Nigeria’s President Sets Up Committee to Tackle Lingering Fuel Scarcity

In search of a solution for the lingering fuel scarcity in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the constitution of a 14-man Steering Committee on Petroleum Products Supply and Distribution management.

The Steering Committee, which will be saddled with the responsibility of finding a lasting solution to disruptions in the supply and distribution of petroleum products, will be chaired by Buhari, with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resource, Chief Timipre Sylva as Alternate Chairman.

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

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Others are Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Member (EFCC), and Commandant-General, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)

There are also others: they 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 move became necessary following weeks of fuel scarcity that has unleashed much suffering on people across the country, with the cost of transport rising as filling stations hike pump prices. The situation has been attributed to disrupted supply and distribution of fuel across Nigeria.

Sylva said in a statement by his Senior Adviser (Media and Communications), Horatius Egua that the committee would tackle the challenge of supply and distribution.

The minister has 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, a move seen as key in making petroleum products available across the country.

As part of the committee’s efforts to ensure that there is adequate supply of fuel, Sylva 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.

In addition, the minister directed the committee to ensure that the interests of the ordinary Nigerian is protected from price exploitation on other deregulated products such as Automative Gas Oil (AGO), Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) and Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG).

“The Federal Government will not 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,” he said.

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

Buhari is understood to have chosen to set up the committee after other efforts to curtail the fuel scarcity fail. Fuel is currently being sold from N185 to N300 in many parts of the country. Many Nigerians have accepted the price but still don’t see fuel to buy as many filling stations are closed.

The fuel scarcity is also crippling businesses that depend on generators for electricity supply as power supply has been more epileptic due to shortage of gas supply to power stations.

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