Following the persistent fuel scarcity experienced in some parts of the country, operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, have reportedly began monitoring the distribution and marketing of petroleum products across the country.
According to report by Vanguard newspaper, the move which is part of the measures to reduce corruption in the petroleum sector and the subsidy claims by President Muhamadu Buhari will see petroleum stations found selling any petroleum product above the prescribed government price will be immediately shut down.
The report added that depot selling above the ex-depot price will have to forfeit the subsidy claims on the cargo that brought in the product.
“DSS will lead the operations (monitoring), and marketers were also asked to monitor each other and to report any sharp practices. “Government decided that enough was enough and will no longer condone any sharp practices in the system” Vanguard quoted a source.
The directive is reportedly coming following the inability of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, to check the market excesses of it operators.
The report said a source revealed that the federal government is worried about the constants scarcity of petrol in the country and held several meetings with the relevant stakeholders in the sector.
“Such practices will no longer be condoned especially with the involvement of the DSS, who will use their intelligence network to get to the root of the matter.
“The meeting decided that all marketers must sell at the regulated price of N87/litre of petrol. And anyone found to be selling above this, the DSS will track the outlet to the depot where the product was lifted.
“If it was discovered that the pump price increase is as a result of hike in ex-depot price, then both the outlet and the depot will be sanctioned.
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“Originally, it was agreed that both the outlet and the depot will be shut down, but after considering the situation, if was agreed that the depot will not be shut down in order not to exacerbate the supply situation.
“However, the depot operator will be made to forfeit his subsidy claims on that cargo, as it will be assumed that he has reimbursed himself through the ex-depot price hike.”
“We are meeting with DPR again tomorrow (today) on the same matter for them to tell everybody what is happening and the need for all to ensure compliance,” the source added,” the source said.
Also, some members of the DPR are not pleased with the men of the DSS taking over their jobn. .
An official quoted in the report said: “The Downstream Unit only informed us about the meeting holding tomorrow at about 4p.m. today. It is sad that everybody now do territorial claim when the whole roof is caving in. if there are new developments we should know firsthand and not from a third party.”
But the same official agreed that the agency was overwhelmed by the sharp practices in the industry.
“How can we effectively monitor a situation where the marketer shows us technical proof about the depots selling above the ex-depot price, and the depot operators in turn show prove at selling under the regulated price?
“We heard their accusations back and forth, and decided to hold an impromptu meeting with them in Lagos a few weeks ago, which was also reported by your paper. Since it was an open meeting, we expected the parties to openly make their allegations. But nobody did. So how can we hold anybody responsible?” he queried.
Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari revealed what he will do to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the national oil company considered to be an underground pit of corruption.