FUEL SCARCITY: Kachikwu disagrees with NNPC, DPR, says marketers not to blame

Kachikwu It’s a shame that Nigeria can’t refine its oil

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Chairman, Board of Trustees of Independent Petroleum Marketers As sociation of Nigeria (IPMAN), Aminu Abdulkadir, said today's meeting will afford the opportunity to make full disclosure on ways of augmenting marketers' shortfall so that they can come back to the business of fuel importation.

"The causes were; first, diversion was very key, second, there were logistics issues,"Once those diversions began, Apapa Wharf was a problem to be able to move things due to bad roads, lack of sufficient reserve in our system making us unable to respond to the supply gap arising largely from the fact that private sector pulled out from supply".

"Unless we have operational refineries, there will be no permanent solution to the fuel crisis in the country, " Kachikwu said. The meeting was convened to find a lasting solution to the fuel crisis.

Idang Alibi, the Director of Press in the ministry in a statement on Thursday night, clarified the minister's submission made to the joint committee of the National Assembly on Petroleum Downstream.

Kachikwu stated, "The thing is even the Nigerians, who have suffered, will want to be sure that we find a lasting solution and find evidential basis upon which to punish people".

On how close the government is to that lasting solution, the minister responded: "We are going to sit down and find lasting solution".

On those allegedly responsible for the crisis, the minister said they would be identified, with specific names to be put on the table, and those found to have gone against the rule in certain activities would be punished.

"Marketers are your brothers, they are Nigerian citizens, they are businessmen, no marketer makes money from hoarding petroleum products, our business is to take petrol and sell", he said.

"You can not prosecute except you have evidence".

The Minister listed some of the measures that may paved the way to marketers' participation in the fuel import regime to include: flexible tax-wave window to accommodate extraneous cost elements, an exchange rate modulation programme and price plurality regime which could allow the Marketers sell at different a price from the NNPC's.

The Chairman, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, (DAPPMA) Dapo Abiodun, also told State House correspondents at the end of the Tuesday meeting, that neither the NNPC nor the independent marketers could be blamed for the fuel scarcity.

John Omoruyi, while also commending the efforts made so far by the relevant government agencies to see to the end of scarcity of the product, appealed that efforts must be made to see that others selling above the regulated price reverted.

On subsidy, the DAPPMAN leader said at the moment there was no subsidy to marketers, as government chose to cap the fuel price at N145 per litre.

So if that is to remain, then we have to find other ways to manage the situation so that we will continue to sell fuel at N145.

"The final decisions and recommendations from the Committee would be passed on to the President and Commander-In-Chief for approval", Alibi said. So, government has to find a way and ensure that marketers themselves are importing alongside NNPC and still sell at N145.

The additional volumes is premised on the prevailing NNPC one-Cargo-per day fuel import arrangement created to guarantee the daily discharge of over 40 million litres of petrol.

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