06 Apr

Daily Watch – Transporters groan under weight of petrol scarcity, Crude oil price slips

  • Transporters in Lagos have said that the continuing petrol scarcity in the country is crippling their businesses, and have the Federal Government to take urgent measures to resolve the crisis. Operators say failure to take urgent measures would result in complete breakdown of the road transport sector. The ongoing fuel crisis has adversely affected fares for destinations both within and outside Lagos. Fares from Agege to Yaba or Alausa now go for N400 and N150, up from N150 and N70 respectively, while Iyana-Ipaja to Oshodi is now N300, instead of N100. A bus ride from Ikorodu Garage in Lagos to Ogijo in Ogun State, along the Ikorodu-Sagamu Road, is now N200, instead of N100, while the fare from Ikorodu to Mile 12 is now N250, instead of N150. A trip from Lagos to Abakaliki which hitherto cost between N3,000 and N3,200 now costs between N4,000 and N4,500. A one-way trip from Lagos to Enugu, Onitsha and Owerri which were formerly N3,100, N2,100 and N3,100 respectively, now cost N3,800, N2,500, and N3,800 respectively. Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, has said that petrol queues in Lagos and Abuja will vanish by Thursday, and that the situation in Sokoto, Warri and Port Harcourt will improve during the weekend. Kachikwu said this during a visit to the office of the PPPRA in Abuja.
  • The naira appears to have stabilised at N320 to the American dollar on the parallel market. Over the last two weeks, there has been little or no appreciation or depreciation of the currency. Parallel market traders say the market has been sluggish, showing no signs of upward or downward movement. On Monday, the CBN had allocated $921 million to commercial banks in foreign exchange obligations. This was expected to impact the market positively, but little or no change was experienced at the parallel market, as the N320/USD sales prevailed. The official side of the market is trading at N197 to the dollar, about N123 lower than the parallel market.
  • Oil has slipped to a one-month low after a surprise fall in petrol demand in the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer, and doubts whether oil producers can agree an output freeze to dampen a global supply glut. US petrol demand, one of the strongest pillars supporting oil consumption, fell in January for the first time in 14 months. The world’s largest oil producers are due to meet in Doha on April 17 to negotiate an output freeze, but a jump in Russian oil production to a 30-year high in March has cast doubt over the chances of an output cap being agreed. Brent crude, the global oil price benchmark, was down 31 cents at $37.38 a barrel at 0800 GMT, its lowest since March 4. U.S. futures fell by 41 cents to $35.29, also a one-month low.
  • The trial of the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal over alleged false declaration of assets has finally begun after efforts to force an adjournment by his lawyers failed. First prosecution witness, Michael Wetkast, was cross-examined by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs. Commencement of trial was preceded by arguments by defence counsel, Paul Usoro, who informed the tribunal of an application for stay of proceedings at the Court of Appeal challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to entertain the matter. The chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar, ruled that the application before the Court of Appeal could not stop the commencement of trial based on the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.