The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has called for prompt enforcement of the law to check incessant diversion of petroleum products from Nigeria to the neighbouring countries.
Kachikwu made the call on Thursday in Abuja during a public hearing organised by the National Assembly Joint Committee investigating the cause of recent fuel scarcity in the country.
The minister also called for adequate policing of the country’s borders to frustrate the continued diversion of petroleum products.
He accused some marketers of illegally maximising profit by diverting fuel meant to be supplied in Nigeria. According to him, the incentives are attractive to those diverting these products because while petrol sales for about N300 in some countries, we are selling at N145, so you can see that they are making huge profits.
“Our borders must be properly policed and the law must be enforced in such a way that every marketer must account for every petrol that leaves his depot,” Kachikwu said.
The minister, while decrying the infrastructural decay in the oil sector, said there was need for private sector involvement in managing some critical facilities.
He said, “for instance, there is need to encourage private sector involvement in the protection of pipelines.
On their part, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), called on the Federal Government to fully deregulate the downstream sector.
Mr Obafemi Olawore, the Executive Secretary of the association, also called for accelerated attention to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before the National Assembly.
Olawore said the delay in passing the bill was frustrating efforts to deregulate the sector and ensure increased private sector participation.