Panic as Fuel queues resurface in Lagos, marketers blame depots
Long queues surfaced in Lagos on Tuesday as motorists spent hours at filling stations while waiting to buy the product.
The situation was worse in Ikosi-Ketu, Arepo area of New Lagos, Obalende, Maryland and Iju-shaga in Lagos State.
Commuters lamented the hike in prices of transportation fares in the state on Monday and Tuesday, as petrol was sold between N195 and N200 per litre.
Queues were also reported along the Alausa Secretariat road, as the NNPC (former Oando) was closed to motorists. The same situation was also noticed at Total filling stations in Ojota and Palm Grove.
Stations such as Mobil and Fatgbems along Berger also had long queues and sold at N200/litre.
Long queues were also reported at Lekki.
Heyden filling station at Ilupeju, though sold fuel, had a long queue of vehicles waiting to buy the product.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria blamed it on the depots and the increasing difficulty in accessing petroleum products.
National Controller, Operations, IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi, told The PUNCH in an interview that members of the association could not get sufficient products at the depots.
“No fuel. Even when we were able to get small quantity, DAPPMAN sold it to us at N200/N202 per litre. By the time we transport it to our stations, the cost would be around N210/litre,” he said.
He added that getting petrol to members’ filling stations from the depots now cost as much as N200 per litre in some instances.
DAPPMAN’s Chairman, Dame Williams Akpani, had, during a chat, told The PUNCH that the fuel crises persisted due to logistics challenges.
She said bad roads, resulting in petrol trucks taking one week instead of three days to arrive in Abuja from Lagos, was also responsible.
Akpani added that the bad Abuja road network had led to breakdown of petroleum trucks, which according to her, had resulted in apathy on the part of the drivers in taking products to the federal capital.
Spokesperson for state oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Garba Deen Mohammed, could not be reached for comment as his phone was switched off as of press time. Messages sent to his phone were not also delivered.
Meanwhile, oil marketers are lamenting what they call the imposition of a 0.5 per cent tax on the gross turnover of the petroleum by the Finance Act.
The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association’s Executive Secretary, Olufemi Adewole, on the sideline of the maiden edition of the Platforms Africa Continental Forum held on Monday in Lagos, said the tax could shut down businesses and also fuel scarcity crisis if the Federal Government went ahead to implement the new tax regime.
Adewole explained that petroleum marketing firms’ trading margins were too small, and that they would not afford to pay such an amount sustainably.
Adewole said, “Petroleum marketers operate a very low margin, but the turnover is very huge. Unfortunately, the margin does not correspond with the turnover.”
He disclosed that the margins marketers were getting when a litre of fuel sold for N40 was the same they were still getting when it rose to N160 and N200.
According to him, “The Finance Act 2020 says the marketers have to pay 0.5 per cent from their gross turnover by the end of this year.
“It is unimaginable that probably, half of the petroleum marketing firms existing now may go under if the new tax regime is implemented, except the regulator, which is the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, approves a new margin for the marketers,” he said.
It would be recalled that oil marketers had recently lamented scarcity of foreign exchange, which, according to them, threatened the importation and distribution of petroleum products across the country.
The fuel queues were coming on the heels of a letter dated October 28, 2022, by the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers to the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, over harassment, intimidation and extortion of petroleum tanker drivers by some community youths under the name, Indigenous Unity Forum.
Part of the letter read, “We are deeply constrained to bring to your urgent attention, the unwholesome activities of some criminal elements parading themselves along Lekki Free Trade Zone Road, Eleko Ibeju, Lekki, as community youths under the name of Indigenous Unity Forum, harassing, intimidating, and extorting money from every petroleum truck drivers, who are NUPENG/PTD members plying the road.
“We have no other obligation than to demand that your Excellency, as a matter of urgency, put a final stop to the unwholesome activities of these criminals and similar elements across the state. Otherwise, we would have no other option than to direct our members, for the sake of the safety of their lives and property, to stay off the entire Lagos State until sanity, law and order are restored.”
“Nigeria College of Taxation and Fiscal Studies” Bill Passes Second Reading
A bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria College of Taxation and Fiscal Studies passed its Second Reading last week at the Senate.
The presentation of the Bill was made by Senator Abdullahi Aliyu Sabi CON on the floor of the Senate Tuesday last week, where he noted that the institution, if established would provide professional and academic training as well as certification for tax administrators, tax practitioners and tax professionals across the country.
In his presentation, Senator Sabi, who represents Niger North Senatorial District of Niger State stated that the College had become necessary given the important role that taxation is playing in the nation’s economy, and that this institution would help formulate and draft tax policy for the country while addressing human capital gaps in the country’s tax industry.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that diversifying the sources of government revenue to focus on sustainable sources is inevitable. This diversification puts taxation at the centre of the revenue mobilization discussion; the attainment of this laudable objective would require tax experts who have been properly and adequately schooled to formulate tax policy, draft and interpret tax legislation, carry on private tax practice, and administer taxation in the modern era.
“In view of the constant shift in the social, technological and business environment, with direct impact on the tax system, it is is important to have skills, competence, and adaptable personnel to man the tax system. There must be a conscious development of the field of taxation and fiscal policies in Nigeria to awake the society on the importance of taxation as a sine qua non to our development.
“Nigeria must go beyond the mere inclusion of taxation in the curriculum of educational institutions; instead the country must establish a modern system that facilitates the study of taxation via a well laid out academic curriculum, guided and focused by practical realities of Nigerian taxation and the revenue ecosystem,” he noted.
Senator Sabi further emphasised that the College would help in tackling the issue of lack of sufficient capacity of tax officers, which he noted has led to “the delegation of powers of revenue authorities to third parties, creating complications, multiplicity and uncertainty in the tax system,” and that it would correct “aggressive and orthodox methods for tax collection” while also carrying out a “regular review of obsolete tax laws that do not reflect modern realities.”
He noted that all these would help the country address its fiscal and revenue challenges and achieve the objectives of the National Tax Policy.
In his presentation, the distinguished Senator representing Niger North also cited that countries such as Kenya, Japan, India, Australia, Austria, Singapore, and Malaysia have established similar institutions for developing capacity in taxation, excise duty and customs and fiscal matters, and that this has impacted positively on their economy through significantly high tax-to-GDP ratios.
This College is expected to provide training for tax officials, including officers of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs, sub-national revenue authorities, and even the general public. It is to consist of a main campus and 12 regional centres.
The Bill proposes that the College would be funded chiefly by the extant yearly subvention of the FIRS for training thus requiring no direct impact on government spending.
Senator Adamu Aliero representing Kebbi Central District, Kebbi State, commenting on the Bill noted that the only sustainable source of revenue for the Federation was taxation, and that the proposed College would train tax officials who would be instrumental to widening the country’s tax net.
He also added that there is currently no institution in Nigeria that offers specialised training in taxation.
NLC, CBN meet in Abuja over Cash scarcity
In less than 24 hours after the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, directed all its branches and affiliate unions to mobilize members for a shut down of all the branches of the Central Bank of Nigerian, CBN, across the country, over cash scarcity, the apex bank on Thursday evening met with the NLC at the Labour House Abuja.
Recall that the Comrade Joe Ajaero-led NLC, had on Wednesday while addressing journalists said that activities in all branches of the CBN nationwide and the Abuja headquarters will be shut down on Wednesday next due to the cash crunch in the country.
Comrade Ajaero had advised workers to stockpile food items as the industrial dispute with the CBN will be total.
He said Nigerians have been subjected to untold hardship occasioned by the scarcity of naira notes to attend to medical needs and other areas of need.
Vanguard gathered that the NLC threat to paralyze activities at the CBN necessitated the impromptu meeting which started at about 5 pm on Thursday.
The two man delegation made up of the CBN Deputy Gpvrrnor in charge of operations and the Deputy Governor in charge of Economic Pokicy, told the NLC President that about two billion naira was pushed out on Thursdsy in a bid to address the hardship.
A source privy to the meeting told Vanguard that the CBN promised to ensure that the scarcity of naira notes will come to an end as quickly as possible.
“They said the money they pushed out today is equivalent to the whole money pushed out within the week. They also promised to work day and night starting from this night to ensure that there is enough money in the banks,” the source said.
He further said that the CBN denied the allegation that it was printing money out of the country and that the Governor, Godwin Emefiele has directed that the old naira notes should be made available to customers.
Besides, the source denied the allegation that the old naira notes have been burnt, assuring that there will be remarkable improvement in few days to come.
It was gathered that the NLC President, Comrade Ajaero told the CBN delegation that he was not interested in how much that was pushed out, but only interested in seeing that workers and other Nigerians collect their money in banks without stress..
“The President told them that it does not bother us how much they pushed out, our concern is to see that this hardship comes to a stop.
“He also told them that they should work day and night to solve the problem and will depend on the feedback from the average Nigerians who go to the banks to make withdrawals whether there is improvement before Wednesday next week NLC planned to picket the apex bank ,” the source said.
When contacted, the NLC President, Comrade Ajaero, confirmed the meeting and said that the interest of the leadership is to see that Nigerians are able to withdraw their money devoid of the hardship they are passing through.
“We will only know that they are serious when we see improvement,” he added.
EFCC Arraigns FCMB Manager Over N55Million Overdraft Fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned one Kichime Gomwalk, a bank manager and two others for alleged fraud.
Gomwalk of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Michael Damkas Buayam of Tan Global Energy Limited, and Abbas Andrew Dayilim of Castlegate International Limited were arraigned on Tuesday before Justice P. S. Gang of the Plateau State High Court Jos.
The accused persons were arraigned on five counts bordering on stealing, cheating and obtaining by false pretence money to the tune of N55,000.000.00 (fifty-five million naira).
Gomwalk, while serving as the manager of the bank’s branch at Murtala Mohammed Way in Jos, the Plateau State capital, was alleged to have forged COCIN Gratuity Certificate of Pledge/Letter of Set-Off dated December 30, 2019, purportedly co-signed by Mrs. Monica Bitrus Tang and Rev (Dr.) Amos Musa Mohzo, Directors.
It was allegedly used to secure an overdraft facility from FCMB Plc to the tune of N55 million with COCIN Gratuity account number 100GOMWALK379 domiciled with FCMB Plc.
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