The meeting, in session at the headquarters of the petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Authority (PPPRA), has in attendance top officials of the independent and major petroleum marketing companies in the country, National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) as well as those of government agencies related to the management of petroleum products marketing and distribution.
Though the agenda of the meeting is a closely guarded secret, even to most staff of the PPPRA, Premium Times gathered from authoritative sources that it is not unconnected to the planned removal of subsidy on petroleum products by the Federal Government.
“I can tell you it’s a strategy meeting,” said a PPPRA source, who pleaded not to be named because he has no permission to speak on the matter. “Government is bent on going ahead and we are trying to work out a strategy and bring all stakeholders on board.”
President Goodluck Jonathan was, while presenting the 2012 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly yesterday in Abuja, silent on the provision for fuel subsidy for 2012, an indication that the government has made up its mind to go ahead with the removal of the subsidy in spite of fierce opposition by a majority of Nigerians on the issue.
There is heavy security cordon around and within the venue of the meeting, as movement of visitors to the PPPRA office has been highly restricted to the ground floor which houses a commercial bank.
Premium Times gathered that the meeting would provide a forum for stakeholders to discuss modalities for the take off of the era of fuel subsidy removal in the country, which will mark the beginning of full deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
The Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Reginald Stanley, is expected to address the media on the outcome of the meeting later today.