As Nigerians groan under the pain of lingering fuel scarcity across the country, Senate President Bukola Saraki has directed the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream to cut short its recess to address the issue.
To this end, the committee chaired by Kabiru Marafa has summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, to appear before it.
A statement by the Senate President’s Media Office on Thursday, revealed that the duo are expected to meet the committee on Thursday, January 4, 2018.
The statement reads: “The President of the Senate has directed the Committee On Petroleum Downstream to cut short its recess to address the lingering fuel scarcity bedevilling the nation in the last few weeks.
“Arising from this directive, the committee will meet with the minister and GMD on Thursday, 4th January, 2018 by 12.00pm in room 221. Note that the meeting will be covered live by NTA”.
BusinessDay findings revealed that the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol, is selling for between N250 and N400 per litre in Lagos, Abuja, Kwara, Ogun and other parts of the country, as the fuel scarcity persists.
The development made some motorists spend the Christmas at petrol stations, even as transport fares have increased by 100 percent.
Recently, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in Lagos, alleged that the NNPC did not give its members enough petrol.
The association also accused the Corporation of no longer selling to them at N133.28 per litre and that it was impossible for them to continue selling the product at NNPC’s official price of N145 per litre.
In the same token, the Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) Olufemi Adewole, said an increase in price of crude oil had caused a rise in prices of refined products.
“It is only NNPC that is bringing products in. We also noticed a supply gap in what they brought in. It wasn’t enough at a particular time and the result is what we are seeing today.
“But they have equally assured us that they have enough stock and that they are expecting vessels to come in. Our members have paid for PFI (pro-forma invoices) for PMS. So, once NNPC cargoes come in, we will receive the product and sell to Nigerians,” he said.
Adewole explained that the reason marketers were not importing was that the landing cost of PMS had increased to about N165-N170 per litre.
Some Nigerians have urged President Muhammadu Buhari who doubles as Minister of Petroleum to take responsibility and resign as minister.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Shehu Sani, argued that because of the demands of the presidential office, Buhari has limited time to control the oil industry.
In a statement he personally signed, the outspoken lawmaker urged the president to appoint someone who is accountable to the position.
“President Buhari should disengage from being a Petroleum Minister and appoint a substantive minister whom the nation can hold accountable to the happenings in the nation oil industry.
“The President position as a minister can drag him into issues in the oil sector of which he has limited time to attend to. A broom immersed in oil cannot sweep clean,” he said.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja