Friday, 31 January 2020

The leaders of the European Union’s three institutions warned Britain on Friday that it cannot expect “the highest quality access to the single market” unless it adopts the bloc’s standards on environment, labor, taxation and state aid.

European Council President Charles Michel, EU Parliament President David Sassoli and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gave a speech on the future of Europe in Brussels, Belgium.

Saying; “Without being a member, you cannot retain the benefits of membership. Without the free movement of people, there can be no free movement of capital, goods, and services”.

The presidents were due to comment on Brexit and the future of the EU at 11 a.m. (1000 GMT).

Britain will no longer be an EU member state from Saturday, but it will enter a transition period until the end of December that is meant to give citizens and businesses time to adapt while an agreement is hammered out on the shape of the future relationship.

Trade, fishing rights and a raft of other issues are up for discussion.

Although the aim is to achieve a “zero tariff, zero quota” trade deal, the EU says that it would also require “zero dumping”.

It will insist that Britain remain aligned on standards and regulations to guarantee fair competition, but London has already indicated it will not be “a rule-taker”.

Published in World

The Senate on Thursday resolved to probe the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the sum of $396 million expended on Turn-Around Maintenance of refineries in the country between 2013 and 2015.

Accordingly, the Upper Chamber mandated the Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Upstream and Gas to carry out a holistic investigation on the Turn-Around Maintenance expenditures and the current state of the refineries as well as convoke a stakeholders conference with the aim of finding ways to revamp them.

The decision to investigate spending on maintenance of refineries by the Corporation was reached after consideration of a motion brought to the floor by Senator Yusuf A. Yusuf (APC, Taraba Central).

The lawmaker noted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has four refineries: two in Port-Harcourt (PHRC) and one each in Kaduna (KRPC) and Warri (WRPC).

According to him, the refineries were established to adequately supply and serve needs for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO), High Pour Fuel Oil (HPFO) and Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK) for both local consumption and exports.

He recalled, “The country through NNPC has in the past 25 years spent Billion of US dollars in Turn-Around Maintenance of the refineries, the latest being over $396 million spent between 2013 and 2015 without meaningful result.”

The lawmaker lamented that “the refineries have remained in moribund state in the last 15-20 years and is almost reaching total collapse due to lack of proposer maintenance of the facilities with a poor average capacity utilization hovering between fifteen percent and twenty-five percent per annum.”

Senator Yusuf said “despite the huge spending on turn-around Maintenance of refineries, NNPC recently announced a cumulative loss of N123.25 billion in 10 months (January to October, 2019), putting the total revenue of facilities at N68.82 billion, while total expenses incurred was N192.1 billion within the same period.”

He warned that “such huge wastage and slippages amidst the nation’s tight economy, if not addressed, may lead the country back to recession.”

The lawmaker added that such losses, when averted and combined with the huge expenditures in “under recovery” on fuel pump price and properly channeled into full rehabilitation and construction of modern refineries, would positively impact on the economy and save the country from the embarrassment of importation of petroleum products and its ripple effect.

Published in Business
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