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Fuel scarcity – NNPC says no cause for alarm

Channels Television  
Updated February 23, 2012

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Thursday said there is enough fuel in strategic reserves in Nigeria to last the country for more than a month.

The Group General Manager, Public Affairs of the Corporation, Levi Ajuonuma, in a press statement, quoted the Managing Director of the Pipeline Product Marketing Compant (PPMC), Haruna Momoh, as saying that all the issues that led to the initial hitch in supply have been resolved.

“There were a number of issues like the Petrol Tanker Drivers (PTD) strike in Kwara, Rivers and Edo States which have been resolved. There was also the issue of marketers’ reluctance to import products as a result of the uncertainty about subsidy payment which has also been resolved with the recent appropriation for subsidy included in the 2012 budget by the President. So marketers have resumed importation, and we have enough fuel in our strategic reserve to last until their cargoes start arriving,” Mr Momoh was quoted to have said.

Earlier in the week, the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency had debunked reports that it had stopped processing subsidy claims from genuine importers.

Also, the Director of Budget in the Ministry of Finance, Bright Okogwu, told the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) on Thursday that he will write to the Central Bank to restore credit lines to credible product importers to enable them commence importation of petroleum products.

There have been reported cases of fuel scarcity in Yenagoa, Port-Harcourt, Abuja, Ilorin and Asaba with the filling stations in these cities closed. A litre of petrol was sold for as high as N500 in the black market in these cities.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Maduake at the weekend in Warri, Delta State, attributed the fuel shortage to the subsidy probe by the two chambers of National Assembly that delayed the arrival of imported cargoes of fuel and the placing of new imports in the New Year.

The fear of an impending fuel scarcity had prompted the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) to invite the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Maduake, major importers of petroleum products, financial institutions and some agencies from the NNPC to a meeting to discuss on how to avert the looming fuel scarcity.

The Senate Committee commended the management of NNPC for sustaining fuel supply in spite of the uncertainties.