• Petroleum industry to be privatised
  • Fuel scarcity ends tomorrow

Strong indications are that Nigerians who have been groaning under the stranglehold of harsh economy worsened by the scarcity of petroleum products ( fuel) would be in for more surprises as the federal government plans to increase the current price of petrol by next month.
Disclosing this yesterday in Abuja is no other than the Minister of state for Petroleum Resources Mr. Ibe Kachikwu. Speaking during an official visit to the premises of Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPRA, Kachikwu said the Federal Government would undertake a review of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol, in the month of May.
Justifying the planned review of petrol prices, Kachikwu said Nigeria has been able to save a lot of money within the first three months of the year, stating that the savings would be used to fund the gap recorded in pricing in April.
Said Kachikwu; “The reality is that in the first three months of doing the price modulation, our over-recovery basically enabled us to save quite a lot of money and that is going to fund the gap that we see in April. But for May, obviously, the prices would have to be adjusted to mark the current trends”.
However, the minister promised to end the on-going fuel scarcity tomorrow Thursday in Abuja and Lagos and by weekend in other parts of the country
His words: “We have to take the right policies to see that things are done well. I hope that tomorrow ( today) slashThursday, queues in Abuja must have cleared. Hopefully, the same thing will happen in Lagos. By weekend, we will see same in Sokoto, Port-Harcourt, Warri and other parts of Nigeria.”
The Ministers advised staff of PPRA to continue to work diligently to ensure efficiency in the system, stressing that the agency remained a major stakeholder in the regulation of the sector.
The minister further stated that as part of a long term strategy to eliminating fuel scarcity, especially with the issue of sourcing scarce foreign exchange, the Federal Government is considering the privatisation of the petroleum industry, so that operators would be allowed to source for funding and run the industry, while government’s role would be that of price modulation
Welcoming the Minister earlier, PPPRA Acting Executive Secretary, Mrs. Sotonye Iyoyo commended the minister and solicited his support for the smooth running of the agency. She also requested the minister to undertake the automation of PPPRA Operations for improved efficiency and transparency and also develop a pricing framework to encourage local refining and discourage importation of petroleum products in the long term.
Meanwhile, as part of efforts to end the month-long scarcity of petrol in the country, 35 ships laden with petroleum products and other goods began to arrived Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports in Lagos yesterday.
Confirming the arrival, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, explained that the four ships arrived the ports waiting to berth with petrol and aviation fuel.
The petroleum products are expected to ease the prevalent fuel scarcity across the country.
The federal government has come under intense criticism due to its seeming inability to curb the scarcity.
Despite federal government’s fixing of official price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise called petrol at N86.00 per litre for Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC- owned filling stations and N86.50 per litre for other marketers, Nigerian Pilot investigations revealed that the product is selling above N150 per litre in many filling stations across the country and between N250 to N300 per litre at the black market.
Most of the petrol filling stations, including those belonging to major retailers such as NNPC, Mobil, Total, Oando, Fort Oil show that the scarce product is bought by consumers because they have no choice.
Unfortunately, the current price of petrol in Nigeria is the highest among all the member countries of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.