21 April 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Caught up in the maelstrom of the what has become possibly the worst fuel shortage experienced in the country in a very long time, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu yesterday expressed hope that almost every part of the country would be adequately supplied with fuel by next week.
Kachikwu, who gave the assurance while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the Ministry is mainly solving the problems the current administration met on ground.
Kachikwu had come under a lot of criticism last month when he said the ongoing fuel scarcity would end in May. Under pressure, he quickly announced April 27 as the feasible date for a return to normalcy in the downstream sector.
That date was not to be, leading to calls from some quarters for his resignation, but Kachikwu stuck to his guns.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the minister who had just returned from an Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) meeting in Doha, Qatar, where members’ efforts to institute a production freeze to boost falling oil revenues collapsed, was upbeat on Wednesday about the chances of an improvement in the supply of fuel to filling stations that require the products over the next few days.
He said, “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 (local) refineries helping us to stay on course, every part of the country will get fuel.”
Kachikwu regretted that some marketers were still determined to cheat the system by resorting to all kinds of schemes including round-tripping and moving products to areas where they can make more profit.
According to him, “Some people, rather than sell products, send them into the hinterlands where they can sell at ridiculous prices and so you are having this 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.”