Subsidy: Reactions trail report as marketers canvass full deregulation

Innocent Anaba

10 July 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – REACTIONS have continued to trail report of the technical committee on payment of fuel subsidy, set up by the Minister of Finance, to verify the 2011 fuel subsidy payments to oil marketers, led by Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.

While the report, which indicted 88 firms had been faulted, oil marketers have called for full deregulation of the oil sector as the solution to the subsidy infractions.

The report had indicted the firms for allegedly collecting subsidies without auditors’ signature, evidence of Bill of Lading documents, evidence of bank sales and transaction disclaimed by banks.

Some of the marketers, alleged to have imported petrol using what the committee termed “dead ships” were Valviza Petroleum Limited, Alminnur Resources Limited, Eurafric Coastal Services Limited, Nasaman Oil Services Limited, Sifax Oil and Gas Company Limited, Pinnacle Contractors Limited and Top Oil and Gas Development Company Limited.

The committee said subsidies paid on the seven transactions amounted to N8.138 billion. The committee had said, “unless the affected companies are unable to prove otherwise and show evidence of the existence of the mother vessels, they should refund subsidies received’.

Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency’s, PPPRA, role in approving the subsidy payments for the transactions should also be investigated.”

Meanwhile, oil marketers, have faulted the report, describing it as shoddy and hasty. They claimed that the Aig-Imoukhuede committee did not invite them for clarifications on some conclusions reached by the committee.

They also alleged that some firms, whose funds were processed by Access Bank Plc, whose Managing Director headed the committee were inadvertently left out of the hook while others processed by other banks were indicted.

One of the marketers, who spoke on condition of anonymity said although the record of transaction released by PPPRA showed that Access Bank Plc handled the highest number of transaction counts, with 118 out of the total 857, none of the companies involved in the 118 counts was indicted by the committee.

Meanwhile, Chairman of Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho, in his reaction to the development, exonerated his firm from the fleece, noting what that the committee credited to his company was untrue.

He said: “Having carefully reviewed the details of our petroleum import transactions on the Petroleum Subsidy Fund, PSF, scheme, particularly on the details and account of gasoline cargoes imported by the company within the period referred to in the technical committee’s report, we wish to state categorically that we have not received any PSF overpayments of the sort alleged in the committee’s report nor have we found any other evidence or basis, upon which the very serious but totally incorrect allegations of subsidy overpayment to Integrated Oil may be anchored.”

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