President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed regrets for the inconvenience caused to Nigerian citizens following a prolonged shortage of petroleum products.
Nigeria has been battling with fuel scarcity following the discovery of 100 million litres of imported petrol in the supply chain with “methanol quantities above Nigeria’s specifications”.
The bad fuel damaged many vehicles and generators, leading to an emergency withdrawal of volumes of the product.
However, the President who is away in London, UK on medical tourism, said “the administration knows the fuel shortage has placed a strain on Nigerian citizens and businesses, but relief is on the way”.
“I especially apologize to all sections of society for this,” he added.
In a statement on Wednesday signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari said his government was working to solve the problem.
“The government is working round the clock to attend to this issue. An action plan agreed upon earlier this month is being implemented to address the scarcity. Working together with the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), this plan is now bearing fruit. Sufficient fuel supply has returned to a handful of states, with the queues at stations falling. In the coming days, we expect this to be the case across the rest of the country.
“Looking to the longer term, funds are being targeted toward keeping fuel availability affordable for the country. The international energy markets have surged drastically in recent months, the government will however ensure that consumers are protected against these price spikes,” he said.
The President added that he has received information that some people are not behaving properly at the depots and among owners of petrol stations and in this regard, he has directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), the NNPC and the entire security apparatus of the nation to take strong action against those responsible.
The national power grid recently collapsed, twice within 48 hours, resulting in blackouts across the country.
On the issue, Buhari said “the blackouts seen in the national grid are also being addressed. A dip in hydroelectric generation due to seasonal pressures has coincided with technical and supply problems at thermal stations. On this, the government is also working tirelessly to resolve the issues at the latter to guarantee sufficient power flows into the national grid.”
The statement further noted that as part of emergency measures put in place following a meeting convened with key stakeholders to address the low power generation in the country, the main challenge was identified as being one of low gas power generation as a result of sabotage of gas pipelines.
This, it said, led to the shutdown of power plants coupled with ongoing routine maintenance on other gas power plants.
It added that to recover over 1000MW, actions were agreed upon between the players in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) and also NNPC. The actions targeted the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) plants, (Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and power plants run under NNPC Joint Ventures, Agip and Shell (NAOC and SPDC) and progress on the key actions have already ensured the restoration to the grid of 375MW after the pipeline from “Okpai 1” was repaired.
To also ramp up the underutilised capacity of the NDPHC capacity, a USD 50 Million Gas Supply agreement is being finalized to secure the sustainability of up to 800MW of underutilized NIPP assets, the statement further said.