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Senate Urges FG to Lift Ban on Fuel Supply to Border Communities Amid Subsidy Changes

August 1, 2023

 

 

 

 

 

In a recent development, the Nigerian Senate has directed the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the National Security Adviser (NSA) to lift the existing restriction order placed on the supply of petroleum products to border communities. The Senate noted that the removal of fuel subsidy by the federal government has significantly curtailed product smuggling, making it essential for the products to circulate freely without constraints.

Instead of restrictions, the Red Chamber urged the Offices of the Comptroller General and NSA to intensify preventive and enforcement measures to combat all kinds of smuggling in the country.

This resolution came following a motion presented by Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Ogun West) during Tuesday’s plenary. Senator Adeola highlighted that the government had previously issued a directive on November 6, 2019, prohibiting the discharge of petroleum products within a 20-kilometer radius of Nigeria’s borders to prevent smuggling, especially of premium motor spirit (PMS). However, with the removal of the subsidy on petroleum products as announced by President Bola Tinubu in his inaugural speech on May 29, 2023, the justification for the restriction order no longer stands.

The suspension of the order had adversely affected the lives and businesses of residents and indigenes in the affected border communities, particularly in the Idiroko axis of Yewaland, Ogun State, where only a few licensed independent petroleum marketers were allowed to dispense fuel to a population of over 500,000 residents in more than 150 towns and villages.

The Senate unanimously expressed concern over the hardships faced by people living in border communities due to fuel and fertilizer restrictions, especially in the Northern part of the country.

In response to the situation, the Senate mandated its Committees on Customs and Excise, and National Security and Intelligence, once constituted, to ensure compliance with the resolution and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

 

(Nigerian Tribune)

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