* Petrol price remains at N145, says Baru
As Nigeria is about to host petroleum ministers from all over the world on international petroleum summit in Abuja beginning from February 19, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has directed the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC to ensure the disappearance of all fuel queues across the country before the summit.
The minister gave the marching order as the nation hosts the important summit.
Kachikwu stated this on Thursday in Abuja while fielding questions from journalists during a world press conference to usher in the international petroleum conference come which begins in Abuja next week.
This, Kachikwu said, will ensure that the image of the country as a host nation of the intentional conference on petroleum does not portray the country in a bad light.
Kachikwu also said that his office will do everything to mandate the Maikanti Baru- led NNPC to ensure a strict compliance.
Though he did not mention the strategy to be adopted within the couple of days to the conference to ensure its workability, he however said, “Yes, I am happy that this question came from journalists because it won’t be nice for fuel queues to be everywhere, while we are hosting the world on oil conference.
“The reality about the queues you see out there is that we are working and putting every efforts to ensure that
Nigerians gets the best.
“Also, it is pertinent to tell Nigerians that we are working round the clock to ensure that the problem is solved.
” We all know that sometimes in the past, Lagos and Abuja witnessed gradual disappearance of the queues but suddenly has returned.
“The queue in Abuja has just returned like other state capitals. I have not gone out since yesterday but when I did last week the queues were not much , but I can say that by next week it will be disappearing, as I shall be instructing the NNPC GMD to ensure, what ever it takes to clear the queues before the conference begins more especially in Abuja but I can tell you that a lot of meeting is ongoing to execute that”.
Speaking on the current administration’s promise on delivering four refineries to stop the petroleum subsidy, Kachikwu stated that the plan has reached 14 per cent execution; though he emphasized the need to address some fundamental policy issues, that will need to be put together to ensure that the Nigerian petroleum problems are solved permanently.
He said, “The presidency actually approved three or four refineries which we are actually working on. As you know that Mr. President has instructed that we should put all the four refineries in shape to solve the problem; and as you also know that I am the chairman of the steering committee, and during the board meeting, we were literally going to list the investors who will invest in the refineries.
‘We are almost there; and we will sign the requisite contracts but right now we are at 14 per cent utilization and should be over 90 per cent utilization when completed and at the end of 2019 to achieve full capacity of Nigeria production and sufficiency.
” I can tell you that refineries are key but it will also be done inline with blue print of economic model and the best thing is to develop it for the benefit of the generality of Nigerians and that is different from making sure that there is a refinery working but for what need for the people”.
The Minister further stated that lots of thing are happening in the oil industry, stressing that Nigeria is becoming a very very active player in the production of oil and will also be active in applying the policies.
Though he stated that Nigerians cannot get what they want in the oil industry if we are going the other way round.
On the forthcoming Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS), Kachikwu observed that the summit will attract in attendance a lot of ministers from different countries from core OPEC countries and non- OPEC from other parts of the world and West Africa.
He said, “ We are expecting most of our leaders within Nigeria and other stakeholders in the industry. We are also working with other agencies of the sector and parastatals to ensure that enough people are brought under one house and we give an eventful summit.
“What we are really doing is to ensure that it is very memorable, if you are doing something that will attract the world and it should be made a great occasion that will boost the economy of the country.
“We are expecting great captains of industry who will be coming in with latest technology to add value to the Nigeria refineries and oil production. Sometime last week, I was at a foreign country, where FSO modular refineries were launched”.
He also said, “Also in South Korea, I then throw a challenge, that within 10 years, that Nigeria will target 100 per cent FSO and should be able to end investing in petroleum subsidy. These are some of the point we aim to pursue and only that we are also in OTC equivalent.
“So, Iam very exited about this whole thing and I’m going to be there throughout the duration of this summit. The conference is going to be declared open by his Excellency, the Vice President who is going to represent Mr. President.
“The President is very excited about it and the best part of it is to see what Nigerian can do for themselves in the petroleum industry and open up the challenge, and we just have to do it as this will foster for the ability of the country holding its own as far as oil industry is concerned”.
On the present suffering of Nigerian, especially in the area of prizing between, which has become a perennial problem in Nigeria, Kachikwu said that the prize regulatory agency and the NNPC as well as the independent marketers, should be able to come together in order to ensure that Nigerians are free from suffering.
Meanwhile, Kachikwu has called on the Nigerian media to take the advantage of the summit coming at their door steps to promote their own industry.
He advised the media not to lag behind as the conference is an advantage to the Nigerian oil industry for the national growth.
He said, “This is a challenge in terms of coverage and you should not allow foreign media to take the advantage to enrich their organizations. In this case , something is amiss and so I challenge you because this is our conference and the other ones are theirs. Let us give it our best and this is the best in Africa so far”.
In a related development, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, has called on petroleum products marketers to stick to the N145 per litre approved pump price for petrol in order to make life easy for Nigerians.
The GMD stated this on Thursday in Abuja, while presenting a commendation letter to the Managing Director of BOVAS & Company Ltd, an Ibadan-based petroleum marketing company, for consistently selling petrol at the approved price of N145 per litre.
He said the NNPC was fully convinced that it was possible for oil marketers to sell petrol at the approved price and still make a decent profit, urging other marketers to emulate BOVAS.
He said the corporation decided to recognize BOVAS and its Managing Director, Mrs. Victoria A. Samson, for helping the government to make life easy for Nigerians by selling petrol at the regulated price.
Baru said, “It is on record that you have consistently demonstrated not only your ability to supply products to the market, but also to do so within the government controlled price of N145 per litre.
“You are even matching the NNPC retail price by selling at N143 per litre. That is quite commendable.
“By doing what she does, Mrs. Samson has been making life much easier for Nigerians. That is why we gave her a commendation letter as well as a plaque to recognize her efforts.”
He assured her of the NNPC’s readiness to support her company with necessary interventions to keep the company well supplied with petroleum products in order for it to serve its areas of operation well.
Responding, Mrs. Samson thanked the NNPC for the kind gesture, adding that her filling stations nationwide have maintained the N145 regulated price for petrol even during periods of supply shortage.
She said, “Without doubt, this gesture will spur me to further do my best and continue to supply products at affordable prices for the benefit of all Nigerians.”
She said BOVAS would continue to work with NNPC/PPMC not only to provide petroleum products at approved prices to Nigerians without diversion, but also to resolve the current fuel crisis.
Established in 1980, BOVAS is a leading indigenous independent petroleum marketing company with a network of filling stations in various states across the nation including Oyo, Lagos, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi and Niger states.