The Department of Petroleum Resources, Bayelsa State office, has sanctioned no fewer than 16 independent petroleum marketers who own filling stations in the state for engaging in sharp practices.
The DPR’s Operations Controller in the state, Mr. Asuquo Antai, said in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, on Saturday that the unnamed independent petroleum marketers were sanctioned for selling the product above aproved price, under-dispensing and product diversion.
Antai said the affected marketers were made to pay fines as well as sign an undertaking that they would not indulge further in the illegalities.
The operations controller said, “The sharp practices we have observed are selling (of the product) above the approved pump price; under-dispensing and thirdly, diversion of products sent to them to other places.
“We have sanctioned quite a number of retail outlets over sharp practices. We have actually sanctioned 16 marketers in the last few days. They were made to pay fines of various sums and sign an undertaking.”
Antai, however, said the DPR had been able to substantially check and limit the diversion antics of some marketers due to its close monitoring of marketers’ activities.
He disclosed the plan by the DPR to make public the volume of petroleum products due for delivery to the independent marketers by the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, as part of the DPR’s plan towards checking sharp practices in the state.
This move, Antai said, would enable the DPR to track the product movement.
He said, “If they say between 30,000 and 33,000 litres have been sent to a particular station, we will ascertain if those quantities actually arrive that station and if they do, are the marketers selling without hoarding, without under-dispensing and selling at the correct price?
“That is what we have been monitoring and are still monitoring. Our officials are all over the place on surveillance.
“We want to appeal to Bayelsans to keep an eye on all the stations. We will announce product arrival on the television and radio to know the quantity of product that arrives at different filling stations.
“So, if they (public) observe any sharp practices, they should call us to intervene. Our (telephone) numbers are published on the DPR’s website.”
He added that the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Department of State Services had been mandated to work with the DPR to ensure compliance with the official pump price at all retail outlets.
Antai added, “We are currently having a meeting with the independent petroleum marketers to give them a warning that if they cannot sell petrol at the regulated price of N86.50, they should not bother to bring in products at all from any source.
“Enough of those things. It is because they (marketers) buy from other sources at any price, that is why they sell at any price. They should not bother to bring in products. We hope that there will be an increase in supply and over time it will be stabilised.
“We cannot continue to operate as if the price of the PMS is not regulated. It is regulated. We urge the Bayelsa people to join us in making these marketers to sell at the right price.”