The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has yesterday disclosed that, the Special Intervention Fuel Supply set up by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, is working tirelessly to bring an end to the biting fuel scarcity across the country by sustaining the truck-out of petrol products to the nooks and crannies of the country.
For over two months, Nigerians have endured excruciating scarcity of petrol products with long and endless queues resurfacing in many filling stations across the country.
In a statement issued in Abuja, the NNPC noted that with relative product stability in some major cities like Abuja, Kano and Lagos, the SIFS is trucking-out large volumes of petrol to the hinterlands and deep country side, where product distribution remains a challenge.
According to the NNPC, despite the 3-days public holidays, over 22 million litres of petrol were trucked-out nationwide within the last 24 hours with a bulk of the volumes targeted at filling stations in the countryside to ensure adequate product penetration.
In addition, the Minister expatiated on the issue of price modulation and subsidy removal, assuring Nigerians that the Federal Government will place more emphasis on products availability and refineries’ efficiency, noting that the price of petrol will not be fluctuating but based on an average price mechanism.
Kachikwu, who stated this during a working tour of the Kaduna Refining & Petrochemical Company (KRPC), reassured Nigerians that the NNPC was working round the clock towards ensuring that full efficiency returns to the nation’s refineries, which are expected to produce about 10 million litres or 25 per cent of Nigeria’s petrol demands per day by January 2016.
He said: “The president is very emphatic on this; he expects that products should be about N87. He has also given approval for us to be able to look at market trends and make adjustments as need be.
“My commitment and I think that is what the president’s commitment is, is to provide products at all the time so that there is efficiency, and provide it at the least possible price and let it have some relationship with what the trends are”.
Kachikwu, however, pointed out that when the prices of petroleum begin to go up, government will look at those trends and then begin to see how the prices could be adjusted.
“We are not going to be fluctuating prices day to day, we are going to take like an average and I think that today when you look at prices, we have no subsidy but prices remain low and that is what we need to do. It is the honesty in being able to sell products to Nigerians at affordable prices that make sense”, he stated.
On the controversy surrounding whether fuel subsidy would be retained in the coming year, Mr. Kachikwu said it doesn’t exist at the moment as petrol is still sold at N87 per litre, but in January 2016, government will look at what the trend is and announce prices.
“If that is less than N87, we will announce it and if it is more than that, we will have to announce it”, he said.
He also maintained that the Federal Government would no longer continue to fund the gap paid on subsidy, which runs into huge amount of money.
“I think everybody is on the same page with us that as much as it is, we need to get out of it. The reliability of that and the affordability of that is an issue, we need to get away from it whether or not you believe in subsidy”, he said.