By Nse Anthony-Uko
ABUJA, (Sundiata Post) – The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru,
On Thursday disclosed that the nation lost about 148,533 million litres of fuel to diversion during the December fuel crisis, in Nigeria.
Speaking at an investigative public hearing by a Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Petroleum Downstream, at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, Baru disclosed that during the period, NNPC could not track the movement of 4,501 trucks representing the quantity of the disappeared products.
“Due to massive diversion, hoarding, panic buying and smuggling, coupled with the information that three Direct Sales Direct Purchase Consortia had rejected October cargoes, there was insinuation of a supply gap,” he said.
Making an elaborate presentation to the joint committee investigating the fuel crisis in the country, the NNPC boss revealed that during the period under review, the Corporation was unable to track through its Aquilla tracking scheme the whereabouts of the affected trucks thus concluding that the products were diverted.
Baru listed some of the key factors which were responsible for the crisis to include insufficient reserve, clearance speed, supply gap, diversion, hoarding, panic buying and smuggling.
He noted that prior to the crises, NNPC had 1.9 billion litres strategic reserve of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), which would have lasted for 53 days but that due to panic buying, diversion and hoarding, the Coorporation was unable to cope with the daily nation consumption of 37 million litres of PMS, which led to the presence of long queues at petrol stations across the country.
He however said that NNPC took some urgent steps to resolve the scarcity which included but not limited to the immediate activation of war room, additional imports to increase days sufficiency, 24-hour operations in all NNPC Depots and mega stations; sustained media and stakeholders engagements; increased monitoring, surveillance and sanctions as well as re-streaming at Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineries put at 3 million daily.
While calling on the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to review the pricing template and landing cost, Baru asked the National Assembly to approve outstanding subsidy payments and debts to marketers.
The GMD commended the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) of helping the Corporation immensely during the crisis, adding: “JTF helped in reducing delays in checkpoints as well as curtailing theft in the Okrika jetty”.
By Nse Anthony-Uko