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Fuel: FG in tight corner as landing cost hits N171/ltr

Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru
Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru

The landing cost of petrol has risen to N171 per litre, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru has said.

Dr Baru announced this at a media briefing in Abuja yesterday.

He, however, said the official government approved pump price of N145 per litre “remains intact.”

The NNPC boss did not address the issue of who was responsible for paying the N26 differential.

However, a source at the event told Daily Trust the approved pump price of N145 per litre was unsustainable.

The source pointed out that there were no provisions for fuel subsidy in both 2017 and 2018 budgets. 

On the volume of products available for supply, the NNPC GMD said that 13 vessels laden with over 650 million litres of products were currently discharging at the sea port while additional vessels had been lined up to berth early January.

He said 814 million litres of petrol were currently being injected into the system to guarantee nationwide elimination of fuel queues before the end of the year. He said consumption of petrol in Nigeria rose to over 50 million litres daily due to hoarding, diversion and cross-border smuggling as the price is different in neighbouring countries.

Representatives of DPR, PEF and PPPRA at the briefing registered their agencies’ resolve to work with the NNPC to restore sanity in the supply and distribution of petroleum products.  

The Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries contribute about one million litres and 2.8 million litres per day respectively, and that since the fuel crisis began, both refineries had contributed about 61m litres, Baru said. 

He said the corporation has activated its ‘Fuel War Room’ (FWR) to end the fuel scarcity in the next two days.

The cost of petrol import was affected in recent times due to the appreciation in price of the crude oil at the international markets to about $65/barrel.

Sources in the industry said even at $45/barrel of crude oil, the NNPC was importing the petrol at a loss. Already both major and independent marketers have shunned importation of petrol due to the subsidy issues. 

The NNPC is the sole importer of the petrol in the in the last 12 months or so,. 

The federal government had since insisted that there will be no increase in the petrol price anytime soon. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha on Saturday has assured Nigerians that the Federal Government is not contemplating any form of hike in the pump price of petroleum products.

Marketers forcing us to increase pump price 

– Presidency

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu yesterday directed the NNPC to step up surveillance and bring an end to hoarding and price inflation by marketers.

He assured Nigerians that the relevant agencies will continue to provide updates on the situation.

The president stated this on his Twitter handle, @MBuhari.  

He said he was being regularly briefed on the interventions by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

Buhari said he had the NNPC’s assurance that the situation would significantly improve over the next few days as new shipments and supplies are distributed across the nation.

The president stated: “The fuel scarcity being experienced nationwide is regrettable. I sympathize with all Nigerians on having to endure needless fuel queues.

“I’m being regularly briefed, especially on the NNPC’s interventions to ensure that there is enough petrol available during this period & beyond.

“I have the NNPC’s assurance that the situation will improve significantly over the next few days, as new shipments and supplies are distributed across the country”.

Also yesterday, presidential spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in a statement confirmed that the marketers wanted to force the government to increase fuel price.

He stated that the situation was compounded by hoarding of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and panic buying.

He was reacting to criticisms trailing the decision by the Presidency to air a documentary on the “human side” of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said “The current fuel crisis is a combination of snafu (Situation Normal All Fouled Up) in the distribution process of petrol (which the NNPC admitted at the onset of the problem), and deliberate mischief and sabotage by some marketers, who want to force the hands of government to increase the pump price. Then, the situation is further compounded by hoarding of products, and panic buying.”

Adesina assured that the Federal Government was “working round the clock to restore normalcy, which will come in a matter of time.”

He said: “I have read a lot of reactions, particularly online, on the timing of the airing of the documentary on President Muhammadu Buhari, slated for December 24 and 25, 2017,  respectively, by 8 p.m on NTA and Channels Television.

“Some of the comments are borne out of genuine concern, which we appreciate, while others are virulent, coming from inveterate complainers. Fault finding is the stock-in-trade of such people, and if they mistakenly find themselves in Heaven, they would even complain against God. They have no other pastime.

“The reactions mainly dwell on the fact that a documentary showing the human side of the President (as against the well known iron and steel) is coming at a time there is severe fuel scarcity in the country. And I say, why not? Is life all about doom and gloom? Must we sit in ashes and wear sackcloth perpetually, and ignore the brighter side of life? God forbid.

“…Should we then be perpetually like King Lear at his worst, and consign ourselves to the doldrums occasioned by fuel scarcity at a festive period? No. Despite the temporal pains, life must continue, and we must look at the cheery side, while government works hard to bring succour.

“That is why I disagree with armchair critics, who wail at the drop of a hat. Millions of Nigerians appreciate President Buhari, love him passionately, and would watch the airing of the documentary, which shows the President in a perspective not very well known before.

It’s a spice for the holiday season, and not even ephemeral fuel crisis would dampen the enthusiasm of positive minded Nigerians.”

 

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