…..Says Privatization Policy of Refineries Suspended
The Federal Government has said that there are no plans to increase pump price of fuel now or in the near future and called on marketers to collaborate with it to eradicate the fuel queues from filling stations across the country.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources and Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke stated this Tuesday after the Ministry’s budget appraisal for 2013 and budget defence for 2014 before the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committees on Petroleum Upstream, Downstream and Gas in Abuja.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke informed that already the situation is coming under control and steps are being taken to flood the market with petrol in the next few weeks.
“There seems to be some sorts of rumours that we intended to increase the pump price of petroleum products and I have said categorically and severally that the Federal government has no intention of increasing the pump price of PMS (premium motor spirit) or petroleum products now or in the near future. That is for certain,” Mrs. Alison-Madueke reaffirmed.
She argued that the tightness in the petroleum products supply chain is as a result of hoarding and diversion of the products by marketers stressing that those that are found diverting or hoarding will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke said that based on the actual funds released to the Ministry in 2013, the budget performance stood at 89.6% adding that the capital release recorded 50.2% while recurrent recorded 100%.
She revealed that over N60bn is projected for the 2014 budget in line with the Medium Term Expenditure Framework while assuring that the Ministry would complete some of the ongoing projects that were started in the previous financial year.
The Minister said the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Framework in the 2014 budget is geared towards having a robust LPG development in the country stressing that the Ministry is collaborating with NNPC Retail to ensure that the LPG project receives full implementation.
Answering a question on the status of the planned privatization of the refineries, Mrs. Alison-Madueke averred that the Federal Government stood down the privatization policy of the state owned refineries because of the agreement reached with the labour unions and added that the best way forward is privatization.
Commenting on the frontier exploration activities, Mrs. Alison-Madueke posited that the Chad exploratory activities were still ongoing stressing that in 2013 because of the heightened insecurity in the area not much was done.
In his remarks, the Senate Joint Committee Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Paulker said the budget performance of the Ministry in 2013 was based on the funds released to them and urged the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to find a lasting solution to the delays recorded in the procurement processes to fast track the capital projects in the oil and gas sector.
Similarly, the House of Representatives Joint Committee Chairman, Hon. Muraina Ajibola called on the Minister to perform the magic of restoring normalcy to the supply of petroleum products in order to reduce the pains being witnessed by Nigerians across the country.
Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim
Acting Group General Manager
Group Public Affairs Division