The minister of Petroleum Resources and chairman of the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has restated that there are no plans by the government to increase the pump price of fuel.
Alison-Madueke gave the assurance during her ministry’s budget appraisal for 2013 and budget defence for 2014 before the Senate and House of Representatives joint committees on Petroleum Upstream, Downstream and Gas in Abuja.
“There seems to be some sorts of rumours that we intended to increase the pump price of petroleum products and I have said categorically and severally that the federal government has no intention of increasing the pump price of PMS (premium motor spirit) or any petroleum products now or in the near future. That is for certain,” she asserted.
Allison-Madueke urged marketers to collaborate with the government to eradicate the fuel queues from filling stations across the country, adding that “the situation is (now) coming under control and steps are being taken to flood the market with petrol in the next few weeks.
She explained that the tightness in the petroleum products supply chain was as a result of hoarding and diversion of the products by some marketers, stressing that “those that are found diverting or hoarding (products) will be made to face the full wrath of the law.”
The minister also said that more than N60 billion is projected for the ministry of Petroleum’s 2014 budget.
According to her, this is in line with the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and is “geared towards having a robust Liquified Petroleum Gas, LPG, development in the country”, stressing that “the ministry is collaborating with NNPC Retail to ensure that the LPG project receives full implementation.”
Commenting on the 2013 budget performance of the ministry, she said ‘”based on the actual funds released to the ministry in 2013, the budget performance stood at 89.6% adding that the capital release recorded 50.2%, while recurrent recorded 100%.”
“The ministry would complete some of the ongoing projects that were started in the previous financial year,” she assured.
Responding to a question on the status of the planned privatisation of the refineries, Alison-Madueke affirmed that “the Federal Government stood down the privatisation policy of the state-owned refineries because of the agreement reached with the labour unions.”
She however, said “the best way forward is privatisation.”
On the Chad exploration activities of the ministry, the minister said that “the Chad exploratory activities are still ongoing. In 2013, because of the heightened insecurity in the area, not much was done.”
The Senate joint committee chairman, Emmanuel Paulker, said based on the funds released and budget performance of the ministry in 2013, there was a need for it to work to ensure timely release of funds, so as to speed up the necessary projects.
“I urge the ministry of Petroleum Resources to find a lasting solution to the delays recorded in the procurement processes, to fast track the capital projects in the oil and gas sector,” he said.