Senator Ita Enang, SSA (Niger Delta Affairs) to the President

By Abasifreke Effiong

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang has said that some quantity of the Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) consumed in the country which the federal government pays subsidy for is locally refined.

Enang said that some of the vessels which discharge fuel to the NNPC and collect subsidy as though the product was imported were actually buying from local refiners who are operating small, unauthorised refineries.

The President’s aide who stated this in an interaction with journalists in Uyo said the federal government should consider integrating operators of local refineries run illegally under its economic diversification programme in order to spend less on subsidy and maximize the petroleum value-chain.

“One of the matters we are addressing through my office is economic diversification and how to make Nigeria’s economy more self-sustaining. Part of it is to refine the petroleum products that we use and take advantage of the entire value-chain of the product.”

“Part of what we’ve discovered is that the oil, diesel and kerosene and some quantity of petrol (Premium Motor Spirit) that is consumed in Nigeria purported to be imported, is not imported, that it is produced and refined by the people we call ‘illegal refiners’.”

“[The illegal refiners] get through the NNPC pipeline, pay to some systems that are paid to protect the pipeline, take crude, refine and sell what they have to the trucks that are available in Nigeria. The ones they have order, they now take it and put in small ships or batches and take it to the high sea and go and load it in a waiting ship; the waiting ship may have had license to import diesel or kerosene or fuel. That ship waiting off the coast or in the coast of Nigeria will take from the different illegal refineries and when it is full, they now cruise back to the coast of Nigeria and berth and then discharge to NNPC and the NNPC will take it to the national reservoirs and pay them for the product and also pay subsidy as if they are imported it from abroad.”

Senator Ita Enang led the advocacy for the licensing of modular refineries and integration of local refiners into the country’s petroleum sector while in the senate between 2011-2015.

He opined that country will save billions of naira spent on subsidy by engaging the local refiners, saying that his office has engaged representatives of the local refiners and they have shown willingness to work with the federal government and get licensed for their business.

The federal government is proposing to spend N750billion on subsidy in 2020 fiscal year, which is two times plus higher than the approved budget for works.

“We have formally engaged the representatives of these illegal refineries and they agreed to come out, and agreed to buy crude formally from the NNPC at the official price. Part of the reason they said they will come out is that, what they pay to all the agencies that are paid to protect this system is higher than if they were buying it directly from the NNPC”.

He said his office is working to get the federal government to give licenses to them and regulate their business.

Enang assured the people of Niger Delta that the Buhari administration will give whatever is due to the region and sued for their continued support for the President.