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Scarcity: Fuel marketers boycott private depots

Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, is still scarce and this is why it is sold above N250/litre in various locations outside major cities of Abuja and Lagos, oil marketers stated on Wednesday. It was also gathered that independent marketers, who operate over 85 per cent of filling stations nationwide, were still finding it tough to access PMS, as many of them had decided to stop purchasing the commodity from private depot owners.This is because many private depots get the product at the regulated price of N148/litre, but sell to filling stations at over N200/litre, making it tough for retailers to dispense at the approved pump price of between N179 and N180/litre. However, the Federal Government, through its Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, is striving to stop the high PMS cost by depots, as it sealed seven of them recently for dispensing at outrageous rates. Oil marketers stated on Wednesday that the product was still scarce despite the interventions of the NMDPRA, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and the Department of State Services. The Secretary, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, told our correspondent that though the problem in the downstream oil sector had been identified, it had not been solved.” Shuaibu added, “The DSS has intervened, as well as the NMDPRA and NNPC, but up till now the solution is not in sight. Allow those who have the supply chain of the entire country to access this product.“About 85 per cent of the supply chain is controlled by independent marketers. They operate in the hinterlands and own most of the filling stations that are directly closer to the yearnings of the people at the grassroots. “If you say Nipco, Matrix or Capital Oil have been designated to independent marketers to pick products at the regulated price, by the time they get the product, I can assure you that within a week, all the queues will disappear.”


In the first trading day of the year, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NGX) stock market opened on a bright note as capitalisation hit above N28 trillion, yesterday. The NGX All Share Index (ASI) rose by 344.60 basis points, representing a gain of 0.67 per cent to close at 51,595.66 basis points. Accordingly, investors gained N188 billion in value as market capitalisation went up to N28.103 trillion. The upturn was impacted by gains recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are; BUA Foods, Fidson Healthcare, PZ Cussons Nigeria, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO). As measured by market breadth, market sentiment was positive as 22 stocks  gained relative to 11 losers. BUA Foods recorded the highest price gain of 10 per cent to close at N71.50, per share. John Holt followed with a gain 9.59 per cent to close at 80 kobo, while Prestige Assurance went up by 9.52 per cent to close at 46 kobo, per share. NAHCO went up by 9.38 per cent to close at N7.00, while UBA appreciated by 9.21 per cent to close at N8.30, per share. On the other hand, Chellarams led the losers’ chart by 9.82 per cent to close at N2.02, per share. Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) followed with a decline of 8.91 per cent to close at 92 kobo, while FCMB Group went down by 8.83 to close at N3.51, per share. Honeywell Flour Mills lost 5.98 per cent to close at N2.20, while Japaul Gold & Ventures shed 3.57 per cent to close at 27 kobo, per share. The total volume traded declined by 63.9 per cent to 321.675 million units, valued at N4.350 billion, and exchanged in 4,122 deals. Transactions in the shares of FBN Holdings (FBNH) topped the activity chart with 207.616 million shares valued at N2.474 billion.


Investors in the Nigerian stock market on Wednesday recorded a gain of N33bn as the market continued its bullish run for the second day in a row in the 2023 trading year. The All Share Index rose by 61.90 absolute points, representing a gain of 0.12 per cent to close at 51,657.56 points. Accordingly, investors gained N33bn in value as market capitalisation went up to N28.136tn. The bullish run was impacted by gains recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, among which are Nigerian Breweries, Flour Mills of Nigeria, BUA Foods, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company, and Fidelity BankMarket breadth closed positive as 21 stocks posted gains while 12 stocks posted declines. NAHCO, Nigerian Breweries, and Living Trust Mortgage Bank recorded the highest price gain of 10 per cent each to close at N7.70, N45.10, and N1.76 respectively, per share. FCMB Group followed with a gain of 9.97 per cent to close at N3.86, while Fidelity Bank went up by 9.86 per cent to close at N4.79, per share. Japaul Gold & Ventures went up by 7.41 per cent to close at 29 kobo, while Royal Exchange appreciated by 7.41 per cent to close at 29 kobo, per share.On the other hand, Champion Breweries led the losers’ chart by 10 per cent to close at N4.95, per share. Unity Bank followed with a decline of 6.78 per cent to close at 55 kobo, while Unity Bank for Africa went down by 3.61 to close at N8.00, per share. Jaiz Bank lost 3.33 per cent to close at 87 kobo, while Consolidated Hallmark Insurance shed 2.99 per cent to close at 65 kobo, per share. The total volume traded fell by 17.4 per cent to 265.726 million shares, worth N13.529bn, and traded in 4,156 deals. Transactions in the shares of BUA Cement topped the activity chart with 101.654 million shares valued at N9.851bn. Transnational Corporation of Nigeria followed with 32.770 million shares worth N37.144m, while Access Holdings traded 22.956 million shares valued at N199.941m.


A maritime group under the auspices of the Sea Empowerment Research Centre has said that Nigeria has not been taking advantage of the ship bunkering sector, estimated to be worth $210bn globally. The head of the group, Eugene Nweke, in a document sighted by The PUNCH, said with a safer marine environment, the activities of illegal bunkers could be checkmated. “With a safer marine environment, the activities of midstream cargo discharge and illegal bunkering under a patriotic navy territorial surveillance coverage will be stemmed and it will engender legitimate ship bunkering activities with its corresponding revenue and job creation, which we had over the years lost to neighbouring countries,” he noted. Bunkering is the process of supplying fuel to be used to power the propulsion system of a ship. The former president of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders emphasised the need for national trawlers to optimise their fishing activities without fear. Nweke also said that the steel sector engendered shipbuilding and by extension strengthened the automobile industry. “In addition, with safer marine domains, our trawlers can optimise their fishing activities without the fear and coercion of the sea punchers and pirates’ attacks, thereby boosting our marine agriculture and aquatic development under the blue economy concept. The Nigeria maritime industry can no longer be zapped, edged and subtly stagnated than necessary in the face of the global maritime dynamics and competitive maritime nations,” he explained.


Amid increase Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 16.5 per cent, prime lending rate in the banking sector now stands 13.17per cent, the highest in 23-month, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) money market indicators. Prime lending is the interest rate that banks charge their most creditworthy customers, generally large corporations. The apex bank in November 2022 increased MPR to 16.5 per cent in response to global inflationary pressures, which had continued to hurt economies around the world. The CBN in its money market indicators revealed that prime lending reached the highest figure at 14.97per cent January 2020. With the prime lending rate reaching its highest level in 2022, the data by CBN revealed that maximum lending rate at 28.14 per cent reached second highest level in 2022, as banks move to attract more lending to customers. Maximum lending rate increased to 28.14 per cent in November 2022 from 28.06per cent reported by CBN in October 2022, while interest on saving deposit closed November 2022 at 3.93per cent, highest so far in the year under review. Also, interest rate on treasury bills (T-bills) increased to 6.5 per cent in November, the highest in 2022. Responding, the Vice president, Highcap Securities Limited, Mr. David Adnori lamented over the increase in prime lending rate to MPR, stressing that gap between the CBN’s lending rate and the prime lending calls for concern in the banking industry. According to “The gap is almost like double-digit and it indicates a serious rant-seeking within the banking industry. The spread between the prime lending rate and MPR should not be more than 10 per cent but when you have something more than 100 per cent, it means there is a serious rent-seeking activity in the banking sector that is eroding the nation’s economy of resources.”


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