The Federal Government is partnering states and local governments as well as private investors to build hundreds of petrol stations across the country in a bid to prevent future crisis in the supply of petroleum products across the country.
It also stated that the Department of Petroleum Resources was not doing enough to enforce the new pump price of petrol at filling stations although the agency swiftly stated that its entire staff strength was around 300, while there were over 30,000 filling stations across the country.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, confirmed to journalists at a press conference in Abuja on Monday that the government would also sign joint venture agreements with existing petrol stations in its bid to increase the number of outlets run by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
When asked to explain how the Federal Government planned to build 800 NNPC mega stations, Kachikwu, who spoke at the headquarters of the corporation, said, “In terms of the mega stations, the modalities are being worked out.
“Whether it is going to be 800 or 500, I can’t say precisely; but definitely, we are trying to develop a lot of filling stations and we are working with state governors in terms of land, and with local governments as well. Now, the whole idea is for us to be able to span out our wit when there is a crisis.
“Some of that is going to come through joint ventures with some existing filling stations who are willing to do the JVs with us. So, that’s being worked out and before the second quarter of this year, you’ll begin to see some things on that.”
On petrol stations selling petrol above the regulated price, the minister said the government would start selling their product to motorists for free.
Kachikwu said, “Despite the modulations we did recently, a lot of filling stations continue to sell the product at prices above the regulated rate. This is intolerable and I’m seizing this opportunity to give the last warning to everybody who owns a filling station to adopt the approved price. The approved price for PMS is N86.5 for non-NNPC stations and N86 for NNPC stations.
“I have asked the DPR to oil up their enforcement machine because they are not doing it as much as I want it to happen and we are going to engage security agencies to assist. I don’t think the DPR is carrying out enforcement the way they should.
“But if any filling station is found to be selling above the right price, we are going to sell their product for free and seal them up for three months. If any depot does the same, similar things will happen, for we cannot afford continuous indiscipline.”
The minister advised Nigerians to always report stations that sell above the regulated rate to the DPR and the NNPC, adding that outlets that also under-dispense products would be sanctioned as well.
Explaining that the DPR was overstretched in terms of manpower, the Director-General of the agency, Mr. Mordecai Ladan, said, “Nationwide, there are over 30,000 filling stations and the DPR has about 300 members of staff to monitor these outlets. But all the same, we are doing electronic monitoring of supply and distribution. So, emphasis on supply and distribution is going to be electronically tracked to the destined locations.”
He, however, gave an assurance that the agency would from today (Tuesday) monitor all stations to ensure that there was full compliance with the regulated price of petrol.