Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The federal government wednesday in Abuja approved an automated fuel system management and censor network aimed at revealing the daily fuel consumption by tracking fuel delivery from the point of entry into the country to its final delivery in the petrol station.
Briefing journalists at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo in the State House, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said the move was an initiative of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) conceived to assist in revealing the exact litres of petroleum being consumed in the country every day.
Kachikwu also said the adoption of the PEF initiative had become imperative in view of discrepancies in figures being bandied as daily fuel consumption in the country, and consequently affecting subsidy payment and remittance to federation account while a huge volume of petroleum products is illegally moved out of the country.
According to him, when the network becomes operative, every truck conveying fuel would be licensed with a driver and a transport company with a view to finding the transporter and the company that will take responsibility for any missing truck.
The minister also said with the advent of the network, the exact daily fuel consumption in the country would be known for the first time adding that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) would collaborate effectively to achieve this aim.
He said: “The president has given a very serious mandate that we ought to rein in on his process. The essence of what PEF is doing is that this will enable us track refined petroleum product movement from the point of LC (letter of credit) opening from the vessels that come into Nigeria, up until the point where they are discharged into tanks in Nigeria, and from the tanks into trucks in Nigeria, monitor the trucks till they deliver the products into the storage tanks for the filling stations and they are discharged and sold.
“So, that will produce a 100 per cent holistic monitoring of this production. For the first time, we will be able to tell how much petroleum products we consume in this country because there has been so much going on in terms of the movement of consumption numbers from 30 something million litres a day to 70 million litres to 18 million litres a day during the difficult times.
“And the challenge the president has given me is to rein that in. Let’s know what we consume in reality. Let’s know where these products are going and this process will be able to track every truck. So, a typical truck will be licensed with a driver, with a transport company. So, if a truck misses, you can find the transporter and the company that takes responsibility.
“So, we expect this to be over a period of three years but we promise that within one year, the real effects of this will begin to show. Obviously, you need time to train and to continue to improve the system. We hope that by the time we start doing the 2020 budget in 2019, we would have gotten to a point where the losses that you are seeing are being tracked and substantially, impact will be made in monies that come into the federation accounts
“It will help us keep proper data repository of consumption in this country, data on all trucks that operate, total number of products received, what is sold out of filling stations and it is going to be a collaborative system that involves NNPC, DPR and PPPRA but situated quite frankly in PEF,” he said.
The minister also said FEC approved the review of a contract sum for the construction of Nigerian Content Development Management Board (NCMB) headquarters in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State, from the initial N27 billion in 2015 to N42 billion.
According to the minister who described the project as a dramatic skyline in Yenagoa, the upward review was largely dictated by variables in foreign exchange, recalling that the exchange rate which was initially about N157 to $1 is now N305 to $1 “and still counting.”
He also said the review was necessary to facilitate the completion of the contract, pointing out that once completed, NCMB will stop paying rent on a number of buildings it had rented in Yenagoa.
He added: “But most important, the whole glamour of the South-south states during the vice president’s visit to the Niger Delta with me and the Minister of Niger Delta, was largely to see oil companies during foothold in some of these South-south states. “The building is larger than what the NCMB needs and already, talks are on with AGIP and a few of them who want to position their presence very effectively in some of these areas. If we continue at this pace of construction, Mr. President should be able to commission that building between the end of this year and early next year.”