PPPRA to sanction oil marketers over price malpractices

Ossai Ovie Success Blog

PETROLEUM Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, has restated its resolve to sanction oil marketers who exploit motorists and other consumers of petrol, while assuring that once the sector is deregulated, petrol pump price will go below N145 per liter.

The acting executive secretary of the agency, Victor Shidok, stated this in Abuja. According to him, “PPPRA will ensure effective monitoring of petroleum products’ distribution and compliance with pricing template and PPPRA will not allow long queues at filling stations because of speculations that pump prices may be raised.’’

Shidok lamented the loss of lives resulting from scarcity due to diversion, adulteration and storage of fuel in homes. He said: “Since the PPPRA was established 16 years ago, Nigeria has not witnessed the perennial scarcity of petroleum products apart from occasional hiccups from supply challenges.

In distribution, PPPRA has been able to establish stability in the downstream sector. “We can say that we have not fully deregulated, but I am bold to say that we have achieved 75 percent of downstream deregulation, making it possible to buy fuel without long queues at filling stations.”

He noted that countries with deregulated regimes had mechanism to protect consumers from exploitation. In a fully deregulated regime, the PPPRA, he said, would ensure the effective distribution of petroleum products.
 

Naira appreciates to N454/$

Ossai Ovie Success Blog

The naira yesterday appreciated against the dollar by N6 in the parallel market due to expectation of further intervention in the foreign exchange market by the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN). Vanguard investigation reveals that the parallel market exchange rate dropped to N454 per dollar at the close of business yesterday from N460 at the end of last week.

A BDC operator who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity said that market activities were stagnant with an atmosphere of suspense as BDCs are yet to receive communication from the CBN about the amount of dollars that t would be sold to each of them BDC this week.

The CBN sells $8000 per week to each BDC at N381 per dollar, mandating them to sell at N400 to end users. But last week, President of Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe announced that the apex bank will this week increase weekly dollar sale to $15,000 per BDC.

however gathered ABCON yesterday sent message to its members to address the apprehension over dollar sale from the CBN this week. Confirming this to Vanguard, ABCON President, Gwadabe said: “It is true that the CBN is yet to communicate the amount they will sell to each BDC this week, but we are sure they will do so before the weekly cut off time of 12noon tomorrow. We have told our members not to panic and engage in speculation.”

On Sunday the CBN indicated it’s willing to further conduct intervention dollar sales in the foreign exchange market this week. In a statement issued on Sunday, Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, apex bank said: “said that bank was determined to sustain the provision of liquidity in the foreign exchange market in order to enhance accessibility and affordability for genuine end users.

Mr. Okorafor also cautioned dealers in foreign exchange not to engage in any unwholesome practice that is detrimental to smooth operations in the market, warning that the CBN would impose heavy sanctions on any organization or official involved in such act. Since Monday February 20th 2017, when it announced new measures to boost dollar supply and forestall the declining fortunes of the naira in the parallel market, the CBN has injected $1.3 billion dollars by intervening in the forex market seven times as follows:

Tuesday February 21st, $417 million; Thursday February 23rd, $231 million; Monday February 27th, $180 million; Friday March 3, $350 million; Monday March 6, N367 million; Tuesday march 7, $100 million and on Thursday March 9, $195 million. Also during the week, the CBN increased weekly dollar sales to Bureau De Change (BDCs) by increasing the number of BDCs that have access to the dollar sales to 3,114 from about 2000.
 

Naira appreciates to N455/$ as External reserves hit $30bn

Ossai Ovie Success Blog

Hopes of further appreciation of the naira brightened yesterday as the nation’s external reserve rose to $30 billion, the highest in 13 months. Consequently, the external reserve has risen by $4.2 billion since the beginning of the year, and by $6.2 billion since October 19th, 2016 when it commenced its upward trend. Meanwhile, the naira yesterday appreciated to N455 per dollar in the parallel market as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) injected another $195 million into the foreifn exchange market.

The apex bank sold $100 million in wholse forwards, $70 million to meet demand for personal and business travel allowance and $25 million to bureaux de change (BDCs). President, Association of Bureaux De Change (ABCON), Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, confirmed this development to Vanguard, saying 3,114 collected $8,000 each from the CBN yesterday. The dollar supply prompted the parallel market exchange rate to drop to N455 per dollar from N465 per dollar on Monday, indicating N10 appreciation.

This development was in sharp contrast to the N17 depreciation suffered by the naira on Monday against the dollar, due to upsurge in demand by importers travelling to China. Gwadabe expressed optimism that the naira will further appreciate in the coming week, based on expectation of increased dollar sales to BDCs by the CBN. He disclosed that the apex bank in furtherance of its intervention in the foreign exchange market has decided to increase weekly dollar sales to each BDCs to $15,000 from $8,000.

Since Monday February 20th 2017, when it announced new measures to boost dollar supply and forestall the declining fortunes of the naira in the parallel market, the CBN has intervened in the forex market six times as follows: Tuesday February 21st, $417 million; Thursday February 23rd, $231 million; Monday February 27th, $180 million; Friday March 3, $350 million, Monday March 6, N367 million; and on Tuesday with $100 million. Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Isaac Okorafor, said that the move by the intervention by the CBN was to fund the commercial banks with enough forex to cater for the request of customers to meet personal travelling allowance (PTA), basic travelling allowance (BTA), medicals and tuition fees. Commending the move, market analysts observe that it will further create problems for currency speculators who are yet to recover from the sudden appreciation of the Naira.

According to the former Economic Adviser to the President and Minister, National Planning Commission, Professor Ode Ojowu, “It appears this time around, the CBN has decided to become smarter than the market manipulators, by putting on its cap of authority to look beneath the market forces” It will be recalled that the CBN, in February 2017, changed its forex rule supply to guarantee supply to both small and the big end-users.

The policy has restored stability and bolstered market confidence which has ultimately boosted the value of the Naira. Operators in the market have also commended the efforts of the CBN in ensuring the continuous appreciation of the naira. This they attributed to good policy and effective communication strategy, which has witnessed increased dollar supply to the market through a deliberate policy of the apex bank.
 

1 Dollar equals N465 as at today

Ossai Ovie Success Blog

The Naira on Friday depreciated against the dollar at the parallel market after posting days of appreciation, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The nation’s currency lost N7 to exchange at N465 to a dollar after closing at N458 on Thursday, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro traded at N542 and N480.

At the Bureau De Change (BDC) window, the Naira traded at N399 to a dollar, CBN controlled rate, while Pound Sterling and the Euro closed at N610 and N520.

Trading at the interbank market saw the Naira sold at N305.25 to a dollar.

NAN reports that the CBN injected over 500million dollars into the market, to boost liquidity, but the Naira continued to depreciate.

Traders in the market expressed concern about the depreciation of the Naira in spite the gains earlier recorded.

Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), said there was need for a review of the distribution mechanism.

Many banks are selling to only clients with current accounts and not to savings account holders and there is also increasing demand for forex from our neighbouring countries.

“The different applicable exchange rates and volumes with Travelex and banks need to be harmonised and with that of BDCs to reduce friction,” Gwadabe said. 

Naira loses to dollar, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro traded at N542 and N480.

Internet association maps out strategies against ponzi schemes like MMM, Twinkas and the others

Lagos – The Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) on Friday, said it had mapped out strategies to deal with issues of internet abuse by various forms of Ponzi schemes. Mr Sunday Folayan, the President of NIRA, who made this known in a statement in Lagos, said that the association had established a Law Enforcement Desk to handle complaints on Domain Name abuse.

He said that NIRA had also developed an Internal Procedural Process to manage and deal with such complaints received. He said that NIRA would work in conjunction with relevant law enforcement agencies to stem the tide. ”If you discover any form of Internet abuse with .ng websites please send an email to abuse@nira.org.ng. We will deal with it.

”Together we can make the internet safe for us and our children,’’ he said. According to him, most Nigerians are being defrauded by various forms of Ponzi schemes while the fraudsters are operating under various names and platforms. He explained that a ponzi scheme was a fraudulent investment operation where payment to its initial investors was from the payments made by new investors and not from profit earned through legitimate sources.

Folayan said that in recent times, Nigerians had varied experiences to narrate on the matter of ponzi schemes. According to him, while a few testify to the benefits derived from the scheme, majority are lamenting because they are have been left high and dry. He said that many had fallen victims as the schemes had impoverished more people than they claimed to have helped. He, however, said that the scammers were feeding on the greed of the people and the poor economic situation to lure more victims. He added that this was in spite of warning by the Federal Government that Nigerians should not invest or get involved in such fraudulent schemes. Folayan said that recently, innocent people’s contact details such as phone numbers and emails, were being used as administrative contacts for these schemes.

According to him, the victims of the identity theft only get to know when defrauded victims start calling and demanding for payments. He said that several people had received threatening phone calls regarding their fate, if they do not pay up. Folayan said that NIRA had taken concrete steps to further assist law enforcement agencies to deal with the menace.
 

Toyota to begin assembling cars in Nigeria this year

Ossai Ovie Success Blog

The first set of Nigeria-assembled Toyota cars will be rolled out in a couple of months, The Punch reports.

According to the chairman, Toyota Nigeria Limited, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, “The semi-knocked down parts have yet to come; but in a few months' time, they'll arrive here in Lagos and we'll invite guests to come and be part of history, to witness the unveiling of locally-assembled Toyota cars.

Ade-Ojo, who spoke in Lagos  at the unveiling of an automobile assembling plant  in Lagos recently, said that the new plant would be dedicated to the production of two vehicle brands, Toyota and JAC, with a target of 15,000 vehicles yearly.

Though the section reserved for the production of Toyota cars has yet to commence operation, the JAC division has produced its first set of 10 vehicles.

 Elizade Autoland Limited, a subsidiary of Elizade Nigeria Limited, owned by Ade-Ojo, has the franchise for the JAC brand of vehicles.

Ade-Ojo described JAC as a “junior brother of Toyota in Nigeria and it is growing.”

Also speaking, the managing director of Elizade Nigeria, Mr Demola Ade-Ojo said the plan is to produce 20 JAC vehicles every month, adding that it was starting with the SKD stage and hoped to move to the completely-knocked down section when sufficient components could be sourced locally.

The plant, which is currently operating on a single shift, was said to have been certified by the federal government to build different brands of cars.

Toyota Nigeria last year presented its first locally assembled bus, Hiace, to the motoring public as a confirmation that it had joined the league of auto firms that had embraced the federal government's auto policy introduced in 2013 to encourage local production of vehicles.

At least 30 automakers have sought and received the federal government's approval to set up vehicle assembly plants in Nigeria. But some of them that have commenced operations are complaining of low patronage.

The National Automotive Industry Development Plan, according to the government, is to generate employment, boost Gross Domestic Product, and promote the Small Medium and Enterprises in the sector as well as aid skills development and transfer of technology.

Late last year, the federal government keyed into the #BuyNaijaToGrowNaira campaign and bought made in Nigeria vehicles for the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC)

The vehicles were bought from Innoson Motors, Nnewi and Peugeot Automobile Nigeria, Kaduna.

Naira now selling at N470 to the dollar

Ossai Ovie Success Blog

The latest rate is an improvement on previous ones as the dollar sold for N510 on Tuesday and N505 on Wednesday.

The naira has gained ground and is now selling at 470 to the US dollar at the parallel market.

The latest rate is an improvement on previous ones as the dollar sold for N510 on Tuesday and N505 on Wednesday.

The development is believed to have been caused by the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to change its foreign exchange (Forex) supply rules.

CBN on Monday, announced that it would supply forex to both large and minimal consumers.

The naira also gained against the Pound Sterling which traded at 645 a day earlier but slipped to 610 and the Euro which dropped from N537 to N507 at the end of trading.

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele will need Jesus to keep his job

Ossai Ovie Success Blog

To get Nigeria out of economic recession, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, is proposing a tax on phone calls.

Speaking at the Annual Bankers’ Dinner in Lagos last Friday, Emefiele said the government could raise some N100B in additional revenue by introducing charges on the phone calls you make.

According to Emefiele,  “There are several ways we can raise additional revenue to finance the increased expenditure that is needed to engender fast and sustainable growth in the economy.

I think we can consider introducing a negligible telecom surcharge to be entirely borne by the initiator of a call. In order to protect the poor and vulnerable amongst us, we could structure it to only take effect after the third minute of talk.

“Some analyses have indicated that the government could earn about N100B per annum from this alone. Obviously this surcharge will mainly be borne by middle and upper class people since I do not know many poor people who make calls for more than three minutes!"

For Emefiele, only rich persons make phone calls beyond three minutes. "I do not know many poor people who make calls for more than three minutes", the CBN Governor said, glibly.

Of all the shallow ideas put forward to get Nigeria out of its self imposed recession, this should take the cake.

Subscribers already pay taxes on phone calls for every recharge card they purchase. It's called Value Added Tax (VAT).

Another attempt to tax call subscribers through the Communication Service Tax (CST) has been met with stiff resistance from stakeholders and consumer advocacy groups alike because that will amount to one tax too many.

The National Assembly will likely sound the death knell on the CST because it flies in the face of commonsense economics. You don't want to impose more taxes on folks who are barely getting by.

When Emefiele says only middle and upper class persons spend more than three minutes on a phone call, you have to wonder which country he resides in because the reality is different. There is even no middle class any longer in Nigeria. That a CBN Governor doesn't know this, is baffling.

Years of poor governance and corruption have all but wiped out the middle class, leaving the social strata badly deformed. There is just the lower and the upper classes right now in Nigeria–an anomaly for any society seeking economic redemption.

Government should be handing out tax breaks to the poor in a recession, not imposing more taxes and stifling growth from the bottom of the pyramid.

It is also curious that Emefiele proposes a tax on phone calls as some silver bullet for a country in recession when there are several other revenue streams for government if policy makers could just engage their mental faculties for once.

With policy proposals of this kind, it is little wonder that the CBN under Emefiele hasn't been able to stem capital flight and stave off increased depreciation of the local currency.

And to think Emefiele is a member of the economic management team of the Buhari administration!

Not one of Emefiele's policies as head of the administration's monetary unit, has helped a hemorrhaging economy. Not one.

Emefiele is really out of his depth as CBN Governor and his comments on taxing call subscribers should finally give him away.

At this rate, only Christ can save the man from kissing his job goodbye.

Australian dollar is lower, dropping back below the 77 US cent mark, despite the US dollar weakening against a basket of currencies.

Ossai Ovie Success Blog

At 0635 AEDT on Friday, the Australian dollar was worth 76.96 US cents, down from 77.17 US cents on Thursday.

The US dollar weakened against a basket of major currencies overnight, posting its steepest one-day drop in more than two weeks, due to lower US bond yields and uncertainty over the timing of the Federal Reserve’s next interest rate rise.

Traders have scaled back bets on a looming US rate rise as they concluded Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen did not deliver enough conviction at her economic testimony before Congress on whether the central bank’s next rate increase will come at its March 14-15 meeting.

Westpac’s Imre Speizer said the US dollar index shed around 0.6 per cent with no obvious news to prompt the decline, while the Aussie dollar had ranged between 76.85 and 77.20 US cents.

Oil Giant Shell To Sack 10,000 Workers

Ossai Ovie Success Blog

Oil Giant Shell To Sack 10,000 Workers

 

As its fortunes dwindled due to falling oil prices, Royal Dutch Shell Plc is to sack 10,000 people in an effort to bolster margins.

 

The oil producer put out a fourth quarter and full-year update on Wednesday, warning of lean times ahead, as reported by Yahoo Business News.

 

According to a statement from the oil giant, synergies from the BG combination will be in addition to that. Together, these actions will include a reduction of some 10,000 staff and direct contractor positions in 2015-16 across both companies, as streamlining and integration of the two companies continue.

 

Shell's drive to improve competitive performance is delivering at the bottom line. Operating costs have reduced by $4 billion, or around 10 per cent in 2015, and the company expects Shell’s costs to fall again in 2016 by a further $3 billion.

 

When Shell announces its results on 4 February 2016, Shell’s fourth quarter 2015 earnings on a current cost of supplies (“CCS”) basis excluding identified items are expected to be in the region of $1.6–1.9 billion.

 

This includes Upstream of $0.4–0.5 billion, of which Integrated Gas some $1.6–1.9 billion, and Downstream of $1.4–1.6 billion, of which oil products some $1.3–1.4 billion and chemicals some $0.1–0.2 billion.

 

Full year 2015 earnings on a CCS basis excluding identified items are expected to be in the region of $10.4 – 10.7 billion.

 

Tribune.