The Senate Committee on Gas Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) have finally reached an agreement over the $1.05 billion NLNG fund.
This agreement clarifies that the $1.05 billion, which was initially thought to be missing, was never missing at all. Instead, the money was, indeed, expended on the importation of refined petroleum products just like the NNPC had insisted all along.
In the same vein, the NNPC has also claimed that being a state-owned company, it is empowered by section 7 of the NNPC Act to withdraw money from the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) dividend account.
The NNPC’s Chief Financial Officer, Mr Isiaka Abdulrazaq, provided the necessary documents backing up the corporation’s action.
According to the NNPC, it became necessary to import Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and refined petroleum products in order to ensure constant availability of the commodities and at subsidised pump prices. PMS currently sells at the official pump price of N145 per litre.
Senate Committee speaks
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Gas, Senator Bassey Albert, also commented on this development. According to him, it was important to clarify that the Senate was investigating into the use of the NLNG fund and not its supposed missing. After all, the fund was never missing, he said.
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He specifically stated that the Committee was most interested in establishing the legal backing for the NNPC’s withdrawal of the fund; something it has now done.
He also used the occasion to chastise what he described as “sensational and misleading reports” by some media outlets.
In all fairness, it should be noted that there has not been any incident of fuel scarcity this year. This is unlike what happened this time last year and year before.
Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the NNPC have urged Nigerians not to panic.
“Consumers should avoid panic purchase of petrol. We have enough of the products in the depots, adding that storing of petrol at homes is dangerous because fire outbreak.
“The NNPC has also build up strategic reserves across its hinterland and coastal areas to meet emergencies arising from price volatility in the international oil market.”