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FG May Increase Petrol Prices As Scarcity Lingers

Fuel-CrisisNigerians might have to pay more for petrol in the days ahead, as the Federal Government, yesterday, disclosed that it would review the price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, next month.

This came as the Acting Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, Mrs. Sotonye Iyoyo, called on the Federal Government to undertake the automation of PPPRA operations for improved efficiency and transparency and also develop a pricing framework to encourage local refining and discourage importation of petroleum products in the long term.

A black marketer waiting for motorists along Kachia road,Kaduna.Photo:Ou Ajayi. Meanwhile, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to tender an unreserved apology to Nigerians for allegedly creating hardship for them through his alleged inability to handle the country’s economy well, and for not providing solution to the lingering fuel crisis in the country.

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, also said, yesterday, that they were not to be held responsible for the lingering fuel scarcity. Speaking during a visit to PPPRA, in Abuja, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, also stated that the present fuel crisis witnessed across the country would end in Lagos and Abuja tomorrow, while it would end in other states of the federation by the end of the week.

Kachikwu also stated that as part of a long term strategy to eliminate fuel scarcity, especially with the issue of sourcing scarce foreign exchange, the Federal Government was considering the privatisation of the petroleum industry, where operators would be allowed to source for funding and run the industry, while government’s role would be felt in the area of price regulation.

On the planned review of petrol prices, he explained that the country had been able to save a lot of money within the first three months of the year, adding that the savings would be used to fund the gap recorded in pricing in April.

He said:  “The reality is that in the first three months of the price modulation, our recovery basically enabled us to save quite a lot of money and that is going to fund the gap that we see in April. But for May, obviously, the prices would have to be adjusted to mark the current trends. “Our proprietary positions are for two different concerns.

As petroleum Minister, my goal is to make sure that the price of crude oil continues to climb, but as NNPC GMD, our goal is to ensure that people buy product at cheaper price. They do not go together somehow. So most time, I try to balance the curve.”

He lamented that the fuel queues had been a major headache for the government, while he emphasized the need for the right policies to be taken to bring the crisis to an end, once and for all. “The whole fuel queues had been a complete nightmare for me. The reality is that I hurt more than every Nigerian who is at the filling stations.

I am very emotional about my job and the things I do. “We just need to take the right policies. As hard as they are, as difficult as they come, we need to take the right policies to ensure that we do not have a recurrence of this fuel subsidy. It has been with us historically, but I don’t want that to define my legacy in the petroleum sector.

“Hopefully, by  tomorrow, Thursday, the fuel queues in Abuja should be over. Hopefully, the same thing should happen in Lagos and, thereafter, by the weekend, we should see same in Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Port Harcourt and a few other states,” he said. However, Kachikwu maintained that his major concern was not in eliminating the present fuel queues, but in ensuring that such situation never repeats itself ever again in this country.

He said he intended doing this through the privatization of the petroleum industry. He said:  “To that, there are so many things we need to do. First is that strategic reserves have not been in this country for over 20 years. We need to bring that strategic reserve with a 60 to 90-day time products hold, so that we can respond within a couple of hours whenever there is shortage in any part of the country.

Right now we need three weeks to respond. “Two is that, we need to find the allocation of resources. For the first time, I have been able to convince the oil major producers, asking them to give scarce foreign exchange to the downstream players who bring fuel to us. “That is not the futuristic long term solution.

We need to find a way of being able to fund this sector and no better way than to steer it towards the privatization and allow them to go do their thing and PPPRA can modulate prices. “We are going to be looking at that. And it is not necessarily synonymous with an increase in price. Hopefully, the price modulation that we have put in place will enable us do that.”

People would criticize, but I don’t bother Kachikwu further stated that he was not moved by criticisms in the course of doing his work, even as he advised staff of the PPPRA to adopt a new attitude to work and take steps towards uplifting the organization and country. He said: “When I get up every morning to go to work, I challenge and uplift myself. So any problem you throw at me, I’m ready.

There are going to be criticisms, there are going to be spoilers, there are going to be those who will attack you, I don’t bother with those things. I have a very clear line of sight, which is on the goal post that I am trying to shoot.




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