Executive Secretary, PPPRA, Mr. Reginald Stanley
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) Tuesday in Abuja disclosed that N671 billion has been saved in subsidy claims in the last 10 months from the implementation of stringent reforms in the downstream petroleum sector.
In a statement issued by its Executive Secretary, Mr. Reginald Stanley, PPPRA said the figure represents about 49.7 per cent of the N1.3 trillion that the Federal Government had to pay as subsidy on petrol in October last year.
Stanley, however, explained that the figure was likely to rise by the end of the year, adding: “We have also been able to shrink the size of briefcase marketers from 128 to only 38.
“In other words, we successfully weaned out 90 companies, while setting stringent regulatory conditions which would make it difficult for marketers to short-change the system.
He said: “Our efforts have not stopped here, as we are more than determined to refer any matter to the EFCC, should we notice any infraction.”
Stanley also acknowledged the support of President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, as well as the dedication and hard work of his staff as being key to the achievements of the regulatory agency.
“The Federal Government has done extremely well in the area of halting fuel subsidy scams in the country. Today, such efforts at transparency and accountability are beginning to yield positive results,” he said.
He added that PPPRA under his watch would remain a model organisation that is alive to its responsibilities, noting that its activities within the past year have pointed to the fact that a lot is being done to sanitise the sector and make it both sustainable and profitable for honest operators.
Giving a breakdown of the beneficiaries of the subsidy scheme, he said: “Out of the N679 billion subsidy payments made between January and October, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) got N337.7 billion, while other marketers received a combined figure of N342 billion.
“This is as against N1.351 trillion paid within the same period last year (January to October).”
He further stated that the decision by the Federal Government to first address the issue of malpractices prevalent in the oil and gas sector, as well as the absence of actions directed at enforcing transparency and accountability in the administration of the subsidy regime, had spurred him into, among other things, executing some of these reforms.
He said the reform measures were aimed at engendering pubic trust and belief in government’s sincerity in the downstream operational activities.
He said one of such initiatives included restricting participation to only owners of coastal discharge/depot facilities, thus substantially reducing participation in the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF) scheme.
This move, he said, has encouraged investment in petroleum handling facilities, improved the management of participants in the PSF scheme, and at the same time promoted local content development.
According to him, the PPPRA conducts regular monthly import performance review meetings, while resolving marketers’ complaints through effective mediation.
“The agency equally engaged the services of certified cargo inspectors to enhance operational efficiency and accountability in the areas of products receipts, in line with international best practices and also in order to ensure that the agency’s staff are available to take physical discharge valves at depots, thereby eliminating risks of back-loading,” he said.
Meanwhile, Stanley has also debunked claims that staff of the agency earn jumbo salaries and allowances. He described such claim as a gross misrepresentation of the facts.
According to him: “The sum of N5.7 billion when broken down into sub-heads, actually accounted for staff salaries and allowances, the pension contributory scheme, National Health Insurance Scheme, the pay-as-you-earn tax element, overheads and other sundry deductions, consistent with what obtains in other MDAs, especially in the oil and gas sub-sector.”