Travel News

Why queues returned to Abuja filling stations — NNPC - VANGUARD

MAY 09, 2022

By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited has attributed the appearance of queues at filling stations in Abuja to disruption in loading due public holidays last week.

The Corporation in tweets on its official Tweeter handle in the early hours of Monday said it was ramping up loading to eliminate the queues.

The NNPC Limited stated:  “The NNPC Ltd notes the sudden appearance of fuel queues in parts of Abuja. This is  very likely due to low loadouts at depots which usually happen during long public holidays, in this case, the Sallah celebrations.

“Another contributing factor to the sudden appearances of queues is the increased fuel purchases which is also usual with returning residents of the FCT from the public holidays.

“NNPC and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (@NMDPRAtweets) in conjunction with our marketing partners have taken necessary measures to ramp up loadouts from all depots.

“We assure all residents of the FCT, and indeed all Nigerians, that we have ample local supplies and national stock in excess of 2.5 billion liters, with sufficiency of more than 43 days.

“The NNPC Ltd hereby advises motorists not to engage in panic buying as supplies are adequate as will become increasingly evident in the  coming days”.

Fuel queues resurface in Abuja, neighbouring states - PUNCH

MAY 09, 2022

BY  Okechukwu Nnodim

Most filling stations in Abuja and neighbouring states of Nasarawa and Niger that dispensed Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, on Sunday were greeted with long queues.

It was observed that many other outlets were shut as they claimed not to have products to dispense, a development that led to the crowding of the filling stations that dispensed the commodity.

Queues were seen at the Nipco filling station along the busy Zuba-Kubwa expressway in Abuja and at the Conoil and Total filling stations located opposite the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited in the capital city.

In Zuba, Niger State, the few stations that dispensed products also had long queues formed by motorists. The same scenario played out in Mararaba, Nasarawa State.

The spokesperson of NNPC, Garba-Deen Mohammad, promised to revert with an explanation on what might have led to the resurfacing of queues in Abuja, when he was contacted. He, however, did not.

But dealers told our correspondent that a number of factors could have warranted the queues, as they explained that petrol transporters had been calling for improved bridging claims due to the high cost of diesel.

This, it was gathered, had occasionally discouraged some tanker owners from lifting products to retail stations.

Also, they stated that the loading of products had been low, as this was partly due to the recent Sallah break and the limited number of trucks to transport products.

They, however, assured that the queues would clear in days, as efforts were on to handle the situation.

This came as NNPC announced on Sunday that it evacuated 537.75 million litres of petrol between April 25 and May 1, 2022, translating to an average daily evacuation of 76.82 million litres during the review week.

After Intense Pressure, Airlines Rescind Planned Shutdown - DAILY TRUST

MAY 09, 2022

By  Abdullateef Aliyu  And  Chris Agabi

After an intense pressure from the Federal Government, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) yesterday backtracked on its decision to suspend flights nationwide over the skyrocketing price of aviation fuel known as Jet A1.

They said the decision was in respect to the appeal by the Federal Government to call off the action while promising to urgently intervene in the crises being faced by airlines “due to the astronomic and continuously rising cost of JetA1.”

However, the aviation unions said they would go ahead with the plan to embark on a two-day warning strike beginning on Monday over issues bothering on conditions of service.

If the planned strike should go ahead, it means there would be flight disruption as the air traffic controllers would not be on duty.

Daily Trust however reports that the decision by the AON was coming after no fewer than six airlines had already chickened out of the planned shutdown. 

The airlines which pulled out of the earlier joint decision to suspend operations over skyrocketing Jet A1 included Ibom Air, Dana, Arik, Aero, Overland and Green Africa Airways.

President of the AON, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina issued a statement announcing the reversal of the planned shutdown. 

He said, “We have also reached this decision with the highest consideration for our esteemed customers who have been faced with uncertainty over the last few days and to enable them to have access to travel to their various destinations for the time being during the period of discussions with relevant authorities.”

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika had earlier in a statement by his special assistant, Dr James Odaudu lauded those who have pulled out of the planned shutdown and expressed hope that the airlines would “consider the dire implications of the planned action for businesses and individuals and review their decision likewise.” 

The minister also “assured foreign airlines operating in the country that all the requisite logistics and services for their operations remain in place as usual and that no disruptions whatsoever should be envisaged.”

President of ART, Dr Gabriel Olowo who earlier pleaded with the operators to heed the appeal of the Minister said, “Aviation Fuel has been an issue for upwards of 20 years in Nigeria without serious attention. Yet airlines keep operating out of being patriotic. Regrettably this is planning for an accident.

“If any Airline pretends about this problem, such Airline must be receiving subsidies for the business or “cutting corners”. No operational and management skill can answer for this uncontrollable factor of the business. My take is that the government must provide a lasting solution once and for all at this time.”

However, General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Comrade Ocheme Aba told our correspondent that the planned industrial action in aviation agencies would go ahead.

The agencies affected are the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT).

Prepare for worst fuel scarcity, petrol marketers alert Nigerians - PUNCH

MAY 10, 2022

BY  Tukur Muntari

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria has asked Nigerians to prepare for the worst fuel crisis.

To avoid this, the petrol marketers association asked the Federal Government to prevail on the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority to pay its members their outstanding bridging claims amounting to over N500 billion.

The IPMAN chairman in Kano State, Bashir Danmalam, made the remarks while addressing a news conference in Kano State on Monday.

He said the failure of the NMDPRA to pay the the bridging claims, otherwise known as transportation claims, had forced many of its members out of business as they couldn’t transport the commodity due to high cost of diesel.

He lamented that non-payment of the claims by NMDPRA for over eight months had crippled the businesses of many of their members as they couldn’t transport the commodity even though it was available.

“NMDPRA is responsible for the payment of bridging claims otherwise known as transportation claims

“For failure of the NMDPRA to pay the outstanding claims for about nine months, many marketers cannot transport the product because their funds are not being paid. Despite the high price of diesel, they manage to supply the petroleum products nationwide.

“The resurfacing of fuel queues in Abuja is just a tip of the iceberg with regard to the petroleum scarcity.

“Out of 100 per cent, only five per cent of the marketers can supply the petroleum products because of the failure of NMDPRA to pay them.”

He noted that after the amalgamation of DPR, PEF, and PPRA to NMDPRA, the agency had paid them only two times.

Danmalam, therefore, called on the Federal Government to intervene before the situation degenerated into a serious fuel crisis and spread to other parts of the country.

“As leaders, we have to come out to say the truth because our members are suffering from the failure of the agency to pay the fund. This Petroleum Equalisation Fund is our own money we contribute to each litre. This agency is doing more harm than good to us,” Danmalam said.

He said Nigerians should not blame their members for the fuel scarcity but rather ascribe it to NMDPRA.

“We are not agitating for a transportation fee increase, we are only clamouring for payment of our bridging claims that is over N500 billion,” he added.

Aviation fuel: NNPC, airlines agree on three-month supply at N480/litre - PUNCH

MAY 10, 2022

BY   Leke Baiyewu

The House of Representatives on Monday held a stakeholders meeting to resolve the crisis trailing the aviation fuel price increase, with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and domestic airline operators reaching a deal.

It was agreed that the NNPC would supply Jet-A1 to marketers nominated by airline operators for a period of three months at N480 per litre, pending when the carriers would be granted licences to import the commodity.

This is just as the AON said it had nominated 10 marketers for the purpose.

The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila; and Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, presided over the meeting that lasted about four hours, with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; and the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari, among others in attendance.

Airline operators had last week threatened to halt their services over soaring aviation fuel prices, effective Monday (yesterday).

They had given a notice to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika; and the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Musa Nuhu.

The AON said the price of aviation fuel had risen from N190 to N700 per litre.

The operators, however, suspended the planned flight shutdown for economic and security reasons.

The Senate and the House had intervened in the fuel crisis before the notice.

After the meeting on Monday, Gbajabiamila said the stakeholders had reached a four-point agreement, following their meeting with the airlines. Firstly, he said the carriers had agreed to call off the proposed withdrawal of services.

The Speaker said in part, “Two, NNPC and the airline operators have both agreed that in the interim – for three months, your (AON’s) marketers of choice, that you are comfortable with, that you know their price would not drive you out of business, would be supplied with jet fuel.

“The third resolution is that in the mid-term to long-term, in fact right now, you will begin or commence the process of applying for your license to be able to import your own jet fuel, so that it will remove middleman or the vagrancies of it; you will know the landing cost and how it will assist you in your business.

“According to the CBN governor, there are six million litres available now at N480. You will get an allocation in the next three months through the companies (marketers) that you have nominated so that you would not come back and say jet fuel is now a certain amount and it is the fault of the NNPC. You have nominated those people that are selling to you.”

Gbajabiamila added, “And in the process of applying for their licence, Midstream would as much as possible grant as many waivers as possible that do not touch on security and safety.”

The meeting also agreed that the House Committee on Aviation should be part of the further talks between oil regulators, aviation regulators and the airline operators.

Reechoing what other stakeholders had alleged, Gbajabiamila stated, “I agree with you; I think the problem is with the marketers.”

While thanking those in attendance, the Speaker said, “The last people we want to thank are the marketers right now.”

Before then, Kyari had accused the AON of “attacking” and “making institutions” on the NNPC over its role in the crisis.

The Vice-Chairman, AON, Allen Onyema, who is also the Chairman of Air Peace, however, denied the allegation, saying the operators took exception to the GMD’s comments.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Gbajabiamila said, “We are at the precipice today in Nigeria. It is a crucial moment for us. There is a crisis at hand. The shutdown of airline operations has the potential of shutting down this government. We cannot sit here as stakeholders and fold our arms and watch this happen. We need to address this matter once and for all.”

Onyema also said, “We were told here at that last meeting that fuel would be sold to us at N500, which we protested that it was still on the high side because even when fuel was selling at N200 or N250, the operating cost was about 40 per cent worldwide. It is like that.

“It rose to N400 and then to N450, and that was when we were alarmed and you noticed that everybody tweaked his inventory when we now raised our base fare to about N50,000, which did not actually address the matter. That was when it was N400.

“We were invited to the House and when we came here, it was reached that they would give us fuel at N500 within three days. That never happened. We continued writing and nothing happened.”

The AON vice chair added that Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority later invited the operators and they were told that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had “approved 25,000 metric tonnes for us as a palliative to help us.”

He said, “We were very grateful to the President. It was not free. We were happy. We were told to nominate marketers that would market this product for us. We were told to have a meeting with these marketers. We called all the marketers. We held a meeting with them. We decided the logistics, so they would take their logistical costs and everything.

“At the end of the day that fuel was getting to them, they told us, at N335. So, we put everything together and it would be less than N400 for the cost and we said even if they sell to us at N450, it would be okay.

Onyema stated, “If we crumble today, over a million jobs would be lost.” Kyari also admitted that the last meeting agreed to make the marketers sell the product to airlines at N500 per litre for three days, pending the day they would sit down and agree on this pricing formula.

He said, “I confirm that they had sat down and engaged and agreed on a pricing structure. Needless to say, there is no fixed price. This is a deregulated product. So, you cannot hold onto any price. And indeed, what you have seen in the media is a N700 reference point. It cannot be a reference point. It depends on the market condition. It can be higher than N700, depending on the market. This market shifts. As we speak, it is closely related to the price of crude oil.

“We cannot fix the price. We cannot ask for N500. We cannot say it must be below N600 or N700. That is why we insisted they go and have a formula that is transparent that each one of us can see. The only way we can have fixed prices is if we put subsidies on. You can say it can sell for N500 in any circumstance, then somebody has paid for that difference. I am not sure this is what we are doing.”

Heathrow to reopen Terminal 4 in July as 53 million expected to book flights - YAHOO FINANCE

MAY 10, 2022

London's Heathrow airport has said it will reopen Terminal 4 by July and is already recruiting up to 1,000 new security officers.

Heathrow increased its 2022 passenger number forecast from 45.5 million to nearly 53 million as it warned of “significant challenges” ahead.

The London hub said outbound leisure travellers and people cashing in airline vouchers obtained for trips cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic are driving the recovery in demand.

This 16% rise in expected travellers follows a “strong” April, with 5.1 million people using the west London airport.

In what it said was a “realistic assessment”, Heathrow expects passenger numbers to reach 65% of pre-pandemic levels this year.

It still expects to remain lossmaking throughout this year.

The airport cautioned that the war in Ukraine, higher fuel costs and cost of living squeeze “creates uncertainty going forward.”

“The ongoing war in Ukraine, higher fuel costs, continuing travel restrictions for key markets like the United States and the potential for a further variant of concern creates uncertainty going forward.

“Together with last week’s warning from the Bank of England that inflation is set to pass 10% and that the UK economy will likely ‘slide into recession’ means we are taking a realistic assessment that travel demand will reach 65% of pre-pandemic levels overall for the year,” the London airport said in a statement.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye added: “We all want to see travel get back to pre-pandemic levels as quickly as possible, and, while I am encouraged by the rise in passenger numbers, we also have to be realistic.

“There are significant challenges ahead. The regulator can either plan for them with a robust and adaptable regulatory settlement that delivers for passengers and withstands any shocks, or they can prioritise airline profits by cutting back on passenger service, leaving the industry to scramble when things go wrong in future.”

Airlines have accused Heathrow of playing down the recovery of demand as part of efforts to convince the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to allow it to raise fees further.

The regulator is in the final stages of setting a five-year cap on the airport’s charges.

Heathrow does not forecast paying dividends to shareholders in 2022.

Power Outage In Calabar Enters 33rd Day - NAN

MAY 10, 2022

The electric power outage in Calabar and its environs has entered the 33rd day, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

An electricity tower at Itu, evacuating power from Ikot Ekpene to Adiabo plant in Calabar, was on April 8 vandalised by hoodlums.

The vandalism led to a power outage in Odukpani and Akpabuyo local government areas.

An investigation by NAN in the Calabar metropolis showed that many offices now close earlier in order to cut down the cost of alternative power supply.

Some residents of the affected areas, who spoke to NAN, expressed worry that the electricity tower had yet to be repaired after 33 days.

They called on the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) to repair the tower without further delay in order to restore electricity.

The residents regretted that the blackout was having adverse effects on their businesses.

A tiger-nut juice seller, Mrs Ada Francis, said that she spent more money on ice blocks to chill her products.

”This development has dealt a blow on my business. I spend about N1,000 daily on ice blocks.

”Making profit is now difficult. I urge those in charge to do something quickly,” she said.

A barber, Mr Edet Isaac, said that he spent more on petrol to remain in business.

”It is not funny at all. We cannot continue this way.

“The concerned authorities should be alive to their duties,” he said.

When contacted, Mr Collins Igwe, PHEDC Regional Manager, said that work was still ongoing on the vandalised tower.

He urged residents of the affected areas to be patient.

”We are not resting, we are working tirelessly to restore power,” he said.


Airlines Win Deal to Buy Fuel at Fixed Rate From Nigeria State - BLOOMBERG

MAY 10, 2022

  • NNPC to supply companies for three months amid cost complaints
  • Fuel marketers dispute airline claims about price hikes

Nigeria’s state energy company will sell aviation fuel to domestic airlines at a fixed price for three months after some companies threatened to ground their fleets.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Co. agreed to supply the product to marketing firms nominated by the airlines at 480 naira ($1.15) a liter until August, Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the House of Representatives, told reporters on Monday, after a meeting in the National Assembly with the NNPC, central bank and aviation industry representatives.

The meeting took place after the Airline Operators of Nigeria, a body representing the country’s larger domestic carriers, on May 8 agreed to halt plans to ground flights due to the high cost of aviation fuel, which it said was crippling their businesses and making them unprofitable, and hold talks with government. 

Despite being Africa’s largest producer of crude oil, the country currently has minimal available refining capacity, leaving it reliant on energy imports. The airlines said the cost of aviation fuel had more than tripled over the past four months to 700 naira per liter as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered massive disruptions to energy markets.

A group for Nigeria’s biggest fuel marketing companies, however, have contested the airlines’ claims, saying that they have been selling the product for an average of 540 naira to 580 naira a liter in recent weeks. They in turn have been buying the fuel from the NNPC, even though the market is open to importers from the private sector, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria said in a statement on Monday.

“The aviation industry is already benefiting from government’s intervention when local prices are compared to West African regional prices,” MOMAN said. The inability of the association’s members to access foreign exchange at the same rate as the state-owned firm leaves the “NNPC as the major importer of aviation fuel for now, even though the product is deregulated,” it said.

Airlines will be granted licenses to import aviation fuel in the coming months, Gbajabiamila said.

While businesses in Nigeria complain regularly about a scarcity of foreign currency, the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele told the same meeting that he cannot issue waivers to the airlines and urged the companies to approach the country’s banks. “We do not have forex to sell,” he said.

Fuel queues persist in Abuja, black marketers sell for N300/litre - PUNCH

MAY 10, 2022

BY  Odinaka Anudu

…NNPC blames low loadouts, increased demand

Fuel queues persisted in the Federal Capital Territory on Monday as filling stations struggled to control desperate drivers waiting to buy the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, at the official price.

Racketeers had a field day, selling a litre of PMS at N300 in different parts of the FCT.

In Kubwa, a litre of fuel went as high as N320, rising to N400 in Asokoro and other prime parts of Abuja, The PUNCH gathered.

One of the racketeers, who identified himself as Usman, said he stored fuel in several gallons, with the belief that fuel would be scarce at some point in the future.

Another racketeer, Bala, claimed that he was still selling his reserves.

“When there is scarcity, I buy from some filling stations at night. I usually pay extra N200 or more for a 10-litre gallon. I buy at N 2000 and sell N3,500,” he said.

Vehicle drivers told The Punch that they spent between two and four hours at various filling stations before buying PMS.

A commercial vehicle driver, George Akinsanya, said he spent three hours at Oando Filling Station opposite the NNPC depot in Abuja before buying the PMS.

Akinsanya said, “We need to find a solution to this perennial problem of fuel scarcity. It is looking like filling stations are looking for this type of opportunity to make money. Last time there was fuel scarcity, they sold at higher prices at night and limit sales to one or two pumps in the day.”

A driver, Mr Udoka Uzondu, who said he waited to buy PMS at an NNPC depot in Abuja, urged the government to put an end to the scarcity to reduce the plight of the common man.”

Fuel queues have become a recurring decimal in Nigeria, especially the FCT. In the first quarter of the year, fuel scarcity disrupted economic activities, leading to an increase in inflation to 15.92 per cent, from 15.70 per cent.

The PUNCH reported on Monday that most filling stations in Abuja and neighbouring states of Nasarawa and Niger that dispensed Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, were on Sunday greeted with long queues.

It was observed that many other outlets were shut as they claimed not to have products to dispense, a development that led to the crowding of the filling stations that dispensed the commodity.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has ascribed the sudden appearance of fuel queues in parts of Abuja to low loadouts and increased purchases that characterise post-holiday periods.

In a statement, the spokesman for NNPC, Garba Deen Muhammad, said on Monday that the company had sufficient fuel supplies to satisfy the demands of Abuja residents for over six weeks.

The statement partly read in part, “The NNPC Ltd notes the sudden appearance of fuel queues in parts of Abuja. This is very likely due to low loadouts at depots which usually happen during long public holidays, in this case, the Sallah celebrations.

“Another contributing factor to the sudden appearances of queues is the increased fuel purchases which are also usual with returning residents of the FCT from the public holidays.”

He further said the NNPC and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, in conjunction with our marketing partners, had taken necessary measures to ramp up loadouts from all depots.

He assured all residents of the FCT and Nigerians that NNPC had ample local supplies and national stock in excess of 2.5 billion liters, with the sufficiency of more than 43 days.

“The NNPC Limited hereby advises motorists not to engage in panic buying as supplies are adequate as will become increasingly evident in the  coming days.”

But the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Promotion of Private Enterprise, Dr Muda Yusuf, urged the Federal Government to deregulate the industry to avoid long queue recurrences.

Why we have no FX for airline operators and won’t subsidise aviation fuel – Emefiele - NAIRAMETRICS

MAY 11, 2022

Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele has disclosed that the rising crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region has made it difficult to grant foreign exchange to aviation operators.

Emefiele disclosed this on Monday, during a House of Reps meeting between the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), discussing ways of resolving the issues lamented by the airline operators of Nigeria which almost led to a shut down of operations.

He added that the CBN will not grant any concession to the airline operators because it would amount to giving subsidy to aviation operators.

What the CBN governor is saying

Reacting to calls by the airline operators to reduce the cost of aviation fuel, the CBN Governor said, “oil theft in the Niger Delta was exacerbating the unavailability of foreign exchange.”

He added that the CBN had no foreign exchange for airline operators and that since the landing cost of aviation fuel was N460 per litre, the price would come to N550 per litre at the pump. He added that the Bank would not grant any concession because it would amount to giving subsidy to aviation operators.

  •  “I compelled some fuel marketers to take the loss and to sell aviation fuel at N480 per litre after getting a call from the Chief of Staff to the President that the operators were planning a strike and I promised to intervene,’’ Emefiele said.
  • Also speaking on the matter, the GMD of the NNPC, Mele Kyari said aviation fuel cannot have a fixed price because it is a deregulated product.
  • “It is our role to ensure we intervene. We did. We brought in products so that we can dampen the price. In March and April, we brought in cargo and made it available to the entire industry at N460.
  • “There is a build-up to that price. When the customer takes marine at N435, he has to transport, he has to the charter vessel, bring it to his depot, to his fuel station and transport it. So there cannot be two same prices in Lagos and Maiduguri.
  • “We cannot fix the price. We cannot ask for N500. We cannot say it must be below N600 or N700,” Kyari stated.

In case you missed it

Recall that Nairametrics reported in march that the crisis between oil marketers and airline operators was halted after the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and the National Assembly brokered an interim agreement among Oil marketers and Airline operators to allow the latter to import cheaper fuel.


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