NAN Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue says the state does not own any militia group. Ortom was reacting to rumour making the rounds in some quarters in the country that the state government owned a militia group. The governor spoke on Thursday, January 18, in Makurdi, when the Benue Youth Prayer Group and National Union…
By Adewale Sanyaolu
Despite spending over $20 billion on the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the three state owned refineries Fresh facts emerged over the weekend suggesting that the NNPC may have been falsifying data to make Nigerians believe it has indeed enhanced the refining capacity of the nation’s three refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna, with figures presented for Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) popularly called kerosene, falling short of official claims.
This however explains why the commodity has remained scarce across various states of the country.
This was even as stakeholders have alleged that more than $20 billion may have been sunk into the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries without the commensurate result.
The discrepancy in the country’s daily kerosene production figure is coming on the heels of the claim by the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer (Downstream), Mr Henry Ikem Obih, at a 2-day Investigative Public Hearing of the House of Representative Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) that the facilities are doing better with DPK output. The NNPC boss had stated that the Corporation’s refineries were producing five million litres of kerosene daily representing more than 60 per cent of the national daily requirement of eight million litres.
But, findings by Daily Sun on Baru’s claims, as contained in the Corporation’s latest Financial and Operations Report for April 2017, further proved that, the refineries were indeed producing below five million litres daily.
According to table 4.2.1 of the monthly refined white products from local refineries; In January 2017,the three refineries produced 92,111,656 litres of kerosene, while in February, they produced 77,830, 460 litres, also in March they produced 31, 814,924 litres, which was the least for the four month period while in April they produced 62,406,778 litres.
But, Baru’s 5 million litres of kerosene daily claim when consolidated will translate to 150 million litres in a month, as the Corporation’s financial statement for April, showed that production by the local refineries for the months of January to April 2017, was less than 100 million litres for each month
Meanwhile, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in a telephone interview with Daily Sun on the discrepancy in production figures said the claim by Baru was from the month of July, even as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its May report revealed that the average price per litre paid by consumers for National Household Kerosene increased by 8.01 percent month-on- month and by 30.49 percent year-on-year to N303.29 in May 2017 from N280.80 in April 2017.
States with the highest average price of kerosene were Anambra (N334.52), Kwara (N323.81) and Bauchi (321.67) while states with the lowest average price per litre of kerosene were Osun (N273.96), Oyo (N271.15) and Sokoto (N261.90).
However, marketers who spoke to Daily Sun, said there was no way the country’s refineries would be producing five million litres daily without the depots being wet with kerosene. They explained that they received kerosene last from NNPC over one year ago.
Managing Director of Arcon Petroleum, Mr. Adedoyin Adeyinka, said the local refineries were only producing kerosene in bits, adding that he received kerosene last from NNPC over one year ago.
‘‘If the three NNPC refineries were producing five million litres daily, the product will definitely be available to marketers and members of the public,’’ he said.
Daily Sun findings across major and independent retail outlets in Lagos yesterday, revealed that the product was not available as some marketers who spoke said they have not had supply in the last one year.
A marketer in one of the depots at Apapa, said they last received kerosene from NNPC over one year ago, explaining that he knows a marketers that paid for kerosene over two years ago, and was yet to be supplied.
‘‘The truth is that the kerosene produced by local refineries is not enough to meet local consumption and that is why they cannot bring it down here with vessels because it would have become unprofitable. So what some marketers who are close to the three refineries do is to go there with their trucks to load. And even at that, some of them don’t get more that one or two trucks,’’ he said.
Between last year and early this year, the country was confronted with its worst domestic energy crisis which left a sour taste in the mouth of consumers, who then had to resort to the use of dirty fuel energy sources, like firewood and charcoal to meet their cooking needs
But just as consumers were still grappling with the shock of soaring cooking gas prices, kerosene another critical domestic energy source suddenly dried up from the various depots across the country, leading to acute shortage of the commodity.
Recall that the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency had in January 2016 (quarter one) increased the price of Household Kerosene from N50 to N83.
The agency had stated that the N83 per litre price applied only to the NNPC, outlets. But regrettably, none of the NNPC retail outlet sold kerosene at the approved price of N83 in quarter one and quarter two of 2016.