Nigerians may have to suffer a little bit longer if comments by the Federal Government on the lingering fuel scarcity are anything to take serious.
This is because the government has categorically emphasised that Nigerians may continue in the anguish of petrol dearth at least for the next two months.
Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, on Wednesday admitted that he has no quick solution to the problem and that Nigerians may have to continue to spend hours in search of the product citizens should not suffer for in the first place.
Speaking with journalists after leading members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister stressed that, “One of the trainings I did not receive is that of a magician, but I am working very hard to ensure some of these issues go away,”
Speaking further, Kachikwu said “for the five or six months we have been here, NNPC has moved from a 50 per cent importer of products to basically a 100 per cent importer.
“And the 445,000 barrels that were allocated was to cover between 50 and 55 percent importation. So, it is quite frankly sheer magic that we even have the amount of product at the stations.
“We are looking to see how to get foreign exchange input. The president and I discussed extensively on how to get more crude directed at importation.”
“His Excellency will rather have less crude but have individuals in the society suffer less with inconveniences than have more crude and have them continue to suffer.
“So we are going to put a new model to enable us increase the pace and actually get (oil) majors as part of the crew of those to bring in more products so that the NNPC will sort of go back to the capacity of what it used to do and the majors will take over the balance of importation.
“So over the next two months, we should see quite frankly a complete elimination of this. Our strategy is that whatever is produced in the refineries will not go for sale, we are going to keep them in strategic reserve,” the Minister said.
He explained that this is “because the key problem here is that there is no reserve. Any time there is a gap in supply, it goes off.
“So we are going to dedicate the next couple of months to moving all the products that we produce to strategic reserve so that we can pile up reserves in the nation and that will push up the reserves in the nation.
“Believe me, this is giving me and my team sleepless nights and we are working on it and we are committed to making this go away, Nigerians should please bear with us.”