Fuel Scarcity is a Sabotage, Fuel scarcity ends next week —Kachikwu

Kachikwu reveals plan on how to regulate petroleum sector
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu on Wednesday said Nigerians will by end of next week experience total disappearance of the long queues at petrol stations.
The Minister made this statement when briefing newsmen after a meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Kachikwu, during his briefing at the meeting enumerated the plan of his ministry to standardise the petroleum sector at the end of Buhari’s regime
“Our intervention today was to give a brief update on the petroleum distribution position and the whole fuel queues crisis that has been in this country for weeks.
“These are as a result of four factors. The first, of course is fiscal. By the time we came on board last year, there were over N600 billion subsidy that was not paid for 2014 and 2015 and marketers were at a point where they were running out of liquidity. They were very challenged, to the extent some had got out of the business and were not importing.
“We were able to pay that money around November (2015) with the intervention of the President, National Assembly and other stakeholders.
“But soon after, there were no credit lines and this put pressure on NNPC to provide product at almost 100 per cent capacity because the private sector was not supplying. This has been largely the problem.
“On the logistic side, refineries were not producing when we came in, meaning we had no reserves.
“When you don’t have reserves, the hiccups hit you right at the belly button because there is nothing to replace with.
“But what we have tried to do in the last one month is to flood the market with products. We are in a position to say between now and October, we have cargo in excess of what we should need, so we have addressed the supply issue.
“Last week, we had about 11 cargoes in, this week we had about 10 cargoes in. For the month of April collectively, we had 38 cargoes, it’s the first in the history of this country.
“On the infrastructure aspect, we deal with the systemic issues. These things will keep coming back. We are hoping that by July, we will be able to sign agreements that will enable upgrades and joint venture of the refineries to take effect.
“We expect that to last for about 12 months, and we expect that by 2017, we should have all the refineries back where they ought to be. The target is that by 2018, we will reduce fuel import by 60 per cent and by 2019, with our refineries producing 400,000 barrels; we will exceed our refined importation and begin to export petroleum products.
“Another thing is that we are targeting by the end of May to create strategic reserves in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Oghara. Once we do that, whatever refined products we have from our refineries will go to the depots.”
Kachikwu noting that the unhealthy development was a result of sabotage, Kachikwu thanked Nigerians for their patience so far.
“The queues are as a result of sabotage. Some people, rather than sell products, send them into hinterlands where they can sell at ridiculous prices and so you are having these price distortions where people are making a lot of money.
“Some are internal and some are external but a lot of it is marketers trying to make quick returns on their investments wrongly.”
He, however, revealed the solution his ministry has proffered to take on the national horror. “We have asked Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to deploy officials to ensure products are sold at the right price because it is only through price stabilization that these system queues will disappear.
“As at today, we are delivering about 1,200 trucks, by weekend, we should be delivering same number of trucks, it will take a bit of days to even out but you can see improvement already.
“I hope by the end of next week, with the refineries helping us to stay on course, every part of the country will get fuel. We thank the President, NNPC staff and ministries who work night and day to enforce discipline. “We thank Nigerians for their unbelievable level of patience, we are solving problems we met on ground and trying to find long-term solutions to it and urge Nigerians to report sabotage, where people are selling products at higher price because we all need to work collectively to make this thing go for good,” he said.

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