The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu has promised Nigerians that the current fuel scarcity will not spill over to the yuletide even as Nipco plc restate its commitment to ship in more cargoes to augment supplies from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Kachikwu who was on a tour of depots in Lagos appreciated the singular effort by NipCo to commence petrol import despite huge subsidy debt owed marketers by government.
The ministers visit came as Lagos today witnessed unprecedented traffic snarl occasioned by long queues at filling stations in the metropolis.
Commuters were stranded for hours at various bus stops within the metropolis as motorists struggle to buy petrol.
Kachikwu however, affirmed that December is a critical month in terms of the demand for product to enable movement across the country.
He said “We need to put in place measures to ensures that stations across the nooks and crannies of the country are wet to guarantee easy access at government approved rates even as the Directorate of Petroleum Resources ( DPR) have been directed to ensure strict compliance to the N87 per litre regime at all filling stations .
The Minister expressed concern and indeed apologized to the populace on the current scarcity but noted that all hands are on deck to address the monster.
Acknowledging the support of Nipco especially with her commencement of product imports Kachikwu implored other marketers to follow suit as all pending obligations to them in subsidy payments, and other ancillary commitments would be met.
The Minister commended the efforts of Nipco so far referring to the company as a Nigerian investment sitting on a Nigerian soil adding “we need to rally round the company and support her in the overall interest of the nation and its populace”
Nipco had few days ago braced all odds in importing 37million liters of petrol even when most marketers had shun importation owing to the outstanding subsidy claims of over N413 billion which although government had approved but is yet to be appropriated by the National Assembly for payment
Earlier in his address, MD, Nipco, Mr Venkataraman Venkatapathy, said the company had remained an ally of government in ensuring product availability across the country through its depot operations and branded stations and independent marketer’s outlets who load in the terminal.
He noted that pricing of petroleum products at its depot have always been at the government approved depot rates adding that concerted efforts are also made to ensure that only registered marketers with verifiable outlets load in the company.
Mr Venkatapathy however implored government to look into the area of gas especially in the area of Compressed Natural Gas as vehicular fuel as such will save the nation and the citizenry hiccups always experienced in the importation of liquid fuels .
According to him, it is in pursuance of harnessing the abundant gas resources in the country that the company in a Joint Venture with Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) floated Green Gas Ltd to provide necessary infrastructures that could aid use of gas as vehicular fuel as well as powering of industrial concerns.
He noted that the Joint Venture scheme has resulted in the conversion of over 4,000 vehicles in Benin City alone with 7 CNG outlets while the ibafo station in Ogun State has also commenced operation along the line.
The MD stated that the giant stride of Green Gas Ltd is already manifesting as a revolution not only in Nigeria but in the entire Africa adding that the development will save government lots of forex at a time the nation is witnessing lots of stress in importing petrol.