Benue and Nassarawa residents buy fuel above the pump price.
Nov.6 (PREMIUM TIMES) —Petrol users in Benue and Nassarawa States are made to pay more than the approved price for petrol at filling stations because the agency responsible for regulation is underfunded and understaffed.
The Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, on Tuesday, said its inability to regulate and enforce official prices of petroleum products in Nassarawa and Benue is due to lack of funds.
The DPR is one of the departments under Nigeria’s rich petroleum ministry and whose management has been accused of corruption and inefficiency in the past
The Operation Controller of the Department in charge of the two states, Manasseh Akpah, disclosed this in an interview in Makurdi.
“We cannot embark on exercise that will have mitigated the activities of illegal marketers due to paucity of funds,’’ he said.
Mr. Akpa pointed out that the department needed funds to employ additional staff, to procure more operation materials and make sure that petroleum products were sold at the approved prices.
He said the department was so understaffed that, at present, the office had only one operational driver covering two states.
Mr. Akpa said that for now, the department had been able to regulate the activities and price rate of major oil marketers because they got their products from NNPC.
He urged oil marketers to strictly abide by the rules, warning that anybody found wanting would be sanctioned.
The problem is however not peculiar to Nassarawa and Benue as petrol users in many Nigerian states now buy fuel for more than the approved pump price of N98. In Abuja, where the headquarters of the DPR is, many petrol stations hoard the fuel claiming non-availability, while black market operators still get petrol from the filling stations, and sell same to motorists at about N150 per litre
A cross section of marketers regretted the difficulties they encountered in trying to bring the petroleum products to the two states, saying Benue depot had not been loading for many years now.