*Insists “greedy” marketers are cause of fuel scarcity
*Says marketers smuggle products out of Nigeria
30 December 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Group Managing Director, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, has confirmed the return of oil subsidy widely reported to have been removed by the Federal Government in 2016.
In an interview with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa yesterday, Baru said original pump price without subsidy ought to have been N171.40 per litre, however, President Buhari directed that “all parameters” to sell fuel at N145 per litre should be sustained.
“Do you want me to remove subsidy? What I am saying is that the landing cost as should be sold in the pump without under-recovery should be N171.40. However, Mr. President has directed that we should maintain all the parameters to ensure that it is sold at N145 per litre. And that is why we are selling at the depot at N133.28”.
The Vice President had earlier hinted about the return of oil subsidy when he said the NNPC subsidises petroleum products to the tune of N26 per litre.
Speaking further, the NNPC boss boasted that the fuel crisis had been “tamed”.
“I’m happy to report that we have tamed the monster that reared its head as a result of the rumoured price increase about three weeks ago”.
He insisted that the scarcity rumour had instigated a lot of marketers to be “very greedy” and “they decided that their fellow citizens should not enjoy the Christmas holiday and New Year with ease and decided to profiteer; starting by hoarding and diversion of products”.
Baru accused the marketers of inflicting “harm and pains” on fellow citizens by “hoarding products, diverting them and in some cases even smuggling products out of the country”.
“This has been tamed by the actions we took and I personally led the war around Abuja and other teams led the war in Lagos and other parts of the country”.
“As of this morning, I have gone round the Abuja metropolis and I have seen that the queues have reduced significantly to almost normal level and few motorists that I heard speaking on morning programmes concerning what I have seen said they have not spent up to 30 minutes to fuel their car”.
“So the monster has been tamed. In Lagos, the situation has been brought into normalcy as far as two days ago and we are also having the same thing in all other cities”, he said.
He assured that NNPC has sufficient products to last for the next 30 days, adding that the Corporation will keep bringing in 50 percent over and above normal consumption into the country.
“…and vessels have been lined up. At the moment I have eight vessels discharging products at various ports around the country. So Nigerians should enjoy the New Year. Mr. President’s directive and guidance which has been very helpful have been executed and normalcy has returned”.
He alleged that marketers have hidden products, warning those involved in the illicit act, to “better bring them out and sell to the public at N145 per litre maximum”.
“If NNPC sold it to you at N133.28, you have sufficient margin within that ambit to be able to supply and sell to the public at maximum N145 per litre”.
“The NNPC is selling at N143 per litre so you should be able to sell at N145 per litre”.
Baru warned that if marketers go above stipulated official price, the regulator, Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR and Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA with the support of law enforcement agencies particularly the civil defence, will make sure that the products are confiscated and given free to the public.
“This is the directive that we are working on by Mr. President and is being executed to the letter.”
“Bring them out and sell these products, we don’t have any shortage and we are making massive loadings. Normally we should be able to have 850 trucks to satisfy the national consumption. But as at yesterday, we loaded 1,750 trucks to go around the country. So we will continue massive load out until we reach the former position whereby all the stations will have products and truck siding”, he added.
When asked whether there was any plan to take legal action against the marketers, Baru said meetings had been held with the law enforcement agencies particularly with the civil defence “who have helped us to mop up those people selling in jerry cans and have also helped us to mop up some of the cars that have extra tanks at least within Abuja and environs and around the country”.
He added that for legal action to take place, they have to apprehend the culprits first, and then take them to the courts within the time limit that is speculated.