New Telegraph

Energy crisis: ‘90% oil to transnational pipeline vandalised’

PENGASSAN seeks removal of levies, taxes on product import

Following the unending crisis currently rocking the petroleum product sector of the economy, members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSSN) have called on the Federal Government and stakeholders to take the necessary steps at resolving the situation. The oil workers, who blame the current development on various steps taken by some stakeholders in the industry, also said oil marketers’ resort to the black market for foreign exchange was partly responsible for the skyrocketing prices of petroleum products. Briefing the media yesterday in Lagos, the President of the Association, Comrade Festus Osifo, said from October 2021 to February 2022, between 90 per cent and 99 per cent of crude oil pumped into the Trans National Pipeline (TNP) by operators was vandalised.

He saidthe grouphadbeen been at the forefront of ensuring that petroleum products are available at affordable prices. He, however, noted that in the last few months, the Association had watched with keen interest the endless queues that Nigerians face at the petrol stations on a daily basis, adding that this was initially attributed to the low quality of PMS imported into the country, later to the hoarding of products by marketers and lastly to the refusal of tanker drivers to transport products to different part of the country.

“We wish to empathise with the masses of our dear country during this phase of our national life and urge the Ministry of Petroleum, Nigeria Mid, and Downstream PetroleumRegulationAuthority (NMDPRA), NNPC Ltd., MOMAN, DAPMAN, IPMAN, and all other stakeholders in the supply and distribution value chain of the industry to double their effort in putting thisincessantqueuestoanimmediate end while ensuring that citizens pay the approved priceof PMS in all parts of the country. “The Association is worried about the high price of kerosene, cooking gas, aviation fuel and diesel.

The fact thattheseproductshavesince been deregulated does not give marketers the opportunity to exploit Nigerians. “The regulator of the downstream sector of the industry must ensure that Nigerians are not exploited. Although the increase in the price of crude oil in the international market is partly responsible for the surge; from our findings, the non-availability of foreign exchange at CBN rate to marketers, is largely responsible for the increase as theysource FX from the parallel market.

This is withoutprejudicetotheactivities of unscrupulous marketers that are bent on milking Nigerians dry. “We, therefore, urge the Federal Government to remove all forms of taxes and levies from the importation of petroleum products. The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas and other gas producers should be mandated to focus much more on domestic gas production. “Efforts should be intensified to fast-track the current rate of rehabilitation of the nation’s four refineries to guarantee energy security why on the short term, make FX available to the importers at the official rate,” he said.

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