The Senate on Thursday gave the Ministry of Petroleum and all relevant agencies two weeks to end the scarcity of petroleum products and price discrepancies nationwide.

The assembly also directed the permanent secretary of the ministry to do everything within the jurisdiction of the organisation to ensure that products were available at government approved prices.

The Committee on Petroleum Downstream, headed by Sen. Uche Ekwunife (PDP-Anambra Central) gave the directive when officials of the ministry and other agencies came to explain the cause of the scarcity.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Senate at Tuesday’s plenary mandated the committee to investigate the cause of the scarcity and proffer solutions to the problems.

The directive followed a motion brought by Sen. Barau Jibrin (APC- Kano North) and co-sponsored by 23 others.

The agencies that came were Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Pipeline Products and Marketing Company (PPMC), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, among others.

Issuing the directive, Ekwunife said that what Nigerians needed was to see an end to the problem and not to listen to stories from stakeholders.

“Nigerians want to see the immediate end to this fuel scarcity and also the uniformity of the price of the product across the country.

“As a committee, our target is that scarcity and discrepancies in price must stop and it must be done.

“Therefore, we are mandating the minister, the permanent secretary and other relevant agencies in the sector, that fuel scarcity must stop in the next two weeks.

“Petrol must be sold at the uniform price of N87 per litre everywhere in the country,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the PPMC, Mrs Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, told the committee that the major problem facing fuel distribution in the country was vandalism of the oil pipelines.

She said Nigeria had lost some 531 million litres of petrol, valued at N50 billion to the activities of vandals, between January and September.

Nnamdi-Ogbue also blamed sharp practices at the petroleum depots, illegal charges and diversion of fuel by marketers, as some of the factors that provoked the scarcity and price discrepancies.

She said such unwholesome practices amounted to economic sabotage.

She said that PPMC had gone into collaboration with security agencies to tackle sabotage in the sector.


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