The N145 per litre price of fuel may be reviewed upward if the position of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is anything to go by, Blueprintreports.
Indications to this emerged Wednesday when the NNPC said the current price (per litre) of fuel in the country was the cheapest in the entire West African sub region.
Making submissions on revenue generation before the leadership of the Senate, Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC Mele Kyari said the low fuel price and smuggling were the two key factors hampering high revenue generation 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.
He said Nigeria was not benefiting optimally from gas production.
He however informed the Senate leadership that as far as projected daily production level is concerned, remarkable achievements had been made with the 2.3million barrel daily production being recorded as against 1.6million barrel recorded on daily basis in 2016.
He said before the year runs out, the corporation would meet the revenue projection of the appropriations act as the NNPC was working tirelessly with the customs and security agencies in controlling and containing cross border activities of the oil smugglers.
In his own submission, Director of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Rufai Ahmed Ishaku called on the National Assembly for the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, saying doing so would significantly transform the oil and gas industry and attract revenues.
Also speaking before the Senate leadership, Controller General of Customs Hammeed Ali told the lawmakers that Customs Service generated N653.3 billion by the end of June 2019 and 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.
In a similar presentation, Chairman Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) Tunde Fowler told the Senate leadership that in the last two months, the agency had generated about N6.5billion.
He further said 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, Senate President 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 has 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 “, he said.
Meanwhile, the Senate has directed the NNPC and Pipeline and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) to improve security architecture for its pipelines as a means to halt increasing cases of pipeline explosions.
The upper chamber also asked the agencies to reconsider the engagement communities and local vigilantes in its security architecture.
These were sequel to a motion titled “Ijegun pipeline explosion: Urgent need to prevent pipeline vandalism and explosion resulting in deaths and massive destruction of property” sponsored by Senator Solomon Adeola (Lagos West).
Adeola, in his lead debate, said the disastrous pipeline explosion in Ijegun, Alimosho local government in the early hours of Thursday, July 4th, 2019.
He further said that in the ensuing inferno, 12 persons were burnt to death, over 40 persons sustained various degrees of burns, 30 vehicles were burnt, two secondary schools namely Ijegun Junior and Senior Secondary School, 20 other buildings as well as goods worth million of naira were all destroyed in the fire.
The lawmaker said he was aware that the immediate cause of the pipeline explosion was the activities of oil thieves’ vandalisation of pipelines for siphoning of petroleum products.
He expressed worry that the pipeline explosion in Ijegun followed the pattern of similar explosion at Abule-Egba, Ajeromi-Ifelodun in Lagos state Wednesday, December 19, 2018 and elsewhere with similar huge losses.
He expressed regrets that despite the reoccurrence of these explosions over the years from mostly the activities of vandals, no enduring solution was found to prevent the ugly incidents.
The lawmaker said he was also aware that in addition to general security for pipelines protection from vandalisation, the NNPC, PPMC, in time past engaged local/community vigilantes to monitor and help secure the pipelines.
Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC Lagos Central) in her contribution said Lagos state should be assisted in terms of infrastructure.
The Lagos Central senator hinted that she would reintroduce the special status bill for the state.
She said over 50 per cent of the Value Added Tax (VAT) collected in the country comes from the state.
The female lawmaker said she was only asking that one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund be devoted to the state for the maintenance of infrastructure, saying with a population of over 20 million people, special attention should be paid to Lagos state.
The Senate observed a minute silence in honour of innocent Nigerians that lost their lives in the explosion.
It resolved to write a condolence letter to the people and Government of Lagos state for the disaster and loss of lives.
The National Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Ministry of Health, it said, should urgently come to the aid of families in distress at Ijegun and environs as well as attend to the medical needs of those that were hospitalized.
The Senate agreed that the Ijegun pipeline explosion should be added to the investigative mandate of the ad-hoc committee set up by it on Rivers state explosion in view of their similarities and occurrence at almost the same period of time.