A member of the House of Representatives, Sergius Ogun says President Muhammadu Buhari needs courage to break the cartel operating in the oil sector.
“We need to pray for the President to be strong. In this industry, we have strong cartel… The President will have to take the courage to stop some of these things,” the lawmaker said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Thursday.
According to the member of Reps Ad-hoc Committee on Petroleum Downstream, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited is broke and can’t pay oil suppliers. He said the ongoing fuel scarcity in the country can be traced to NNPC’s inability to pay oil suppliers and many more issues including oil theft.
“The suppliers are not willing to give the refined products because NNPC is owing… NNPC is broke, they don’t have money to pay suppliers,” said the lawmaker representing Esan North East/Esan South East Constituency in Edo State.
‘NPA, NIMASA Ignore Presidential Directive, Charge Oil Marketers In Dollars’
Ogun, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also said the entire supply and logistics value chain in the oil sector have been dollarised and this poses a challenge to fuel marketers.
The lawmaker said the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) charge docking fees and others in dollars despite a presidential directive forbidding that.
He said oil suppliers and marketers scavenge for dollars at the black market to pay government agencies as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) doesn’t release forex to them.
Ogun said noted that these impediments and unnecessary costs transferred on the masses must be removed by the President.
“NPA takes their docking charges in dollars. NIMASA takes theirs in dollars. I actually heard there is a memo from the Villa and the late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari met with the then Minister of Transportation and his agencies for them to take their fees in naira but he was ignored.
“CBN is not giving them dollars, so they have go to the black market to buy dollars for these transactions with government agencies within the country,” he said.
The lawmaker said the President needs a strong willpower to stop these issues and more affecting the fluid distribution of Premium Motor Spirit popularly known as petrol within the country.
“The President we voted for in 2015 is the man with steel but those that brought him in did not allow him to do a whole lot. How can you have a presidential memo that agencies should not collect dollars anymore and he is ignored? Where is the steel?” he asked.
On his part, a member of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, Adegboyega Adeniji said strong leadership will bring an end to oil theft, lack of functional refineries and other related challenges in the sector.
Last Thursday, amid biting fuel scarcity across Nigeria, the Department of State Services (DSS) directed oil marketers and the NNPC to resolve the fuel crisis within 48 hours, saying the situation is detrimental to the security of the country.
The House of Representatives also gave the NNPC one week to end the artificial scarcity of petroleum products.
However, vehicle owners especially in Lagos and Abuja continue to have a tough time getting petrol from filling stations. Whilst many outlets are closed, the few ones that are open sell the indispensable commodity for as high as N250 per litre above the uniform price of N169/litre.
The shortage of supply has led to long, gruelling snake-like queues at the few open filling stations as motorists and business owners jostle to buy fuel while others resort to the black market. The situation has also worsened traffic on major roads as vehicle owners block at least one lane to join queues to filling stations.
KNTags: Adegboyega Adeniji Channels Television Muhammadu Buhari NIMASA NNPC Sergius Ogun