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Francs CFA. Source: Google

Residents of border communities in states including Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Adamawa and Kwara have opted for the CFA franc following the scarcity of the new naira notes across the country.

The residents, including traders and commercial drivers, are also rejecting the old naira notes, insisting that customers who do not have the new redesigned currency must pay for goods and services with CFAs.

The CFA franc is the legal tender in eight West African countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, which make up the West African Economic and Monetary Union, otherwise known as the Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine.

Findings by The PUNCH indicated that businessmen and traders in the Zurmi and Shinkafi local government areas of Zamfara State, which border the Niger Republic, prefer the franc to the naira.

Investigation revealed that traders in the two LGAs had been selling their commodities in CFA due to fear that they might not get the new naira notes.

A cattle dealer, Musa Shehu, said he stopped receiving the Nigerian currency since the Central Bank of Nigeria announced the deadline for the swap of the N1,000, N500 and N200 notes.

He stated, “I have since stopped receiving the old naira notes because I don’t have an account and I can’t go to the bank.”

A trader in Shinkafi town, who shuttles between Nigeria and Niger Republic, explained that most of his customers paid with the CFA.

“I cannot collect old naira notes and give out my commodities to any customer. But I will collect new naira notes and CFA because I am afraid of losing my money if the time for the exchange expires,’’ the trader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

A grain seller in Dada village in Zurmi Local Government, Muhammadu Isa, disclosed that he stopped selling grains in the Nigerian currency after the CBN’s policy on new naira notes was unveiled.

He said that he sold only to those who possessed CFAs to avoid losing money as ‘’my father did in 1983 when the naira notes were hurriedly changed by the then Major General Muhammadu Buhari regime.’’

Isa explained that his late father lost all his money when Buhari changed the national currency in 1983.

The grain trader insisted that he would not accept the old naira notes as there was no bank or Point of Service terminal in his community where he could withdraw the new currencies.

“You see since our people and those from the Niger Republic are coming to buy the grains with the CFA, I see no reason why I should collect old naira notes. If anybody wants to buy grains from me, he must pay in CFA or forget it. I will not collect old naira notes because I don’t know what to do with them after the expiration of the deadline,” he noted.

In a related development, commercial drivers who ply the Niger Republic from Zurmi and Shinkafi LGAs have also stopped collecting the old notes.

They justified their decision with the argument that the CFA was the only legal tender accepted by the people along the Nigeria-Niger borders.

A driver, Alhaji Hamisu, stated that passengers had to pay in CFA if they wanted to travel to the Niger Republic or return to Nigeria ‘’because the old naira notes are unacceptable as legal tender.’’

Hamisu said, “I have on several occasions refused to collect the old naira notes from my passengers because I have no time to go to the bank or PoS to get the new notes.

“Another problem is that you can’t buy fuel with the old naira notes in Niger republic; as such, no commercial driver on cross-border journeys will agree to take the old notes from passengers.

“I was almost stranded in Malbaza town in Niger Republic when I wanted to buy fuel with the old naira notes because we have been doing so before the change of the Nigerian currency.

“I went to the filling station as usual and bought 30 litres of fuel and brought out the old notes but the fuel attendant told me that he would not accept the notes.

“I pleaded with him but he was not ready to collect the money from me. I was lucky as one of the commercial drivers, who is also my friend, came to buy fuel and he had enough CFAs. I bought the CFA from him and settled the fuel attendant.”

Sokoto border traders

Also, our correspondent discovered that border communities in Sokoto State preferred to sell their products in CFA due in part to the non-availability of the new notes and the continuous loss of naira value.

Speaking with The PUNCH, Mallam Sidi Isa, who trades in cattle in Illela, a border community with the Niger Republic, said he preferred the franc because of the introduction of the new naira notes and the cashless policy.

Also speaking, Mr Jamiu Ola, a motor mechanic, argued that the CFA holds more value than the naira.

“I prefer CFA due to the fact that it is hardly devalued unlike our own naira which has been devalued,” he added.

A businessman, Mallam Haruna Abdulazeez, stated, “I shifted my business to the Niger Republic when I realised I can’t cope with the economy of this country anymore.

“If I buy goods from Nigeria and take same to Niger Republic, I make profits due to the value after the exchange. Even if you take sachet water there, you will make your profits due to the exchange rate.”

A Sokoto resident, Muhammad Auwal, submitted that the CFA holds more value than the naira, hence his preference for foreign currency.

“I normally exchange my naira for CFA as it is not reasonable for someone to keep naira at home due to loss of value,’’ he declared.

Adamawa cattle dealers

Speaking in an interview, the Chairman of Mubi International Cattle Market in Adamawa State, Jafaru Hamman, lamented the scarcity of newly redesigned naira notes, adding that the difficulties in getting the currency had affected commerce at the border communities.

The problem, according to him, is that most traders in Mubi are accustomed to cash transactions and the cashless policy may take time to get mass support.

Commenting on the decision of Adamawa communities to opt for the franc over the naira, a cattle dealer, Jafaru Hamman, explained that even before the CBN policy, some traders were using the West African CFA in business transactions.

He, however, noted the volume of trade in foreign currency was minimal before the introduction of the new naira redesign policy.

Jafaru said the development had made it increasingly difficult for most traders to get the new currency, thereby stifling their business operations.

According to him, as the deadline for the naira swap draws closer and the old currency is facing rejection, traders are faced with either accepting the CFA for their transactions or halting their business activities.

He said, “They (Traders) are collecting the naira but since it became increasingly difficult to get new notes, they resorted to collecting CFA. The traders have also refused to accept the old notes. If they come to sell their cattle, if you give them the old notes they will reject it.

‘’They would rather return with their cattle than accept the old notes. Nobody is seeing the new notes because they are scarce. Don’t forget that many of these traders don’t have bank accounts to accept transfers because our business is purely based on cash.’’

Katsina traders lament

The situation is not different at the cattle markets in Dankarma, Jibia and Maiadua, all in border communities in Katsina state.

Findings showed that trading was being carried out in these markets in both naira and CFA before the CBN policy.

But the naira notes scarcity had forced the majority of cattle dealers and traders to carry out all transactions in CFA.

However, a few traders accept electronic money transfers from those considered regular customers.

Mallam Ahmadu Ousseini who sells cattle and camels at Maiadua Kara International market, said he carried out most of his transactions in CFA because his customers said they could not get the new naira notes.

Ouseini said. “We accept naira and CFA here at Kara market. But in the past three weeks, I only accepted CFA for my transactions. There are a few customers I still accept cash transfers from as I have a PoS. When we conduct business in the CFA, we gain as the CFA is slightly higher (in value) than the naira.

“It is our customers who source for the CFA which they pay us. There are even those who help us change money in the market but they too cannot get the new naira notes now. This has made us transact business majorly in the CFA.”

Hajiya Bilikisu Ahmed, who is resident in the area but goes to sell cows in Lagos and other South-West cities, explained that the currency scarcity was affecting her business badly.

Ahmed stated, “I buy (cattle) from the dealers at Dankarma and Jibia with the naira. Occasionally, I exchanged my naira notes with the CFA in any of the cattle markets. But now, the scarcity of the new naira notes has worsened the matter.

‘’On Wednesday when I wanted to buy some cattle at Dankarma, I lost N3,000 on the N20,000 I exchanged for the CFA. The situation is compounded by the network challenges in many banks in Katsina. But I collected money from some of my customers down South, especially in Lagos and no matter the situation, I have to deliver to them, otherwise, they may not patronise me again.”

The cattle dealers further complained that the CBN policy had reduced the volume of cows being brought into the market in Borno State.

Recounting his pain, Mohammed Ali, a trans-border cattle merchant in Maiduguri, said, “I used to buy about 20 heads of cattle at Mada (a Cameroon market across the border from Gamboru in Borno State) and sell at least 15 weekly in the Maiduguri market.

“My problems as a cattle merchant are three: the CFA in the Cameroon market, which used to exchange at N560 per CFA, is now N680 per CFA, and in a few instances it is even more. The old naira notes are scarce and the new notes are nowhere to be found.’’

“In this situation, the majority of us have suspended the trade because we deal in hard cash, and it is not available; the sellers of the cattle across the border also deal in hard cash. They don’t accept bank transfers; they don’t even have bank accounts,” Ali explained.

Speaking further, he added, “By my estimates, between 500 to 700 heads of cattle arrive here daily from Chad and Cameroon to meet the number on the ground that has not been sold; but today (Monday, January 30), only about 50, according to what I saw, arrived.

“I sold only one cow today, and that is even on credit; the buyer said he could only pay by the end of February,’’ he lamented.

The chief cattle dealer of Bama, Mohammed Gwamna, said the situation had forced him to stop his cattle business.

“I have suspended the trade, whether trans-border or within the Nigerian border markets. The reason: if you go to the Cameroonian market with N1 million, you have to part with N100,000 to get it changed to CFA or new naira notes to enable you to buy the cattle, otherwise, the sellers will not even look at you.”

Stressing that the naira redesign policy had eroded his business and other people’s livelihoods, Gwamna observed that the cattle population in Maiduguri markets had reduced by about 80 per cent.

He added, “By my estimate, this difficult situation has slashed the cattle population in this market by about 80 per cent, because most of us can’t even go to Gubio, Monguno and Gaidam (cattle markets in Borno and Yobe) to buy talk less of Cameroon, Niger or Chad markets because we can’t source the new naira notes. Without the new notes, nobody will even answer your greetings,” he lamented.

Another trader, Abba Ali, noted, “At Monguno, Ngala, Gubio (in Borno State) and Kukareta and Gaidam (in Yobe State), cattle will not be sold to you if you do not brandish new naira notes; and in Cameroon, you must show CFA; and both are not easy to find. This is the situation,” he complained.

“Hitherto, sometimes between 20 and 30 trailers offload cattle daily in this market; but today (Monday, January 30), according to what I have seen so far, only two trailers offloaded,” he observed.

In Ipokia, a border town in Ogun state, traders were said to have been travelling to the Benin Republic to exchange the new currency with CFAs after selling their wares.

A youth leader in Ipokia, Deji Mawuntin, bemoaned the hardship the residents of Ihunbe, Ilara, Oja-Odan and others were going through to get the new notes.

He accused unnamed bank workers of selling the new currencies to racketeers in the Benin Republic.

He noted, “The bankers are selling new naira notes to Beninese and Nigerians are going there to exchange it with CFAs. People have called the DSS operatives to beam their searchlight on these bank officials.”

In Kwara State, in Chikanda, a border town between Nigeria and the Benin Republic, a trader, Alhaji Bashir Mohammed, said he preferred taking CFA as new naira notes were not easily available.

He said, “Since the change from old naira notes to new notes, there has been a shortage of the new notes, we are not getting the new notes, so it is easier to get the CFA than the naira notes, that is why we are accepting the CFA in exchange for our goods.”

Another trader, Mrs Mariam Hassan, who trades in Garri, local rice, beans and yam flour, said that the traders in the border towns were accepting CFA in exchange for their goods.

Mariam who is based in Yashikira in the Baruten local government area of Kwara State said that the traders made more profits when they accepted CFA.

The CBN spokesman, Osita Nwanisobi, had yet to respond to questions on the displacement of the naira by CFA in parts of the country as of the time of filing this report.

But the Managing Director, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Johnson Chukwu, described the move as the logical thing to do in face of the scarce availability of the new notes.

Also, the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprises, Dr Muda Yusuf, noted that this was natural due to the lack of enough new notes for people to run their businesses in border regions.

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African Development Bank (AfDB) said it invested about US$ 5.2 billion in supporting and strengthening water and sanitation resilience for almost 97 million Africans in 10 years.

A statement issued on AfDB’s website said the bank, since 2015, had invested an average of US$ 900 million yearly to support water and sanitation.

It said, “massive investments in integrated water development and management are central to achieving sustainable water, food and energy security while assuring green and inclusive growth.

“In 2022, our water and sanitation portfolio of US$ 473 million provided water access to an estimated 6.8 million people and jobs to over 24,000 people in Africa,’’ it said.

Why we’re empowering 2.5m SMEs in Africa —Stride ERP

The statement said within AfDB’s High five strategic priorities; water security underpinned food and energy security, industrialisation, regional integration and improved African quality of life.

It said AfDB’s Water Policy was built on a vision to improve Africa’s water security and transform water assets to foster sustainable, green and inclusive socio-economic growth and development.

According to the statement, water is an essential resource with direct impact on Africa’s economic potential, and inadequate access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene services reduces economic opportunities.

It said one in three Africans were affected by water scarcity.

It quoted the 2022 WHO/UNICEF JMP report as saying 411 million people in Africa lack basic drinking water services.

The statement further said that 779 million people lacked basic sanitation services, and 839 million lacked basic hygiene.

It said climate change causes water scarcity and drought, leading to projected water scarcity for close to 230 million Africans.

“And as many as 460 million Africans will live in areas where water demand periodically exceeds the available supply by 2025.

“This also impacts food and energy security as the continent’s population grows. Water access remains a matter of concern, and efficiency in water use is now a crucial issue,” it said.

According to the statement, the theme of World Water Day 2023, ‘Accelerating change’, is a wake-up call to do even more to solve water and sanitation crises.

 It said: “We need collective and urgent action by governments, regional associations, and global development partners.

“We must also consider the complex interplay between water and energy supply and demand, food ecosystems.

“And the impacts of climate change to address the diverse needs and use of water, develop innovative ideas, and optimise finance in the water sector.”

It said towards 2030 and beyond, AfDB would continue to work with and support African countries to drive the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal six targets.

“It will do this through financing, sector reforms and governance, knowledge generation, partnerships and private sector engagement, environmental and social responsibility, and mitigating the impacts of climate change,” it said. (NAN)

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Crowd yet to thin at a bank’s ATM gallery after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) declared old naira notes legal tender …. yesterday. PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

• Business owners, traders defy CBN, reject old N500, N1,000

• CBN silent on returned banknotes, warehoused cash

• Residual notes amount to drop in ocean, analysts insist

• NIBSS: ePayment recorded series of failed transactions in February

• HURIWA charges CBN to disburse old, new notes to banks

The silence of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the trillions of naira it mopped from the financial system continues to cast doubt on the possibility of achieving sufficient naira circulation in the near term, after Monday night’s directive urging banks to comply with the Supreme Court ruling extending the validity of the old banknotes to December 31, 2023.

The statement came days after some banks had started issuing the old notes in their vaults. Some of the banks, The Guardian learnt had exhausted the residual notes in their possession before the CBN directive – a reason majority have none to give as at yesterday when the regulatory directive took effect.

Insider sources disclosed that some bank chiefs used the Supreme Court ruling to release the ‘stranded’ cash in their possession, while they rejected deposits of same old notes.

The Guardian was informed that bank chiefs were already worried about what to do with the notes they collected at the height of the crisis without a clear directive from the regulator.

“The issue was that some banks collected some deposits in old notes at the time CBN was not forthcoming with clear instructions on the proceeds. The court ruling provided an opportunity to dispose of the cash,” the source said.

The Guardian had, after the Supreme Court judgment, reported that CBN was still in possession of a reasonable volume of the old notes but would require sufficient time to sort it for distribution for onward re-issuance.

Apart from a viral and uncomfirmed YouTube video of supposed shred bags of naira, there is no official validation that a part or the entire volume sucked from the system had been destroyed.

The latest official statement of the apex bank on the issue vaguely said the old notes remained legal tenders alongside the new series. There was nothing in the statement that indicated how the bank intends to plug the hole to bring the situation to normalcy.

The CBN spokesperson, Dr. Isa Abdulmumin, was not forthcoming on the returned old notes and whether they would be re-issued in the meantime, as calls and messages were not attended to at press time.

Commercial banks, who have also been jolted by the recent bank failure in the United States, are mindful of a possible run on the banks as soon as substantial cash flows into the system. The lenders, it was learnt, are simulating different levels of scenarios of cash calls and strategising on how they could be prevented.

David Adonri, an economist and stockbroker, said the fear of bank run is real and that the only way it could be prevented is by issuing cash in excess of N3.2 trillion, the volume of currency in circulation before the naira redesign programme commenced.

“The way it is, whatever CBN issues going forward would amount to pouring water into a basket. People have suffered much, and they would go on a withdrawing spree, not to spend but to store in their houses. That would further hurt the circulation of whatever amount the banks give out,” Adonri noted.

A financial inclusion/wealth management expert, CEO of SD&D Capital Management Limited, Idakolo Gabriel Gbolade, said the naira crisis should not have reached an unbearable height before government’s intervention, adding that it is unthinkable for a democratically-elected government to watch its citizens suffer for months.

He explained that the scar of the crisis would be felt in the economy for a long time. “The state of the economy is worsening and is compounded by the delayed intervention towards implementing the Supreme Court’s ruling. The scarcity of new notes shouldn’t have reached an unbearable height before President Buhari and CBN’s response,” he stated.

DATA obtained from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) indicates that the usage of e-payment gateways recorded a 41.29 per cent month-on-month increase. Cashless payment gateways were used 901.46 million times in February, up from 638 million in January.

Despite an increase in usage, the total value of cashless transactions fell in February, indicating that the number of failed transactions increased due to poor network infrastructure.

This is contrary to the expectation that the naira redesign policy will increase electronic transactions in the country.

Since 2020, NIBSS has not updated its efficiency platform portal, which displays the number of failed transitions and other data, making it difficult to report the number of failed transactions. As the major payment switch in the country, NIBSS records cashless transactions from the Nigeria Instant Payment System and Point of Sales terminals. In February, the total NIP (instant payments) fell to N36.79 trillion from N38.772 trillion in January.

Despite the scarcity of naira witnessed in February, data from NIBSS revealed that the value of PoS transactions grew from N807.16 billion in January to N883.45 billion in February.

Usage of mobile transfers, which serve as the primary payment gateway for many Nigerians, soared by 69.87 per cent from 108.14 million times in January to 183.69 million times in February.

While usage grew drastically, transaction value only grew marginally by 7.88 per cent from N2.37 trillion in January to N2.56 trillion in February. This mirrored the experience of many Nigerians in the month, who had to grapple with multiple failed mobile transactions.

MEANWHILE, it’s a slow compliance on the streets as business owners, traders and transporters in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), yesterday, defied CBN’s directive hours after the apex bank’s announcement.

It was gathered that residents of Abuja were still rejecting the old notes. Salisu Mohammed, a trader in the UTC Area market, confirmed that he rejected the old notes.

“No one is collecting the old N500 and N1,000 notes as I speak to you. If other traders do not collect the money, do you expect me to do so? I have rejected some customers today who came buying with old currencies,” he said.

Okechukwu Okereke, a taxi driver, said he is yet to come to terms with CBN’s announcement on acceptance of the old notes.

“As for me, I am not receiving the money. I heard depositing it at the bank is difficult, so what is the need? Only customers who have the new notes will board my vehicle,” he said.

Commercial banks in Utako, Jabi, Wuse and Abuja city centres were crowded with customers, as has been the case since the beginning of the naira crisis two months ago.

Prof Godwin Oyedokun, a lecturer of Accounting and Management at Leads University Ibadan, said Nigerians’ compliance with CBN’s decision might take some time, while Dr Muda Yusuf, Director, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), urged the apex bank to embark on massive awareness campaign on its latest directive.

RESIDENTS of Ilorin, Kwara State capital, reacted variously to Monday’s directive of the CBN. While majority described the directive as a good development, others said it will only impact positively if vigorous sensitisation and public enlightenment campaigns are carried out by CBN to restore confidence of the people who have been traumatised by the naira crisis.

Musa Ayinla, a lawyer, said the situation will improve if banks dispense enough old notes to cushion the effects of the hardship Nigerians have gone through over the naira scarcity. He further complained that Point of Sale (PoS) operators are not helping the situation with exorbitant charges they impose on cash withdrawals.

A retired civil servant, Shola Adeshina, who also described the announcement as a positive development, urged banks to make the old notes available if there are not enough new notes for circulation. He particularly sympathised with people in rural areas where there are no banking services, wondering about the negative effect of the crisis on rural economy.

In Ebonyi State, despite CBN’s directive, residents and business operators have refused to collect the old notes.

Check by The Guardian showed that apart from the difficulties in accessing both new and old notes, PoS agents were exchanging N1000 for either N1400 or N1500.

Traders in Makurdi and other parts of Benue State were still wary of accepting the old notes yesterday. At the Gboko rice mill, traders avoided the old notes like a pariah.

When The Guardian went round banks in Makurdi, crowd of desperate people laid siege to the gates of the banks.

THERE was relief in Rivers State as banks commenced across the counter payment of old notes to customers. Different branches of various banks were seen paying old notes to customers willing to accept them.

However, disbursement was still being rationed according to the discretion of officials of the various banks. None of the banks was paying the new notes along with the old.

At the Mile 1, Diobu, Port Harcourt area, a first generation bank was paying a maximum of N20,000 to each customer, while another bank paid maximum of N5,000. Others refused to disclose their limits, only offering to say that they were paying the old notes.

It was discovered that no Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) of any of the banks was dispensing cash. This now diverted the crowd that usually gather at the ATM points into the banking halls.

Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has slammed CBN over its tardiness and insensitivity to the plight of millions of Nigerians, whose lives have been strangulated economically in the last three months due to the naira redesign policy.

HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said beyond CBN’s reluctant compliance notice with the Supreme Court order of March 3, Emefiele should immediately release old and new naira notes into circulation to ease the suffering of ordinary Nigerians, especially those in the informal sector and in rural areas, who have no idea of digital banking.

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The disparity in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, is to further widen due to the incomplete delivery of products to many filling stations, oil marketers stated on Tuesday.

Dealers under the aegis of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, said there had been a lopsided pattern in the distribution of PMS lately, stressing that this would cause scarcity and worsen the price disparity in retail outlets.

They told our correspondent that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, through its NNPC Retail subsidiary, had not been delivering the exact number of trucks of fuel that were meant for independent marketers.

“Here in Port Harcourt, for instance, we have Oando and NNPC Retail, and they have products in some private depots. Master Energy and Liquid Bulk also have products, but there is no volume for independent marketers,” the National Public Relations Officer, IPMAN, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, stated.

He added, “Independent marketers have no volume in all these depots and we have over 3,400 tickets lying and waiting at the NNPC Retail account. This new system is now making independent marketers beg for petroleum products from NNPC Retail.

“It is until NNPC Retail has finished loading products to its own outlets before it would now attend to independent marketers. It has made the independent marketers the third tier in terms of the bulk distribution of petroleum products, which is very incorrect.”

Independent marketers operate about 80 per cent of filling stations nationwide, both in villages and other remote areas, making them the largest downstream distributors of petrol.

Ukadike explained that the recent lopsidedness in products distribution by NNPC Retail “is the problem that leads to price disparity,” adding that “we are now forced to go and buy products from retail outlets and some of these tank farm owners at a very exorbitant price.”

Also commenting on the issue, the National President, IPMAN, Debo Ahmed, said the situation at private depots (coastal depots) was quite worrisome.

He said downstream oil sector operators “must do something now to restore the depleted faith of independent marketers, especially at the Port Harcourt coastal depots.”

Ahmed’s remarks, which was forwarded to our correspondent by the association’s PRO, read in part, “In the second week of February this year, a vessel discharged about 28 million litres (622 trucks) of PMS in TSL depot (Oando).

“A 162-trucks programme was released for IPMAN, which was about 7.3 million litres. Out of the 162-trucks programme given to us, we struggled to load less than 100 trucks. About 62 tickets are still there waiting for the next vessel.

“In the last week of February, another vessel discharged 13 million litres (288 trucks) of PMS at Liquid Bulk. Only a 56-trucks programme was released for IPMAN. We were all expecting the next programme, just to hear that the product finished last week.”

He also stated that last week, a vessel with 13 million litres (288 trucks) discharged at Master Energy.

“As at this moment, IPMAN has not received any programme for that product. Another vessel will discharge at TSL. IPMAN, what’s our fate?” the association’s president stated.

He added, “This is the right time to toss away the crutches of comfort and restore the hope and expectations of all independent marketers. Is important we start our protest as soon as possible.

“This is important so that Nigerias will know what is going on with us and the new retail. The lopsided distribution pattern will continue to cause scarcity and price disparity in retail outlets.”

When contacted for comments on the matter, the Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPCL, Garba-Deen Muhammad, requested that the enquiry be sent to him via WhatsApp. This was done, but he had yet to reply up till the time of filing this report.

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