The minister of state for petroleum resources, Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday in Lagos, said queues at filling stations has nothing to do with petrol supply scarcity but as a result of logistics challenges and urged the public to ignore rumours of planned upward review of pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also called petrol.
Kachikwu, who addressed the current supply situation while speaking with journalists at the opening of the second edition of the Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Oil and Gas Trainers Association (OGTAN), said that as far as he was concerned, there was no discussion within government circle about petrol price review and wondered how the rumour began and impatience of motorists to interrogate such speculation and gossip.
“I took time to go round some stations in Lagos and I discovered that the queues which resurfaced has disappeared and let me tell you the issue of petrol pricing is a sensitive thing, you can see how the oil unions quickly reacted to the rumour and again the government is sensitive and engages stakeholders in every decision or policy it makes. Therefore this spontaneous reaction and resurfacing of queues despite assurances by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is worrisome,” Kachikwu said.
He expressed confidence in the management of the NNPC and its capabilities to maintain and meet the supply needs of the country, and that the logistics gap which prompted the unnecessary panic has been resolved.
Giving further explanation to the situation, head of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Roland Ewubare, who represented the group managing director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, at the event, said about fifteen vessels laden with products arrived the country but had discharge challenges especially at Warri port, but the situation has been resolved.
Ewubare, further said that even with the challenges, the NNPC has about 1 billion liters of petrol which is equivalent of above 28 days, assuring that the nation would not experience scarcity of any sort.
Meanwhile, in his goodwill message at the event, Kachikwu challenged industry operators and stakeholders to take the issue of human capital development very seriously as Nigeria currently lags behind in developing local capacity in the oil and gas industry.
The minister, expressed serious worries that the country has spent so much time dealing with issues around the sector but without tangible success stories to tell.