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The committee, as part of its oversight functions, visited petroleum depots in Lagos and Ibadan to ascertain the state of the facilities and other challenges that need attention and policy review.
The chairman of the committee, Honourable Dakuku Peterside, announced the preliminary observations of the committee and assured that the issues would be adequately addressed.
In the preliminary observations, Peterside said the committee observed that the govern-ment facilities were decayed, while those owned by private sector entrepreneurs were well managed.
He said the committee would, after thorough examinations of the issues, take a position on all the issues which would be presented to the House.
He also said the committee noticed that the issue of kerosene was identified as a problem by the marketers and companies they visited, which, he noted, called for urgent intervention.
Peterside said: “We have noticed, to our chagrin, that almost all government-owned downstream facilities are either not well managed or well maintained or in some cases both. We were at Atlas Cove, perhaps those structures were built over 30 years ago and till today there has not been any major upgrade. They still rely on the technology of the 1970s, whereas we are in the second decade of the 21st century, and every year we do budgeting process, is it that we don’t capture these downstream facilities in our yearly budget? That is a matter for serious consideration.”
He said on the cont-rary, “we also noticed that most of the privately-owned downstream facilities are well run, well managed and well maintained. You can only give it a single meaning, which is, business or even the economy. It is better driven by the private sector rather than the government. We think that at the appropriate time, when we have reviewed the situation, we should be able to advise the government on the limit which it can go in the downstream sector and allow the private sector to drive the sector.
Another issue the committee noted was that everywhere the members went, DPK (kerosene) was an issue. “Everybody agreed that DPK doesn’t seem to get to the common man or the consumer at the agreed government rate, whereas the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) supplies DPK at about N42 per litre to the dealer and it doesn’t get to the final consumer at N50, which is the approved government rate. Therefore, something is wrong, which calls for serious attention and we will give it the attention it deserves as a committee and as parliament,” he added.
He said: “The other thing we observed is that Nigeria has adequate facilities to become a downstream hub in the West African sub-region, but we are not. We have adequate storage capacity, we have supportive downstream infra-structure, but most of them are heavily under-utilised. What that means to us is that there is no synergy between the government and business operators and there ought to be synergy.
“Why there is no synergy is what we cannot explain. We need to investigate further to find out if through legislation and regulation of policy, we can better the situation we have now, so we can strengthen the link between the government and business and ensure that Nigeria truly emerges as a downstream hub in the West African sub-region.”Share