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NASS Chicken Out Of Subsidy Probe

…drama as three IPMAN Presidents appear before NASS

….kachikwu says it will take government 18 months to resolve lingering fuel scarcity

National Assembly Joint Committees on Petroleum on Thursday chickened out of investigation into payment of subsidy on petroleum products by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)  without approval of legislatures.

Senate Committee on Petroleum downstream led by Senator Kabiru Marafa had last week said the the lawmakers would look at payment of N24 on a liter of Petrol. 

However,  at the resumption of the public hearing on lingering fuel scarcity,  the chairman of the committee, Senator Marafa while welcoming the stakeholders to the hearing said the issue should be limited to  lingering fuel scarcity in the country. 

According to him,  we decided to make this hearing open in order to deal with the issue of fuel scarcity. What we are going to address is the issue of scarcity other issues will be dealt with later. 

However,  there was a mild drama at the hearing when the three President of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN)  appeared before the National Assembly joint Committee on Petroleum for the investigative hearing on lingering fuel scarcity in the country. 

The drama started when the chairman of the Committee called for the introduction of the guests.

The first President of IPMAN introduced himself Sanusi Fari, another one introduced himself as Obasi Lawson while third one Chinnedu Okoronkwo introduced himself as the President of IPMAN claiming that his emergency has been affirmed by court of Appeal.

Briefing the Committee on lingering fuel scarcity , Minister of State for Petroleum, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said it shame that Nigeria cannot refine its crude oil after 40 years of activities in the downstream.

He said said the ministry and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were working round the clock to find a solution to petrol scarcity.

As part of the solutions to permanently end the scarcity, Kachikwu said the country’s refinery needs to be functional.

“In what I might call an emergency before the work that we are doing on the refineries that would be finished sometime in 2019,” Kachikwu said.

” I want to remind that over that over two years we haven’t had queues. We are spending night and day to find solutions to nip this in the bud.

“Ultimately what this country needs is to have its refineries working and I have said that it is shameful that after 30, 40 years of activities in the downstream, cannot produce sufficient [petroleum products]. I have said nobody sells crude in its form in the world and we have to have the technical capacity to do this.”

Presenting before the committee Department of Petroleum Resources has said the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation does not have the capacity to be sole importer and distributor of petrol.

Mr. Mordecai Danteni Baba Ladan, in his presentation said, “‎NNPC is the sole importer and almost the sole distributor of the commodity. NNPC cannot do it alone.”

He added: “Most of the filling stations have been found wanting of hoarding, diversion and selling above pump price. As regulators, we are doing our best to bring sanity to the uelsituation.

“NNPC is doing its best to help us curtail the menace of hoarding and diversion. We also call on the Independent Marketers to support us in that regard.”

In his presentation,  the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation,  Mikanti Baru assured the lawmakers that the agency would find lasting solution to scarcity problem .

He said, “We have identified and provided mitigations to a no. of issues regarding some of the major downstream stakeholders such as IPMAN, MOMAN, DAPPMA, PTD, NARTO, Oil Unions, CBN, NPA, NIMASA etc.”

“I will like to recommend that regulators and law enforcement agencies should apply appropriate sanctions to defaulting filling stations. 

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