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Why Fuel Scarcity Persists - DPR

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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Says Marketers Not Comfortable With Current Pump Price BEVERLY HILLS, March 04, (THEWILL) - The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on Tuesday in Abuja gave reasons why the current fuel scarcity persists.

It said the shortfall in supply of the products was the  result of non-renewal of contracts of some independent marketers to import the product.

The DPR made the disclosure while defending its 2014 budget before the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream).

It also alleged that non-payment of subsidy fund to the marketers by Government has hindered the importation of the product, resulting in shortage in supply.

The Director of the DPR, who was represented by the Zonal Operations Controller, Abuja, Aliyu Halidu, in his presentation further disclosed that marketers were uncomfortable with the current pump price of N97 per litre.

According to him, the marketers have complained that the operational cost and other incidentals have seriously eaten into the pump price, making it difficult for them to break even at the current price.

Halidu also noted that the shortage in the supply of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) was equally affected by the increased activities of illegal bunkering in the country.

Consequently, he urged the lawmakers to expedite action on the process of legalising bunkering, in addition to resuscitating other laws which could facilitate elimination of illegal bunkering from the system.

He however disclosed that  the Department had already forwarded a proposal to the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA, in respect of legalisation of bunkering to curtail illegal operations, noting that the NSA assured that the relevant laws would be resuscitated to help tackle all the problems emanating from illicit bunkering activities.

The Zonal Controller also implored the Senate to fast-track the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill(PIB) in order to help strengthen the DPR's regulatory powers for effective operations in the industry.

Commenting on the decline in revenue generation of the Department, Halidu blamed it partly on the failure of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to pay royalties due the DPR.

He explained that rather than pay royalties to DPR, the Corporation was paying it as part of its crude oil sales, lamenting that this had contributed to the recession in the revenue earnings of the establishment.

Earlier, Committee Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Paulker,  decried the Department's low revenue projection in the 2014 budget, stressing that, as a key agency of Government with high revenue potentials, its annual revenue projection should be reasonably high.

DPR had proposed a projected revenue of N900 million, but Senator Paulker insisted that its revenue projection ought to have been at least a trillion naira for the fiscal year.

EMMA UCHE, ABUJA