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Azman Air aircraft landing incident forces closure of Lagos airport runway - VANGUARD

FEBRUARY 17, 2021

By Lawani Mikairu 

Azman Air Boeing 737 aircraft with registration 5N SYS, and flight number ZQ2325 Tuesday evening had a tyre burst after landing on runway 18 R of Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos. 

Though no life was lost in the incident, but the mishap  has forced Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, to close the runway for flight operations. 

Confirming the closure of the runway yesterday night, Mrs Herrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, said: ” Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria hereby announces a temporary closure of Runway 18R/36L at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos.” 

“The closure is due to a landing incident involving a Boeing 737 Azman Air aircraft with registration 5N SYS, and flight number ZQ2325. The aircraft had a tyre burst after landing on this runway.”

“All passengers and crew on board the aircraft were safely evacuated at 1908 hours, and officials of FAAN Air Rescue and Fire Fighting Services, AIB and NAHCO are already working to ensure the aircraft is towed out of the runway, so as to restore normalcy, ” she said.

Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/20...

‘Bearers of fake PCR test results to be quarantined, jailed’ - THE NATION

FEBRUARY 17, 2021

By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Pandemic has warned inbound international travellers to be wary of obtaining fake PCR test results as such will attract strict sanctions, including imprisonment.

National Incident Manager of the PTF Dr. Mukhtar Muhammad, who gave the warning during the task force’s media briefing in Abuja on Monday revealed that the PTF had discovered that syndicates are now issuing fake PCR results to travellers in some foreign countries.

He, however, advised Nigerians travelling back into the country to ensure to take real tests, obtain original results as the penalty for presenting a fake result would see defaulters being quarantined on arrival and made to bear the full cost, after which they are likely to be prosecuted, fined or jailed.

We intend to apply the full force of the law over such violators, which include fines and imprisonment. Our aim is not to witch-hunt or punish anyone, but just to ensure people travel safely and when they return to the country that they do not constitute danger to their loved ones and their community.

“The PTF is aware of the report of syndicates at some international airports outside Nigeria, who specialise in providing fake results to innocent Nigerians, who are travelling back home.

“While investigating the matter and working on its relevant authorities, including the countries in which these syndicates operate to make sure that these guys are nipped in the bud, I will like to reiterate that it is the responsibility of any passenger returning to Nigeria, to ensure that they are tested before they start returning. You cannot be given a negative result when your samples have not be taken; please understand this and comply.

“It is important to note that on arrival here, if you have a fake result, you will be quarantined in any of our facilities and you will bear the expenses of the facility, feeding and the lab test and after that, you are also liable to prosecution.

“Still on travel protocol, we received reports of technical challenges experienced by people returning to the country. We have set up a backup manual process and communicated same to all relevant stakeholders, including the airlines, Ministry of Health and other embassies.”

Quarantined travellers have to pay extra £1,200 if they test positive for Covid-19 - EVENING STANDARD

FEBRUARY 17, 2021

by  Barney Davis  


Travellers shipped to airport quarantine hotels will be landed with an extra £1,200 bill if they test positive for coronavirus, the Government has revealed.

This is on top of the £1,750 fee for entering the programme and will apply to guests required to extend their stay beyond the initial 11 nights.

Information about the £152 daily cost of longer stays was only published on the Government’s website on Monday, after some guests had already checked in.

From 4am on Monday, travellers arriving in England must quarantine in a hotel if they have been in a country at high risk of coronavirus variants in the previous 10 days.

Guests are allowed to leave after 11 nights if they receive negative results from tests taken on day two and day eight of their isolation.

A positive result from the first test will extend a traveller’s stay by two nights at a cost of £304.

If the second test returns a positive reading, the guest must remain in their room for an additional eight nights and pay £1,216.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked at Monday’s Downing Street press conference what will happen if a traveller cannot afford the extra fee.

He replied: “It is currently illegal to travel abroad for holidays anyway.

“We would expect people who are coming in from one of these red list countries to be able to cover their costs.”

There are 33 countries on the Government’s “red list”, which includes Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, South America and southern Africa.

UK and Irish nationals and UK residents returning to England who have been in a country on the list in the previous 10 days must enter a quarantine hotel, even if they have travelled via the CTA.

a group of people posing for the camera: Passengers arriving at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 are escorted by security personnelGetty Images© Provided by Evening Standard Passengers arriving at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 are escorted by security personnelGetty Images

On Monday the first flight arrived at 6.20am but travellers found to be on the red list only emerged through immigration nearly two hours later.

Passengers reported big queues in the immigration hall with Border Force staff trying to establish who was on the red list.

Scotland’s exemption for people travelling from the CTA led to a father and daughter who entered the programme on Monday being allowed to leave after just one day and complete their isolation at home.

Chun Wong told BBC Scotland he and his daughter flew into the country from the United States via Dublin, and went straight to a hotel at Edinburgh Airport.

Mr Wong told the broadcaster: “I received a call from reception saying a gentleman from the airport would like to talk to me.

“He said that since I landed in Dublin first and then got a connecting flight to here, I was not required to quarantine in a hotel.

“I still have to quarantine and do the self-testing kit on the second and eighth day, but they said it was an error on their part.”

Additional reporting by PA

Sri Lanka is now open to travelers - no quarantine, but no mingling with locals too - CNBC

FEBRUARY 17, 2021

BY Monica Buchanan Pitrelli

To quarantine or not to quarantine — that is the question.

Or at least it has been for countries deliberating how to handle incoming international travelers.

But that changed last month when Sri Lanka reopened its borders with a requirement unlike any country that had opened before it —  one that neither grants travelers free rein of the island nor boxes them into a hotel room for two weeks. 

Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando referred to it as a “new concept” developed by the tourism authority — which allows tourists to travel the country in “bio bubbles,” or roving semi-isolated groups that let travelers sightsee without mixing with the local population.

The rules apply for the first two weeks of their stay.

Rules of the ‘bio bubble’

When Sri Lanka reopened its borders on Jan. 21, it became one of very few Asian countries — including the Maldives — to allow international travelers to enter without being subject to strict quarantines.

But tourists aren’t exactly free to go where they choose. Sri Lanka’s “bio bubbles” allow holidaymakers to move around the island provided they:

·         Stay in approved hotels ·         Visit approved sites at specific times ·         Travel via independent transportation ·         Undergo frequent Covid-19 testing, and ·         Refrain from intermingling with the local population

These rules must be followed for the first two weeks upon entering Sri Lanka. Thereafter, guests are free to “interact with the local community” and move “to an accommodation of their choice,” according to a safety booklet produced by the country’s Ministry of Tourism.

The plan was first tested in a pilot project with Ukrainian tourists in late December of 2020.

Where travelers can stay

As of Feb. 17, there are 98 certified “Level 1” hotels where travelers can stay during the first two weeks of a trip. The list includes hotels and villas in tourist hotspots such as Bentota, Galle, Kandy and Sri Lanka’s capital city of Colombo.

The hotels cover a range of budgets, from guest houses in the surfing paradise of Hikkaduwa, to tented lodges near Yala National Park and the ultra-luxurious Ani Villas in Dickwella.  

Sri Lanka is famous for its untouched and often empty beaches. Sri Lanka is famous for its untouched and often empty beaches. dowell | Moment | Getty Images

The country’s two Aman hotels — Amangalla and Amanwella — are on the list, as are several of the restored British bungalows that comprise the Ceylon Tea Trails in the beautiful tea estate region.

Unlike strict quarantines, travelers are not confined to their hotel rooms during the first two weeks of a trip. Guests are “permitted to use all facilities in the hotel including the beach,” Fernando told CNBC Global Traveler.

Hotels are to operate at 75% of capacity, leaving the remaining rooms open to isolate any guests who test positive for Covid-19. This option is only available to those without symptoms; infected travelers who display Covid-19 symptoms must isolate in a private hospital.

An Asian elephant walks along a dirt road at Yala National Park. An Asian elephant walks along a dirt road at Yala National Park. SolStock | E+ | Getty Images

“All certified hotels have a medical doctor,” said Fernando. These doctors are to monitor hotel staff and guests for Covid-19 symptoms and send daily reports to government authorities, according to Sri Lanka’s safety booklet.

Hotel staff who are in direct contact with guests are not allowed to leave the hotel during a guests’ stay and for 14 days thereafter. And, unless they are outfitted in full personal protective equipment (PPE), Sri Lankans who come into contact with tourists — such as tour guides and drivers — must quarantine for 14 days after a tour ends.

Where travelers can — and can’t — go

During the first two weeks of a trip, travelers are permitted to move between hotels and visit approved tourist sites, provided they visit during specific timeslots that have been allocated to tourists. When out, they are to refrain from interacting with local residents as well as other travelers.

Tourists must arrange transportation through their hotels or via a certified tour guide.

The list of sites where travelers are permitted to go include some of the most famous attractions in Sri Lanka, including Sigiriya Fortress and the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. Yala National Park and the whale watching tours near the town of Mirissa are also on the list.

An ancient palace once stood on the top of the 660-foot Sigiriya rock, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is on the list of approved tourist sites. An ancient palace once stood on the top of the 660-foot Sigiriya rock, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is on the list of approved tourist sites. Anton Petrus | Moment | Getty Images

Dambulla Cave Temple and the 16th century Galle Fort, both UNESCO World Heritage sites, are not currently open to tourists, however.

Advance planning is required for all outside trips, including stops for meals and bathroom breaks.

Frequent Covid testing

Travelers into Sri Lanka must undergo at least two Covid tests, and possibly more, depending on the length of their stay.

Covid tests are first required within 96 hours of departure, and again upon landing in Sri Lanka. Those staying longer than five days must take a third test, and anyone staying more than two weeks must take a fourth test.

The Nine Arches Bridge is located in the elevated Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. The Nine Arches Bridge is located in the elevated Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. Michael Roberts | Moment | Getty Images

Children under 12 years old are exempt from testing, unless they become symptomatic or are a close contact of an infected traveler.

Travelers must also apply for a visa prior to departure. Before doing so, tourists must make hotel bookings, purchase a Covid-19 insurance policy ($12) and prepay for Covid-19 tests ($40 each).

Currently, visas are not being issued to people who have been in the United Kingdom two weeks before entering Sri Lanka.

Are ‘bio bubbles’ attracting tourists?

On Feb.15, Fernando from Sri Lanka Tourism told CNBC that 3,820 people had arrived since the country reopened on Jan. 21.

“In comparison to the first two to three weeks of arrivals to Maldives in July 2020, our arrivals are slightly higher,” she said.

Women pick tea near the town of Nuwara Eliya in central Sri Lanka. Women pick tea near the town of Nuwara Eliya in central Sri Lanka. Tuul & Bruno Morandi | The Image Bank | Getty Images

Fernando said the travelers have come from Germany, Russia, Ukraine and expatriates living in “GCC countries,” referencing the Gulf Cooperation Council member countries of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.   

She added that Sri Lanka is awaiting a “bubble agreement” to start flights with India, too.

Covid-19 rates in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka had low Covid-19 infection rates until October last year. Since then, cases have steadily risen, with the number of infections peaking earlier this month.

The country of 21.5 million people has confirmed more than 77,000 cases to date, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 11,500 cases occurred in the past two weeks.

Sri Lanka started a vaccination campaign in late January. Fernando told CNBC that health officials will start vaccinating all employees in the tourism industry “within the next few weeks.”

‘Digitalise Hajj to save pilgrims from COVID-19’ - THE NATION

FEBRUARY 18, 2021

By Nduka Chiejina, Abuja

The Federal Government has urged the National Hajj Commission to digitise its processes to save pilgrims from the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Mrs. Zainab Ahmed advised members of the commission to quickly adopt digitisation process “because of the present reality of COVID-19 pandemic”.

She, therefore, appealed to the commission to license more banks to help ease the digitisation process.

Mrs. Ahmed stated these when Chairman National Hajj Commission Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan and his team visited her to present the commission’s Hajji Saving Scheme to her.

On the saving scheme, the finance minister encouraged the commission to double its efforts in sensitising Muslims on the need to take advantage of the scheme.

Ahmed expressed delight at the way the commission reaches out to and consults with stakeholders. She noted that the action would open up space and contribute to the smooth-running of the commission.

She acknowledged the fact that the commission needs support, but must put its requests in writing and be specific.

“We cannot offer government’s support now, but our multilateral institutions can offer technical support. So, reach out to them and let us know and we will help you reach out too,” Mrs. Ahmed said.

She promised to liaise with bilateral partners for technical support for the commission, hailing the effort of the commission to revive dead assets.

Hassan said the commission is “imbibing digitisation to minimise face-to-face interaction and to create more transparency in our processes”.

Hassan stated that “due to dwindling resources, we at the Hajj Commission frown at government sponsorship of Hajj for individuals from government’s purse”.

“Nigeria is the fifth-largest contingent to Saudi Arabia for Hajj after India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia. Nigeria has an allocation of over 95,000 and that number has been consistent over the years. But, the capacity to attend has reduced considerably.”

“We, therefore, introduced a Hajji Saving Scheme, and all stakeholders have adopted it. Prospective candidates can now save bit-by-bit to allow them to go to Hajj at their own convenient time, without stressing anyone. They can save for as long as they can, and it must not be that they go immediately, but when they are able to save enough,” he said.

Australia announces new High Commissioner to Nigeria - MIRAGE NEWS

FEBRUARY 18, 2021

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Today I announce the appointment of Mr John Donnelly as Australia’s next High Commissioner to Nigeria. Mr Donnelly will also be accredited to Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Niger and the Gambia.

Australia values the leadership role Nigeria and its people play in international affairs, including in Africa. Our shared membership of the Commonwealth and United Nations support human rights, democracy and development around the world. Australia supports Nigeria’s efforts to counter terrorism and combat violent extremism.

Nigeria is a significant trading partner for Australia in Africa, with two-way trade totalling $800 million in 2018-19. We look forward to further expansion of our economic relationship as we recover from COVID-19. Australia’s economic engagement with Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Niger and The Gambia is also increasing, particularly in the mining and oil and gas sectors.

Mr Donnelly is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, most recently serving in the Multilateral Economic Branch. He has previously served overseas as Head of Mission in Nauru, and in Amman and Jakarta.

Mr Donnelly holds a Master of Public Administration from the Australian National University, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Sydney and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

I thank outgoing High Commissioner Claire Ireland for advancing Australia’s interests in Nigeria since 2019.

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.

Air France-KLM sees bigger losses before recovery - REUTERS

FEBRUARY 18, 2021

PARIS (Reuters) - Renewed COVID-19 lockdowns are pushing Air France-KLM deeper into the red, the airline group warned on Thursday, as it chalked up a 7.1 billion euro ($8.5 billion) net loss for 2020 and postponed a key mid-term profitability goal.

The airline group expects to fly 40% of its pre-crisis capacity in January-March, as tougher travel curbs in France and beyond widen losses from the 407 million euros in negative earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) recorded in the fourth quarter.

The past year has “tested the Air France-KLM Group with the most severe crisis ever experienced by the air transport industry,” Chief Executive Ben Smith said.

The worsening travel outlook threatens to ruin Europe’s critical summer season and leave major carriers in need of another round of funding support, analysts warn.

Air France-KLM last year received 10.4 billion euros in loans and guarantees from France and the Netherlands and is negotiating the terms of a state-backed recapitalisation, with EU regulators pushing for airport slot concessions.

The Air France business recorded a 989 million-euro operating loss last quarter, more than six times wider than KLM’s 152 million-euro deficit. Performance disparities have in the past sharpened Franco-Dutch tensions between the airlines and their government shareholders.

The cargo business, a bright spot for many airlines as grounded flights push up freight prices, saw unit revenues more than double in the fourth quarter.

The quarterly net loss of 1 billion euros was less than the 1.31 billion deficit analysts expected, according to the company’s own consensus polling. Revenue fell 64.3% to 2.36 billion euros on a 78% traffic decline.

Operating cash flow was a negative 2.12 billion euros last quarter, and net debt increased by 4.9 billion over the year to 11.05 billion as of Dec. 31, against 9.8 billion in liquidity.

Air France-KLM cut its workforce by 10% or 8,700 full time-equivalent positions in 2020 and expects to eliminate a further 6,000 “in coming years,” it said.

The group also flagged a likely further postponement of the 7-8% operating-margin objective it had pushed back last July by a year to 2025. The goal is “unchanged but delayed,” it said on Thursday, giving no new target date.

($1 = 0.8309 euros)

Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Richard Chang

India to test travellers from Brazil, South Africa, UK after detecting new virus strains - REUTERS

FEBRUARY 18, 2021

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will make COVID-19 molecular tests mandatory for people arriving directly or indirectly from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil in a bid to contain the spread of more infectious virus variants found in those countries.

India, which has reported the highest number of overall COVID-19 cases after the United States, detected the South African variant in four people last month and the Brazilian one in one person this month.

The government has said the South African and Brazilian strains can more easily infect a person’s lungs than the UK mutation. India has so far reported 187 cases of infection with the UK variant.

The government late on Wednesday said airlines would be required from next week to segregate inbound travellers from those countries. India does not have direct flights with Brazil and South Africa, and most people travelling from these countries generally transit through Middle Eastern airports.

“All the travellers arriving from/transiting through flights originating in United Kingdom, Europe or the Middle East shall be mandatorily subjected to self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on arrival,” India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a statement.

All flyers will also have to carry a recent COVID-negative report before boarding any flight to India, except in extraordinary circumstances like death in a family.

India’s coronavirus infections rose by of 12,881 in the past 24 hours to about 11 million, while deaths increased by 101 to more than 156,000. It was the highest daily increase in cases in a week. The states of Kerala and Maharashtra have seen a recent uptick in cases possibly due to further reopening of economic and other activities.

A government serological survey released this month said nearly 300 million of India’s 1.35 billion people may already have been infected by the virus.

The country has also administered 9.2 million vaccine doses since starting its campaign on Jan. 16.

A survey conducted by New Delhi-based online platform LocalCircles, released on Thursday, found that half of its 8,211 respondents were willing to get inoculated, compared with a vaccine hesitancy of 69% in the first week of January.

Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

'How Customs Tariff, VAT Waivers Will Help Airlines' - THISDAY

FEBRUARY 19, 2021

By Chinedu Eze

On January 28, 2021, when Air Peace received its first brand new aircraft from Embraer, the Chairman of the airline, Allen Onyema used the ceremony to let Nigerians know what the Buhari-administration did for the aviation industry.

He told his audience about the waiver government gave the domestic airlines on Customs Tariff and VAT, which was an Executive Order on exemption of Customs tariffs and VAT for the commercial operators.

The waivers are expected to save airlines estimated N3 billion to N5 billion annually and such money could be ploughed to other areas like training, he estimated.

Air Peace Chairman while delivering a speech during the ceremony to receive the new aircraft in Abuja, had explained how the airlines worked with the Ministry of Aviation to secure the Executive Order from President Muhammadu Buhari and its many benefits.

"The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, the Chairmen of Senate and House Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi and Hon. Nnoli Nnaji and Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) worked assiduously to help aviation industry secure the waivers.

"I especially thank the President of Nigeria for making it possible. Today as this plane has come in we are not going to pay customs duties on the plane and 12 others that will come after it.

"Senator Adeyemi, and Hon. Nnaji, we owe all of you a great deal for this feat. What we at AON did was to present those challenges that have been bringing down airlines in Nigeria and we moved to meet the National Assembly Committees on Aviation, and they said the best place to do this is to use a legislation to do it. We met our Minister who took it upon himself to make sure that these things were removed to enable airlines prosper in this country," he had said.

He gave kudos to Sirika who pushed the request through the National Assembly and the Presidency and ensured that the Executive Order was signed by the President.

Former CEO of Aero Contractors, Captain Ado Sanusi told THISDAY that the waiver could save the aviation industry about N3 to N5 billion annually, depending on the level of transaction in that particular year, if effectively implemented by the Nigerian Customs.

He said that the waiver could be up to five to seven per cent of the cost of aircraft engine, for example, which could be purchased for $5 million and the airline would pay up to 5-7 per cent of that amount.

Sanusi also explained that the airlines may not gain directly from the waiver on VAT but it will bring down the cost of air ticket, which could serve as incentive for more people to travel by air because airlines collect the money from passengers and remit them to government.

"If Nigerian Customs Service implements the waiver well it will save the aviation industry between N3 billion to N5 billion annually, but VAT will not save airlines anything but it will reduce the cost of tickets.

"This will enable airlines have more cash flow. So if Customs waivers is fully implemented the industry will benefit but right now it is not being implemented well," he said.

Speaking on the benefits of the waivers, the Director of Engineering, Ibom Air, Lukeman Animaseun, told THISDAY that the waiver would save Nigerian carriers a lot of money, lamenting about how the taxes eroded the finances of Nigerian airlines in the past, stating that Customs still demand some taxes from airlines on aircraft spares and equipment, explaining that what airlines pay now could not be described as duties but they still pay some kind of taxes to Customs.

"There is zero duty on imported spares and aircraft but we still pay some kind of tax, which is 1.5 per cent of the cost of the spares you are importing. This one is not Customs duty or tariff, but it is a kind of tax; so we still pay.

"So if you buy aircraft for $50 million and you pay 1.5 per cent of that amount as tax that is a huge some. But that will be more than double if you pay 5 per cent duties on it. But I hope that Customs will follow the Executive Order signed by the President and exempt airlines from paying those taxes," Anumaseun said.

It was Customs' failure to abide fully with the Executive Order that prompted the House Committee Chairman on Aviation, Nnaji to call on Customs to respect the new government policy of total exemption of duties on imported aircraft and spares, he said.

"The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation has condemned the continued collection of import duties on imported commercial aircraft and spare parts despite the President Muhammadu Buhari's executive order exempting them," Nnaji had said.

NNPC, marketers differ on petrol price, queues surface - PUNCH

FEBRUARY 19, 2021

BY Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Thursday said it had not effected any increase in the ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit and as such the pump price of the commodity had not been hiked.

But on the other hand, oil marketers who dispense the products at the pumps stated that while NNPC claimed not to have increased ex-depot price, private depot owners had raised their prices.

This, they said, had led to the rise in the pump price of petrol in some filling stations, adding that the cost of the commodity would definitely rise in other outlets in the coming days.

Meanwhile, it was observed that queues of motorists surfaced in some filling stations in Abuja and neighbouring Nasarawa and Niger states.

The NNPC filling station on Arab Road in Kubwa, IBWAS filling station on Kubwa-Zuba expressway, among others in Zuba, Niger State, had queues of motorists on Thursday morning, as similar scenarios played out in some other locations.

The spokesperson of NNPC, Kennie Obateru, said there was no increase in petrol price in February.

He noted that this was in spite of the rise in the price of crude oil in the international market, adding that NNPC had ruled out any increment in the ex-depot price of petrol in February 2021.

Obateru said the decision was to allow ongoing engagements with organised labour and other stakeholders to be concluded as regards an acceptable framework that would not expose Nigerians to hardship.

The corporation urged petroleum products marketers not to engage in hoarding of petrol in order not to create artificial scarcity, as it stated that it had enough stock of petrol to keep the nation well supplied for about 40 days.

The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chinedu Ukadike, told our correspondent in Abuja that dealers met to address the price concern in the downstream sector.

He said, “We met as regards the emerging trend in the downstream supply of petroleum products. We had a Central Working Committee meeting yesterday (Wednesday) where stakeholders looked at the trends.

“We were able to look at some of the policies and the introduction of e-payments by PPMC and the challenges therein, as well as the issue of buying products from other private depots and the profiteering in that section.”

He said independent marketers were currently buying PMS at between N160 and N161/litre from private depots, while the government approved pump price at filling stations was N162 to N165/litre.

Ukadike stated that with the current development, it was difficult for marketers to profitably sell at the approved pump price, stressing that the cost of petrol would definitely increase soon.

He said, “The queues building up at filling stations show that the supply system has been disrupted a bit, but the spokesperson of NNPC is saying that they have 40 days sufficiency.

“And because the PPMC has not come out with its price schedule for February, this made tank farms to withhold products because they don’t know if price will increase or decrease. But definitely it is going to increase.”

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