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Its unexplainable irony that we are both lead exporters, importers of petroleum—NNPC

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The truth is gradually coming out from the horse’s mouth at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the status of Nigeria at the international petroleum market over the years.

In his remarks at a recent media dialogue in Abuja, the managing director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru said Nigeria attained the shameful import levels because the refineries have worked sub-optimally.

Represented by the NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Upstream Alhaji Bello Rabiu,  Baru noted that due to the lack of resources and partial deregulation in the country,  the federal government has not made a single payment of subsidy on petroleum products since January last year.

He said what the country did in May when fuel price was raised up to N145 per litre was ‘guided deregulation’ of petroleum products and what was important to the corporation was the availability of product.

According to him, Nigeria lost N1bn daily on kerosene subsidy alone despite the fact that it was not reaching the final consumers at the regulated price of N50 per litre, which led to the total deregulation of the product. He said, “In the last 18 days of last year, the refineries worked only for about 12 days. From the 6th day of January to date the three refineries worked and were able to deliver all the daily requirements of petrol, diesel and kerosene.”

On the call for the government to sell off some of its oil assets, the GMD said this may not be the best time to sell assets.

He said “If you are selling assets when oil price is low you are going to get peanuts.  The only problem we have selling is that if we sell now, we are not going to get good money.” Citing examples of past divestments made by oil giants like Total and Shell, he said Shell got substantial amounts from its asset sale because it did so when oil price was above $100 per barrel.


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