Why Petroleum Equalization Fund Must be strengthened -Kurfi
Danlami Muhammad Kurfi is the vice chairman house committee on downstream sector. An Industry player with over twenty years experience in oil and gas sector. Kurfi bares his mind on the operation of the Petroleum Equalization Fund (Management) board and harps on further need to boost the agency. Experts;
How best can the nation ensure permanent end to the lingering queues in the filling stations?
First of all, we must accept the fact that the continued existence of queues in our filling stations is a source of concern to all well meaning Nigerians because productive man hours are often wasted struggling to get fuel which is not suppose to be so. But then of course, all stakeholders must work toward ensuring industrial harmony in the sector and that is why we must commend all those who prevailed on PENGASSAN to call-off it’s planned strike. To address this, the government must at all times, ensure adequate supply of the products and its distribution across the country. Of course on their part, the marketers must consider the interest of Nigerians above economic gains and support government’s effort by being patriotic in their dealings.
A permanent solution to lingering fuel crisis is possible and we all have role to play.
Recently, the Senate committee upstream called for the scrapping of the board and management of Petroleum Equalization Fund for non-performance.
Do you think such call is proper at a time like this?
Much as I don’t want to join issues with some of my colleagues at the upper chamber, let me state emphatically that such called is misplaced. First of all, we need to know rules of this important agency PEF (M) board, then, as players in the industry, we asses and see weather or not it has been living up to expectations before, until we do this, any call for the scrapping will, to my mind, is baseless. It’s a well known fact that once there are shortages of petrol weather genuinely or through boarding by some disgruntled marketers.
Before the coming on board of PEF the problem is always compounded by the way marketers priced the product on the basis of transportation cost incurred. To address this, government set up the PEF.
As we all know, the fund was established so that the pump price will be uniform throughout Nigeria. Before the fund come on stream, it’s a well known fact that as a nation, we were experiencing shortfalls in Petroleum supply, uneven distribution capacity and major price differencial in different parts of the country.
It was meant to provide fund for equal cost of Petroleum products and this will enhance the economic growth. Because the fund is doing its job expected, we can talk of price uniformity across the nation. Expect in few instances where some unpatriotic marketers tend to jerk up the pump price, often times, they are met with the fury of DPR, we have uniform across the nation. PEF is playing crucial role in this sector that the best we as stakeholders could advocate is that it should be strengthened in a manner that will make it possible for it to further serve Nigeria and Nigerians better. Don’t forget that PEF is the only organization that keeps accurate and up-to-date records of all loadings across the country. Imagine what the situation will be without the fund! Of course scrapping it will cause more hardship to Nigerians across all divides.
Let me tell you now, once we scrap PEF and adopt local deregulation, then transporters will have no choice but to transfer the cost of movement of product to the consumers and that will be unfortunate. We all know that ending the fund as some are suggesting will mean un-equal pricing of Petroleum products in the country as marketers would have to factor transportation cost into pump price. Consequently, cost of transportation for people and commodities will increase and cause inflation and this will of course worsen the condition of an average Nigerian. So without mincing words, my humble take, and I think that is the renewable take in all seriousness is that we should work out modalities of further strengthened the Fund so as to make it perform its duties in more effective and efficient manner.
How can this be done?
By providing all the necessary instruments needed to make it function in most efficient and effective manner. One of such is by ensuring that the agency get its financial deserving provision with same being released as appropriate so that they can pay marketers claims as at when due.