February 9, 2023

FG blames profiteers for hike in petrol price

File: Queues at a filling station in Ogba, Lagos. PHOTO: Akeem Salau.


….Orders NMDPRA to sanction erring filling stations

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA

The Federal Government, yesterday, blamed greed and the rush by petroleum marketers to make illicit profits from the hardships of Nigerians for the rising cost of petrol across the country.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, made the accusation while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, also lamented the hardship the situation had forced on the populace.

Reports from different parts of the country indicated that most fuel stations now sell above the approved pump price of N195, by resorting to prices ranging between N200 and N650, while many others reportedly hoard the product.

But briefing journalists, the Minister repeated an earlier directive to the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, to go after marketers profiteering from the current situation and sanction them.

He said government is not just folding its arms while Nigerians suffer, assuring that all stakeholders in the downstream sector were working to ensure the current crisis is brought under control.

According to him, “We have reports of profiteering by marketers, and I’ve directed NMDPRA to sanction anybody who profiteers from this kind of situation. I mean, we cannot stand by and watch our citizens being exploited by marketers.

“But of course, I’ve given that directive and I don’t know if it has not taken effect. I don’t know the details of how far that directive has been carried out. But I’m going to still further give that directive if that is still the situation, but definitely, we are not paying a blind eye at all.”

Explaining that the Ministry of Petroleum is not in control of all the factors that had contributed to the fuel scarcity crisis, he assured that all steps are being taken to end the hardship.

“This is quite unfortunate, we are not happy at all about what is going on. Every hand is on deck. As I said earlier, the Ministry of Petroleum is not in control of all the factors that led to scarcity in the sense that there are Forex issues as well as other issues.

“At the moment, there is supply, but unfortunately, we are experiencing some bottlenecks with the distribution and movement of the product to various destinations for now.

“I want to assure you that everything is being done; the NNPC Limited, NMDPRA, the marketers, everybody’s hand is on deck to ensure that this problem is resolved and to also inform you that today we had a briefing from INEC and INEC has also engaged NNPC and NNPC has assured INEC that petroleum products supply to INEC will not be a problem and so that will not likely affect the election at all”, he said.