06 June 2013, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – The Executive Secretary of Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, Mr. Reginald Stanley has said reforms initiated by the agency in the wake of the oil subsidy scandal has significantly reduced incidence of mismanagement and corruption in the importation of petroleum products into the country.
Stanley stated this in Wednesday during the oversight function visit of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) to the PPPRA headquarters, in Abuja.
These reforms, according to him, include insistence by the agency on compliance with best practices; compliance with budget provisions for subsidy; equity, transparency and promotion of local content principles; accuracy of national consumption statistics, prevention of Bill of Laden manipulation; exclusion of stolen materials as well as prevention of round tripping.
Stanley noted that, “All of these have culminated to the success story that is being credited to the PPPRA today., which is the removal of financial exposure in the importation process, limited corruption and stability in product supply and prices.”
He further assured the Senators that the Agency is committed to “sustaining the tempo of the current reform initiatives, guaranteeing adequate supply of products nationwide, as well as ensuring reasonable cost-saving to the government.”
The PPPRA boss, however, stressed that achieving a continuously healthy and competitive downstream sector in Nigeria depends largely on the implementation of the proposed reforms as contained in the PIB, which is before the National Assembly. He, therefore, urged the Senate Committee to facilitate a speedy passage of the bill which is expected to bring great dividends to the Nigerian public.
Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Magnus Abe, explained that the Committee was on oversight visit to PPPRA to review the Agency’s budget implementation, progress made on products cost and subsidy implementation, as well as the stability of products supply across the country.
Senator Abe noted that Senators are impressed with the progress the agency was making adding that the amount of pressure brought to bear on the PPPRA was justified given the concern by Nigerians over the management of the subsidy funds and the availability of petroleum products.
He said, “‘It should be made clear that at no time had this Committee been unnecessarily hard on PPPRA. Instead, the Senate and indeed the whole Nigerians had been concerned that those who have positions of responsibilities to manage resources are those that should be more careful. When we kept insisting that things could be done better, we were convinced that we could improve on what we are doing.”
He noted that oversight by the National Assembly and the interest of Nigerians in the activities of the PPPRA has led to a remarkable reduction in the operations of “briefcase” importers of petroleum products.
He called for more vigilance, adding that, “All those who ran away with their briefcases are still hanging around, waiting for how to come back. It actually looks as if the coast is clear, but I can assure you that those who have brought us to this ignoble situation are likely to come back even stronger, once they know that the entire rot has been cleared, hence the call for eternal vigilance.”
Also speaking during the visit, Senator Mohammed Danjuma Goje, a member of the Downstream Committee, congratulated the Management of PPPRA over the drop on the subsidy figures.
According to him, “To have been able to achieve such a feat after using strict criteria to weed out those portfolio Marketers, shows your level of commitment and patriotism.” He therefore called on the Agency to continue to do more, knowing that ‘you are under the watchful eyes and by extension, tremendous pressure from those big toes you have trampled upon while discharging your statutory duties to the nation’.
Another member of the Committee, Senator Ben Ayade challenged the Agency to assist the Senate Committee in sustaining the debate on the PIB, which is currently before the National Assembly.
According to him, “It is a known fact that the PIB is greatly misunderstood, hence the apathy from the general public. The PPPRA should therefore be in the forefront of a well-articulated and carefully sustained public enlightenment programme through which public buy-in of the bill could further be ensured’.