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Economy

NNPC pleads as Tanker Drivers set to embark on strike over deplorable roads

— warns against panic buying
Eyewitness reporter
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has appealed to the Tanker Drivers not to embark on their planned industrial action slated for Monday.
The plea by the management of the NNPC followed the decision of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) to commence strike action on Monday over the deplorable state of the nation’s highways and other issues.
Mr Tayo Aboyeji, the South-West Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, said the union has lost many lives and properties due to bad roads.

Aboyeji said that all tanker drivers from the union would withdraw their services nationwide.

“This is not the first time that we will signify our intention to go on strike but we have to call it off because it will generally affect the majority of Nigerians but now our hands are tied.

“We are going on nationwide strike because of the deplorable and shameful state of our highways.

“When a truckloads petrol in Lagos, the drivers spend five to six days to get to Abuja because of the shameful state of the roads.

“All calls by the executive of petroleum unions have fallen on the deaf ears of the government as the highways continue to deteriorate nationwide.

“The list of the highway are endless and the tanker drivers have been going through the harrowing situation while rendering selfless national service.

“The increased rate of fire incidences involving petroleum tankers with accompanying massive destruction of lives and properties of our members and the general public is enough.

“This is because of government failure to enforce installation of safety gadgets on tankers.

“This will protect the inflammation contents of their trucks from spilling over in a situation of a road accident.

“We see the failure of the government in this regard as height of insensitivity to lives of innocent Nigerians and the union cannot continue to hold its hands while our members are getting burnt everywhere and every day,” he said.

The zonal chairman said the union is not happy with the unscrupulous abuse of tonnage.

“There are some trucks that carry 60,000 litres to 100,000 litres on the highway.

“This load has a negative effect and impact on the safety and control of drivers on the wheel as well as durability and sustainability of the highway.

“The unions do not want any truck to carry more than the approved capacity,” he said.

Aboyeji said the union had given notice to the government to put all these in order to avert the nationwide strike on Monday.

“We know that the present administration would not do anything until we start the nationwide strike,” he said.

But the NNPC, through the Corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Garba Deen Muhammad, in a statement issued on Sunday, advised the tanker drivers to shelve their plan to strike for the interest and welfare of the Nigerian people.
“The strike is about the condition of roads in various parts of Nigeria which are used for the distribution of goods and services including petroleum products.

“However, even though it is not the responsibility of the NNPC to build or rehabilitate roads, any disruption in the distribution of petroleum products to different parts of Nigeria will adversely affect the business of the NNPC and endanger energy security, which the country has enjoyed for a long time now.

“In recognition of this, the NNPC wishes to assure the Petroleum Tanker Drivers that in addition to the ongoing efforts by other agencies of government, the NNPC has initiated a process that will provide a quick and effective solution to the roads network challenges as expressed by the PTD.

“Having recognised that the major reason slowing down the rehabilitation of the road networks in the country is the paucity of funds, the NNPC has expressed interest to invest in the reconstruction of select Federal roads under the Federal Government’s Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Task Credit Scheme.

“The thrust of the NNPC’s intervention is to make considerable funds available for the reconstruction of roads through it Future Tax Liability.

“NNPC as a responsible corporate entity recognises the legitimate concerns of the PTD, however, appeal to the leadership and members to reconsider their decision in the overall national interest.

“Accordingly, we urge PTD to immediately call off the strike notice and give the current efforts by government and its agencies a chance to solve the challenges in the interest of all.

“We also wish to strongly advise Nigerians not to engage in panic buying of petroleum products as the NNPC has sufficient stock to last through this festive season and beyond.“

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Economy

Buhari shuts Zanaib Ahmed, Finance Minister, up on naira redesigning policy

Emefiele-Buhari-and-Zainab-
– backs CBN Governor 

The Eyewitness reporter
President Mohammed Buhari has come out to publicly endorse the Naira redesigning policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), thus putting paid to the controversy generated by the decision.
In a radio programme on the Hausa service, President Buhari, on Sunday, said that the decision of the  CBN to launch new designs and replace high-value Naira notes had his support and is convinced that the nation will gain a lot by doing so.
The presidential endorsement of the policy has therefore put paid to the criticism of the policy by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.
Mrs Ahmed had openly distanced herself and her Ministry, as the management authority of fiscal policy in the country, from the CBN Naira redesigning policy, saying she was not consulted and warning of the consequences of the decision if implemented.
However, President Buhari expressed support for the policy, saying he was convinced by the reasons given to him by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele that the economy stands to benefit from a reduction in inflation, currency counterfeiting and the excess cash in circulation.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President, (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu, quoted Buhari in a statement as saying he did not consider the period of three months for the change to the new notes as being short.

”People with illicit money buried under the soil will have a challenge with this but workers, businesses with legitimate incomes will face no difficulties at all.”

The president’s support for the policy has however vindicated the stance of the CBN Governor who had insisted that he needs not to consult the Finance minister, having sought and obtained the approval of the President on the matter.

Mr Emefiele had on  Saturday insisted the CBN will carry on with the redesign of some denominations of the Naira notes, saying it followed due process in its decision.

The apex bank made this known via its verified Twitter account, saying that the exercise was 12 years overdue.

The CBN urged Nigerians to support the measure, stressing that it was in the country’s overall interest.

The CBN said the measure was in line with provisions of sections 2 and 19 of the CBN Act.

“The management of the CBN had duly sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari in writing to redesign, produce, release and circulate new series of N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes.

“The CBN urges Nigerians to support the currency redesign project, which is in the overall interest of every citizen of the country.

“The hoarding of significant sums of banknotes outside the vaults of commercial banks should be discouraged by anyone who means well for the country,” it said.

According to the CBN, it had tarried for too long considering it had to wait 20 years to redesign.

“The standard practice globally was for central banks to redesign, produce and circulate new local legal tender every five to eight years,” Emefiele claimed.

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Economy

News Alert!  Naira redesigning policy: We don’t need to consult anyone- Emefiele slams Minister of Finance 

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele
 The Eyewitness reporter
Barely a few hours after her criticism of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) policy of Naira redesigning, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank, has slammed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, saying the apex bank does not need to consult anyone over its decision to redesign the nation’s currency notes.
Mrs. Ahmed had discredited the policy, which is meant to redesign some of the Naira currencies from N100 to N 1000, saying her Ministry as the fiscal authority, was not consulted by the CBN before the decision was made.
While speaking at the National Assembly Friday during the defence of the 2023 budget, Mrs. Ahmed had warned of the dire consequences of the policy on the economy when implemented.
In a swift reaction, Emefiele said that having sought and obtained the approval of President Mohammed Buhari in writing and also backed by the CBN Act, the Apex bank does not need the approval of anyone else.
” In line with Sections 19, subsections a and b of the CBN Act 2007, the Management of the CBN sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign, produce, and circulate new series of banknotes at N100, N200, N500, and N1,000 levels.
”That is the position of the law. With this, we don’t need to consult anyone else” Emefiele fired back.
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Economy

Finance Minister discredits CBN’s Naira redesigning policy

Zainab Ahmed and Godwin Emefiele

 

— warns of its dire consequences on economy
as naira continues its fall 
The Eyewitness reporter
There seems to be a great disconnect between the fiscal policy managers and the monetary policy managers of the Nigerian economy over the recent decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign the national currencies.
Less than 48 hours after the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, announced the decision of the apex bank to redesign the major Nigeria’s currencies, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmad, who is the head of fiscal policy management team of the economy, has sharply disagreed with Mr. Emefiele, the CBN Governor, the head of the monetary policy managers of the nation’s economy.
Mrs. Ahmed, who was at the  2023 budget defence with the National Assembly Friday, feigned ignorance of the CBN Naira redesigning policy, saying she only got the information from the media like every other Nigerian.
She however warned of the dire consequences of the policy on the economy if implemented.
” Distinguished senators, we were not consulted at the Ministry of Finance by CBN on the planned Naira redesigning and cannot comment on it as regards merits or otherwise.

“However as a Nigerian privileged to be at the top of Nigeria’s fiscal management, the policy as rolled out at this time portends serious consequences on the value of Naira to other foreign currencies.

“I will however appeal to this committee to invite the CBN governor for required explanations as regards merits of the planned policy and rightness or otherwise of its implementation now.”

Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, during the 2023 budget defence session, warned CBN of consequences that may arise from the policy.

He had told the Finance Minister that barely two days after the announcement of the policy by CBN, the repercussion of it on the value of the Naira to the US dollar was being felt.

” Just two days after the announcement of the policy, the value of the Naira to a US dollar has risen from N740 to N788 to a US dollar due to the rush in exchange of starched Naira Notes for foreign currencies, particularly the dollar.

“To me, the policy may be a well-conceived one, but the timing going by realities on the ground, is very wrong as the Naira may fall to as low as N1,000 to a US dollar before January 31, 2023, fixed for full implementation of the policy.”

It would be recalled that CBN Governor, Mr. Emefiele had on Wednesday said that the apex bank would redesign the country’s currency from 200 Naira denomination to N1,000 notes.

Emefiele said the action was taken in order to take control of the currency in circulation just as he posited that the bulk of the nation’s currency notes were outside bank vaults and that the CBN would not allow the situation to continue.

According to him, the planned policy was in line with Sections 19, Subsections a and b of the CBN Act 2007, upon which the management of the CBN sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign, produce, and circulate new series of banknotes at N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.

 The policy is expected to fully take off from February 2023.
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