Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, says the country will continue to struggle with fuel scarcity if it continues to subsidise petroleum products.
The junior minister made this statement on Thursday at a programme organised by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to celebrate its achievements in three years and honour its staff.
“In the midstream and downstream sector, we have struggled. I’d love to see a day when there will be no fuel scarcity in this country but for that to happen, there are certain realities whether we want to accept the facts or not,” he said.
“The liberalisation of the sector is going to be a panacea for being able to solve this. As long as we continue to subsidise products, create very market unfriendly type taxes, we are going to continue to struggle.
“So we need to find a way that we meet the needs to provide products sufficiently for the populace and at the same time free the sector to grow.”
Speaking further, Kachikwu said the NNPC is already deliberating on the terms for the refurbishment of the four refineries.
“Investments are lacking in this sector, we’ve been working on trying to rebuild the four refineries. We got approval from the president in January 2016. NNPC has struggled in terms of finding the financials. Financials have finally been found but to find the terms have been difficult.
“We are having a meeting on this tomorrow and I am hoping that by end of this year, end of first quarter next year, we would have completed the commercial aspect of this financial undertaking and finally, we’ll be able to allow private sector collaborate with NNPC and repair these refineries and bring back 450,000 barrel capacity refinery back into shape. That is going to be the solution, one of the first solution to solving the fuel crisis.”
On Sunday, the Depots and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) had threatened to suspend operations if outstanding subsidy claims were not paid.
The shutdown directive was suspended on Monday when marketers agreed to give the federal government a five-day grace to pay the first tranche.