…approves 14-man committee
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Minister of Finance, the Department of State Services (DSS), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as well as the Nigerian Customs Service to immediately find a lasting solution to the lingering scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol in the country.
The President also approved the setting up of a 14-man committee to ensure the task was accomplished.
The committee will be chaired by the President himself, being the Minister of Petroleum Resources while the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, will be the alternate chairman.
The committee’s job is to address the challenges in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, causing petrol scarcity in Nigeria.
It will also track petroleum products, especially petrol to ascertain daily national consumption and eliminate smuggling.
In October 2022, Sylva said Nigeria was losing at least 700,000 barrels of crude oil to thieves daily.
The minister said this through the Permanent Secretary in the petroleum resources ministry, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda, who represented him at the 2002 graduation of students of the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI).
A statement issued by Sylva issued on Tuesday said the government won’t “allow misguided elements to bring untold hardship upon the citizenry and attempt to discredit government’s efforts in consolidating the gains made thus far in the oil and gas sector of the economy”.
It listed other members of the committee as the Minister of Finance and Permanent Secretary; Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Economic Adviser to the President, Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS); Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS); Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Member (EFCC), and Commandant-General, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The statement said the Steering Committee is composed of the Authority Chief Executive, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission; Nigerian Midstream and Member Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA); Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Limited, Special Advisor (Special Duties) to the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources while the Technical Advisor (Midstream) to the Minister of State Petroleum Resources will serve as Secretary.
Sylva said he had directed the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to ensure strict compliance with the government-approved ex-depot and retail prices for PMS.
In December 2022, the DSS gave a 48-hour ultimatum to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and other stakeholders in the oil sector to resolve the fuel crisis.
The secret police threatened to go after them if the scarcity persisted after the ultimatum but the problem followed Nigerians into the new year – 2023 and has not eased up since then.