Nigeria: NNPC Rallies Marketers to End Fuel Scarcity

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Friday announced plans to resolve ongoing fuel scarcity in the country within two weeks.

The spokesperson for the corporation, Garba Mohammed, said apart from building a healthy stock of fuel at strategic depots, the NNPC was working with members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the oil majors to ensure uninterrupted distribution of the product nationwide.

"As at 1600hrs of today (Friday), one cargo conveying 42 million litres of premium motor spirit, PMS, popularly called petrol, has completely discharged, while two more cargoes with a combined 'Remaining on Board' (ROB) of 44 million litres are currently discharging," Mr. Mohammed said in an interview with reporters in Abuja.

"Another PMS cargo containing 44 million litres has berthed and waiting to discharge. We have enough products lined up to ensure that the supply gap which created the problem is bridged.

"Our immediate concern is to ensure that petrol is available to Nigerians nationwide through the interventions and processes put in place so that the queues will disappear within the next one to two weeks," he added.

To encourage the marketers participate in the current arrangement to ensure uninterrupted fuel distribution, the NNPC spokesperson said about N522.3 billion approved since December 2015 by the Senate as outstanding fuel subsidy claims would soon be paid.

The claim, which was the subsidy arrears inherited by the previous government, covered the last quarter of 2014 (October to December) and the entire 2015.

He said as part of the long term solutions, the NNPC has put in place a programme to get the country's refineries fixed and working at optimum capacity, while ensuring that the products pipelines, which have faced constant attacks by vandals, were repaired as soon as possible.

Other arrangements being considered, Mr. Mohammed explained, included reactivation of the Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) for crude oil, scheduled to commence in the first week of April.

In addition, he said President Muhammadu Buhari had already given approval to increase crude supply to NNPC to ensure sufficiency of local refined products in the short to long term.

"We wish all Nigerians a happy Easter holiday and assure that while we celebrate the Easter, the NNPC will continue to work hard to bring the fuel scarcity to a speedy end.

"We wish to empathize with the difficulties Nigerians are presently going through due to the current fuel situation. We urge Nigerians to continue to be patient, because the difficulties being experienced as a result of the situation will soon be alleviated," Mr. Mohammed said.

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