Fuel scarcity: FG working to restore normalcy – Sylva
The Federal Government says it is focused on ensuring that the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) ‘fuel’ scarcity and queues are normalized.
Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, made this known on Friday while speaking with newsmen shortly after inspecting some filling stations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), including Conoil and TotalEnergies filling stations in Central Area.
“Mr. President directed that we must ensure that the fuel supply situation is normalized quickly. And that is why I have to ensure that we sort out this problem.
“A lot of things have been done. All hands have been on deck, the NNPC Limited, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), and stakeholders in the supply chain have come together to ensure that the problem is resolved.
“This is not the time for us to apportion blame as the most important thing is that the problem has been resolved and you can see how the queues are no longer there, at least in the FCT we are going around to ensure they have disappeared,” he said.
On marketers who are selling above approved price, especially in other states, he said it was a regulatory issue and within the purview of the NMDPRA to sanction those marketers.
Sylva added that the authority would tackle the issue.
Speaking on the conflicting ex-depot price, he described it as commercial details under the purview of the NNPC Ltd., saying he would ensure that all those conflicting problems were resolved.
The media reports that President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved the constitution of a 14-man Steering Committee on Petroleum Products Supply and Distribution management to find lasting solutions to the disruptions in the distribution of petroleum products.
The minister said the committee, which was also part of the solution mechanism, would be inaugurated next week to ensure that the situation normalizes totally.
“If you look at the fuel situation in Nigeria, it has a lot of ramifications. The importation of petroleum products is a problem because a lot of people cannot access foreign exchange.
“The fuel situation also has nothing to do with politics. Anything, including natural disasters like floods, can trigger fuel distribution hindrances because they are natural factors we are not in control of.
“A lot of the problems that caused fuel scarcity and queues are not within our control there are also all kinds of people who are ready to take advantage of situations and caused problems by seeking opportunities to make money, hoard and smuggle the product.
“These require the intervention of the security agencies and the recent engagement with them helped,” he said
He expressed sadness about the situation which had subjected Nigerians to pain and frustration, adding the President, was also pained that the citizens were passing through the hardship.
In the bid to further ensure energy sufficiency, Sylva said the refineries across the country were being rehabilitated and modular refineries were being enabled while the government was doing everything to ensure scarcity did not reoccur again.
“We had to take a 20 percent stake in Dangote Refinery, these are all efforts by the government to ensure the problem is solved permanently,” he said.
Mr. Francis Sule, Manager, of Conoil Filling Station, confirmed that the queues had reduced.
Sule added that one of the problems the station encountered was associated with Point of Sale (PoS) machine transactions.
The majority of the motorists also confirmed to media reports that the queues had reduced and appealed to the government to sustain the effort and measures put in place.
Media reports that the NNPC Limited had also engaged with the oil marketers and security agencies to find ways of addressing the lingering fuel crisis in the country.