*Asks Nigerians to disregard rumour
By Etuka Sunday
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has advised motorists and other petroleum products consumers to disregard trending rumour of a planned hike in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol, saying the statement of the corporation’s Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, at the National Assembly yesterday did not suggest any plan to increase the price of the white product.
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, Distinguished Senator Ahmed Lawan, at the National Assembly yesterday was that the price of petrol was abysmally low in Nigeria compared to what is obtained in neighbouring West African countries.
Ughamadu noted that Mallam 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 country on the other hand tended to encourage cross-border leakages, as he sought the support of the leadership of the National Assembly to curb the malaise of smuggling.
He advised Nigerians from all walks of life to disregard the insinuation of a plan hike in the price of petrol by NNPC, saying statutorily, NNPC was not even in a position to regulate the price of petroleum products, advising that NNPC role as an operator must be differentiated from that of any of the Industry regulators.
The NNPC spokesperson stated that as directed by relevant agencies of the Government, the pump Price of petrol remains N145 per litre.
NNPC cautioned petroleum products marketers not to sell petrol aboveN145 per litre following the disclaimed rumour.
NNPC 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.
The NNPC had yesterday said the N145 pump price is too cheap, arguing that it is the least pump price in the West African region.
Briefing the Senate leadership Thursday on the revenue generation, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Mele Kyari pointed out that the twin issues of low pump price and smuggling are the two things affecting the revenue generation capacity of the agency.
“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.
“It is even very difficult for us to make the Petroleum Product available at N145” he said.
While adding that Nigeria does not benefit on full capacity from gas production, Kyari however informed the Senate leadership that as far as projected daily production level is 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 assure that before the year runs out, the corporation would meet the revenue projection of the appropriations act since according to him, the NNPC was working tirelessly with the customs and security agencies in controlling and containing cross border activities of the oil smugglers.
Speaking also, the Director of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Rufai Ahmed Ishaku, 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.
Also speaking before the Senate leadership, Controller General of Custom, Hammeed Ali informed the lawmakers that Custom Service has generated N653.3 billion by the end of June 2019 adding that N1.202 trillion in the 2018.
“We collected N1.202 trillion in 2018 and as at June this year, we have collected N653.3 billion. We will surpass 2018 revenue by the end of the year, he assured.
The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services ( FIRS), in his own submission, informed the Senate leadership that in the last 2 months, FIRS has generated about N6.5 billion.
He added that by the end of this quarter, the agency would have been able to generate about N500 billion from its aggressive revenue drive in meeting the projections made in the 2019 budget .
In his remarks , the President of the Senate , 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.
“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.