*As DPR begin electronic tracking of supply to stations
13 January 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja — Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu has announced that the Federal Government was working out modalities for the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to establish more mega petrol stations.
Kachikwu, who was speaking at a news conference in Abuja, implied that there was need to shore up supply, especially in remote locations to ensure adequate supply of products during a crisis as well as protect consumers from exploitative marketers.
Asked to confirm whether the corporation was planning to build 800 mega petrol stations, the minister who did not give the exact figure of stations, the Minister said: “Definitely, there are many fillings stations we were trying to develop working with the governors in terms of land, local government areas.
“The idea is to be able to expand our wings in crisis period. Some of that is going to come with Joint Ventures with some filling stations, which are willing to do JVs with us and so the 800 are not going to be built anew.”
He warned petrol marketers selling petrol above the official pump prices to revert to the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) prices.
The minister cautioned marketers, who were manipulating pump prices, noting, “I have asked 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 have security agencies if any filling station is found to be selling products above the pump price. We are going to seal those stations. We are going to sell the products for free. We will seal the stations and we are not going to reopen them until three months.”
Kachikwu, who is also the group managing director of the NNPC, admitted that the Federal Government had been lagging in the implementation of official petrol prices compliance in the hinterland, vowing that government would intensify the compulsory compliance with pump prices in rural areas.
He said government needed to do more since consumers in the rural areas, who are relatively poor are mostly affected by high pump price.
The minister said, “I agree that we have not done enough in terms of hinterland protection. And I believe we need to do more because the frequency of these practices are more in the hinterland. And unfortunately those are the ones who even lack the resources to pay that kind of prices so we need to do more work.
According to him, following the engagement of private security firms, the NNPC recovered pipelines that were abandoned for many years.
“We are working to see how we can bring up pipelines back into the system between now and before early February,” he said.
The minister assigned the Managing Director, Product Pipeline Marketing Company, Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue to look into how kerosene was allocated to ensure that it is available, especially in NNPC filling stations .
Commenting on the capacity of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Director, Mordecai Ladan, said there were over 30,000 filling stations and DPR had about 300 workers to monitor them.
“But all the same, we are going electronic in the monitoring of supply and distribution. Emphasis is on electronic tracking for supply to the stations. From today, DPR workers will get cracking and ensure the N86.50 in the independent and major stations are enforced.”
He said DPR would also monitor and enforce inspection on NNPC stations still shortchanging customers.