The Federal Government has ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to, within 48 hours, end the ongoing fuel scarcity across the country.
At the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Government mandated the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, to ensure the disappearance of petroleum fuel queues across the country.
The FEC said that there is no reasons for such as Nigerians prepares for the Yuletide period. The directive was issued on Wednesday after the FEC meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
The scarcity, which has surprisingly reared its ugly head nationwide at the weekend, including Abuja, Lagos, Ogun, among other states, had begun impacting businesses and homes, leaving commuters and other road users groaning.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who briefed journalists about the development immediately after the FEC meeting, said contrary to speculation that the government wanted to effect another price increase of petroleum products including petrol and diesel, the federal government had no intention today or in the near future to hike fuel price in the country.
Mohammed said: “The minister of petroleum was supposed to join us (at the meeting), but he has to attend a very important meeting so that this crisis would be resolved. “The government has no intention at all that to increase the pump price of PMS. Two, the minister assured the council that we have enough products till the next one month even till the end of January next year.
“ This is winter period. There is always more demand for refined products for petroleum during winter period in the colder countries; this is what we are experiencing now”.
He said the NNPC has been importing fuel and assured that the council gave him (minister) a matching order that this fuel scarcity should not last beyond this weekend; and they are going to work very hard to ensure that it is curtailed.
He (Kachikwu) assured council that there is actually no cause for alarm.” The information minister said Kachikwu told members of the FEC that the NNPC has enough fuel to last the country till end of January 2018. Earlier yesterday, the NNPC informed Nigerians that there was no plan whatsoever to increase the prices of petroleum products both at the ex-depot level and pump price ahead of the forthcoming yuletide.
The NNPC had in a statement, said that the ex-depot petrol price of N133.38 per litre and the pump price of N143/N145 per litre have not changed, noting that the corporation has enough stock of fuel to ensure seamless supply and distribution of products across the country.
While assuring that the corporation has the full commitment of all downstream stakeholders including petroleum marketers and industry unions to cooperate in achieving zero fuel scarcity this season and beyond, the NNPC urged motorists and other users of petroleum products to disregard trending rumours of an impending fuel price hike as reported in some news platforms.
The corporation also noted that its downstream subsidiary companies namely the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and NNPC Retail Limited are fully geared up to ensure that motorists enjoy uninterrupted access to petrol throughout the nation during the yuletide period and beyond.
End But despite assurance by the NNPC on the availability of gas and petroleum supply during the festive period, apprehension, anger, lingers among passengers and vehicle owners across all axis of the FCT, as fuel marketers begin to close down business as a result of lack of petroleum products.
Meanwhile, The Daily Times investigations showed that in the last five days, there had been drastic reduction in the number of vehicles on the roads, just as passengers groan at bus stops, struggling to catch the least available commercial vehicles to work and back home late in the evening.
For example, as at Wednesday, Oando petroleum marketing company at Kubwa Abuja, has shut down sales. Also NNPC mega station along Kubwa road, has shut down business leaving only WAPICO company to service the entire area. This however attracted endless queues of vehicles waiting to purchase the products.
Idu Jude Abuja