Yemisi Izuora/Hyacinth Chinweuba
The opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised accusing fingers saying that the Federal Government of covering up massive frauds directly involving the All Progressives Congress (APC) interests.
The PDP said that the APC and the Federal Government are yet to offer explanations for the current fuel scarcity and “their exposed attempt to pilfer $1bn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA)”.
The Party therefore challenged the government to tell Nigerians the truth on its handling of fuel- related funds “particularly the circumstances surrounding the exposed diversion of funds in sleazy oil subsidy payouts” and “speak out on reports of fraud in the oil regime whereupon 18 unregistered companies were used to lift and divert $1.1 trillion worth of crude oil in the last one year.”
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the Party alleged the current government is “not only grossly incompetent and corrupt but also a champion in the use of lies and manipulations against innocent and unsuspecting citizens”.
According to the statement, We all know that it was convenient for the APC presidency to promise Nigerians that it will no longer import fuel only because the PDP government had already laid the foundation including revamping the refineries and ensuring a domestic production of 5 million litres out of the 25 million litres daily domestic consumption. Sadly, this incompetent APC government, in its almost three years, has not added one litre to the 5 million which the PDP administration was producing.
Contrary to the notion that the APC government has scrapped fuel subsidy, the administration is in fact paying itself about N1.4 billion daily for importing fuel through the NNPC.The corporation’s Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, recently confirmed that a N26 subsidy was being paid on every litre imported.
The landing cost of petrol into the country stands at N171 per litre, as against the N145 retail price. Considering that the country’s daily consumption moved from an estimated 35 million litres per day to about 52 million litres, it would mean a total of about N1.4 billion is currently being paid to the exclusive importer.
When the Federal Government scrapped subsidy about two years ago and ushered in a regime of partial deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry, the expectation was that private importers and market forces would have a freehand. The government, through the NNPC, however has been the sole importer and price modulator.
The weakness of the naira against the dollar and increasing price of crude oil on the international stage are compounding the fuel crisis in Nigeria, creating an unsustainable market.