The Federal Government has to increase the pump price of petrol, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has said, adding that the queues at filling stations was not as a result of shortage in supply of fuel but as a result of logistics issues.
Kachikwu in an interaction with reporters yesterday in Lagos at the ongoing two-day and second edition of the Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN), urged the public to ignore rumours of planned upward review of pump price of petrol. As far as I’m concerned, there is no discussion within government circle about petrol price review and wondered how the rumour began and impatient motorists didn’t interrogate the speculation and gossip.
He said: “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 (NNPC) is worrisome.” Kachikwu said.
He said he has 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. But again no system is perfect, sometimes you have some of these things happen but as a responsive and responsible government, alternative arrangements are always in place such that any gap is taken care of not to allow the situation to escalate, he added.
The Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), and arm of NNPC, Mr. Roland Ewubare, who represented the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, at the event, noted that about 15 ships with fuel arrived at the ports but had discharge challenges especially at Warri port, but the situation has been resolved.
Ewubare confirmed that even with the challenges, the NNPC has about one billion litres of petrol which is about e 28 days stock, assuring that the nation will not experience scarcity of any sort again.
In his goodwill message, 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.
He expressed worries that the country has spent so much time dealing with issues around the sector but without tangible success stories to tell. “I want to ask, in human capital development, how can we start building Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessels (FPSOs), develop modules to transfer to the sub-region. When shall we allow market philosophy to drive the market with government providing enabling environment through adequate policies. When shall we begin to install our pipelines, build power plants, build our own refineries using in-country resources and attract private sector funding of projects and save government the scarce resources,” he asked.