President Muhammadu Buhari may have bowed to public pressure and criticisms over the lingering fuel crisis that has become the shame of the nation and may have decided to wade into the matter with a view to finding a lasting solution to the disruptions in the supply and distribution of petroleum products, for which he has remained the substantive minister.
Consequently Buhari has approved the constitution of a 14-man Steering Committee on Petroleum Products Supply and Distribution management.
The Steering Committee, which will be chaired by the president, has the Minister of State for Petroleum Resource Chief Timipre Sylva as the Alternate Chairman.
But most Nigerians seem not excited with the development, which they regard it as same headship that has continued to disappoint the citizens through bulk passing and in some cases outright denials of obvious actions that fall within the purview of both the minister and the junior minster of petroleum resources
For instance, Nigerians are still asking the rationale for the current hike in pump price and who actually authorized it.
According to a statement issued by Horatius Egua, the Senior Adviser, Media and Communications, to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, this was made known by Sylva, who said the committee would among other things ensure transparent and efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.
To further ensure sanity in the supply and distribution across the value chain, Sylva 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 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.
He further directed that the interests of the ordinary Nigerian are protected from price exploitation on other deregulated products such as Automative Gas Oil (AGO), Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) and Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG).
The minister said, “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.’’
Other terms of reference are to ensure national strategic stock management, visibility on the NNPC Limited refineries rehabilitation programme and ensure end-end tracking of petroleum products, especially PMS to ascertain daily national consumption and eliminate smuggling.
Other members of the committee include the Minister of Finance, 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 members also include the 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.
Metrobusinessnews.com (MBN) had reported about confusion in the downstream sector of the oil industry as fuel scarcity has continued to bit harder in major cities across the state with the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) deplorng the seemingly chaotic situation in the industry.
IPMAN had said that the volume of products lifted by oil marketers had dropped by about 40% with the independent marketers saying that they do not also really understand what is going on.