Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, with the Minister of State Petroleum Resources  Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, continues "on the spot" checks on the fuel situation.  PHOTO: NOVO ISIORO
  •  Kachikwu: NNPC is bringing more vessels

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As Nigerians grapple with fuel shortage during the Yuletide season, the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has stated that the long queues being experienced in filling stations across the country will disappear in a few days as the federal government has taken adequate steps to bridge the supply gaps that fuelled the current scarcity of petrol.

This is also coming as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has reassured Nigerians that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has imported more petrol, stressing that the queues would soon disappear in Lagos.

Speaking after visiting some depots in Lagos Monday along with the petroleum minister, Osinbajo, who also held a meeting with the major marketers and Kachikwu, blamed the crisis on under-deliveries by some of the trading companies that imported petrol for the NNPC.

He said the supply shortage fuelled hoarding and panic-buying, which aggravated the crisis.

“I think that going by what we have seen, there is what is called winter deliveries. Towards the end of the year, the cost of fuel goes up in many parts of the world. Obviously, that gave rise to problems for those who are bringing in products. We had one or two short deliveries by the importers and that accounted for some of the problems. Of course, when you have any kind of disruptions, immediately, you begin to see hoarding; you begin to see panic-buying and all of that. Clearly, what has happened here is that on account of some of these short deliveries, we experienced hoarding, panic-buying and disruptions. So, those are largely the issue,” Osinbajo explained.

The vice-president, however, assured Nigerians that the federal government and the marketers would collaborate to address the challenges.

“We are here holding a meeting with the major marketers. As you have seen, everyone is at work today, trying to ensure that the petrol queues are quickly eliminated. We are trying to look at some of the issues and what needs to be done to ensure that things move quickly. Mr. President, as you know, just yesterday, had tried to see how exactly he could work on the problems that we have been experiencing and how to very quickly clear up the queues and ensure that everyone is able to have a happy holiday. That is exactly why we are here today,” Osinbajo said.

“The Group Managing Director of NNPC is also in Abuja; and I am here with the petroleum minister, trying to take a look at what the problems of the marketers are that hinder petrol from getting to filling stations across the country. I hope that in the next couple of days, we will be able to resolve this petrol queues and bring this rather sad episode to an end,” Osinbajo added.

Osinbajo also restated that the federal government has no plans to increase the price of petrol.

“Let me tell you; we are not expecting to increase fuel prices at all. The government has absolutely no intention to increase fuel price. That is, it has no intention whatsoever,” he added.

Also speaking to THISDAY after the meeting with the major marketers, Kachikwu disclosed that the NNPC is bringing more cargoes, adding that the queues would disappear in a few days in Lagos, while Abuja would take little more days.

“The way Lagos is today – if we can do the same thing tomorrow, one expect to see Lagos whittle out. Obviously, Abuja takes a little more time because you have to move products from south to the north. That might take a few more days but I think everybody is working 24 hours. Loading factors are increasing; more vessels are coming in. So, we expect this to go away,” Kachikwu said.

“We are working very hard. You can see all the efforts since yesterday. The group managing director of NNPC is working out of Abuja; we are working out of here; talking to the marketers to understand their immediate needs. We are putting a lot of ministerial directives on emergency responses. Loadings out in the last few days have improved tremendously,” Kachikwu added.