Congress from embarking on their planned strike scheduled to commence on Monday.
Ugboaja explained that the NLC has asked all National Leadership of affiliates in Abuja to mobilise at least 2,000 of their members to Unity Fountain, Abuja for the mass rally which takes off at 7am.
Also, affiliates are expected to mobilise the same number of members to the NLC Sub-Secretariat, 29, Olajuwon Street, Yaba, Lagos, which is the take-off point for the Lagos action at 7am also.
It would be difficult to find loans to finance rail to Niger Republic – Cheta Nwanze
Finding loans to finance rail to the Niger Republic would be difficult, says Cheta Nwanze.
Cheta Nwanze, Lead Partner at socioeconomic research firm, SBM Intelligence, says that it would be difficult to find loan financiers for the proposed $1.9 billion rail project from Kano to Maradi in Niger republic.
Cheta, in an interview with Nairametrics on Friday, explained that it appears that Nigeria is more keen on the project than Niger Republic.
Back story: Nairametrics reported this week that the Federal Executive Council has approved the disbursement of $1.96 billion, for the railway line from Kano in Nigeria to Maradi in Niger Republic.
According to the report, the President is also expected to commission the Warri-Itakpe standard gauge rail line, running through Kogi, Edo, and Delta States.
“Nigeria is investing so much in this rail line, given that we are Niger’s 4th largest trading partner,” Cheta said.
He added that Niger, although being landlocked already, has an existing infrastructure for its imports and export services, which is much better utilized than Nigeria’s export infrastructure.
“The majority of their imports from France, China, and the USA come in via the port of Lome, precisely because the port in Lome works, and the rail link in Togo is much better than ours.
“Nigeria, on the other hand, has let its Apapa port to become a wreck, while transportation between Lagos and Kano/Jibia is a nightmare, if we’re being charitable with words.”
According to him, with the reality of the Apapa congestion and other factors, finding fund for such project, when debt to service ratio is high and amidst reduced oil revenue, will be difficult.
“With these realities in mind, I find it difficult to imagine who will extend such a loan to Nigeria, especially since, as far as all the information available to me indicates, Niger does not seem as keen on pushing this as Nigeria does,” he added.
However, the media aide to President Buhari, Garba Shehu, disclosed that the Federal Government is not constructing a rail line from Nigeria linking Kano-Dutse-Maradi into the Niger Republic, as it will only stop at the designated border point.
Maradi is 55km from the Katsina border Town of Jibia.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 25th of September 2020, 213 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 58,062 confirmed cases.
On the 25th of September 2020, 213 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 10,526 samples across the country.
To date, 58,062 cases have been confirmed, 49,606 cases have been discharged and 1,103 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 494,577 tests have been carried out as of September 25th, 2020 compared to 484,051 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 25th September 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 58,062
- Total Number Discharged – 49,606
- Total Deaths – 1,103
- Total Tests Carried out – 494,577
According to the NCDC, the 213 new cases are reported from 17 states- Lagos (51), Plateau (51), FCT (29), Rivers (18), Ondo (12), Oyo (9), Osun (8), Gombe (7), Ogun (7), Kaduna (5), Enugu (4), Edo (3), Jigawa (3), Kano (3), Benue (1), Delta (1), Sokoto (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 19,174, followed by Abuja (5,644), Plateau (3,373), Oyo (3,248), Edo (2,620), Kaduna (2,389), Rivers (2,305), Delta (1,801), Ogun (1,796), Kano (1,737), Ondo (1,620), Enugu (1,289), Ebonyi (1,038), Kwara (1,028), Abia (881), Gombe (864). Katsina (848), Osun (826), Borno (741), and Bauchi (692).
Imo State has recorded 566 cases, Benue (481), Nasarawa (449), Bayelsa (397), Jigawa (325), Ekiti (317), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (259), Adamawa (237), Anambra (234), Sokoto (162), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Zamfara (78), Yobe (75), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.