FUEL SCARCITY: Buhari sets up 14-member committee

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  • Warns misguided elements not to bring untold hardship upon populace
  • Nigerians lament as scarcity bites harder

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the constitution of a 14-man Steering Committee on Petroleum Products Supply and Distribution management to find a lasting solution to disruptions in the supply and distribution of petroleum products.

Uba Group

The Steering Committee, which will be chaired by Buhari, has the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva as alternate chairman.

Sylva, in a statement by his Senior Adviser (Media and Communications), Horatius Egua said the committee would among other things ensure transparent and efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.

To further ensure sanity in the supply and distribution across the value chain, Sylva directed the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority to ensure strict compliance with the government approved ex-depot and retail prices for PMS.

The minister also directed the NMDPRA to ensure that NNPC Limited, which is the supplier of last resort, meets the domestic supply obligation of PMS and other petroleum products in the country.

He further directed that the interests of the ordinary Nigerian is protected from price exploitation on other deregulated products such as Automotive Gas Oil, Dual Purpose Kerosene and Liquefied Petroleum Gas.

“The Federal Government will not allow misguided elements to bring untold hardship upon the citizenry and attempt to discredit the government’s efforts in consolidating the gains made thus far in the oil and gas sector of the economy,” he said.

Other terms of reference are to ensure national strategic stock management, visibility on the NNPC Limited refineries rehabilitation programme and ensure end-end tracking of petroleum products, especially PMS to ascertain daily national consumption and eliminate smuggling.

Members of the committee also include the Minister of Finance, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Economic Adviser to the President and Director-General, and Department of State Services.

Others are Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Member, and Commandant-General, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.

The Steering Committee members also include Authority Chief Executive NMDPRA, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Limited, Special Advisor (Special Duties) to the HMSPR while the Technical Advisor (Midstream) to the HMSPR will serve as Secretary.

The PMS approved ex depot price is N148.17 per litre as at 2022 while NNPC retail stations dispense at N179, other filling stations dispense between N180 and N184.

However, Nigerians have continued to lament the hardship caused by the scarcity of petroleum products across the country as businesses and households that depend on generators for power supply groan in darkness.

In recent weeks, motorists across Nigeria have had a hard time getting petroleum products just as commuters continue to lament the ripple effects of the scarcity as a result of skyrocketed transport fares in major cities.

Despite the government’s repeated claims it had enough petroleum products in stock, the scarcity has persisted amid poor supply of electricity across the country.

The recent development is coming amid reports of a pump price increase by the Federal Government.

Last Thursday, reports claimed that the government quietly approved N185 as the new petrol pump price per litre. But the government, however, denied the claim.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari did not approve any increase in the price of PMS or any other petroleum product.

“CBN"

But despite the government’s position, Nigerians have continued to suffer scarcity of petroleum products across the country.

A survey of petrol stations in many parts of the country showed that the fuel prices ranged between N240 and N400 across Nigerian states, far higher than the erstwhile pump price.