The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has vowed to sanction petroleum marketers exploiting motorists and users of petroleum products. This is a follow up to fear being entertained by Nigerians over possible hike in prices of petroleum products with deregulation.
The Acting Executive Secretary Victor Shidok disclosed that as the commercial regulator for the downstream of the petroleum industry, the agency will not allow long queues to emerge at filling stations by ensuring effective monitoring of distribution of petroleum products. He warned that Nigerians should not be disturbed by speculations associated with deregulation since the agency is alive to deal with dubious marketers.
“The PPPRA has been operating according to its mandate which has helped to eliminate long queues responsible for long hours being spent at filling stations which was a common occurrence before its establishment in 2,000,”he said.
Mr Shidok lamented over the loss of lives resulting from diversion and scarcity by petroleum marketers in the past before the establishment of PPPRA. According to him, “ over the past 16 years since the establishment of PPPRA, Nigeria has never witnessed a situation of perennial scarcity of petroleum products apart from occasional hiccups from supply challenges. In the area of distribution challenges, PPPRA has been able to establish stability in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry”.
In a post deregulation, the ES assured Nigerians of being able to buy petroleum products particularly Premimun Motor Spirit (PMS) below the approved pump price of PPPRA as witnessed in the last 10 months. “ We can say that we have not fully deregulated but I am bold to say that we have achieved 75 per cent of downstream deregulation making it possible to buy fuel without long queues at filling stations,” he pointed out.
He added that countries with deregulated regime have mechanism to protect consumers from exploitation by petroleum marketers. He advised that Nigerians should take a look at countries like South Africa and Canada among others. “ During a full deregulated regime, he noted that the PPPRA would still carry out the responsibility of ensuring effective distribution of petroleum products despite roles of other regulators like Consumer Protection Council,” he assured.
In description of the PPPRA’s roles, he explained that the agency’s roles would be restricted to commercial activities while the Department of Petroleum Resources will continue to function as a technical regulator of the downstream activities,” he added.
The ES explained that PPPRA would not embark on production of biofuels but to ensure there is integrated approach to production. The roles of PPPRA in coordinating biofuels activities through provision of incentives and encouragement that will enable Nigeria to replicate Brazil’s achievement in Biofuels production.
“ Our roles by encouraging production by investors will boost production of liquid fuels and eliminate smuggling across the border. This again will boost Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings,” he said.