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Economy

FG’s Plan To Sell TCN And The Sudden Rise Of Electricity Tariffs

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The Federal Government is currently gearing up to put the Transmission Company of Nigeria, up for sale according to Saturday PUNCH report.

The fresh move comes on the heels of stalled negotiations between the Federal Government and the National Union of Electricity Employees as the latter threatens to shut down the economy.

A source close to the matter, on Thursday, told reporters, on condition of anonymity, that talks to resolve pending disputes between the workers and the Federal Government had hit the rocks, and was “currently not yielding the desired results.”

“The Federal Government is quietly negotiating with buyers to sell the TCN. The process will be announced soon,” the source had said.

The workers have, for the second time, threatened to shut down the national grid over unmet demands by the Federal Government.

According to the Zonal Organising Secretary, North-West, NUEE, Comrade Dukat Ayuba, while briefing newsmen in Kaduna on Thursday, explained that although negotiation was still ongoing, the group would embark on a fresh strike.

He described the privatisation process as a scam.

He added, “That was why we kicked against privatising the distribution sector, because the investors don’t have the capacity and expertise. As committed Nigerians, we advised the government against it. But the government was hellbent on doing so.”

According to him, investors were still operating with obsolete equipment dating back to 35, 40, and 50 years, stating that one would expect that with their coming, they would replace the obsolete equipment but nothing had been done.

He regretted that the nation still generated 5,000 megawatts of electricity, saying that it was the same old 5,000 megawatts, with no benefit from privatisation.

General Secretary, NUEE, Joe Ajaero, confirmed Saturday PUNCH findings about stalled negotiations. He told our correspondence that no agreement had been reached.

“No agreement yet. They are playing pranks. To compute the money they owe, they said their database is corrupted. Even the meeting of today has been put off,” he said.

There has been massive increase of electricity tariffs by the Enugu Disco especially with that of the unmetered customers which has sparked protests and dissatisfaction in some parts of Enugu state.

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Economy

Ibadan Residents Groan As Petrol Marketers Adjust Pump Price To N300 Per Litre

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Car owners, motorists and commercial cab operators in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, have continued to groan as the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, bites harder.

 

Reports have it that Ibadan and other towns and cities across the country have been experiencing a shortage of the commodity for the past few weeks.

 

Our correspondent gathered that the situation worsened at the weekend when some of the petrol stations selling the product shut their gates against prospective buyers, with independent marketers adjusting their prices to N300.

 

This is against the previous pump price of between N195 and N270.

 

It was observed that some of the few stations that belonged to major marketers have also adjusted their pump price to N190 against the previous pump price of N180.

Our correspondent who went around some major roads in Ibadan in the early hours of Monday observed that scores of commuters plying major roads were stranded due to the ongoing fuel scarcity.

 

Some of the areas visited included Bodija, Sango, Sango-Eleyele Road and Secretariat Road.

 

It was also observed that long queues are currently experienced in most petrol stations selling at N190.

 

A resident, who identified himself as Mr Ayanda, said that he bought the commodity at the rate of N190 in one of the petrol stations that belonged to major marketers after spending several hours on Sunday.

 

“I bought the petroleum at the rate of N190 at NNPP station at express on Sunday. It took me several hours because I cannot go to the place where they sell at N300. It is too expensive”.

 

Another resident, Mr Adekunle, however, said that he bought the commodity at the rate of N300 on Sunday.

 

“My son, I have decided to queue here because I cannot afford to buy at the rate of N300 again. I bought at the rate of N300 yesterday. It pained me to the bone marrow”.

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Economy

Naira Loses To Dollar, Exchanges At 445.83

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The naira on Wednesday exchanged at 445.83 to the dollar at the Investors and Exporters window, a depreciation of 0.01 per cent, compared with the 445.80 it exchanged on Tuesday.

 

The open indicative rate closed at N444.25 to the dollar on Wednesday.

 

An exchange rate of N452 to the dollar was the highest rate recorded within the day’s trading before it settled at N445.83.

The naira sold for as low as 426 to the dollar within the day’s trading with a total of N127.78 million was traded at the official Investors and Exporters window.

 

Meanwhile, Hassan Oaikhenan, a professor of Economics at the University of Benin, Benin-City, has attributed the depreciation of the naira to excess naira in circulation chasing the few dollars.

He urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to limit the supply of the naira using the currency redesign as an opportunity to take firm hold of the supply of the naira.

 

“The way to go therefore is that now that the denominations are redesigned, it is up to the CBN to as much as possible, limit, control, manage, tighten the quantity of the redesigned currency.

“Especially the higher denominations in circulation. They have to be properly managed so that at the end of the day, this phenomenon of too much naira chasing few dollars can be addressed.

 

“If that is sustainably done, then we will see an improvement of the exchange rate of the naira to the dollar,” he said.

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Economy

Labour Rages Over Persistent Petrol Scarcity Across Nigeria

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The Nigeria Labour Congres and the Trade Union Congress have described as unacceptable the lingering scarcity of petrol across the country and the unapproved price hike above N240 a litre in the country.

 

They urged the government to find an immediate solution to the shortage before things get out of hand.

 

In a joint statement by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), the Organised Labour said that no excuse was good enough for the shortage because no private individual or company was importing a litre of PMS into this Country.

 

They argued that all products are imported by the government and there is no record whatsoever that the agency of government that is importing the products has added a kobo to the price it sells the products to the marketers.

 

In the statement signed by the President of NLC and TUC, Ayuba Wabba, and Festus Osifo, respectively and titled “Fuel shortages, price hike and avoidable long queues in filling stations are unacceptable and no longer tolerable”, said they are reliably informed that the shortage is deliberately fostered by players in the downstream sector in order to hike the price far above the government approved threshold.

 

The statement read “The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) are seriously bewildered and disturbed by the persistent shortage and uncontrollable prices that players in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry are meting out to Nigerians.

 

“The persistent shortages of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol in the country has become a source of pain to the Nigerian people. It has led not just to long avoidable queues but adulteration of the product by unscrupulous elements; exploitation of the consumers, and turning fuel stations into traffic menace.

“All these have tragic consequences for the Nigerian people and debilitating effects on the health of the economy which itself is not in a good state. We are reliably informed that the shortage is deliberately fostered by players in the downstream sector in order to hike the price far above the government-approved threshold. It is an added problem when non-state actors begin to arrogate to themselves the power to determine the price of a litre of fuel far above the rate pegged by the government in the current subsidy regime

 

“The Nigerian people and taxpayers currently expense several trillions of Naira annually to subsidize petrol. The same people cannot be exploited and made to pay over N240 per litre when the current ex-depot price is currently fixed at N148.19k per litre. The opportunity cost of the subsidy payment is enormous and yet the benefit of the subsidy regime is gradually being eroded.

 

“No country develops when its people are subjected to perennial hardship and its industries are shackled by unnecessary chains of miseries.

 

“It is more disturbing that the government is equally demonstrating a high level of culpability in the unwholesome situation by its silence and unwillingness to frontally and publicly address the harrowing experiences of Nigeria in the current situation because no concerned and responsive government will bury its head in the sands like the proverbial Ostrich while the citizens are being brutally exploited.

 

“For the records, no private individual or companies are importing a litre of PMS into this country, all products are imported by the government and there is no record whatsoever that the agency of government that is importing the products has added a kobo to the price it sells the products to the marketers.

 

“We are strongly worried that leaving our energy security and sovereignty in the hands of unscrupulous capitalists and their collaborators will further plunge this nation into the economic abyss we are working hard to avoid.

“The labour centres, therefore, demand of the Federal Government an end to the avoidable, unnecessary, crippling and pain-inducing fuel shortages and unapproved price hike of up to N24O in the country. No excuse is good enough to cripple the country. If there are challenges, they should be fixed; we have a government in power to fix challenges not to make excuses.

 

“Organised Labour is ready and willing to engage the Federal Government and assist in all ways possible to overcome the country’s present challenges. But we caution it not to take either the Labour Movement or the Nigerian people for granted as it seems to be manifestly doing on various crucial national issues.

Regulatory and law enforcement agencies should do more to protect the larger Nigeria society from exploitation.”

 

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