*Naira devaluation caused importation issues – PPPRA
04 March 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has vowed to end the fuel scarcity that has crippled economic activities in some parts of the country.
The Group Executive Director (Commercial and Investment) of NNPC, Aisha Abdulrahman, who spoke to the media in Abuja during a visit by the Supervising Minister of Information, Chief Edem Duke for on-the-spot assessment at some filling stations, assured that the queues will end this week
She said the glitch that disrupted fuel supply in the last few days had been addressed, adding that the NNPC now has adequate stock that could last between 20 and 30 days.
Abdulrahman encouraged the petroleum marketers to complement NNPC retail outlets by selling petrol for 24 hours in order to clear the queues across the country. She discouraged speculation, panic buying and hoarding because, according to her, the NNPC is flooding the country with petroleum products.
Duke, on his own part, said all the depots across the country were wet with fuel but the queues in the filing stations were a result of speculation and panic buying.
He berated the opposition for cashing in on the fuel situation to score cheap political point, assuring that the President Goodluck Jonathan administration would remain responsive to the welfare and economic well-being of the citizens.
“A good government cannot inflict scarcity on its people. It cannot bite its nose to spite its face, especially at a time when there is political tension.
There is no government worth its onions that will say rather than focus on strategies to win election, let us deprive the citizenry of adequate supply of petroleum products.
So when people are sitting in Dubai and issuing statements that are unfounded, I think we as the conscience of the nation should know better,” he stated.
Also yesterday, the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) blamed the scarcity on the two rounds of devaluation carried out by the CBN between November last year and February 2015.
Speaking at the on-going budget defense before the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Farouk Ahmed, told the panel that the devaluation caused huge confusion in the oil sector as the petroleum agency did not know the exchange rate to be used for payment for fuel importation.
“Thus marketers could not deliver the cargoes of fuel expected from them because they were not sure of the exact delivery cost as a result of the devaluation as the old template used for paying the marketers was no longer useful,” he said.
Ahmed, who said the PPPRA had to seek the advice of the CBN before it could eventually draw up a new template, told the lawmakers that the crisis had eventually been resolved as the Budget Office on Monday approved payment of outstanding claims the marketers.
He revealed that the truce was brokered after a meeting of the Ministry of Finance, PPPRA and other relevant agencies.
According to him, “The recent events have to do with delay in the arrival of cargoes. Non-arrival of cargoes made it difficult for petrol to be delivered. What actually complicated it was the devaluation of naira – two times.
“The first one that took place on November 28 when naira was devalued from N155 to N168 to $1. The second one took place on February 18, 2015 that brought the exchange rate to N199 to $1. These two developments brought a lot of confusion into the oil sector.”