"Non-payment of subsidy and looting of $12billion gas led to fuel scarcity" – APC

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said the real causes of the debilitating fuel scarcity across the country is the looting of the $12 billion domestic gas fund under President Goodluck Jonathan’s watch, as well as the Administration’s failure to pay fuel subsidy and the cost of interests on bank loans to oil marketers.

The APC said the marketers are, therefore, finding it impossible for them to begin another round of importation of refined petroleum products.

In a statement issued in Dubai on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said the PDP and the Jonathan Administration decided to divert attention from those problems by accusing the opposition of being responsible for the scarcity – a most laughable and irresponsible statement by a sitting government that is always so eager to blame everyone but itself for the nation’s woes.

It recalled that the self-styled Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had, in February, promised to pay all subsidies owed to the marketers then in the sum of N264billion, along with the accrued interest.

APC said, however, that the failure to meet this obligation has made it impossible for the oil marketers, who are being owed heavily, to finance another round of products importation.
”The truth is that this profligate government has run Nigeria aground, and the oil sector, whether upstream or downstream, has particularly suffered hugely. The quantity of petroleum products that was imported has almost been fully consumed, without fresh products being brought in to augment supplies that have now fallen well below re-order level.

”The implication is that in addition to worsening power supply, crumbling prices of oil at the international market, weakening Naira and unprecedented corruption, Nigerians – who routinely provide their own electricity to power their homes and business, now have to face another round of government-imposed hardship with the ongoing fuel
scarcity,” the party said.
It said the fuel crisis would not have reached the stage it is in now had the $12 billion domestic gas project fund not been looted under President Jonathan’s watch. This is because, with the project being executed, many vehicles, cooking stoves and generators would have been converted to use gas to reduce the importation of PMS, diesel and kerosene, and gas would have been available to fire the gas turbines at power stations while more power would have been delivered to the national grid.

APC accused President Jonathan of sabotaging the domestic gas project started by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, with the $12 billion cash call provisions for gas development for domestic power generation looted under his (President Jonathan) watch.
”Late President Yar’Adua made the first allocation of $1.5 billion for this project in 2009. The amount was not spent at the time of his death in 2010. However, direct outlays through annual cash calls continued to be credited to the project account so much so that by December 2014, $12 billion had been accumulated in the same account.

”Had this project been successfully implemented as envisaged, had the funds made available for the project not been looted by the rapacious cabal that is holding Nigeria by the jugular, power generation would have improved with uninterrupted gas supply to power the turbines at power station, while the domestic consumption of PMS, diesel and kerosene would have reduced, with an increasing number of vehicles, cooking stoves and power generators being converted to use gas instead of PMS, diesel or kerosene,” the party said.
It also slammed the Jonathan Administration for its inability or unwillingness or both to secure power installations from contrived sabotage.
”For a federal government that is in control of one million people under arms (military, police, civil defence corps, etc), and one that has spent in excess of 4 trillion Naira on security, there is no justifiable reason why power installations could not be secured against sabotage,’’ the APC said.
The party said the real saboteurs and indeed those who have pushed Nigeria to another sorry state of fuel scarcity are those who have stolen the money earmarked for gas gathering, processing and transportation for domestic power production, and Nigerians know who and where those people are.

It said Nigerians must be wondering whether those who accused the APC of being behind the fuel shortage have their heads properly screwed to their bodies, because the accusation marks a new low in the sad saga of the Jonathan Administration.
”They (Nigerians) must be wondering when the APC took over the running of the NNPC, when the APC took charge of subsidy payment and why the opposition should become the easy scapegoat of an ineffectual, clueless, incompetent, visionless and thieving government. Absurdity has no other meaning,’’ the APC said.