Nigerians Urge DPR To Enforce Fuel Price Reduction

pump_priceThe Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), may have to move into the field and enforce compliance with the new pump price of N87 per litre.

As most service stations located in interior areas in Lagos and Ogun States are still selling petrol at 97 naira per litre in spite of Federal Government’s directives.

Those who offered to speak to us off camera explained that the product they have is the old stock, and so it therefore cannot be sold for N87 per litre.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Dieziani Allison-Madueke had announced a drop in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol from N97 to N87 due to the drop in global crude oil prices.

“As you may be aware, there has been a lot of volatility in the oil market in the past few months and due to this the importation prices of our petroleum products have been impacted.

“Therefore, with the approval and directive of Mr. President and by virtue of Section 6 clause 1 of the Nigerian Petroleum Act, it is my responsibility as Minister of Petroleum Resources to hereby announce a reduction in the pump price of Petroleum Motor Spirit (Petrol) from the current Ninety Seven Naira (=N=97) per litre pump price down to Eighty Seven Naira (=N87=) per litre pump price, effective from twelve (12) midnight Sunday, 18 of January 2015.

“Accordingly, I have directed the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to ensure strict compliance of this price adjustment by all marketing companies”, she said.

The Minister gave the directive during a press conference at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Sunday, January 18.

National Assembly To Be Shut For Next 12 Months

The National Assembly will be holding plenary in committee rooms for 12 months while the  chambers is closed due to renovations for the period in view.

This was made known to journalists by the Minister of FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed, who was giving a brief after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

HE revealed that the FEC has approved the sum of N40.2 billion for the third phase of the National Assembly complex renovation, to create a more comfortable environment for the law makers.

Senator Mohammed, who said that the contract is in the plan of the FCT, added that it will contain a library, budget office, banquet hall and radio facilities.

He said there will also be “a complete rehabilitation of the council chambers which will lead to the closing of the National Assembly chambers for 12 months”.

“During the period, committee rooms will be used for law making” he said.

Also approved is a proposal by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dieziani Allison-Madueke, for the establishment of a national laboratory for the testing of petroleum products.

Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, who briefed state house correspondents, said the test centre, to be located in Owerri, the Imo state capital, is to ensure that products imported in the country meet the best standards.

Maku noted that the federal government rejects a situation where huge sums of money is spent abroad to carry out tests on petroleum products.

Falana, Aturu To Defend Non-Removal Of Fuel Subsidy In Court

 A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has granted leave to two Lagos-based lawyers, Femi Falana and Bamidele Aturu to be joined as co-defandants in a suit filed by a former governorship aspirant in Anambra state,  Stanley Okeke seeking an order of the court to compel the federal government to remove fuel subsidy.

Ruling on the motion for joinder, Justice Adeniyi Ademola allowed the duo to be joined as fourth and fifth defendants while President Goodluck Jonathan remains the first defendant.

Other defendants are the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke and the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

In the applications for joinder by both Messrs Falana and Aturu, the duo expressed how adversely they will be affected by the withdrawal of fuel subsidy.

Mr Okeke, who is the National Coordinator of Citizens Club, had in December 2012 dragged President Jonathan to a Federal High Court seeking for an order compelling the president to stop fuel subsidy and refund to the federation account such sum earlier appropriated and or approved under the sub-head of fuel subsidy funds because same cannot be justified in the face of the pervasive corruption, perennial fuel shortage and long queues being witnessed in some part of the country.

The plaintiff  also asked the court for an order directing the 3rd defendant (Ms Okonjo-Iweala) to stop further payment of fuel subsidy money predicated on the corrupt, illegal and unlawful fuel subsidy regime.

He also wants the court to declare that the fuel subsidy currently being funded by the federal government was a waste of public funds and therefore unlawful and illegal to sustain same.

The judge consequently adjourned the suit to May 22, 2013 for hearing of the originating summons

ACN accuses FG of sabotaging Ribadu’s work

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the Federal Government of deliberately sabotaging the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, headed by the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu, following the controversy that marred the presentation of the task force’s report to President Goodluck Jonathan last Friday.

In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the ACN, Lai Mohammed on Sunday in the Lagos, the party said the decision to appoint two members of the committee, Steve Oronsaye and Bernard Otti, to positions in the NNPC while the task force was still working on its assignment is a deliberate booby trap.

It said if the Federal Government did not have any ulterior motive; it would have waited for the task force to complete its assignment before naming Mr Oronsaye into the board of the NNPC and Mr Otti as the Director of Finance of the same body.

“Alternatively, both men should have resigned their membership of the committee the moment they were given the plum jobs to avoid the apparent conflict of interest. The fact that they stayed on, only to disparage the report of the task force so openly and ferociously at the end, is the clearest indication yet that they were meant to play that exact role of spoilers,” the party said.

The party said the temerity with which the duo sought to denigrate the report of the task force in the presence of the President of the Federal Republic showed that they must have been acting a well-prepared script.

“All that these two men needed to have done, if indeed they did not agree with the report of the task force, was to write a minority report and present such to the President, instead of engaging in theatrics as they did at the presentation, right in front of the whole world.

“Unfortunately, the President’s efforts to downplay the whole disagreement and give the dissenters a soft landing did more to accentuate the damage done to the report by the two men. The President’s statement, that becoming board members of NNPC does not disqualify them from being members of the task force, is an indication of his innermost thoughts on this issue,” it said.

The ACN however said it was not surprised at how things turned out with the task force, having previously warned, in a statement it issued on 8 February 2012, that naming credible people like Mr Ribadu to head the task force might just be part of government’s ploy to poach credible personalities from the opposition just so it can decimate it (opposition) and also tarnish the well-earned credibility of such personalities.

“Among our observations in that press statement, we had said: ‘There is also the possibility that booby-traps will be deliberately set for such credible personalities to guarantee their failure in their stated assignment, after which they will be ridiculed and dumped like an ordinary chump’.” the party said, adding: ”We hate to say our fears have been justified.”

It reiterated its earlier statement that the Federal Government is not interested in any genuine effort to clean up the corruption and mess in the oil sector, and that is merely engaging in window dressing by setting up committees upon committees, whose outcomes will eventually add to the growing list of reports that are now gathering dust at the presidency.

Presidency refutes ACN’s claim

Meanwhile the presidency has refuted claims by ACN that the federal government is deliberately sabotaging the petroleum revenue special task force, headed by Mr. Ribadu, following the controversy that marred the presentation of the task force’s report last Friday.

A statement issued by the presidency says the ACN’s allegation, falls into a familiar pattern by the party to tell lies and discredit every initiative of President Goodluck Jonathan.

The statement from the presidency affirmed that President Jonathan remains committed to the war against corruption and that every step his administration has taken has been in this direction, and that has not changed.

The presidency goes on to deploy what it describes as an attempt by ACN to accuse it of having had a hand in the open dissension among members of the Ribadu committee.

The ACN had also claimed that Mr. Steve Oronsaye and Mr. Bernard Otti’s appointment onto the board of the NNPC while serving on the Ribadu committee compromised their position.

The opposition party had in a statement on Sunday yesterday insisted that the federal government is not interested in any genuine effort to clean up the corruption and mess in the oil sector, and that is merely engaging in window dressing by setting up committees upon committees, whose outcomes will eventually add to the growing list of reports that are now gathering dust at the presidency.

 

Read the full Ribadu’s report here.

Jonathan receives Ribadu’s report amidst controversy as committee members flaw the report

President Goodluck Jonathan has declared that anyone accused of corruption in the report submitted by the Special Task Force on the petroleum sector will be handed over to the Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.

President Jonathan, Minister of Petroleum Deziani Allison-Maduake, Mr. Dotun Suleiman, Chairman, Special Task Forces on Governance and Control; Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Chairman Petroleum Revenue Special Tsks Force and Alternate Chairman, Refineries Special Task Force, Alhaji Yusuf Alli during the presentation of reports of the Petroleum Special Tasks Forces at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

But the presentation of the report was marred by controversy as some members of the committee urged the President to reject the report, claiming it is flawed.

The Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force, headed by former EFCC chairman, Mr Nuhu Ribadu submitted its report to the president condemning the use of what he called “traders in the sale of oil, oil theft and corruption” and he was yet to conclude his presentation when a member of his committee interrupted his presentation and asked the president to reject the report .

A member of the committee and former Head of Service, Mr Steve Oransanye described the report, which was earlier in the week leaked to the media, as flawed and he urged the president to reject the report.

Other members of the Ribadu led Petroleum Revenue Task Force that joined the controversy were Mr Benard Oti and Ismaila Zubeiru.

The claim was however immediately opposed by Mr Ribadu, affirming that the report he submitted cannot be faulted by anyone and that he stands by the truth at all times.

The president nonetheless received the report with a promise to take a critical look at the document and maintained that the disagreement amongst members of the committee would not deter him from doing the right thing.

The President told them not to quarrel about it, adding that “no one found guilty will be spared.”

The Ribadu committee was among three other committees set up following the week long nationwide strike and protest against the removal of fuel subsidy in January.

Other committees that presented their reports, during the presentation that lasted two hours, were the committees on Governance and Control Task Force and National Refineries Task Force.

The chairman of National Refineries Task Force, Yusuf Ali in his presentation decried the current state of the nation’s refineries and urged the federal government to build three new refineries as soon as possible.

The president however promised that he will do all in his powers to ensure that the submitted reports are fully implemented.

Bill to decentralize kerosine distribution suffers setback in Senate

A bill which seeks to decentralize kerosine distribution has suffered setback in the Senate.

The bill seeks for direct allocation of kerosine from the Petroleum Pipeline Marketing Company (PPMC) to peddlers.

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu (PDP Abia) stressed that if passed into law, the bill would help stabilize the price of kerosine as well as ameliorate difficulties associated with kerosine distribution to rural areas.

Other lawmakers however did not support the bill on the grounds that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently before the National Assembly seeks to encourage total deregulation of the downstream sector.

Speaking against the bill, Senator Ahmad Lawan (ANPP Yobe) said supporting the bill would be encouraging inefficiency in the distribution of kerosene in the country.

Alison-Madueke says too much oil in the market

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke on Tuesday said that she thought there was too much oil supply on the market.

The minister was speaking to reporters at an OPEC seminar of oil minister and leading oil industry executives ahead of the cartel’s meeting on Thursday.

FG moves to boost gas supply to power plants

The Minister of Petroleum Diezani Alison-Madueke has announced some emergency plans to address the problem of gas supply to power plants across the nation which has being responsible for the fall in power supply.

Speaking to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister said the short-term interventions would result in almost 90 per cent of the outstanding shortfall to power being addressed over the next 12 months.

According to the Minister, “since 2005, when the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP), were kicked off, there had been no alignment between the planned NIPP and the necessary gas supply to power them.”

These projects, she noted are all in very advanced stages and should be completed within the timeframe of 12 months, as she claimed that appropriate steps are being taken by authorities in power sector to address all outstanding debts and commit to payment for future gas supply as well as other terms stipulated in the Gas Supply Agreements (GSA).

She explained that the problem with the gas supply is accentuated in the western part of the country when compared to the east, where she claimed there is an excess of gas.She blamed this on the non-alignment of the NIPP projects and the gas supply to power them.

“Today, the challenge of gas supply is essentially localised around the western axis, as we currently have a situation of excess gas availability in the Eastern axis. As we speak, there is over 300mmcf/d (equivalent of about 1000 megawatts) worth of gas available in the Eastern axis but currently not utilised.”

“This is due mainly to the aforementioned misalignment and also the underperformance of existing PHCN power plants.”

“As we develop the East-West pipeline, we will be able to leverage this gas in the West” she stated.

The minister said in total, 800mmcf/d of gas was being produced in the western axis of which 520mmcf/ is deployed to the power sector (an equivalent of about 1800MW on average). The balance is supplied to domestic manufacturing industries such as the cement plants, etc, and the West African Gas Pipeline project.

“In total, over the next 12 months, we will be adding 500mmcf/d (equivalent to 2000MW) to the grid. This will have a direct major impact on the overall power situation in the country” she said.

She further explained that about 700MW of power will be added to the nation’s power crid by June.

“Specifically, about 180mmcf/d (about 700MW) of this additional 500mmcf/d is due within a few weeks, by June 2012. This will come from Escravos, Utorogu, Ughelli and Oredo. Ongoing activities such as laying of the Olorunsogo pipeline, the completion of the ELPS A pipeline and the completion of the NIPP pipeline around Oredo are key elements of this addition.”

According to her, these projects are all in very advanced stages and should be completed within the timeframe, adding that with the addition, the identified shortfall in supply to Sapele, Geregu and Olorunsogo power plants will be addressed.

She also noted that, “beyond the immediate timeframe, the balance of about 320mmcf/d (about 1300MW) will be delivered through the next 12 months” adding that “new power plants are continually coming on stream, therefore, in addition to the 180mmcf/d, a further 320mmcf/d will be delivered and deployed to these plants over the next 12 months.”

Mrs Alison-Madueke stated that to achieve the 320mmcf/d, a few critical projects will be deployed by the intervention team, including leveraging the excess processing capacity in PanOcean to process gas that will be re-routed from Oredo by NPDC, as well as accessing additional gas at Escravos and major expansion of the Utorogu hub.

“These are the projects that will collectively add 320mmcf/d (1300MW) over the 12-month period.” “I am confident that the steps we are taking will have a visible impact on gas sustainability and supply, and therefore will positively impact on the power aspiration of the nation,” she noted.

The Minister further stressed that the government had directed the deployment of a pragmatic contracting strategy to enable expedited procurement of critical items such as the line pipes and related accessories.

“These interventions will require additional funding which is being sourced through government’s public-private funding initiative, she added.