LIVE UPDATES: Senate probes fuel scarcity; Kachikwu, Baru to be questioned

Nigerian Senate probes fuel scarcity.

All stage is set for the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, to explain to the Nigerian Senate the reasons for the lingering fuel crisis.

The two top officials of the petroleum sector were on December 28, 2017 summoned by the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream).

The summon followed a directive by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, that the committee cut short its Christmas and New Year recess and immediately convene a meeting with industry stakeholders.

The Chairman of the Committee, Kabiru Marafa, last week announced that the two and other stakeholders in the petroleum sector have been invited to a crucial meeting on January 4, 2018.

The fuel crisis across Nigeria has been on for about one month, with officials giving various reasons for it.

The meeting is coming after majority of Nigerians who participated in an opinion poll conducted by PREMIUM TIMES asked President Muhammadu Buhari to resign as Minister of Petroleum Resources.

In another dramatic turn on the fuel crisis, the Senate in a statement by its spokesperson, Sabi Abdullahi, on Thursday said a statement allegedly credited to the Chief of Staff to the Federation, Abba Kyari, that oil marketers are being owed due to the failure of the Senate to sign a loan request from the executive was untrue.

Even though the Mr. Baru, on Wednesday declared that NNPC had successfully ended the fuel scarcity, latest monitoring reports by PREMIUM TIMES’ correspondents indicate that although queues have reduced in many areas, prices remain above the official N145 per litre.

Follow the live updates here:

“Like we all know, Nigeria has witnessed another unfortunate incident of fuel scarcity. We were able to tame the monster since our government came to power but it reared its head again. 2017 witnessed a fuel scarcity Christmas.” Kabir Marafa, Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream).

The meeting was convened by a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on petroleum.

Mr. Marafa noted that the meeting will only focus on the ongoing fuel crisis while other issues will be dealt with by other committees at appropriate times.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, on behalf of President Buhari apologised to Nigerians on the fuel crisis.

People take advantage of situations like this and that’s why there was hoarding as well as stealing of products meant for Nigerians – Kachikwu

The Senate committee probing the ongoing fuel crisis was thrown into a rowdy session as three people introduced themselves as presidents of the Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria, IPMAN.

The first to have his name on record was Obasi Lawson while the two others, Sanusi Fari and Okoronko Chinedu, later introduced themselves as presidents of IPMAN.

“I am Okoronko Chinedu, elected IPMAN Chairman affirmed by the Appeal Court two week ago,” Mr. Okoronkwo said much to the surprise of the audience.

In a dramatic manner, Mr Fari, almost immediately, rose up to introduce himself also as IPMAN President.

Chairman of the Senate committee on Petroleum (Downstream) Kabir Marafa, called on the Permanent Secretary of IPMAN to meet with the three, have a common ground and present on their behalf.

Mr. Kachikwu said the Federal Government has always wanted to sell (crude) at the highest possible rate in the international market.

“The country needs to get its refineries working,” Mr. Kachikwu says on ways to forestall future occurrence of fuel scarcity.

“Queues have dissapeared from filling stations for a week now,” – Baru

“News in the media, especially social media was one of the reasons why some marketers were hoarding the products. We tackled that by re-assuring Nigerians that there is enough of the products and there is no issue as far as increase of price is concerned.” – Baru

“Our surrounding countries are selling for not less than N300 and above. Countries like Cameroon sell for N407. That large price differential, N145 to N400, is a large prospect for smugglers.” – Baru

Nigerians consume between 27 to 35 million litres of PMS per day – Baru

Due to massive diversion, hoarding, panic buying and smuggling, coupled with information that three DSDP consortia had rejected October cargoes, there was insinuation of a supply gap. – Baru

On efforts and steps taken so far, Mr. Baru said the NNPC has increased its surveillance in partnership with DPR and the Civil Defence Corps.

We directed 24 hours operation in all depots to ensure 24 hours loading of products. – Baru

Mr. Baru said the NNPC in response to the crisis brought in six extra cargoes, 300 million litres, as additional imports to increase the day’s sufficiency.

Up to 4,500 trucks of products were diverted. We are not just saying this, we have proof – Baru

We have re-activated and re-streamed the Kaduna and Port-Harcourt refineries. Kaduna has been contributing 3.25 million barrels per day and Port-Harcourt contributes 3 million – Baru

There were complains that IPMAN charged N133.28 per litre, although there was no evidence. If any member of IPMAN or DAPMAN was caught, they would have been sanctioned and their licences seized.

Mr. Baru listed some of the challenges of agencies under NNPC as follows:

PPPRA need to review the pricing template and landing cost.

National Assembly needs to appropriate monies for outstanding subsidy payment

NPA need to dredge more channels of low drafts for discharging fuel

PTD and NARTO complained that they have aged trucks, high duty tariff on spare parts as well as bad roads.

Unions complained of shortage of manpower and outstanding payments

CBN complained that LC processing time is too long and payments are delayed

Customs complained of cross-border smuggling in tanks, jerry cans and motor cycles.

On steps taken so far:

PTD/NARTO have helped the NNPC immensely during the crisis – Baru

PPPRA helped improve vessel clearance – Baru

JTF helped in reducing delays in checkpoints as well as curtailing theft in the Okrika jetty.

He recommended a continuous application of sanctions on erring marketers and sustenance of vigilance by regulators.

Insinuations that request of payment for DAPPMA is waiting in NASS is false. It is therefore not stated as part of the problem of fuel scarcity – Kabir Marafa

Some erring marketers have been apprehended – DPR Director, Ladan

If you are found hoarding, we will discharge your products free of charge but we have also found out that that is causing a problem. Nigerians will just go in, take fuel, go out to empty their cars and come in again – DPR Director, Ladan

If you are caught diverting we will charge you at the rate of N275 per litre and you must pay the government – DPR Director, Ladan

People should be calm, the panic buying will soon fizzle out. We are doing our best to salvage the situation – DPR Director, Ladan.

National Assembly wants a list of filling stations that have been caught hoarding, diverting or selling above normal price for stiffer penalty. List to be submitted by January 16 – Kabir Marafa

Lack of sufficient reserve, clearance speed, diversion among other reasons were causes of the scarcity – Kachikwu

Currently, the landing cost of product is N170 to N171 and we sell at N145 – Kachikwu

There has been a loose enforcement on diversion in the country. We have not been able to police our depots adequately – Kachikwu

We need to make marketers responsible for every tank of fuel up until point the point of delivery – Kachikwu

In moments of normalcy, we are fine. In moments of emergency, our system is slow to respond. – Kachkwu

We also need to adrress our refineries – Kachikwu

For us, the main issue is shortage in supply and that is also based on the fact that government is owing us N800 billion – Thomas Olawore, MOMAN Executive Secretary

Private sector did not start any rumour of increasing price of fuel – Thomas Olawore

Major players should be given major roles to play in the importation sector. Let the private sector participate – Thomas Olawore

The end result should be deregulation; so that in the long run, private sectors can come in and build more refineries – Thomas Olawore

There are several costs that are not captured in the templates; wharf landing and other charges. A particular state requested for 3 kobo on every litres. If other states do that the cost has increased – Thomas Olawore

Marketers must resume their role; importing 70% percent of products and leaving the 30% for NNPC – Dapo Abiodun of DAPPMA

He said the N800 billion being owed by the FG is as a result of delay in payment of subsidies and the debt is accruing interest. He said the contract marketers had with the government was to be paid subsidies within 45 days, but they get paid after a year.

We need to look at illegal exportation of petroleum products – Dapo Abiodun

At IPMAN, our concern is to access the products at approved government price and sell at approved government price – IPMAN Executive Secretary, Aminu Abdulkadir

Take note that those who sell above the normal price are not my members; their stations should not only be shut down but demolished – Aminu Abdulkadir

Chairman NARTO, Kassim Bataiya

Petroleum products is like every other commodity which is being affected by the forces of demand and supply – Chairman NARTO, Kassim Bataiya

He said erring marketers and filling stations should be traced to the root, thoroughly investigated before locking up the the filling stations

I don’t think truck drivers are in charge of diversion of petroleum products – Kassim Bataiya

If the customs can prevent smuggling of bags of rice into the country, they should be able to prevent smuggling of petroleum products out of the country – Kassim Bataiya

He called for more support from the federal government as well as on customs duty charged on the trucks.

He also asked for tracking devices to be put on trucks

Our christian drivers didn’t go home during the Christmas holiday because of the respect they had for me as chairman, that is why the queues have continually reduced – PTD Chairman Tijani Zubairu

The senators have been engaged in a question and answer session with the officials present.

Isa Misau asked Mr. Kachikwu if he has constant access to President Buhari who is the Petroleum Minister.

Mr. Marafa ruled that that the relationship between the two is ‘personal’ and as such would not be answered by the minister.

I never sent a memo to the president on fuel scarcity in November or any other time. That is a fake news, Mr. Kachikwu said.

The N800 billion we are talking about (subsidy allegedly owed marketers) happened before we came into office – Kachikwu

Mr. Kachikuwu said he cannot guarantee when fuel scarcity will disappear


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