AUTHORITIES of Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) on Monday revealed that none of the regulatory agencies operating in the oil and gas industry has the actual record of petroleum products being consumed daily across the country.
The PEF Executive Secretary, Ahmed Bobboi, disclosed this during the interactive session with heads of key revenue generating agencies on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) held at the instance of the House Committee on Finance, chaired by Hon James Faleke.
Mr Bobboi, who was represented by Head, Legal Service, Mr. Ahmed Laido, said: “I want the Honourable Chairman and members to know one thing, there is difference between products loaded and products consumed. Up till today, we don’t have an agency that tells you with accuracy that this is the product consumed but PEF is working towards that.
“That is what the GM Finance said, but real time 24/7 you will see the truck and also help the marketer, even if the driver tampered with the product, the data will tell you that they have lifted 20,000 litres out of the product. So I think it’s better to note the difference between the products loaded because some marketers will load 10 trucks a day when they reach their filling stations they will discharge one or two and you see some of the trucks lined up, if it is a busy station, line up for the underground to discharge before they will now discharge others. But others may not really go to the filling stations, but PEF can give you the truck loaded, not delivered and delivered at any point in time,” he assured.
While ruling on the subject matter, Hon. Faleke said, “we will need the record.”
In his response to various questions posed by the lawmakers, a member of PEF delegation, Mr Dele Akinwumi, who argued that the Acquila Project was working well, however, noted that Acquila tracks products from loading depots to receiving depots and that is where our responsibility ends.
“The head from the receiving end, if a marketer loads products from Lagos, Ejigbo depot and brings it to Suleja depot, that is where the responsibility of PEF ends, and we can give you figures like you requested. For every product that has been loaded in the country, in fact if you want from 2012 by marketer by what was loaded but the responsibility of PEF terminates the moment it gets to the depot.
“To now track from the depot, to the outlet is what we are working on now, which is downstream automated fuel management process and we need a comprehensive command centre where each truck will be tracked the moment you get to the depot and you are going to your outlet, even up to the amount of litres you are going to be lifting, we can track what is happening along the road.
“We have a demonstration even up to Gibia in Katsina State and we invited the Customs to even be part of it, to see what is possible with the Command and control centre.
“That is underway and will be delivered this year by God’s grace, we are working on that. But as at the moment, Acquila only tracks products from the loading depot to the receiving depot and that is where our responsibility ends.”
On his part, Dokun Odebunmi, alleged that smuggled petroleum products to other neighbouring countries including Cotonou was spurred by high cost of petroleum products, adding that: “it is very obvious as at today, the price of petroleum per litre in the nearest border to us especially Cotonou is around N400 plus and Nigerians are selling with this present price, so we should expect that people will be looking for way to get that across the border. But if your Aquila is really functional, it should be able to check this act,” Akinwumi informed the Committee.
Hon. Faleke said: “we want a comprehensive data, let’s say for 2020-2021 two years running; and you must break it down, company by company, how much volume of tankers company A got in 2020, how much it got in 2021 or let’s say 2019 – 2020. And then we will invite all those companies to come and tell us how those things were sold. They must tell us, if they sold it individually to people who buy, it will show also in their various records. This country must stop that smuggling, we must find a way of stopping smuggling,” Hon. Faleke stressed.