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 lingering fuel crisis.
Kachikwu said this on Thursday in Abuja during a one-day public hearing of the National Assembly Joint Committees on Petroleum (Downstream), investigating the causes of recent fuel scarcity recorded across the country in December 2017.
The minister, who decried the poor state of the refineries over the years, condemned their inability to produce sufficient fuel for the country.
According to him, it is shameful that a country after over 35 years cannot produce sufficient fuel for its citizens.
“I have said that selling crude is a fairly wrong model which is akin to selling our agricultural products in the wrong way and nobody does that anywhere in the world anymore.
“Unless we have operational refineries, there will be no permanent solution to the fuel crisis in the country,’’ Kachikwu said.
He also said that a lot of work was going on to ensure private sector participation in refining crude oil.
“The gearing up of private refineries and the modular refineries will complement the efforts of the government’s owned refineries to ensure there is adequate supply of petroleum products in the country,” said the minister.
He said government had mapped out strategies to ensure availability of petrol which will be sold at government regulated price.
While sympathising with Nigerians for the difficulties experienced during the period of fuel shortages, Kachikwu blamed it on the inability of major oil marketers to import fuel due to price differentials between rise in price of crude oil and the cost in Nigeria.
“Before, you have both sides complementing each other because 100 per cent supply is demanding and people took advantage of the situation to perpetrate a lot of diversion.
“There is always a commercial reaction.
“The business module of fuel supply in the country is not yet where it should be but within the 18 months period expected to have the refineries work, we are working on how to accept benefits of crude price increase and ensure fuel sells at regulated price,’’ Kachikwu said.