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Tuesday 30 April 2024

Reps invite petroleum minister over petrol scarcity

The house of representatives has invited the minister of petroleum resources over the persistent petrol scarcity in the country.

President Bola Tinubu is the minister of petroleum resources while Heineken Lokpobiri serves as the minister of state for the ministry.

The green chamber did not specify if Lokpobiri or Tinubu is to appear before them. 

However, it is improbable that the lawmakers would invite the president.

The 8th assembly similarly invited former President Muhammadu Buhari — who had also retained the petroleum minister designation during his stint — but he did not honour the invitation.

The lower legislative chamber passed its resolution during plenary on Tuesday, following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Shehu Ajilo from Kaduna state.

The minister is expected to brief the lawmakers on the persistent petrol scarcity across the country.

In the last two weeks, long queues have resurfaced in petrol stations amid scarcity of the product. The scenario has led to an increase in transport costs. 

Ajilo, while moving the motion, said fuel scarcity is “coming at a time when the adverse economic effect caused by subsidy removal and soaring inflation is yet to be addressed”.

“Concerned that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Ltd is yet to address this perennial and persistent fuel scarcity problem faced by Nigerians despite the volume of resources at its disposal,” he said. 

“Most worrisome that all these economic quagmires have made the lives of average Nigerians unbearable with a litre of fuel selling for as much as N1200 in some states of the Federation.”

The lawmaker said parliament must “rise to the occasion to ensure that lasting measures are taken to address this unfortunate and embarrassing situation permanently in the interest” of all Nigerians.

On April 25, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited attributed the petrol scarcity to logistics issues, assuring Nigerians that “they have been resolved”.

On Tuesday, Femi Soneye, NNPC spokesperson, said the shortfall in the supply of petroleum products and queues for the products will be cleared by May 1.

Soneye said the company currently has more than 1.5 billion litres of product available, enough to last for at least 30 days.

“Unfortunately, we experienced a three-day disruption in distribution due to logistical issues, which has since been resolved,” he said.

“However, as you know, overcoming such disruptions typically requires double the amount of time to return to normal operations.”

READ ALSO: Fuel Scarcity: Marketers Threaten to Withdraw Services Over N200bn Debt


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