22 December 2015, Abuja – In a bid to eradicate queues at fuel stations across the country, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has ordered the deployment of personnel of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in filling stations across the country for effective monitoring of the distribution system.
Speaking at an emergency meeting with the senior staff of the corporation at the NNPC headquarters in Abuja yesterday, Kachikwu said though there were a number of challenges in the supply and distribution system that hamper efficient distribution of products across the country, it was time for NNPC to rise above the challenges by ensuring that the special intervention supplies are not diverted or hoarded.
A statement issued by NNPC spokesman Ohi Alegbe quoted the minister as stating: “This calls for effective monitoring of the supply system, especially at the end points, to ascertain that what is trucked out from the depots is delivered at the designated fuel stations and dispensed to the public in the most efficient manner.
“We need you to be out there to help achieve this; we can’t be at ease while Nigerians are going through so much pain to get fuel.”
He called on NNPC staff to volunteer for the monitoring exercise, adding that standing up to provide creative solutions to challenges was what the new was all about.
The minister also urged the staff to work towards achieving zero-queues at their respective stations as soon as possible, adding that they should be ready to sacrifice their Christmas break if need be.
Also speaking at the emergency meeting, the Group Executive Director, Commercial and Investment, Dr. Victor Adeniran, advised staff on monitoring duties to work closely with the Rapid Response Team by reporting any situation that required urgent intervention such as low stock, delayed arrival of trucks or any underhand dealings.
Adeniran said the Rapid Response Team is made up of staff of the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) and representatives of law enforcement agencies who can adequately handle any challenge, adding that so far about 200 trucks of the special intervention stock had arrived Abuja.
He called on the staff deployed for monitoring to be vigilant and ensure that petrol designated for their respective stations is delivered and dispensed to members of the public in a most efficient manner.
In continuation of the special intervention fuel supply for the Yuletide season, another 567 trucks were dispatched nationwide yesterday, the corporation stated.
But as NNPC continued to grapple with measures to end the debilitating fuel queues nationwide, the Information Minister, Mr. Lai Mohammed, yesterday blamed the Goodluck Jonathan administration for the fuel shortage.
Addressing journalists at the conclusion of an emergency meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at which President Muhammadu Buhari presided, the minister said the inability of the past government to make provisions for the payment of subsidy for fuel was the cause of the queues at filling stations across the country.
When asked what he would tell Nigerians if they told him that this was not the “change” they voted for, he replied: “What I will be telling Nigerians is that what we met on the ground is such that we are paying for the sins of the last administration.
“I am being very serious. You remember that about two weeks ago, we had to go to the National Assembly for a supplementary budget of N674 billion. Of that figure, N522 billion was for the arrears of fuel subsidy which was incurred as far back as August last year.
“One of the reasons for the fuel scarcity was the inability of the last government to make adequate provisions for fuel subsidy.
“We do also face some other logistics problems but majorly we are paying for the sins of the last administration.”
He said, however, that the federal government was working on a solution to the supply gap.
“The first thing we have done now is to make sure that, unlike before when the marketers used to import the bulk of fuel, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has been involved in importation because some of the marketers stopped importing for a couple of months. If you see any fuel anywhere today, it is imported by the NNPC.
“We also inherited the vandalism of the pipelines which made it impossible for us to even transport the fuel. At the depots today, we have 14 days of reserves and outside the depots, we have 10 days of reserves.
“So the issue is not non-availability of the product, it is the distribution because of the pipelines that have been vandalised and the gridlock in Lagos.
“It takes about five days for anybody to load fuel with a tanker in Lagos. As at two days ago, this matter had been resolved,” he added.
Mohammed said the Moisimi pipeline has been secured and was improving distribution.
He further revealed that FEC considered two major memos – one from the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) – on the review of the extant taxation laws, in order to improve their legal framework and enhance compliance.
- This Day