The Federal Government has announced that it has started a clampdown on the use of faulty and altered measuring and weighing equipment by some business owners, especially in the oil and gas sector.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, on Saturday, October 3, 2020, in Port Harcourt at a two-day sensitization workshop with stakeholders in the downstream oil and gas industry.
The minister who was represented by Mr Gbolahan Adamoh, Head of Oil and Gas, Department of Weight and Measures (WM), in the ministry said that government was aware of such illicit trade by some service providers.
The minister disclosed that the Weights and Measure Department is the lead Federal Government agency mandated to enforce accurate use of weighing and measuring equipment for trade in the country.
According to him, the department has discovered that many businesses, such as filling stations, recalibrate their metres and equipment to cheat the buying public as it usually leads to under dispensing of petroleum products by them.
Adebayo said, “So, we decided to meet with critical stakeholders in the downstream oil and gas sector and engage them to maintain accurate measurement of their metres while serving their customers. We want customers to get full value for their money especially during this COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the economy of the country and made things difficult for Nigerians.
“We want a litre of fuel to be a litre, and a kilogramme of whatever grain to be a kilogramme, so that Nigerians can get their monies worth,” he said.
The minister said that the government is going to apply severe sanctions on business operators found to be using faulty and recalibrated equipment to defraud Nigerians.
He said that such individuals would have their filling stations and businesses sealed-off and made to pay huge sums of money as well as a face jail term.
He said, “We appeal to filling station operators and other business owners to visit our offices for verification and proper certification of their equipment for use for trade. The department is committed to protecting both the producers and consumers through fair and balanced trade transaction.’’
Adebayo told the participants that the tolerance level that can be allowed remained 60 milligrams for 10 litres of fuel and 30 milligrams for 10 litres, different from the tolerance level provided by other government regulators.
One of the participants, Sunny Nkpe, the Zonal Chairman, System 2E of Petroleum Products Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), said the association was worried about the different ‘error allowance’ approved by the Weight and Measure Department, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON).
Francis Dimkpa, branch Chairman of PETROAN in Rivers, said the association would soon invite all regulating agencies and security agencies to a meeting to ensure harmony in the industry.