The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has warned that the economy would lose an estimated N150 billion daily, if the proposed strike by PENGASSAN and NUPENG is not averted.
The Director-General of LCCI, Muda Yusuf, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos.
Mr. Yusuf said that it would not be a good development for an economy that was just emerging from recession.
NAN recalls that the two unions had threatened to embark on an indefinite strike over delay in the payment of N800 billion subsidy arrears to oil marketers.
Mr. Yusuf urged the federal government to engage the unions and propose a credible payment plan to settle the arrears.
He noted that the consequences of the proposed strike would be severe because of the strategic and critical nature of the oil and gas sector.
“It would paralyse the chain of logistics in the economy as economic activities are driven largely by road transportation, both for commuting and freight.
“It will impact on revenue as the upstream sector would be affected as well. It would impact the power sector which is largely powered by gas,” he said.
The LCCI boss noted that the fuel subsidy phenomenon had become a recurring distraction in the management of the country’s economy.
“It is regrettable that government has over the years got itself entangled in a problem which should not have arisen in the first place,” he said.
He alleged that the country’s economy had suffered serial scandals and monumental corruption in the oil and gas sector because of the phenomenon of petrol subsidy.
“We have consistently argued that the government should completely decouple itself from the business of importation, refining, transportation and retailing of petroleum products.
“This arrangement has created considerable distortions and stagnated private investment in the downstream sector because these are enterprises that the private sector is best suited to manage,” he said.
Mr. Yusuf said that government has no business fixing prices and subsidising the players.
He said that in spite of the monumental problem the economy had from the subsidy regime, government has not taken urgent steps to put an end to price fixing for PMS.
“The economy cannot sustain this arrangement. The current debt of N800 billion is 151 per cent of the total capital allocation for the Federal Ministry of Works, Power, and Housing in the 2017 budget.
“It is 1,568 per cent of the capital allocation to health; it is 305 per cent of the capital allocation to Federal Ministry of Transportation; and 1,600 per cent of the capital allocation to education.
“This raises vital questions about the optimality and efficiency of resource allocation and utilisation by government,” he said.
He called for speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), adding that it will help to normalise the oil and gas sector.
Mr. Yusuf urged the government to replicate the telecoms sector model in the oil and gas industry, adding that it would free resources for investment in critical infrastructures like power, roads, the railway, health and education sector.
He stressed that the model would improve product availability, eliminate fuel queues, and create more jobs for the teeming youth in the downstream oil sector.
WTO: Trump Wrong For Rejecting Okonjo-Iweala – Fani-Kayode
Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode has condemned the move by the United States President, Donald Trump to block the appointment of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Director-General of World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Recall that Okonjo-Iweala on Wednesday won the popular vote by a wide margin, with the expectation of an announcement after a World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva.
She was reported to have won the support of 104 of all 164 member countries of the WTO, many of which were from Africa and Europe.
However, the US reportedly expressed its disappointment over the appointment of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala despite her widely gained support.
Reacting in a post on his Twitter page, Fani-Kayode warned that Trump’s opposition to Okonjo-Iweala would upset millions of his supporters in Nigeria and Africa.
..This extraordinary lady is by far the best candidate,her integrity is unimpeachable & her ability is unquestionable. Opposing her has upset millions of Trump-lovers in Nigeria & Africa &hundreds of thousands of Nigerian/Americans in the U.S. itself.
I hope he reconsiders.
— Femi Fani-Kayode (@realFFK) October 29, 2020
Nigeria’s Economy Too Fragile For Fresh Lockdown —Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that Nigeria’s economy is too fragile for fresh coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.
The president stated this in a post on his Twitter handle @MBuhari on Thursday.
Buhari stated that compliance with COVID-19 protocols by all Nigerians is crucial to avert a second wave of the pandemic in the country.
This is coming following the recent increase in Coronavirus cases in many countries around the world.
“Looking at the trends in other countries, we must do all we can to avert a second wave of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
“We must make sure that our cases, which have gone down, do not rise again. Our economy is too fragile to bear another round of lockdown.”
Looking at the trends in the other countries, we must do all we can to avert a second wave of Covid-19 in Nigeria. We must make sure that our cases, which have gone down, do not rise again. Our economy is too fragile to bear another round of lockdown.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) October 29, 2020
Femi Adesina: #EndSARS Protests Fuelled Looting Of Warehouses
Femi Adesina, special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity has alleged that some Nigerians involved in recent cases of looting experienced in some cities across the country didn’t do it because they were angry or hungry.
He alleged that they were simply taking advantage of the collapse of law and order caused by the #EndSARS protests.
He stated this on Thursday, 29th October when he appeared on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme.
He declared that poverty has nothing to do with the invasion of COVID-19 palliatives warehouses.
He said: “Criminality is criminality. Would it justify armed robbery because the man was poor? Would you justify armed robbery because the man didn’t have money?
“Just as you cannot justify armed robbery because a man was poor and took a gun to rob another person, you can’t also justify the lootings going on because it is pure criminality. My view is that it is not everybody that is hungry that engaged in that looting. This is the truth, it is greed and pure criminality.
“Criminality will always be criminality and anarchy promotes criminality. What has happened in the past two or three weeks led to what is happening now. If there was cohesion and tranquility in society, this would not have happened. Therefore, it is corollary to the near anarchic situation that came on the country because of the protest.
“If you did not have people burning police stations, killing policemen, burning private and public property, you won’t have this kind of looting. That means those same people will be in society and will find ways to eke out a living but because the situation was created for near-anarchy that is why you have this.
“So, I don’t agree that it is all about poverty. Yes in any country, you will have people that are poor, hungry…that is one of the reasons you have government to ensure that the number of the poor reduces progressively.
“So this crowd of people you see going to loot are not necessarily hungry or angry; they are taking advantage of the collapse of law and order that came as a result of the protest.”
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