Petrol Scarcity: Kachikwu, IPMAN Agree On Major Intervention Measures

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) have reached an agreement that will see IPMAN play a major role in the distribution of petrol to the hinterlands and state capitals in Nigeria, we learnt on Wednesday.

The paper gathered from the General Secretary of IPMAN, Mr. Danladi Pasali, in Abuja that a meeting where an agreement to have IPMAN members become major players in measures initiated by Kachikwu to push more petrol into service stations across the country and clear out the lingering scarcity was held on Tuesday.

Pasali said through the telephone that parts of what were agreed at the Tuesday meeting included Kachikwu’s acceptance to grant fuel import allocation licenses to IPMAN members with the capacity to import petrol, improved petrol supplies to IPMAN operated filling stations, as well as provision of credit facilities to reliable members of the association.

The spokesperson of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Garuba Deen Mohammed confirmed to THISDAY that the meeting held. He also confirmed some of the agreements that were reached at the meeting including Kachikwu’s mediation and settlement of the lingering differences in the association.

“We are happy to tell you that yesterday we had a meeting with the minister. IPMAN reconciliation committee that came together, both the interim of IPMAN that has now come together as one body,” said Pasali.

He further said: “What we agreed is that he has now seen the importance of working with IPMAN and he has now agreed to give massive products to IPMAN’s members nationwide and he has also agreed to issue out importation license to IPMAN members which had been the practice in the past.”

Pasali claimed that IPMAN has the largest distribution facility in the country and as such was in a better position to work with Kachikwu to end the petrol scarcity which has continued to bite hard in city centers and fringes of the federal capital city Abuja.

According to him: “You know that IPMAN controls 80 per cent of the downstream? We have also agreed to monitor our members to ensure that these products goes to the nooks and crannies of this country.

Normalcy To Return To Petrol Stations Soon – NUPENG

The National Union of Petroleum and Natural gas Workers on Wednesday assured that normalcy would soon return to filling stations nationwide if the current tempo of loading at the depots continued till the weekend.

The South-West Chairman of the union, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, gave the assurance in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

Korodo said that the NNPC commenced massive pumping of petrol to its depot at Mosinmi early this week and loading of petroleum trucks had started.

“Going round some depots in Lagos, I observed that loading was going on and more filling stations are selling the product at the control price.

“Some filling stations that are selling between N130 and N150 will be forced to sell at control price when the market is flooded with petrol.

“If NNPC can keep the tempo of the loading till weekend, more filling stations will have petrol and the queue of motorists at filling stations will reduce.

“The corporation should ensure that it keeps on pumping petrol to both major and independent marketers’ depots to reduce the scarcity,” he said.

The chairman appealed to NNPC management to ensure that it carried along all stakeholders in the oil and gas sector so that the fuel scarcity could end as promised.

Korodo urged the corporation to maintain the current loading system at depots.

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had on March 29, said that the long queues in the petrol stations would disappear by April 7.

NAN

Oil Prices Fall Below $40

Global oil benchmark, Brent crude, fell on Tuesday, reflecting growing concerns that a two-month rally might be fading, as supply looked set to keep rising and there appeared to be little immediate prospect of demand keeping pace.

It fell by $1.27, or 3.15 per cent, to $39 per barrel, while the United States’ benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, fell by 3.35 per cent to $38.08 per barrel.

Brent, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, had on March 18 risen to $42.29, $4.29 higher than the country’s benchmark of $38 per barrel for the 2016 budget.

Earlier, prices pared losses after Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen, delivered remarks on the US economy and monetary policy, according to CNBC.

Yellen, speaking to the Economic Club of New York, noted in prepared remarks that recent readings on the strength of the US economy since the beginning of the year had been mixed.

Oil price has risen more than 45 per cent since mid-February ahead of a meeting next month of the world’s major producers to discuss an output freeze. But there is growing scepticism about the outcome of the meeting.

“Verbal intervention, which has obviously helped the market greatly over the past two months, combined with a production slowdown in the US, has probably taken (oil) as far as it can. Now the market really wants to see some action,” a Senior Manager at Saxo Bank, Ole Hansen, was quoted to have said.

Kachikwu Apologizes, Gives Date For End Of Fuel Queues

Following backlashes which trailed his comments that the biting fuel scarcity across parts of the country would linger till May, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, in a dramatic u-turn on Tuesday, said that the long queues in the country’s petrol stations would disappear on Monday, April 7, 2016.

Kachikwu who is also the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) disclosed this when he appeared before the Senate committee on Petroleum (Downstream) over the fuel scarcity ravaging the country.

The Minister said: “By 6th or 7th April, the long queues in filing stations would disappear.”

He apologized to Nigerians over his statement that the biting fuel scarcity will linger till May.

Tinubu Blasts Kachikwu Over Comments On Fuel Scarcity

The National leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday berated the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu over his recent comment on the lingering fuel scarcity in the country.

Kachikwu while referring to the lingering fuel crises in the country, had recently claimed that he “was not a magician,” to turn things around almost immediately.

But reacting to Kachikwu’s comment, Tinubu in a ten paragraph statement titled: “KACHIKWU NEEDS TO KNOW THAT RESPECT AND GOOD PERFORMANCE WILL DO WHAT MAGIC CANNOT,”,described the Minister’s comment as unbecoming of a “member of this progressive government.”

The former Governor of Lagos State who wondered why a public servant would talk down on those he was meant to serve, said, “Kachikwu’s flippancy was out-of-line. He was basically telling Nigerians that they should be lucky that they are getting the inadequate supply they now suffer and that they should just be quiet and endure the shortage for several weeks more”.

The statement reads, “I am confident that President Buhari and this government can resolve the issues that press us. From establishing full security and safety to staking a claim to true economic prosperity and fairness, this government shall salvage our national pride and purpose”.

“The art of governance is difficult and complex, especially during trying times. The steep reduction in global oil prices from over 100 dollars per barrel to roughly 40 presents a hard challenge. We can no longer afford past practices. Nigeria now requires creative reform, materially changing the substance of national economic policy as well as the objectives of that policy and how the policy is presented to the people. Therein lies the essence of progressive democratic governance.

“The Buhari administration represents the last best hope we have to install such governance in Nigeria and avert the catastrophe that would have befallen us had the prior government remained in place. Had the nation continued with the spendthrift corruption and vagabond economic policies of that administration, we would have soon experienced such a collision with the harsh consequences of that government’s malign ways that our very institutions of government may have been distorted beyond fixture and repair.

“In this effort, there may be no economic matter more difficult to unravel and more sensitive to the purse of the average person than the current fuel scarcity. Even here I am confident of progress because I know the commitment of the president to resolving this matter. I make no attempt to hide it. I am an avid and partisan supporter of this government and of the progressive policies of the party, the APC, upon which this government is based.

“With that I do reserve the right and the duty as a Nigerian to voice my opinion when I believe a member of this government has strayed from the progressive calling required of this administration. I do this because my greater devotion and love are for this nation and its people. Party and politics fall secondary.

“Much public ire has been drawn to the statement made by minister of state Ibe kachikwu that he was not trained as a magician and that basically Nigerians should count themselves fortunate that the NNPC under his stewardship has been able to bring in the amount of petrol fuel it is currently doing.

“Perhaps the statement by Kachikwu was made in a moment of unguarded frustration or was an awkward attempt at a joke. Whatever the motive, it was untimely and off-putting. The remark did not sit well with the Nigerian people; they were as right to feel insulted as the Minister was wrong to have said such a thing. The fuel shortage is severely biting for the average person. They are forced to remain in lines far too long, for too much time, to pay too much money for too little fuel. This is no joking matter. Livelihoods and people’s welfare are at stake. With so much on the line, Kachikwu’s flippancy was out-of-line. He was basically telling Nigerians that they should be lucky that they are getting the inadequate supply they now suffer and that they should just be quiet and endure the shortage for several weeks more.

“Kachikwu’s intervention was unhelpful. It panicked and disappointed the public as to the duration of the crisis. It insulted the people by its tonality. He spoke with the imperious nature of Kachikwu member of the elitist government the people voted out last year and not the progressive one they voted in. Kachikwu must be reminded that he was not coerced to take this job. He accepted the job and its responsibilities knowingly. He also must remember that he does not own NNPC. This also is not a private company that owes nothing to the public except the duty of fair dealing. He is a public servant. The seat he sits upon is owned by Nigerians not by him. The company he runs is owned by Nigerians not by him. They are his boss. He is not theirs. Power is vested in the people. He is a mere custodian or agent of their will. In talking to us in such a manner, he committed an act of insubordination. If he had talked so cavalierly to his boss in the private sector, he would have been reprimanded or worse. If wise, the man should refrain from such interjections in the future.

“As his ultimate bosses, the people have a right to demand the requisite performance and respect from him. He should apologize for treating them so lightly in this instance. His portfolio being a strategically important one, he needs to reestablish the correct relationship with the public. They no longer feel he is working for their optimal benefit as their servant. Instead, he seems to be standing above them, telling them to take it or leave it. For his policies and stint in office to be successful and a help to this government, he must have the support and belief of the people at this tough time. He must talk to them in a way that they believe he seeks their best interest and understands the hardship weighing upon them. He must ask them to work with him and perhaps to endure a bit longer but with the knowledge that he is working to resolve this matter as fast as he can and as permanently as possible. That he is dedicated to the position that once these current lines are gone that never again shall they reappear as long as he has any influence in the matter. To do this, requires no magic nor training in that strange craft. It requires empathy, compassion and the willpower to forge a better Nigeria. These must be the common trademarks of those serving in a progressive government for these attributes are integral parts of the spirit and ideals upon which the APC was founded. Upon such notions was this administration voted into office by the Nigerian people in the operation of their sovereign will to seek a national leadership that would pursue their interests to the utmost and give them every fair chance to live in a better Nigeria.

“Even though times are hard we must all realize that they would be even harder and much darker would be the immediate horizon had we allowed the venal, kleptocracy of the PDP to continue to lord over the land solely for their selfish benefit and not for the common good.

“ I am confident that President Buhari and this government can resolve the issues that press us. From establishing full security and safety to staking a claim to true economic prosperity and fairness, this government shall salvage our national pride and purpose.
“Let all of us, in and out, of government never forget this. If we adhere to this remembrance, we shall see that magic will not be needed to bring the progress we seek.

NNPC Apologizes Over Fuel Scarcity, Assures It Will End Within Two Weeks

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Friday apologised to Nigerians for failing to keep up with the responsibility of ensuring that petrol is adequately available for use in the country having got the largest share of 72 per cent to import petrol in the first quarter (Q1) 2016 import allocation.

NNPC said in a statement from its Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Garba Deen Mohammed, in Abuja that it feels the pains of Nigerians who have to queue for long hours at filling stations to get petrol.

It explained that it was working hard to restore normalcy in petrol supply across the country, and once again promised that the huge queues of motorists will clear off within two weeks.

The queues have suddenly increased from recent admission by the government that the situation was overwhelming it and that it would take a while to get it right.

But the statement said: “The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) wishes to empathise with the difficulties Nigerians are presently going through due to the current fuel situation and assures that the government and NNPC are not taking their patience for granted.”

It urged Nigerians to continue to be patient, adding that, “the difficulties being experienced as a result of the situation will soon be alleviated.”

Kachikwu Says Fuel Scarcity’ll Linger Till May

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu, on Wednesday, said despite the efforts being put in place by the Federal Government, fuel queues might not be completely eliminated until about two months.

He said since he was not a magician, the fuel queues could not be eliminated with a magic wand.

He however said he and members of his team were working hard to resolve the fuel crisis.

The scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, has lingered since January as hundreds of motorists besiege few filling stations that dispense the product on a daily basis.

Kachikwu’s comments have, however, drawn heavy criticisms from various stakeholders, including the organised labour, petroleum marketers, oil industry workers, manufacturers and experts in the oil sector.

The Trade Union Congress specifically asked the minister to resign instead of giving Nigerians excuses on why it would be impossible to get fuel easily in the country before June.

Kachikwu, who is also the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, spoke with State House correspondents shortly after he led a joint delegation of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said with the reality on the ground, it was by sheer magic that the country had the amount of products it currently had at the filling stations.

He said, “One of the training I did not receive is that of a magician, but I am working very hard to ensure some of these issues go away.

“And let us be honest, for the five or six months we have been here, NNPC has moved from a 50 per cent importer of products to basically a 100 per cent importer and the 445,000 barrels per day that were allocated were to cover between 50 and 55 per cent importation.

“So it is quite frankly by sheer magic that we even have the amount of products at the stations. We are looking to see how to get foreign exchange input; the President and I discussed extensively on how to get more crude directed at importation.

“His Excellency (Buhari) will rather have less crude but have individuals in the society suffer less with inconveniences than have more crude and have them continue to suffer.

“So we are going to put a new model to enable us to increase the pace and actually get majors as part of the crew of those to bring in more products so that the NNPC will sort of go back on the capacity of what it used to do and the majors will take over the balance of importation.

“I think if we do that, although I don’t want to put a time frame, but I will expect that over the next two months, we should see quite frankly a complete elimination of this (fuel queues).’’

Kachikwu said government’s strategy was that whatever was produced in the refineries would not be sold but be kept in strategic reserves.

This, he explained, was because the major problem was that there was no reserve anytime there was a gap in supply.

Kachikwu said the meeting Buhari had with the unions was to review the oil industry, especially as it concerned areas that the President himself was finding solutions to.

He said the union leaders agreed to collaborate with the government.

When he was asked to be specific on some of the concerns raised by the union leaders, Kachikwu mentioned the Petroleum Industry Bill, refineries and the issue of fuel scarcity.

He said, “I will probably highlight a few areas of concern. On the PIB, the union wants us to obviously work harder than we do and try to get the PIB passed as soon as possible.

“They are worried about the fuel scarcity issue and want a long time solution to finally resolve this issue.

“They are worried about the refineries and are thankful we did not sell the refineries without looking to work collaboratively with them to see how to make the refineries work.’’

The National President of NUPENG, Igwe Achese, described the meeting with the President as a successful one.

“We tabled the issue of fuel scarcity, the quick passage of the PIB and to see how the sector can bounce back economically and to make Nigerians smile again. Clearly, we talked more on the corruption in the oil and gas sector, product allocations.

Also, the President of PENGASSAN, Olabode Johnson, said the President told them that he created the NNPC and he was emotionally attached to the firm.

Johnson quoted Buhari as saying that everything that was going to happen in NNPC must follow due process.

He added, “The President said he is concerned about what Nigerians are going through and he bears their pains and whatever he is going to do, he will do it with their support so that Nigerians can enjoy the benefits of the NNPC.’’

But the Nigeria Labour Congress described as unfortunate Kachikwu’s statement that it would take more than two months for the current fuel queues to clear.

The General Secretary of the NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, said in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents that it was wrong of any agent of government to resign himself to a position that would subject Nigerians to months of long fuel queues.

Ozo-Eson believed that it was the responsibility of the minister to ensure the removal of the factors responsible for the current queues at the filling stations and to save Nigerians from the painful wait to get petroleum products.

He said, “As far as we are concerned, one day of queues is unacceptable to Nigerians, and the hardship Nigerians have been subjected to, through the queues over a long period now, is actually something that should be condemned.

“Apart from the hardship to Nigerians, the cost of these protracted queues on an economy that is already in crisis is enormous, and actually makes the issue of the revival of the economy even more difficult.’’

The TUC, through its President, Mr. Bala Kaigama, called on Kachikwu to resign to give room for a better person to be appointed if he lacked the capacity to solve the current problem.

Kaigama said the positions occupied by the minister were too demanding for him and urged Buhari  to appoint a group managing director for the NNPC.

Kaigama stated, “If he is not a magician, he should resign now. What we are saying is that Nigerians are getting impatient with him.

“So, if he has no quick fix to it, he should just quit. We are getting impatient. He is moving from one unpopular policy to another, yet we cannot see any quick fix.’’

Also, workers in the oil and gas sector on Wednesday said they were at a loss as to what was really the cause of fuel scarcity in the country.

The workers, who spoke under the aegis of the PENGASSAN and the NUPENG, stated that the minister should be questioned on the development.

The National Public Relations Officer, PENGASSAN, Mr. Emmanuel Ojugbana, told The PUNCH that the association was becoming confused as to why the country was still experiencing fuel queues despite a series of promises by the minister and the NNPC.

Ojugbana stated, “The issue of fuel scarcity or queues has become almost a recurring issue nowadays that sometimes, you wonder what actually the problem is.

“NNPC will tell you it has sufficient fuel but if you go to the filling stations, you won’t find the product. Also in most of the filling stations, you can’t find fuel at the regulated price. So, it is really a problem.”

When contacted, the Group Chairman, NUPENG, NNPC Branch, Mr. Odudu Udofia, told one of our correspondents that his union was mainly concerned with staff welfare.

He, however, stated that the petroleum minister and the NNPC management should be interrogated on the issue.

Udofia said, “As for us, we are more interested in staff welfare at the moment considering the restructuring and other issues at the NNPC. But as for petrol scarcity or fuel queues, the minister and the NNPC managers should be called to explain why.”

In his own reaction, the Chairman and Managing Director, Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, Mr. Tunji Oyebanji, in a telephone interview with The PUNCH, noted that there was a supply problem.

He said, “People are no longer buying the normal quantity. Some people want to buy and keep; so, the demand has gone up artificially during this period. But at the same time, the supply is not necessarily available and then it takes time to order the fuel, maybe about six to eight weeks between your order and when it comes.

“In order to now increase supply to meet the increased demand, it is getting tight to get those cargoes because of the time of the year. Cargoes are not really available at this time of the year because this is winter period. Many refineries in the Europe, because this is not the peak driving season, they do not produce so much gasoline (petrol). So those cargoes are few and far between, and they are at a premium.’’

Oyebanji said the foreign exchange challenge, which had hampered fuel importation, was also contributing to the supply problem.

The Chairman, NUPENG, Lagos Zone, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, said, “For the first time in the history of Nigeria, we have an official of the government accepting governemnt’s failure. I have said it several times that they have been rationing, and it is going to linger.

“But they shouldn’t allow it to get worse beyond this current situation,” he said, adding that tanker drivers were being subjected to unnecessary workload.

“They will say, ‘Discharge one compartment at Apapa; second compartment at Agege, and the third at Abeokuta. So, the job the truck driver is supposed to do within an hour, he may end up doing it for two days.”

Korodo said the pipelines to the nation’s fuel depots were being regained gradually, adding that if the pipelines came back on stream, it would help to curb the supply challenge.

Also, manufacturers said the fuel scarcity was posing a lot of challenges to the sector.

Reacting to the admission by Kachikwu that the current fuel scarcity would persist for another two months, players in the sector said the prevailing situation had impacted negatively on productivity in the manufacturing sector.

The President, MAN, Dr. Frank Jacobs, said workers turned up late for assignment and spent more on transportation, adding that it also cost operators more to buy fuel from the black market.

Jacob believed the Central Bank of Nigeria should make foreign exchange available to marketers so they could import fuel.

He said the government should build more refineries and boost local fuel production both for consumption and export as a long term solution.

The Director-General of MAN, Mr. Remi Ogunmefun, while noting that marketers of petroleum products battled the same challenge of forex scarcity, urged the Federal Government to focus on the development of the real sector as a solution to the forex situation.

He said, “Government should concentrate on improving the real sector and the non-oil export sector so that we can export and earn enough foreign exchange to import what we need.”

In a similar vein, the Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf, noted that the situation had a negative impact on productivity, particularly for small business owners,  who needed fuel to power generators and spent more to buy from the black market.

Yusuf blamed the situation on what he called “over centralisation of the petroleum sector,” adding that deregulation would solve the problem.

He said, “Our appeal is that the government should quickly deregulate the sector completely.

“The supply of petroleum product is too centralised and the downstream sector is overregulated. Right now, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation accounts for about 70 per cent of the total supply.

“The current arrangement is not sustainable. If the sector is deregulated, it will solve the problem of supply. It will reduce the pressure on our foreign reserves because, right now, about 35 per cent of our forex is going to the importation of petroleum products.”

Buhari Meets Leaders Of NUPENG, PENGASSAN Over Oil Industry

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday held a closed-door meeting with the leaders of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas, NUPENG, and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja

Briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu disclosed that the meeting afforded his principal an opportunity to review and share thoughts with the workers on areas of concerns that will promote peace and harmony in the oil sector.

In the Minister’s words, “Like you know, his Excellency has too many constituencies; first will be politics, second army and the third will be the oil industry. So matter of this nature touches his heart very much. And this is the first opportunity that the unions have had to spend a bit of time with him as a father.

“So we shared thoughts, areas of concerns and some solution potentials and agreed to collaborate and work together.”

When asked to list the concerns shared with the President, the Minister said: “I will probably highlight a few areas of concerns. The PIB, the union wants us to obviously work harder than we do and try to get the PIB passed as soon as possible. They are worried about the fuel scarcity issue‎ and want a long time solutions to finally resolve this issue, they are worried about the refineries and are thankful we didn’t sell the refineries without looking to work collaboratively with them to see how to make the refineries work.

“They are worried about the utilization of depots and how best to do that, they are worried about all kinds of logistics issues that plague the oil industry.

“They are worried about job loss in the sector arising from the position of majors who feel that the economy is giving rough end of the sticks and then try to whittle down staff. And so we are going to be working with the oil majors to ensure that we do not experience the kind of job loss that we are hearing has the potential to occur in the sector,” he added.

He said the President also tasked the NUPENG and PENGASSAN leaders to be agents of change within the areas they work‎ to ensure they take change on its head and make it happen.

“A lot of these problems that are on the table were quite frankly there when we came and we are doing the best we can to try and work on it. But we are looking to work collaboratively those were the assurances,” he said.

Speaking about when the fuel queues will disappear from filing stations, he said: “One of the trainings I did not receive is that of a magician, but I am working very hard to ensure some of these issues go away‎.

“And let’s be honest, for the five, six months we have been here, NNPC has moved from a 50 per cent importer of products to basically a 100 per cent importer. And the 445 barrels that were allocated was to cover between 50 and 55 percent importation.

“So it’s quite frankly share magic that we even have the amount of products at the stations. We are looking to see how to get foreign exchange input. The president and I discussed extensively on how to get more crude directed at importation.

“His Excellency will rather have less crude but have individuals in the society suffer less with inconveniences than have more crude and have them continue to suffer. So we are going to put a new model to enable us increase the pace and actually get majors as part of the crew of those to bring in more products so that the NNPC will sort of go back on the capacity of what it use to do and the majors will take over the balance of importation,” he added.

Continuing, he said: “I think if we do that although I don’t want to put a time frame but I will expect that over the next two months. Of course you are aware the DSAP programme begins in April ‎so over the next two months we should see quite frankly a complete elimination of this.

“Our strategy is that whatever is produced in the refineries will not go for sale, we are going to keep them in strategic reserve.

“Because the key problem here is that there is no reserve anytime there is gap in supply it goes off,” Kachikwu declared.

On his part, the National President of NUPENG, Igwe Achese said that the union was satisfied with deliberations at the meeting, adding that: “We had a successful meeting, quite interesting in terms of the emotional attachment of Mr. President on the issue of oil and gas sector and the challenges we are facing as a nation.

“We tabled the issue of fuel scarcity, the quick passage of the PIB and to see how the sector will bounce back economically and to make Nigerians smile again.

“Clearly we talked more on the corruption on the oil and gas sector, products allocations; Mr. President has assured that both NUPENG and PENGASSAN will continue to be part of the restructuring that he is going to make to look into these issues and to make sure that scarcity is reversed at our filling stations,” he added.

Also speaking, his PENGASSAN counterpart, Comrade Olabode Francis Johnson ‎said the President was emotionally attached to the oil sector and wanted everything in NNPC to follow due process.

According to him, “We had a very successful meeting with the C-in-C and one of the highlight of the meeting ‎was when he said he created the NNPC and he is emotionally attached to it and that everything that is going to happen in NNPC must follow due process.

“He said he is concern about what Nigerians are going through and he bears their pains and whatever he is going to do he will do it with their support so that Nigerians can enjoy the benefits of NNPC.

“As leaders we are very satisfied with what he said, the commitment and the passion he has shown for the industry. PIB is an executive bill; he said all the legal framework will be addressed ‎so that it will be of benefit of Nigerians. He also showed concern for pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft and we know that will support and collaboration he is going to achieve results,” Johnson stated.

Nigeria Spent N1.24tn Importing Fuel In 2015

Nigeria spent N1.239 trillion on importation of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol in 2015, National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, has revealed.

fuel-pumpThe NBS, in its Foreign Trade Statistics for the Fourth Quarter of 2015, stated that the amount spent on fuel import in 2015 represented an increase of 3.08 per cent or N37 billion when compared to the N1.202 trillion spent in the importation of fuel in 2014.

The 2015 figure also represented a 367.55 per cent increase or N974 billion higher than the 2013 fuel imports figure of N264.85 billion.

Giving a breakdown of the 2015 figures on a quarterly basis, the NBS disclosed that in the first quarter of 2015, the country spent N288.871 billion on the importation of petrol, while in the second quarter, the country spent N389.257 billion.

In the third quarter, the NBS said the country spent N250.329 billion; while in the fourth quarter, N310.866 billion was expended in the importation of petrol, which the NBS termed mineral fuel.

On a month-by-month basis, in the months of January to June, the country spent N49.2 billion; N105.973 billion; N133.697 billion; N139.237 billion; N133.793 billion and N116.227 billion respectively on the importation of petrol.

For the months of July to December 2015, N134.14 billion, N85.451 billion, N30.737 billion, N68.083 billion, N120.519 billion and N122.263 billion respectively were spent on the importation of petrol.

Furthermore, the report explained that the bulk of Nigeria’s PMS and other products imports were from Asia, as it spent N2.833 trillion on imports from the continent. Europe followed on the chart, as Nigeria imported goods valued at N2.502 trillion; while it spent N871.275 billion on imports from the Americas, and total imports from Africa stood at N420.379 billion, with ECOWAS countries accounting for N213.768 billion of trade in the continent.

Further breakdown of imports from Asia showed that Nigeria’s imports from Japan, India and China stood at N89.74 billion, N408.572 and N1.567 trillion respectively.

In the case of Europe, the NBS revealed that imports from Germany stood at N210.36 billion; United Kingdom (UK) accounted for N283.759 billion; Netherlands – N415.404 billion, while imports from Italy, France and Spain stood at N157.457 billion, N157.187 billion and N140.074 billion respectively.

In the Americas, Nigeria spent N581.996 billion, N49.725 billion and N171.462 billion on imports from United States of America (USA), Canada and Brazil respectively.

In addition, data from the report also pointed out that the country’s import from countries in Oceania stood at N71.133 billion in 2015.

However, the NBS stated: “The total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade during the fourth quarter of 2015 stood at N3.653 trillion, 9.2 per cent lower than the value of N4.021 trillion recorded in the preceding quarter. For the 2015 calendar year, the country’s total trade was recorded at N16.427 trillion, amounting to N7.252 trillion or 30.6 per cent less than the total trade value recorded for 2014.

“This development arose largely due to sharp decline in the value of exports; from N16.304 trillion in 2014 to N9.729 trillion in 2015, a decline of 40.3 per cent. A decrease of N676.4 billion or 9.2 per cent in the total imports in 2015 helped to mitigate the declining trade balance, which stood at N3.031 trillion, N5.899 trillion less than the value in 2014.

“The crude oil component of total trade decreased by N4.946 trillion or 41.6 per cent as against the level recorded in 2014. The value of Nigeria’s imports stood at N1.576 trillion at the end of fourth quarter 2015. This was 6.6 per cent less than the value (N1.688 trillion) recorded in the preceding quarter. Comparison with the corresponding quarter of 2014, showed a decrease of N454.6 billion or 22.4 per cent.”

Kerosene Subsidy Returns

The Federal Government on Thursday commenced the payment of subsidy on kerosene to the tune of N1.17 for every litre of the product consumed across the country, latest data from the pricing templates of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency has shown.

This is coming as inspection officers from the Department of Petroleum Resources clamped down on defaulting oil marketers by forcing them to dispense kerosene at the regulated price of N83 per litre.

On January 23 this year, PPPRA’s template for House Hold Kerosene had shown that there was no more subsidy on the product, a development that stakeholders described as a subtle way of ending the subsidy regime.

But the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had argued that the subsidy regime on petrol and kerosene was never terminated by the Federal Government.

According to him, what the government did was to modulate the prices of the commodities based on the fall in crude oil price in the international market.

His argument has now been upheld as the latest figures from the PPPRA show that the government has recommenced the payment of subsidy, and this is based on the marginal rise in the price of crude oil to about $40 per barrel.

The PPPRA is the agency of the Federal Government that fixes and regulates the prices of white products like petrol and HHK, as well as other refined petroleum products across the country.

An analysis of the template posted on its website on March 17, 2016, which was based on Platts’ average prices, revealed that the expected open market price (true cost) of kerosene at filling stations run by independent/major oil marketers was N84.17 per litre.

This is against the official approved retail pump price of N83 per litre at which the outlets are mandated to sell the product.

The PPPRA also stated in its template that the government was making an under recovery of N1.17 on every litre of kerosene consumed in the country; meaning that the commodity is being subsidised to the tune of N1.17 by the government.

For stations run by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, kerosene is being subsidised by N0.81 per litre, according to the regulatory agency.

On why the DPR decided to clamp down on marketers selling above the regulated price, the agency’s Assistant Director, Operations, Abuja Zone, Mr. Ahmed Alaku, told journalists that it was wrong for any dealer to sell above the approved price no matter his or her claims.

Alaku refuted claims by some marketers that they were getting the white products at high rates from depot managers.

“If you claim that you buy the product from the depot at more than the regulated government price, there should be evidence. You cannot come and say you bought the product at N90 per litre and you are selling at N100 without any evidence,” he said.

Oil Prices Rise To Over $40 As OPEC Reorganise

Oil price rises to $40.71 as OPEC mends fences

Oil price rose, yesterday, after the world’s biggest suppliers firmed up plans to meet to discuss an output freeze.

Oil producers, including Gulf OPEC members, support holding talks next month on a deal to keep production at current levels, even if Iran declines to participate, OPEC sources said on Wednesday.

A meeting would increase the likelihood of the first global supply deal in 15 years.

US crude was up 65 cents at 39.11 dollars a barrel at 0452 GMT, having earlier risen as high as $39.38. Brent crude rose 38 cents to $40.71.

“A smaller than expected gain in inventories in the US also supported prices,” ANZ said in a morning note.

Crude inventories increased 1.3 million barrels in the week to March 11 to 523.2 million, a much smaller build than the 3.4 million-barrel increase expected by analysts.
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The market is also rallying after a less hawkish US monetary outlook, as the US Federal Reserve held interest rates steady and indicated two rate hikes this year instead of the four expected.

Qatari oil minister, Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, said producers from within and outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet in Doha on April 17 to discuss plans for a freeze in output.

The initiative was supported by around 15 OPEC and non-OPEC producers, accounting for about 73 per cent of global oil production, the minister said.

Since the freeze was first proposed last month, prices have recovered about 50 per cent from decade-low levels.