•As FG eases forex access for oil marketers
Optimistic that the prevailing petrol scarcity can be eased in two days and following the failure of major oil marketers to import petrol due to stringent foreign exchange policy, the Federal Government is devising plans to make forex more accessible to the marketers through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), according to Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.
The Minister had last week disclosed that only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which should import about 48 percent of petrol, was instead importing 100 percent of the commodity.
Speaking on Saturday after monitoring the fuel scarcity situation at some filling stations in Abuja, Kachikwu said the move would help ease the burden of access to forex by the marketers.
He explained that already, the situation was beginning to weigh in on the capacity of the NNPC to satisfy the country’s consumption which is officially estimated at 40 million litres per day.
Kachikwu who noted that the NNPC is currently the sole importer and supplier of petrol in the country, expressed hopes that the lingering scarcity and queues for petrol would ease off within two days following his claims that the corporation has massively increased its trucks of petrol to depots and filling stations in the country.
He said: “God willing, we will see this through and under one or two days, we should be clear and we are looking at long term.
“We are working very collaboratively with the Central Bank now to try and look at long term solutions to the majors so that they themselves can begin to go back and bring in their own products, and so apologies again to Nigerians, nobody wants to see this.
“Impressive we have enough coming in. Obviously the three days of strike hit us very badly but we are flogging again an average of over 300 trucks into Abuja. It is going to take a bit of while for the queues to clear off and we are hoping that between tomorrow and the next one, two days, the queues will all disappear.”
“We are continuing to pump in, a lot of our stations are open 24 hours a day. Long term obviously, we have got to systemically look at how you prepare this nation in circumstances where there are emergencies and you are able to respond.”
Kachikwu said that he would initiate a long term solution to curb the menace of products scarcity in the country, but did not give details of the planned solution.
“We are obviously not getting it as we should. Again, I apologise to Nigerians for all the pains, nobody wants to see people spend up to two hours on fuel queues.
“The president is very bothered about this, and if there is anything that bothers him, it is the sight of people waiting for fuel but we are doing everything we can, the NNPC is taking the whole nation on its shoulders.