*As govt designs long-term plan to end perennial fuel scarcity
19 November 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, on Wednesday said that it has reached an agreement with oil marketers to end scarcity of petrol which has resulted in long queues in major cities across the country.
The corporation in a statement signed by its Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Ohi Alegbe, in Abuja stated that the commitment of oil marketers to support measures put in place by the federal government to restore sanity to fuel supply and distribution condition will within days ensure that the scarcity ends.
It explained that at the end of a strategy session convened by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu to address the fuel situation, members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN); Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) and the Jetty and Petroleum Tank Farm Owners of Nigeria (JEPTFON), the parties agreed to end the fuel queues as soon as possible.
Kachikwu charged the marketers to pick up the gauntlet and activate all necessary machinery and mechanism to guarantee unimpeded distribution of petroleum products across the country.
While pledging to eliminate all bottlenecks to fast track the process, Dr. Kachikwu urged the oil marketers to see the initiative as a national call to action. “We have gotten DPR, PEF and PPPRA to be a bit more flexible with the rules to allow for more movement of trucks and products massively,’’ he said.
Speaking on behalf of MOMAN, Femi Olawore, Secretary General of the Association was emphatic that the majors are willing and ready to work with the Petroleum Ministry and the NNPC to restore normalcy to the fuel situation.
“For us there is only one thing that we know how to do and that is to sell petroleum products in accordance with the law. For us it is just a matter of few days before we get to normalcy.’’ Olawore stated.
He noted that MOMAN will never do anything that is against prevailing regulations on the supply and distribution of petroleum products.
Dapo Abiodun, leader of the DAPPMA delegation pledged the commitment of his members to work towards the achievement of Federal Government’s objective in ensuring free flow of petroleum products across the country.
Chairman of JEPTFON, Chief Ifeanyi Uba, while pledging the readiness of the petroleum tank farm owners to support the initiative, called for government assistance in clearing the perennial traffic jam at the Apapa loading gantries.
Meanwhile, in another development, The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu has said Nigeria would have to find a long-term solution to the frequent scarcity of petrol in filling stations across the country.
Kachikwu stated this shortly after inspecting petrol stations in and around the federal capital territory, saying that there are critical systemic issues which pose challenges to the seamless supply and distribution of petrol in the country that must be dealt with.
Although he did not list these issues, Kachikwu however explained that he was working with President Muhammadu Buhari who is the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources to find such long term solutions to the situation.
Speaking on delays in the disbursement of the subsidy debt owed to petrol marketers, the minister assured marketers that they will get their money within a week or two, once the Legislature approves the payment.
Kachikwu also instructed the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to distribute the petrol of any filling stations involved in hoarding, to customers free of charge.
He added that the queues in the stations could also be attributed to the pipelines not being able to pump effectively. He however said measures had been put in place to activate some of the pipelines.
He added, “We are moving trucks massively; most of the stations have products right now; it is just a matter of time, things will return to normal. Plans are on ground to arrest the situation; we expect that in next couple of days some of the queues you have currently will go away; I urge Nigerians to be patient.”