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Fuel subsidy stays–Senate President 

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.Says ‘Buhari didn’t ask anyone to remove petrol subsidy’

.Nigeria’s crude oil production drops to 1.338mbpd

.OPEC daily basket price hits $86.54 per barrel

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SUNDAY ODE, Abuja

 

 

Senate President Ahmed Lawan Tuesday said President Muhammadu Buhari did not direct anyone in his administration to implement the removal of petroleum subsidy.

 

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, had announced last October that

the federal government made provision for petrol subsidy only for the first six months of 2022 as the government looked towards complete deregulation of the sector.

 

She had said: “In our 2022 budget, we only factored in subsidy for the first half of the year; the second half of the year, we are looking at complete deregulation of the sector, saving foreign exchange and potentially earning more from the oil and gas industry”.

 

Ahead of the planned removal of fuel subsidy, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC has fixed January 27 for a protest by workers nationwide to resist any such proposal.

 

However, speaking with State House correspondents after meeting with the president at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday, Lawan said he told Buhari about the feelings and concerns of his constituents on critical issues, including the proposed removal of peyrol subsidy.

 

Lawan said he raised the issue with Buhari because lawmakers were worried about the agitations and protests around the country over the move to end petrol subsidy.

 

He said he was glad to inform Nigerians that Buhari had not told anyone to remove petroleum subsidy.

 

He said: “Well, it will be of interest to Nigerians to hear what I’ve come to discuss with Mr. President among several other things.

 

“Many of us are very concerned with the recent agitations, protests, and many citizens were so concerned, our constituents across the country are very concerned that the federal government will remove the petroleum subsidy.

 

“And for us, as parliamentarians, as legislators representing the people of Nigeria, this must be of interest to us.

 

“And we’ve just finished our recess, we had gone home to our constituencies and senatorial districts. And we felt the pulse of our people.

 

“And I found it necessary to visit Mr. President, as the the leader of our government and our leader in the country, to discuss this particular issue of concern to Nigerians, and I’m happy to inform Nigerians that Mr. President never told anyone that the petroleum subsidy should be removed.”

 

Lawan further questioned the claim that Nigerians consume a 100 million litres of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) daily.

 

He explained that while it is impossible to consume that much within the boundaries of the country alone, there is a need to critically investigate to discover the truth.

 

He blamed the smuggling of petroleum products on the failure of the government to contain the menace, a situation that has pushed the burden of payment on the ordinary citizen.

 

He said, “I know and I agree that the subsidy is very heavy. But I think we must never transfer the burden to the citizens. I believe that we need to look at the quoted figure of maybe 100 million litres that people claim we’re consuming.

 

“Is it real? I mean is it either under-recoveries of subsidy? Is it really 100 million litres per day? How on earth are we consuming that? We need to look at this critically and see how we can find the truth.

 

“I am not convinced that within the boundaries of Nigeria we are consuming 100 million litres, probably neighbouring countries may be benefiting from this. Can’t we do something about it? It is a failure on us if we are not able to control it.”

 

Similarly, Nigeria’s crude oil production dropped to an average of 1.338 million barrels per day in December 2021, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has said.

 

OPEC made this known in its Oil Market Report for January 2022 on Tuesday in Lagos.

 

The report said the figure showed a decrease of 43,000 barrels per day when compared to the 1.381mb/d produced averagely in the month of November 2021.

 

“According to secondary sources, total OPEC-13 crude oil production averaged 27.88 mb/d in December 2021, higher by 0.17 mb/d Month on Month.

 

“Crude oil output increased mainly in Angola, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, while production in Libya and Nigeria declined,” the report said.

 

The report said according to recently released statistics by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the country’s current account registered its highest surplus since early 2018, amid a strong trade position.

 

It said: “In 2Q21, the current account posted a surplus of $3.6 billion compared with $348million in 2Q21 and a shortfall of $3.6 billion in 2Q20.

 

“In 2Q21, exports exceeded imports by about $1.8 million, recording the largest excess since late 2019.”

 

The report added that improving oil prices had continued to support the economic recovery, coupled with easing of the inflation rate.

 

It said the inflation rate marginally fell for the second month in a row to 15.4 per cent from 15.9 per cent,  marking the lowest rate since November 2020 due largely to sustained moderation in food prices.

 

The report said: “However, on a monthly basis, consumer prices increased by 1.08 per cent, following a 0.98 per cent increase the previous month.

 

“In the meantime, the Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria Purchasing Managers’ Index reflected solid expansion in business conditions, rising to 56.4 in December from 55 in November, amid stronger output and new order growth.”

 

Meanwhile, the price of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) basket of 13 crude oil samples stood at $86.54 per barrel as at Monday, January 17.

This is compared with $85.46 per barrel of the previous Friday, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations on Tuesday.

The OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB), introduced on June 16, 2005, is currently made up of the Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Djeno (Congo) and Zafiro (Equatorial Guinea).

Others include Rabi Light (Gabon), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela).

 

TAGSOPEC daily basket price now $86.54 per barrel

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