The Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, has frowned on the re-emergence of petrol queues in different parts of the country, assuring that the situation would normalise in hours.
Mr Kyari gave the assurance when he addressed State House correspondents after giving an update on the petroleum sector to President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Kyari attributed the sudden re-emergence of the fuel queue to strike action embarked upon by the association of petrol tanker drivers.
‘Tanker drivers’ strike suspended’
The GMD, however, revealed that following the intervention of the leadership of the NNPC, the strike had been suspended for one week and the tanker drivers had resumed lifting of petroleum products from all fuel depots across the country.
He said, “These queues will go away. It’s because there was an industrial action by petroleum tanker drivers against their employers, the National Association of Road Transport Owners, around their compensation package.
“And those issues were not resolved up till yesterday, until we intervened to ensure that there’s an amicable settlement between the parties so that they will have peace and then normal loading operations will commence from the depots.
“As I speak to you at this moment, loading has commenced in all depots in the country, dispatches of trucks are ongoing in all the depots in the country and they have called off the strike for a period of one week to enable us intervene and find a solution.
“So, there’s really nothing fundamental that is happening now.”
‘Fuel queues not caused by fuel subsidy’
Mr Kyari further stated that the petrol queues had nothing to do with the ongoing issue of petroleum subsidy.
“Subsidy is a policy matter. I’m sure you’re aware of this. There are engagements going on within the government to get the best framework for having a fully deregulated PMS market.
“As this is going on, we are engaging all parties and all stakeholders as government and to make sure that at the end of the day, there’s an exit that is beneficial to the ordinary man.
“That is why we know we will not be able to complete that in the month of May and therefore, we declared that there will be no increase in fuel price.
“I have no update in hand now. This is beyond me, but we’re engaging to make sure that we have the right timeline,’’ he added.
The GMD also said the rising crude oil price had both benefits and drawbacks of the corporation.
“You know, it works both ways. Once prices increase, your revenue also increases.
“So, I don’t have any numbers around it, but I also know that your obligation to the price of petroleum increases and your net revenue also increases.
“There’s a balancing factor. I don’t think there’s anything much to worry about,’’ he said.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported that fuel queues resurfaced in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, barely two months after petrol scarcity hit major cities across Nigeria.
This newspaper’s correspondent who visited petrol stations Monday evening found that some of the stations were shut while others were besieged by motorcyclists, tricycle owners, as well as private and commercial drivers.
This newspaper also found that some NNPC retail stations were equally shut.
‘There’s enough fuel in stock’
Mr Kyari had in reaction said there was enough fuel in stock.
He also said NNPC would not increase the ex- depot price of petrol in May.
Ex-depot price is the price marketers buy products from depot owners. It also determines the pump price at filling stations.
“We want to inform oil marketing companies that NNPC will not increase the pump price of PMS in May,” the NNPC said.
“I am giving the assurance and I ask Nigerians to go about their normal businesses; we have over 20 billion litres of petrol in our custody. Many of you are aware of this and with the assurance with tanker drivers and NUPENG, there is no need for panic buying of the product.
“Petrol will be available in all the depots in the country including NNPC dispatched depot across the country, so nobody should panic in buying the product,” he said.
Commenting on the strike by PTD, the NNPC boss said it was due to NARTO’s inability to increase their compensation which was not resolved last week.
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