By Desmond Ejibas
Port Harcourt – The Federal Government said it had had begun the clamp down on the use of faulty and altered equipment used by some business owners to cheat their customers.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, announced this on Saturday in Port Harcourt at a two-day sensitisation workshop with stakeholders in the downstream oil and gas industry.
Adeniyi, 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 said that 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.
“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 kilogramme of whatever grain to be a kilogramme, so that Nigerians can get their monies worth,” he said.
The minister said that severe sanction was awaiting any business operator 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 face jail term.
“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,” he added.
Adebayo told the participants that the permissible ‘tolerance level’ remained 60 milligram for 10 litres of fuel and 30 milligram for 10 litres, different from the tolerance level provided by other government regulators.
He warned stakeholders against the use of other measuring scales, saying that weight and measure department is the only body backed by law to regulate measuring scale in the country.
One of the participants, Sunny Nkpe, the Zonal Chairman, System 2E of Petroleum Products Retail Outlet Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), called for more collaboration and synergy between both bodies.
He said that the association was worried about the different ‘error allowance’ approved by the Weight and Measure department, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
“Our concern is that DPR approved minimum of 300 milligram as error allowance for fuel while weight and measure department is on the side saying don’t exceed 30 milligram.
“So, we want the Federal Government to resolve this conflict.
“We want to know whose function it is and the approved measuring scale to run lawful business,” he appealed.
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.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the minister’s delegation also inspected and sealed off the premises of two filling stations in Port Harcourt accused of under dispensing fuel to customers. (NAN)