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Warning signs: Nigerians living in extreme poverty might increase by 30 million – World Bank 

The number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty might increase by more than 30 million in 2030, the World Bank has warned.

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The number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty might increase by more than 30 million in 2030, the World Bank has warned in a new report. According to the World Bank, the current economic situation and the level of unemployment in Nigeria would be key contributors to the increased extreme poverty.

It was stated that the pace of economic growth in Nigeria is not favourable to poverty reduction and if the government does not take action, 10 years and a month from now, more Nigerians will fall behind the extreme poverty line. The report titled “Nigeria Economic Update” also projected that Nigeria’s economy would expand by 2.1% in 2020 and 2021.

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Inaction will cost Nigeria

The report warned Nigeria against passiveness and operating the ‘business as usual’ culture. This means if President Muhammadu Buhari, whose tenure ends in 2023, does not take action, Nigeria will bear the brunt in the long run. Nigeria experienced recession during his administration, and World Bank warned that Nigeria could slide back into recession again if crude prices fall by 25% to $50 a barrel.

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In the report released by Bloomberg, World Bank stated that, “The cost of inaction is significant. Under a business-as-usual scenario, where Nigeria maintains the current pace of growth and employment levels, by 2030 the number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty could increase by more than 30 million.”

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What Nigeria must do: The World Bank suggested several measures that should be implemented by the government. Among them are:

  • increasing domestic revenue;
  • removing trade restrictions and improving the predictability of economic policy;
  • government should remove expensive fuel subsidies; and
  • reducing central bank lending to targeted sectors that crowd out banks.

Warning signs: Although Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 2.28% in real terms in the third quarter (Q3) of 2019, up from 1.81% growth recorded in the third quarter of 2018, this is a slow pace as the difference is just 0.47% increase in the growth of the Nigerian economy (year-on-year). The CBN had also stated that the pace of growth in relation to Nigeria’s population exposes the economy to shocks.

Also, the purchasing power of Nigerians is weak because prices of livestock continue to increase and the Federal Government, House of Representatives and the Senate are backing an increase in VAT. Meanwhile, the rate of unemployment in Nigeria may rise to 33.5% next year from the current rate pegged at 23.1%, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) warned.

NECA had suggested that what the country needs is a reduction of VAT on small traders to 3% and abolition of import duty on machinery and raw materials, among many others.

Note: President Buhari had promised to remove the fuel subsidy when he got elected as President, however, subsidy payment still remains. Nairametrics had previously reported that FG pays N326.43 billion as petrol subsidy in four months.

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Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

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Business

NUPENG gives reasons it directed petroleum tanker drivers to embark on strike in Lagos

NUPENG said its members are being consistently extorted, intimidated, harassed and victimized by different groups.

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The National leadership of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has disclosed the 3 major reasons why it directed Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) to withdraw their services from Lagos.

NUPENG revealed that the 3 major challenges that were being faced by Petroleum Tanker Drivers include; Extortion of money from the petroleum tanker drivers by various security agents, the menace of containerized trucks at Apapa, Kirikiri and Beach Land axis of Lagos State and the harassment and extortion by area boys and area godfathers.

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This was contained in the press statement that was issued by NUPENG on Friday, August 7, 2020, and signed by its National President, Comrade Williams Akporeha, and its General Secretary, Comrade Olawale Afolabi.

While directing petroleum tanker drivers to withdraw its services, the national leadership of NUPENG said it cannot afford to fold its arms while its members are being consistently and continually extorted, intimidated, harassed and victimized by different groups and segments in Lagos.

On the extortion of money from Petroleum Tanker Drivers by various security agents; NUPENG said that it is really disturbing that security agents who are expected to ensure free-flow of traffic and protection of road users now use their uniforms and arms to intimidate, harass and extort money from Petroleum Tanker Drivers. The union pointed out that this reprehensible conduct by the security agents is taking serious tolls on the psychological, emotional and financial state of Petroleum Tanker Drivers and their capacity to effectively and efficiently deliver services to the nation.

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On the menace of Containerized Trucks at Apapa, Kirikiri and Beach Land axis of Lagos State and collusion of government officials hindering Petroleum Tankers from loading activities at depots and tank farms;

The union said that the persistent traffic gridlock and indiscriminate parking of containerized trucks on major Lagos roads and bridges leading to Apapa port, Kirikiri, Beach Land, Satellite Town, Ijegun, are another major setbacks bedevilling the smooth running of the operations of Petroleum Tanker Drivers in Lagos State.

NUPENG disclosed that as at today, MRS depot has been held captive for more than 3 months from discharging products to Petroleum Tanker Drivers despite heavy availability of Petroleum products stockpiled in their tank farm facilities.

They explained that for safety reasons, Petroleum Tanker Drivers cannot continue to struggle with these containerized trucks in these corridors considering the inflammable nature of the products their members carry and cannot afford to undermine safety standards, procedures and protocols in the course of rendering their services.

Some of the locations faced with this situation include Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, Ojuelegba Bridge, Iponri, Constain roads, Ikorodu road through Funsho Williams Avenue (formerly Western Avenue) to Ijora inward Apapa and Oshodi-Apapa Expressway through Mile 2 to Berger Yard inward Tincan Island. These locations have been overwhelmed with indiscriminate parking of these articulated vehicles, aggravating the gridlock faced by Petroleum Tanker Drivers that ply the roads daily to lift products.

On the harassment and extortion by Area Boys and Area god-fathers; The union said that it was really worried that Lagos State which is known to be a megacity and centre of excellence has now become a safe haven for area boys and area god-fathers who now see Petroleum Tanker Drivers as soft targets, extorting money from them on a daily basis, assaulting them and vandalizing their trucks in some instances, especially when some of the Tanker Drivers show restraints in paying them illegal fees and levies.

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They said that the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) now battle with both Area Boys and Area God-fathers amidst the deplorable state of the roads in Lagos State, and this is really causing PTD lots of havoc on a daily basis.

The union pointed out that a distance of just about 10 kilometres, now takes 7 to 8 hours of manoeuvres by petrol tankers, many of which break down in the process, upturning their contents, killing PTD members and endangering the lives of several other Nigerians who traverse the roads.

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They revealed that Tanker Drivers whose activities cut across Oguntedo, old Ojo road, Ijegun-Egba, Abule Ado and its environs in Satellite town, Oriade Local government Area, and Apapa corridor of Lagos state have continued to work in fears, following incessant attacks by members of various notorious groups who have developed a penchant for extorting money forcefully from Tanker Drivers.

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They are known for operating unchallenged and freely around Apapa, Kirikiri, Mile 2, Maza-Maza and Abule-Ado, near Trade Fair flank and so on.

NUPENG said that they decided to embark on the indefinite strike after consultations with the different leadership organs of the union and stakeholders in the oil and gas industry.

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MRS Oil announces resignation of its MD, appoints an acting MD

The disclosure was made in a notification by the oil marketing giant.

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MRS Oil Nigeria Plc reschedules board meeting, closed period

Oil marketing giant, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, has announced the resignation of its Managing Director, Mrs Priscilla Thorpe-Monclus with effect from August 5, 2020, and the subsequent appointment of Mr Marco Storari as the Managing Director in an acting capacity.

The oil firm also announced the resignation of one of its directors, Mr Christopher Okorie, also with effect from August 5, 2020.

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The disclosure was made in a notification by the oil marketing giant, which was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on August 7, 2020, and signed by its Company Secretary O.M. Jafojo.

The statement from MRS Oil Nigeria Plc reads:

At the Board Meeting of August 5, 2020, the Board of Directors of MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, considered and approved the resignation of Mrs Priscilla Thorpe-Monclus as Managing Director and Director of the Company, and the resignation of Mr Christopher Okorie as Director of the Company, effective August 5, 2020.

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“The Board of Directors also considered and approved the appointment of Mr Marco Storari as Director and Managing Director (Acting) of the Company.’

According to the statement, Mrs Thorpe-Monclus, during her tenure as the Managing Director, showed great commitment and dedication in her drive for the new MRS Brand, which resulted in the unveiling of three new retail outlets in Lagos, one in Owerri, two in Kano and two new outlets in Abuja. It also resulted in an overall business turnaround for the oil company.

The board commended the efforts of Mrs Thorpe-Monclus and Mr Okorie to the growth of the company and wished them the best in their future endeavours.

Mr Marco Storari, on the other hand, is a seasoned leader with more than 3 decades’ experience in the management, shipping, trading and terminal operations in the industry. He has held various high-level positions where he recorded business successes in companies in Italy, Monaco and Nigeria.

He was, until his appointment as Acting Managing Directors, the Group Executive Director, Storage and Terminal for MRS Holdings Limited. He has been a driving force in the transformation of the MRS Group over the last 10 years.

The Board of Directors of MRS has expressed its confidence in the ability of Storari to bring to bear his wealth of experience in the industry, to improve business efficiency.

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MRS Oil Nigeria Plc is a fully integrated and efficient downstream player, with leading positions in the Nigerian Oil Industry. The oil firm, with its head office in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, previously traded under the name Texaco Nigeria Plc. It has 3 business units namely sale of petroleum products at retail outlets, sale of aviation fuel, and blending of lubricants.

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Ogun State initiates tax relief scheme to cushion effects of COVID-19

Governor Abiodun urged taxpayers in the state to make use of the relief packages.

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Coronavirus: Ogun State bans cinemas, night clubs, restaurants, other businesses from operating, COVID 19: Ogun State launches digital classes for students

The Ogun State Government has announced that its Internal Revenue Service would launch tax relief packages to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on taxpayers in the state.

This was announced by the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on Saturday morning through a statement that was issued via his official Twitter handle.

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Governor Abiodun urged taxpayers in the state to make use of the relief packages which include a 6 month extension of the 2019 income tax returns deadline for self-employed residents from March 31, 2020 to September 30, 2020.

He also granted an “8-month extension of filling of 2019 annual PAYE returns by PAYE operators/tax agents from January 31, 2020 to September 30, as well as complete waiver of interest and penalty for late filling for the extension period.”

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Other packages include a total waiver of interest and penalties for late remittances of PAYE for the extended period, and a waiver for late payment of Personal Income Tax, which would run from January 1, 2020 to December 31.

Finally, the state granted a waiver on weekly tax payments by operators of betting and pool businesses from April 1 to June 30, 2020.

The Governor said that the state’s Tax Audit Reconciliation Committee (TARC) would run its operations through video conferencing to “continue ensuring ease of doing business while maintaining physical distancing.

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