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Fuel queues end by weekend, says Kachikwu

Fuel queues end by weekend, says Kachikwu

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“Hopefully by tomorrow (today) and Thursday, the fuel queues in Abuja should be over. Hopefully, the same thing will happen in Lagos, and thereafter by the weekend, we should see Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Port Harcourt and Warri get off the queue list.”

With these words yesterday, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, reassured the nation that the lingering fuel scarcity would be a forgotten hardship by the end of the week.

An indication that the minister’s promise may come to pass was that a stock of 320 million litres of petrol was being distributed across the country yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has dissolved the presidential task force set up by the Goodluck Jonathan administration to drive the implementation of the reform in the nation’s electricity sector. But the reasons for this move were not disclosed.

Kachikwu said government may review the price of petrol upward next month (May) if the prices of crude oil continued to push up. The minister, who spoke in Abuja when he paid a scheduled working visit to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), clarified that government had not re-introduced subsidy.

He explained that what had been saved up in the first three months of price modulation in a dedicated account in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would be used to offset the gap in the price for April.

His words: “Government is funding the price gap we have in April with what has been saved in the last few months of over-recovery. But by May, the prices may be reviewed to march the current trend in the pricing.”

According to Kachikwu, there is no reason Nigeria should not adopt the right policies as hard as they are and as difficult as they come to end the long queues for fuel at the filling stations. The minister also said the queues were expected to end in Abuja and Lagos before the end of the week.

Alluding to why Nigeria must deregulate, Kachikwu explained that there were no queues in some states because the price reflected the actual market price of petrol. “Really, the states do not have queue as such because people are paying double the price to get the product. This is not right but it says that we need to work some statistical logistics to be able to say if we are working the price of our product for people to participate in the chain.”

To stop queues from recurring, Kachikwu explained that Nigeria must bring back strategic reserves that could host between 60 and 90 days sufficiency. “First is the fact that our strategic reserve has not been in place in this country for over 20 years. We need to bring back strategic reserve that is between 60 and 90 days sufficiency so that we can restore fully whenever there is shortage in any part of the country. We also need to find an allocation of resources because, for the first time, I have been able to convince oil majors to allocate forex to the downstream players when they bring in products,” he said.

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