The petrol scarcity being witnessed across the country will reduce from next week, officials said on Tuesday.
The Nigerian government also on Tuesday warned against attempts to disrupt the nation’s petroleum supply and distribution chain.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, gave the warning in a statement issued by his senior adviser on media and communication, Horatius Egua.
The statement said the warning came on the heels of renewed efforts by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to maintain the 450.92 million litres of the weekly evacuation of petrol to different filling stations across the country.
The NNPCL, separately, promised an improvement in petrol supply across the country from next week.
While reassuring Nigerians of the federal government‘s determination to ensure adequate supply, Mr Sylva called on security agencies to prevent attempts by “subversive elements” to cause any disruption to fuel supply ahead of the general elections.
He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari‘s government is sincere in finding permanent solutions to the fuel problems in the country and urged relevant bodies in the oil and gas sector to join hands with the government in ending the problem.
The statement noted that during a tour of selected petrol stations in Abuja last Friday, Mr Sylva expressed the government’s satisfaction with the efforts of the NNPCL in ensuring fuel availability across the country.
It said in the last month, NNPCL has maintained a total weekly evacuation of 450.92 million litres, a daily average of 64.42 million litres.
While calling for collective support in dealing with the fuel challenges, Mr Sylva said the government feels the pains of the ordinary Nigerian occasioned by the lingering fuel queues.
“The problems associated with fuel queues in the country are not a problem that came with Buhari’s government but a fallout of the long years of rot and decadence in the fuel products supply and distribution chain by successive governments.
“The Buhari administration is addressing the fuel problem holistically stressing that this ‘is the first time in so many years that a government is addressing the problems associated with fuel supply and distribution collectively,” he said.
He further explained that the federal government has also embarked on the rehabilitation of refineries neglected over the years.
He said the government, through the NNPCL, acquired a 20 per cent equity stake in the Dangote refinery and has embarked on the licensing of modular refineries.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited on Tuesday promised that there will be a major improvement in the supply of petroleum products across the country next week.
The NNPC Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, disclosed this while speaking during an interview on Channels Television Tuesday evening.
In recent months, Nigerians have had a tough time getting petroleum products at filling stations across the country. The scarcity has persisted despite the government’s repeated claims it had enough petroleum products in stock amid a poor supply of electricity across the country.
Last month, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the constitution of a 14-member steering committee to address the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), also attributed the lingering fuel scarcity in the country to a disruption in the product distribution chain caused by the activities of cross-border smugglers.
Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Kyari said the supply glitch will be resolved soon.
“I apologise for the situation. On behalf of all of us, the stakeholders in the oil and gas industry. Definitely, not surely exclusive. Having said this, it is unfortunate. It’s a glitch.
“We are responsible for resolving this glitch. We will resolve this,” Mr Kyari said.
He noted that market forces will determine how quickly the glitch is resolved.
“Now within the next one week, I’m not saying that you’re going to have zero queues within the next week, no, I can’t guarantee that because a number of things are out of our control, and of course, the market forces will determine some of these issues.
“But I believe that we’re going to see substantial and relative ease compared to today in the next one week.
“We have no benefit in doing this. We are families. We are members and part of this community. We are very proud of this country. We would like this country to prosper. We don’t want Nigerians to suffer and of course, as a matter of condition, we don’t think that anyone should go through this thing,” he added.
The NNPC boss said the company has been on top of the situation to bring the crisis under control by increasing the supply of petroleum into the market.
“We know that the solution is excess supply. Once we are able to do excess supply across the country and locations, you are going to resolve this issue, which is exactly what we’re doing now.
“We’re ramping up evacuation today. On a daily basis, we are doing more than 70 million litres into the market against the regular evacuation of up to 63-64 million litres.
“This will work and we believe the ease that we’re seeing in many locations today. I don’t want to cite specific locations but I know that we’re seeing ease across the country. This is easing up,” he said.
Speaking further on the country’s fuel scarcity challenge amid an abundance of crude products in the country, Mr Kyari argued that fuel queue is not peculiar to any country.
“It happens everywhere whenever you have breaches of pipes, pipeline issues, and so on.
“We don’t hope that this happens to our country but you must have a guarantee of supply in your country, which is why we are focused on delivering our refineries rehabilitation projects so that ultimately this product becomes close to us.
“Now, this hasn’t happened. The refineries’ rehabilitation is not completed. The Dangote refinery hasn’t taken off. Both of them will happen and once that happens, you have the safety and security of supply near you.
“And the guarantee I have now is that NNPC has locked supply into this country irrespective of the financing challenges that we’re facing,” he said.
NNPCL begins direct supply of petrol to IPMAN
Also, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) says the management of the NNPCL has allocated petrol to its members directly to ease scarcity.
The National President of IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
Mr Okoronkwo said the order was directed after a close door meeting of IPMAN executive and NNPCL management.
He said the meeting resolved that IPMAN members should load petrol at NIPCO, MRS and other loading depots.
He said the NNPCL management had confirmed that the product had been released to the depots for immediate loading by IPMAN members.
He said IPMAN members were encouraged to upgrade their POS to G4 or G5 for payment efficiency.
According to him, “Members without POS are also advised to acquire it for efficiency.
“The arrangement was in collaboration with NNPCL Retails Ltd. and IPMAN.
“IPMAN members are advised to open up their stations and start selling to the public nationwide.”
Mr Okoronkwo said IPMAN was a responsible association with over 85 per cent filling stations across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria.
He added that lPMAN would in a few days’ time also massively load at NIPCO and MRS depots massively for South West and North West parts of the country.
Mr Okoronkwo enjoined members who had made payments to commence loading of petrol from the designated depots.
He said the meeting was attended by the National President of IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo; the Chairman of the BOT of IPMAN, Abdulkardir Aminu, and other executive committee members of IPMAN.
He said Adeyemi Adetunji, the executive vice president of Downstream; Lawal Sade, the Managing Director of NNPCL Trading and Huub Stokman, Managing Director of NNPC Retail Ltd were also in attendance.
Consequently, lPMAN has reversed its earlier order that its members should suspend all operations across the country, he said.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.Donate
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999