WITH the current foreign exchange regime making importation of fuel unattractive for independent marketers at the prevailing official pump price per litre, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is making efforts to ease the hardship citizens are suffering following non-availability of products.
The national oil company has been claiming that they have up to 756 million litres of petrol in storage facilities nationwide. But on Thursday they played a James Bond, saying they will be importing two shiploads of petrol per day for the rest of this month to boost supply and eradicate the fuel queues that had resurfaced in many cities across the country.
Each of the ships will, according to them, carry 50 million litres of petrol, making a total of 100 million litres that would be brought in daily for the rest of February to increase supply and replenish strategic reserves.
''To enhance supply also, 45 million litres of petrol were discharged from ships into jetties across the country on Wednesday'', NNPC said in a statement issued by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city.
Continuing, Ughamadu said prior to the discharge of 45 million litres, there were 324 million litres of petrol on land and 432 million litres in marine storage, making a total of 756 million litres, enough to last for 22 days at 35 million litres daily consumption rate.
''The jetties that received the 45 million litres shipment include NACJ, Apapa; Bop, Apapa; Techo Jetty, Lagos; Dutchess, Oghara; Vine Jetty, Calabar; Chipset Jetty, Lagos; and ECM Jetty, Calabar'', pointing out that to ensure efficient distribution of the product to depots in the hinterland, the Nigerian Pipeline and Storage Company, a midstream subsidiary of the NNPC, had been mandated to fix relevant pipelines to facilitate seamless pumping, in addition to the trucking arrangement that was in place.
NNPC has assured motorists and other users of petrol that with the measures in place, the fuel queues being experienced in many cities would soon be a thing of the past. In spite the 756 million litres said to already on the ground, massive queues of desperate motorists remained at the few petrol stations that dispensed the commodity in the Federal Capital Territory as well as Niger, Nasarawa and Kaduna states.
Petrol queues have persisted nationwide since last December, thereby driving up transport fares and the cost of commercial activities in the country.