Connect with us


Petrol subsidy: Association wants more interventions to cushion effects



Petrol subsidy: Association wants more interventions to cushion effects

The Association of Capital Market Academics of Nigeria (ACMAN) has appealed to the Federal Government to scale up efforts to ameliorate difficulties faced by Nigerians due to petrol subsidy removal.

The President of ACMAN, Prof. Uche Uwaleke said this in a news briefing on Wednesday in Abuja while assessing key policy measures rolled out by President Bola Tinubu in his first 100 days in office.

ACMAN is the umbrella body of lecturers and researchers in Nigeria’s university system and the financial market industry committed to development of Nigerian capital market through teaching, research and advocacy.

The event was held with a view to offering suggestions regarding the effective implementation of the policies.

Uwaleke commended the Federal Government for policies to end fuel subsidy and unify multiple exchange rates, saying that they seemed to boost confidence in the economy.


According to Uwaleke, the two policies which defined the administration’s first 100 days in office were largely welcomed by both domestic and foreign investors.

“Nowhere has this confidence manifested better than the stock market where the benchmark index (NGX ASI) hits the highest level ever in the history of Nigerian stock market.

“It is over 68000 points with year-to-date return now above 30 per cent.

“But these reforms have left in their wake unpalatable outcomes which have made life more difficult especially for the ordinary Nigerian.

“Inflation rate is on the rise with food prices largely unaffordable.


“There is evidence of declining economic activities with fewer vehicles on the roads and reduced work days in both private and public sectors.

“Similarly, not a few micro and small businesses have reduced their scale of operations due largely to inability to afford the high cost of fuel,’’ Uwaleke said.

He emphasised the need for a reduction in cost of governance and the money channelled toward cushioning the effects of petrol subsidy removal.

Uwaleke urged the Federal Government to scale up interventions in Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and agriculture, saying that the current size is small at less than One trillion Naira.

“ We are convinced that more money can be made available to cushion the negative impact of fuel subsidy removal from reducing cost of governance, plugging revenue leakages and tackling the challenge of crude oil theft,’’ he said.


Uwaleke said that Nigeria looses over one billion dollars to crude oil theft monthly.

“A recent OPEC report puts the country’s crude oil output at 1.2mbpd indicating huge volume deficit of circa 500,000mbpd compared to the 2023 budget target of 1.69mbpd and the OPEC quota of 1.74mbpd.

“At a conservative crude oil price of USD85 per barrel, the loss to Nigeria in one month is over $1 billion.

“We believe that swiftly dealing with the menace of crude oil theft will put the Federal Government in a stronger position to scale up compensation measures.

“This includes the implementation of a new minimum wage for workers as well as the programme on food security expected to drive down prices,’’ he said.


Uwaleke further commended Tinubu for implementing some Executive Orders to suspend certain fiscal policies contained in the Finance Act 2023.

He also applauded the setting up of Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms and the unveiling of his eight-point agenda.

Uwaleke also hailed Tinubu’s recent engagements with international investors in India and the UAE.

“We are excited by their prospects and hope the pledges made by these investors materialise in view of their potential long-term positive impact on external reserves, forex liquidity and job opportunities.

“To this end, the government must walk the talk regarding aspects of its eight-point agenda to do with security, rule of law and anti-corruption,’’ Uwaleke said.


He said that ACMAN was concerned that the forex market remained illiquid “and volatility in exchange rates has persisted despite the naira float policy that followed the unification of exchange rates’’.

“To make matters worse, the parallel premium has continued to widen seemingly defeating one of the objectives of the naira float,” Uwaleke said.

In view of the huge imports from China, Uwaleke said the association is of the view that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revisits the currency swap arrangement with China.

According to him, to a scale that reduces significantly the dependence on US dollars for imports from China.

On the supply side, he called for deliberate efforts to diversify the export base.


“The government should give support to the CBN in the implementation of RT 200 programme especially in relation to port reforms while it works on the ease of doing business to pave way for increased foreign investments.

“We believe that unlocking value in dead assets is one way to improve the country’s fiscal liquidity.

“We encourage the new administration to speed up the process of privatising government enterprises, including the NNPCL, not by selling to a few individuals or companies but through the capital market for transparency and inclusiveness,’’ he said.

Uwaleke also urged the Federal Government to explore asset securitisation as a means of financing developmental projects in the country.



Diphtheria: Children at risk as 7,202 cases are confirmed in Nigeria



A staggering 7,202 cases of diphtheria, a highly contagious bacterial infection that can be fatal without treatment, were confirmed in Nigeria last week.

The outbreak has been particularly severe among children under 14, with three-quarters of cases (73.6%) in this age group.

Most cases have been recorded in Kano state, Nigeria’s second most populous state. In the past three months, there have been 453 deaths from diphtheria in Nigeria.

Diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease, but low vaccination rates in Nigeria have made the outbreak possible. Only 42% of children under 15 in Nigeria are fully protected from diphtheria.

Diphtheria symptoms begin with a sore throat and fever. In severe cases, the bacteria produce a toxin that can block the airway, causing difficulty breathing and swallowing. The toxin can also spread to other body parts, causing heart kidney problems and nerve damage.


Save the Children is launching a wide-scale health response in the three most impacted states of Kano, Yobe, and Katsina. The organization is deploying expert health and supply chain staff to help overstretched clinics detect and treat diphtheria cases and to support mass vaccination campaigns.

However, Save the Children warns that a mass vaccination campaign will only be successful if the vaccine shortage is urgently addressed.

Severe shortages in Nigeria of the required vaccine and the antitoxin needed to treat the disease mean that the situation could continue to escalate, placing many children at risk of severe illness and death.

Continue Reading


WHO releases $16m to tackle cholera, says Director-General



The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies to tackle cholera.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said this during an online news conference.

Ghebreyesus said that the organisation was providing essential supplies, coordinating the on the ground response with partners, supporting countries to detect, prevent and treat cholera, and informing people how to protect themselves.

“To support this work, we have appealed for 160 million dollars, and we have released more than 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies.

“But the real solution to cholera lies in ensuring everyone has access to safe water and sanitation, which is an internationally recognized human right,” he said.


According to him, in the previous week, WHO published new data showing that cases reported in 2022 were more than double those in 2021.

He said that the preliminary data for 2023 suggested was likely to be even worse.

“So far, 28 countries have reported cases in 2023 compared with 16 during the same period in 2022.

“The countries with the most concerning outbreaks right now are Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq and Sudan.

“Significant progress has been made in countries in Southern Africa, including Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, but these countries remain at risk as the rainy season approaches,” Ghebreyesus said.


According to him, the worst affected countries and communities are poor, without access to safe drinking water or toilets.

He said that they also face shortages of oral cholera vaccine and other supplies, as well as overstretched health workers, who are dealing with multiple disease outbreaks and other health emergencies.

On COVID-19, Ghebreyesus said that as the northern hemisphere winter approaches, the organisation continued to see concerning trends.

He said that among the relatively few countries that report them, both hospitalisations and ICU admissions have increased in the past 28 days, particularly in the Americas and Europe.

WHO boss said that meanwhile, vaccination levels among the most at-risk groups remained worryingly low.


“Two-thirds of the world’s population has received a complete primary series, but only one-third has received an additional, or “booster” dose.

“COVID-19 may no longer be the acute crisis it was two years ago, but that does not mean we can ignore it,” he said.

According to him, countries invested so much in building their systems to respond to COVID-19.

He urged countries to sustain those systems, to ensure people can be protected, tested and treated for COVID-19 and other infectious threats.

“That means sustaining systems for collaborative surveillance, community protection, safe and scalable care, access to countermeasures and coordination,” he said.

Continue Reading