Don’t expect regular fuel supply before May, Kachikwu tells Nigerians

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Dr. Ibe Kachikwu
Dr. Ibe Kachikwu

Hopes of speedy resolu­tion to the current fuel scar­city was yesterday dashed as the Minister of State for Pe­troleum, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, disclosed that the situation will linger for the next two months. Kachikwu said it was only by magic that filling stations were still dispensing fuel to Nigerians.

Kachikwu who is also the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petro­leum Corporation (NNPC), stated this while respond­ing to questions from State House Correspondents af­ter he led a team of the Ni­geria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PEN­GASSAN) to meet President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.

The Minister blamed lack of reserves for the fuel scar­city, saying plans were on ground to reserve all refined products from Nigeria’s re­fineries, while NNPC will go back to importing only the capacity it can while the rest would be left to the oil majors as part of strategies to ease queues at filling stations.

Kachikwu was merely re­stating the position of stake­holders in the petroleum downstream sector, who only last week painted a grim pic­ture of fuel supply situation in the country.
The stakeholders had at a ‘Business Clinic’ organised by downstream oil and gas firms and the Lagos Cham­ber of Commerce and Indus­try (LCCI), warned that Ni­geria’s lingering fuel supply crisis may persist till the third quarter of 2016.

Both operators and some regulators of the industry who spoke at the event gave a very worrisome outlook for the industry. They maintained that un­less the Federal Government summoned the courage to deregulate the downstream petroleum industry, an end to fuel shortages and the at­tendant high cost across the various states of the country, was nowhere near in sight.

Managing Director/CEO of Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, Mr. Tunji Oyebanji, whose firm imports and also distributes pe­troleum products in the coun­try, said Nigerians should not expect the current fuel crisis to ease until the last quarter of the year.

“It is going to be a tough year for Nigeria’s down­stream industry. Fuel supply challenges will not go away,” said Oyebanji in a presenta­tion that dwelt on the business outlook for the petroleum in­dustry in 2016. (Daily Sun)

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