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NESG, marketers fear crisis as fuel subsidy gulps N2.04tn

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The Nigerian Economic Summit Group and oil marketers, under the aegis of the Petroleum Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria, are worried of an impending fiscal crisis in Nigeria following the continued rise in subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.

NESG expressed its concern in the group’s September 2022 report titled, “The State of Nigeria’s Economy,” obtained in Abuja on Monday, as figures from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited indicated that petrol subsidy gulped N2.04tn between January and July this year.

NNPC said its under-recovery of PMS/value shortfall, otherwise called fuel subsidy, was N210.38bn, N219.78bn, N245.77bn and N271.59bn in January, February, March and April 2022 respectively.

In the months of May, June and July, petrol subsidy gulped N327.07bn, N319.18bn and N448.78bn respectively. The total sum spent on PMS subsidy during the seven-month period was put at N2.04tn.

In its latest report on the state of Nigeria’s economy, the NESG observed that the Federal Government’s huge fuel subsidy spending had been a drain on the country’s revenue despite the rise in crude oil prices in 2022.

The group stated, “In line with historical precedent, Nigeria’s fiscal space has been largely unimpressive, primarily on the revenue alongside a growing fiscal deficit.

“Despite an increase in global oil prices, the Federal Government’s actual revenue (N1.63tn for January – April 2022) is short of the pro-rated budget (N3.32tn), while government spending (N4.72tn for January – April 2022) was significantly closer to the budgeted levels (N5.77tn for January – April 2022).”

The NESG said the government should cut its fiscal deficit to avert an impending fiscal crisis, highlighting the gradual withdrawal of fuel subsidy as one of the measures to achieve this.

“Embark on the gradual phasing out of the fuel subsidy programme,” the economic think-tank told the Federal Government, stressing that sustaining the programme was ‘disastrous.’

It added, “Aside from taking a clear position on the fuel subsidy issue, the Federal Government must begin the shutting down phase of subsidy programmes to save the country from impending fiscal crisis.

“Understandably, this suggestion will affect the welfare of the citizens, but it is only in the short term. On the other hand, the more extended effects of sustaining this programme are disastrous.”

Also speaking on the development, the President, Petroleum Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, stated that petrol subsidy should be immediately stopped.

“The subsidy that is being paid on petrol should be stopped. The money should be recycled into other developmental projects such as health, refineries, etc,” he told our correspondent.

Gillis-Harry added, “Since the refineries have not been successfully fixed by the government, they should either give it wholly to private sector practitioners such as PETROAN, which owns the retail outlets for which the products are being refined, to manage.”

On concerns the petrol might sell for about N500/litre should subsidy be halted, the PETROAN President said, “This subsidy that we are talking about, what is its practical performance in the everyday life of a Nigerian? We need to ask that question.

“Today some people bought petrol at N250/litre, somebody else bought at N300/litre, while another person is saying, ‘let us just have the product because we are ready to pay N400/litre.’

“So, you can see that in different parts of the country there are different kinds of experiences by motorists and other users of petrol. Therefore, it is a very simple thing that we should level the ground by allowing deregulation to rule. That’s the answer.”

Gillis-Harry said the country might continue to borrow to fund its projects, whereas it could reduce the amount being borrowed by halting what was spent on petrol subsidy.

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Energy

TCN blames fire incident for national grid collapse

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The Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, says a fire incident caused the collapse of the national grid on Monday.

The General Manager of Public Affairs, Ndidi Mbah, disclosed this in a statement.

Recall that Nigerians were thrown into darkness after the national grid collapsed around 2:40 am for the second time in two months.

However, TCN said the grid has been restored.

“The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) announces the full restoration of the national grid following a fire incident at the Afam power generating station, which caused a partial disturbance of the national grid.

“At 02:41Hrs today, 15th April 2024, a fire erupted at the Afam V 330kV bus bar coupler, leading to units tripping at Afam III and Afam VI. This resulted in a sudden generation loss of 25MW and 305MW, respectively, destabilizing the grid and causing a partial collapse.

“During the incident, the Ibom Power plant was isolated from the grid and was supplying parts of the Port Harcourt Region. This further minimized the effect of the system disturbance. TCN confirms that the affected section of the grid has been fully restored and stabilized,” the statement reads.

However, parts of Nigeria have remained in darkness since midnight.

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NIPCO completes four CNG stations in Lagos

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NIPCO Plc says it has completed four Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations in Lagos, set for inauguration by May.

The Managing Director of NIPCO Gas Ltd., Mr Nagendra Verma disclosed this during an interaction with newsmen on Sunday in Lagos.

Verma, who highlighted the significance of CNG as a viable alternative fuel, commended the Federal Government’s initiative in promoting gas as an alternative fuel.

He affirmed NIPCO’s commitment to supporting the initiative while emphasising the company’s extensive involvement in AutoCNG development since 2009.

He also spoke on the company’s partnership with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL) to construct 35 AutoCNG stations in phases.

“The completion of these CNG stations in Lagos marks a significant milestone, offering motorists an alternative to petrol amidst long queues at filling stations.

“The facilities would be opened for commercial operations within April and May to become the first of its kind in the state which is now contending with long queues at filling stations,” Verma stated.

He further outlined pricing details, noting the competitive rates of AutoCNG compared to traditional fuels.

The NIPCO boss expressed confidence in AutoCNG being the preferred fuel, especially with government support and media advocacy.

According to him, the company has identified 19 CNG station locations and had received stage-wise approval from the Nigerian National Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and other statutory authorities.

Verma, who assured sustainability of supply after commissioning, said that currently, for cars, taxis and Keke’s; AutoCNG is sold at N200 per standard cubic feet scm against the petrol price of N610 per litre, in Lagos and N230 per scm against the PMS price of N670 per litre in Abuja.

The Managing Director further informed that similarly for heavy commercial vehicles; AutoCNG is being sold at N260 per scm against the AGO price of N1,250 per litre in Lagos and N290 per scm against the AGO price of N1300 per litre in Abuja.

“NIPCO Gas is sure that with the continuous focus and push by the current government, AutoCNG will become the choice fuel for Nigeria, which has the potential to reduce the pressure on importation as well as on forex.

“AutoCNG is a project for masses and of national cause and importance,” adding, “We are sure once expanded across Nigeria; it will surely and definitely relieve the masses and motorists from high fuel cost.

“We continuously seek blessing and support of the government and media to make AutoCNG a reliever, cleaner and greener fuel of Nigeria,” he added.

Speaking on the company’s strategy, Verma said, initially, the company started with Benin City and expanded the AutoCNG network to Ibafo in Ogun State and later-on in Kogi State.

He stressed further that with the initiatives and clear mandate by the current government, the AutoCNG network also expanded to Abuja FCT, Ibadan in Oyo State and Oron in Akwa Ibom State.

He said that NIPCO gas presently operates 15 AutoCNG stations across Nigeria and CNG vehicles from Lagos can travel up to Abuja and Kaduna by taking CNG from the in-between NIPCO Gas AutoCNG stations

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Ikeja Electric adds 34 new Band A feeders to boost power supply

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The Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company has announced an addition of 34 new Band A feeders to its network with a view to increasing power supply to customers.

This development took place after a meticulous monitoring and evaluation of power supply capacity by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

The Disco, in a X (formerly Twitter) post said, “Premised on our demonstrated ability to provide a minimum of 20 hours daily and an evaluation period monitored by the Regulator, we are pleased to announce approval to add 34 additional Band A feeders to our network.”

The areas added to Band A in the Disco’s network fall under the 32KV and 133KV Band A location and include places in Ikorodu, Magodo, Maryland, Magodo, Ilupeju, Ejigbo, among others.

Following the hike in electricity tariffs for Band A customers who enjoy at least 20 hours of electricity daily, the NERC mandated Discos to ensure those in the category receive 20 hours of electricity supply daily.

The regulator also stated that when Discos fail to provide such, it should publish the reason for the failure on its platforms the next day.

The NERC also mandated Discos to open a portal where customers can check their locations and band feeders to prevent inappropriate billing.

The Federal Government increased the tariff for Disco earlier this month from about N68/KWh to N225/KWh as a measure of attracting investment to the power sector and reduce the electricity subsidy burden on its books.

The increase in Band A location means more electricity customers paying the new tariff of N225/KWh for the Disco, which means more revenue.

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