Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Kachikwu rues Nigeria's inability to refine oil

Kachikwu rues Nigeria's inability to refine oil

Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has denied news reports that the Federal Government was planning to jack up the pump price of petrol, at present fixed at N145 per litre. "So we will need to find that evidence, we will definitely punish those who were doing things that are wrong, but more fundamental and more importantly is that we want to find lasting solutions and we all want to work more collaboratively".

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will sell petroleum products directly to marketers, it was learnt yesterday, Naija247news has learned.

"But the greatest hard in Nigeria is that people make allegations but when you ask for evidence even one, everybody now goes back into the safety nets".

The Chairman, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, (DAPPMA) Dapo Abiodun, also told State House correspondents at the end of the Tuesday meeting, that neither the NNPC nor the independent marketers could be blamed for the fuel scarcity.

The National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chinedu Okoronkwo, said with yesterday's meeting, "Nigerians should go home and be glad because the issues of constant fuel supply have been resolved". "A lot of issues were raised and a committee was constituted that will meet today under the chairmanship of the Minister of Petroleum to further go into the nitty gritty and to ensure that these problems do not reoccur again".

The minister vowed that the Federal Government would ultimately address the problem.

He said there was no evidence to punish any marketer for hoarding petrol, assuring all stakeholders that part of the demands of the meeting was to name marketers who erred.

"We explained that the problem that you saw is not wilful on the part of anyone, either the NNPC or the marketers". "Thus, if the marketers import it at the rate at which they are selling it now, automatically they can not sell it at N145 per litre".

The Minister listed some of the measures that may paved the way to marketers' participation in the fuel import regime to include: flexible tax-wave window to accommodate extraneous cost elements, an exchange rate modulation programme and price plurality regime which could allow the Marketers sell at different a price from the NNPC's.

While stating that marketers did not hoard fuel contrary to the belief in many quarters, he explained that since the price of crude oil went up as a result of Hurricane Harvey in the United States in September, the marketers could no longer import and sell at a controlled price of N145 per litre.

The additional volumes is premised on the prevailing NNPC one-Cargo-per day fuel import arrangement created to guarantee the daily discharge of over 40 million litres of petrol. But by the month of October, marketers completely stopped importing because there is no more subsidy so we can't sell for profit so we have to stop importing.

According to him, a Presidential committee has been set up to look for how to cushion the effect of higher price crude and lower price downstream sales at N145, adding: "It is 18 months plan before private refineries come on stream".

Other members of the Kachikwu committee are the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, most parastatals under the ministry, IPMAN, DAPMAN and labour unions, among others.

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