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Published On: Wed, Jan 3rd, 2018

Kachikwu heads FG panel to probe fuel scarcity

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By Lawrence Olaoye

The federal government has set up a panel chaired by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to look into the root causes of the fuel scarcity experienced by the people during the Yuletide and proffer solutions to prevent recurrence.
Following President Muhammadu Buhari promise to investigate the fuel scarcity which made life difficult for Nigerians during the Yuletide, the government yesterday summoned critical stakeholders to a meeting to brainstorm on how to handle fuel importation and supply in the country.
At the meeting were Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS); leadership of DAPMAN, IPMAN and other heads of security agencies in the country.
The meeting chaired by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, resolved to set up a committee headed by Kachikwu to make recommendations to end fuel scarcity once and for all.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources said “The whole idea was to do a centric analysis of what really went wrong. Like you know for over two years we have been out of this petroleum, it’s been working well, NNPC has been managing it properly and suddenly there was this gap. So they wanted us to put heads together to find out what went wrong. It’s not a fault finding meeting. How do we take corrective measures to avoid that and what are the things that are creating the difficulties in the system. Because fuel scarcity has been ever lingering 30, 40 year old thing and I think it is to the credit of Mr. President and his government over the last two years that we haven’t had any of this through his policy that he has enunciated.
“So that was the objective of today’s meeting. Everybody gave ideas, everybody was collaboratively finding solutions.
“The GMD started by presenting what the scenario was. At least for now it has taken away the fuel queues that you see. Then dig into the long term solutions and everybody contributed.
“We set up a committee which I will head, members included the GMD, most of the parastatals in the ministry, DAPMAN, IPMAN, NOMAN, Labour unions, and we are to meet in my office tomorrow and dig deeper into this thing and find a long term solution.
“This is a major concern that Nigerians should not be made to suffer, that Nigerians do not get through the kind of thing they went through this December. We want to find lasting solution and that is what the committee will come out with in the resolutions tomorrow.”
Asked whether the government would punish those oil marketers regarded as saboteurs by making fuel unavailable to the people, Kachikwu said the government would sanction any of the marketers found culpable provided there are water-tight evidences to show that they actually committed sabotage.
Dapo Abiodun Chairman, of Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN), who spoke to newsmen after the meeting emphasized that it was not correct to say that marketers caused the fuel scarcity by hoarding the products.
Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN)’s President, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, in his reaction said the Chief of Staff had given the assurance that all,issues around fuel scarcity would be resolved just as he disclosed that government had assured that local refineries would come on stream to produce at full capacity.

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