Read Time:2 Minute, 48 Second
While speaking in Abuja during a visit to the corporate headquarters of Daily Trust newspaper, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the government feels the pains of Nigerians, stressing that the effort of the Buhari-led administration will soon yield positive results.
“As a government that was propelled into office by the power of the people, we cannot but feel the pains of our compatriots, and we deeply empathise with them,” Mohammed said.
”Our message to our compatriots is that this Administration, under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, is working round the clock to ease the pains of Nigerians, and that very soon, the efforts of the government will begin to yield fruits for the benefit of Nigerians.”
He said the government can see the criticisms in several quarters about the ‘Change’ agenda of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
”We understand the skepticism of Nigerians in questioning whether this indeed is the change they voted for. I can tell Nigerians that our Change Agenda is real, and that indeed Nigerians will get the change they voted for,” he assured.
Commenting on the degenerating fuel scarcity, Mohammed said immediate measures are being taken to end the scarcity while medium and long term solutions are being worked out to prevent a recurrence.
”Petroleum supply and distribution have been ramped up across the country by the NNPC to ensure product availability in the country, but repeated trips to filling stations and the backlog are making it impossible to immediate feel the impact.
”Monitoring has also been intensified to ensure full compliance with approved prices.
“Violations of approved prices and hoarding of petroleum products attract severe penalties, including giving out of petroleum products free to the public, sealing off of fuel stations found to be hoarding petroleum products, payment of fine as well as withdrawal of Marketer’s License,” he said.
The Minister further stated that the supply constraints due to foreign exchange challenges are being resolved through collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria on innovative ways of closing the gaps in accessing foreign exchange.
Mohammed also announced that the International Upstream Oil Companies to support major oil marketing companies with some of the required foreign exchange, thus complementing the efforts of the NNPC which has been solely importing the refined products, in addition to the fact that the Corporation is pursuing an improved model for ‘crude oil for refined product’ exchange to eliminate inefficiencies.
”The ultimate is to ensure self-sufficiency in refined products supply by ramping up our local Refining capacity. All local Refineries will be made to run at a minimum 70% capacity utilization in the weeks ahead. This is in addition to the initiative of increasing the combined capacity of the domestic refineries through co-locating smaller but cost efficient modular refineries within the existing refineries premises,” he said.
Also speaking on the power supply problems, the Minster blamed it on lack of gas supply to the power generating stations, he said the NNPC is seeking alternative sources of gas supply after the attack on the Forcados Export Pipeline forced the cut off of gas supplies to the stations.
He however said the gas supply that was cut off following the attacks on the Forcados Pipeline would soon be restored as Shell, the operators of the pipeline, has awarded the contract to repair it.