The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has called on the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to immediately mobilise all its staff in various locations across the country to monitor distribution and strict compliance with the approved pump price of petrol and to revoke the licences of defaulting marketers to serve as deterrent.
The association also said it empathised with Nigerians on the hardship they currently face with the scarcity and drastic hike in the price of Premium Motor Spirit, (PMS).
This is coming as consumers of petroleum products have expressed outrage at the worsening scarcity of the commodity amidst price hikes that have primarily become unregulated.
Recall that the NMDPRA, at the weekend, said Nigeria’s prolonged petrol shortage was fuelled by the activities of cross-border smugglers diverting the product to other nations.
The agency had said the price arbitrage between Nigeria and neighbouring countries had continued to grow due to inflation and the regional impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on global energy value chain including international freight rates and coastal vessels charter rates.
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President Muhammadu Buhari had last Tuesday approved the constitution of a 14-man steering committee to enforce petroleum products supply and compliance with official prices.
PENGASSAN, in a statement signed by its president, Festus Osifo, and general secretary, Lumumba.I Okugbawa, respectively, urged the management of NMDPRA to compel all marketers and retailers to make the products available at the approved price.
“The national leadership of PENGASSAN has been following up with our members in NNPC Trading Limited who are responsible for assigning the products to marketers and our teeming members from the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority,
“While we understand that the parameters imputed into the old PPPRA and now NMDPRA template have since changed because of some economic vagaries such as exchange rate fluctuation, vessel hiring cost and cost of AGO, amongst others, there is no sufficient justification for PMS (Petrol) to be selling for such highly inflated price, thereby subjecting the masses to further difficulties,” it said.
The union added that even though some good marketers tend to play by the rules, others have deployed methods of creating artificial scarcity in order to hike the price of the product uncontrollably, with the product now selling between N185 to N650 depending on location and outlet.
It went on: “From data available to us from our members, there is over 30 days PMS sufficiency in the country; hence there is no basis for the current scarcity and hardship that Nigerians are being subjected to.
“We hereby call on the management of NMDPRA to compel all marketers and retailers to make the products available at approved price. They should immediately mobilize all their staff in various locations across the country to monitor compliance and anyone found wanting, should have their license revoked to serve as deterrent, ” adding that if nothing is done urgently to address the situation and lessen the hardship faced by Nigerians, it would take a drastic action.
“Should this collusion go on unchecked, we will not hesitate to partner with other stakeholders in ensuring that Nigerians are not further exploited. A stitch in time saves nine,,” it warned.