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Anxiety as NNPC, marketers await FG, labour on petrol price

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There was anxiety on Sunday in the petrol market over what would be outcome of the deliberations between the Federal Government and the Organised Labour.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), according to its Group Managing Director, Malam Mele Kyari prefers full cost recovery for the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) petrol where the corporation be left to manage the sale of the product in accordance with market fundamentals.

But the Labour unions were currently holding series of deliberations with the government that had kept everyone waiting, guessing and anxious.

Asked how prepared was the NNPC for the resolution of the labour and government, the Corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, said “we are just waiting”.

He however said the NNPC would continue to retain the current ex-depot price pending any directive or announcement from the Federal Government.

Obateru said: “The GMD made everything clear as to the real situation of the position of things. If it was left to us, we (NNPC) would like to recover the full cost of production.

“But the government wants to carry labour along and reach an amicable resolution of the issue as to how it will be done.

“They want to come into agreement as to how the regulation will be effective. So, we (NNPC) are just waiting. But we will continue to charge the same price.

“So, our ex-depot price will remain until such as agreement is reached. We are just waiting for them to come to that amicable resolution. Once it is communicated to us we take the next steps”.

The NNPC spokesman revealed that there was petrol supply was in abundance.

“We have adequate sufficiency. We have no problem product supply,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) yesterday admonished the government to either retain the payment of petrol subsidy or deregulate the petrol price fully.

Its National Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Maigandi, who spoke with The Nation in a telephone interview, said in as much as the product will be available nationwide, the independent marketers were ready to comply with the awaited Federal Government/labour decision in as much as the petrol would be available nationwide.

Maigandi said: “Whatever the government resolve with the labour we are ready to accept provided the product is available nationwide”.

Commenting on the petrol market on phone yesterday, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) Executive Secretary, Mr. Clement Isong noted that members of the association were still buying petrol from NNPC since they could not import.

Asked when the marketers would start importing products, he said they were waiting for the Federal Government and labour to come out with their resolution.

He said as law-abiding citizens, the marketers would comply with whatever announcement, the government would make.

His words: “We buy products from the NNPC and we sell to the public. We can’t do anything we just buy from NNPC.

“We are all waiting for government and labour to come to an agreement. We will wait when they are ready we will follow them. We are law-abiding citizens we will follow what the government wants”.

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BUSINESS

UAE makes U-turn, reinstates ban on Nigerian flights

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Less that 48 hours after announcing resumption of flights to Nigeria, Emirates, the UAE flag carrier, has again announced indefinite suspension of flights to Nigeria.

The UAE authorities had initially fixed Wednesday, June 23, 2021, for resumption of flights to Nigeria.

But in a statement on its website on Monday, the airline said, “In line with government directives, passenger flights to and from Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja) are suspended with effect from 21 June 2021 until further notice.”

The airline had on Saturday announced resumption of flights, which were suspended in March over diplomatic row on COVID-19 protocols.

The Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management had lifted the ban on Nigeria and also removed the rapid antigen test and said passengers from Nigeria would only be required to possess negative PCR test.

“We look forward to facilitating travel from these countries and supporting various travelers’ categories.

“We will resume carrying passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India in accordance with these protocols from 23rd June,” Emirates had announced.

But it made U-turn on Monday with a new travel update indicating that Lagos and Abuja flights would no longer resume on Wednesday as earlier announced.

Emirates said, “Customers travelling to and from Lagos and Abuja will not be accepted for travel. Customers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days are not permitted to board from any other point to the UAE.

“We regret the inconvenience caused, and affected customers should contact their booking agent or Emirates call centre for rebooking. Emirates remains committed to Nigeria, and we look forward to resuming passenger services when conditions allow.”

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CAC boss denies N6.54bn fraud allegation

The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has denied claims of alleged N6.542 billion fraud and other allegations by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

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CAC Boss Denies N6.54bn Fraud Allegation

The Registrar General/Chief Executive, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Alhaji Garba Abubakar, has expressed the commission’s commitment to the anti-corruption war of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, adding that it will not in any way be party to corrupt practices.

He said the CAC would continue to work hard to achieve the objectives for which it was established to the satisfaction of its customers and stakeholders.

Abubakar spoke against the backdrop of alleged abuse of power and financial impropriety among others leveled against the management by the CAC staff union under the aegis of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation , Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE).

He vowed that the commission would not be distracted by mischief makers bent on running down the organisation.

The commission in a statement said contrary to the claims by the union, the registrar-general had declared his assets before the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) in accordance with provisions of the laws of the land, pointing out that it was laughable that the claimants were raising doubt over the content of asset declaration they are not privy to. “It behooves on them to establish any case of wrong declaration,” it stated.

On the alleged inflation of consultancy fees for tax reconciliation, the commission in a statement issued over the weekend by the Director of Public Affairs, CAC, Duke Ukaga, said the tax consultant was engaged long before the appointment of Abubakar, adding that the former’s fees was based on the percentage of savings made to the commission as contained in his engagement letter.

The commission said the consultant was able to renegotiate the commission’s tax liability, saving about N600 million in the process.

The commission, among other things, denied accusations of abuse of power, financial impropriety and commercialisation of promotion examination in the commission.

According to it, “The 2019 examination was held on October 10, 2020, at JAMB CBT Centres in Abuja, Kano and Lagos. A total of 394 staff members sat for the 2019 promotion examination.

“The result of the examination was published the same day at the commission’s website upon receipt from JAMB.

“At the end of the final collation, a total of 258 candidates were successful and promotion letters were issued to the staff upon approval by the board of the commission. It is highly mischievous for anybody to claim that the process was commercialised.”

The management further clarified that the allegations are “figment of imagination of the AUPCTRE who could still not accept the reality of losing checkup dues of over N2 million monthly from the commission following the stoppage of checkup dues deduction in respect of senior staff.”

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Nigeria’s economy recovering from COVID-19 impact – IMF

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International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced that Nigeria’s economy is gradually recovering from the negative impact of COVID-19.

This is as it cautioned the federal government to keep reliance on CBN overdrafts for deficit financing within legal limits.

The Fund also urged the government continue to make efforts to strengthen budget planning and public finance management practices to allow for flexible financing

The IMF, in a statement at the end of its virtual meetings with the Nigerian authorities to discuss recent economic, financial developments and outlook, described the recent removal of the official exchange rate from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) website as “encouraging”.

IMF mission, however, noted that both unemployment and inflation rates remain elevated.

The mission said following the sharp output contractions in the second and third quarters, gross domestic product (GDP) turned positive in Q4 2020 and growth reached 0.5 per cent year-on-year in Q1 2021 — supported by agriculture and services sectors.
“Nevertheless, the employment level continues to fall dramatically and, together with other socio-economic indicators, is far below pre-pandemic levels. Inflation slightly decelerated in May but remained elevated at 17.9 per cent, owing to high food price inflation,” the statement reads.

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