The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has alerted the nation that the current fuel scarcity is unlikely to subside soonest because of the withdrawal of licences of some independent marketers leading to shortfall in the supply of the product.
Speaking yesterday, during its budget’s defense before the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), the DPR also attributed the current scarcity to non-payment of subsidy to the marketers by government, a development that has led to the return of long queues at filling stations across the country for more than a week now.
The Zonal Operations Controller, Abuja, Aliyu Halidu, who represented the Director of the DPR, before the Senate Committee, also revealed that most independent marketers were uncomfortable with the current pump price of N97 per litre.
Halidu, who attempted to convince the committee that the department was working hard to meet its statutory responsibilities, disclosed that the current crisis may also not be unconnected with the agitation of marketers against the present pump price per litre.
The marketers, he said, had severally lodged complaints to the department that they were experiencing increased challenges because of rise in their operational cost and other incidentals making it difficult for them to breakeven, lately.
The DPR pleaded with the Senate to hasten the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law noting that once it was passed it would help strengthen it’s regulatory powers as well as assist them to beef up its revenue.
Already, he said, the Department had forwarded a proposal to the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA, for bunkering to be legalized in order to curtail illegal operations adding that once bunkering was legalised leakages in the supply of petroleum products would be minimised.
Further speaking on its dwindling revenue projections of the department, Halidu pointed accusing fingers at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, which he alleged had failed to pay the DPR its royalties.
Instead of paying to the department, Halidu said the NNPC has chosen to pay the royalties as parts of its crude oil sales, a development he asserted has adversely affected their earnings.
Meanwhile, Committee Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, has challenged the department to be up and doing in its statutory functions stressing that the department has tended to be subservient to the Ministry of Petroleum and the NNPC.
“No you should not be running cap in hand to the ministry or the NNPC, it should be the other way round,”
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.