There are indications that the federal government would increase the price of premium motor spirit (PMS) to address the problem of scarcity which has lasted for over three months now.
Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abubakar, gave the hint yesterday while briefing State House correspondents after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa, Abuja.
He said the decision was taken after the group managing director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, briefed the Council on the reason why fuel scarcity persists.
According to him, NEC has set up a committee headed by the Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dakwambo, which will interact with NNPC with a view to determining the correct price for PMS, considering the price of the product in countries bordering Nigeria.
The Bauchi governor continued: "The second issue that was discussed was the issue of the scarcity of petroleum products. The problem was addressed by the group managing director of the NNPC.
"The issue is of course caused by an inter-play of the exchange rate of the Naira and the Dollar and the price of crude oil at the international market which affects the landing cost of refined products in Nigeria.
"And in the process, makes the operation of the current price regime almost impossible without some measure of return for whoever is in the process.
"As at today, most - if not all - independent marketers have stopped importing refined products into Nigeria; it is only the NNPC that has been doing it. And the NNPC has been suffering a lot of setbacks - the highest amount of under-recovery.
"Under-recovery means the inter-play between the landing cost of a litre of the PMS in Nigeria and the pump price of that product. If the product lands at N170, for example, and you sell at N145, immediately you know that you have an under recovery of about N25 for each litre of fuel.
"So he submitted his report and the National Economic Council has a committee that has been interfacing with all revenue generating agencies of the federal government under the chairmanship of the governor of Gombe State."
"That committee has been charged with the responsibility of interfacing with NNPC with a view to determining the correct price for PMS considering the price of the product, especially in countries that are bordering Nigeria - because that is one of the reasons that encourage smuggling of the products to these areas," he added.
Fuel Scarcity: Kachikwu Orders NNPC To Clear Queues Before Next Week
The minister of state for petroleum resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to do all it can to bring an end to the fuel queues being experienced in the country before the commencement of the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit scheduled to commence on Monday.
The minister said this was imperative before local and international oil and gas stakeholders begin to arrive in the country for the summit scheduled to take place in Abuja.
Answering questions after addressing a world press conference on the summit in Abuja yesterday, the minister noted that it would be embarrassing for the international community to come to Abuja and see Nigerians queuing for fuel.
"I will be instructing NNPC that whatever it takes to ensure that they bring this thing (fuel scarcity) to an end so that we don't have this situation next week, they will have to do it. Whatever it takes to get this queues eliminated in Abuja will have to be done to make sure that we don't have fuel queues next week," Kachikwu said.
Commending the efforts that NNPC has been making to resolve the situation so far, he said, "Concerning the queues that you see out there, NNPC is working round the clock to make sure that the situation is salvaged.
"If you remember when it all first started in December, the queues were huge but it is gradually getting better. Lagos is now fuel queues-free, most of the state capitals are better now, Abuja is still struggling because of logistics issues. I haven't gone round today but yesterday when I went round in the afternoon, there was a huge improvement on the situation."
Kachikwu, however, noted that there are policies and logistics issues that must be resolved to ensure the challenges of fuel queues come to an end.
According to him, the government and its agencies are doing all they can to solve the problem.
"I can tell you that behind the scene, a lot of meetings are taking place to resolve the problems," he stated, adding that government, through the NNPC, has reached an advanced stage in trying to secure international finances to resuscitate the nation's ailing refineries.
According to him, before the end of the first quarter of this year, winners of successful bids would be announced.
Speaking on the forthcoming summit, the minister said members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by the secretary general, Sanusi Barkindo, and many stakeholders in the oil sector, would participate in the summit which is the first of its kind.
"This summit is the first in Nigeria and it will be like the Offshore Technology Conference hosted every year in Houston, U.S. where all stakeholders gather to discuss issues concerning the sector.
"We are going to host a good number of these people and we are sure many investors will be attracted to Nigeria. The summit will showcase many Nigerian talents that are hidden and most multinationals will be allowed to showcase their talents," he said.
The oil minister noted that the summit would be declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, on Sunday February 18 and would end on February 22.