The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has vowed to end the current fuel scarcity that has crippled economic activities in some parts of the country.
Aisha Abdulrahman, group executive director (Commercial and Investment) of NNPC, who spoke to the media in Abuja during a visit by Edem Duke, supervising minister of information, for an on-the-spot assessment at some filling stations, assured that the queues will end very soon.
She said the glitch that disrupted fuel supply in the last few days had been addressed, adding that the NNPC now has adequate stock that could last between 20 and 30 days.
Abdulrahman encouraged the petroleum marketers to complement NNPC retail outlets by selling petrol for 24 hours in order to clear the queues across the country. She discouraged speculation, panic buying and hoarding because, according to her, the NNPC is flooding the country with petroleum products.
Duke, on his part, said all the depots across the country were wet with fuel but the queues in the filing stations were a result of speculation and panic buying.
He berated the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, for cashing in on the fuel situation to score cheap political point, assuring that the President Goodluck Jonathan administration would remain responsive to the welfare and economic well-being of the citizens.
“A good government cannot inflict scarcity on its people. It cannot bite its nose to spite its face, especially at a time when there is political tension. There is no government worth its onions that will say rather than focus on strategies to win election, let us deprive the citizenry of adequate supply of petroleum products.
“So when people are sitting in Dubai and issuing statements that are unfounded, I think we as the conscience of the nation should know better,” he stated.
The Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) blamed the scarcity on the two rounds of devaluation carried out by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN between November 2014 and February 2015.
Speaking at the ongoing budget defence before the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Farouk Ahmed, executive secretary, PPPRA, told the panel that the devaluation caused huge confusion in the oil sector as the petroleum agency did not know the exchange rate to be used for payment for fuel importation.
“Thus marketers could not deliver the cargoes of fuel expected from them because they were not sure of the exact delivery cost as a result of the devaluation as the old template used for paying the marketers was no longer useful,” he said.
Ahmed, who said the PPPRA had to seek the advice of the CBN before it could eventually draw up a new template, told the lawmakers that the crisis had eventually been resolved as the Budget Office recently approved payment of outstanding claims to the marketers.
He revealed that the truce was brokered after a meeting of the ministry of finance, PPPRA and other relevant agencies.
“The recent events have to do with delay in the arrival of cargoes. Non-arrival of cargoes made it difficult for petrol to be delivered. What actually complicated it was the devaluation of the Naira – two times.
“The first one that took place on November 28 when the Naira was devalued from N155 to N168 to $1, the second one took place on February 18, 2015 that brought the exchange rate to N199 to $1. These two developments brought a lot of confusion into the oil sector,” he said.

Johnson Alabi
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