Posted by News Express | 17 February 2022 | 316 times
Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Mele Kyari, on Wednesday, apologised to Nigerians over the adulterated Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, which circulated in several filling stations across the country last week.
The NNPC GMD tendered the apology when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream).
Kyari told the committee, which is investigating the circumstances surrounding the importation of the toxic fuel, that there was no way the NNPC would have known that the imported petrol contained methanol.
He, however, assured that measures have been put in place to forestall a reoccurrence, saying the current fuel scarcity being experienced in parts of the country, especially in Lagos and Abuja, would ease by next week.
Kyari further noted that part of the challenges confronting the NNPC was that they do not know the actual number of PMS consumed in the country on a daily basis, as the oil firm lacked the necessary tracking devices.
According to him, while the NNPC knew the actual quantity of PMS that leaves the various depots, it is, however, also aware that some of the product might to be taken outside the country.
He said: “For this current situation, I assure you we have taken every necessary step to restore supply into this country. We have placed orders significant enough for us to cross into March, with at least 2.1 billion litres of PMS in our custody.
“The situation you’re seeing today, I can assure you by next week, it will vanish. All things being equal, because of distribution issues that we may not have control over, including the movement of trucks, otherwise we have robust supply arrangement to make sure we exit this issue.”
Kyari, while speaking on the circumstances surrounding the toxic fuel, said: “Before a vessel leaves the load port, they have to declare that the vessel meets our specification, they will send it to COMD, the importer, and confirm that this is the specification and that this product we are bringing to you meets this specification. On the basis of that, you allow the sail away of the vessel.
“Now, once it comes to the country, two things happen. We have NNPC surveyors who are now also required to validate that this product meets the Nigerian specification. Also, we have the regulatory authority who has to conduct an independent assessment to confirm that this product meets the specification that is in consonance with the existing regulation in the country.
“In case of all the problems we have seen, four of the cargoes that are particularly in question today, met all these criteria on arrival and that’s why they were allowed to discharge into terminals and conveyed into ship.
“There’s simply no way, based on the current specification, that you will know this PMS contains methanol. it is not part of their requirements at the load port. So, we didn’t ask them to declare whether it contains methanol because it is not part of our specification.
“Let me make it clear that methanol is not contamination, it is a regular addictive to PMS. In China, up to 15 per cent PMS contain methanol. On its own, it is not a contamination, the key issue is handling methanol. If we knew we will not accept this. Anytime methanol comes in contact with water, it emulsifies, it turns into a different chemical.”
“We didn’t know until our inspecting agents on January 20, to be precise, called our attention to the fact that it has seen emulsification in some of the depots and this may be a cause of concern. That is how we went ahead to check all the deliveries in our hands from all the four vessels that came that have already discharged and to confirm that all of them contain methanol.
“We quarantine all the volumes wherever they are in depots, we were able to track them, we were able to trace all of them and quarantine them.”
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, called for the immediate sack of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, for allegedly concealing critical information at the onset of the toxic fuel saga.
The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, also demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari hands-off responsibilities as Minister of Petroleum Resources.
The opposition party stated that this would make room for competent professionals to take over the running of the ministry.
According to the party, “this is because the headship of the petroleum ministry, as presently constituted, is peopled with persons with no relevant education, experience and expertise to manage this critical sector that accounts for over 90 per cent of the revenue of this nation.”
The PDP also berated the Federal Government over plans to deploy N201 billion for the clean up of the toxic fuel that circulated across the country recently.
“Our party also condemns the moves by All Progressives Congress (APC) to further siphon money from the national coffers by seeking to draw a staggering N201 billion under the pretext of cleaning-up the poisonous fuel instead of exposing the culprits and getting them to bear the cost.
“Is it not saddening that the APC administration has continued to turn deaf ears to the cries by Nigerians to end its corruption and treasury looting spree and ease the suffering of the people occasioned by its sleaze and manifest incompetence in governance?
“Nigerians were shocked when the news broke out at the weekend that tNNPC is seeking an estimated N201 billion to clean up the adulterated fuel.
“It is clear that this is another ploy by officials of APC administration to continue to pilfer the national treasury to fund APC’s rigging plans ahead of the 2023 elections as well as to finance the wasteful lifestyles of it leaders at the detriment of other Nigerians.
“Such move by the APC to further fleece the nation amounts to pushing the already exasperated citizens to the wall. The APC government would have nobody but itself to blame over the possible consequences of its continued impunity, insensitivity and disregard to the feelings of Nigerians,” the PDP said. (Daily Sun)
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