The demand by the Nigeria Labour Congress for the reversal of the price of petrol which was raised this week by the government agency and the billions of naira spent on servicing domestic debt in the first quarter of 2020 are the trending stories in the Nigerian press on Friday.The Punch says that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has kicked against the new fuel price of N143.8 announced by the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency on Wednesday, saying “this might just be the last straw that would break the camel’s back.”
The NLC demanded a reversal of the pump price to the old price, arguing that that the prices of crude oil in the international market had only slightly increased from the previous price before the downward review was announced two months ago.
The newspaper quoted the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, as saying in a statement on Thursday, that the hike in the fuel pump price and the proposed electricity tariff hike as “potent threat to run millions of Nigerians under.”
He asked the Federal Government to rehabilitate the refineries and disclose the timelines for this. Wabba flayed the PPPRA Executive Secretary, Saidu Abdulkadir, for the fuel price hike.
The newspaper also said that the volume of petrol imported into the country in the first three months of the year rose by 9.24 percent, compared to the same period in 2019, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.
The NBS data showed that the country imported to 5.32 billion litres in Q1 2020, up from 4.87 billion litres in Q1 2019. A total of 5.61 billion litres were imported in Q2; 5.09 billion litres in Q3, and 5.26 billion litres in Q4 of 2019.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, relies largely on importation for petrol and other refined products as its refineries have remained in a state of disrepair for many years.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has, until recently, been the sole importer of petrol into the country for more than two years, after private oil marketers stopped importing the commodity due to crude price fluctuations, among other issues.
ThisDay newspaper reports that henceforth, lease or rent agreements for homes, offices, business ventures and Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) would be subject to authentication with the new Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) adhesive stamp duty.
The Service, which made the disclosure in a statement by the Director, Communications and Liaison Department, Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, advised Nigerians and others resident in the country to note accordingly.
The FIRS said the move was necessary to give these instruments the force of law and make them legally bidding on all parties involved in such transactions.
The new FIRS adhesive stamp *duty was launched in Abuja on Tuesday June 30, 2020 in Abuja at the official inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Audit and Recovery of Back Years Stamp Duties.
The Nation newspaper says that the Nigerian Government has spent N609.135 billion to service domestic debt in the first quarter of 2020.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) released this figure yesterday in Abuja. According to the DMO, between January and March, 2020, the Federal Government paid interest on Nigerian Treasury Bill (NTB) to the tune of N111.605 billion.
Other obligations which the Federal Government met within the first three months of the year include: interest on FGN Bonds, N488.935 billion; FGN Savings Bonds debt servicing N392.794 billion and; Rentals N8.201 billion.
Giving a month-by-month breakdown of debt servicing activities of the government, the DMO stated that in January 2020, the government serviced debts with N251.352 billion. In February it paid out interests amounting to N158.123 billion and in March doled out N199.658 billion to service debt.
The newspaper also reported that Nigeria’s Manufacturers’ capacity utilisation declined marginally to 59.4 percent in the second half of 2019. This represents 1.6 percentage point decline from 61.0 percent recorded in the second half of 2018.
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), however, said capacity utilisation increased by 5.3 percentage point when compared with 54.1 per cent recorded in the first half of 2019. MAN in its “Executive Summary,” which reviewed the economy in the second half of 2019, said capacity utilisation in the sector averaged 56.8 percent in the year 2019, indicating 0.95 percentage point increase from 57.75 percent average recorded in 2018.
According to MAN, “The decline in capacity utilization in the sector over the review period was attributed to reduction in the purchasing power of the populace on account of the increasing inflation rate experienced in the country particularly in the second half of the year.”