HomePoliticsPoliticsSenate Probes Importation Of Subpar Diesel Fuel, Products

Senate Probes Importation Of Subpar Diesel Fuel, Products

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The Senate has set its sights on tackling the dangerous trade in substandard petroleum products, establishing an ad-hoc committee to investigate the unbridled importation of harmful fuels and diesel that pose a significant risk to Nigerians.

The Senate has entrusted Senator Opeyemi Bamidele with spearheading a high-level investigation into the hazardous fuel imports, assembling a team of 15 lawmakers to uncover the truth and deliver a comprehensive report in just three weeks.

During Tuesday’s plenary session, Senate President Godswill Akpabio responded to a pressing motion by Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong, chair of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission, by establishing a committee to scrutinize the ongoing importation of dangerous petroleum products.

An in-depth probe has exposed a complex web of diesel exports, with 12 cargo ships transporting a combined 660 kilotons from refineries to Lomé, Togo, before the fuel was re-routed to West Africa, with Nigeria appearing to be the main beneficiary.

At Tuesday’s plenary, Akpabio delivered a forceful plea for the Senate to take immediate action against the hazardous petroleum products that imperil public health and safety, calling for a swift and meticulous investigation to bring those responsible to account.

Concerned about the reports, Ekpenyong observed the quality of the said diesel was below the Nigerian standard in terms of flash and Sulphur levels

He explained that the diesel “is priced below fair market value, which constitutes dumping on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, which stipulates that countries are permitted to take measures to protect their local industries in the event of dumping.

“The WTO also recognises the impact of dumping on domestic industries, and therefore stipulates tariff regimes, such as anti-dumping duties and import restrictions measures to ensure that domestic producers are unfairly disadvantaged.”

According to Akpabio, while the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority has made strides in revising diesel import standards to align with the Petroleum Industry Act of 2021, it has faced challenges in effectively enforcing these revised standards.

He further explained that the ban on the importation of diesel would be beneficial to the Nigerian Petroleum Industry and indeed the entire nation and as such, NMDPRA should cease import licenses to address all concerns.

The Senate President cautioned that if the current situation is left unchecked, local production will have no choice but to mothball its gasoline units and idle its refineries until the regulatory framework is revamped.

Read also: Abia Floods: Senate Calls For Immediate Relief Measures

Rounding out the roster of the ad-hoc committee are Senator Adams Oshiomhole, representing Edo North, Senator Abdul Ningi, representing Bauchi Central, and Senator Osita Izunazo, representing Imo West, alongside other esteemed colleagues.

The Eastern Updates 

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