For over one month now, Nigerians have faced petrol scarcity, but the truth about the situation is coming out gradually.

Many have had to buy the product more than the official price of 145 Naira and the the government lacks answers to questions about when it will end. 

The government has not been able to give a vivid reason for the shortfall except that marketers were manipulating the process because they wanted a price review.

Blame game has also followed the situation that has left Nigerians suffering and smiling.

On Wednesday, however, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) appeared ready to now let Nigerians know what is actually happening.

The corporation is now raising alarm over sustained nefarious activities of some cross-border fuel smuggling syndicates and hoarders.

Your fuel has found its way to neighbouring countries where it is sold well over 200 Naira per litre.

The NNPC says this situation has so far impeded its efforts to sanitise the fuel supply and distribution matrix across Nigeria.

This porous-border-inflicted-pain was made known when the Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, briefed the Joint National Assembly (NASS) Committee on Petroleum Downstream.

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He said that if the activities of the fuel truck diverters and smugglers were left unchecked, it would be absolutely difficult to guarantee round-the-clock availability of petrol throughout the country.

This is due to the massive leakages wrought on the fuel supply and distribution network by the smugglers.   

In a detailed presentation to the Joint Committee, the NNPC GMD informed the lawmakers that the sudden and unnatural shock in fuel consumption to record levels had over-stretched the Direct-Sale-Direct-Supply (DSDP) crude for product supply arrangement which was originally based on 35 million per day petrol consumption pattern.

He lamented that with the current unprecedented average daily fuel evacuation of 55 million litres since 1 December 2017 to date, it was imperative for the security agencies to close-in on the smuggling syndicates who were cashing in on the obvious petrol price differentials between Nigeria and neighbouring countries to make illicit profit.  

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Dr. Baru explained that apart from straining the ability of NNPC to sustain the prevailing 100% PMS importation in the face of increasing cost, the current situation was impacting negatively on NNPC’s resources for servicing Joint Venture Cash-Call and other obligations.

NNPC GMD, Maikanti Baru, briefs Senate on Fuel Sca
Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru
 

A statement by the spokesman for the Corporation, Ndu Ughamadu, also quoted Dr. Baru as saying that “to sustain adequate supply of petroleum products and national energy security, there is the need for the Federal Government to provide flush volumes in January & March, 2018, as well as create enabling environment for other oil marketing companies to participate in the importation of petroleum products”.

He also noted the need to double supply in order to raise the fuel sufficiency template back to the 30 days threshold from the current 15 days by bringing in at least two vessels per day for 20 days.

The NNPC GMD, however, explained that the Corporation would require additional funding outside the DSDP regime to achieve this.

The GMD listed the measures put in place to tackle the prevailing challenges to include: Engagement of the Nigerian Navy, Federal Road Safety Corps and Civil Defence to improve truck movement; engagement of the Nigerian Army Engineers to remove failed trucks on the Jebbba/Mokwa Road which had hitherto slowed down truck movement to the northern part of the country; repairs of about 10km stretch of bad roads and sustained assistance to tankers among others.

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“In addition, the NNPC has deployed several tug boats to help pull out grounded DPK vessel at Escravos bar which had made it difficult for PMS laden vessels to access the strategic Oghara products reception facilities and jetty among other palliatives,” the statement also read.

“In addition to the regular DSDP monthly programmed deliveries, the Corporation had imported 12 cargoes (nine in December, 2017, and three in January, 2018).

Responding, the Chairman of the NASS Joint Committee, Senator Kabiru Marafa, asked the NNPC to resolve the situation within the next seven days. 

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