Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday promised Nigerians that every part of Nigeria will have sufficient petrol supply by the end of next week.
He announced this to State House correspondents after he briefed the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari on the lingering fuel scarcity in the country.
He said several measures were being put in place to flood the various petrol depots with the commodity, including increased importation, cross-country freights and repairs on the damaged Forcados oil terminal, which will be ready by June.
Kachikwu, who blamed sabotage by owners of filling stations, among other factors as being responsible for the scarcity, said “we have continued to provide enough gas to uplift to about 5,000 megawatts, the highest number we have had in this country since 1960.
“And there was sabotage on the Forcados line and that is not the responsibility of the Ministry of Petroleum, the line won’t be ready until June. We are also looking at the intermediary structures that will help us come back on line with some gas, maybe not 100 per cent gas replacement but certainly with substantial portion of gas.”
Other problems were N600 backlog of subsidy payments for 2014 and 2015 and the resort to 100 per cent importation of refined petrol by the NNPC.
“On the logistic side, refineries were not producing when we came in meaning we had no reserves. When you don’t have reserve the hiccups hit you right at the belly button because there is nothing to replace with”, he stated.
The Minister further explained that efforts are on to flood the country with petrol so that between now and October, “we have cargo in excess of what we should need, so we have addressed the supply issue”.
He added that “the queues are as a result of sabotage. Some people rather than sell products send them into interlands where they can sell at ridiculous prices and so you are having this price distortions where people are making a lot of money.
“Some are internal and some are external but a lot of it is marketers trying to make quick returns on their investments wrongly.