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Albanians living in UK ‘would work for free’ to tackle fuel crisis


Albanians living in UK ‘would work for free’ to tackle fuel crisis

Albania has said thousands of its migrants to the UK would be willing to work for nothing to help tackle the petrol crisis.

Albania’s ambassador to the UK, Qirjako Qirko, told the Guardian: “If your government would like, we can offer good reliable drivers, maybe 5,000 immediately.”

He claimed many of the estimated 150,000 Albanians living in the UK would work out of gratitude to their British hosts. As a significant number are believed to be undocumented, it is impossible to know how many are qualified HGV drivers.

But Qirko, who had just spent an hour queueing for petrol without success, said he believed many Albanians in Britain were truck drivers who could help make up a shortfall estimated at up to 100,000.

He said: “The Albanians are ready to work for the British government to overcome this problem free of charge. I don’t know if they have the right licences, but if they did I’m sure everyone here would say ‘I can help’.

Qirko cited the 1999 Nato intervention in Kosovo for saving hundreds of ethnic Albanians and said: “Albanians in the UK would work free of charge for this country because of what this country has done for them … We are grateful forever to the government, and to the army of this country, for what they did for our brothers in Kosovo.”

Albania, one of the poorest countries in Europe, has hopes of joining the EU but in 2019 France blocked the opening of membership negotiations. In 2017, twice as many Albanians as people of any other nationality were caught as stowaways at UK ports, Home Office figures showed. This year, the home secretary, Priti Patel, signed an agreement to remove Albanian nationals without the right to be in the UK.

Qirko urged the British to see Albanians as an asset rather than a problem, complaining they were too often portrayed as gang members, drug dealers and human traffickers, including by government bodies such as the National Crime Agency.

He said: “Of course, there are some people from my community that are involved in criminal activity, but why is it so necessary to mention their nationality? Nationality has nothing to do with criminality. You don’t say someone is a gay or lesbian criminal, so why say there are ‘Albanian criminals’?”

He added: “By mentioning the nationality you create a negative perception, regarding the whole community here that is doing an honest job. Albanians who come here are not criminal. They are people who like a better life.”

In 2019, Qirko criticised the Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James for her portrayal of Albanians in her novel The Mister, about a London maid who had been trafficked. Qirko has a copy of James’s letter in response on his desk. She wrote: “In the course of my research for the novel, I did visit Albania and found it to be an extremely beautiful country. And its people to be warm and welcoming.”

Qirko said: “I’m here to stand up for my people. They are not criminal, they are hard-working and honest.”

The military is set to start delivering fuel to forecourts on Monday, amid reports that south-east England is experiencing worsening shortages. Petrol prices are rising, with one garage in London reportedly charging £2.93 for a litre of super unleaded.

Qirko strongly denied reports on Sunday that Albania was negotiating a deal with the UK to receive migrants who cross the Channel in small boats. The Sun said officials were close to striking a deal on an overseas processing centre. Setting up such a centre for refugees is part of the new nationality and borders bill.

The Home Office did not confirm or deny the report. But Qirko said there had been no negotiations. “This is absolutely and totally fake news. Totally false. There are no discussions and no negotiations. I am sure that the Home Office will react and deny this story.”

Olta Xhaçka, Albania’s foreign minister, has also denied the report. “So embarrassing the fake news spreading in the British media about an ‘offshore hub in the Balkans’ namely in Albania to ‘detain migrants crossing Channel from France’,” she tweeted.


Adopting CNG can reduce Nigeria’s inflation – FG

The Nigerian government has said that successfully adopting Compressed Natural Gas can reduce inflation, which soared to 33.69 per cent in April 2024.

The Programme Director of the Presidential Initiative on Compressed Natural Gas, Pi-CNG, Michael Oluwagbemi, disclosed this during a one-day South-South and South-East stakeholders’ engagement meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

He noted that Nigerians can realize between 40 to 50 per cent savings from petrol upon adopting CNG.

“It can reduce inflation. It is cheaper. You can realize between 40% and 50% savings from patrol. This is good for Nigeria, and it is safer.

“It is 18 times safer than petrol and diesel. It is cleaner and safer for the environment,” he said.

He added that Nigeria would save about $2.5 billion by converting every one million vehicles to CNG.

Recall that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu asked all federal government ministries, departments and agencies to procure CNG buses.

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Nigeria won’t need to import fuel by June — Dangote

Aliko Dangote, Chairman of the Dangote Group, announced that by next month, Nigeria will no longer need to import gasoline due to the operational plans of the Dangote Refinery.

Speaking as a panellist at the Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit in Kigali, Dangote highlighted that the refinery, which has already commenced supplying diesel and aviation fuel in Nigeria, has the capacity to fulfil the diesel and petrol needs of West Africa and the aviation fuel requirements for the entire African continent.

Dangote emphasised, “Right now, Nigeria has no cause to import anything apart from gasoline, and by sometime in June, within the next four or five weeks, Nigeria shouldn’t import anything like gasoline; not one drop of a litre.”

Highlighting how far the oil company has come, Dangote expressed how they are focused on ensuring that the continent will depend less on imports in the near future.

“We have enough gasoline to give to at least the entire West Africa, and diesel to give to West Africa and Central Africa. We have enough aviation fuel to give to the entire continent and also export some to Brazil and Mexico,” he said.

“Today, our polypropylene and our polyethene will meet the entire demand of Africa, and we are doing base oil, which is like engine oil; we are doing linear benzyl, which is a raw material to produce detergent. We have 1.4 billion people in the population; nobody is producing that in Africa.

“So, all the raw materials for our detergents are imported. We are producing that raw material to make Africa self-sufficient.

“As I said, give us three or a maximum of four years, and Africa will not, I repeat, not import any more fertiliser from anywhere.

“We will make Africa self-sufficient in potash, phosphate, and urea; we are at three million metric tonnes, and in the next twenty months, we will be at six million metric tonnes of urea, which is the entire capacity of Egypt. We are getting there.”

Dangote recalled how his dream for further investment in Africa as well as ending fuel importation in Africa has culminated in what is now one of the biggest refineries in the world.

“For some of us, despite the boom of the capital market in the US—you know, Google, Microsoft, and the rest—we didn’t participate; we took all our money and invested in Africa.

“We had this dream just about five years ago, and we said we wanted to move from five billion dollars in revenue to thirty billion dollars in revenue, and we made it happen. It is possible and now we have made it happen and now we have finished our refinery.

“Our refinery is quite big; it is something that we believe that Africa needs. If you look at the whole continent, there are only two countries that don’t import petroleum products, which is a tragedy.

“They are only Algeria and Libya. The rest are all importers. So, we need to change and make sure that we don’t just go and produce raw materials; we should also produce finished products and create jobs.

Speaking further, the African richest man said, “One of the things we also need to know as Africans is that we produce raw materials and export them when you export raw materials and somebody now keeps importing things into your continent and dumping goods. what you are importing is poverty and exporting jobs. So, we have to change that narrative.”

“We just commissioned in February, and now we are producing jet fuel, diesel, and by next month, gasoline.

“What that would do is that we would be taking most of the African crude that is being produced and also be able to supply not only Nigeria because our capacity is too big for Nigeria, but it would also supply West Africa, Central Africa, and also South Africa.

“We have 650,000 barrels per day, 1 million metric tonnes of polypropylene, and 590,000 metric tonnes of carbon black; those are the raw materials—ink, dyes and co.

“We are expanding more. This is the first phase and we are going out to the next phase, which will start early next year.”(tribune)

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Customs FX rate for import duties rises to N1,530/$

The foreign exchange (FX) rate for import duties has been adjusted by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to N1,530 per dollar.

This was adopted on Friday, May 17, representing a 6.13 percent increase compared to the N1,441.58 adopted on May 6.

The NCS always adopts FX rates recommended by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for import duties based on trading activities in the official FX market

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