By Desmond Ejibas
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), on Wednesday warned Port Harcourt residents against storing petroleum products in their homes to avoid fire outbreak during the yuletide.
Bassey Nkanga, DPR’s Operations Controller, Port Harcourt Zone, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of a meeting with depot operators and petroleum marketers in Port Harcourt.
Nkanga urged residents not to entertain fears over any possible scarcity of petroleum products in the state, saying, “there shall be adequate supply throughout Christmas and New Year celebrations.”
“The situation is different this year, in such that, there is sufficient supply of petroleum products in Rivers state and across the country during and after the festive period.
“So, people should not panic buy products as adequate provision has been made by government, meaning that there is enough stock.
Nkanga pointed out that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had stockpiled fuel more than enough to last a period of three months.
He said that the department had set up a task force to monitor petroleum products’ hording and other sharp practices by dealers during the festive season.
“The task force will be working to monitor indulgence in sharp practices and to ensure that petroleum products are sold at approved prices.
“So, there is really no need to panic buy or stock petroleum products at home in other to bit scarcity. This time it is different,” he assured.
The DPR boss said that the department decided to organise the annual meeting with industry players to evaluate its activities during the year.
According to him, the DPR in the state performed creditably in 2019 in the area of ensuring industrial sanity in spite of the challenges encountered.
“We have been able to move from analogue to digital operations; enforced license acquisition by petrol stations, and, so far, attained 95.6 per cent compliance with support of stakeholders.
“Before, I resumed work, of the 700 filling stations operating in the state, only less than 60 per cent had valid licence,” he added.
He further said that the department had set up a help desk to assist marketers in licence renewals.
“This desk is in line with the federal government’s drive to promote Ease of Doing Business in the country,” he said.
Some of the marketers who spoke during the meeting urged the DPR to take steps towards tackling the proliferation of filling stations in the state.
They said the trend was capable of shutting down their businesses and interests in the state if left unchecked. (NAN)