Daily Watch – Scarcity ‘may drag on’ through H1 2022, 60% of customers lack prepaid meters

12th January 2023

The supply hitches associated with the distribution of petrol may persist till June this year, oil marketers stated on Wednesday. Nigeria’s downstream oil sector has been grappling with cases of incessant petrol scarcity since last year. The sole importer of the commodity – the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, has repeatedly complained of the enormous burden of shouldering fuel subsidies. On Monday, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said NNPC was selling petrol at a loss because of its mandate from the FG. The FG disbursed about ₦173.2 billion for equalising over 11.6 billion litres of petrol from 2019 to 2022, new data from the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources (FMPR) shows. The National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, told the Punch that scarcity may persist for some time. “This issue of subsidy and the importation of petroleum products are the major reasons why we are suffering like this and having an epileptic supply of PMS. This may drag on till the current administration leaves in May or June this year. The exchange rate is affecting fuel imports, which is also why the cost of petroleum products is high. We use too much naira to chase the few dollars that are available. So the solution is for us to refine our crude here and get our depots working,” he said in reported comments.

139 firms have been pre-qualified to be issued permits to commercialise flared gas at the conclusion of the initial stage of the revamped government programme, according to a government statement. The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) said it had concluded: “the Request for Qualification (RFQ) phase of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP) 2022 in line with the accelerated delivery schedule.” The commission also said the RFP was issued to enable interested parties to register their interest to participate in the programme. The programme was suspended following the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act ostensibly to align it with the law. Three hundred companies registered their interest to revalidate their prequalification status and submit Statement of Qualification (SOQ) as existing bidders and new participants. After an evaluation, conducted by the Bid Evaluation Team (BET), a total of 139 applicants were deemed successful and awarded the Qualified Applicant status in line with the provisions of the RFQ,” the statement said.

More than 60 percent of electricity customers in Nigeria are yet to get prepaid meters despite several metering programmes by the regulator and government interventions costing billions of naira, data sourced from the latest report by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) shows. The number of electricity consumers who lack meters has risen to over 7.8 million. NERC’s report showed a total of 85,510 meters were installed in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the 79,978 meters installed in the fourth quarter of 2021. “At a macro level, quarterly meter installations have been reducing as a result of the winding down of the National Mass Metering Programme phase 0,” NERC said. By comparison, the net metering rate dropped from 45.40 percent in December 2021 to 37.79 percent in March 2022. “This can be explained by the constant updating of DisCos (distribution companies) customer base information as a result of ongoing customer enumeration,” NERC said.

Tigrayan forces, who have fought a two-year war against the Ethiopian Government, have begun handing over heavy weaponry to the national army as part of an African Union-led peace process. The handover in the town of Agulae, around 30 km (18 miles) northeast of the regional capital Mekelle, was overseen by a monitoring team comprising members of the two sides and a regional body, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). At the ceremony, Tigray Defence Forces (TDF) representative Mulugeta Gebrechristos said the start of the disarmament would play a major role in restoring peace. “We are operating with the belief that if we are to have peace, all things that open the door for provocation must not be there. Peace is vital for us all,” Mulugeta said in a speech broadcast on Tigrai TV. “We are all (part of) one Ethiopia. Both us and the TDF have moved from our respective defensive positions in peace, understanding and love,” said Aleme Tadesse, a representative of the Ethiopian army.