The Buhari administration has come out with an official report stating the causes of and actions being taken to address the ongoing fuel crisis that has disrupted much of the country for the last couple of days.
In a Fact Sheet released to media, the federal government pointed to the initial fuel shortages as being “caused by rumours of price increases, leading to hoarding and diversion by marketers, and panic buying by citizens.” It also lay the blame on the industry union, PENGASSAN, strike action, which exacerbated the crisis.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, said in a statement that the challenge was “a reminder that we can do more and we are committed to doing more. I empathize with every Nigerian.”
The President, in a statement on December 24, had said that “relevant agencies will continue to provide updates on the situation…” And it now appears that indeed action is being taken on a number of fronts by the NNPC, following the Group MD’s briefings with the President on Saturday, December 23.
The administration highlighted the following interventions it has initiated:
- Activating a so-called ‘Fuel War Room’ (FWR) to “coordinate all intervention activities for Supply & Distribution (S&D) of petrol nationwide.”
- 24-hour loading operations at all NNPC depots and mega stations across the country; an order that also extends to all major oil marketers.
- National Truck-out capacity increased to an average of 1,500 trucks per day, amounting to 52 million litres per day.
- Sanctions on marketers hoarding or selling fuel above government-regulated price of N145/litre
NNPC has indicated that “13 vessels containing more than 650 million litres of products are currently discharging petrol, while additional vessels have been lined up to berth [for] early January 2018,” according to the administration’s Press Office.
It is, however, not clear if these measures have had any measurable impact on the situation on ground, or is enough to deter black market operators from exploiting the crisis, as has been the case for a number of days.