From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
House of Representatives has charged security agencies to fish out oil marketers and other economic saboteurs responsible for the perennial fuel scarcity across the country.
This is as it tasked the Nigerian Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to ease the queues in filling stations across the country. It also invited various regulatory authorities in the petroleum industry to meet with its leadership today.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Leke Abejide, calling on the NNPCL and other regulatory authorities in the petroleum industry to end the fuel scarcity in the country.
The lawmaker said the National Assembly had approved money for subsidy on the petroleum products to mitigate unforeseen circumstances in the areas of shortages of the product.
He recalled that for over three months, there had been persistent scarcity of PMS in many parts of the country and that the situation appears to be getting worse.
He also complained of uneven pump prices being dispensed by filling stations across the country which fuelled speculations that government might have begun to remove subsidy on petrol.
Abejide said there was the allegation of drop in petrol supply to marketers by private depots which, according to him, is creating a dangerous mindset in the country.
The lawmaker said the current fuel crisis across the country could worsen in the days ahead, suggesting that scarcity of the product might not be unconnected with the increased cost of hiring vessels.
He said hitherto payment was in naira but now it was being charged in US dollars.
He alleged that the scarcity was associated with saboteurs among some of the key stakeholders who deliberately manipulated the system.
Abejide said due to the scarcity, Nigerians were exposed to hardships which had resulted in hike in transportation fares and high cost of some major food items.
He said: “There is the allegation of drop in petrol supply to marketers by private depots which is creating a dangerous mindset in the country. The current fuel crisis across the country may worsen in the days ahead with the introduction of a N16.00 per liter charge.
“Another contributing factor to the scarcity of the product may be unconnected with the increased cost of hiring daughter vessels in the hike in liter charges which hitherto were paid in naira but now being charged in US dollars.
“The scarcity is associated with saboteurs among some of the key stakeholders who deliberately manipulated the system. Due to the scarcity, Nigerians are exposed to all sorts of hardships which has resulted in hike in transportation fares and high cost of some major food items.”
Meanwhile, the House has rescheduled its meeting with the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the deadline for phasing out of old N1000, N500 and N200 notes for today.
House leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwo, who is also the chairman of the House Ad-hoc Committee saddled with the task of interfacing with the CBN and commercial banks over the phase out of the old note and scarcity of the new notes, stated this at a meeting of the committee, yesterday.
The House at Tuesday’s plenary adopted a motion calling on the CBN to extend the deadline for the phase out of the old naira notes from January 31 to July 31. It also invited the CBN management and chief executive officers (CEO) of commerical banks to interface with it on Wednesday.
However, Doguwa explained that the apex bank sent words, that they got the invitation of the parliament, late on Tuesday, and could not make it to the meeting yesterday.
Consequently, the House leader noted that the ad-hoc committee will meet with officials of the CBN today afternoon, after which it will interface with CEO of the various commercial banks.
According to him, “I want to say on behalf of the House of Representatives that we have taken this from the point of perhaps giving them the leverage or benefit of doubt, that yes, the letter got to them late yesterday. And on no account, I repeat, we would have a repeat of this failure tomorrow.
“None of us here is acting in his personal capacity. None of us here is acting for any personal reasons, especially on a matter like this where Nigerian people and economy is threatened by a lot of dangers by the policy of a government department. Those of us here who are working for the Nigerian people, we cannot sit down here and watch policies of government that are not unpopular, threatening the survival of our economy to continue.”