Fuel Scarcity: Senate gives ministry, NNPC 2 weeks ultimatum

Fuel Scarcity: Senate gives ministry, NNPC 2 weeks ultimatum

The Senate yesterday issued a two weeks ultimatum to the Ministry of Petroleum, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and other agencies to immediately put measures in place to resolve the lingering scarcity of fuel across the country.

This is even as the Managing Director of Pipeline Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, also yesterday disclosed that Nigeria has lost 531 million litres of fuel worth N50 billion in the last ten months to pipeline vandals in some parts of the country.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Uche Ekwunife, handed down this deadline to Ministry of Petroleum Resources, during a meeting with top officials of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources at the National Assembly.

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According to Ekwunife, who expressed dissatisfaction with the continued scarcity of fuel across the country, she insisted that the Petroleum Minister, with the cooperation of the Permanent Secretary and heads of agencies and parastatals under the Ministry, must end the scarcity within the stipulated time.

She further called on the federal government to ensure that the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, was sold to the public at the government approved price of N87 per litre.

“We are mandating the Minister of Petroleum Resources, the Permanent Secretary and heads of agencies to stop this fuel scarcity in two weeks.

“We are giving a target now, we do not want to know how you would achieve it, but it must be stopped. This is a critical period, in the next few weeks, there will be Christmas, Nigerians want to see an end to this scarcity and be able to buy petrol at N87 per litre”, she said.

Senator Ekwunife, who commended the efforts of PPMC towards putting an end to the scarcity, however, maintained that “what Nigerians wanted is getting fuel being sold to them at every filling station across the country”.

Earlier, the PPMC boss, Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, said that the major problem disrupting fuel distribution in the country was vandalisation of the petroleum pipelines across the country by criminals.

She noted that Nigeria lost about 531 million liters of petrol, valued at N50 billion to the activities of vandals, between January and September 2015.

The Managing Director also pointed out that sharp practices at the fuel depots, including illegal charges and diversion of the products by marketers were some of the factors that provoked the scarcity and discrepancies in the prices in various part of the country.

Lamenting that these sharp practices amounted to economic sabotage, Nnamdi-Ogbue hinted that the PPMC is collaborating with the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Police to tackle the hoarding and diversion of petroleum products across the country.

While making a suggestion on how to avert the scarcity of fuel in Nigeria, the Group Executive Director, Commercial and Investment of NNPC, Victor Babatunde Adeniran, said payment of fuel subsidy as at when due would help oil marketers to play their roles effectively.

Adeniran also advocated repair of petroleum pipelines vandalised by criminals across the country, pointing out that it would help in solving the scarcity that have brought untold hardship to Nigerians.

Speaking in the same vein, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Jamila Soara, stressed the need for strategic back-ups for fuel reserves in various locations across the country.

She explained that the back-ups, which would be similar to strategic grains reserves, would help ease the hardship of fuel scarcity whenever it happens as it used to provide succor for the pool of South West with the existence of Arepo, Mosinmi and Atlas Cove in the region.

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