Marketers Threaten To Halt Fuel Supply In North-West States Over N40bn Debt

A file photo of an attendant filling the fuel tank of a car.

 

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Gusau Depot, has threatened to stop transporting petroleum products within Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and parts of Katsina state.

The threat came following the Federal Government’s failure to settle its N40bn outstanding payment to IPMAN members, IPMAN’s Zonal Chairman, Yahya Kamba, said.

According to Mr Kamba, the payment is based on importation and transportation claims of up to 11 months.

 READ ALSO: Govt Can’t Do Everything, Private Sector Can Do Better, Says Prof Ife

He said the Federal Government has reneged on the agreement reached with the association.

“It is not a subsidy,” Mr Kamba said. “It is money that we marketers contributed. We have to pay a certain amount for every litre we purchase from the government. Just for the country to have a uniform pump price.

“We contributed this money just the way pensioners contribute their own. So there is no reason anyone can give us to say they have no money. We are asking for our contribution.

“Our arrangement is for the Ministry to pay us every week; when you transport this product, you are supposed to be paid within a week; but now we are counting months. We have counted up to 11 months. The payment has stopped since June 2021.”

Fuel Queues: NNPC Assures Of Supplies, Warns Against Panic Buying In Abuja

In this file photo, vehicles queue for fuel in Abuja on March 1, 2021.

 

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has assured residents of Abuja against panic buying of fuel, assuring that the agency has adequate supply despite the resurgence of queues in the city. 

This is according to a series of tweets on the NNPC handle late Sunday.

“We assure all residents of the FCT, and indeed all Nigerians, that we have ample local supplies and national stock in excess of 2.5 billion liters, with a sufficiency of more than 43 days,” it added.

“The NNPC Ltd hereby advises motorists not to engage in panic buying as supplies are adequate as will become increasingly evident in the coming days.”

It explained the appearance of fuel queues in parts of Abuja “is very likely due to low loadouts at depots which usually happen during long public holidays, in this case, the Sallah celebrations”.

The statement added that the “increased fuel purchases which are also usual with returning residents of the FCT from the public holidays”.

READ ALSOBuhari Condemns Zamfara Attacks, Asks Military To End Bandits’ Activities

The recent development is coming a few months after fuel queues resurfaced in the country due to the importation of “bad fuel” into Nigeria.

Lawmakers had then initiated a probe into the matter as calls came for those found guilty to be punished.  The House of Representatives had then called on the NNPC to suspend the companies involved in the importation.

But in April, the lower chamber said nobody would be sanctioned over the supply of the adulterated product.

This was after it considered and adopted the reviewed report on the investigation by its Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) which exonerated both the NNPC and the suppliers in the Direct Sale-Direct Purchase deal between the Federal Government and the importers.

‘70 Million Litres Is Impossible’: Saraki Challenges FG On Fuel Consumption Claims

 

Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has faulted the Federal Government’s claims that the country is consuming over 70 million litres of fuel.

He disputed the claims during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics while addressing the issue of fuel scarcity and the suffering it brought upon Nigerians.

Read Also: What Buhari Said About Fuel Subsidy In Proposed Amended 2022 Budget (FULL TEXT)

“If you remember then in 2011 when I moved the motion, we talked about how we were consuming 30 to 35 million litres a day and we said at that time that it was even too much.

“We took steps and made recommendations following my motion and the then-government took certain steps that resulted in the government seeing a reduction in subsidy by $500 million… now to say today that we are spending three trillion, is definitely not adding up.

“How can anybody see Nigerians go through this? Now I’m told that we consume 70 million litres. It’s not possible.

“We cannot be consuming more than 30-45 million litres. There’s no doubt that those litres of fuel are going across the border and the government is turning a blind eye. It is not possible,” he asserted.

Fuel Crisis: PDP Condemns Buhari For Abandoning Nigerians

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has slammed President Muhammadu Buhari for travelling out of the country and abandoning Nigerians amid the fuel scarcity across the nation.

This was disclosed in a press statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Debo Ologunagba. The party accused leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the helm of affairs in the petroleum sector of crippling economic activities in Nigeria.

“The decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to jet out to the United Kingdom (where leaders are committed) for yet another ‘routine medical check-up after his administration has wrecked our healthcare system and when the nation which he leads is in crisis, underscores the insensitivity of the APC which by nature and outlook has never been ready for governance since inception,” the party said in the statement issued on Thursday.

“While other world leaders are solving problems in their countries, President Buhari, who promised to fix our refineries, abandoned Nigerians to the excruciating fuel crisis caused by the corruption perpetrated by APC leaders in the helm of affairs in the petroleum sector, which has now crippled economic activities in the country.”

Read Also: APC Governors Back New Convention Date, Adopt Zoning

With President Buhari out of the country, the PDP explained that this action “exposes APC’s lack of commitment towards the wellbeing and development of Nigerians youths”.

The main opposition party regretted that the populace was at the mercy of black-market vendors.

“With the corruption and abdication of duty by the APC, our nation is now at the mercy of black-market vendors who charge already overburdened Nigerians as high as N500 per liter of fuel; a development that has resulted in [a]spiral increase in transport fares, costs of food, medicines, and other essential commodities,” the communique read.

“This is in addition to the collapse of many businesses, massive loss of jobs, hunger and starvation, [the] sudden death of breadwinners with grave economic pressure on millions of families and attendant social consequences to our country.”

The party claimed that the APC leadership is in chaos with no solution to the prevailing crisis in the country.

“The prevailing chaotic situation in the country with widespread uncertainties, unabating fuel crisis, piercing economic hardship, sectional agitations, heated industrial unrests, infrastructural stagnation, kidnapping, daily bloodletting and escalated insecurity with gangsters now taking over the streets of major cities further confirms that the APC administration is now on autopilot with its central command structure in disarray.”

It, therefore, charged Nigerians to brace up and support one another in the face of “abandonment” by the APC administration, stating that these are “critical indicators that show that the APC has abdicated its constitutional duty to guarantee the security and welfare of the people”.

Fuel Scarcity Was Due To Inspection Failure, Adulterated Products – FG

Fuel queues surfaced in Lagos on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.
A file photo of cars queuing for fuel in Lagos.

 

The Federal Government has admitted that the fuel scarcity was not because of the absence of supply of products but due to inspection failure, which allowed adulterated products into the country.

In a statement by the Senior Adviser on Media and Communications to the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Horatius Egua, the Federal Government noted that such action is regrettable.

“The Federal Government sympathizes with the citizenry over the unforeseen hardship, occasioned by the inevitable scarcity. Let me once again appeal to Nigerians to be patient with the government in finding lasting solutions to the crisis.

“We appreciate the NNPC for showing so much concern to the plight of Nigerians by coming forward with an apology. This is unprecedented and shows that we on the government side are not afraid to take responsibility”, he said.

READ ALSOPDP Governors Ask Buhari To Resign As Petroleum Minister

Egua noted that the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority has been out on the streets; filling station by filling station to ensure that the situation normalizes quickly.

“This is a time that calls for collective action to save a situation that was not foreseen. It is not a time to trade blames as is customary in Nigeria. It is therefore not a time to query anyone but a time to come together to salvage the plight of the average Nigerian.

“After the storm settles there will be time enough to investigate and get to the bottom so that this does not repeat itself.

“Mr. President’s charge to all parties and agencies concerned is to work together to ensure that normalcy returns quickly’, the statement added.

He said that Nigerians deserve the best and President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is determined to set the country on the right path of petroleum products availability and sustainability as demonstrated in the award of the contracts for the rehabilitation of all our refineries and the acquisition of a stake in the Dangote Refinery.

“Let us as Nigerians stand shoulder to shoulder in our shared quest for a greater country,” he noted.

NUPENG-PTD, NARTO Shelve Planned Strike

 

The Petroleum Tanker Drivers arm of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) have shelved their planned strike.

The groups had threatened to go on strike over claims of diversion of the N621bn road fund provided by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and the government’s failure to increase the freight rate for transporting petrol.

But a communique issued by the (NNPC) on Thursday, noted that the planned industrial action has been stopped following a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja.

The NNPC gave updates about the state of the road “construction and rehabilitation projects under the road infrastructure tax credit scheme and assured the stakeholders (NUPENG, NARTO, and PTD) that the funding earmarked for the 21 critical roads will be applied for the intended purpose only”.

The NNPC in a series of tweets on its official handle also said the stakeholders will work together in monitoring the road construction.

“The stakeholders requested for completion of the ongoing discussion on the review of the freight rates to cover operational costs and highlighted the precarious situation that truck owners face in the light of current economic realities,” the communique added.


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It said a committee has been set up to review the rates and that members of the group include PTD, NARTO and NUPENG, and other stakeholders. The committee is expected to make recommendations to the government

On the nationwide fuel scarcity, all parties during the meeting agreed to work to ensure “efficient distribution of petroleum products across the country”.

Fuel Queues Will ‘Vanish’ By Next Week, NNPC Assures Nigerians

 

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) has assured that the fuel scarcity in the country will end soon.

Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, gave the assurance on Wednesday in a meeting with the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the importation of adulterated fuel into the country.

“For this current situation, let me assure you we have taken every necessary step to restore supply into this country. We have placed orders significant enough for us to cross into March, with at least 2.1 billion litres of PMS in our custody,” he said during the interaction.

“The situation you’re seeing today, I can assure you by next week, it will vanish. All things being equal, because of distribution issues that we may not have control over, including the movement of trucks, otherwise, we have robust supply arrangement to make sure we exit this situation.”

A Scarce Commodity


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We Have One Billion Litres Of Petrol To Tackle Supply Gap – NNPC
Fuel Scarcity: NNPC Orders Depots, Retail Outlets To Begin 24-Hour Operations


Scene of a filling station in Kaduna State.

 

Kyari also appealed to Nigerians over the situation which has triggered fuel scarcity across the country. According to him, the development was not intentional.

“No one out there will bring this product into this country deliberately,” he said. “There is no way we would have seen this methanol except your supplier decides to disclose to you because it is not part of their requirements to look for this.”

Last week, the NNPC said the long queues were due to the importation of adulterated fuel into the country. The situation led to long queues in major cities as many struggled to get the product. Hoodlums have also reportedly taken advantage of the situation as millions of Nigerians queue for hours, staying late into the night to get fuel.

In Kaduna, residents, who lamented the situation, said they have resorted to patronising black marketers who sell the product for as much as N1, 000 per litre.

“I spent more than five hours following the line,” one of the residents, Abdulsalam Munir, told Channels Television.

“Since when I came, I haven’t gotten fuel and my car was on the line. Up till now (in the afternoon), I haven’t bought fuel. Even when you go to the black market, we buy one litre for N1, 000. So, fuel is very scarce and we are calling on the government to put an end to this thing.”

In the wake of the scarcity, the NNPC ordered its retail outlets to operate a 24-hour schedule to ameliorate the plight of Nigerians.

We Have One Billion Litres Of Petrol To Tackle Supply Gap – NNPC

A file photo of an attendant filling the fuel tank of a car.

 

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has assured that the organisation has enough petrol to address the supply gap in the country, saying there are one billion litres of the product in stock.

NNPC Group Executive Director (Downstream), Mr Adetunji Adeyemi, gave the assurance during a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.

“As of today, NNPC has over One (1) billion Litres of certified PMS stock that is safe for use in vehicles and machinery,” he said.

According to him, the NNPC is also expecting about 2.3 billion litres of petrol in the country by month-end.

READ ALSOWhat Buhari Said About Fuel Subsidy In Proposed Amended 2022 Budget (FULL TEXT)

“NNPC Ltd wishes to reassure Nigerians that it has put adequate measures in place to accelerate the nationwide distribution of PMS earlier disrupted by the quarantine of methanol-blended petrol,” he further noted amid concerns over the scarcity of the product.

To ensure seamless access to petrol, the NNPC also directed its depots and outlets to begin 24 hours operations.

“In order to accelerate PMS distribution across the country, NNPC limited has commenced 24 hours operations at its depots and retail outlets nationwide,” he said.

He also noted the “NNPC has constituted a monitoring team with the support of the authority and other security agencies to ensure smooth distribution of petrol nationwide”.

The NNPC’s recent move comes on the heels of concerns over the availability of fuel. For days, long queues have resurfaced across cities in the countries. Motorists spend hours trying to fill up their tanks while commuters have been left stranded. In cities like Lagos, transport fares have been hiked and gridlock has become commonplace especially in filling stations.

Contaminated Petrol: Kaduna Residents Queue For Hours To Get Fuel

No Need For Panic Buying, Over 1bln Litres Of Petrol In Stock – NNPC
File photo

 

Petrol scarcity has hit many parts of Kaduna State occasioned by the recalling of contaminated fuel already in circulation.

Many stations shut down services, a situation that caused long queues in the metropolis. Buyers had to groan as they waited for hours to fill up their tanks at the few facilities selling the product.

The Independent Petrol Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) blamed the regulatory agencies for the problem even as they lament that many of their members have incurred huge losses from buying contaminated petrol which they said could have been stopped from the point of entry into the country.

READ ALSO: Adulterated Fuel: ‘There Will Be A Major Investigation,’ Says Petroleum Minister

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, has hinted that there will be a major investigation to unravel the cause of the unsafe quantity of methanol in petrol imported into the country.

Speaking during a media briefing after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held at the State House, he said the identities of the companies involved will be made known after the investigations are concluded.

“There will be a major investigation to unravel everything. We need to get to the bottom of it before we can come back to tell you what will happen to the culprits,” the minister said.

Nigeria is one of the major oil-producing countries in the world. But the country has largely depended on imported Petroleum products for its domestic consumption despite having refineries. This has often led to the scarcity of petrol across the country.

Adulterated Fuel: ‘There Will Be A Major Investigation,’ Says Petroleum Minister

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva addressed reporters in Abuja on August 17, 2021. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television
A file photo of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva addressing reporters in Abuja on August 17, 2021. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.

 

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, says there will be a major investigation to unravel the cause of the unsafe quantity of methanol in petrol imported into the country.

He disclosed this on Wednesday during a media briefing after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held at the State House.

Although the minister refused to disclose the identities of the companies involved, he said they will be made known after the investigations are concluded.

“There will be a major investigation to unravel everything. We need to get to the bottom of it before we can come back to tell you what will happen to the culprits,” the minister said.

READ ALSO: Adulterated Petrol Has Been Removed From The Market – Petroleum Marketers

When asked if companies found culpable will be blacklisted, Sylva responded that the government is not in a rush to mete out any measures until the actual cause has been decoded.

Speaking concerning Nigerians whose cars were damaged after buying the fuel, the former governor said their situation will be put into consideration.

“We know that some people’s vehicles must have been damaged; that is also going to the taken into consideration in dealing with the situation,” Sylvia explained.

His comments come hours after the Federal said it has identified and subsequently dealt with what may have caused panic buying of petrol in some parts of Lagos and Abuja.

Responding to the resurgence of fuel queues in Lagos and Abuja, the CEO of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency, Mr. Farouk Ahmed said methanol quantity above Nigeria’s specification was discovered in a supply chain, which has since been isolated.

He explained that, while the quality control agencies of the government have swung into the action, NNPC Limited and oil marketers have been directed to ensure a robust supply of petroleum products.

NEC Asks Nigerians To Wait Till June For Decision On Subsidy

 

The National Economic Council (NEC) has asked Nigerians to wait till June for a decision to be reached on the removal of fuel subsidy.

Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, said this while briefing the press at the end of the first NEC meeting for 2022 held in Abuja on Thursday.

“We did not make any presentation on this because there has not been a decision. But in reality, all of us, Nigerians, know that there is now the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and NNPC has now become a limited liability company,” the governor said after the 122nd NEC meeting.

“So, NNPC will run differently. So, if the Ministry of Finance provides for six months, you probably can understand part of the reasons for the provision of six months is before NNPC fully takes off and at that moment, that’s when decisions would be made.”

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, who also spoke after the meeting, noted that N2.1 trillion was spent last year on fuel subsidy payments. The payments, he said, could have been used to fund other development efforts.

“Because of payment of subsidy, NNPC was unable to put that money into FAAC for distribution, which means less money going to the states and less money going to the federal government,” Obaseki added.

The NEC meeting was chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and attended physically by state governors, government officials as well as officials of the World Bank.

Also on the agenda was the launch of the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus programme (NGCARES).


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Pushing Millions Into Poverty

General Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former Head of State, is the Chairman of the National Peace Council.
General Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former Head of State.

 

NEC’s comment is the latest in the debates over plans to remove subsidies on fuel.

On the same day, a former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, said a hike in fuel price will push millions of Nigerians into hardship.

Abdulsalami made the comment during the 19th Daily Trust Summit held in Abuja and noted that Nigerians are already facing hardship on multiple fronts.

“All of these have disrupted the fragile value chains across the country, and negatively impacted the ability of Nigerians to produce, process, and distribute food,” he said, months after the Federal Government disclosed it will remove subsidy.

“The result is a continued rise in the prices of food items, beyond the reach of many Nigerian families.

“On top of all these, fuel prices are expected to rise significantly in the coming months as announced last November by the NNPC. We all know when this happens, as the government has planned, it will push many millions deeper into poverty.”

The plan to remove subsidy has also gotten pushbacks from the organised labour who argue that it is ill-advised with the minimum wage pegged at N30,000.

Late last year, the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS), had also warned that it will shut down the country if the Federal Government removes subsidy which will see fuel go for about N320 per litre.

“Nigeria will be shut down should the Federal Government attempt to remove the fuel subsidy as allegedly being proposed,” NANS President, Adedayo Asefon said.

“It is merely an attempt to add a new dimension of economic woes upon Nigerians through this removal of fuel subsidy.”

But the Nigerian government has insisted it can no longer continue paying subsidies for fuel which, according to President Muhammadu Buhari, take a huge chunk of revenue.

 “Today, we have 60 per cent less revenues; we just cannot afford the cost. The second danger is the potential return of fuel queues – which has, thankfully, become a thing of the past under this administration,” Buhari stated at the first-year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat held in September.

In lieu of the subsidy, the government also plans to give a N5, 000 transport grant to about 40 million poor Nigerians to cushion the impact.

However, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, said on Tuesday that Buhari did not direct the removal of subsidy.

“He didn’t tell anybody that we should go remove petroleum subsidy. And those of us who represent the people know how people are already stressed over and again . . . it is going to be too much for them,” Lawan said after a meeting with the Nigerian leader.

Diesel Worth $2m Stolen From US Base In Romania

A photo used to illustrate the story. 

 

Seven suspects have been questioned over the theft of diesel fuel worth $2 million from a US military base on the Black Sea in southeastern Romania, prosecutors said Wednesday.

“Several people set up a criminal group in 2017 with the aim of stealing liquid fuel belonging to the American government,” the office of Romania’s anti-mafia prosecutor DIICOT said in a statement.

In addition to the theft at the Mihail Kogalniceanu military base, fuel was stolen from other areas where military exercises were scheduled.

The suspects, who have been under surveillance for four years, targeted generators on the base where several hundred US soldiers are stationed.

The statement gave no details on the suspects’ identity.

Mihail Kogalniceanu was a rear base for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In 2014 it began to serve as a transit centre for US soldiers travelling to and from Afghanistan.

AFP