Reps to Probe Petrol Scarcity

The House of Representatives has tasked its Committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream and Midstream) with investigating the recent resurgence of fuel queues at service stations nationwide, aiming to find sustainable solutions to the sector’s persistent challenges.

This decision followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance presented during Tuesday’s plenary by Mr. Bill Osawaru, the representative for Orhionmwon/Uhunmwode Federal Constituency in Edo State.

The motion, titled “Urgent Need to Carry Out a Legislative Forensic Investigation into the Challenges Affecting the Downstream and Midstream Petroleum Sectors in Nigeria and Other Related Matters,” received overwhelming support from the lawmakers.

In leading the debate, Osawaru highlighted the recurrence of fuel queues, allegations of high petrol prices, and the unavailability of fuel stock for domestic refineries. He also pointed to disruptions in the distribution of petroleum products.

The House subsequently directed the committees to conduct a comprehensive legislative forensic investigation into these issues. Their mandate includes examining the resurgence of fuel queues, the high cost of PMS, fuel stock shortages, distribution disruptions, unfair subsidization practices, and issues within the Pro Forma Invoice System.

Additionally, the committees will probe the indiscriminate issuance of licenses, importation practices, the return of PMS price interventions, product unavailability, refinery rehabilitation delays, and unethical activities at petrol depots.

The committees are also tasked with investigating the presence of middlemen in trading, licensing irregularities, lack of laboratories for checking adulterated products, the influx of contaminated products, non-domestication of crude marketing profits, abuses within the PFI regime, and the importation of products already produced locally.

Further areas of investigation include the importation of substandard products and high-sulphur diesel, the sale of petroleum products below market value, regulatory failures by the NMDPRA and NUPRC, lack of support for local refiners, and the issuance of import licenses despite local production.

Osawaru emphasized the motion’s relevance, noting allegations of unfair subsidization and racketeering in the sector, favoritism in licensing, and the negative impact of middlemen on domestic crude supply. He also criticized the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission for their regulatory failures, which he said contributed to the current scarcity.

The committees are expected to report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative action.


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