28 December 2017

Nigeria: $1.1trn Worth of Fuel Diverted By 18 Companies - PDP

Photo: Vanguard
Fuel pump.

As fuel scarcity lingers across the country, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) maintained yesterday that 18 unregistered companies were used to lift and divert $1.1trn worth of crude oil in the last one year.

It accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) government of being silent over reports of fraud in the oil regime.

PDP further charged the APC-led government to tell Nigerians the truth regarding its handling of fuel related funds, particularly the circumstances surrounding what it called "the exposed diversion of fuel funds in sleazy oil subsidy payouts".

In a statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the major opposition party in the country said it is completely reprehensible that the APC and the federal government have continue to stick to lies, particularly on the real reasons behind the biting fuel scarcity.

The party tasked the APC Government to speak out on reports of fraud in the oil regime whereupon 18 unregistered companies were used to lift and divert $1.1 trillion worth of crude oil in the last one year.

"We all know that it was convenient for the APC Presidency to promise Nigerians that it will no longer import fuel only because the PDP government had already laid the foundation including revamping the refineries and ensuring a domestic production of 5 million litres out of the 25 million litres daily domestic consumption.

"Sadly, this incompetent APC government, in its almost three years, has not added one litre to the 5 million litres which the PDP administration was producing. Instead of improvements, the APC has wrecked the system and now pushing the nation to depend solely on importation, while engaging in heavy sleazes in hidden subsidy regimes.

"Is it not also ridiculous for the federal government, in its bid to cover for its ineptitude and oil subsidy corruption, to announce that it is the NNPC and not Nigeria that is paying for the so called

The statement made available to LEADERSHIP continued: "The question is who owns the NNPC? Is it not Nigeria? Can NNPC spend a kobo without the authorization of the Presidency? Has President Muhammadu Buhari ceased to be the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Minister of Petroleum Resources?

"Moreover, if the NNPC, which is under his purview, has been paying fuel subsidy, who authorized the payment and who are the beneficiaries? Nigerians need to know the truth on this subsidy regime.

"We therefore challenge the APC- Federal Government to come clean on these issues and stop telling lies to Nigerians who have suffered enough under its deceptive, inept, uncoordinated and wicked regime".

The PDP however urged Nigerians not to feel forlorn, adding that it has repositioned to stand with the people in the inevitable mission to rescue and restore the nation to the path of prosperity once more come 2019.

NNPC Faults DAPPMA Claims Of Poor Supply

Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has responded to claims by Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) on the supply of fuel, describing the association's statement as very unfortunate.

The corporation assured the public that it has concluded plan to supply 1.2billion litres of the white products in January 2018, translating to about 40million litres of PMS supply per day.

Ordinarily, Nigerians consumes about 700 trucks (about 27million - 30million) litres per day.

"Despite the current challenges, Nigerians are reassured that there is no plan to increase PMS pump price above N145/litre and that NNPC will continue to maintain ex-depot price of N133.28/litre, which guarantees the pump price not exceeding the N145 per litre capped by the government", NNPC noted.

DAPPMA had in a statement on Tuesday raised issues on the current fuel crisis, claiming that her members pay the corporation in advance for petroleum products.

Part of the statement reads: "NNPC imports and distributes through Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA), Major Oil Market Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).

"Our members pay PPMC/NNPC in advance for petroleum products and fully paid up PMS orders that have neither been programmed nor loaded is in excess of 500,000MT (about 800,000,000 litres) as at today and enough to meet the nation's needs for 19 days at a daily estimated consumption of 35,000,000 litres".

But in its Response, NNPC in a statement by its spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu, said the Corporation has supplied appreciable volume to DAPPMA, MOMAN and IPMAN to rid the challenges currently being experienced in the supply and distribution of petroleum products in the country.

Debunking the allegations of products paid for but not supplied yet, Ughamadu said DAPPMA members owe the NNPC about N26.7 billion.

"NNPC regrets that DAPPMA, which embers had taken receipts of products from Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC, and owe the company to the tune of N26.7billion as at December 21, 2017, has the audacity to indict NNPC unjustifiably", the statement reads.

NNPC described the claim by DAPPMA that the current hiccups in the supply of products was due to the inability of the Direct Sales Direct Purchase (DSDP) partners of NNPC to deliver on their business obligations as unfounded and self-indicting.

According to Ughamadu, many of DAPPMA members patronise the same DSDP international counterparts as the corporation.

On DAPPMA's claims of implication of high landing cost of PMS induced by the rise in the price of crude in the international market as well as exchange rate and bank charges, NNPC said, "Despite the concession by the government giving access to DAPPMA to obtain FOREX at an official rate of N305 per dollar for PMS import, their members have not been able to do so, leaving NNPC as the sole supplier of PMS to the Nigerian market".

The corporation, however, assured the public that despite the increase it effected in the supply of PMS in December 2017, it has nonetheless, programmed to supply 1.2billion litres of the white products in January 2018, translating to about 40million litres of PMS supply per day.

"Despite the current challenges, Nigerians are reassured that there is no plan to increase PMS pump price above N145/litre and that NNPC will continue to maintain ex-depot price of N133.28/litre which guarantees the pump price not exceeding the N145 per litre capped by the government", Ughamadu stated.

NNPC was however silent on the claim by DAPPMA that the Corporation absorbs the attendant subsidy on behalf of the government as the current landing cost of PMS is about N170 per litre, which is a confirmation of what the Group General Manager of NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru had revealed recently.

NNPC, DPR Intensify Raid On Errant Fuel Stations

Meanwhile, a combined team of officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), led by the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, has increased the tempo of unscheduled visits to fuel stations across the Federal Capital Territory suspected to be involved in underhand dealings.

The raid which was facilitated by the operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) led to the clampdown of a notorious fuel outlet in Kubwa District of the FCT where petrol is sold at the rate of N250 per litre, a price well above the approved retail price of N145/litre.

The NNPC GMD promptly ordered an on-the-spot dispensing of the remaining product in the storage tank free to motorists in conformity with extant sanction for such misdemeanour.

Addressing journalists after the exercise, Dr. Baru noted that in line with its mandate as supplier of last resort, the NNPC would continue to work with relevant stakeholders like the DPR and Civil Defence Corps to bring to a quick end the prevailing hardship in accessing petrol across the country.

The GMD enthused that with the recent directive by the presidency that the security agencies should tighten the noose on smuggling of petroleum products, the issues of cross-border activities and diversion of products would be curtailed, thus allowing Nigerians to benefit from the massive injection of fuel into the system being undertaken by the corporation within the last few weeks.

In a related development, the NNPC yesterday announced the temporary suspension of products dispensing activities at its mega station along Lagos Road, in Port Harcourt due to a fire incident, which occurred near the station.

The fire resulted from a Toyota Camry car, which exploded outside the station after the product was dispensed into an extra in-built locally fabricated tank designed to siphoned fuel.

Though the fire did not affect the station, the corporation noted that it was imperative to suspend operations to enable security agencies clear the resultant traffic situation at the scene.

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