NLC President Responds To Ongoing Scarcity

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, in response to the ongoing fuel scarcity, said yesterday in Abuja that the various excuses given by government, as reasons for the fuel scarcity are not acceptable.

He said: “The NLC considers this scarcity as an act of cruelty and sabotage from which a few privileged are benefitting. The timing of this artificial scarcity is not lost on us, as it is intended to maximise pain and profit, since it is a well-known fact that the Christmas season witnesses the biggest movement of people, goods and services.”

Ayuba reiterated that the congress equally considers the scarcity as an insult to the collective pride of all good Nigerians. Also, NLC General Secretary, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, said that the confusion in the downstream sub-sector of the Nigerian oil and gas sector was established when the price modulation based on petroleum products import regime was introduced.

“Nigerians will be bear us witness that we canvassed against the introduction of price modulation; we said it was going to fail. Our argument then was that there was no way a price modulation regime can work in an environment that is import dependent. It would be recalled that the NLC staged protests against the move, but we were ignored. Today, we are back to the same turf. The scarcity we are witnessing now is not new. It started two years ago technically.”

The Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Abdukadir Umar, said there are no plans to increase fuel price.

“We want to use this medium to assure all Nigerians that there is no need for apprehension or panic buying. We are confident that the NNPC, being a major supplier of petroleum products into the system and the supplier of last resort, can ensure uninterrupted supply of petroleum products into the market and the corporation has given assurances in that regard.”

Relief As PPPRA Slashes NNPC’s Allocation For Q2 Fuel Imports

The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has released the second quarter petrol import allocations to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the private oil marketing companies, a development that will potentially ease the current product shortages, THISDAY has learnt.

It was also gathered that as part of the measures to correct the distortion and imbalance created by the reduction of the private marketers’ allocation to 28 per cent in the first quarter, the pricing regulatory authority has also slashed the allocation given to the NNPC from the 78 per cent in the first quarter to 41.73 per cent.

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, who held a meeting with the private marketers at the NNPC Towers in Abuja yesterday also warned the oil firms that any of them that failed to perform in this second quarter would be excluded from importation of petrol throughout this year.

Kachikwu convened the meeting to deliberate on how the private marketers would resume importation and also to brief the firms on the outcome of his engagement with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on how the issue of scarcity of foreign exchange would be tackled.

A source privy to the meeting told THISDAY last night that Kachikwu assured the marketers that the federal government would provide part of the forex for the importation while the marketers would source for the balance.
“The meeting deliberated on the issue of forex and the second quarter import allocation. He (the minister) told the marketers that their lion share has been restored while the allocation of NNPC has been slashed. The minister promised that the federal government would provide part of the forex, while the marketers source for the balance, which will also be paid later by the government. He also promised that the federal government was considering payment of interest on the balance. Kachikwu warned that having received all these incentives, the marketers should not have any excuses, and that any of them who fails to perform in this second quarter, will be excluded from importation throughout the rest of this year,” the source explained.

According to him, the minister also promised that cargoes would start coming into the country as from April 7 as he earlier promised the Senate.

One of the Chief Executive Officers who attended the meeting told THISDAY that absence of cargoes in March contributed largely to the current fuel crisis as the marketers were denied import allocation in favour of the NNPC.

“Due to the inconsistencies in government’s planning, Vitol, Petrocam, Glencore and other oil traders did not bring cargoes in March because of the previous huge obligations to these companies. All the foreign banks did not want to do business with the Nigerian banks because of the inability of our banks to meet previous obligations due to scarcity of foreign exchange,” he explained.

PPPRA’s ill-advised allocation of 72 per cent to the NNPC by the former Executive Secretary of the agency, Mr. Farouk Ahmed, was said to have fueled the current scarcity as the traditional sharing formula for the quarterly import allocations had always been 60 per cent for the private marketers and 40 per cent for the corporation
But a top official of PPPRA, who spoke to ThisDay yesterday said the imbalance had been rectified in the second quarter allocation with the NNPC getting 41.73 per cent, while the marketers got 58.27 per cent.

The source, who declined to be quoted, listed some of the beneficiaries of the allocation to include Techno Oil Limited, Oando Plc, Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, AA Rano, Total Nigeria Plc, NIPCO Plc, Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, Folawiyo Energy, Forte Oil Plc, Conoil Plc, MRS Oil and Gas Limited, Heyden Petroleum, among others.

He however, confirmed that many companies were excluded for non-performance in the previous allocations.
“In the first quarter, it was 28 per cent; 72 per cent in favour of the NNPC but this has been reviewed to 58.27 per cent; 41.73 per cent in favour of the marketers. In allocating the import quota, PPPRA, as usual, was fair to everybody as it took into consideration retail outlets ownership, marketers’ performance of previous quarterly allocation and the challenges in sourcing foreign exchange,” the official said.