- Railway Concession Issues Delay Petrol Distribution by Train
The Federal Government’s decision to concession the country’s rail system is delaying the plan to resume the distribution of petroleum products through the railway, the Petroleum Equalisation Fund announced on Tuesday.
PEF’s Executive Secretary, Ahmed Bobboi, said the resumption of petroleum products’ distribution by rail had been put on hold pending when issues surrounding the concession agreement of the country’s rail system were resolved.
He told journalists at a workshop in Abuja that moves by the agency to introduce railway petrol equalisation in Nigeria to enhance the distribution of petroleum products through the rail lines would not go on as planned until the government concluded its railway concession programme.
Bobboi said, “We planned to introduce railway equalisation last year, but certain developments delayed it and one of them was the planned concession of the railways by the government. At a point, General Electric showed interest and obviously, we want to wait and see who will manage the railway system between the government and the private sector.”
The PEF boss also stated that a new Information Technology system called sensor monitoring had been set up by the agency to monitor and determine the volume of petrol consumed in Nigeria daily.
He said the technology would also check the diversion of petrol, adding that such products were often diverted by dubious petroleum products marketers.
Bobboi further noted that to incentivise the adoption and use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, popularly known as cooking gas, the agency had decided to introduce an equalisation scheme for the product.
He said, “We have introduced some few policies recently and these include the sensor monitoring project which is going on now. This is major in the sense that it does not just stop at serving the PEF but also agencies like the National Bureau of Statistics which require information we provide on petroleum products landing in this country and the refineries.
“This is key because up till today, it is difficult to determine how much we consume in this country in terms of PMS (Premium Motor Spirit). Different agencies give you different figures and I think it is not neat, but by introducing this sensor monitoring project, we believe it will serve the purpose of answering all these questions.”
Bobboi added, “Censor monitoring was approved by the Federal Executive Council in August 2018 and it is supposed to run for three years. Work has already started and before the end of this year, we will begin to see some of the landmarks.”
On the LPG and railway equalisation, he said, “Railway equalisation and LPG penetration: These are crucial to the existence of PEF because we think that by equalising gas in the country, we will help the government in its policy of trying to reduce desert encroachment. It is not only the government of Nigeria that is doing this but also the United Nations, which is promoting clean environment.”