23 September 2013, Lagos – The Federal Government saved N850 billion last year in the downstream sector of the oil and gas sub-sector, Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke said at the weekend.
The savings, according to a statement by the ministry, include N467.20 billion obtained from the N32 per litre mark-up in petrol pump price of January 2012 and the N142.30 billion savings from the N20 million litres per day reductions in national consumption of Premium Motor Spirits (PMS).
The Minister said: “Inspite of these savings, we have also been able to maintain stability of products supply, while putting in place, stringent regulatory conditions which would make it difficult for dubious marketers to short-change the system”.
She added that “the Federal Government has done extremely well in halting fuel subsidy scams in the country, and as such, our efforts at transparency and accountability are beginning to yield positive results.”
According to her what motivated the paradigm shift in the reforms is the decision of the government to address the pervasive malpractices in the oil and gas sector.
She listed the reform initiatives to include: capacity-building for the Departments and Agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, restoring credibility in the process of products supply and distribution, conduct of a prequalification exercise for traders/suppliers initiated in the form of technical audit of suppliers of PMS into the Nigerian market.
Other measures include the conduct of monthly and mid-quarter Import Performance Review Meetings with stakeholders and resolution of marketers’ complaints through effective mediation, thereby stemming the erosion of marketer’s confidence in fuel importation regime with its attendant payment uncertainties occasioned by budget approval delays, among others, and in the process, ensuring seamless product supply to Nigerians.
Said the minister: “Over N50billion of private investment was realised in the downstream sub–sector supply and distribution infrastructure in 2012, employing thousands of Nigerians and contributing to our economic growth. Such a staggering net-flow of investment has also led to the rolling out of private mega-filling stations across the country renewed investment in modern vessels and IT-driven depots all along the coastal areas of the country from Lagos to Calabar’.
The Minister said, the Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has completed the repair of the Port-Harcourt -Aba, Warri-Benin and Jos-Gombe pipeline networks to ensure pumping of products to the depots in those areas. But has also commenced the process of upgrading some of its rehabilitated depots from analogue to digital loading meters.
The digital upgrade has been completed in Warri, Aba and Calabar Depots while work is ongoing for similar upgrade in the eighteen other depots across the country.
Some of the rehabilitated depots such as Gombe, Makurdi and Minna, the minister noted, had been out of service for over 10 years, until they were rehabilitated to ensure uninterrupted supply of fuel and to boost employment.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke said the government had promoted and popularised gas, a major future product in Nigeria, resulting in the drastic increase of the nation’s LPG consumption to 250,000mf, from 100,000mf in 2011.
“The need to get the gas sector to drive growth in all sectors of the economy especially the agricultural sector, necessitated the excision of some key areas of the Gas Master Plan from the PIB for accelerated implementation under the Gas Revolution Agenda. She added that the programme had begun to yield dividends with plans for the establishment of a number of new fertilizer plants at advanced stage. The landmark pioneering efforts of NIPCO in Benin for LPG and CNG; the Oando and Technoil popularisation of small gas cylinders for low income earners are all good examples.
– The Nation