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Fuel scarcity is artificial NNPC reassures Nigerians

By The Nigerian Voice
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In a bid to salvage the fuel supply and distribution challenges witnessed in some parts of the country due to panic buying from motorists, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru, Tuesday, cut short his trip to London.

Dr. Baru, who was billed to receive the Forbes Oil & Gas Man of the Year Award 2017 in the British Capital on Tuesday, flew back home to attend to what he described as a “matter of urgent national importance.” Speaking on the development shortly before his departure from London, Baru called on Nigerians to stop panic buying as the Corporation was doing everything within its reach to address the situation.

“For the umpteenth time, I wish to call on all Nigerians to stop panic buying. We have said times without number that NNPC has sufficient products to cater for the needs of all consumers,” Baru stated.

Before leaving for London, the GMD had directed that more truckload of petroleum products be dispatched to various parts of the country to cushion the effects of excessive demand caused by panic buying.

Earlier, NNPC informed Nigerians that there was no plan whatsoever to increase the prices of petroleum products both at the ex-depot level and pump price ahead of the forthcoming yuletide. The NNPC in a release said that the ex-depot petrol price of N133.38 per litre and the pump price of N143/N145 per litre have not changed noting that the Corporation has enough stock of fuel to ensure seamless supply and distribution of products across the country.

Meanwhile, some stakeholders in the oil and gas industry have attributed the latest round of artificial fuel scarcity to underlying issues in the sector. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, some analysts told M&P that the unavailability of products may be connected to the outstanding subsidy funds being owed oil marketers by the federal government. They however noted that the marketers have neither threatened to stop selling fuels nor issued any statement linking the cause of the current scarcity to outstanding payments and have been going about their business of dispensing fuels from their outlets.

Eye witness accounts also revealed that the ever busy petroleum depots and tank farms in the Ibafon-Apapa axis of Lagos continued to witness loading and evacuation of fuel. One eye witness account put the number of fuel tank trucks that left the complex fully loaded as at 5 p.m on Tuesday around 150, fuelling speculations that the prevailing scarcity was orchestrated by some parties who wanted to cast the government in bad light, while fleecing Nigerians of their hard earned money.

While assuring that the NNPC has the full commitment of all downstream stakeholders including petroleum marketers and industry unions to cooperate in achieving zero fuel scarcity this season and beyond, the Corporation enjoined motorists and other users of petroleum products to disregard trending rumours of an impending fuel price hike as reported in some news platforms.

The Corporation also noted that its downstream subsidiary companies namely the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and NNPC Retail Limited are fully geared up to ensure that motorists enjoy uninterrupted access to petrol throughout the nation during the yuletide period and beyond.


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