By Jude Atupulazi
As petrol scarcity stifles the economy, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the constitution of a 14-man committee to immediately end the nightmare and return tranquility to the rancorous downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
The committee, which the president chairs in his capacity as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, has Mr Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State, as the alternate chairman.
Other members of the committee are 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 (EFCC); and Commandant-General, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
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 in a statement said the Steering Committee would ensure the transparent and efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.
Other terms of reference are to ensure national strategic stock management, visibility on the NNPC Limited refineries rehabilitation programme and ensure end-to-end tracking of petroleum products, especially petrol, to ascertain daily national consumption and eliminate smuggling.
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.
The minister has further 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.
He emphasized that the interest of the ordinary Nigerian must protected from price exploitation on other deregulated products such as AGO and DPK and 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,’ the statement added.