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Saboteurs Are Responsible For Persisting Scarcity-Kachikwu

Fuel-CrisisThe  minister of state for petroleum resources, Ibe Kachikwu has blamed “saboteurs” for the persistence of fuel queues across the country, more than a week after his self-set deadline for ending them.

The Minister who addressed the media after Wednesday’s meeting of the federal executive council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, Kachikwu lamented the desperation of marketers to make quick profit at the expense of the country.

“The queues are as a result of sabotage,” he said.

“Some people, rather than sell products, send them into hinterlands where they can sell at ridiculous prices and so you are having these price distortions where people are making a lot of money. Some are internal and some are external, but a lot of it is marketers trying to make quick returns on their investments wrongly.”

He said the department of petroleum resources (DPR) had deployed officials to ensure the sale of products at the appropriate price, saying it is only through price stabilization that the queues will disappear.

“As at today, we are delivering about 1,200 trucks. By weekend, we should be delivering same number of trucks. It will take a bit of days to even out, but you can see improvement already. I hope by the end of next week, with the refineries helping us to stay on course, every part of the country will get fuel.

“We thank the President, NNPC staff and the ministry staff who work night and day to enforce discipline. We thank Nigerians for their unbelievable level of patience.

“We are solving the problem we met on ground and trying to find long-term solutions to it, and we urge Nigerians to report sabotage, where people are selling products at higher price because we all need to work collectively to make this thing go for good.”

Kachikwu also spoke about ongoing efforts to bolster in-country refining of crude oil to boost the strategic reserves that have been depleted over the last couple of weeks.

He added that the Port Harcourt refinery had begun skeletal production, while crude oil was already being supplied to the Warri refinery.

“Our intervention today was basically to give a brief update in terms of the petroleum distribution position and the whole fuel queue crisis that bedevilled this country for few weeks,” he said.

“The position, rightly, is due to three or four causative factors. The first obviously is fiscal, fiscal in the sense that at the time we came in last year, there was over N600 billion in subsidy that hadn’t been paid through 2014 and 2015, and marketers had gotten to a point where their liquidity had become very challenged and most of them had gotten out of the business so they were not importing.

“Through the intervention of Mr. President and the national assembly, including other stakeholders, we got that money paid at about November 2015.

“Soon after, there were no credit lines to bring in more products. What them happened was that we said NNPC, whose traditional responsibility is to bring in 55 percent of refined products into this country, move to about a 100 percent because the marketers were no longer bringing in products

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