Petrol scarcity: Queues will fizzle out soon, says House of Reps

he House of Representatives Committees on Petroleum Resources (Midstream and Downstream) yesterday assured Nigerians that the long queues at filling stations across the country will disappear in the next one or two days.

They said the logistic problems that led to fuel scarcity, which caused untold hardship among Nigerians, have been resolved.

The committees’ Chairmen Ikenga Ugochinyere and Henry Odianosen Okojie gave the assurance while addressing reporters at the National Assembly complex yesterday in Abuja.

The lawmakers said the logistic issues ranged from the difficulty experienced in transporting products from the mother vessels to onshore, the movement of products with marine shuttle vessels, and disruptions in the Escravos channels, among others.

Reading a joint statement by the two committee chairmen, Ugochinyere said the National Assembly had got the assurances of regulators that the bottlenecks in the distribution value chain had been cleared.

The lawmaker said investigation revealed that petroleum products were available but their distribution had some hiccups.

He added that the country’s storage facilities had at least about 1.5 billion litres of petrol that could last 30 days.

Ugochinyere said the National Assembly has liaised with stakeholders in the petroleum distribution value chain to address the issues that caused the long queues.

The stakeholders, the lawmaker said, include the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), and the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO).

He said the National Assembly engaged extensively with the stakeholders to ascertain the cause of the fuel queues at filling stations across the country.

“However, we are convinced that this is temporary, based on our investigation. In a couple of days, we shall get over it,” Ogochinyere said.

According to him, more grounds will be covered during the Workers’ Day holiday.

The lawmaker urged fellow Nigerians not to panic over this development.

“We have got assurances from the regulators and the unions that these challenges will be cleared in a few days. It will require more time, like two to three days, for products to be distributed to all stations nationwide. As a committee that is charged with downstream and midstream oversight, we have been monitoring this development.

“…We strongly frown at the activities of middlemen who have taken advantage of the short disruption of supply to maximise profit and generate inordinate gain for themselves at the detriment of our people.

“We hereby call on security forces to support the NNPCL, NMDPRA, PETROAN, NARTO and other key stakeholders in the distribution value chain to ensure that such acts of economic sabotage that have to do with hoarding, arbitrary increment in price, products diversion and smuggling are detected and dealt with.

“Our people have been through a lot in the last few days and we must not plunge them into further pains. We appeal to all traders and those rendering services not to unduly take advantage of this temporary challenge, which will be cleared in the next few days,” the committee chairmen said.

<<The Nation>>

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