•Directs immediate payment of marketers
…Devaluation of naira, cause of scarcity –PPPRA boss
From ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday directed the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to pay with immediate effect, all outstanding monies owed to oil marketers so as to end the current fuel scarcity that has crippled the nation and caused untold hardship to millions of people.
This was just as the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (downstream) yesterday summoned top management of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) among others, to appear before it tomorrow by 2pm prompt.
The president, who restated his commitment to Nigerians, said the public should not bear the burden of needless bureaucracy, as was presently the case. He stressed that Nigerians don’t need excuses but solution, which must be provided.
The summons by the Senate Committee was issued against the backdrop of the absence of the agencies to defend their 2015 budgets before the committee.
Committee Chairman, Senator Magnus Abe and his Deputy, Mohammed Goje, said their appearance would have enabled the agencies to explain to Nigerians the cause of the present fuel scarcity and measures put in place to address it.
Infuriated by the absence of the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Joseph Dawha, and other officials at the budget defence session, Abe openly directed the committee Clerk, Mr. Anthony Ikem, to immediately write to the NNPC and other affected agencies to explain why “the corporation did not even have the decency to inform the committee of its planned absence at the budget defence session” either through a letter or a phone call.
“We invited NNPC to this session since last week. The corporation did not even have the decency to inform this committee ahead of its absence today; a very bad practice we thought it had ended with, since last year.
But the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Authority (PPPRA), Farouk Ahmed, told the committee that there was no cause for alarm over the lingering fuel scarcity.
The PPPRA boss had earlier in his submissions before the committee, explained that the current fuel scarcity was a manifestation of the problem caused in the sector by the devaluation of naira in November 2014.