The federal government has threatened to sanction any fuel station or depot that sells Premium Motor Spirit(PMS) at a price higher than the approved pump price.
The threat came as a result of the ongoing fuel scarcity in the FCT and its environs, as well as in other parts of the country.
The warning was issued by Mr. Farouk Ahmed, Authority Chief Executive, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), on Monday during a joint inspection of fuel stations in Abuja.
The exercise was carried out in collaboration with top officials from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), the Petroleum Pipeline and Marketing Company (PPMC), and the Nigerian Ministry of Petroleum Resources Authority (NMDPRA).
He stated that the inspection was carried out to enforce the regulations by following up on warnings issued to oil marketing companies, particularly those selling above the official price of N148 kobo.
He explained that the pump price of PMS remained N165 per liter and that nothing had changed and that the government had made no other decision on the matter.
He stated that it would take action against defaulters because, as a result of its discussions with the Depots and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN) and the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), they had been warned against overpricing at the depot.
He stated that as a regulator, he could take a variety of actions such as withdrawing service from a specific depot, closing it, and sanctioning it because no one was above the law and we needed to enforce the regulations.
According to him, the inspection is ongoing; the authority has seven teams rotating through various locations, while NNPC has its teams rotating through various locations with the assistance of security agencies.
“We are trying to monitor the dispensing to ensure that all of the stations with petrol are dispensing all of their trucks to reduce long lines and ensure service efficiency.”
“We are also monitoring depot sales and the number of trucks that loaded; this is a serious fact that we are looking into.”
“There has been a significant improvement in the distribution of PMS; we drove around the Airport road and saw several stations selling and discharging fuel.”
“The queues are not as long as they were before, and the average trucks we have received in Abuja in the last three days are about 140 trucks, compared to 70 to 80 trucks received previously; so there is a significant improvement.”
“Credit also goes to transporters, who are now responding to the President’s offer of an additional N10 incentive on their transportation charges.” At the very least, we’re seeing progress,” he said.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved an increase in oil transporters’ freight rates to alleviate the challenges associated with PMS distribution across the country.
The revised PMS freight rate went into effect on June 1, keeping the current regulated pump price of N165 per liter.
Ahmed explained that the president, in his wisdom, increased the freight rate of transporters by N10, resulting in a significant increase from N10.46 kobo to N10.46 kobo and now N20.46 kobo.
Ahmed stated that this was simply to demonstrate that the transporters could still transport the product across the country without incurring the revenue loss that they were complaining about.
Concerning black marketers, he stated that the company was working with key oil marketers and had advised them to advise their station managers to stop selling to Jerrican peddlers because it was one of the causes of the problems.
“If they do not comply, we will shut down and deal with the affected station,” he said.
Mr. Adeyemi Adetunji, Group Executive Director, Downstream, NNPC Ltd., assured Nigerians that there was sufficient fuel supply.
“Today, we have 1.9 billion liters of PMS; Lagos will be cleared in a few days, and we will clear the queues in Abuja,” Adetunji added.
According to NAN, the fuel stations inspected on the Lugbe – Airport Road were Shafa Energy, Shema, Ardova Plc., and NIPCO.
Some motorists at the stations expressed delight at the increased availability of fuel compared to previous days and urged the government to maintain it to reduce queues and difficulties.
Mr. Isiyaku Abdullahi, Managing Director, PPMC, Mr. Garbadeen Muhammad, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC Ltd., and Mrs. Abdulkadir Maijiddah, Abuja Regional Coordinator, NMDPRA, were also present at the inspection.