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Senate raises alarm of Nigeria being flooded with substandard petrol and diesel

The Senate raised concerns on Wednesday, July 3, about the influx of substandard Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, and Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), or diesel, into the Nigerian market.

In a matter of urgent national importance, Senator Asuquo Ekpeyong highlighted a June 16, 2024 report that revealed 12 diesel cargoes, carrying a total of 660 kilotons, were exported by refineries to offshore Lome, Togo for further distribution to West African markets, mainly Nigeria. He noted that the quality of this diesel was below Nigerian standards, particularly in terms of flash and sulfur levels.

Ekpeyong further pointed out that despite the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) recently revising diesel import standards in line with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) of 2021, the authority has been unable to enforce compliance.

In response, the Senate established an ad-hoc committee to investigate the ongoing importation of hazardous petroleum products and the dumping of substandard diesel in Nigeria. Ekpeyong also noted that the NMDPRA continues to issue import licenses for diesel and jet fuel, despite sufficient local production capacity.

Lawmakers expressed outrage over what they described as sabotage and a clear failure to meet the objectives of the Petroleum Industry Act. The Upper Chamber insisted that those responsible for the illicit activities must face legal consequences.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio supported the views of other lawmakers, emphasizing that the issues raised within the PIA should be reviewed to set the records straight, not as an act of witch-hunting.

The ad-hoc committee, chaired by the Senate leader, has been given three weeks to report back to the House.

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