Barring any change, petroleum marketers and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, are billed to hold a crucial meeting at the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Abuja.
The meeting is to consider the re-involvement of private sector operators in the importation of petroleum products.
The corporation currently imports 100 percent of petroleum products into the country as against an earlier arrangement of 60-40 percent government, private sector participation.
Kachikwu spoke to State House Correspondents after the stakeholders adjourned a meeting convened by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa to resolve the fuel crisis experienced during the yuletide season.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the setting up of an ad-hoc committee that would engage the Federal Government on the best way to bring back oil marketers to import the products in order to meet the daily consumption requirement in the country.
“We set up a committee which I will head. Members include the group managing director of NNPC, most of the parastatals in the ministry, Deport And Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and labour unions.
“We are to meet in my office tomorrow (today) and dig deeper into this thing and find a long term solution.
“This is a major concern that Nigerians should not be made to suffer, Nigerians do not get through the kind of thing they went through this December. We want to find lasting solution and that is what the committee will come out with in the resolutions.”
On President Buhari’s decision to punish erring marketers whom he said had conspired to sabotage his government’s efforts at making petrol available to Nigerians, the minister said: “The thing is even that Nigerians who have suffered will want to be sure that we find a lasting solution and find evidential basis upon which to punish people.
“This is a democratic government,” he added.
He said the Federal Government was yet to find any evidence against one individual for sabotage.
“I don’t have one yet, if you have one, I will like to have it,” Kachikwu noted.
The Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN) absolved its members from hoarding petroleum products.
ielding questions from the newsmen, the Chairman, Dapo Abiodun said:
“There was no hoarding on the part of any marketer. 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.”
The BOT chairman of IPMAN, Aminu Abdulkadir, said the meeting today would afford the opportunity to make full disclosure on ways of augmenting marketers’ shortfall so that they can come back to the business of fuel importation.