Nigeria loses N50bn to oil thieves in nine months –NNPC


·    Senate gives Kachikwu two-week ultimatum to end fuel scarcity

Nigeria has lost 531 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol valued at N50 billion to pipeline vandals between January and September 2015. The Nigerian National  Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) stated that the losses were at the problematic System 2B Pipeline network, which stretches from the Atlas Cove in Lagos to Ilorin.

Managing Director of the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the NNPC, Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, yesterday said the N50 billion loss accrued from the incessant hacking of the pipeline at the notorious Arepo to Mosimi axis of the pipeline artery, which has made the task of providing seamless flow of petroleum products to retail outlets more burdensome.

Nnamdi-Ogbue spoke yesterday when the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) met with the officials of the Ministry of Petroleum, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), PPMC, and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) on the persistent fuel scarcity.

She said that despite the challenge posed by the unavailability of the vital System 2B Pipeline network, the PPMC has continued to ensure that the country remains wet with petrol through massive truck-out from depots in Lagos, Oghara and recently Calabar. Nnamdi-Ogbue also fingered sharp practices at the petroleum depots including illegal charges and diversion of fuel by marketers, as some of the factors that provoked the scarcity and discrepancies in the price of the product being witnessed in the country today.

Lamenting that these sharp practices amounted to economic sabotage, Nnamdi-Ogbue hinted that the PPMC had gone into collaboration with the Department of State Services (DSS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Police to tackle the sabotage in the sector. Notwithstanding, the Senate has ordered the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to end the lingering fuel scarcity across the country within two weeks.

It also directed the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and other agencies in the petroleum sector to ensure availability of the products within the stipulated period of two weeks.

The Senate further directed that relevant agencies should ensure that fuel was sold at the N87 regulated price all over the country.

The Senate had, on Tuesday, mandated the committee to examine all the issues associated with the current scarcity of petroleum products in the country; determine how the legislature would collaborate with the executive arm of government to bring lasting solutions that would prevent any future problem of fuel scarcity in the country, and report back in two weeks.

Chairman of the Petroleum Committee, Senator Uche Ekwunife, noted that what Nigerians needed at this point in time was to see an end to the menace, and not to listen to stories from stakeholders.

“Nigerians want to see the immediate end of this fuel scarcity and also the uniformity of the price of the products across the country. As a committee, our target is that scarcity and discrepancies in price must stop and it must be done. “Therefore, we are mandating the Minister, the Permanent Secretary and other relevant agencies in the sector, that fuel scarcity must stop in the next two weeks, and must be sold at the uniform price of N87 per litre everywhere in the country,” she ordered.

Also, Ekwunife asked the Permanent Secretary to submit within 24 hours, all documents needed by the committee to do its report on the 2015 supplementary budget, for possible approval by the Senate in plenary next week.

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