Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), have begun an indefinite strike that may completely cripple economic activities nationwide.
In Abuja, the protesting labour union members barricaded the entrance of the headquarters of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), thereby preventing the employees from resuming in their efforts to get its management attends to their demands.
Specifically, PENGASSAN called for a declaration of emergency in the oil and gas sector and urged the incoming government to do everything possible to address the plethora of issues bedevilling the sector in order to ensure its efficiency.
Mr. Francis Johnson, the association’s President in a statement pointed out that there were many issues requiring urgent attention from the incoming government to reposition the industry for efficient and effective delivery of its benefits to Nigerians.
For instance, he canvassed the need for the Muhammadu Buhari-led government to call an all-inclusive stakeholders’ forum to critically examine and proffer workable and enduring solutions to all the problems in the larger interest of the country.
“All the subsectors of the oil and gas industry have one challenge or the other and all these challenges are affecting the deliveries of the benefits of our God-given hydrocarbon resources to the country and the entire people of Nigeria.
“These challenges are as result of past neglects, wrong policies and policy summersault in some areas of the sub-sectors.
“All these are inflicting pains on Nigerians who ought to be enjoying the benefits of the natural resources that God bequeathed to the country,” Johnson said.
He listed some of the challenges to include, pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft, state of the refineries, intractable and persistent scarcity of petroleum products, subsidy payment controversies, and divestment.
Others are, illegal transfer or allocation of oil blocks, irregular Joint Venture, JV, funding with emphasis on delay in cash call payment, inadequate funding of government agencies in the sector and undue interference in the management of government agencies.
The union leader said that the stakeholders’ forum will chart ways of attending to the critical challenges affecting the industry and evolve a framework that will facilitate its stability, adding that machinery should be set in motion for periodic meetings to evaluate and review the success and workability of the framework.
NUPENG on its own said it was time the Federal Government assess more critically how the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, was being managed with a view to ensuring that the guiding laws and rules relating to the operations of the company are subverted.
Mr. Adamson Momoh, assistant general secretary of NUPENG, said that the strike against NPDC, which is an arm of NNPC, would continue until the management sees reasons with the workers.
In Lagos, the effects of the strike started manifesting as long queues, which had abated fairly since Monday, became more pronounced in filling stations as motorists renew their struggles to buy fuel. Independent and black marketers virtually took over sales of fuel, dispensing at between N120 and N150 per litre, depending on the station and bargaining power of customers. Most major marketers had no product to sell.
The unions had given a notice, which expired last weekend, urging the Federal Government to reverse the transfer of operatorship of the Joint Venture, JV, partnership in OMLs 40 and 42 to Neconde Energy Nigeria Limited and Elcrest Exploration and Production Limited.
A statement from the JV partners, said the shut-in has affected all NPDC operated assets in joint venture with indigenous companies that had applied for operatorship, except Neconde, who, prior to the crisis, had been awarded the operatorship of OML 42, and immediately got the Joint Task Force, JTF, to secure the assets. Elcrest (OML 40) which is next in line to be awarded operatorship, Shoreline OML 30 and FHN/Afren (OML 26) have now been shut as oil evacuation is hampered from OML 34 which relies on the OML 30 pumping station.
CBN Pulls Rate Cut Trigger, King Dollar Returns
By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,
In a move that caught investors off-guard this week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) slashed interest rates by 100 basis points bringing the MPR to 11.5%. Given how inflation has been above target since 2015, rates were expected to remain unchanged for the rest of 2020 and possibly early 2021.
The question on the mind of many is whether the rate cut will achieve the desired effect by stimulating consumption and economic growth? Ongoing border closures and disruptions created by COVID-19 have pushed inflation to levels not seen since March 2018 above 13.20% while a drop in the production and price of Oil continues to rub salt into the wound. While looser monetary policy could support growth, it may come at the cost of rising inflation and weaker Naira.
Over the past few months, central banks across the globe have deployed unprecedented measures to defend their respective economies against the coronavirus menace. However, fiscal policy has been identified as the sharper tool with governments across the world providing a critical lifeline to keep the wheels of their respective economies rolling.
Outside of Nigeria, King Dollar made a return by appreciating against every single G10 currency. In times of uncertainty, everyone wants a juicy piece of the world’s most liquid currency. As coronavirus cases rise in Europe and other parts of the world, the flight to safety is likely to boost appetite for the Dollar. This is bad news for many emerging markets currencies, especially those with high Dollar-denominated debt.
On the commodity side, Oil prices remain heavily influenced by demand-side factors and the state of the global economy. Prices are likely to remain stuck around the $40 regions in the near term, especially If another round of possible lockdowns hit Oil demand. Looking at the technicals, WTI Crude is under pressure on the daily charts. If prices are unable to break away from the sticky $40 regions, the next key point of interest remains around $38. A weekly close above $41.50 could pave a path towards $43.
NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System
Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), has arrested one Mr Aliu Olalekan, for allegedly hacking into DSTV system and watching the channels free without subscription.
Mr Matthew Ojo, NCC Director in the Lagos Directorate Office said this while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, on Tuesday.
He said that the suspect used to watch DSTV channels free without subscription on his Android phone via an app which he downloaded on google play store.
“This suspect distributed the know-how to his telegram followers and on his blog with the aim of gaining more followers and viewership on his blog and makes more money through google ad-sense.
“The operation was based on surveillance which had earlier been carried out by the Multi-choice team and verified by a copyright inspector, ” he said.
He added that the arrest was made in collaboration with a team of copyright inspectors led by the Head of Enforcement Department, Mr Charles Amudipe.
Others included; a team from Multichoice Nigeria led by Mr Umar Ibrahim and policemen from Lagos Command Headquarters, Ikeja.
Ojo said that the joint team conducted an anti-piracy operation at the premises of the culprit in Amukoko, Lagos.
According to him, the suspect was contacted on phone by a member of the operation team on the disguise of patronising him. “The suspect came out to meet the caller and in the process of discussion, he was apprehended.
“The suspect took the team to his resident. The squad paraded his one-room apartment and recovered his laptop and phones used in perpetrating the ungodly act. “He was arrested and brought to the copyright commission office for further investigation, ” he said.
Ojo said that, on getting to the commission’s office, the statement of the suspect was taken and the inventory of items seized from him taken. He said that investigation on the matter was still ongoing and if found guilty the suspect will be charged to court.
NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.
The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.
A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.
This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.
Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.
They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.
Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.
According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.
However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”
The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.
Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.
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