Tag Archives: #Information&Culture

Hon. Minister of Information And Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed On Recent Increase In Petrol And Electricity Prices

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in Press Conference today, address the recent issues surrounding the the hike in the price of fuel and electricity tariff. The Adress was as follows:

ON: FUEL PRICES

As you are aware, the long-drawn fuel subsidy regime ended in March, 2020, when the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) announced that it had begun fuel price modulation, in accordance with prevailing market dynamics, and would respond appropriately to any further oil market development.

Recall that the price of fuel then dropped from 145 to 125 Naira per litre, and then to between 121.50 and 123.50 Naira per litre in May. With the low price of crude oil then,
the cost of petrol, which is a derivative of crude oil, fell, and the lower pump price was passed on to the consumers to enjoy. With the price of crude inching up, the price of petrol locally is also bound to increase, hence the latest price of 162 Naira per litre. If, perchance, the price of crude drops again, the price of petrol will also drop, and the benefits will also be passed on to the consumers.

The angry reactions that have greeted the latest prices of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) are therefore, unnecessary and totally mischievous.

Gentlemen, the truth of the matter is that subsidizing fuel is no longer feasible, especially under the prevailing economic conditions in the country. The government can no longer afford fuel subsidy, as revenues and foreign exchange earnings have fallen by almost 60%, due to the downturn in the fortunes of the oil sector. Yet, the government has had to sustain expenditures, especially on salaries and capital projects. Even though we have acted to mitigate the effect of the economic slowdown by adopting an Economic Sustainability Plan, we have also had to take some difficult decisions to stop unsustainable practices that were weighing the economy down.

One of such difficult decisions, which we took at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March – when oil prices collapsed at the height of the global lockdown – was the deregulation of the prices of PMS. As I said earlier, the benefit of lower prices at that time was passed to consumers. Everyone welcomed the lower fuel price then. Again, the effect of deregulation is that PMS prices will change with changes in global oil prices. This means quite regrettably that as oil prices recover, there will be some increases in PMS prices. This is what has happened now.

Government can no longer afford to subsidize petrol prices, because of its many negative consequences. These include a return to the costly subsidy regime. With 60% less revenues today, we cannot afford the cost. The second danger is the potential return of fuel queues – which has, thankfully, become a thing of the past under this Administration. The days in which Nigerians queue for hours and days just to buy petrol, often at very high prices, are gone for good. Of course, there is also no provision for fuel subsidy in the revised 2020 budget, because we just cannot afford it.

Gentlemen, the cost of fuel subsidy is too high and unsustainable. From 2006 to 2019, fuel subsidy gulped 10.413 Trillion Naira. That is an average of 743.8 billion Naira per annum. According to figures provided by the NNPC, the breakdown of the 14-year subsidy
is as follows:

  • In 2006 Subsidy was 257bn
  • In 2007 Subsidy was 272bn
  • In 2008 Subsidy was 631bn
  • In 2009 469bn
  • In 2010 667bn
  • In 2011 2.105tn
  • In 2012 1.355tn
  • In 2013 1.316tn
  • In 2014 1.217tn
  • In 2015 654bn
  • In 2016 Figure Not Available
  • In 2017 Subsidy was 144.3bn
  • In 2018 730.86bn
  • And in 2019 Subsidy was 595bn
  1. The Federal Government is not unmindful of the pains associated with higher fuel prices at this time. That is why we will continue to seek ways to cushion the pains, especially for the most vulnerable Nigerians. The government is providing cheaper and more efficient fuel in form of auto gas. Also, Government, through the PPPRA, will ensure that marketers do not exploit citizens through arbitrarily hike in pump prices. And that is why the PPPRA announced the range of prices that must not be exceeded by marketers.
  2. In spite of the recent increase in the price of fuel to 162 Naira per litre, petrol prices in Nigeria remain the lowest in the West/Central African sub-regions. Below is a comparative analysis of petrol prices in the sub-regions (Naira equivalent per litre);
  • Nigeria – 162 Naira per litre
  • Ghana – 332 Naira per litre
  • Benin – 359 Naira per litre
  • Togo – 300 Naira per litre
  • Niger – 346 Naira per litre
  • Chad – 366 Naira per litre
  • Cameroon – 449 Naira per litre
  • Burkina Faso – 433 Naira per Litre
  • Mali – 476 Naira per litre
  • Liberia – 257 Naira per litre
  • Sierra Leone – 281 Naira per litre
  • Guinea – 363 Naira per litre
  • Senegal – 549 Naira per litre
  1. Outside the sub-region, petrol sells for 211 Naira per litre in Egypt and 168 Naira per litre in Saudi Arabia. You can now see that even with the removal of subsidy, fuel price in Nigeria remains among the cheapest in Africa.

ON: ELECTRICITY TARIFF

  1. Another issue we want to address here today is the recent service-based electricity tariff adjustment by the Distribution Companies, or
    DISCOS. The truth of the matter is that due to the problems with the largely-privatized electricity industry, the government has been
    supporting the industry. To keep the industry going, the government has so far spent almost 1.7 trillion Naira, especially by way of supplementing tariffs shortfalls. The government does not have the resources to continue along this path. To borrow just to subsidize generation and distribution, which are both privatized, will be grossly irresponsible.
  2. But in order to protect the large majority of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay cost-reflective tariffs from increases, the industry regulator, NERC, has approved that tariff adjustments had to be made but only on the basis of guaranteed improvement in service. Under this new arrangement, only customers with guaranteed minimum of 12 hours of electricity can have their tariffs adjusted. Those who get less than 12 hours supply will experience no increase. This is the largest group of customers.
  3. Government has also noted the complaints about arbitrary estimated billing. Accordingly, a mass metering programme is being undertaken to provide meters for over 5 million Nigerians, largely driven by preferred procurement from local manufacturers, and creating thousands of jobs in the process. NERC will also strictly enforce the capping regulation to ensure that unmetered customers are not charged beyond the metered customers in their neighbourhood. In other words, there will be no more estimated billings.
  4. The government is also taking steps to connect those Nigerians who are not even connected to electricity at all. As you are aware, under its Economic Sustainability Plan, the government is providing solar power to 5 million Nigerian households in the next 12 months. This alone will
    produce 250,000 jobs and impact up to 25 million beneficiaries through the installation, thus ensuring that more Nigerians will have access to electricity via a reliable and sustainable solar system.
  5. Gentlemen, please note that despite the recent service-based tariff review, the cost of electricity in Nigeria is still cheaper or compares favourably with that of many countries in Africa.

COST IN NAIRA PER KWH IN SOME AFRICAN COUNTRIES.

  • Nigeria 49.75
  • Senegal 71.17
  • Guinea 41.36
  • Sierra Leone 106.02
  • Liberia 206.01
  • Niger 59.28
  • Mali 88.23
  • Burkina Faso 85.09
  • Togo 79.88

ON: CONCLUSION

  1. Gentlemen, the timing of these two necessary adjustments, in the petroleum and power sectors, has raised some concerns among Nigerians. This is a mere coincidence. First, the deregulation of PMS prices was announced on 18 March 2020, and the price modulation that
    took place at the beginning of this month was just part of the on-going monthly adjustments to global crude oil prices.
  2. Also, the review of service-based electricity tariffs was scheduled to start at the beginning of July 2020 but was put on hold so that further studies and proper arrangements can be made. Like Mr. President said today, at the opening of the Ministerial Retreat, this government is not insensitive to the current economic difficulties our people are going through and the very tough economic situation we face as a nation. We certainly will not inflict hardship on our people.
    But we are convinced that if we stay focused on our plans, brighter and more prosperous days will come soon.
  3. The opportunistic opposition and their allies are playing dirty politics with the issue of petrol pricing and electricity tariff. Please note that these naysayers did not complain when the price
    adjustment led to lower petrol prices on at least two occasions since March. Nigerians must therefore, renounce those who have latched onto the issue of petrol pricing and electricity tariff review to throw the country into chaos.
  4. I thank you all for your kind attention Show quoted text.

Alh Lai Mohammed Charges New CEOs of Govt Agencies To Justify Their Appointments

According to report available to the Daily Watch Press, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has charged the newly-appointed Chief Executive Officers of some agencies under the Ministry to consider their appointment by Mr. President as a call to national service.

The Minister, who gave the charge in Abuja on Friday at his maiden meeting with the CEOs, said they must work hard to justify their appointments.

He specifically urged them to key into the 9-Point Agenda of the Administration, identified to guide the policy directions over the next few years and to achieve national development.

“You must consider your appointment by Mr. President as a call to national service, and you must work hard to justify it. A starting point is for you to ensure that the activities of your agencies key into the 9 priority areas of government.

“Of particular relevance to your various agencies, especially those in the culture and tourism sectors, are priorities 1, which is to build a thriving and sustainable economy, and 2, which is to enhance social inclusion and reduce poverty,” Alhaji Mohammed said, adding that the Ministry of Information and Culture is already working on these areas through its reform of the Creative Industry and the efforts to put in place a standard Audience Measurement System.

Describing the new CEOs as round pegs in round holes, he said they were carefully selected based on their respective track record of achievements, competence and years of dedication to duty.

The Minister said the CEOs are joining a government that is doing so much with so little, especially at a time of dwindling resources due to the sharp fall in the price of oil and the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on global economies.

He said in spite of the challenges, the government has remained steadfast in carrying out massive infrastructural renewal in the areas of roads, bridges, rail and power, among others.

Responding on behalf of his colleagues, the General Manager/CEO of the National Theatre, Prof. Sunny Ododo, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointments and assured that he and his colleagues will consolidate on the gains so far recorded by the Minister, and strive to make the Creative Industry an enviable component of the Nigerian economy.

The new CEOs who attended the meeting are: Mr. Buki Ponle, Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria; Mr. Olalekan Fadolapo, Registrar, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria; Prof. Sunny Ododo, General Manager/CEO, National Theatre; Mr. Francis Nwosu, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Press Council; Mr. Ado Muhammed Yahuza, Executive
Secretary/CEO, National Institute for Cultural Orientation and Mr. Ebetan William Ivara, Director-General, National Gallery of Arts.

Others are: Prof. Abba Isa Tijjani, Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments; Mrs. Oluwabunmi Ayobami Amao, Director-General, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization and Mr. Nura Sani Kangiwa, Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism.

The statement was made available today by Mr Segun Adeyemi, the Special Assistant To The President on Media, Office of The Minister of Information and Culture.

President Buhari Appoints CEOs For Agencies of Federal Ministry of Information And Culture

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Chief Executive Officers for nine of the agencies under the Federal Ministry
of Information and Culture.

According to the approval letter, which was conveyed to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, by Prof. Ibrahim
Gambari, Chief of Staff to the President, on Tuesday, Mr. Buki Ponle was appointed Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria while Mr. Nura Sani Kangiwa was named the Director General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism.

Mr. Francis Ndubuisi Nwosu was appointed the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Press Council; Mr. Ebeten William Ivara, Director General,
National Gallery of Arts; Mr. Olalekan Fadolapo, Registrar/CEO of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria and Prof. Sunday Enessi
Ododo, General Manager/CEO, National Theatre.

Others are Mr. Ado Mohammed Yahuza, Executive Secretary/CEO, National Institute for Cultural Orientation; Prof. Aba Isa Tijjani, Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments and Mrs.
Oluwabunmi Ayobami Amao, Director General, Centre For Black And African Arts And Civilization.

The appointments take effect from 1 Sept. 2020, as announced by Segun Adeyemi, the Special Assistant to the President on Media, Office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Abuja
26th August, 2020.

Minister of Information & Culture, Lai Mohammed Orders DSTV To Reverse Subscription Increase

The Minster of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed has agreed to order DSTV and others to immediately reverse their recent subscription price increase in the interest of Nigerians.

The Minister also promised speedy implementation of Pay As You Go Tariff Plan and breaking of monopoly in the industry.

Lai Muhammed disclosed this when he appeared before the Adhoc Committee investigating non-implementation of Pay as You Go Tariff by DSTV and others.

In his remarks,the Chairman of the Adhoc Committee, Rep. Unyime Idem said,

“The mandate the House gave us in June 2, 2020 was that DSTV should reverse to the old price regime. The House views the recent increase as insensitive, inhuman and unacceptable. What they did was so bad even after enjoying reprieve from NBC. In the period where Nigerians are going through difficulty as a result of COVID-19, they were not supposed to increase the price at the time. This is a period they are supposed to do more of corporate social responsibility and give more discount to subscribers. So we are giving them a marching order to reverse the price, maintain status quo pending when we will finish this investigation.”

On the issue of DSTV monopoly and Pay As you Go, Rep. Idem asked the Information Minister, “Nigerians are eager to know why Pay As You Go is difficult to implement in Nigeria? They want to know why breaking of monopoly in this industry is difficult? I was impressed when in October last year you said that all forms of monopoly in the industry must be broken. Almost one year after, the monopoly working against the progress of the industry is still in place. The sector has huge potentials capable of generating revenue and employment. Why do you allow only one player to dominate such that new players are suffocated to extinction? I was so pained to learn that the premises of TSTV has become an abandoned property as if they lack the expertise to run the business. This is because a particular operator does not allow them to breathe as they seat on the progress of others. Nigerians want to know what it will take to break this monopoly. What do you need from the National Assembly to make this happen? We cannot allow only one operator to be the only cock to crow; no matter how powerful they are. The telecoms industry was like this. When it was opened up, jobs were created and there was larger participation. There are a lot of Nigerians who have what it takes to operate in this sector but monopoly is the problem. We want the digital broadcast sector to be opened up for larger and all-inclusive participation”

In his response, Minister Lai Muhammed said that DSTV is not justified in its June 1, 2020 price increase at a period when Nigerians are still grappling with the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.

He promised to ensure that the prize increase reversal is done with immediate effect. He also promised to ensure speedy implementation of Pay As You Go Tariff Plan and coming up with strategies to break the monopoly in the industry