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Despite NNPC’s denial, a new fuel price regime appears imminent

[@NNPCgroup] dismissed reports that a new Petrol (Premium Motor Spirit) pump price is on the line.

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) may have dismissed reports suggesting that a new Petrol (Premium Motor Spirit) pump price is on the way, but recent developments indicate that a new price regime appears imminent.

The NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, has clarified a statement credited to the NNPC GMD, Mallam Kyari on petrol pump price. According to Ughamadu, Mallam Kyari had simply observed the huge pump price disparity between Nigeria and other neighbouring countries.

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What does Kyari really mean? The new NNPC GMD was quoted by sections of the media to have hinted at the possible review of the petrol pump price. While speaking on Wednesday during a courtesy visit to the Senate president Ahmed Lawan, at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja, Kyari stated that it is very difficult to make petrol available at N145 and that cheap price of petrol encourages smuggling.

“The N145 per litre fuel price regime in Nigeria runs against the N350 per litre most of the other West African countries operate, encouraging smuggling. It is even very difficult for us to make the product available at N145.”

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NNPC new GMD, Mele Kyari

NNPC GMD Mele Kyari

  • Kayari’s statement implies that the Federal Government is paying through its nose to fund subsidy’s payment.
  • The current Petrol price regime puts Nigeria behind most West African Countries in terms of fiscal responsibility.
  • Fuel scarcity is likely to emerge as the government may default in paying fuel importers subsidy
  • Following Kyari’s statement, Nigerians may need to brace up for another looming fuel scarcity which will be borne out of panic buying and hoarding

Connecting recent developments: Although NNPC has dismissed the plan to increase pump price, it could only be a matter of time before such an announcement is made by the government. There has been constant pressure and growing calls on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to remove fuel subsidy due to the billions of naira spent on payment to fuel importers.

  • Recall that the recent fuel scarcity that rocked some parts of the country in April was as a result of a statement credited to the former minister for Finance, Zainab Ahmed, that the government was ready to phase-out fuel subsidy payment in the country.
  • Following the statement, panic buying and hoarding created artificial scarcity across most states in the country.
  • Just recently, the Former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor and current Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido, warned that Nigeria is on the threshold of bankruptcy following unfavourable economic policies such as subsidising petroleum products and electricity tariffs.

[READ ALSO: Fuel subsidy gulps N771 billion in NNPC’s spending over 13 months]

 

L-R: Former NNPC GMD Mikanti, President Buhari and new GMD Kyari at the State House, Abuja. 

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A new Petrol Pump price looms: It is crystal clear that the government cannot sustain the payment of subsidy for long in the face to depleting government revenue from oil. Hence, while reports of Petrol price increase have been quashed in recent months, sources have revealed a new price regime will emerge soon.

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While speaking today during a courtesy call on the new NNPC-GMD, Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr Kayode Fayemi, also revealed subsidy payment is biting hard

In the meantime, while fuel subsidy removal is imminent, the federal government needs to tread cautiously in its purported plan to remove the long due fuel subsidy, so as not to release untold hardship to the teaming Nigerians and business owners.

[READ ALSO: Price Watch: Petrol pump prices remain unchanged in March]

Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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Business News

Ministry of Health approves COVID-19 protocols for aviation sector, as airports prepare to resume

Flight attendants would be required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 test every fortnight, at the expense of their employers.

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Ministry of Health approves COVID-19 protocols for aviation sector, as airports prepare to resume

Flight crew members will now be required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and observe Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures for the duration of their flights.

They would also be required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 test every fortnight, at the expense of their employers.

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This is part of the mandatory COVID-19 protocols approved by the Federal Ministry of Health for the aviation industry, as the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) prepares to gradually ease the lockdown on its operations on June 7.

NCAA Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu, stated this at a virtual event organised by the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ART) titled COVID-19: The Challenges and Opportunity for Nigeria’s Aviation Value Chain, During and Post.

According to Nuhu who sent letters to airline operators, airports, and other service providers, these new protocols override existing practices where the international flight crew members are quarantined for 14 days upon their return to Nigeria.

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(READ MORE: COVID -19: Nigerian companies have records of innovation to turn pandemic challenge to gold)

In addition, the airlines must also conduct orientation and sensitisation of their crew on Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures, in addition to having adequate stock of PPE, minimum 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and Universal Precaution Kits (UPK) on board every aircraft.

Aviation sector to contribute over N1.2 trillion to Nigeria's GDP by 2020, Nigerians might be hit with higher ticket price as airlines battle fuel scarcity, fuel price increase , Aviation: Aviation sector gasps for stimulus in worst ever crisis, Ministry of Health approves COVID-19 protocols for aviation sector, as airports prepare to resume

The letter reads; “Onboard the flight crew will request passengers wash their hands after using the lavatory, apply disinfectant spray in lavatory every 60 minutes during the flight and maintain a safe distance between passengers and themselves; avoid direct physical contact and serve only pre-packed meals to passengers.

“Flight deck crew must wear non-medical face masks and gloves but can remove face masks when the cockpit door is closed. They must also ensure safe removal of gloves after performing specific tasks and avoid touching their face and eyes with unclean hands.” 

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The new protocols according to Nuhu, are a result of a proposal earlier sent by the NCAA to the Ministry of Aviation for approval.

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Recall that on March 13, President Muhammadu Buhari had announced a shutdown of airport operations for one month. The shutdown was initially extended by two weeks and then later extended by four weeks; all part of measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision to commence flights at the airports on June 7, according to the NCAA, is to avoid chocking the “system”.

(READ MORE: Air Peace to evacuate stranded Indians from Lagos to Kerala)

The airports where operations will commence are the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja; Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja; Aminu Kano Airport, Kano and the Port Harcourt Airport, Choba, Rivers State.

“We may resume domestic operations with four or five airports and we hope to expand as we get better. We don’t want to rush everything at the same time and get it choked up,” he said.

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Airlines want more women stakeholders in aviation sectors , Ministry of Health approves COVID-19 protocols for aviation sector, as airports prepare to resume

On the issue of physical distancing…

The issue of a 2 metre physical distance has, however, not been concluded in the newly approved protocols, as the NCAA has stated that airlines may not be able to adhere to it.

“Every money is important and we cannot achieve the two-meter physical distance. We are hopeful in the next few days we can resolve those issues and allow the airlines to commence operations,” he said.

In his presentation, Air Peace Chairman, Mr Allen Onyema, also disagreed with plans to leave the middle seats of aircraft free as that could further affect  the revenue of the airlines.

He suggested instead that the government provide intervention for local carriers to enable them retain their workers as the pandemic has bored a deep hole in their pockets.

“We should be asking the government for specific things that would help retain jobs. Job retention should be first and foremost. These people’s livelihood are endangered and we must do everything possible to keep  their jobs.”

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Business News

Job listings spike up by 183% in April –Jobberman

Jobberman released figures showing a 183% increase in job listings on its platform in April 2020, thanks to its #UnityInAdversity campaign.

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Job listings spike up by 183% in April – Jobberman

Notable job placement website, Jobberman, has released figures showing that there was a 183% increase in job listings on its platform in the month of April 2020.

This increase, according to Jobberman, is a result of the #UnityInAdversity campaign which allowed companies to post job listings and access Jobberman’s database of over 2.2 million professionals across Nigeria for free, rather than paying the usual fees. This was the company’s way of showing support to businesses and individuals, amid the economic challenges which resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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According to the release from Jobberman, this campaign came at a cost to the company since it was trading off its revenue by offering for free, the same services which formed its major source of income.

“At the beginning of March, Jobberman Nigeria saw a 70 percent decrease in job listings due to the reduced economic activity caused by the enforced lockdown and many companies shutting down recruitment budgets to cut costs. Jobseeker sign-ups also decreased by 17 percent. Jobberman took the bold step to put employers’ and job seekers’ needs first” the statement read.

(READ MORE: Merger, Tax incentive boosts BUA Cement FY 2019 result)

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The campaign, which is billed to run till June 30, has paid off greatly as data for April’s job listings alone was more than that of the entire Q1 2020 period. See a breakdown of the job listings below:

  • Almost a fifth of the positions (18.79%) were listed in the tech sector
  • Banking, finance, and insurance accounted for 9.27%
  • Education and training had 6.78 percent
  • IT & Software positions accounted for 11.69%
  • Sales had 13.32%.

Note that with the increase in job listings, job seeker sign-ups also increased by 39% in April alone.

Job listings spike up by 183% in April – Jobberman

Speaking about the campaign, the CEO of Jobberman Nigeria, Hilda Kragha said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made the process of connecting talent to opportunities more complicated and we are fully aware of the strain businesses and individuals in Nigeria are facing. We plan to be here for the next 10 years so making this small sacrifice to help our users navigate these difficult times is something that we think is definitely worth doing”.

Kragha also noted that the campaign has encouraged healthy competition as candidates strive to show themselves qualified for the position.

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“We have found that soft skills such as emotional intelligence, business etiquette, time management, which are often overlooked and underestimated in Nigeria, can make a big difference. We know the power of soft skills and we are committed to empowering individuals with the training and soft skills they need to succeed in the workplace” she explained further.

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(READ MORE: Partnerships Beyond The Partners… Another Lesson From Interswitch)

Sequel to this, the company also launched a free soft skills training programme to help job seekers (between age 18 and 30 years) acquire the needed soft skills and better their chances of gaining employment.

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Economy & Politics

Gold prices rise, as President Trump decides on China today

Gold prices jumped on Friday as China and America’s drift deepened over further moves by China to impose security laws on Hong Kong

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Gold, Gold prices tick up as President Trump decides on China today

Gold prices jumped on Friday as China and America’s drift deepened over further moves by China to impose security laws on Hong Kong, lifting the allure of safe havens amid market uncertainties.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser cautioned the Chinese lately that Hong Kong, which has enjoyed special privileges, may now be treated like China when it comes to financial matters and trade.

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Trump, who had earlier vowed a tough action on China, will hold a news conference today to announce what measures his administration will take.

Spot gold gained about 0.1% at $1,719.63 per ounce, and U.S. gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,734.60.

The friendship between the Americans and Chinese had weakened, since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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President Trump and President Jinping of China have accused each other as a result of issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

(READ MORE:  Gold records 3-week high, as investors rush to safe haven)

Why do Investors buy Gold? Global Investors most often buy the safe-haven asset in times of uncertainty and use it to hedge against cash (inflationary macros).

Oil prices, Gold prices tick up as President Trump decides on China today

“The possible U.S. response could range from a tearing up of the Phase 1 trade deal and fresh tariffs on China, to milder travel or financial sanctions on Chinese officials,” said Shane Oliver, chief economist at Australian wealth manager AMP to Reuters News.

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“It is seen as a major threat to the rally we’ve had and the recovery,” “If it’s at the relatively mild end, then I don’t think it would derail the recovery bull market, but if it’s at the more extreme end with tariffs and harsh treatment of Hong Kong, then I think it gets more problematic,” Oliver added.

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