The House of Representatives has rejected a report presented to it by its Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) which was asked to look into the importation of contaminated PMS (Premium Motor Spirit) into the country.
The report was dismissed by the House on the grounds that it failed to meet the expected “terms of reference”.
The House expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of work done by the committee stating that sufficient oversight has not been done to ascertain the level of progress on reviving those refineries in comatose. The House expressed the view that the only way to stop the problems of fuel scarcity would be to revamp all the State-owned refineries, pointing out that convincing updates have not been given on the $1.5bn Port Harcourt refinery rehabilitation exercise.
The committee had stated that the Minister of Petroleum Resources should fast-track action for completion of the rehabilitation work of the Warri, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna refineries, to boost local refining and reduce over-dependence on imported PMS into the country.
The committee made specific recommendations, though, on how to prevent future occurrences of fuel scarcity resulting from importation of adulterated petroleum products into the country but fell short on what punishments should be meted on perpetrators of the recent importation. This prompted the House to reject its report on the probe of adulterated fuel importation into the country.
Toby Okechukwu, Deputy Minority Leader, who pointed out that the importers of the adulterated fuel need to be sanctioned while also insisting that a status report on the $1.5bn rehabilitation exercise of the Port Harcourt refinery should be presented to the House.
He said, “My worry about the committee’s recommendation is that the findings of the committee should speak to the terms of reference. It speaks about three refineries and the people who imported petroleum products.
“When you see what is being recommended, I know that the Standards Organization of Nigeria is responsible, across board, for the quality and standard of products.
“But we should also know that the DPR and certain protocols are in the refineries with regard to testing of the quality of products, whether they meet specifications. Whether SON is responsible for this is another matter.
“I have not seen in the entire report and recommendations what should happen to the companies that imported the fake products, because what we are talking about is adulterated products.
“And the refineries, the one (in Port Harcourt) that we have allocated $1.5bn, which has been awarded, there should be a status report on it.
“I think they should tell us the entire gamut of their investigation; what they actually did; because we want to solve the problem, we are not looking just to cross over.