Government is very concerned about the fuel queues which have appeared in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country. As Nigerians can attest, the Petroleum Ministry and NNPC have worked very hard to reduce them to the barest minimum. We sympathise with Nigerians whose lives are being disrupted by the queues and assure them that we are working hard to end them as quickly as possible.
The situation is due to a mix of factors including disruption of pipelines and logistical issues and they are being attended to urgently.
I want to emphasize that contrary to some unfounded speculations, the queues are not caused by payment issues. As you know, we paid the marketers a total of N320.8 billion from the Excess Crude account in two instalments in December last year. This underscores the fact that we are taking payment of marketers very seriously indeed. We’ve been in constant touch and talking with the marketers and a week ago we reached an agreement with them on their core concerns which we have addressed.
Specifically, we have taken the following steps:
- We’ve reached an agreement with the marketers union on the N185 billion balance of their payment.
- As part of this agreement, we are paying not only the costs they’ve incurred and their fees but also interest and forex differentials.
- DMO has issued SDNs to cover N100 billion out of the N185 billion agreed upon as balance for the next payments.
- CBN has also given approvals for the banks to issue letters of credit.
MARKETERS UNION AND MOST MEMBERS ARE COOPERATIVE BUT SOME MEMBERS ARE NOT
It is clear that while the union and most members have been cooperative, some of their members are not. Some of these people have even refused to open LCs to facilitate their payments. We salute the union and the members who are working hard to end this unfortunate situation. As for those who are working in the other direction, Nigerians should ask them what their motives are.
SUPPLIES ARE IMPROVING
To end this unfortunate situation as quickly as possible, the Petroleum Ministry and NNPC are taking strong action to improve supplies in this election season. I’ve been speaking with MOMAN and they’ve assured me that they are working hard to increase supplies and more are on the way. 40m litres of product are being distributed in Lagos today. As at yesterday, 86 trucks have come into Lagos and another 86 trucks are heading to Abuja. Other parts of the country are also included in the plans. So the situation should improve soon. Once again, we wish to express our sympathy with Nigerians for this very unsatisfactory situation and salute their patience as we work hard to end the situation as soon as possible.