24 September 2013, Lagos – The Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, said it is set to clampdown on retail outlets across the country found to be defrauding Nigerians through price manipulation and under-dispensing of petroleum products.
Speaking at the 2013 Annual General Meeting, AGM, between the DPR and petroleum marketers last week in Lagos, the Operations Controllers, Lagos Zonal Office, DPR, Mr.OlugbengaKoku, said the DPR views price manipulation and under-dispensing asserious breaches.
He said, “We observed during our routine inspections of some retail outlets in the year that some marketers are yet to fully conform to some government directives. Some operators still operate with sub-standard price bill boards, even some choose to totally ignore the directive.
“These attitudes have given rise to suspicion of sharp practices by such marketers. Some operators even encourage the operation of fake DPR personnel in their respective outlets. Also, some marketers engage in adjusting their pumps to maximize profits.”
He said the DPR is already meting out appropriate sanctions to marketers found wanton, adding that it will continue to impose necessary sanctions on erring marketers that violate the Petroleum Regulations.
Koku further stated that the DPR is set to commence the process of licensingrenewal for retail outlets across the country, between October 2013 and February 2014.
He said the DPR will not hesitate to suspend the operations of marketers that failed to meet its requirements.
He said, “The DPR will begin the normal process of renewal of licenses from October 2013 to February 28, 2014 for the 2014/2015 licensing period. We are therefore advising retail outlets to submit all applications for renewal promptly so as to facilitate early issuance of licenses.
“Marketers who fail to renew their licenses by February 28, 2014 may have their operations suspended.”
He added that the DPR intends to adopt stringent measures, “which cannot be stated at present, but the sanctions will force the marketers to do the right thing.
“We are aware that some of the faults are deliberate while some are technical. If we find out that the faults are technical, we can make effort to correct them.But where the faults are found to be deliberately created to defraud people, we will clampdown on the marketer and impose the necessary sanctions.
Koku commended the marketers for their efforts at ensuring stable supply of petroleum products since the beginning of the year, calling for concerted efforts in ensuring a smooth distribution and supply of products in the next couple of months.
He noted that during the year under review, the oil and gas industry had a stable provision and effective distribution of petroleum products round the country.