The Group Managing Director
Executive Directors/Chief Operating Officers, here present
Managing Director, PPMC
Senior Members of the Management Team, here present
Members of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen
My Team and I feel highly honored and privileged to be here today. We thank you for accepting to give us audience despite your very busy schedule, especially at this period of fuel scarcity which I am sure is an issue of major concern of the moment.
The purpose of our visit to you today is to come and express our solidarity with you and pledge our continued support and co-operation as you work assiduously hard to restore normal supply of PMS in this country. We will also share our views and opinions on how this ugly situation could be stopped and permanently averted.
One of the immediate causes that might have triggered the present scarcity could be the increase in the price of crude oil in the international market and the failure of our marketers to fund the price gap that is created. We believe that providing a window of additional financing to our marketers will enable them place quick orders in order to arrest the present supply crisis.
In the downstream petroleum industry in Nigeria today there are three key players: the NNPC, as represented by their staff; the marketers; and the transporters. The risk associated with the activities of each of these parties is a function of the large scale corruption and greed that has pervaded our system for a long time. Whereas Marketers and Transporters are liable to hoard and divert products, some unscrupulous persons within the NNPC Staff have continuously compromised themselves by engaging in acts that are unbecoming of their positions by aiding and abetting under the counter dealing and other forms of malpractices that undermine the supply process.
We are aware that in situation such as the one under reference, your strategy is to resort to brainstorming sessions in the ‘War Room’. While you can gather a lot of ideas through such exchangesit would have been more beneficial if you had involved critical stakeholders in the exercise. Stakeholders would offer you a more holistic and practical solutions to the problems than the narrow and limited view from only a cross section of your staff. In our view, the problem in the supply and distribution of petroleum products in this country can be traced to the action and inaction of three main players in the industry, namely: the NNPC, DPR and Marketers. The NNPC must ensure that marketers that are licensed to import the product have the financial capacity, integrity and business retail outlets to sell the products in Nigeria and not to divert it to neighboring countries. Therefore a holistic assessment and review of the licensing process needs to be done to ensure that only qualified persons/companies are licensed to import products. Marketers themselves must ensure that products allocated to them are judiciously distributed to all nook and crannies of this country such that no part of the country is left out in the distribution. The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) must be ready to enforce all regulations and bring all defaulters to book for immediate sanction. The level of indiscipline and large scale impunity which characterize operations in the industry is a direct consequence of lack of enforcement of regulations by the relevant authority.
- Loading should continue in all NNPC loading facilities where products are available;
- Local loading should be encouraged. Products loaded from any deport should be supplied and discharged within the same zone. This will ensure efficiency in the distribution, require less monitoring, and guarantee product availability in all locations;
- Minimize the interference of many security agencies in the monitoring of movement of the products within the country to reduce drivers/security personnel conflict and to ensure timely delivery of the products to designated locations. The more the regulation in this business the more arbitrage opportunities that exist for people to exploit. Such security personnel can be better utilized near the international boarders to stop product diversion;
- Our state governors should be called upon to stop unnecessary interference in the supply and distribution of petroleum products in their states through the setting up of some bogus and ineffective special committees, mostly comprising persons who have no knowledge of the business under the guise of finding solutions to product shortages.
In conclusion, I will like to assure you that our trucks will be available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to transport products. Therefore any complaint from any marketer about shortage of trucks should not be entertained. We shall remain committed to serving the nation as aptly depicted by our mantra especially during national emergencies such as the one we are experiencing now. I also thank you for your untiring efforts to bring this unfortunate situation under control. Indeed, this was the issue you wanted to avoid when you rehabilitated and upgraded the Kano and Apata Depots this year and commissioned a super mega station in Shagamu, Ogun State last month. I assure you of our continued co-operation and support even as you introduce other policies that will uplift the sector and reposition it on the path of development.
Once again, on behalf of my team and all NARTO Members I want to thank you and the entire members of your management team for accepting to host us today. Thank you.
ALHAJI (DR.) KASSIM IBRAHIM BATAIYA