…NNPC moves against scarcity, augments shortfalls with $1b
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday promised to return the pump price of petrol from N145 to N87 per litre if its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, is elected next year.
The party said it had gathered from high-level engagements with top international players in the oil and gas industry that a price regime of between N87 and N90 was very feasible under the current subsidy system of the Muhammadu Buhari presidency.
In a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP said Atiku had worked out a template that would immediately crash the price.
It rejected the Federal Government’s increase in the pump prices of diesel and kerosene, arguing that the development had further impoverished the citizens, businesses and the nation at large.
The main opposition party said “with the current price template of crude oil in the international market, the Buhari administration has no justification to keep the pump price of fuel at N145 per litre and watch Nigerians groan under the weight of high prices while a cabal in the presidency loots the funds meant to subsidise the product.”
In a related development, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has signed a six-month Direct Sale-Direct Purchase (DSDP) agreement with British Petroleum’s (BP) trading arm, BP Oil International Limited, for the supply of petrol.
The move is part of measures to sustain the robust supply of petroleum products nationwide to check scarcity especially during the Yuletide.
The latest agreement represents 20 per cent of NNPC’s total PMS supply under the arrangement, which basically allows the corporation to exchange crude oil with international oil traders for products over a period of time.
NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, at the signing ceremony in Abuja, was quoted to have said that as the nation’s supplier of last resort, the state oil agency was committed to product availability by inviting new and old players to participate in the sector.
Also yesterday, Baru said the corporation was using $1.05 billion of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) earnings to augment the daily bridging of petrol prices.
He made the disclosure while addressing the Senate ad hoc committee investigating the alleged application of $3.5 billion petroleum subsidy by the NNPC. He, however, denied the existence of such fund.
Baru explained that the sum, an equivalent of N383.2 billion, is domiciled in a special account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) called National Fuel Support Fund (NFSF) for the purposes of augmenting shortfalls of N40 per litre of petrol whose official pump price should be N185 instead of the prevailing N145 per litre.