Kachikwu rues Nigeria's inability to refine oil

FG plans to increase fuel price to N180 per litre

Similarly, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, says the Federal Government is working assiduously to revamp the country's refineries to address the problems of fuel crisis.

"This is a major concern that Nigerians should not be made to suffer, that Nigerians do not get through the kind of thing they went through this December".

A lot of issues were raised and a committee was constituted that will meet tomorrow under the chairmanship of the minister of petroleum to further go into the nitty-gritty and to ensure that these problems do not reoccur again.

Marketers are your brothers, they are Nigerian citizens, they are businessmen, no marketer makes money from hoarding petroleum products, our business is to take petrol and sell. "So we will need to find that evidence, we will definitely punish those who were doing things that are wrong, but more fundamental and more importantly is that we want to find lasting solutions and we all want to work more collaboratively".

"This is a democratic government. If you have one, I will like to have it", Kachikwu noted.

They also denied accusations that they were to blame for the scarcity of the product across the country.

DAPMAN Chairman Dapo Abiodun told State House reporters late that there was no subsidy on petrol at the moment.

He listed non-payment to marketers as one of the reasons for the scarcity. Following the Hurricane Katrina in the month of September, October, crude prices went up and marketers lost the ability to import and sell at N145 per litre.

The Minister, who appeared before the National Assembly Joint Committees on Petroleum, also added that its a shame that Nigeria can not refine its crude oil after 40 years of activities in the downstream.

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He said there was no evidence to punish any marketer for hoarding petrol, assuring all stakeholders that part of the demands of the meeting was to name marketers who erred.

"Two, to give room for modulated deregulation where NNPC would be allowed to continue selling at N145 per litre in all its mega stations across the country while the independent marketers should be allowed to sell at whatever price is profitable to them in all their outlets".

He said every participant had an opportunity to contribute ideas on how to solve the problem, which the NNPC blamed on the illegal activities of the marketers.

The situation, from our point of view, is that from January to December, the price of crude remained relatively stable. "Since the price of crude is directly proportional to refined product, we could not import petrol and sell at N145 anymore". Marketers bring in a certain volume and NNPC also brings in a certain volume.

Although the NNPC is supposed to supply 50 per cent of the products to complement the marketers, no other group is able to import petrol now because of the price.

The minister disclosed further that as a result of the N26 difference per litre between the current landing cost of the product ( N171) and pump price of N145, NNPC which had been singularly importing the product at the volume of 25 million litres per day since October a year ago, has been incurring a daily loss of about N800-N900 million, cumulatively reaching N85.5billion today, in just three months.

The President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chinedu Okoronkwo, said the meeting reached a resolution that would see the fuel supply problem resolved once and for all.

According to him, a Presidential committee has been set up to look for how to cushion the effect of higher price crude and lower price downstream sales at N145, adding: "It is 18 months plan before private refineries come on stream".

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