Amby Uneze in Owerri
In a bid to carry out her mandate to monitor, enforce and discipline erring filling stations, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Imo State is not leaving any stone unturned in ensuring that motorists and residents in the state procure the premium motor spirit (PMS) at government approved prices of N145 per litre.
The department has severally supervised the selling of the product at the approved pump rate while the stubborn ones had their stations sealed.
Disclosing this to THISDAY in Owerri, the DPR Zonal Controller in charge of South-east, Engr. Peter Ikechukwu Ijeh said over 30 per cent of the stations been sanctioned were as a result of selling above pump price, under dispensing and other related offences, adding that the department would go on to live according to her mandate.
“Our mandate here is to ensure that fuel products are sold at government approved prices, therefore we must maintain that PMS is sold to motorists and residents in the state at N145 per litre. We carry out monitoring on a daily basis. Our men are there, but the problem we have is shortage of manpower to be able to go round effectively”, he said.
He, however, ruled out of sealing a station that is caught selling above the pump price because of shortage of the product, rather what his department does is to supervise the sales of such product to the public at approves price.
“The emphasis this time is not to seal the station that sells at above price or under dispensing because of the shortage in quantity of the product available. What we do is to station our people there and supervise the selling at approved price of N145 per litre. But when we leave and the marketer decides to return to sell at high cost, we seal the station and the owner will pay N200,000 to the federal government before the station will reopen again”, he stated.
Ijeh warned marketers to desist from short-changing the unsuspecting public in the pretence that they procure the product at exorbitant prices, indicating that the department was ready to assist them as long as they show evidence (proof) of the quantity of product and at what price they buy.
He expressed regret that IPMAN/dealers refused to show their coupon to the department to convince them what they bought and at what price. “So they are making things difficult for us. At least about 30 percent of the filling stations were caught napping within this period and others have learnt their lesson. We will continue to monitor them, but one other problem is shortage of manpower to go round”.