FUEL SCARCITY LIKELY TO CONTINUE IN ABUJA AND PARTS OF LAGOS – MINISTER
Written by Samson Ojeniran on July 7, 2022
The Federal Government has blamed the persistent fuel scarcity in Abuja and some parts of Lagos on oil marketers.
Responding to questions from State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timpre Sylva said government is engaging with the marketers to address the situation.
“On the question on fuel scarcity. Of course, I was expecting that question. Frankly, it is not a supply issue, as you can also confirm. So it’s not from us. But you know when you have an arbitrage opportunity, people will tend to take advantage of it. These are some of the fallouts of subsidy regime”.
If you look at it, there are no queues when you leave Abuja, in most places, only in the Abuja, metropolis, you continue to have these queues. So is it that there is less supply to Abuja, than to the rest of the country? It is not so. It is because if you go out of Abuja, they can afford to probably sell at higher prices. And I’m sure a lot of you must be buying at higher prices, but within Abuja, because of the watchful eye of the Federal Government, they cannot sell at those prices. So it’s not a very attractive market for them. I think these are all things that we might have to be dealing with for a while until we’re able to fully deregulate”.
But that actually is a problem it’s not a supply problem, the country is well supplied as it is. NNPC has very good supply. So it is not a problem from us, but it is the marketers. But we are engaging the marketers and will continue to engage them. In fact, before now NARTO said, Oh, because diesel prices were now going up. And of course, you know that diesel is deregulated already”.
So, because diesel prices have gone up, the cost of their moving product has also gone up and therefore, we must try to do something about the bridging cost. We did that with them, we were able to respond to that and they were able to do something for NARTO. And of course, the rest of the marketers are also saying oh no, we must try to add a few things for them here and there. But we can’t continue as a government to increase the subsidy we cannot continue to do that. Because of that they are now saying Okay, in this Abuja metropolis where they feel it is right at the centre, they are not probably supplying the product as they are supplying to other places. But you will agree with me that there are no queues outside Abuja”.
I don’t know whether there are queues in some places in Lagos, but the queues are reported mostly in Abuja, and in some parts of Lagos not every part of Lagos, wherever they think they can sell at higher prices. There are no queues.
But wherever they cannot sell at prices higher than the recommended price there are queues. that is the situation we find ourselves for now”.
We are still dealing with that we are engaging them. And of course, I’m sure even that is going to be taken care of, but it is not a supply problem from the government”
He added that the Buhari administration is doing everything possible to rehabilitate the Port Harcourt Refinery.
“On the issue of refineries, the rehabilitation of Port Harcourt Refinery is on course. We promised that by the end of this year, the old refinery will be fully operational. That’s what we promised and that is fully on course, I still stand on that. And of course, also Dangote refinery is expected to be on stream by January next year. So, these issues will gradually be resolved and we will get to the point where Nigeria will be fully supplied from in country refined products”
Also speaking, the Minister of Environment said the Council approved over N449 million for the award of contract for consultancy services, and the design of Centre of Excellence for environmental restoration with an integrated contaminated soil management centre.
The Council also approved N22 billion for award of contracts and procurement for the provision of a conference hostel facility in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.