• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Okonjo-Iweala assures on fuel scarcity ending before Saturday

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the minister of finance and coordinating minister for the economy, has assured Nigerians that the fuel scarcity which is currently being witnessed across the country would ease off at least by Saturday.She stated this while briefing journalists after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which was presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, who gave a marching order to the central bank governor, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the minister of finance to put an end to the fuel crisis. She was joined at the briefing by Edem Duke, the supervising minister of information; Olusegun Aganga, minister of industry, trade and investment, and Labara Malam, minister of environment.

She said council extensively discussed the scarcity which had led to long queues of vehicles at filling stations across the country, adding that after proper briefings on the causes and solutions, Jonathan gave specific instructions on how to deal with the matter.
Okonjo-Iweala said while the financial issues have been taken care of, the products are being loaded and would start arriving Abuja and Lagos any time from now. She, however, insisted that the scarcity was caused by a constellation of factors which included the depreciation in exchange rate.
“The second issue is really about the fuel marketers and fuel marketing situation and the lines of the queues being experienced in the country.
“We discussed that at the FEC because the president wanted prompt and quick action to improve the situation as fast as possible “So, after the briefing and discussion on both the financial and physical side, what emanated is that this situation, we hope will soon be resolved because both on the financial side action has been taken and it is being implemented through the Ministry of Finance and the governor of the CBN. “Let it be known that in December we paid N320.2 billion to marketers to settle their claims and as of now what has been approved by Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) is about N185 billion on Sunday, which we are issuing sovereign debt notes to which is tantamount to having government guarantee that they will be paid.

“But the long and short of the matter is that the financial issue has been taken care of. The physical quantities are being loaded to be brought to Abuja and Lagos and other cities that are suffering so that hopefully tomorrow (Thursday) and next (Friday), we should begin to see these queues reduced as supplies arrive up to Saturday, we hope that Abuja will be cleared. “So the summary is that FEC is concerned about the matter; we discussed and beyond discussing it, the president gave instruction on how to deal with it so that physical quantities will be available and the queues will diminish, and by the end of the week we have a situation that are clarified. “Going forward, LCs have been opened, you know being opened by the marketers and therefore we should be in a reasonable situation to handle this fuel issue, going forward. So, progress is what we want to report on this issue”, she said.

 

ELIZABETH ARCHIBONG, Abuja