Why Petrol Subsidy Should Go – Sylva
Minister of State for Petroleum Timipre Sylva has given reasons why the subsidy regime should be scrapped.
Sylva stressed the need to deregulate the downstream oil sector for the economy to develop.
The minister spoke when he featured on the New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.
He said: “Part of the reasons why the refineries were not working is subsidy because a refinery that is producing something at a certain cost and selling at a loss, how can it sustain itself.
“Over the years, the refineries couldn’t sustain themselves and all of them died. So, if you do not deregulate, you will find out that even the refineries, if you fix them today, they cannot be commercially operated because the refineries need maintenance and they need to run.
“If you are producing something and they are selling at a certain subsidised price, it cannot work that is why you see that the sector is not growing at all,’’ he noted.
Nigeria has four refineries – two in Port Harcourt, one each in Warri and Kaduna – all of which are virtually dead.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) only recently approved the rehabilitation of one of the refineries in Port Harcourt.
A private sector player Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s company is building a mega refinery which is expected to be running next year.
READ ALSO: No Fuel Price Increase In June – Sylva
The minister said Dangote Group for example, sited its refinery near the sea to aid exports and to enable it to make more money for sustainability.
“If he sells within Nigeria in this subsidised environment, he will not breakeven. So, that is the way it is and we must look at it because, I know that a lot of Nigerians think that we must carry on like this but in the end, I think it is better for us to deregulate,” he said.
He described as unfortunate people’s perception about subsidy, making the common man on the street to begin to fight government “but the subsidy never favours them”.
“It is actually in the interest of the common Nigerian to ensure that some people do not just profiteer on them, which is what has been happening.
“You must have heard of all the subsidy scams few years ago, people were making billions on these same subsidies.
“And when you say you want to take it out, the common man is the one on the street but at the end of the day is it the common man that is benefiting? I don’t think they are the biggest beneficiaries,’’ he said.
According to Sylva, all the fuels that are connected to the common man have been deregulated.
“Kerosene, which the common man uses to cook in a stove and used in the village to burn the fire wood is deregulated. The diesel that is used to move the trucks that move food from farm to market is deregulated; but petrol which is the preferred fuel for big people is the fuel that has defied deregulation.
“But at the end of the day, I believe that it is better for us because if we are able to deregulate, then we can save money.
“First, you can imagine the savings we will make as far as Foreign Exchange (FOREX) is concerned and of cause, it will bring down the pressure on FOREX.
“People will be able to access FOREX for imports, government will not be the one providing foreign exchange for the importation,” he said.
According to him, since the government will no longer be subsidising, all that money that will be gained, which is over a trillion naira yearly, instead of being burnt in cars, will now be used for development.
”You can imagine how much money the federal and state governments will have at their disposal if there is deregulation,’’ the minister said.
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Sylva added: “I will say that my stand on fuel subsidy and deregulation is well known. I strongly believe that for this country to move forward, for our economy to make the progress it desires, we need to have a market-driven pricing of products.
“A situation where you produce something at a certain cost and you have to sell it at a lower cost to people because you are taking some of that burden off the people is not the best.
“It is a very desirable thing but it is also not too sustainable because what happens is that you produce it for N10, you sell it for N5; tomorrow, you produce it again at N10, you add N5 from somewhere, produce it again at N10 and sell it for another N5.
“So, the losses increase and compound on a daily basis and those accumulated losses have brought us to where we are,’’ he said.
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BREAKING: Old N200, N500, N1,000 Notes Remain Legal Tender Till Dec 31 – CBN
In compliance with a ruling of the Supreme Court, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has declared that old N200, N500, N1,000 banknotes remain legal tender till December 31, 2023.
The apex bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin spoke in a statement on Monday. This is coming 10 days after the Supreme Court ruled that old naira notes should co-exist with new ones till the end of the year.
“In compliance with the established tradition of obedience to court orders and sustenance of the Rule of Law Principle that characterized the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, and by extension, the operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as a regulator, Deposit Money Banks operating in Nigeria have been directed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling of March 3, 2023.
“Accordingly, the CBN met with the Bankers’ Committee and has directed that the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023.
“Consequently, all concerned are directed to conform accordingly,” the statement read.
The highest court of the land had on March 3 ordered that old N200, N500 and N1000 notes remain valid till December 31, 2023.
This was after 16 states of the federation instituted a suit to challenge the legality or otherwise of the introduction of the policy.
The 16 states led by Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara had prayed the apex court to void and set aside the policy on the ground that it is inflicting hardships on innocent Nigerians.
The Supreme Court subsequently ruled that President Muhammadu Buhari’s disobedience of its February 8 order is a sign of dictatorship, adding that the President breached the Constitution of the Federation in the way he issued directives for the re-designing of the Naira by the CBN.
After the March 3 judgement by the Supreme Court, the Presidency, CBN and the AGF kept mum, throwing many bank customers and Nigerians into confusion as the ruling of the apex court contradicted the directive of the President on February 16 that old N500 and N1000 notes are banned and old N200 notes remain valid till April 10.
However, the Presidency broke its silence on Monday, saying the President never told the CBN and the AGF not to obey the order of the apex court.
“The CBN has no reason not to comply with court orders on the excuse of waiting for directives from the President,” the Presidency noted.
According to the Presidency, the President is an absolute respecter of the rule of law and that the “negative campaign and personalised attacks against the President by the opposition and all manner of commentators is unfair and unjust.”
The CBN had extended the deadline for the swap of old N200, N500, and N1,000 from January 31 to February 10 following complaints by many Nigerians but the Supreme Court, after a suit filed by the states, held that the Federal Government, the CBN, commercial banks must not continue with the February 10 deadline pending the determination of a notice in respect of the issue.
However, the President, in a national broadcast on February 16, directed the apex bank to release old N200 notes into circulation to co-exist with new N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes for 60 days — by April 10, 2023. He also said old N500 and N1,000 banknotes cease to be legal tender in Nigeria.
There has been a flurry of reactions and stark criticisms against the President’s directive including from governors of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Governors Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Umar Ganduje (Kano); Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; and many stalwarts of the ruling APC have openly censured and faulted the President’s directive, arguing that it has no grounds because the case is before the apex court.
Leading Senior Advocates of Nigeria like Femi Falana and Mike Ozekhome have equally faulted the President’s move, saying he cannot overrule the apex court of the land.
CBN Asked Banks To Receive Old Naira Notes – Soludo
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has asked commercial banks to dispense and accept old naira notes as deposits, according to Anambra State Governor Charles Soludo.
Soludo, a former CBN governor, made this known in a statement he posted on his social media handles.
He explained that the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele gave the directive at a Banker’s Committee meeting on Sunday.
He added that Emefiele personally confirmed the directive to him.
According to him, residents should report banks refusing to accept the old notes.
“Commercial banks have been directed by the Central Bank to dispense old currency notes and also to receive the same deposits from customers. Tellers at commercial banks are to generate the codes for deposits, and there is no limit to the number of times an individual or company can make deposits.”
“The Governor of the CBN gave the directive at a Bankers’ Committee meeting held on Sunday, 12th March 2023. The Governor, Dr Godwin Emefiele, personally confirmed the above to me during a phone conversation on Sunday night. Residents of Anambra are therefore advised to freely accept and transact their businesses with the old currency notes (N200, N500; and N1,000) and the new notes”, the statement added.
Elon Musk Reclaims Title As World’s Richest Man
Months after losing the title of the world’s richest man, Elon Musk has regained it.
A rally in Tesla’s stock price on Monday boosted the Twitter owner’s net worth by nearly $7bn to $187bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Musk’s recovery of the top spot from the French luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault follows a precipitous drop in his wealth in late 2022, when he became the first person ever to amass and then lose $200bn. His wealth peaked at about $340bn in November 2021 and fell to about $128bn at the start of 2023.
Musk’s personal wealth primarily derives from stock in Tesla. The electric carmaker lost nearly two-thirds of its value in 2022, amid investor concerns over weakening demand, Musk’s distracting purchase of Twitter and the tumultuous start to his tenure atop the social media platform.
While Musk’s troubles at Twitter continue, having reportedly fired an additional 200 employees over the weekend after already slashing the workforce from 7,500 to about 2,000 since October, the share price of Tesla has risen nearly 90% since the start of 2023.
On Wednesday, the company will hold its annual Investor Day at its factory in Austin, Texas, and Musk is expected to discuss future products, including the long-promised Cybertruck and Semi Truck, along with plans to expand its production infrastructure around the world.
One such plan was previewed on Tuesday, when the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said Musk had promised him by phone that Tesla will build a new factory in the city of Monterrey.
“This is going to mean a considerable investment and many, many jobs,” López Obrador said.
Tesla already has plants in China and Germany, and analysts suggest it may expand to Canada as well as Indonesia.
The carmaker continues facing challenges, however, including increased scrutiny of its driver assistance technology. It announced a recall of 362,000 vehicles on 16 February after regulators said its Full Self-Driving Beta software did not follow traffic laws.
Shareholders filed another lawsuit on Monday against Musk alleging that Tesla’s repeated exaggeration of its self-driving capabilities amounted to fraud.
Musk also keeps courting controversy through his erratic and provocative behavior online. After lifting bans on white supremacists, neo-Nazis and QAnon conspiracy theorists on Twitter, the billionaire has curried favor with rightwing trolls and activists.
On Monday, he threw his support behind Scott Adams, the Dilbert cartoonist whose racist rant in a recent YouTube appearance has led to the cancellation of his comic strip in US newspapers.
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