ABUJA: In the struggle to uncover the mystery behind the current situation in the Nigerian oil industry as regards to fuel scarcity, the Minister of finance, Okonjo Ngozi-Iweala, and the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency has been blamed for the con-current epidemic surrounding petroleum scarcity in the oil-producing Nation.
This assertion was premise to the very fact that the Minister of Finance and the PPPRA were in the position to contain the situation from escalating as it is now.
According to report, the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources, downstream, declared that the relentless scarcity in the country would extend to next year if the outstanding debt of N141billion is not cleared with the oil marketers.
As a result of this delay, marketers enthusiasm has dwindled as banks refuse to extend further loans for their operations. According to the Chairman of the Committee, Dakuku Peterside, who made this ascertions, The report urges Nigerians to hold strong and prepare for the worst because it appears they will be an extended scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) since Banks have refused to give out more credit to the marketers.
It also informed that System 2B has collapsed, system 2B distributes about 70 per cent of petroleum products from Lagos, Mosimi, Ejigbo, Ibadan, Ore, and Ilorin.
The report was presented to the House yesterday by the Chairman of the Committee, Dakuku Peterside.
The report further lamented the situation, which the Ministry of Finance has withheld payments of marketers under investigation as well as the inadequate provision in the 2012 budget for payment of subsidy. It also said not more than N306billion was allocated to PMS in the N888billion reserved for payment of subsidy
“The delay in payment to petroleum marketers traceable to the Ministry of Finance is adversely affecting the availability of reduced and credit worthiness of marketers. At a point, it took not less than six months to process payment due importers, it said.
“The collapse of Syatem 2B which distribute about 70 per cent of petroleum products starting from Lagos, Mosimi, Ejigbo, Ibadan, Ore and Ilorin severely affected the distribution system.
“Too many inconclusive investigations are affecting the willingness of banks to give credit, and thus importers given allocations by PPPRA cannot perform. For instance, out of 37 companies that was given fourth quarter allocation, only 19 performed by bringing the product into the country.
“There is a marked decline in investment in the downstream sector due to very low profit margin that has been gradually building up due to lack of storage facilities as has been observed over time.”
The Committee recommended the following,
1. ”That the Ministry of Finance pay every marketer being owed and whose claims have been verified by all relevant authorities immediately.
2. “That in 2013 budget, the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF) should be skewed in favour in PMS by the Ministry of Petroleum.
3. “That all investigations carried out by the Presidency in the oil and gas industry should be concluded within a time limit.
4. “That PPPRA should give allocation to only marketers that had performed
5. “All necessary steps should be taken to determine the actual quantity of daily consumption of PMS that will enable the country plan ahead.”
A report from the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) stated on Wednesday that the persistent fuel scarcity in the country is expected to last until next year.
The report confirmed that one of the reasons for the fuel scarcity is the outstanding debts owed oil marketers, the debts are over N141billion.
The report said the debts have weakened the spirit of oil marketers, saying the marketers hardly import the product because banks are no more willing to extend further credit to them.
It further blamed the Minister of Finance, Dr Okonjo Ngozi-Iweala and the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) for the scarcity, adding that it was their responsibility to see to the problem.
The report from the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) was released following persistent long queues in filling stations across the country.