- Deduct N27bn From $2bn You Owe us, Marketers Tell FG
Oil marketers on Thursday asked the Federal Government to deduct the N27bn they owed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation from the $2bn that it owed them.
The marketers stated that the petrol scarcity being experienced across the country would have been averted if the NNPC had listened to their warnings in October that there was a drop in supply of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol).
On Wednesday, the NNPC attacked the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association over the statement by DAPPMA that its members had no petrol in their tanks despite the corporation’s claims of importing millions of litres of petrol.
The national oil firm also stated that DAPPMA members owed it the sum of N26.7bn for products received from it, adding that the statement credited to the association on the fuel supply situation, especially PMS, was very unfortunate.
But while speaking on a television programme monitored by our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday, the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, asked the government to deduct the marketers’ debt from the $2bn it owed the oil dealers.
He said, “I know they (NNPC) were referring to DAPPMA, but talking about who is owing who, this is all about trade; we are always buying from the NNPC to sell. So sometimes, we owe and other times we are in credit, but the truth is that the government is owing us.
“And we have agreed with the government since June that when you (government) are going to pay us, deduct whatever we are owing you. Collectively, marketers in the industry are owed close to $2bn, so you can’t compare it to N27bn. It is not only the NNPC that we are owing.”
He added, “We owe other government agencies, but we are saying that let’s start from the biggest and that is the fuel subsidy, the interest and the foreign exchange. We’ve done several reconciliations supervised by the Chief of Staff (to the President) and the Federal Ministry of Finance.
“So nobody is saying we are not owing, rather the government is owing us more and they should pay us and deduct whatever we are owing them.”
When asked why oil marketers were hoarding and diverting petrol as claimed by the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, the MOMAN spokesman stated, “I wish we could meet face-to-face and I will tell him (Baru) when the problem started and when we started warning.
“I’d stated in the past that if you leave the NNPC as the sole importer of products, you will get to a point where the slightest shock will create a problem. The truth must be told, they (NNPC) are just getting the supply in some appreciable quantities. The supply dropped in October up until some two, three weeks ago; that’s the truth!”
Olawore added, “Supply into the system dropped and somebody must own up to this. I’m not here to pass any blame; we are here to see how we can solve the problem and after that, we can sit at the table to look at what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again. But we all saw it coming.
“We saw it coming and we said it that your suppliers are defaulting; they are not supplying enough.”
NNPC lied, we didn’t owe it – DAPPMA
Meanwhile, DAPPMA on Thursday accused the NNPC of lying when it claimed that its members owed the national oil firm N26.7bn.
According to DAPPMA, its members have in the past one month paid over N90bn for petrol supply but have yet to receive any cargo from the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, a subsidiary of the NNPC.
The Executive Secretary, DAPPMA, Mr. Olufemi Adewole, said it was unfortunate for the national oil firm to attack and accuse marketers falsely.
In a statement signed by Adewole on Thursday, the association said, “It is an undisputable fact that DAPPMA members have paid for petrol supply (with bank funds) for over one month, the value of which is in excess of N90bn, yet the PPMC/NNPC had no cargo to allocate to them. As such how can we be held responsible for hoarding?
“The PPMC/NNPC does not transact business with DAPPMA members on credit; hence, we are not aware of any indebtedness to the PPMC/NNPC by our members. We again reject any attempt to blame marketers for the shortfall in supply as it is not our making since the NNPC has been the sole importer since October 2017.”
Adewole said marketers had continued to sacrifice to keep the country wet with fuel despite over N600bn debt owed DAPPMA members and over N800bn owed the different marketers’ groups as a whole by the Federal Government.
He stated, “The essence of our initial press release was to shed light on salient issues surrounding the shortfall in current petrol supply, which is presently solely handled by the NNPC. It was not an attempt to join issues with the PPMC/NNPC with whom we are partners.
“The NNPC’s view of our press release stating our side of the story and seeking to defend marketers for the very first time against the unwarranted accusations of hoarding and profiteering is rather unfortunate.”
The association, however, assured Nigerians that all possible steps were being taken to cooperate with the PPMC/NNPC to eliminate fuel queues nationwide in the next few days.
Amidst the confusion, queues by motorists for petrol in Abuja and neighbouring states of Nasarawa, Niger and Kaduna failed to disappear, as some filling stations were said to be collecting illegal “gate fees” before allowing vehicles to drive in to purchase PMS.
In Lagos, the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Mordecai Ladan, commended the load-out history of Nipco Plc since the resurgence of petrol scarcity across the country, with the firm increasing the trucking of the product across the country.
The DPR boss, who made an unscheduled visit to the Nipco terminal in Apapa on Thursday, said he was impressed with the load-out and the assurances by the company’s management on hitch-free product loading as supplies from the NNPC improved significantly.
Mordecai, who was received by the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Suresh Kumar, and the Chief Corporate Affairs Manager, Mr. Taofeek Lawal, said his team was on tour of depots to ascertain the availability of product stocks.
Earlier, Lawal had informed the DPR team that the company had in stock 17,000 metric tonnes of petrol or approximately about 23 million litres courtesy of supply by the NNPC via the Apapa jetty on Wednesday.
Senate summons Kachikwu, NNPC GMD, others
In a bid to end the ongoing fuel crisis and the untold hardship it is presently unleashing on Nigerians, the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on Thursday directed the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to cut short its recess and immediately convene a meeting with industry stakeholders.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Kabiru Marafa, who disclosed this in Abuja, said following the directive, the panel had summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; Group Managing Director, NNPC, Baru; and other relevant stakeholders in the petroleum sector to a crucial meeting on Thursday, January 4, 2018.
He added that the meeting, which will be held in the Senate Hearing Room 221 and its proceedings aired live on the Nigerian Television Authority, was meant to address the lingering fuel scarcity bedevilling the nation in the last few weeks with a view to putting a complete stop to the unsavoury development.
The Senate, which is presently on Christmas and New Year break, is billed to resume committee work for the defence of the 2018 budget on January 9, and commence plenary on January 16.
NNPC, DPR clamp down on filling stations
Officials of the NNPC, DPR and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps on Thursday caught officials of some illegal filling stations known for receiving diverted products and selling same to motorists at exorbitant prices in Abuja and environs.
According to the NNPC, seven of such stations along the Kubwa and Airport roads in the Federal Capital Territory were caught in the act on Wednesday and Thursday.
The corporation said the petrol found in their various storage tanks were dispensed free to motorists by members of the team led by Baru.
“I want to warn marketers who have refused to heed our advice, especially those operating at night, that the law will catch up with them very soon. The NSCDC has commenced monitoring of such stations. On Tuesday, we identified some defaulting stations and we are going to impound their products and dispense them free to motorists,” Baru said.
Reps surprised pump price increase hasn’t solved scarcity
The House of Representatives said on Thursday that it was surprised that petrol scarcity resurfaced in the country after the Federal Government’s decision in 2016 to raise the pump price to N145 a litre.
The House recalled that the government’s reason for raising the price from N87 to N145 was to make the product easily available and discourage marketers from manipulating the distribution system.
It reviewed the hardships Nigerians had faced in the past days and observed that it seemed there were systemic challenges that the government must address urgently.
The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas stated that the legislature felt the pains of Nigerians and gave the assurance that it would support any urgent proposals by the government to end the scarcity quickly.
He said, “We are surprised that the last fuel price increase from N87 to N145 has not solved the problem of scarcity. We were told that the solution was to increase the pump price and we supported the executive’s proposal.
“It appears that there are more system issues than the pump price increase, which we supported in 2016. However, we are always ready as a legislature to support any proposal that the government thinks will lead to solutions and reduce the hardships being faced by our people.”
Namdas added that since the scarcity of the product resurfaced, the government had not communicated its challenges to the legislature.
He explained that in the circumstances, the legislature believed that the executive was handling the matter the best way it could to end the suffering of Nigerians.
He stated, “Normally, the executive will inform us that there is a problem. In this present case, they have yet to tell us that there is a problem that they cannot handle.
“They told us that increasing the pump price was the solution. We are surprised that despite the last price increase, scarcity is here with us again.”
Namdas stated that the House believed encouraging local refining and making the country’s four refineries work would address the scarcity of fuel on a permanent basis.
Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme
Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme
A total of 611,231 meters have been deployed as at January 31, 2021 under the Meter Asset Provider initiative since its full operation despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other extraneous factors, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said.
NERC disclosed this in a consultation paper on the review of the MAP Regulations.
The proposed review of the MAP scheme is coming nearly four months after the Federal Government launched a new initiative called National Mass Metering Programme aimed at distributing six million meters to consumers free of charge.
“The existence of a huge metering gap and the need to ensure successful implementation of the MYTO 2020 Service-Based Tariff resulted in the approval of the NMMP, a policy of the Federal Government anchored on the provision of long-term low interest financing to the Discos,” NERC said.
The commission had in March 2018 approved the MAP Regulations with the aim of fast-tracking the closure of the metering gap in the sector through the engagement of third-party investors (called meter asset providers) for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of meters.
It set a target of providing meters to all customers within three years, and directed the Discos and the approved MAPs to commence the rollout of meters not later than May 1, 2019.
But in February 2020, NERC said several constraints, including changes in fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding, had led to limited success in meter rollout.
NERC, in the consultation paper, highlighted three proposed options for metering implementation going forward.
The first option is to allow the implementation of both the NMMP and MAP metering frameworks to run concurrently; the second is to continue with the current MAP framework with meters procured under the NMMP supplied only through MAPs (by being off-takers from the local manufacturers/assemblers).
The third option is to wind down the MAP framework and allow the Discos to procure meters directly from local manufacturers/assemblers (or as procured by the World Bank), and enter into new contracts for the installation and maintenance of such meters.
“Customers who choose not to wait to receive meters based on the deployment schedule of the NMMP shall continue to have the option of making upfront payments for meters which will be installed within a maximum period of 10 working days,” NERC said.
The regulator said such customers would be refunded by the Discos through energy credits, adding that there would be no option for meter acquisition through the payment of a monthly meter service charge.
“Where meters have already been deployed under the meter service charge option, Discos shall make one-off repayment to affected customers and associated MAPs. Such meters shall be recognised in the rate base of the Discos,” it added.
NERC urged stakeholders to provide comments, objections, and representations on the proposed amendments within 21 days of the publication of the consultation paper.
Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed
Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed
Nigeria is moving in the right direction economically but its movement is not fast, the United Nations stated on Thursday.
Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, said this during a meeting at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Abuja.
She said the challenges in Nigeria were huge, its population large but described the country’s economy as great with lots of opportunities.
The UN scribe stated that after traveling by train and through various roads in the Northern parts of Nigeria, she discovered that the roads were motorable, although there were ongoing repairs on some of them.
Mohammed said, “This is a country that is diverse in nature, ethnicity, religious backgrounds and opportunities. But these are its strengths, not weaknesses.
“And I think the narrative for Nigeria has to change to one that is very much the reality.”
Speaking on her trips across parts of Nigeria, she said, “What I saw along the way is really a country that is growing, that is moving in the right direction economically. Is it fast enough? No. Is it in the right direction? Yes it is.
“And the challenges still remain with security, our social cohesion and social contract between government and the people. But I know that people are working on these issues.”
She said the UN recognised the reforms in Nigeria and other nations, adding that the common global agenda was the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mohammad commended Nigeria’s quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as she expressed hope that the arrival of vaccines would be the beginning of the end of COVID-19.
On his part, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, told his guest that the Federal Government was working hard to make Nigeria the entrepreneurial hub of Africa.
N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN
N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN
Nigeria spent a total of N10.7tn on fuel subsidy in the last 10 years, the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, has said.
Oyebanji, who was the guest speaker at the 18th Aret Adams Lecture on Thursday, said N750bn was spent on subsidy in 2019.
He highlighted the need for a transition to a market-driven environment through policy-backed legislative and commercial frameworks, enabling the sustainability of the downstream petroleum sector.
“Total deregulation is more than just the removal of price subsidies; it is aimed at improving business operations, increasing the investments in the oil and gas sector value chain, resulting in the growth in the nation’s downstream petroleum sector as a whole,” he said.
The managing director of 11 Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc) said steps had been taken, “but larger and faster leaps are now required.”
According to him, deregulation requires the creation of a competitive market environment, and will guarantee the supply of products at commercial and market prices.
“It requires unrestricted and profitable investments in infrastructure, earning reasonable returns to investors. It requires a strong regulator to enable transparency and fair competition among players, and not to regulate prices,” Oyebanji said.
He noted that MOMAN had recently called for a national debate by stakeholders to share pragmatic and realistic initiatives to ease the impact of the subsidy removal on society – especially on the most vulnerable.
He said, “A shift from crude oil production to crude oil full value realisation through deliberate investment in domestic refining and refined products distribution, creates the opportunity to transform the dynamics of the downstream sector from one of ‘net importer’ to one of ‘net exporter’, spurring the growth of the Nigerian economy.
“Effective reforms and regulations are key drivers for the growth within the refining sector. Non-functional refineries cost Nigeria over $13bn in 2019. If the NNPC refineries were operating at optimal capacity, Nigeria would have imported only 40 per cent of what it consumed in 2019.”
Full deregulation of the downstream sector remains the most glaring boost to potential investors in this space, according to Oyebanji.
He said, “As crude oil prices will fluctuate depending on the prevailing exchange rates, it will be astute to trade in naira to avoid inevitable price swings.
“There needs to be a balance between ensuring the sustainable growth of the crude oil value chain (upstream through downstream) and providing value for the Nigerian consumer and the Nigerian economy.”
He said the philosophy should be for the government to put the legislative and commercial framework in place and let the market develop by itself.
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