By Bamidele Salako
The federal government has instructed the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to make certain that the current fuel scarcity ravaging the nation does not exceed this weekend, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed to pressmen after Wednesday’s weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House, Abuja.
While denying claims that the scarcity resulted from a plan to raise the pump price of petrol, Mohammed attributed the scarcity to the rising demand for petroleum products in the world’s cold regions where winter is in full force.
The minister also disclosed that Kachikwu assured the FEC that the coutry’s current petrol reserves are sufficient to meet domestic demand for the product till the end of January 2018, affirming that the council issued Kachikwu a directive to ensure that the scarcity does not outlast this weekend.
Mohammed also told journalists that Kachikwu guaranteed the FEC that there was no cause for alarm and that all was under control as he and his team would put in the required work to end the fuel crisis which has seen lengthy queues appear in petrol stations all across the country.
He said: “No, the government has no intention at all to increase the pump price of petrol. Two, the minister assured the council that we have enough products till the next one month even till the end of January. Thirdly, this is winter period. There is always more demand for refined petroleum products during winter period in the colder countries. This is what we are experiencing now.”
“Also, it has been the NNPC that has been importing, but he has assured [of adequate supply]. The council gave him a marching order that this fuel scarcity should not last beyond this weekend and they are going to work very hard to ensure that it is curtailed. He assured council that there is actually no cause for alarm.”