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Off-spec petrol: Fast-track work on modular refineries to boost local production, CISLAC tells FG

Off-spec petrol: Fast-track work on modular refineries to boost local production, CISLAC tells FG
February 11
21:10 2022

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), a civil society organisation (CSO), has advised the federal government to speed up work on modular refineries to boost local refining of crude oil.

Auwal Rafsanjani, executive director of CISLAC, said this in a statement issued on Friday in reaction to the controversy over the importation of petrol with methanol content above Nigeria’s specification.

The federal government had said it would investigate the circumstances around the incident, while President Muhammadu Buhari had said those involved must be held accountable.

Speaking on the development, Rafsanjani expressed concern over the incident, adding that it shows why Nigeria should focus on efforts to improve local production to prevent a re-occurrence.

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“The recent statement from the Presidency that providers of substandard fuel must be held accountable, have become more or less a perfunctory response to all cases of systemic compromise in the country with no action to back it,” he said.

“Similarly, the Minister of State for Petroleum said that the government would look into possible compensation for Nigerians whose automobiles had been damaged by the contaminated fuel. Without preempting these statements, we hope that actions will be taken to bring guilty parties to book.

“The Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) of the National Assembly needs to urgently investigate the release of adulterated PMS across the country, with a view to ensuring that culprits are brought to book and ascertain whether the Nigerian specification concerning importation, distribution and dispensing of the alleged toxic petrol in Nigeria overtime, complies with international standards.

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“After decades of plunging huge sums into unproductive refinery maintenance cycles (the FEC approved the release of $1.5 billion last year for the repair of the Port Harcourt refinery) that consistently recorded losses as the country grappled under the stranglehold of the subsidy scam, we cannot afford at a time when we are entering a new extractive sector governance era with the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Bill, to miss the opportunity to lend the deserved confidence and seriousness to this legal instrument, needed to guarantee public confidence for improved compliance with its provisions, as well as improving effectiveness and efficiency in delivering on its goals and objectives.

“The NNPC Direct Sale Direct Purchase Agreement in the light of the current development has to be revisited as there is an overall need to fast-track the inauguration of the several modular refineries under construction, recommit to the responsibility of effective regulatory processes and issue appropriate sanctions for the regulatory lapses that have exacerbated this and similar issues in the country.”

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