FRUEL CRISIS already has far too many consequences

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By Otti Esse

…Price of petrol out of the roof selling for between N180-N500 depending on your location.

SUN, DECEMBER 24 2017-theG&BJournal-The impact has been regurgitating and the blame games remain a sad reflection of how the county has been run since independence in 1960. And now an alleged memo from the Minister of State for petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu warning the President/Minister of Petroleum, Muhammadu Buhari on anticipated shortage of premium motor spirit has surfaced and that again underscores how incompetently the leadership responds to national disasters.

Already Nigerians view the president with a barely disguised chip on their shoulders. And not without a reason. And one of those reasons is that he has allowed the country’s mismanaged oil and gas sector go from absurd to ‘sin’.

Investigations by theG&BJournal reveal large scale leakages and inconsistencies still persists in the importation of petrol by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and thus the reason for the large scale scarcity despite their claims and finger pointing.

The NNPC spokesman Mr Ndu Ughamadu, said last Thursday in Abuja that the fuel queues will `normalise’ by Friday and disappear by the weekend. According to him, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, has met with the heads of Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and Petrol Tanker Drivers (PTD) to nip the problem in the bud.

He went further with a fresh excuse for their woes; “a nation that consumed 35 million litres suddenly increased consumption to 85 million litres due diversion to neighbouring countries.”

Despite these, there are no changes because of the leakage points which the corporation still exploits particularly during the Yuletide seasons.

Our investigations reveal the leakage points identified include volumes of both Premium Motor Spirit and DPK paid for but not imported, the volume diverted to aviation and AGO spiking and the volume illegally exported to neighbouring countries.

Our sources say the scam is a carryover from the era of fuel subsidy when subsidy is a first line charge which compels payment to be made irrespective of what the bill is. It is estimated that the volume of PMS paid for but not imported is still between 5-20 percent. This is the same for the volume wasted on round tripping. Illegal exports to neighbouring countries account for 15-30 percent and from the volume of actual domestic consumption subsidized, the volume accounted for is between 80-50 percent, the rest is assumed wasted.

Our source says the incentive for smuggling and cross product contamination remains. “You can only stop this mess with total deregulation of the downstream,” he said, adding that the ambiguous consumption figures bandied by various government officials help to further embed the sharp practices in the sector. “That is why we will always come round this cycle of fuel crisis.”

The supply mechanism of PMS and Kerosene is also rife with political abuse as theG&BJournal found out. The management of the country’s crude oil and importation of petroleum products by the NNPC is lacking in transparency and due process.

Meanwhile, price of petrol has gone out of the roof selling for between N180-N500 depending on your location. Transporters are having a field day with outrageous charges on passengers. Those of them on cross country drive have no fuel to carry passengers.

It is estimated that over 30 million Nigerians will be without a family member for this Christmas celebration and many more millions will be stranded in their domain until well after the New Year. Thousands of Youth Corpers from the last batch that past out last Thursday are stranded at their service points leaving their families worried.

DCSL 90X780

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