Amid the uncertainty occasioned by the looming fuel scarcity in the country as a result of the unresolved N800bn subsidy debt dispute between the federal government and marketers, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Wednesday said the National Assembly was happy with its fuel supply plans for the end of year festivities and beyond.
On Tuesday, PREMIUM TIMES reported exclusively that petroleum products marketers rejected the N340bn promissory note offered by government as part payment of the debt to avert another round of fuel supply crisis.
On Sunday, the marketers, under the aegis of Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) and the Independent Petroleum Products Importers (IPPIs), said they were poised to ground the fuel supply system if government did not pay the outstanding debts in cash within seven days.
With the expiration of the deadline barely four days away, uncertainty reigns over what government next move to resolve the issue and avert another round of crisis.
Regardless, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, told the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Joseph Akinlaja, the corporation has a robust arrangement to ensure zero-scarcity of petroleum products during the forthcoming festive season and beyond.
Part of the strategy, the managing director of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company Limited (PPMC), Umar Ajiya, announced was the building of over 170 million litres stock of premium motor spirit (PMS), also called petrol, in some NNPC depots across the country.
The stock of products is stored in the NNPC depots, which he said underwent successful rehabilitation and are put back to use, along with connecting pipelines, to forestall dependence on private sector depots for products storage.
Mr Aliya said the rehabilitation of the products storage depots were part of measures deployed by the corporation to avert any form of supply challenges during the festive period.
In his presentation, NNPC’s chief operating officer, downstream, Henry Ikem Obih, who represented the GMD, said even if NNPC stopped further fuel importation today, the corporation has enough stock of petrol to last for a minimum of 45 days.
The chairman of the house committee, Mr Akinlaja, during an oversight visit to the NNPC Towers on Tuesday, expressed satisfaction with the strategies NNPC said it was adopting so far to make petroleum products available throughout the country.
The NNPC, in a statement, highlighted that Mr Akinlaja expressed confidence that the measures put in place by the corporation to avert fuel supply shortage would be successful this year, going by the level of planning and execution that went into the zero-fuel scarcity strategy.
The committee also expressed satisfaction with the improvement on the integrity of the pipelines, and urged NNPC to expedite action on the remaining ones, especially those linking the Ore Depot from Benin City to the Ibadan Depot.
“Going by the presentation on the zero-fuel scarcity strategy, we are sure there will be no war room here again, because of products scarcity. I am happy Nigerians are going to travel effortlessly at this period of the year,” NNPC’s spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu quoted Mr Akinlaja as noting.
Noting the threat by petroleum products marketers to ground the sector due to unpaid subsidy arrears, the committee chairman appealed to the federal government to do everything within its powers to pay up, to forestall any crisis capable of disrupting the peaceful celebration of the season.
Mr Ughamadu said the lawmaker stressed the need to support NNPC to sustain petroleum products supply, to avoid unnecessary hiccups as a result of being over-burdened with the challenges as the sole importer and supplier of petroleum products.
Meanwhile, the managing director of PPMC also announced a trading surplus of about N32bn by the company between January and November 2018.
The other downstream subsidiaries that made presentations during the visit included NNPC Retail Limited, Nigerian Pipelines and Storage Company (NPSC) and NNPC Shipping.