06 April 2012, Sweetcrude,ABUJA – Nigeria has established a committee to fashion out a reliable method for monitoring the country’s crude oil exports and petroleum products imports.
This was the outcome of National Economic Council (NEC) meeting on Thursday in Abuja.
Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State told the media after the meeting that based on a presentation by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on subsidy oil financing, the meeting, presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, agreed on the need for accurate data on crude export and product import.
Flanked by National Planning Minister, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman, Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State Dave Umahi and Deputy Governor of Benue State, Mr. Steve Lawani, Akpabio disclosed that Okonjo-Iweala would work with Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Accountant General of the Federation, the Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as well as some state governors yet to be named in fashioning out the system for the monitoring.
They are to assess the situation and come up with a recommendation on how to establish a reliable system for accurate data generation on the nation’s oil imports and exports.
To check illegal oil bunkering said to occasion loss of over a billion dollars monthly, NEC urged for stiffer penalties by way of strengthening of laws against the act.
States are also to be encouraged to promulgate laws that would protect the environment since issues of oil is on the exclusive list.
Akpabio said: “The Council noted the need for the strengthening of the laws against oil bunkering to save the nation from the concomitant massive revenue loss which has been put at over $1 billion monthly resulting in environmental pollution.
“It also urged the states to establish laws towards severely punishing those responsible for the damage to the environment arising from oil bunkering and other criminal activities.
“At the same time, we are calling on FG to send a Bill to National Assembly that will bring very stringent action against bunkerers. It is important to bring the issue of bunkering to an end and that can only be done if a proper law is passed by the National Assembly that criminalises oil bunkering so that people could be deterred from going into it.”
The NEC meeting also confirmed that Jonathan would re-present the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the National Assembly after details aimed at a quick passage have been worked out through a roadmap to be presented by the Petroleum Minister.