President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime has confessed its’ inability to end fuel scarcity in the country.
The president who spoke through Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, dashed the hopes of Nigerians for a quick end to fuel scarcity which has defied the present government.
It would be recalled that Kachikwu had on March 12, 2016 during a tour of petrol stations in Abuja, promised that fuel scarcity would end in two days.
On the latest policy flip flop which has become a recurring decimal with this government, the minister of state stated that the present fuel scarcity may persist for two more months as oil produced in the refineries would not be sold but kept in a “strategic reserve”.
Kachikwu who spoke with after leading members of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) to meet with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Mr. Kachikwu said he had no “magic wand” to make fuel available overnight.
“One of the trainings I did not receive is that of a magician, but I am working very hard to ensure some of these issues go away.
“And let’s be honest, for the five or six months we have been here, NNPC has moved from a 50 per cent importer of products to basically a 100 per cent importer.
“And the 445,000 barrels that were allocated was to cover between 50 and 55 percent importation.
“So it is quite frankly sheer magic that we even have the amount of product at the stations. We are looking to see how to get foreign exchange input. The president and I discussed extensively on how to get more crude directed at importation.
“His Excellency will rather have less crude but have individuals in the society suffer less with inconveniences than have more crude and have them continue to suffer.
“So we are going to put a new model to enable us increase the pace and actually get (oil) majors as part of the crew of those to bring in more products so that the NNPC will sort of go back to the capacity of what it used to do and the majors will take over the balance of importation.
“So over the next two months, we should see quite frankly a complete elimination of this.
“Our strategy is that whatever is produced in the refineries will not go for sale, we are going to keep them in strategic reserve.
“Because the key problem here is that there is no reserve. Anytime there is a gap in supply, it goes off.
“So we are going to dedicate the next couple of months to moving all the products that we produce to strategic reserve so that we can pile up reserves in the nation and that will push up the reserves in the nation.
“Believe me, this is giving me and my team sleepless nights and we are working on it and we are committed to making this go away, Nigerians should please bear with us,” he told journalists after the meeting.
The meeting was to address oil workers concerns over the restructuring of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), fuel scarcity issue as well as the refineries.