…Says no permanent solution to fuel crisis without operational refineries
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has decried the poor state of the Nigeria’s refineries over the years, even as he blamed their inability to produce sufficient fuel for the perennial product shortage experienced in the country.
Kachikwu, who said this on Thursday in Abuja during a one-day public hearing of the National Assembly Joint Committees on Petroleum (Downstream), investigating the causes of recent fuel scarcity recorded across the country since December 2017, however, said the Federal Government is working assiduously to revamp the country’s refineries to address the problems of fuel crisis.
The minister noted that it is shameful that a country after over 35 years cannot produce sufficient fuel for its citizens.
He said, “I have said that selling crude is a fairly wrong model which is akin to selling our agricultural products in the wrong way and nobody does that anywhere in the world anymore. Unless we have operational refineries, there will be no permanent solution to the fuel crisis in the country.”
He also said that a lot of work was going on to ensure private sector participation in refining crude oil.
According to him, “The gearing up of private refineries and the modular refineries will complement the efforts of the government-owned refineries to ensure there is adequate supply of petroleum products in the country.”
He said that government had mapped out strategies to ensure availability of petrol which will be sold at the government-regulated price.
While sympathising with Nigerians for the difficulties experienced during the period of fuel shortages, Kachikwu blamed it on the inability of major oil marketers to import fuel due to price differentials between rise in price of crude oil and the cost in Nigeria.
“Before you have both sides complementing each other because 100 per cent supply is demanding and people took advantage of the situation to perpetrate a lot of diversion. There is always a commercial reaction.
“The business module of fuel supply in the country is not yet where it should be but within the 18 months period expected to have the refineries work, we are working on how to accept benefits of crude price increase and ensure fuel sells at regulated price,” Kachikwu said.