Nigeria prepares for further fuel queues
A growing number of tankers are stuck off Nigeria, unable to unload their cargoes of diesel and petrol. The queue is a reminder for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that another fuel crisis is may be looming.
According to ship tracking data and fuel trades, a minimum of 75 ships with two and a half million tonnes of fuel are stuck off shore. They are waiting for Nigerian importers to acquire the dollars needed to pay for the cargoes.
Several of these vessels arrived in April, and their owners have started to offer their fuel to buyers outside Nigeria, traders told Reuters.
Sliding word oil prices have hindered Nigeria’s state income. Crude sales are the government’s key source of revenue, and the fall has caused damaging shortages of dollars within the economy. This issue has been limiting Nigerian businesses for months.
The government has attempted to head off more fuel shortages by raising the price cap for petrol by 67 percent. Additionally, it has allowed any Nigerian company to import fuel and has also officially sanctioned importers use the black market in order to raise the hard currency they need to get cargoes off the ships.
Nigeria consumes 45 million litres of gas a day. This would require the market to provide approximately $18 million a day. Importers cover about 30 percent of this total; it is still a big strain on the market for dollars as the state oil firm covers the rest.
“The risk is that the parallel rate will depreciate even more, giving the marketers a pretext for yet further price increases at the pump”, said Alan Cameron, an economist covering Africa with Exotix Partners.
The only long-term solution for Nigeria is for it to build its own refineries and fix its infrastructure, according to Chinedu Ukadike, chief of staff to the national president of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.