The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has asked black marketers of petroleum products to vacate the premises of filling stations in Jos.
The directive came as the residents of Jos, the Plateau State capital in north-central Nigeria battle with the scarcity of petrol because most filling stations have not been dispensing the product.
The Plateau State Command of the NSCDC gave the black marketers an ultimatum of one week to move away from the vicinity of existing fuel stations within the metropolis.
The NSCDC Commandant in the state, Felix Gbolade, said that his men have been complimenting the efforts of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) by providing security for the monitoring exercise.
He assured the residents that petrol racketeering would soon be eradicated in Plateau State.
The DPR Operations Controller in Jos, Ceaser Douglas, said that a routine check by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) monitoring team witnessed some filling stations dispensing the product at unapproved prices while others were found hoarding the product.
Some motorists also expressed concern over the unavailability of the product as well as hoarding which had caused the unavailability of the product.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has approved the release of 2015 Q1 allocation to marketers for the importation of petroleum products.
A statement issued by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), said the early release is in furtherance of the Minister’s resolve at ensuring continuous and robust products supply in the system.
According to the statement, the Executive Secretary of the PPPRA, Mr. Farouk Ahmed, while calling on motorists not to engage in panic buying, assured that, “there is ample supply of petroleum products in the country”, adding that “discharges and truck-out had continued in spite of the holidays and the festive periods”.
The PPPRA further explained that apart from facilitating an improved national Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) supply and stock build-up, the effort is also to enable marketers make adequate preparations towards products sourcing and importation early in the New Year.
“The Petroleum Minister had commenced a regime of early release of quarterly PMS allocations in addition to supplementary allocations to complement the national demand”, the statement added.
According to the PPPRA, the early approvals, “apart from providing additional imports to supplement the prevailing stock level in the system, is now responsible for the sustained availability of petroleum products across the country at regulated prices”.
The Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has told members of the Senate Committee on Finance to go a step further by inviting independent auditors to look at the books of the Ministry of Finance as regards remittances made by the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission, NNPC.
This is in view of the lingering controversies surrounding the alleged 10.8 billion dollars missing NNPC funds.
The Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was speaking at the investigative hearing by the Senate Committee on Finance, into the alleged missing $20 billion oil money.
In her testimony, she said, “The budget under the control of the Ministry of Finance is laid out transparently online and has been accessible to all Nigerians and they have been criticizing it. Even though it’s difficult for us, we are proud of it because it means they have information to criticize us with.
“Under those circumstances people say the finances of the country are in a mess, we do not think that is the case on that particular point.
“What is being said here is being made to look like in this country, there has been no accountability, and that is not the case. For two steady years, Federal Allocation after Federal Allocation Committee meeting, the Ministry of Finance chairs a process that reconciles these accounts, and every single Commissioner of Finance in this country has a folder that shows exactly what we’ve done. So the Ministry of Finance is doing its job.
“It is because of that reconciliation that we came to the amount of 10.8billion that everybody is now talking about. When the Central Bank mentioned 49.8billion, we were the first to say we did not think this amount is correct and you can ask the CBN Governor, he is right here.
“After we had done that work, it was proven that 49.8billion is not the right amount and he had the courage to accept that. Without the steady work we have done to account for the resources of this country, we will not be talking about 10.8billion.”
Referring to an earlier comment by a member of the committee, she said, “We have said we want an independent audit in addition; it is precisely because of what the distinguished Senator is saying that we want this independent audit these extraordinary times. A lot of accusations are being made in this country and the only way Nigerians are going to be satisfied is to have an independent opinion on these amounts.”
The Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala have been giving testimonies at the investigative hearing by the Senate Committee on Finance, into the alleged missing $20 billion oil money.
Mr Sanusi told the hearing that regardless of the explanations from the Finance Minister, as far as the CBN was concerned, there is an outstanding $20 billion between what NNPC shipped and what it paid to Government.
Mr Sanusi insisted that the outstanding 6 billion Dollars given to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) should have gone to the Federal Government and that the CBN received 3 legal opinions on that matter while offering to bring lawyers to defend that claim.
The Finance Minister, Okonjo Iweala, however said that the NNPC supplied documents from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulation Agency, PPPRA, showing how the initial outstanding 10.8 billion dollars was spent.
The Group GMD of the NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, who was also at the hearing, however, stuck to his gun, insisting that the state oil company was not in custody of the amount as claimed by the CBN Governor.
“You will recall that we started from 49.8 billion dollars, and after the interagency reconciliation in December, we came down to 10.87, and this was classified as non-remitted funds. The impression all over the place is that 10.87billion dollars is seated in the four towers of NNPC and my staff and myself have been portrayed in very bad light.
“For emphasis I want to tell all Nigerians, that no 10.87billion dollars is seated in NNPC or anywhere within our control.
“The 10.87billion dollars after a series of discussions and presentation of documents and reconciliation meetings was traced to the four major items today. Those items are the subsidy that we have discussed extensively, and that is the reality.”
Having itemized other issues like legalities, budgetary provisions, as among issues realized during reconciliation, he further spoke about the kerosine subsidy.
“The reality today, that I found when I stepped in on the 26th of June 2012, is that subsidy of kerosine was still there and it is still there as we speak. So, the total amount based on our reconciled figure is 8.76billion dollars.
“We also did a detailed material balance of crude oil and product inventories and arrived at 0.76billion for the losses we encountered as a result of the harsh business environment.”
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has dismissed the $20 billion dollar allegation made by the CBN Governor, calling it baseless.
The Acting Group General Manager Public Affairs, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim said that Nigerians should not take the CBN Governor seriously since this is not the first time he would be making what he calls a wild allegation.
Sanusi had told the Ahmed Markafi Senate Committee probing the allegation of unremitted funds, that the NNPC shipped 67billion dollars in crude and only 47 billion dollars had come back to the Federation. Therefore the NNPC has to proof where the 20billion dollars is.
The NNPC boss expressed surprise that in spite of extensive clarification on the matter, Mallam Sanusi was still confusing the role of NPDC as part of NNPC’s.
According to him, ‘‘Let me make this point clear that CBN is a banking outfit, not a petroleum outfit.
“It is therefore understandable why they keep making unsubstantiated claims, which a little understanding of the technicalities of the oil industry would have saved them from making.
“The CBN is not an auditing outfit but what it is doing now is auditing.”
The Senate committee expects the NNPC to make their own presentation before it, and the meeting has been adjourned till 10am on Thursday, February 13, 2014.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance to discuss the crude oil monies allegedly unaccounted for by the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission, NNPC.
At the meeting, Mr Sanusi provided a summary of funds that have been received by the Central Bank and the irregularities they have identified.
He highlighted that the records from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, showed that the 16 billion dollars paid into the FIRS account was by International Oil Companies, IOCs and not by the NNPC and were proceeds from crude lifted in the name of the NNPC, but sold on behalf of the FIRS.
He also said that the Directorate of Petroleum Resources, DPR, received 1.6 billion dollars from the IOCs, while the NNPC has also repratriated 16 billion dollars out of the 28 billion dollars domestic crude it shipped.
He reminded the committee that the CBN has accounted for all the monies that it has received, which is 47 billion dollars, out of the 67 billion dollars that the NNPC shipped.
He disagreed with the NNPC’s explanation that some of the remaining 20 billion Dollars does not belong to the Federation. He argued that some of the 6 billion dollars crude said to belong to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC) is shipped from oil wells that belong to the Federation.
He also stated that the Central Bank is asking NNPC to provide their authority for buying Kerosine at 150 Naira from the Federation account and selling at 40 Naira, thereby inflicting a loss on Nigeria, when there had been a presidential directive eliminating subsidy since 2009.
He revealed that the NNPC had always submitted its monthly reports which has consistently shown that it had deducted nothing for PMS subsidy since April 2012. He then wondered how the NNPC came about telling the CBN that deductions were being made.
He maintained that NNPC shipped 67billion dollars in crude and only 47 billion dollars has come back to the Federation. Therefore, the NNPC has to prove where the 20billion dollars is.
The Chairman of the Committee however noted that there was nothing new about the content of the presentation by the CBN Governor, as those details and the stance of the Central Bank were already known.
He however said that every year in the revenue framework, the National Assembly appropriates money for oil subsidy. Therefore, the question of whether the NNPC deducted it or that they did so late is not an indication that there was no money appropriated for subsidy on PMS.
He expected the NNPC to make their own presentation and noted that “the bottomline is that the Federation should not lose one cent.”
The meeting was adjourned till 10am on Thursday February 13, 2014.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is insisting that there are no funds missing from the un-remitted $49.8bn oil revenue.
The corporation said that despite its efforts at clarifying the issues on the funds based on the allegations, there is still misinformation.
The agency insists 30 billion dollars of the alleged un-remitted oil revenue had been reconciled by all the parties involved and that the Coordinating Minister of The Economy, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, explained last year that the reconciliation was an ongoing process and the balance of $10.8bn is still being reconciled.
The NNPC however stated that the yet to be reconciled $10.8bn can be located in the expenses on some of the responsibilities which the corporation carries out on behalf of the Federal Government with respect to the domestic crude oil utilization.
These include, fixing and management of vandalised pipelines and facilities, also is the unpaid subsidies on kerosine and Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), which for kerosine the NNPC said has been paid since 2007.
The NNPC said that it has about 32 days’ sufficiency of petrol at the rate of 40 million litres of PMS national consumption per day. It says the cost incurred in this mandate is also part of the $10.8bn yet-to-be-reconciled outstanding figure.