Abuja petrol scarcity persists, FG blames Kogi flood

babf fuel queues
babf fuel queues

The scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, worsened on Thursday in Abuja, as the Federal Government attributed the development to flooded roads in Kogi State that stopped tankers from transporting the commodity.

It disclosed this as oil marketers and other operators in the industry called for the downward review of administrative penalties in the midstream and downstream oil sectors.

The call was made public at the closing ceremony of a Stakeholders’ Consultation Forum On Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulations, organised by the Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority in Abuja.

Providing reasons for the reemergence of petrol queues in Abuja, the NMDPRA stated that the floods in Kogi State had submerged many roads that truckers plied when conveying PMS to Abuja.

Petrol queues resurfaced in Abuja on Monday evening and grew longer, a development that caused hardship on motorists in the capital city.

“The NMDPRA wishes to state that the fuel queues are caused by unprecedented flooding in Lokoja, Kogi State, which has submerged a greater part of the city and grounded all vehicular movements,” the agency said in a statement issued in Abuja.

It added, “This unfortunately has affected the distribution of petroleum products to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and environs. As part of measures to mitigate the situation, trucking via alternative routes is currently ongoing.

“The authority assures the public that there are sufficient petroleum products inland. Consequently, the general public is advised to avoid panic buying at fuel stations as the NMDPRA is working assiduously with relevant stakeholders and  government agencies to ensure product availability across the country.”

In the same context, it advised oil marketers to desist from hoarding the product so as not to inflict hardship on Nigerians, as it pledged to ensure seamless supply and distribution of petroleum products nationwide.

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Meanwhile, at a stakeholders’ forum in Abuja, oil marketers and other operators in the midstream and downstream sectors called on the Federal Government to review the administrative penalties and fees in the industry downwards.

Their position was contained in separate presentations made at the closing ceremony of the forum. The government, through the NMDPRA, however, assured the stakeholders that it would look into their concerns.

At the forum, the Chief Executive Officer, NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed, said the agency had published two draft regulations, noting that stakeholders made inputs to the regulations during the three-day meeting.

“We had our first engagements few months ago, during which we covered 10 draft regulations. As we committed during that particular event, we’ve also published two more draft regulations,” Ahmed, who was represented by the Executive Director, Distribution Systems, Storage and Retailing Infrastructure, NMDPRA, Ogbugo Ukoha, stated.

He added, “The two draft regulations include the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Safety Regulations and the Petroleum Measurement Regulations. These regulations are the subject of this gathering.

“We discussed them in more detail, as the essence of this engagement is for us to receive stakeholders’ feedback in relation to the drafts. The  feedback will add value to the drafts and make it richer.

“It is the authority’s objective that it must be guided by the collaboration that we have with operators in the market. So, we consider as very important the feedback we receive from operators in the industry.”

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