The Federal Government on Thursday inaugurated a new team of 89 to monitor and track petroleum products imported into the country.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipreye Sylva, who inaugurated the team, said membership of the team was drawn from five key government agencies to ensure transparency and accountability in the distribution of petroleum products.
Mr Sylva said, at the launch of ‘Operation White’ at the NNPC Towers in Abuja, that it would help in authenticating the actual volumes of products imported and consumed in the country.
He said the arrangement will also help Nigeria in attaining its energy security aspirations.
At the team’s Command and Control Centre at the NNPC Towers, the Minister said the initiative was long overdue. He enjoined members to endeavour to carry out the assignment with commitment, zeal and patriotism.
The Minister expressed optimism that the operation would stem the smuggling of petroleum products by unscrupulous operators in the country.
He assured that the savings from the exercise would support infrastructural development of the country’s petroleum industry.
Closure of borders
On the impact of the closure of the country’s land borders with neighbouring countries embarked upon a few weeks ago, Mr Sylva said daily Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), or petrol consumption has dropped from 60 million litres per day to 52 million litres per day.
“I must say that I am very impressed with the calibre of the team members of ‘Operation White’. I am not surprised, because every organisation is as strong as its leadership.
“Under the leadership of Mallam Mele Kyari, the NNPC epitomises a strong leadership. I am happy with the enthusiasm on the faces of the members and I am sure that we will succeed,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr Kyari urged the team to strive to succeed and deliver on the national assignment of controlling leakages of petroleum products in the country, especially PMS.
He said ‘Operation White’ would monitor and track every volume of petroleum products imported into the country and follow through to the retail pump at the filling stations.
The NNPC, he said, was poised to support the Federal Government in its quest to guarantee energy security for the country.
He said the NNPC, under his leadership, would continue to be transparent by ensuring that the entire operations of the oil and gas industry remained visible to all Nigerians and all operators in line with his management’s vision of Transparency, Accountability and Performance Excellence (TAPE).
“The selection of ‘Operation White’ team for this national assignment was made with people of great competence and high level of integrity. Today, we will see our transactions end-to-end as is the case in other countries.
“We are poised to support the Minister in ensuring that energy security is guaranteed for Nigeria so that President Muhammadu Buhari would be proud of us,” Mr Kyari said.
Earlier, the Managing Director of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and the team lead for ‘Operation White,’ Bala Wunti, said adequate institutional and governance structure of the team’s operations was established.
Mr Wunti said with the support so far by the Minister and the GMD of the NNPC, coupled with the commitment and passion of members, the ‘Operation White” team was poised to deliver on its mandate.
Members of the team were drawn from the NNPC, Department of Petroleum Resources, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, Petroleum Equalization Fund as well as the Department of State Security.