06 June 2013, Abuja – Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, Mr. Reginald Stanley, revealed, Wednesday that the Federal Government has cut the number of oil importers into the country from 128 to 38 as at December 2012.
He disclosed this before the Senate in the backdrop of government’s refused to begin payment of subsidy claims for year 2013.
Stanley, who stated this at a meeting with the the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources, Downstream, with Senator Magnus Abe as chaairman said the figures were though as at the end of 2012.
Stanley also revealed that the government has spent N3.7 trillion in five years, blaming the Ministry of Finance for the delay in sorting out foreign exchange claims by the marketers.
“There has been no payment for any marketer importing petroleum products in 2013. This is caused by delays in the payment of subsidy claims by the Federal Ministry of Finance resulting in interest as foreign exchange differential claims request by marketers, etc,” he said.
At the meting, Senator Abe warned that if importation of petroleum products must be reduced, refineries must be allowed to function optimally.
He tasked the PPPRA to weed out “briefcase marketers” in the fuel import business, adding that they were still lurking around, waiting to manipulate any loophole in the system.
“We are happy that you have put in measures to control the cost of subsidy payment. We have looked at the figures and we are impressed with the progress you are making and we believe you can do more.
”At this juncture, all I want to say is that all Nigerians should be vigilant. The reason we are celebrating now is because of the attention which made some people run away. The moment we relax, they may come back.
“Those who ran away with their briefcases are also looking for how to come back. If the figures rise, we will like to know why the rise because there’s still that danger as they are still lurking around on refineries,” Senate Abe stated.
Speaking further, the PPPRA boss, who noted that local consumption of PMS had also been brought down from 60.25 million litres per day in 2011 to 40 million litres per day, said between 2006 and August 2011, total government expenditure on petroleum subsidy amounted to N3.7 trillion, while expenditure on subsidies increased from N261 billion in 2006 to N673 billion in 2010, an increase of about 160 per cent.