ABUJA – The Federal Government on Tuesday announced the ban, by January 1, 2010, of all bulk sales of lubricants to retailers nationwide.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, made this known in an address to the Ministerial Committee charged with the responsibility of sanitizing the lubricant market, said the directive was against the backdrop of government’s renewed policy of repositioning the oil and gas sector.
Lukman further disclosed that the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has already been directed to ensure that all marketers comply with this directive and DPR is also to ensure that all lubricant dispensing tanks are disposed of appropriately.
He equally revealed that any marketer who fails to comply will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
The minister explained that the directives were in the nation’s interest as it had become necessary to protect equipment and engines in machineries against unwholesome handling of base oils which serve as raw materials for lubricant production.
According to him, the adulteration of lubricants lead to damage to machinery and equipment and that the unwholesome disposal of these lubricants by some retailers posed danger to the environment and ultimately could endanger human health in the long run.
Lukman noted that it was imperative for Government to address these issues in order to safeguard the lifespan of engines and equipment which are used for production of the nation’s wealth.
He also noted that The Ministerial Committee made up of representatives from Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), major and independent lubricant manufacturers, Automotive Technicians association and the lubricants marketers with a view to provide a comprehensive and holistic solution that will move the market forward.
In line with its mandate, the Committee would soon embark on an awareness campaign to educate the public on the expected changes in the market.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has fashioned out a new strategy for the development of the LPG (cooking gas) market in the country, even as it noted that the domestic gas utilization in Nigeria , particularly the LPG, remains abysmally low.
Lukman revealed in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja that the new initiative is premised on the primary objective of incorporating LPG in the nation’s energy mix with a view to using it as the main driver of our new deregulation policy in the downstream sector.
The new plan, according to him, will result in growing LPG consumption in the country from the current low level of about 80,000 MT per annum to over 5,000,000 (five million) MT per annum in the next five years.
Lukman noted that LPG is an important component of the energy mix of many countries in the world. In Nigeria particularly in the late eighties/early nineties, demand grew rapidly from 34,000 metric tonnes in 1980 to about 129,000 metric tonnes in 1990.
Subsequent years however witnessed significant decline at an average of about 13% per annum, reaching a trough of 43,000 metric tonnes currently.
According to him, â€œLPG is used mostly in Nigeria as a domestic cooking fuel. The per capita annual consumption for the country is put as 0.5kg which is believed to be the lowest in the West African sub-region, which has an average of 3.7kg.
â€œThe low per capita LPG consumption in Nigeria , reputed as one of the lowest in Africa , is an issue of great concerns to the Government.â€