CEM REPORT | The Federal Government have said petrol queues experienced across the country is not as a result of shortage in supply but for the reluctance of petroleum marketers to sell at the recommended retail price.
FG also says the solution to the queues would be to completely deregulate petrol.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, stated this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Minister while briefing journalists explained that it was no longer profitable for marketers to sell at the regulated price of N165/litre especially in Abuja and hence divert the product to where they could sell above the recommended retail price.
“If you look at it, there are no queues when you leave Abuja. In most places, it is only in Abuja metropolis you continue to have these queues. So, it is as though there is less supply to Abuja than to the rest of the country.
“It is not so. It is because if you go out of Abuja, they can afford to probably sell at higher prices. And I’m sure a lot of you must be buying at higher prices.”
He further pointed that the high cost of diesel was as a result of deregulation of the product and especially the Russia-Ukraine war.
“But of course, you know the geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and Russia is still on and it’s really affecting the global prices of this commodity.
‘’So, it is not really something from Nigeria. It is something that is affecting the global community; everywhere in the world is having the same problem. If you go to the UK, they are still talking about inflation; if you go to America, they’re talking about inflation, because there are issues and it’s all coming from the geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and Russia.”
On the on-going rehabilitation of refineries, Sylva said the Port-Harcourt refinery would soon become operational, and will abate the issues associated with petroleum products in the country.
“So, these issues will gradually be resolved and we will get to the point where Nigeria will be fully supplied from in-country refined products,”
On why Kaduna and Warri Refineries’ workers were still drawing salaries, even when they were not producing anything, the Minister explained that most of the workers had been redeployed, with a few others doing skeletal services to prevent pilfering at the facilities.
He added that the Dangote Refinery would commence operation by January next year.