Amidst lingering queues at filling stations in some locations in Abuja yesterday, there are indications that a major fuel scarcity may hit the country soon.
Giving this hint yesterday, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, however, maintained that the scarcity could be averted if the government prevails on the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, to pay N500 billion bridging claims to its members.
Speaking in Kano, yesterday, the IPMAN chairman, Kano state chapter, Bashir Danmalam, explained that the lack of payment of the claims for the past nine months, has pushed many of its members out of business and affected the industry, due to the high cost of diesel.
He therefore stated: "The resurfacing of fuel queues in Abuja is just a tip of the iceberg with regard to the petroleum scarcity.
"Out of 100 per cent, only five percent of the marketers can supply the petroleum products because of the failure of NMDPRA to pay them."
Why the refineries failed - NNPC
Meanwhile, the Group Managing Director, GMD of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, Mele Kyari, Tuesday, said that the nation's four refineries were currently in comatose because of lack of regular maintenance.
Kyari made the disclosure while appearing before the ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives investigating the state of refineries in Nigeria.
He stated: "We recognise that today none of our refineries is operating for the very obvious reason that through the work of this committee, you will find out why they are not operating. We will hide nothing from you. We will also tell you where we are as we speak today.
"Needless to say that the refineries were essentially not properly managed overtime, not just today but in the last 20 to 25 years. The turnaround maintenance processes were clearly mismanaged overtime.
"We clearly admitted that those turnaround maintenance were not properly done in the past, leading to where we are. When we took over, it was very obvious that what you are dealing with is not turnaround maintenance.
"Needless to say that even when you have the refineries, you must have the pipelines. I can tell you that as we speak now, the pipeline from Escravos which will feed Warri and ultimately, Kaduna refineries cannot carry the two refineries. This is for many reasons, the act of vandals".
Also, commenting on fuel queues, Kyari said that the workers' day and Sallah public holidays were responsible as truck drivers did not load product.
He however said that 2.8 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS were currently available and will serve even for a period of 47 days without importation.
He added that 150 trucks loaded with fuel will arrive Abuja Tuesday and Wednesday to help clear the queues.
He said: "During the holidays, truck drivers could not present trucks in most of the depots and because of that, there are some glitches around load out in the depots. We have corrected this, all trucks loaded out at the maximum today."
Vanguard News Nigeria