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Economy

Nigerians may pay more for cooking gas  —-as DPR advocates for market forces as determinant of  prices

Eyewitness reporter
If the Federal government heeds the call of  the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to subject the prices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas(LPG), otherwise known as cooking gas, to the vagaries of market forces, then Nigerians may pay more for the product.
Mr Sarki Auwalu, the Chief Executive Officer, (DPR), believed that to achieve uninterrupted supply of gas, government should allow the  factor of demand and supply to guide the prices of the product.
The position of DPR, one of the regulatory government agencies in the oil and gas industry, aligned with the similar call by the Nigeria National  Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) when its Group Managing Director, Dr Mele  Kyari also said the corporation could no longer bear the burden of sustaining the expensive subsidy regime on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and that its prices should be market- driven .
The positions of these two regulatory bodies in the Oil and Gas industry have further put pressure on Nigerians who should brace up to likely hike in the prices of these essential products.
While making this call in his  keynote address at the pre-summit conference on “Decade of Gas’, in Abuja, on Monday, Auwalu said that the right and market-based pricing of gas was critical, as it would assure producers of returns on their investments.
He also outlined five critical levers for gas development, especially as Nigeria moves to leverage its abundant gas resources for national growth, diversification of the economy and to use gas as the fuel for economic transformation.

According to him, the levers include availability, accessibility, affordability, and acceptability, as well as deliverability.

He noted that these were critical to utilising Nigeria’s proven gas reserves of 203 trillion cubic feet, TCF, for national development.

“Whereas references have been made to the other elements in this discussion, right pricing of gas is requiring particular attention to ensure security of gas supply and security of credible gas demand.

“This is because upstream gas producers must be assured that they will receive fair and equitable returns for their investments whereas, the price must be such that the end-users are able to pay for gas offtake in a reliable and consistent manner.

“Accordingly, the most robust and sustainable pricing mechanism is that which ‘let the market speak’ in a way that all costs are reflective of prevailing market conditions and for which the economic dynamics of demand and supply are allowed to interplay in an open, transparent, and free market environment.

“Thus, our drive as a nation should be early attainment to the ‘willing buyer; willing seller’ market status.

“Any transitional pricing arrangements, today, must be structured to quickly give way for market-led pricing regime and conditions,” he said.

Auwalu commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, for their outstanding leadership in deepening gas utilisation in Nigeria.

He noted that these efforts had culminated in the establishment of the National Gas Expansion Programme, National Gas Transportation Network Code and the National Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme.

Others, he noted, include the ongoing construction of the ELPS-II, OB3 and AKK pipelines as critical backbone gas infrastructure required to improve gas deliverability and availability.

He added that government was also working toward the expeditious passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which would enhance clarity in legislative, regulatory, fiscal, and administrative frameworks in the industry.

“This bill, when passed into law, will eliminate the uncertainties and bottlenecks associated with gas development in Nigeria and accelerate the growth of the Nigerian gas market to a fully developed and matured status.

“Specifically, on gas matters, the PIB provides for the following: promotion of dedicated gas exploration and development, gas terms, fiscal separation of gas as a commodity.

“It will also enhance the domestic gas delivery obligation, tariffing structure & methodology, open access regimes and revised gas pricing framework, to mention but a few,” Auwalu said.

He added that the DPR would continue to be an enabler and an opportunity provider in the oil and gas industry.

“Our focus remains the effective implementation of all policies and strategic programmes of government in an efficient manner that optimises the value of our petroleum resources for all stakeholders, all in overriding national interest,” he said.

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Economy

Nigerians to groan under fresh fuel scarcity for another two weeks- Independent Petroleum Marketers

The Eyewitness Reporter 
The current fuel crisis in the country may not go anytime soon as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has warned that the situation may likely persist for the next two weeks.
Speaking against the fresh fuel scarcity in the country, the IPMAN’s Public Relations Officer, Chinedu Ukadike disclosed that there is no petrol product available for supply in the country.
Ukadike, in a statement, said there is a breach in the international supply chain, adding that fuel is not available even for Nigeria’s sole supplier, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NPCL).
This follows an ongoing turnaround maintenance of refineries in Europe.Ukadike explained that once there is a breach in the international supply chain, it will have an impact on domestic supply because they depend on imports.

“The situation is that there is no product. Once there is a lack of supply or inadequate supply, what you will see is scarcity and queues will emerge at filling stations.

“On the part of NNPCL, which is the sole supplier of petroleum products in Nigeria, they have attributed the challenge to logistics and vessel problems.

“Once there is a breach in the international supply chain, it will have an impact on domestic supply because we depend on imports.

” I also have it on good authority that most of the refineries in Europe are undergoing turnaround maintenance, so sourcing petroleum products has become a bit difficult.” IPMAN spokesman said.
According to him, “NNPC Group CEO has assured us that there will be improvement in the supply chain because their vessels are arriving”.“Once that is done, normalcy will return. This is because once the 30-day supply sufficiency is disrupted, it takes two to three months to restore it.

“We expect that by next week or so, NNPC should be able to restore supply and with another week, normalcy should return,” he said.

Ukadike further stated that “NNPC has said the marketers who have not been able to renew their licences will not be allowed to remain on their portal which has been shut for some time now.

” Because of this, we have not been able to request new products”.

 “At this nascent period of deregulation, you will discover that this leads to scarcity, even when the product arrives.

“As it is now, even by their data, out of 15,000 marketers that are on the portal with licences, only 1,050 renewed their licences.

“The requirement for renewal by NMDPRA is so much. Marketers are facing a hostile environment. NNPC placed a deadline of April 15, 2024, for marketers to renew their licences.

“We are, therefore, appealing to NNPC to extend this deadline and also to NMDPRA to hasten the release of licences of marketers who have completed their processes, and also reduce bottlenecks around licence renewals.”

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Economy

CBN sells $15.830m at N1.021 per dollar to 1,583 BDCs

CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso
The Eyewitness Reporter 
In its ongoing effort to ensure liquidity in the foreign exchange market which is expected to ease the pressure on the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday disbursed the sum of $15,830,000m to 1,583 licensed Bureau De Change Operators at $10, 000 each.
In a letter dated April 22nd, 2024 and addressed to the President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria and signed by Dr Hassan Mahmud, the Director, Trade and Exchange Department of the CBN, the beneficiaries are mandated to sell allocated forex to eligible end users ” at a spread of not more than 1.5 percent above the purchase price.
The CBN said the sale of forex to the BDCs will meet market demand (retail-end) for invisible transactions.
The apex bank however advised all the BDCs to continue to abide by the rules and conditions as stipulated in the operational guidelines.
The beneficiary BDCs have trading locations at Lagos, Abuja, Akwa and Kano.
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Economy

News Alert! CBN revokes operational licenses of 4,173 Bureau De Change operators for breach of regulatory guidelines

CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso

The Eyewitness Reporter

In its continuous efforts to sanitize the foreign exchange market and halt the frightening slide of the naira in exchange for the dollars, the Central Bank of Nigeria has revoked the operational licenses of 1,173 Bureau De Change operators.

In a press release issued Friday, March 1st, 2024 and signed by Mrs. Sidi Ali Hakama, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, the apex bank said the axed BDCs failed to observe at least one of the following regulatory provisions which include payment of all necessary fees, including license renewal within the stipulated period in line with the Guidelines, rendition of returns in line with the Guidelines, compliance with guideline, directives and circulars of the CBN, particularly Anti-Money Laundering(AML), countering the Financing of Terrorism(CFT)and Counter-Proliferation Financing(CPF) regulations.

The apex bank said it relied on the powers conferred on it under the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act(BOFIA)2020, Act n0.5 and Revised Operational Guidelines for Bureaux De Change 2015(the Guidelines).

“The CBN is revising the regulatory and supervisory guidelines for Bureau de Change operations in Nigeria. Compliance with the new requirements will be mandatory for all stakeholders in the sector when the revised guidelines become effective.

‘Members of the Public are hereby advised to take note and be guided accordingly”, the statement concluded.

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