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NNPC, PPMC bosses proffer solution to kerosene scarcity

By The Citizen
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…implore consumers to switch to cooking gas, reassure adequate fuel supply to Lagos, environs

 The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Andrew Yakubu, yesterday proffered solution to the lingering problem associated with the supply of kerosene to the citizenry.

The Managing Director of the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), Mr. Haruna Momoh, who spoke in the same vein, believed that improved consumption of domestic cooking gas would surely reduce the demand for kerosene.

The duo spoke while testifying before members of the Dakuku Peteside-led House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (downstream) investigating supply, distribution and subsidy expenditure on kerosene from 2010 - 2013.

Yakubu noted that the resolve by the NNPC to subsidise kerosene was in line with the resolution by the National Assembly to ensure availability of the product to Nigerians at affordable price.

Acknowledging that the task of ensuring availability of kerosene at affordable price had been daunting, he believed that an improvement in gas consumption for domestic uses would remove the pressure from kerosene and ensure its availability in due course.

Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) on a separate occasion canvassed a paradigm shift where an alternative energy source such as LPG should be developed to replace kerosene to address the seeming crisis surrounding the product.

Yakubu, who disclosed that gas consumption had increased from 65,000 - 121,000 metric tonnes in 2012, noted that the product would be less attractive to those that indulge in the smuggling to neighbouring countries if security agents ensure strict surveillance of the country's porous borders.

He said he was privy to the fact that a total sum of N8.49 billion was expended to subsidize a total of 5,015.413.022.06 trillion litres of kerosene as well as 15,177,76,123 trillion litters of fuel that were imported into the country within a period of 19 months.

The PPMC boss explained that but for the activities of pipeline vandals, the state of disrepair of pipelines and depots spread across the country, smugglers, industrialists and those who adulterate the product to sell it as automatic gas oil often referred to as diesel, there would have been enough kerosene for domestic use in the country.

Assuring that PPMC was leaving no stone unturned to fix the pipelines and the depots as part of on-going effort to bridge the gap in supply of kerosene, he expressed optimism that by the time the 800,000 metric tonnes on the use of domestic gas is attained, the over-reliance on kerosene by the citizenry would reduce drastically.

Meanwhile, shortage of petroleum products in the storage tanks due to importation hiccups and vandalism may have thrown the nation into another round of hardship through fuel scarcity at filling stations.

Investigations yesterday showed that the scarcity being experienced in some parts of the country, particularly Lagos and Ogun states, was triggered by fuel rationing by marketers who have been complaining of shortages since the beginning of the year.

Some filling stations visited in Lagos were under lock and key, while others were selling with few pumps amid long queues.

Sources from the importers linked the shortage to lack of fuel importation since the beginning of this year, due to non-issuance of import permit by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA). - Guardian.