Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has promised Nigerians that the present scarcity of petrol will end soon.
Speaking through a press statement on Tuesday, the minister expressed the deep concern of the government about the fuel queues in Lagos, Abuja, and many other states of the federation.
“As Nigerians can attest, the petroleum ministry and NNPC have worked very hard to reduce them to the barest minimum.
We sympathise with Nigerians whose lives are being disrupted by the queues and assure them that we are working hard to end them as quickly as possible,” she said. “The situation is owing to a mix of factors including disruption of pipelines and logistical issues and they are being attended to urgently.
Okonjo-Iweala emphasised that the petrol scarcity was not caused by “payment issues” as being speculated. “As you know, we paid the marketers a total of N320.8 billion from the Excess Crude Account in two installments in December last year. This underscores the fact that we are taking payment of marketers very seriously indeed. We’ve been in constant touch and talking with the marketers and a week ago we reached an agreement with them on their core concerns, which we have addressed,” she said.
“Specifically, we have taken the following steps: We’ve reached an agreement with the marketers union on the N185 billion balance of their payment. As part of this agreement, we are paying not only the costs they’ve incurred and their fees but also interest and forex differentials.
“DMO has issued SDNs to cover N100 billion out of the N185 billion agreed upon as balance for the next payments. CBN has also given approvals for the banks to issue letters of credit.” The minister added that while the union and most members had been cooperative, some members had been obstinate.
“Some of these people have even refused to open LCs to facilitate their payments. We salute the union and the members who are working hard to end this unfortunate situation. As for those who are working in the other direction, Nigerians should ask them what their motives are,” she said
“To end this unfortunate situation as quickly as possible, the petroleum ministry and NNPC are taking strong action to improve supplies in this election season. I’ve been speaking with MOMAN and they’ve assured me that they are working hard to increase supplies and more are on the way. “Forty million litres of the product are being distributed in Lagos today.
As at yesterday, 86 trucks had come into Lagos and another 86 trucks are heading to Abuja
Other parts of the country are also included in the plans. So the situation should improve soon.” She expressed the government’s sympathy with Nigerians “for this very unsatisfactory situation and salute their patience as it works hard to end the situation as soon as possible.”