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N650 Petrol: Pengassan plans clampdown on marketers

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, on Monday, raised the alarm that their findings showed that the price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, had risen to as high as N650/litre in some locations. It said this was due to the prolonged scarcity of the commodity, which grew worse in Abuja and many parts of the country on Monday, as it called on the Federal Government to start revoking the licenses of oil marketers involved in the hoarding of PMS. This came as our correspondent gathered that the 14-man steering committee on petroleum products supply and distribution management that was recently approved and constituted by the Federal Government to halt the prolonged scarcity of petrol, had not been inaugurated. The committee, which has its Chairman as the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), was announced last week Tuesday by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva. “The committee has not been inaugurated and it cannot start its work without proper inauguration. This is because its chairman has been travelling around lately,” an impeccable source at the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, who pleaded not to be named due to lack of authorisation, stated. On the scarcity of petrol nationwide, PENGASSAN stated that it had been following up with it members at the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited who were responsible for assigning the products to marketers.


Banking halls across various commercial banks in Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, and other parts of the country witnessed minimal activity as frustrated customers resorted to alternative means of cash withdrawal following the scarcity of naira notes in the banks. Checks by our correspondents revealed that while most banking halls were empty due to paucity of funds in bank vaults, large crowds had formed outside some of the few banks that were rumoured to be preparing to load their Automated Teller Machines. At First Bank Plc branch along Ogunnusi road in Lagos, there were a few customers arguing with bank officials who had insisted that the branch had run out of cash. The story was similar at Ecobank, Zenith Bank, GTCO and Access Bank, all located in close proximity to each other along Ogunnusi road. However, at Union Bank Plc, also located within the same axis, there was a sizable crowd of commuters jostling through the queue hoping that the bank would load its ATM. One of our correspondents then went further down the road inbound to Ojodu Grammar School, visiting UBA and Access Bank. At the United Bank for Africa, the ATM did not dispense cash nor were any payments made over the counter. A bank official, who spoke with our correspondent said the bank had been restricted to paying denominations lower than N200 notes due to a CBN directive.


The stock market began the new month on a bullish run for the fourth consecutive session as the market gained N142bn at the close of activities on the floor of the Nigerian exchange limited on Wednesday. The All Share Index rose by 261.01 absolute points, representing a gain of 0.49 per cent to close at 53,499.68 points. Accordingly, investors gained N142bn in value as market capitalisation went up to N29.140tn. The upturn was impacted by gains recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, among which are Seplat Energy, Nestle Nigeria, Geregu Power, Nigerian Exchange Group, and Stanbic IBTC Holdings. Meanwhile, market breadth closed flat with 20 gainers and 20 losers. Industrial and Medical Gas Nigeria and Seplat Energy recorded the highest price gain of 10 per cent each to close at N7.70 kobo and N1,210, per share respectively. In comparison, Northern Nigeria Flour Mills followed with a yield of 9.46 per cent to close at N8.10 kobo, per share. International Energy Insurance went up by 9.33 per cent to close at 82 kobo, while Nigerian Aviation Handling Company appreciated by 9.26 per cent to close at N8.85, per share. On the other hand, Guinness Nigeria led the losers’ chart by 10 per cent to close at N63.00, per share. Ardova followed with a decline of 9.95 per cent to close at N17.20, while Academy Press went down by 9.85 to close at N1.19 kobo, per share. R.T. Briscoe Nigeria lost 9.68 per cent to close at 28 kobo, while Cornerstone Insurance shed 8.33 per cent to close at 55 kobo, per share.


The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture has said that the naira swap exercise has largely disrupted economic activities in the country, causing untold hardship to the citizens. The Director-General of the association, Olusola Obadimu, while speaking exclusively with The PUNCH, said the Central Bank of Nigeria’s inability to manage the hardships associated with phasing out old naira notes has traumatised Nigerians. According to Obadimu, the management of the currency exchange exercise could have been done better, as the past few weeks have been quite traumatic for a lot of Nigerian citizens and small businesses particularly, especially in view of the lingering fuel scarcity. He said, “Throughout yesterday, no single ATM that I visited (both around Ikeja in Lagos and even Abuja) had currency notes, including within the airports. This is not decent enough.” Obadimu also criticised the position of the apex bank that its new policies would help curb vote buying during the forthcoming general elections. He added, “How I wish the CBN governor would pay more attention to basic CBN management issues and monetary policy guidelines. The INEC chairman should worry more about electoral matters. “There are more important CBN-related issues begging for urgent attention – gaping interest rates (between lending and savings), gaping forex rates (between official & parallel), soaring inflation rates, etc. When we are responsible for discharging the elements of our assignment as a public official, we should be careful of losing focus


The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, yesterday directed deposit money banks (DMBs) to commence payment of the redesigned naira notes over the counter subject to a maximum daily payout limit of N20,000. Emefiele also urged Nigerians to exercise patience, saying the central bank was working assiduously to address the challenge of queues at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) points across the country. This was just as the federal government yesterday described pains being experienced by the people in their bid to swap the old naira for the re-designed ones as regrettable and should be seen as a temporary sacrifice for the nation to achieve long-term economic sanity. Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister,  Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who stated this at a news briefing at the State House in Abuja, also said President Muhammadu Buhari was not happy about the situation. However, two prominent traditional rulers in Ogun State, yesterday, expressed support for the cashless policy of the CBN. The two traditional rulers were the Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo and the Awujale and Paramore by Ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona. Emefiele, in a statement by CBN Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, the central bank governor stressed that the CBN remained committed to ensuring the effective distribution of the newly introduced naira banknotes nationwide.


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