The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has reacted to what it described as the sudden re-appearance of queues at some filling stations in the country.
In a statement on Sunday by its Executive Secretary, Abdulkadir Saidu, the PPPRA attributed the queues to speculation of a shortfall in the supply of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol.
It noted that has continued to monitor products supply in the petroleum sector, in line with best practices.
The agency explained that this was in line with its mandate to regulate petroleum products supply and distribution, as well as establish an industry data bank.
It disclosed that the average daily supply of petrol for the year 2017, 2018 and 2019 were about 46 million, 54 million and 56 million litres respectively.
According to PPPRA, the figures indicate an improved level of supply in 2019.
Based on the available data, it affirmed that there was an adequate supply of PMS with more than 21 days sufficiency.
“PPPRA, therefore, urges fuel consumers across the country to desist from panic buying as the agency would continue to monitor the supply situation and take every step required to ensure that there is no disruption in the supply chain,” the statement said.
The agency gave assurance that there was adequate product supply in the system to meet the demands of consumers.
The director of the Kenya Pipeline Company and four others have been arrested after millions of liters of petrol went missing in dubious circumstances, police said on Friday.
On October, 10 leading fuel marketers demanded an independent audit of KPC’s stock, suspecting up to 20 million liters had gone missing, with much of it falsely declared as “spillage”, and believed to have been stolen.
“We have five KPC officers including (managing director Joe) Sang in custody and we are processing them for their appearance in court,” said a senior detective involved in the arrest, who asked not to be named.
He said the official charges would be announced later.
The petroleum ministry confirmed the “arrest of the top management” in a statement, naming an interim managing director on Friday.
The government-owned KPC is tasked with overseeing the transport of imported fuel from coastal Mombasa to the rest of the country.
In an audit report before the Senate energy committee, company officials said 7.2 million liters of fuel had been lost to spillage, while another 4.4 million liters had been stolen.
However, oil marketers believe the true figures could be much higher.
Claims of false spillage reports have dogged KPC, with the latest accusations covering the past two years.
In a statement on Tuesday, the KPC board said oil marketers had been given until December 31 to carry out their own forensic stock audit.
The missing oil scandal is one of several that have erupted recently at KPC. Corruption accusations are also swirling around the construction of a new Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline, which has been hit by delays and allegations of inflated costs.
The arrests are the latest in a rare string of high-profile detentions of officials implicated in corruption in the graft-wracked nation.
Thousands of Bulgarians demonstrated across the country on Sunday against high fuel prices, blocking traffic in around 20 cities and on key highways to Greece and Turkey.
Protesters clashed with police in Burgas, where traffic was backed up around 10 kilometres (six miles) at several entry points to the Black Sea town, public radio BNR reported.
In the capital, Sofia around 1,000 demonstrators rallied outside the government offices shouting “Rubbish” and “Resign”.
“How can they sell petrol here at the same prices as in Spain and Luxembourg when we are the poorest country in the European Union?” asked taxi driver Ivan Naydenov.
A litre of petrol or diesel fuel costs around 2.40 leva ($1.13/1.2 euros), or $5.15 per gallon, after rising five per cent from August to October, in a country where the average salary is 575 euros per month.
Motorists are also paying higher taxes on polluting vehicles and higher prices for heating fuel.
Three major motorways and many smaller roads were closed for hours, impeding traffic in the southwest towards Greece, in the south towards Turkey and in the north of the country.
The police union issued a statement Sunday in support of the protests.
Ruling party lawmaker Emil Dimitrov accused the socialist opposition of being behind the protests organised through social media.
The head of the Federation of distributors of petrol and gas, Andrei Delchev, said Sunday that prices would start to go down in line with global trends.
“Expectations that international prices will rise after the imposition of US sanctions against Iran are unjustified,” he said.
The conservative government of Boyko Borisov says its fuel taxes are the lowest in the EU.
Protesters say the Russian company Lukoil has a near monopoly as the owner of the only oil refinery in Bulgaria and is in control of fuel depots.
Residents of Kaduna state have cried out to the government over the alleged refusal of some petrol marketers to sell the product at the approved pump price of N145 per litre.
Speaking to Channels Television’s correspondent in the state on Saturday, some residents said despite the increase in the daily supply of petrol to Kaduna state and environs by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and the warning by the Department of Petroluem Resources (DPR) to sanction any marketer selling above N145 per litre, the product is still being sold as high as N190 per litre in some stations.
They also expressed frustration that despite not benefiting from lower global oil prices, they were still being short-changed by adjusted pumps by marketers.
Responding to the complaints, the Department of Petroleum Resources said that it was fully aware of the situation and the agency had caught and sanctioned over 10 petrol stations for various offences ranging from hoarding, under dispensing and selling above pump price.
DPR Zonal Controller in Kaduna state, Isa Tafida, who led the operation warned marketers to stick to the official pump price to make life easy for Nigerians or have their licenses withdrawn.
He said it was possible for oil marketers to sell petrol at the approved price and still make a decent profit, instead of indulging in sharp practices.
“You know that Hunkuyi is over one hundred kilometres away from Kaduna, so they are taking advantage of the remote location of this particular area to be selling above pump price.
“They were caught by our surveillance team selling a litre of petrol for N190 and they have about 13,000 litres underground selling to the public.
“So we locked up the station, now we are here to open it so that we can sell the product to the public.
“They are cheating members of the public on the price and also on the quantity. So I am calling on other marketers to know that they can’t take advantage of the location to hike the price, we are everywhere. There is no hidden place for any marketer to sell above pump price and we won’t catch him. Apart from sealing the station, the company must also pay a penalty of N100,000 per pump,” he said.
While relative stability gradually returns and queues at filling stations are reduced, many believe that one major to way to bring a stop to the issues is for the government to revive the country’s refineries.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Kano North West Nigeria is set to commence a special operation to raid fuel stations selling at night and above government regulated pump price.
Although the department is yet to identify marketers allegedly diverting the product, officials say they are collaborating with the DSS and other relevant security agencies to carry out night raids as part of efforts to end the crisis.
Kano state and other states of the federation have been struggling to get rid of the current fuel crisis that resulted in an untold hardship to motorists.
From six to eight trucks at the beginning of the crisis, the DPR, Buba Abubakar, said it has received 18 trucks since Friday and more will be delivered in the next coming days.
Although petrol queues have resurfaced in Kano metropolis, however, the DPR monitoring team has returned its offensive on those hoarding, selling at night and above the approved pump price.
For now, the DPR could not disclose the locations identified to have been selling the product either illegally or above the regulated price but the department assured Kano residents that soon enough the crisis of petrol will become a thing of the past.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has called on petroleum products marketers to make life easy for Nigerians.
NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, who said this on Wednesday in Abuja, asked the marketers to stick to the N145 per litre approved pump price for petrol.
He gave the charge while presenting a commendation letter to the Managing Director of BOVAS and Company Ltd, for consistently selling petrol at the regulated price.
Baru noted that NNPC was fully convinced that it was possible for oil marketers to sell petrol at the approved price and still make a decent profit, urging other marketers to emulate BOVAS.
According to him, the Corporation decided to recognise the company and its Managing Director, Mrs Victoria Samson, for helping the government to make life easy for the people.
“It is on record that you have consistently demonstrated not only your ability to supply products to the market, but also to do so within the government-controlled price of N145 per litre,” the GMD said in a statement by the NNPC spokesman, Mr Ndu Ughamadu.
“You are even matching the NNPC Retail price by selling at N143 per litre; that is quite commendable. By doing what she does, Mrs Samson has been making life much easier for Nigerians; that is why we gave her a Commendation Letter as well as a plaque to recognise her efforts,” he added.
The NNPC boss further assured the company of the corporation’s support with necessary interventions to ensure effective supply of petroleum products in its areas of operation.
In her response, Mrs Samson informed Baru that her filling stations nationwide have maintained the N145 regulated price for petrol, even during the periods of supply shortage.
“Without a doubt, this gesture will spur me to further do my best and continue to supply products at affordable prices for the benefit of all Nigerians,” an elated Samson said.
She added that the company would continue to work with the NNPC and relevant agencies, not only to sell petroleum products at approved prices without diversion but also to resolve the current fuel crisis.
The Department of Petroleum Resources has shut down three fuel stations in Cross River State as part of its efforts to ensure the seamless supply of petroleum products in the country.
All three fuel stations, in different parts of the state, were sealed during the week for allegedly diverting three trucks of fuel meant to be sold in the state.
DPR’s Controller of Operations in charge of Cross River State, Mr Bassey Nkanga, said the fuel stations were in Calabar – the state capital, Obudu Local Government Area and Ogoja Local Government Area.
Long fuel queues are gradually disappearing in Calabar, following the increased supply of petroleum products to marketers.
To ensure that the fuel gets to the target consumers, the DPR intensified its surveillance in the state.
It was as a result of the decision that the erring stations were identified and sealed, according to Nkanga.
Beyond monitoring the stations to ensure petroleum products are not diverted, Nkanga said the surveillance would also ensure that petrol is sold at the official rate of N145 per litre.
He called on motorists and other users of the product not to buy and store petrol in their houses for safety purposes.
He added that the government was doing everything possible to bring back normalcy in petroleum product supply.
The Federal Government has allayed the fear of purported increment in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, from N145 per litre.
Addressing reporters on Friday in Abuja, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, asked Nigerians to ignore such reports with an assurance that fuel pump price remains unchanged.
He also criticised those circulating the speculations saying they were being unfair to Nigerians following the difficulty they had gone through during the yuletide.
“We are not increasing price from N145,” said Kachikwu. “I thought we should make this very clear, this is not a matter for speculation; anybody who does speculation is not being helpful to Nigerians.”
“They’ve gone through a very difficult Christmas period. We are working night and day to try and find solutions,” he added.
The minister further said the fuel crisis should not be politicised but rather, the people should support the government’s effort to ensure the nation overcomes the challenge.
He said: “It is not a political issue, people should step out of that goalpost. We want to provide succour to Nigerians, we want to provide product at N145 – that is the presidential mandate, that is the Federal Executive Council mandate; nobody is having a deliberation on that.”
Kachikwu also briefed journalists on the issues discussed in the past few days at the stakeholders’ meeting which was convened to find a lasting solution to Nigeria’s fuel challenges.
“The essence of our meeting yesterday (Thursday) and the essence of the committee’s meeting which began a few days ago, is to find mechanisms to ensure that queues do not come back to Nigeria,” he said.
“That there is a wetting of all the stations so there’s product available every time for Nigerians, that private marketers who had pulled out of participation – that we deal with their problems so that they can participate effectively in the supply of refined petroleum products in the country; all within the parameters of the N145 pump price,” he added.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has warned the All Progressives Congress (APC) led government not to contemplate any increase in the pump price of Premium Motors Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol.
The party gave the warning on Friday in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan.
They said any decision to increase the price of petrol from the already ‘exorbitant’ 145 naira per litre would be completely unacceptable.
The PDP also alleged that the lingering fuel scarcity witnessed in the country was only a ploy by the APC to justify the intended hike of petroleum prices.
They further criticised the payment of subsidy on fuel by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), questioning why Nigerians were not told who the beneficiaries were and the amount involved.
Read statement below;
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday told the APC Federal Government to perish the thoughts of hiking the per litre price of fuel from the already exorbitant N145 per litre, saying such would not only be criminal but inhuman and completely unacceptable.
The party said investigations have shown that the Federal Government has been lying to Nigerians on oil-related issues while using the NNPC to bandy figures with intentions to arrive at APC’s predetermined agenda to increase the price of fuel.
The PDP further stated that the lingering fuel crisis and its attendant black-market costs were only a ploy by the APC to justify their intended hike of petroleum prices.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement on Friday said the APC Government has completely become numbed to the sufferings of Nigerians to the extent that it no longer care in imposing more hardship on our people.
The party said instead of putting more burden on the people, the APC Government should come out clear on sleazes in the oil sector under its watch, particularly the shady oil subsidy payouts and illegal lifting of N1.1 trillion worth of crude using unregistered companies.
Recalling that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had in December informed Nigerians that the NNPC has been paying subsidy on fuel, the PDP said the Federal Government has refused to tell Nigerians who the beneficiaries are, the amount involved and who authorised the payment, because of the inherent corruption in the deal.
“Any increase in fuel pump price would be an indirect tax on Nigerians to fund APC interests and considering the pains Nigerians have suffered under this inept and unfeeling government, this intended hike will be callous.
“It is now clear to all that this APC- controlled government will never act in the interest of Nigerians. All the actions and policies of APC, in their close to three years in office, have been targeted against Nigerians and there are no signals that they will change.
“We, therefore, urge Nigerians to reject this plot to raise the prices of petroleum products even as they gear towards using the next election to end the misrule of the APC.