The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, on Monday, raised the alarm that their findings showed that the price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, had risen to as high as N650/litre in some locations.
It said this was due to the prolonged scarcity of the commodity, which grew worse in Abuja and many parts of the country on Monday, as it called on the Federal Government to start revoking the licenses of oil marketers involved in the hoarding of PMS.
This came as our correspondent gathered that the 14-man steering committee on petroleum products supply and distribution management that was recently approved and constituted by the Federal Government to halt the prolonged scarcity of petrol, had not been inaugurated.
The committee, which has its Chairman as the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), was announced last week Tuesday by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.
The committee has not been inaugurated and it cannot start its work without proper inauguration. This is because its chairman has been travelling around lately,” an impeccable source at the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, who pleaded not to be named due to lack of authorisation, stated.
On the scarcity of petrol nationwide, PENGASSAN stated that it had been following up with it members at the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited who were responsible for assigning the products to marketers.
It said it was also following up with its members from the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority in various depots and terminals, responsible for issuing cargo clearance, monitoring compliance, routing inspection, metering calibration/maintenance, accurate delivery to trucks, record keeping, etc, on the need to carry out their functions expeditiously.
While we understand that the parameters imputed into the old PPPRA and now NMDPRA template has since changed because of some economic vagaries such as exchange rate fluctuation, vessel hiring cost and cost of diesel, among others, there is no sufficient justification for petrol to be selling for such highly inflated price, thereby subjecting the masses to further difficulties,” the association stated in a statement jointly signed by its President, Festus Osifo, and Secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa.
It added, “Even though we have some good marketers who tend to play by the rules, others who are overbearing have deployed methods of creating artificial scarcities in other to hike the price of the product uncontrollably, as the prices of the product now sells between N185 to N650 depending on your location and outlet.”
The union stated that from data available to PENGASSAN from its members, there was over 30 days PMS sufficiency across the country, hence there was no basis for the current scarcity and hardship that Nigerians were 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 mobilise all their staff in various locations across the country to monitor compliance and anyone found wanting, should have their licence revoked to serve as deterrent,” the association stated.
It continued, “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.”
Meanwhile, PENGASAN empathised with Nigerians on the hardship currently faced with the scarcity and drastic hike in the price of PMS.