…As Expert asks: Can Nigeria recover lost ground from Amended Deep Offshore Act ?***
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has suspended the supply of petroleum products to filling stations within 20 kilometers of all borders.
The NCS made this known in a circular signed by its Deputy Comptroller-General, Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation (EII), Chidi Augustine in Abuja on Thursday.
The circular was addressed to all Zonal Coordinators, Operation Swift Response, Sector Coordinator 1,2,3and 4.
Others are Customs Area Comptrollers, Coordinators CCG Strike Force Teams, Coordinator, Hqtrs Strike Force Team, and All Marine Commands.
“The Comptroller-General of Customs has directed that henceforth, no petroleum product no matter the tank size is permitted to be discharged in any filling station within 20 kilometres to the border.
“Consequently, you are all to ensure strict compliance please,’’ part of the circular read.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the service, Mr Joseph Attah said the directive was to check proliferation of petroleum products smuggling to some neighbouring countries.
In April, the NCS, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR) met and resolved to set up joint committee to address smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) said the meeting was to address the disturbing situation of smuggling of petroleum products outside the country.
Ali disclosed that after briefing by the heads of NNPC and DPR, they resolved to set up a joint task force comprising Customs, DPR and NNPC to tackle the problem head on.
He explained that some unlicensed filling stations along the borderline had been identified as being responsible for the smuggling of petroleum products.
According to him, the task-force will ensure the closure of such unlicensed filling stations as well as address other means used to smuggle petroleum products.
He said that with the collaboration, licenced filling stations sited along the borders would also be monitored.
“This collaboration is important, we have the force but we need intelligence and information sharing to deal with this menace, we need a real time intelligence to nip this in the bud.
“We have 4,070 kilometres borders and it has been a challenge managing these borders effectively, and this underscored the need for us to collaborate with agencies like NNPC and DPR,’’ Ali explained.
In the meantime, Prof. Wunmi Iledare, former President Nigerian Association for Energy Economists (NAEE), says Nigeria will not recover its lost revenue with the signing into law the Amended Deep Offshore Act.
Iledare disclosed this in an interview in Abuja, on Tuesday
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in London, signed the amended act.
The Amended Deep Offshore Act, among other things, gives effect to certain fiscal incentives to the oil and gas companies operating in the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin areas under production.
They share contracts between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation or other companies holding oil prospecting licenses or oil mining lease, and various petroleum exploration and production companies.
The former NAEE president said that though signing into law the Act was symbolic, it was coming a little late as the country had lost so much in the past years.
“Certainly, the signing of the Bill is symbolic; but there is not much you can do to recover the lost ground.
“If the Act had been amended in 2004, the direct benefits accrued would have been more than just the symbolism,’’ he added.
Iledare said that if the president had signed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), into law in 2018, the industry would have been better off now.
“The immediate benefit to the nation if the president had signed the PIGB in 2018 would have been much more than the Act the president signed on Monday.
“Nonetheless, you can look at it from the viewpoint that the Executive and National Assembly are in sync to do something together with respect to reforming the oil sector.
“This symbolism though, you cannot take away from the President and his team’” he added.
Also commenting, Mr Bank-Anthony Okoroafor, Chairman of Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), said that with the Act, all Product Sharing Contracts (PSC), would attract royalty based on combination of water depth and oil price.
“Before this Act, we had zero royalties from Agbami, Akpo, Bonga and Erha, our biggest producers.
“Now 10 per cent flat royalties on these prolific producers, based on water depth and 2.5 per cent royalties based on today’s oil price at 58 dollars, will be paid.
“Yes, the Government will get more money from the existing oil assets in the short term 2020/21.
“Thereafter production decline without new investment will hit Nigeria. They need to understand that the impact is that, new investments are the negative consequences,’’ he added.