October 21, 2018

Stop playing politics with ongoing oil sector reforms, APC Deputy Spokesman warns

Nabena, VAT, PDP, APC

Yekini Nabena

By Omeiza Ajayi

ABUJA: Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Yekini Nabena, has warned partisans against the usual resort to running down every government policy, especially the ongoing reforms in the oil and gas sector.

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In an interview Sunday in Abuja, Nabena said as part of the courageous moves by the current administration, a new price regime for petrol was introduced in the country, a development that has led to the technical liberalization of the pump price.

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According to him, the move will reposition the country’s downstream oil sector and in particular ensure that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC becomes a fully run commercial entity.

“The administration’s efforts to sanitise and reform the oil sector should be supported by all well-meaning Nigerians. It is important that we don’t succumb to the temptation to play politics with the reforms in view of the strides that have been achieved so far.

“In a general appraisal of the oil sector reforms undertaken by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, an often downplayed achievement is the fact that in a long time Nigerians no longer have to waste valuable man hours queuing for fuel on account of scarcity.

“The positive effects of the oil sector reforms have been instant and visible. Fuel shortages and resultant queues which were a recurring issue in the sector due to our limited refining base are now in the past.

“As the NNPC works to wholly meet the national petrol requirement due to the inability of private sector players to meet their supply quota, the increased private participation in our energy sector, is set to increase our local refining base with the near launch of privately-owned and high-capacity refineries. The resultant effect will be an end to the costly importation of refined petroleum products”, he explained.

On the $3.5billion Subsidy Fund being probed by the Senate, Nabena said: “The achievements of the oil sector reforms brings to fore erroneous insinuations of a $3.5billion Subsidy fund allegedly in the NNPC’s custody which the Senate has reportedly resolved to probe.

“In NNPC’s bid to stem petroleum product supply hiccups, the corporation initiated a revolving National Fuel Support Fund of $1.05billion, since the corporation is literally the sole importer and supplier of products in the country.

“The Fund has been domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN ever since. NNPC has not independently spent a dime of the fund which is to ensure stability in the petroleum products supply in the country. The Fund has been jointly managed by the NNPC, CBN, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency PPPRA, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the Department of Petroleum Resources DPR and the Petroleum Equalization Fund PEF”.