Kachikwu blames fuel queues on logistics gap
Minister of state for petroleum resources, Ibe Kachikwu has said long queues at filling stations has nothing to do with petrol supply scarcity but as a result of logistics challenges and urged the public to ignore rumours of planned upward review of pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also called petrol.
Kachikwu, who addressed the current supply situation while speaking with journalists at the opening of the second edition of the Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Oil and Gas Trainers Association, OGTAN, said that as far as he is concerned there is no discussion within government circle about petrol price review and wondered how the rumour began and impatience of motorists to interrogate such speculation and gossip.
“I took time to go round some stations in Lagos and I discovered that the queues which resurfaced has disappeared and let me tell you the issue of petrol pricing is a sensitive thing, you can see how the oil Unions quickly reacted to the rumour and again the government is sensitive and engages stakeholders in every decision or policy it makes. Therefore this spontaneous reaction and resurfacing of queues despite assurances by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is worrisome.”, Kachikwu said.
He expressed Correspondent confidence in the management of the NNPC and its capabilities to maintain and meet the supply needs of the country, and that the logistics gap which prompted the unnecessary panic has been resolved. But again no system is perfect, sometimes you have some of these things happen but as a responsive and responsible government, alternative arrangements are always in place such that any gap is taken care of not to allow the situation to escalate.
Giving further explanation to the situation, head of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Roland Ewubare, who represented the group managing director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru at the event, said about fifteen vessels laden with products arrived in the country but had discharge challenges especially at Warri port, but the situation has been resolved.
Ewubare, further said that even with the challenges, the NNPC has about 1 billion litres of petrol which is equivalent of above 28 days, assuring that the nation will not experience scarcity of any sort.
Meanwhile, in his goodwill message at the event, Kachikwu challenged industry operators and stakeholders to take the issue of Human Capital Development, HCD, very seriously as Nigeria currently lags behind in developing local capacity in the oil and gas industry.
The minister, expressed serious worries that the country has spent so much time dealing with issues around the sector but without tangible success stories to tell.
“I want to ask in human capital development, how can we start building Floating Production Storage and Offloading, FPSO, develop modules to transfer to the Sub-Region. When shall we allow market philosophy to drive the market with government providing enabling environment through adequate policies? When shall we begin to install our pipelines, build power plants, build our own refineries using in-country resources and attract private sector funding of projects and save government scarce resources”, the minister asked.
In his address, chairman of the occasion and former head of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon commended OGTAN for making Human Capital Development as a driver for national transformation which is the focus of the conference proceedings.
Gowon urged the government to pursue policies and programmes that will help to catalyze the development of a globally competitive human capital base for Nigeria, one that is steeped in innovation and critical 21st-century skills.
“I know your industry is driven by breakthrough innovations in science and technology, such as the ones that brought about the shale revolution, which today, has impacted the industry and world economies.
So while we must build human capacities in science and technology, engineering and mathematical, STEM, skills, let me also counsel that some of the efforts and resources are devoted to developing the leadership and the entrepreneurial competencies that complement the later. This is the only way we can ensure the growth of indigenous enterprises to sustain domestic value capture in the country”, he said.