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Petrol Pump Price Hits N300 Per Litre, Nigerians Groan

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By Punch Reporters

The scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, grew worse across the country on Thursday, as massive queues were witnessed in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Warri, Nasarawa, Minna, among other places.

Oil marketers stated that the scarcity became worse due to the fact that dealers could hardly access the product from the only two depots that were dispensing the commodity in Lagos State as of Thursday.

The few filling stations, particularly those of independent marketers, that dispensed the commodity on Thursday, sold it at between N250/litre and N300/litre, depending on area of purchase.

Oil marketers told our correspondent that over 1,000 tickets, belonging to marketers which had paid for products, remained unattended to, at the few depots that dispense the commodity in Lagos.

It was gathered that the tickets, which were for over 1,000 tankers, had continued to pile up due to the pressure on the two depots, namely MRS and Pinnacle.

It was also gathered that the cost of petrol could have been increased quietly by the Federal Government, as stations that used to sell the approved price of N179 – N180/litre had raised their prices to between N185 – N190/litre.

Scarcity hits Abuja

The scarcity in Abuja was worse on Thursday, as virtually all retail outlets belonging to independent marketers were shut, while only few stations belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and major marketers dispensed PMS.

But the very few outlets that dispensed products were greeted with massive queues of motorists who spent hours waiting to buy petrol.

Commenting on the issue, the Secretary, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, said the concerns in the downstream sector would continue to linger as long as the government remained the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria.

He said, “The Federal Government, through NNPC, is the only one importing this product and it is subsidising it. And they don’t have the facility to store the product.

“Some time ago we complained about this because when they store in private depots, the price is hiked and some of the depots continue to exploit the masses arbitrarily.

“However, as it is now, the government is bringing in products. But the issue now is that virtually all the depots that belong to major marketers in Apapa axis of Lagos are empty. So there is now pressure on MRS and Pinnacle depots where NNPC drop products.”

Shuaibu added, “So, there are over 1,000 tickets of marketers who have paid to have their trucks loaded, but we don’t know what is happening. Today they will tell you that they are upgrading the system, tomorrow you will hear that the system did not capture.”

He said tickets were piling and “you know that it takes much time to transport this product from the South to the North. Some trucks spend one month, especially when they have problems on the road, others spend two to three weeks.”

The IPMAN official called on the Federal Government to do something about this, adding that it must be done fast.

When asked why were other depots in Apapa and in other locations not selling products, Shuaibu stated that pipeline vandalism, depot upgrade and other issues were the reasons.

He said, “Last time we complained that some depots were exploiting us, and the depots argued that the cost of moving products from one end of their facility to another had Increased, as well as other issues. So we can’t tell whether that is another reason why NNPC stopped supplying some of these depots.

“Things were not worse like this before. As I’m talking to you now, some of our tickets have been there for close to a month. I did payment since but I can’t load. And the story is the same across their 21 depots. We can’t load.”

Meanwhile, Shuabu stated that unconfirmed information on the official pump price of PMS that filtered in on Thursday evening was that the government had quietly raised the cost of petrol.

“I cannot confirm it yet, but we are hearing that they have quietly increased the pump price of petrol, because major marketers in Lagos who used to sell at N179 – N180/litre, are now selling at N185 – N190/litre,” he stated.

Also speaking on the issue, the Public Relations Officer, IPMAN, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, said another reason for the scarcity was the changes being done by NNPC in terms of payment for products by marketers.

He said, “NNPC has moved independent marketers from PPMC Marketers Express to the NNPC Retail portal. That NNPC Retail portal is where marketers will be able to buy their products. However, they told us that the portal is in place now.

“Another concern is that they (NNPC) are also having an issue with the remittance, which, according to them, has been resolved. But the impact of these issues will definitely be felt and it will take some time to clear.

“Marketers are calling on NNPC to supply products to some of the depots where independent marketers can access them since most NNPC depots are not functional because of pipeline vandalism.”

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CBN Orders Banks to Pay New Notes Across Counter with Immediate Effect

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed commercial banks to start paying the redesigned naira notes to customers over the counter.

In a statement on Thursday, Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, said the new directive was to alleviate the challenges that Nigerians are experiencing with getting access to the new notes, as well as reduce queues at the automated teller machines (ATMs) nationwide.

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Dangote, Sinoma Sign Agreement On 6Mta Cement Plant in Itori, Ogun State 

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Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has signed an agreement with China Sinoma International Engineering to build a six million tons per annum cement plant in Itori, Ogun State. The agreement was signed by the Chairman of Dangote Cement Plc, Aliko Dangote alongside the Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects & Portfolio Development, DIL, Devakumar Edwin, while China Sinoma Engineering was represented by its Group President, Yin Zhisong, and the company’s Chairman, Liu Renyue.

Dangote speaking at the signing ceremony, said that new integrated cement plant at completion will strengthen the local production capacity of Dangote Cement, bringing its local capacity to 41.25 million tons per annum and total African capacity to 57.6 million tons per annum. He said the Itori Cement Plant will also increase Nigeria’s capacity to export cement, thereby enabling more diversification and foreign exchange inflows for the economy.

According to Dangote, the project is further expected to develop the domestic economy through creation of thousands of indirect and direct jobs and drive economic development in the Itori axis. Ancillary businesses, he stated will be drawn to the axis, who will be seeking to take advantage of the location of the cement plant to provide goods and services to staff, contractors and other stakeholders.

He added that constructing the new cement plant is in line with Dangote Group’s vision of producing locally goods that were formally imported despite the abundance of raw materials for local production of such goods.

He described Sinoma as a strategic partner who has been instrumental to the success of key projects in Dangote Group. He said, “We are comfortable working with your company. You have handled some of our key projects and I am positive that this project will be completed as scheduled.

Group President of China Sinoma Engineering, Yin Zhisong, expressed satisfaction with the commitment and determination of the Dangote Group in building cement plants across Africa. He said: “It is an honour for us to build another cement plant for Dangote Group. We are proud and happy to be on this journey with the company again.

When operational, the plant is expected to have two Lines x 6,000 TPD Clinker Production with an installed daily total capacity of 12,000 TPD of Clinker production. It is expected to be completed within 27 months with best-in-class equipment in the cement industry, sourced from Europe’s major equipment suppliers.

The plant will have its own captive power plant to generate electric power for use by cement kilns and other production processes.

Itori Cement Plant will be Dangote Cement’s fourth cement plant constructed as a green field project in Nigeria, the rest are Obajana, Ibese and Okpella Plants.

Dangote Cement is Africa’s leading cement producer with 51.6Mta production capacity across Africa with Nigeria accounting for 35.25Mta.

Obajana plant in Kogi state, Nigeria, is the largest in Africa with 16.25Mta of capacity across five lines; Ibese plant in Ogun State has four cement lines with a combined installed capacity of 12Mta; Gboko plant in Benue state has 4Mta; and  Okpella plant in Edo state has 3Mta.

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UBA Announces Bawuah As First Female CEO

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The Board of Directors of the United Bank for Africa Plc, Africa’s Global Bank, has announced the appointment of Mrs. Abiola Bawuah, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UBA Africa. Bawuah will also join the Group Board as an Executive Director, overseeing the Group’s operations across the African continent, outside Nigeria.

UBA operates in 19 African countries beyond Nigeria, in addition to global operations in New York, London, Paris and the UAE.

Bawuah, a Ghanaian national, is the first female CEO of UBA Africa.  Her appointment further demonstrates UBA’s commitment to diversity. The UBA Group Board now includes eight female Directors.

Prior to her appointment, Bawuah was Regional CEO, West Africa, supervising the Group’s operations in nine subsidiaries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. She previously held the role of CEO, UBA Ghana.

Speaking on the new appointment, the Group Board Chairman, Mr Tony O. Elumelu, said, “Abiola has contributed significantly to the growth of UBA Africa for close to a decade. She brings a wealth of experience in commercial banking, and stakeholder engagement.  It also gives me great pleasure that with her appointment, the UBA Group Board has now become a majority female board.”

The UBA Group also announced the following executive roles:

Chris Ofikulu becomes the Regional CEO, UBA West Africa.  Ofikulu, who has over two decades of banking experience spanning corporate, commercial, and retail banking.

Uzoechina Molokwu will take on the role as Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of UBA Ghana, subject to local regulatory approvals.  He was previously the Executive Director, Business Development – UBA Côte d’Ivoire and has over 23 years banking experience.

Ayokunle Olajubu will be the Managing Director/CEO UBA Liberia, subject to local regulatory approvals. He currently drives compliance across Africa subsidiaries andcomes with 30 years banking experience in Nigeria and other African countries,includingSierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire and the Gambia.

Theresa Henshaw has been appointed as CEO of UBA UK, subject to local regulatory approvals. She was previously the DMD, Business Development, UBA America and joined the Group as ED, Business Development at UBA UK.

Usman Isiaka, currently CEO, UBA Sierra Leone, will be the Deputy CEO in UBA America, subject to local regulatory approvals.

Adeyemi Adeleke, the former CEO of UBA, UK is now the Group Treasurer.  Adeleke will be working to unlock the immense value in the Group’s multi-jurisdictional balance sheet, leveraging on its presence in 24 countries within and beyond Africa.

In addition to the executive appointments, UBA has announced the retirement of High Chief Samuel Oni, an independent non-executive Director, from the Board following the expiration of his tenure.  He joined the UBA Group in January 2015 and served on the Board of the Group for eight years.

The Group Chairman, Mr Elumelu expressed his appreciation to High Chief Oni, for his commitment, leadership and extensive contributions to the UBA Group and on behalf of the Board, wishes him the very best in all his future endeavours.

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