The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday revealed that his office was strategising to collaborate with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to pave way for the major oil marketers to import their petroleum products for sale.According to him, the government has been preparing to strengthen the nation’s capacity to stand emergency situations, that result from fuel crisis.
“Obviously, we are going to systemically look at how do you prepare this nation to the circumstances where they have emergency we will be able to respond,” he said.
Kachikwu, who is also the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), disclosed this to reporters who were with him on the petrol station inspection tour at Abuja
Nigeria has been engulfed in a two-week long of fuel scarcity as the major marketers stopped importation of the products and oil workers strike that followed the restructuring of the corporation.
On their own, the major marketers cited high exchange rate and lack of access to the forex for fuel importation as alibi for not importing products.
The situation has left corporation the lone importer of fuel since then.
But he said “we are working in collaboration with the Central Bank now to try and look at long term solutions for the majors so that they themselves go to back and bring their products.”
Apologising to Nigerians that the government was making frantic efforts at ending the scarcity, Kachikwu noted the sight of fuel queues unsettle President Muhammadu Buhari .
His words: “As well as we should begin to apologize to Nigerians for this queue because nobody wants to spend two hours in a fuel queue. The president is very bothered about this and if there anything that bothers him, it is the sight of people waiting for fuel.”
He said that NNPC now trucks in an average of over 300 trucks daily to the Federal Capital City (FCT) while some petrol stations are working round the clock to serve their customers.
The minister was hopeful that the queues would disappear in the next two days.
He said “We have an average of over 300 trucks coming to Abuja daily. It is going to take a while for the queues to finish- may be tomorrow or in the next two days for the queues to disappear. We will continue to pump in. A lot of stations are opened 24 hours a day.”
With him were the former Managing Director, Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, and other management staff of the NNPC.
The finding from most of the retail stations was that the marketers’ refusal to sell with all their pumps even while they had sufficient stock.
He started the inspection from Forte Oil, opposite Transcorp Hilton, proceeded to Conoil opposite NNPC Towers, Rano Oil, Katampe, Kubwa expressway, NNPC Super Mega Station and MRS on the same way.
Source: The Nation