PDP Cautions Buhari On Fuel Price Hike …NNPC Dispels Rumours

From left: Former President Goodluck Jonathan; Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Mr Rauf Olaniyan; and a leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, during the launch of a book titled: “The Dream, Pursuing the Black Renaissance through the Murky Waters of Nigerian Politics”, to mark Okurounmu's 80th birthday, in Lagos, yesterday.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has cautioned federal government and the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) against increasing pump price of fuel from the existing N145 per litre.
The party said its position is predicated on its unwavering commitment to the welfare of Nigerians, stressing that any increase in fuel price will result in upsurge in cost of goods and services thereby worsening the biting hardship being faced by Nigerians.
A statement by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, said that “at a time like this, rather than musing an increase in the price of such essential commodity, a responsive leadership ought to be engaging stakeholders and seeking ways to achieve a reduction in the interest of the people.”
The statement said: “Our party insists that the price comparison being contemplated by the APC-controlled Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to warrant an increase, is untenable and further demonstrates that the APC is a party of selfish, unfeeling and insensitive individuals, who relish in inflicting pain and anguish on Nigerians for their selfish desires.
“Moreover, in arguing that petrol price is cheap in Nigeria without also comparing our market and production variables as well as social and economic infrastructure, with those obtainable in other countries, the APC-controlled NNPC is trying to play on the intelligence of Nigerians to pave way for further fleecing of our citizens.
“Such anti-people position can only come from leaders who do not have the mandate of the people and as such think that they are not answerable or accountable to the citizenry
“This is the same APC, which, in 2015, promised to reduce fuel pump price, only for it to jerk it up from N87 per liter, stabilised by the PDP, to an exorbitant N145, from which it now seeks a further increase.
“Moreover, the APC-led Federal Government has no justification whatsoever to contemplate any increase in pump price of fuel, when President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to recover the N9trillion ($25billion) oil money stolen under his watch, through sleazy contracts, as detailed in the leaked NNPC memo.
“President Buhari had also failed to recover the N1.1trillion worth of crude oil allegedly stolen, using 18 unregistered companies, reportedly linked to APC interests.
“It is therefore unacceptable that rather than recovering the over N10trillion stolen oil money and channelling same to our domestic energy needs, the APC-led Federal Government is seeking to shift the burden of the humongous corruption in the NNPC, as confirmed by the new Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, on our already deprived and impoverished compatriots.
“It is saddening that at a time Nigerians should have been enjoying the benefits of Atiku Abubakar’s economic recovery plan, they are still being faced with apprehensions of more economic hardship under the hypocritical and unfeeling APC”.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), yesterday, advised motorists and other petroleum product consumers to disregard the trending rumour of a planned hike in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol.
It explained that the statement of the corporation’s Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, at the National Assembly, last Wednesday, did not suggest any plan to increase the price of the white product.
The NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, clarified that what the NNPC GMD stated during his engagement with the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, was that the price of petrol was abysmally low in Nigeria compared to what obtained in neighbouring West African countries.
Ughamadu noted that Kyari had observed at the event that the huge disparity in the pump price of petrol between Nigeria on the one hand and her neighbouring countries, on the other hand, tended to encourage cross-border smuggling.
This, according to Ughamadu, was why the NNPC boss sought the support of the leadership of the National Assembly to curb the malaise of smuggling.
The oil firm advised Nigerians to disregard the insinuation of a planned hike in the price of petrol by NNPC.
It stated that statutorily, NNPC was not even in a position to regulate the price of petroleum products, adding that the corporation’s role as an operator must be differentiated from that of any of the industry regulators.
Ughamadu stated that as directed by relevant agencies of government, the pump price of petrol remains N145 per litre.
The NNPC cautioned petroleum products’ marketers not to sell petrol above N145 per litre following the disclaimed rumour.
It advised Nigerians to remain vigilant and volunteer information to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the industry regulator, or to any law enforcement agency around them, on any station which sells petrol beyond N145 per litre.
Earlier, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, had last Wednesday, lamented at the Senate over the N145 per litre fuel price in Nigeria.
The Management of NNPC told the Senate that its fuel was the cheapest in the entire West African sub region.
Kyari, spoke last Wednesday, during a courtesy call on the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan in his office to make submissions on revenue generation by the agency, along with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Speaking further, the NNPC GMD who noted that the low fuel price and smuggling, are the two key factors hampering high revenue generation of the agency, said, “The N145 per litre fuel price regime Nigeria runs against the N350 per litre most of the other west African countries operate, encourages smuggling, which invariably affected revenue generation for the agency and by extension the country.”
Kyari, who noted that Nigeria is not benefiting optimally from gas production, however, informed the Senate leadership that as far as projected daily production level was concerned, remarkable achievement has been made with the 2.3million barrel daily production being recorded as against 1.6m barrel recorded on daily basis in 2016.
He, however, assured that before the year runs out, the corporation would meet the revenue projection of the appropriations act since the NNPC was working tirelessly with the customs and security agencies in controlling and containing cross border activities of the oil smugglers.
In his submission, the Director of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Rufai Ahmed Ishaku, however, called on the National Assembly to speed up the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, saying that doing so will significantly transform the oil and gas industry and attract revenues.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan told the executives of the revenue agencies that the purpose of the collaboration was to gear them up in making more revenues for the government for effective and efficient budget implementation.
Lawan said: “It is very worrisome that the country within the last few years , have been resorting to borrowing from external lenders for implementation of capital components of the yearly budget.
“This is not good for the country economically when we have agencies that can assist in generating revenues at home for execution of such projects.
“What is happening today is not healthy and must be critically addressed by all stakeholders involved.”