DPR May Revoke Licences of 27,000 Petrol Stations
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has warned 27,000 petrol stations that they risk losing their operating licences if they do not desist from diverting the product.
There are allegations that some marketers smuggle the product out of the country to neighbouring nations, where the prices are higher than in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, the government claims it still subsidises the product for residents to buy at cheaper rates compared with nations in West Africa and parts of Northern Africa.
To curb the diversion of fuel, which will likely cause the scarcity of the product in Nigeria, the DPR is making efforts to track the movement of petrol in the country.
However, it noted that some fuel stations were trying the sabotage the process and this has made the agency to threaten licence revocation.
Speaking at a gathering in Lagos on Thursday with critical stakeholders in the industry, the DPR said it has commenced the process of capturing all licenced filling stations on its system to track the lifting and disposal of products.
The director of the agency, Mr Sariki Auwalu, informed participants at the meeting that only 6,700 stations out of the 33,000 registered filling stations in Nigeria have so far complied with the registration, warning that the remaining 27,000 stations not yet captured will have their licences withdrawn by December this year.
Explaining the rationale for the engagement, Mr Auwalu, said increasing petroleum products diversion was becoming worrisome and that Nigeria was losing so much money and feeding her neighbours through the illegal diversions.
To this end, the DPR has come up with a homegrown technology to track genuine outlets by assigning them unique numbers to make it difficult to divert products or to under dispense.
The director also urged those operating illegally to present their facilities for capturing, as going forward, only those captured by the system can lift petrol from depots.
Similarly, marketers and industry experts have expressed worry over the rise in the figures of petrol consumed in the country, linking it to diversion and smuggling of products, which occur around border areas.
It was gathered that the gathering had in attendance representatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), among others.