Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, has assured the current queues at fuel stations in different parts of the country would soon disappear.
Kyari gave the assurance on Tuesday while speaking with State House Correspondents, after a routine briefing with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Fuel stations all over the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have started witnessing long queues of motorists struggling to buy the premium motor spirit (PMS), also known as petrol since Saturday.
The situation worsened on Tuesday.
However, while fielding questions from State House Correspondents, Kyari, who explained the observed scarcity had been as a result of suspension of operations by tanker drivers, who were protesting some labour issues with their employers, said the worst is over as the strike had been suspended for one week.
According to him, the tanker drivers, as at Tuesday, had already resumed lifting fuel from depots across the country.
He added the agreement struck with the aggrieved drivers would enable government to reach a more lasting understanding on the matter.
“These queues will go away. It’s because there was an industrial action by petroleum tanker drivers against their employers, the National Association of Road Transport Owners around their compensation package and those issues were not resolved up till yesterday, until we intervene to ensure that there’s an amicable settlement between the parties so that they will have peace and then normal loading operations will commence from the depots.
“As I speak to you at this moment, loading has commenced in all depots in the country, dispatches of trucks are ongoing in all the depots in the country and they have called off the strike for a period of one week to enable us intervene and find a solution. So there’s really nothing fundamental that is happening now,” he assured.
Asked about government’s plan to end the petrol subsidy regime, the NNPC GMD said government was still in the process of working out the best way out of the current situation, which he assured would be in the best interest of the ordinary citizen.
“Subsidy is a policy matter, I’m sure you’re aware of this, there are engagements going on within government to get the best framework for having a fully deregulated PMS market.
” As this is going on, we are engaging all parties and all stakeholders as government and to make sure that at the end of the day, there’s an exit that is beneficial to the ordinary man.
“That is why we know we will not be able to complete that in the month of May and and therefore we declared that there will be no increase in fuel price. I have no update in hand now, this is beyond me, but we’re engaging to make sure that we have the right timeline,” he said.
Asked how recent rising crude oil price at the global market had impacted on the NNPC’s revenue, especially during a season when the country is discussing removal of fuel subsidy, Kyari said: “you know it works both ways. Once prices increase, your revenue also increases.
“So I don’t have any numbers around it, but I also know that your obligation to price of petroleum increases and your net revenue also increases. There’s a balancing factor, I don’t think there’s anything much to worry about,” he explained.