Alison-Madueke said this at the 2014 budget defence of the ministry and its parastatals before the House of Representatives Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream) and Gas.
According to her, there was a strange rumour that the ministry was going to announce an increase in the pump price of petrol.
“I said categorically that we have no plan to increase the pump price of petrol anytime in the near future,’’ she said.
She noted that the development had only helped to instigate hoarding and diversion of petroleum products. The minister said the ministry would flood the country with petroleum products next week.
“It was quite obvious that there was a hitch in supplies about a week ago and that had been remedied now,’’ he said.
She warned that any filling station caught in the diversion of petrol, be it private or government-owned would be sanctioned accordingly.
The minister, who decried inadequate funding of the ministry, said that it was the intention of the ministry to consolidate on its achievements in spite of the challenges.
“We will continue to bring quality investments to the petroleum sector,’’ she said.
The Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream, Hon. Muraina Ajibola (PDP-Oyo), has urged the minister to ensure that petrol is available to Nigerians. On his part, Dakuku Peterside (APC-Rivers), said the ministry required enough funding because of its importance to the country’s economy.
He enjoined the minister to judiciously utilise the little allocated to the ministry.
The sum of N61.9 billion was proposed by the ministry and its parastatals in the 2014 budget.
Meanwhile, Alison-Madueke has disclosed reasons why the federal government decided to suspend its decision privatise the country’s four refineries.
The minister stated in Abuja that one of the major reasons why the government decided to back down on the refineries privatisation policy was because it reached an agreement with members of the labour unions who had been opposed to the move.
Although, she did not state the content of the agreement the government reached with the labour unions that led to its suspension of the privatisation, the minister however stated her belief in the policy as the panacea to the country’s challenges with sustainable supply and distribution of petroleum products.
A statement from the acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Ibrahim Omar, stated that the minister made this clarification after the ministry’s budget appraisal for 2013 and budget defence for 2014 before the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committees on Petroleum Upstream, Downstream and Gas.
The statement indicated that she also took time to explain that there are no plans to increase pump price of fuel now or in the near future. The minister in this regard called on marketers to collaborate with the ministry to eradicate the fuel queues from filling stations across the country.
– Chineme Okafor, This Day