Falana Hands NMDPRA Seven Days Ultimatum to Explain N17bn Petrol Tracking Facility

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

Human rights activist , Mr Femi Falana (SAN) has written the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) demanding an explanation on the N17 billion tracking device installed by the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) in 2018.

In a letter titled: “Request for Information on Installation of Technology Monitoring Schemes and Structure by Petroleum Equalisation Fund”, Falana urged the authority to look into how the project meant to ensure 100 per cent tracking of fuel products was procured without visible results.

Nigeria has been battling years of high subsidies on petrol products, which many analysts believe is smuggled into neighbouring countries, meaning that the country effectively offsets more than half the price of the product for consumers outside the country.

This year alone, the country is expected to spend as much as N6 trillion on subsidies, a development that has effectively hobbled the country’s capacity to earn foreign exchange.

Falana explained that at its meeting held on 8th August, 2018, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the installation of technology  monitoring schemes and structures under PEF for N17 billion for monitoring and tracking refined petroleum products in Nigeria.
Specifically, he noted that  Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, the then Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, disclosed the decision to the public while briefing state house correspondents after the FEC meeting.

According to him,  the deployment of the automated fuel system management and censor network was meant to ensure 100 per cent tracking and monitoring of petroleum products.

He quoted the minister as saying that: “The narrative is that we have all struggled with this whole subsidy payment; how much is consumed in Nigeria; volumes of products moved out illegally and the whole impact on Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).

“The essence of what PEF is doing is that this will enable us track refined petroleum products movement from the point of LC (letter of credit) opening from the vessels that come into Nigeria, up until the point where there are discharged into tanks in Nigeria.”

He noted that Kachikwu said:“It will monitor from the tanks to 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.”

However, Falana said in view of the foregoing, he was requesting for information on the installation of the technology monitoring schemes and structures acquired by PEF for the sum of N17 billion approved by the FEC on August 8, 2018.

“As this request is made pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011, you are required to accede to our request within seven days of the receipt of this letter.

“Take notice that if you fail or refuse to furnish us with the requested information before the deadline of seven days, we shall not hesitate to pray the Federal High Court to compel you to accede to our request,” he noted.

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