The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva on Thursday September 10 said the Federal Government will be saving over N1trillion annually with the removal of subsidy from Premium Motor Spirit.
Sylva told newsmen that the money will be used to fund other critical aspects of the economy.
The Minister who maintained that the sustenance of the fuel subsidy regime was no longer tenable as it had always provided the leeway for rich and unscrupulous Nigerians to steal and enrich themselves at the expense of the masses, also averred that with the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil sector, it would be easier to woo investors required to revitalise the nation’s comatose refineries soon.
“What is deregulation going to do? It is going to free up a lot more money. At least from the very beginning, it will save us up to a trillion and more every year. Already, we have taken up the budgetary provision for subsidy which is about N500 billion in the budget.
“Also, we have taken off the excess forex price that special rate that was given to NNPC which also came at a cost. So, all the money that we used to defend the naira at that time to subsidise the dollar will now be freed up for development. And, I believe that going forward, we will begin to see a lot more development, a lot more money available to the government that will be put into critical infrastructure instead of being burnt in our cars.
“And, let us look at subsidy critically. Who are the beneficiaries of subsidy? When a few years ago you have this subsidy scam all over the place all the monies that were taken by all the subsidy thieves and so on, how many poor people were among those people? Subsidy only provides opportunity for rich and unscrupulous Nigerians to steal and enrich themselves at our expense, at your expense.
“So, deregulation is actually a policy direction that is good for the common Nigerian. It is going to produce a lot of opportunities. Before now, you would asked: Why has the refining sector not developed? It is because no refinery can operate commercially in Nigeria with subsidy.
“If you have a refinery and you refine your product and you are expected to sell it at a subsidised rate, how is the refinery going to make profit and survive? So, nobody wanted to invest in refineries. And that is one of the reasons why our refineries became unsustainable as well because they were refining and selling at a loss. So, every time they came back to government to ask for money.
“Anytime any part got bad they had to come back because they were not operating commercially. So, they don’t have money to replace those parts. That was why we were refining and selling at a loss. With deregulation, it means that refineries can operate commercially.
“And then you can see a lot more investment in that sector and it is going to create a lot of opportunities and jobs for our people. With deregulation, it also means that marketers can import product by themselves and sell at market rates to Nigerians. It is going to create a lot more activities and opportunities.
“So, deregulation is going to really open up. You know what happened in the banking sector with deregulation. We had a few banks but today I cannot count the banks because that sector was deregulated. You see what deregulation did for the airline sector; we had only Nigeria Airways those days.
‘When the sector was deregulated you see that the sector has become a major employer of Nigerians. Deregulation has always been good for sectors. Look at the deregulation of the telecom sector, look at the revolution that it has created for Nigeria and for Nigerians.
“So, why are we shying away from deregulating this sector that is going to provide a lot of opportunities if we do deregulate because we believe that once we deregulate there would be a lot of investment coming into Nigeria to build refineries because at that point it will become commercially viable for them to build refineries because all these issues we are talking about will not be there.
“Even the NNPC can easily find the funds to even fix their refineries because it will then be commercially viable because you are going to operate refineries commercially. Why are we running away from this thing? It is people who are political about it. They want to politicise everything that are saying all kinds of things about the policy direction that has been taken especially at this time.”
Kidnapped wife of Akeredolu’s chief of staff regains freedom
Sade Ale, wife of Olugbenga Ale, chief of staff to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state has regained freedom.
Sade who was returning from a business trip to Lagos, was abducted at Owena in Idanre local government area of the state on Thursday night alongside her driver and another woman.
It was gathered that she was released on Saturday morning after the hunters and other security agencies got to the location where the kidnappers kept their victims.
The Nation reported that some suspects have been arrested in relation to the kidnapping. A source said;
“I can confirm to you that the wife of the Chief of Staff has secured her freedom and on her way to Akure. She was released without paying the ransom as she was rescued by Amotekun and local hunters.”
Vatican begins investigation after Pope’s Instagram page likes a racy photo of a scantily clad Brazilian model
The Vatican has launched an investigation into the Pope’s Instagram account after his official page “liked” a raunchy picture of a scantily clad Brazilian bikini model, Natalia Garibotto.
The Oct. 5 photo shows Garibotto wearing a racy outfit along with the caption,
“I can teach you a thing or two,” and a happy devil emoji.
Francis’ verified Instagram account, Franciscus, was one of the pages liking Natalia Garibotto’s photo before it abruptly “unliked” the image last week, according to the Catholic News Agency.
The Brazilian model, who has been celebrating the pope’s supposed endorsement also took to Twitter afterwards and wrote,
“At least I’m going to heaven.”
In another tweet, she wrote:
“Brb on my way to the Vatican.”
Speaking with Barstool Sports, the Brazilian model said:
“My mum may hate my ass pics but the Pope be double-tapping.”
In a statement, the Catholic News Agency said: “The picture “liked” by Pope Francis’ verified account, Franciscus, features Brazilian model and Twitch streamer Natalia Garibotto wearing a lingerie outfit that resembles a school uniform. Garibotto’s mostly-uncovered posterior is visible in the picture. The exact time of the “like” is unclear, but it was visible and reported by news outlets on November 13.”
“The photograph was unliked on November 14, after CNA asked the Holy See Press Office for comment. An official for the Holy See Press Office declined to comment on the event.”
Sources close to the Vatican leadership told the outlet that an internal probe is underway to determine how the “like” happened.
US Election: Another county in Georgia uncovers 2,700 missing votes during recount- Secretary of State’s office says
2700 missing votes have been found in a county in Georgia, one of the battleground states Joe Biden won in the just concluded Secretary election, the Secretary of State’s Office has announced.
This is the second county in the state to have found missing votes, since the electoral audit in the state started after US president Trump requested a recount and started legal proceedings stating that the election was rigged.
During the hand recount on Tuesday November 17, Fayette County uncovered 2,755 votes that were not included in the initial count. Secretary of State official Gabriel Sterling said those ballots were scanned onto a card, but those votes were never uploaded into the initial count. He says there were several backups designed to catch this issue meaning workers were responsible for not following procedure.
The news comes as Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, has started firing back after more than a week of criticism from Donald Trump and Republicans.
Raffensperger says it was the president’s own attacks on absentee ballots that cost him the election in Georgia.
“He would have won by 10,000 votes. He actually suppressed, depressed his own voting base,” Raffensperger said to Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray.
The Secretary of State added that some 24,500 Georgia Republicans who voted absentee in the June primary elections, didn’t vote in the general election.
“Those 24,000 people did not vote in the fall. They did not vote absentee because they were told by the president, ‘Don’t vote absentee it’s not secure.’ But then they did not vote in person,” Raffensperger said.
The deadline for the statewide audit is Wednesday at midnight.
Of the votes that are now being added to the total, 1,577 were for President Donald Trump, 1,128 for Joe Biden and the rest were for Jo Jorgenson or write-ins. Even with the recount, Biden still leads Trump by 12,929 votes.
Fayette is the second county to report an issue with missing votes. On Monday, Floyd County uncovered 2,600 votes that were missed during the initial count on election night. The Secretary of State’s office said it was human error and called for the elections director in the county to step down. An investigation has been opened in the county.
Those votes changed the margin by about 800 in favor of President Trump.
All counting in counties must be completed by midnight Wednesday so the state can certify its election results by Friday.