Senator Uche Ekwunife, Chairman, Senate Committee on Downstream, on Sunday said that the committee would engage the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on speedy sales of foreign exchange (forex) to fuel marketers.
Ekwunife said this during the oversight function of the committee to some fuel depots in Lagos.
She said that the essence of the oversight function of the committee was to investigate ongoing fuel scarcity in spite of the pronouncement by the NNPC that the product was available in the country.
The chairman said that most of the operators of the depots visited by the committee lamented the inability of marketers to buy foreign exchange to import petroleum products.
She said: ‘’We are concerned about the long queues at filling stations across the country caused by the sacristy of fuel which has been affecting the general public.
“We, the Senate Committee on Downstream Sector, will ensure that CBN finds a lasting solution to ways marketers of petroleum products can assess foreign exchange from banks to fast-track importation.
“If marketers are able to assess the forex on time and as at when due, this will go a long way in addressing fuel scarcity in the country,’’ she said.
Ekwunife said that the committee would also discuss with the CBN the ways differentials in foreign exchange payment by marketers could be effected on time to address ongoing fuel importation challenges.
She, however, lauded the Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company (NIPCO), for its support to the national development in ensuring effective and prompt loading of petroleum products from gantry to the stations across the country.
She appealed to NIPCO to increase its loading trucks so as to cushion the effect of fuel scarcity and support government in ensuring availability of petrol to the people on time.
The chairman said that: “We cannot continue to have scarcity in the country when depot owners have what it takes to discharge products.
“All depots should beef up their loading capacities to reflect on the common people struggling to buy the product at filling stations.
“We must ensure that product gets to the end-users and all depots should also build truck parks that will contain many trucks to avoid parking on the highways,’’ she said.
Also, Mr Venkataraman Venkatapathy, the Managing Director, NIPCO, said that the company would remain an ally of government in ensuring the availability of petroleum products across the country.
He said that the company had been doing this through its depot operations and branded stations as well independent marketers’ outlets that loaded in the terminal.
He said that pricing of petroleum products at the company’s depot had always been at the government approved depot rates.
Venkatapathy said that concerted efforts were on to ensure that only registered marketers with verifiable outlets load in the company.
The managing director implored government to look into the area of gas, especially in the realm of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as vehicular fuel.
He said that such step would save the nation and its citizenry the hiccups always experienced in the importation of liquid fuel.
According to him, it is in pursuance of harnessing the abundant gas resources in the country
He that the company, in a Joint Venture scheme with Nigeria Gas Company (NGC), floated Green Gas Ltd., to provide necessary infrastructure to aid the use of gas as vehicular fuel and power industrial concerns.
The managing director stated that the giant stride of Green Gas Ltd., was already manifesting as a revolution not only in Nigeria but also in Africa.
He added that the development would save government lots of forex at a time the nation was witnessing a lot of stress in importing petrol.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Senate Committee visited NIPCO, MRS, Capital Oil and Atlas Cove. (NAN)
Source : Leadership