…Marketers seek N160/litre price
By Folake Ogunleye
The Federal Executive Council has mandated the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, to end the fuel queues across the country by the end of this week.
The Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream had announced plans to conduct nationwide inspection of filling stations over recent fears of fuel scarcity in the country following increase in the landing cost over the official pump price of N145 per litre.
Executive Secretary Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria ( MOMAN) Mr Femi Olawore had blamed scarcity suspension of PMS importation by petroleum marketers leaving solely the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC). He said for marketers to participate in importation, the pump price of PMS must fall within the range of N160 and N170 per litre.
However, the directive for Kachikwu to end fuel crisis was given at the FEC meeting held on Wednesday. The meeting was presided by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari who is in Kano on a working visit.
Fuel queues have since Monday surfaced across the country with the NNPC blaming it on panic buying.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, briefed State House correspondents on the resolution after a meeting of the council which held inside the council chamber of the presidential villa Abuja.
Mr. Mohammed said Mr. Kachikwu was supposed to be the one to brief Nigerians on the matter, but that he had “to attend a very important meeting so that this crisis would be resolved.”
Mr. Mohammed said part of the reason for the scarcity is because it was only the NNPC that has been importing petrol.
He said Mr. Kachikwu assured that the problem will be resolved and that “there is no cause for alarm.”
“The council gave him a matching order that this fuel scarcity should not last beyond this weekend and they are going to work very hard to ensure that it is curtailed”.
The minister also dispelled rumours that the government is planning to increase the price of petrol.
“The government has no intention at all to increase the pump price of PMS,” he said.
He also said Mr. Kachikwu had, while briefing the council, assured that the country has “enough products till next one month or even till the end of January.”
Giving reasons for the sudden scarcity, Mr. Mohammed said it is due to the current cold weather that has necessitated more buying.
“There is always more demand for refined products for petroleum during winter period in the colder countries, this is what we are experiencing now,” he said.