Insists no plan to hike fuel price
By Lawrence Olaoye
The Federal Government has directed the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu to stop fuel scarcity by end of this week.
This is even as the Federal Government insisted that it has no plan to increase the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), assuring that the queues at the filling stations across the country will fizzle out by the end of the week.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed government’s directive to Kachikwu while answering questions from State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting Wednesday.
Wednesday’s FEC was chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo due to President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence occasioned by the official visit of the President to Kano State.
Lai Mohammed said, the directive was given to the minister yesterday during the weekly FEC meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to the minister, “The council gave him a matching 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.”
However, Lai Mohammed said Kachikwu assured council that, there is actually no cause for alarm.
Responding to question on the long queues at the filling stations across the country Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the scarcity was brought about by increase in demand for the product by colder countries experiencing winter across the world.
Mohammed, who responded to question on whether the government was planning to increase pump price said “The minister of petroleum was suppose to join us but he has to attend a very important meeting so that this crisis would be resolved.
“No. The government has no intention at all that to increase the pump price of PMS.
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 products for petroleum during winter period in the colder countries. This is what we are experiencing now.
Also that it has been the NNPC that has been importing but he has assured.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who also briefed newsmen said that the Council approved six more private universities across the country.
According the Minister of Education, the six new universities approved by the Council include Admiralty University, Ibusa, Delta state, Spiritan University, Nneochi, Abia, Precious Cornerstone University, Ibadan, Pamo University of Medical Sciences, Port-Harcourt, Atiba University, Oyo State and Eko University of Medical and Health Sciences Lagos.
While maintaining that the Council may soon approve more applications for private university, The Minister insisted that “The NUC is going to take the issue of accreditation very seriously and if any university fails to meet their standard, we are going to deregister their courses and enough courses are deregistered, it will lead to the closure of the University.”
On why the government was finding it difficult to honour its agreements with the non-teaching staff of Nigerian universities, Adamu said “As far as I know, we had sat down with the unions. We met and these issues had been thrashed out, I don’t know that there was problem that rose later because I travelled out of the country and came back yesterday (Tuesday). But as far as I am concerned, these things had been addressed before I left and the formula that was used to share the money was agreed by them. They sat down with the officials in the Ministry of Education and agreed. So the money was not for ASUU alone, it was for all the unions.
He continued “The shortfall in salary is being addressed. On the teachers of staff schools, it will certainly take time. Government has accepted the Court verdict that says they should be reinstated and they will be reinstated. I think the only issue before I left was that they will be in salary relevant to the what they are doing, they are not university staff, so they will just be receiving normal salaries like the grade level they get.”