The dollar exchanged at N600 on Monday at the parallel market, heightening fears of a further devaluation of the nation’s currency.
The rate at the Importers and Exporters Window was, however, N415.75 on Monday, widening the exchange rate spread to N184.25.
At Zone 4 in Abuja, which is the hub of the parallel market in the Federal Capital Territory, two Bureau de Change Operators, Mohammed Isa, and Abu Abdullahi, told The PUNCH that the rate was N599/$ at 10am and 11.14am respectively.
However, the rates for both BDCs changed to N600/$ when they were separately contacted at N3.13pm and N5pm respectively on Monday.
“If I reduce this by N1, I will not be able to make any profit,” one of the two BDCs, Abu Abdullahi, said.
At the Lagos airport on Monday, a BDC operator, Adamu Haruna, told The PUNCH that the rate was “N600/$, no more, no less.”
A BDC operator at Amuwo-Odofin in Lagos, Bala Usman, gave an initial rate of N598/$ in the morning but changed to N599 at 2.53pm when contacted.
“The demand is increasing and the dollar is very scarce now,” he said.
Naira has weakened in the parallel market due to increased speculations, falling external reserves, and low foreign exchange inflows into Africa’s biggest oil producer.
The country’s external reserves fell by $313m in March, according to figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Politics is also a key factor, as experts see politicians mopping up dollars for election primaries this month.
The President, Association of Bureaux de Change Operators of Nigeria, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, told The PUNCH that the situation was caused by several factors, including elections, loss of confidence, and demand/ supply.
“It is a market where demand and supply determine the price. Do not forget that election years are associated with foreign exchange volatility, coupled with supply squeeze. External reserves, inflation, cost of inputs, and the Russia-Ukraine war are also key issues,” he said, arguing that there was indeed a loss of confidence, saying that “once people see the exchange rate rising, the confidence will also fall.”
The Director of Research and Strategy, Chapel Hill Denham, Mr Tajudeen Ibrahim, told The PUNCH that the issue in the foreign exchange market could be attributed to falling external reserves and uncertainty in the economy.
“The parallel market is speculative. One of the causes is the foreign exchange reserves. Secondly, there is no indication that Nigeria is going to see an inflow of foreign exchange that can underpin the FX reserves any time soon,” he said.
“There is nothing like Eurobond. There are no indications for other borrowings, so there is no clear indication of inflows. This is also one of the reasons for what we see in the market,” he said.
He explained that it was possible that the market was seeing an election-related demand.
He urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to devalue the naira to match the parallel market rate, while also managing the market to ensure that unforeseen circumstances did not happen.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Centre for the Promotion of the Private Sector, Dr Muda Yusuf, urged the CBN to float the exchange rate market to provide clarity for investors and allow the market to be determined by the forces of demand and supply.
Yusuf said the CBN’s current approach would continue to deepen distortions in the economy, perpetuate round-tripping, fuel speculation, and suppress forex supply.
On the other hand, Nigeria is a deeply import-dependent economy, relying on crude oil for over 80 per cent of the foreign exchange.
The non-oil sector inflows are still 10-20 per cent and most of the export products are raw materials and agricultural commodities.
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria said only a strong manufacturing sector could raise the productive capacity of the country, reduce importation and increase FX inflows from non-oil exports.
IPMAN Warns Members Against Selling PMS Above N165/Litre
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria on Wednesday warned members of the association not to dispense Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, above the approved N165/litre pump price.
IPMAN in conjunction with the Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products gave the warning in Abuja following reports that many retail outlets had adjusted the price in their various pumps upwards above the government-regulated rate.
The factional National President, IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, admitted that members of the association had called for a hike in petrol price, but noted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited had released enough petrol.
He said, “Our members in Lagos were getting the fuel at N170 – N173/litre, that’s why they wanted price increased. It is only the NNPC that is importing the product. The cost of doing business has changed, so it becomes difficult to sell at N165/litre.
“That is why we are thanking the NNPC for bringing the product to N143/litre. So, our members must sell the product at N165 which is the government-approved price.”
Okoronkwo further revealed that IPMAN and its partner had engaged the services of Benham Group to recover money owed them for the supply of petroleum products.
“Our business requires technology, that is why we brought a seasoned financial expert and we’ve been able to recover a lot of funds in other countries and Nigeria,” he said.
The IPMAN official added, “The incessant mishaps and destruction of trucks on the road, banditry and kidnapping is the reason we are bringing the insurance company to help us. Leaving the risk for the owner of the truck to bear will affect our businesses.”
On his part, the National President, Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products in Nigeria, Mohammed Danzaki, said the NNPC had done a lot to import the product, “but the main issue is the transportation.”
He added, “We have not been getting our payments. That is why we engaged a financial expert, Benham Group, to recoup our money for Nigerians to get regular supplies in the fuel stations.”
The Chairman, Benham Group, Maurice Ibe, said the collaboration was to ensure stabilisation of fuel supply at the filling stations.
Fuel Sells at N180/litre As Scarcity Hits Lagos, Abuja, NNPC Cuts Supplies
Fuel queues hit major cities of Lagos, Abuja and Ogun on Monday, forcing motorists to spend hours at filling stations.
In Lagos and Ogun states, The PUNCH witnessed long queues at several filling stations such as Mobil, Capital, Fatgbems, Enyo, TotalEnergies and NNPC.
Though there were products at these filling stations, which also sold at N165/litre, motorists struggled to get gasoline with which to run their economic lives.
There were also queues in states bordering the FCT, including Nasarawa and Niger.
In the Federal Capital Territory, there were long queues at various filling stations such as the NNPC, Mobil, A.A. Rano, AYA Ashafa, Enyo, among others.
Hundreds of motorists besieged the few filling stations that dispensed petrol at various states, spending hours on queues in a bid to buy PMS.
Oil marketers blamed the development on the drop in supply, stating that the demand for petrol was currently higher than what was being provided by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
NNPC is the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria, shouldering this responsibility for more then four years.
Speaking on the development, the President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, PETROAN, Billy Gillis-Harry, said, “Lagos is having queues today, Kaduna is almost not having any PMS in its retail outlets.
“So, it is simply a situation of demand overwhelming supply. The supply process is not efficient to be able to meet the demands for products.”
Asked to explain whether there was not enough product, Gillis-Harry replied, “Well, clearly, if there is product, it should be delivered. However, I know the authorities are doing their best to make sure that everyone is monitored and encouraged to sell products at the approved pump price.
“But there are no products in the retail outlets, which is why there will be queues. So, it clearly shows that demand has overwhelmed supply.”
But last Thursday, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority had stated that there were over 32 days sufficiency of petrol by the NNPC.
Also, The PUNCH learnt that the NNPC intentionally cut down supply of products to fuel marketers.
A source familiar with the matter told The PUNCH that marketers, two weeks ago, had a meeting with the marketing arm of the NNPC and the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, PPMC, where they were quizzed on diversion of petroleum products to neighbouring countries.
According to the source, the supply of products to oil marketers was subsequently reduced due to issues around product diversion.
“We had a meeting with PPMC two weeks ago where we were told that the volume of product we load is too high. So, the NNPC has reduced the volume they give to us,” the source said.
Nigeria consumes an estimated 60 million litres of fuel per day. However, findings showed that by PPMC’s record, marketers loaded as much as 106 million litres per day as of April.
“So, PPMC kept lamenting and asking us where the extra products go. Of course, we all know that they go to neighbouring countries where they are being sold at higher prices. Apart from the fact that diesel price for transporting products is on the high side, fuel is a product highly subsidised by Nigeria, and Nigerians are not allowed to enjoy the benefits,” our source disclosed.
Diesel is a deregulated product. Checks on Monday showed that the product was sold between N780-N820/litre.
“That’s why marketers find it difficult to take products to the North. I don’t know why Lagos is experiencing scarcity. Already, buying and transporting the product to my station is at N170 per litre. So, how much will I sell? That means price has increased itself. If you go to states like Ibadan, Ekiti, Akure, it’s impossible to see the price at N165 because cost of transporting one litre is already N20. So, by the time you take it to states like Ekiti, you already have it at N182,” our source added.
A former chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and Chairman/CEO, 11 Plc, Tunji Oyebanji, told The PUNCH that the scarcity was temporary.
“As of last week, there were some talks about low stock and suppliers not giving products, but I think it’s a temporary glitch because NNPC told us they have sufficient stock of fuel,” he said.
Fuel sold at N165/ltr in places like Ikorodu, Anthony, Surulere, Ikeja, Festac, Ago and VI in Lagos on Monday, but prices were higher at Isheri and its neighbouring towns.
In a telephone interview with The PUNCH, the National Operations Controller, IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi, said the scarcity was no fault of oil marketers.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Akeem Balogun, in a statement on Monday, said that considering the current price, it is impossible for the product to be sold at N180 per litre.
Balogun advised members to sell at a sustainable price within their environment adding that they should ensure that the price is on their pump.
“Distinguish marketers, the Chairman and executives in conjunction with some senior members of our unit, organised a press conference where we explained our predicament with the current price of PMS at private depot. We explained that with the current price, there is no way we can sell less than N180 per litre”
According to him, “On this note, members are hereby advised to sell at a sustainable price within their environment. Just make sure that the price is on your pump. Kindly contact the Secretariat should you have any authority challenging your operations.”
Nestlé Nigeria Celebrates 22 Years of Grassroots Sports Development with Basketball Championship
Nestlé has announced the 2022 finals of MILO Secondary Schools’ Basketball Championship. It noted that the draws to determine the pattern of play at the finals were also held during the event. Twelve teams will play in the finals: six each in the male and female categories.
The finalists include Government Secondary School, Numan, Adamawa State; Akpur College, Gboko, Benue State; St. Jude’s Girls Secondary School, Amarata, Bayelsa State; David Hall College, Obalende, Ikoyi, Lagos State; Government Girls Secondary School, Bukavu, Kano State; and Queen Amina College, Sabon-Tasha, Kaduna State in the girls’ category.
In the boy’s category are Dutse Model International Secondary School, Jigawa State; Government Secondary School, Karu, FCT; King Amachree Academy, Port Harcourt, Rivers State; Topfield College, Ajugunle, Apapa, Lagos; Victorroti Private Secondary School, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, Ogun State and Bishop Dimieari Grammar School, Obom, Bayelsa State.
The Championship started this year with over 10,000 teams participating at the State preliminaries. The winners from the first stage went on to the Regional Conference stage where the finalists who will play in the National Finale emerged.
During the press conference, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Nigeria PLC, Mr. Wassim El-Husseini said “For over two decades now, Nestlé has been at the forefront of grassroots sports development in Nigeria through the Nestlé MILO Secondary Schools’ Basketball Championship. We continue to do our utmost to help shape a healthier and happier generation of Nigerians by encouraging them to participate in sporting activities. MILO Basketball Championship also provides a platform to help children imbibe values that set the right foundation for their future. They learn grit – perseverance through hardship, courage to overcome fear, ability to work in a team, self-belief, respect, and leadership.”
Also speaking at the press conference, the Category Manager – Beverages, Nestlé Nigeria PLC, Mr. Olutayo Olatunji said “The MILO Basketball Championship now brings together over 10,000 schools every year. This Championship started with less than 500 schools in 1999. The school game has grown beyond being just a sport to a passion that helps to discipline the body and mind. We thank our long-standing partners who have been part of the success of the MILO Basketball Championship for these 22 editions – the Nigerian Schools Sports Federation (NSSF), the National Collegiate Sports Foundation (NCSF)”.
According to the National President of the Nigeria Schools’ Sports Federation, Olabisi Joseph, “Nestlé Nigeria PLC has made significant contributions to the growth of sports in Nigeria and the creation of a bright future for young people by supporting and promoting basketball in schools.” She said further, “Every year, our schoolboys and girls look forward to participating in the biggest grassroots basketball championship in Africa, which is fondly called MILO Basketball.”
Mr. Lanre Balogun, Executive Secretary of the National Collegiate Sports Foundation (NSSF), who also spoke at the press conference said, ”This Championship continues to grow from strength to strength, thanks to the commitment of our sponsors, Nestlé Nigeria PLC. We will all agree that 22 years of continuous sponsorship in the life of any organization is highly commendable and worthy of emulation. Therefore, Nestlé Nigeria PLC deserves all the accolades for maintaining the sponsorship of this event.”
The draws grouped the six teams in the girls’ and boys’ categories each into groups ‘A’ and ‘B’. In the girls’ category, St. Jude’s Girls Secondary School, Amarata, Bayelsa State, Government Girls Secondary School, Bukavu, Kano State and Queen Amina College, Sabon-Tasha, Kaduna State will play in group ‘A’, while David Hall College, Obalende, Ikoyi, Lagos State, Government Secondary School, Numan, Adamawa State and Akpur College, Gboko, Benue State and will play in group ‘B’.
In the boys’ category, Government Secondary School, Karu, FCT, Bishop Dimieari Grammar School, Obom, Bayelsa State and Victorroti Private Secondary School, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, Ogun State will play in group ‘A’ while Topfield College, Ajugunle, Apapa, Lagos, King Amachree Academy, Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Dutse Model International Secondary School, Jigawa State, will play in group ‘B’.
The first Conference – Savanna Conference – was hosted at the Sanni Abacha Stadium, Kano, from 7th to 13th of May 2022. The states that make up this Conference are: Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Zamfara, and host Kano. Others are Gombe, Katsina, Bauchi and Jigawa.
The girls from Government Secondary School, Numan, Adamawa State, won in the girls category while the boys from Dutse Model International Secondary School, Jigawa State won in the boys category.
The Championship then moved to the Ilorin Township Stadium, in the Kwara State capital, for the Central Conference from 14th to 20th of May. The states invited to play at the Central Conference are Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau and host Kwara. Others are Benue, Kebbi, Kaduna, Sokoto and the F.C.T (Abuja). Akpur College, Gboko, Benue State emerged Champions in the girls’ category, while Government Secondary School, Karu, FCT won in the boys’ category.
The Equatorial Conference was hosted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu from 21st to 27th of May 2022. The states that make up this Conference are Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River and host Enugu. Others are Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Abia, Imo and Anambra. St. Jude’s Girls Secondary School, Amarata, Bayelsa State won in the girls’ category while King Amachree Academy, Port Harcourt, Rivers State won in the boys’ category.
The fourth and final Conference – Western Conference – was hosted at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital from the 28th of May to the 3rd of June. The Conference comprises: Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti and the host state, Oyo. Others are Edo, Delta, Osun and Kogi. At this Conference, David Hall College, Obalende, Ikoyi, and Topfield College, Ajugunle, Apapa, both from Lagos won in the girls’ and boys’ categories respectively.
As it is the tradition of the Championship, four best losing teams were also invited to participate in the grand finale. In the girls’ category both Government Girls Secondary School, Bukavu, Kano State and Queen Amina College, Sabon-Tasha, Kaduna State emerged best losing teams from the four Conferences while Victorroti Private Secondary School, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, Ogun State and Bishop Dimieari Grammar School, Obom, Bayelsa State emerged in the boys’ category from the four Conferences.
These six teams will jostle for the coveted prices of a Champions trophy, cash prize, basketball kits and lots of other MILO goodies in both the boys’ and girls’ categories of the Championship. This year, the National Finals will hold at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos from June 25 to July 1, 2022. The final games will be played in both the girls’ and boys’ categories on Thursday June 30, 2022.