The Federal Government has shifted the blames of the lingering fuel crisis and its attendant socio-economic impacts on the bad policies of the past administration led by Goodluck Jonathan.
Jonathan regime should be blamed for the crisis because it failed to make adequate provision for fuel subsidy in the 2015 budget, while bequeathing to the present government a petroleum sector that is in shambles.
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, made the controversial submission on Monday after a rescheduled emergency Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
“One of the reasons for the fuel scarcity was the inability of the last government to make adequate provision for fuel subsidy. We do face some other logistic problems but majorly, we are paying for the sins of the last administration,” Mohammed explained.
He argues further: “You remember that about two weeks ago, we had to go to the National Assembly for a supplementary budget of N674 billion. Of that figure, N522billion was for arrears of fuel subsidy which was incurred as far back as August last year.
According to the minister, the new administration stepped into the situation to avoid further deterioration of the crisis. “The solution is what you have seen us doing. The first thing we have done now is to make sure that unlike before when the marketers used to import the major percentage of the fuel. NNPC has been involved in importation, because some of the marketers had stopped importing for a couple of months. If you see any fuel anywhere today, it is imported by the NNPC. ”
He also blamed the difficulties in effective distribution of fuel across the country to the damaged pipelines facilities it inherited from the past administration. “We also inherited vandalised pipelines which has made it impossible for us to even transport the fuel. In tanks today we have 14 days reserve and off tank we have 10 days reserve.
“The issue is not non-availability of the product, it is the distribution, because of pipelines that have been vandalised and the gridlock in Lagos. It takes about five days for anybody to take fuel with tanker in Lagos.
“As at two days ago this matter has been resolved. The Mosinmi pipeline has been secured and it has led to improvement in the distribution,” he said.
By Olisemeka Obeche