Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke
By Dele Ogbodo, Alike Ejiofor and Akinwale Akintunde
Concerned about the lingering fuel scarcity across the country, the Chairman, Senate Committee, on Petroleum Resources (downstream sector) Senator Magnus Abe has invited the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke and the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Andrew Yakubu, to a consultative meeting.
Also Friday, directors of two oil marketing and trading companies - Oluwaseun Ogunbambo and Habila Theck - told an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, that their firms, Fargo Petroleum and Gas Limited did not receive N976.6 million subsidy payment from the federal government as being alleged.
Expected to appear in the Senate alongside the minister and the NNPC boss, is the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, Mr. Reginald Stanley.
Other stakeholders in the petroleum downstream sector are also expected at the meeting slated for next week Tuesday at the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
In a signed statement Friday, Senator Abe said the long queues of vehicles at filling stations seen in Abuja and some cities in the country "are unacceptable" adding that government must quickly and proactively deal with the situation.
He said: "We thought that the era of Nigerians queuing at filling stations for indeterminate hours to procure PMS and other petroleum products, was indeed gone forever. It is, indeed, an embarrassment that precious man-hours are wasted in the quest to fulfill a basic need. What was initially perceived as a glitch in the distribution chain has now ballooned into queues in what now seems to be a gradual return to that inglorious era."
The committee, the statement added will engage those in charge with a view to ascertaining and charting a workable solutions to the challenges in the downstream sector.
Meanwhile, Ogunbambo and Theck, yesterday told an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, that their firms did not receive N976.6 million subsidy payment from the federal government.
The duo made this known through their counsel, Mr. Adebayo Adenipekun (SAN), yesterday at the commencement of their trial before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo. The defendants and their firms are among the 17 oil marketers and seven companies being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for alleged fuel subsidy scam. There is however a renewed hope of improved fuel supply as Technoil and the NNPC imported two cargoes of petrol each to augment previous supplies by the corporation.
Technoil has imported two cargoes of petrol to augment supplies by the NNPC and also plan to bring in a third cargo before the end of this month.
Technoil’s first cargo, MT DEVOCEAN, with 10,000metric tonnes of petrol had finished discharging of its products, before the second cargo, MT EMOCEAN came in and commenced the discharge of another 10,000Mt.
Confirming this development, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Tony Onyeama told THISDAY that the company would bring in one additional cargo before the end of this month, as part of its commitment to address this current shortfall in supply.
“Our plan is to do 30,000metric tonnes this month. So, before the end of the month, we will bring in one more vessel,” he said.
Also on Thursday, the NNPC commenced the discharge of products from two imported cargoes – Captain Gregory and a second vessel, Zhoni ji.
The vessels are discharging at the Petroleum Wharf (PWA) Jetty and the Bulk Oil Jetty (BOJ), both in Apapa, Lagos.
However, the ex-depot price of petrol has remained on the high side – between N92 and N94, against the N87.90 officially recommended by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).