By Michael Eboh & Princess Owoh
Minister of State for petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, Thursday, stated that until the downstream sector of the Nigerian petroleum industry is liberalized and subsidy of petroleum products removed, the country would continue to struggle and face challenges in terms of ensuring stable fuel supply.
Speaking in Abuja, at the presentation of the key achievements of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in three years, 2016 to 2018 and award to staff of the ministry, Kachikwu, argued that to address fuel supply challenges, the country needed to find a way to satisfy the need to provide products sufficiently for the populace and at the same time to be able to free the sector for growth.
He said, “In the midstream and downstream sectors, we have struggled. I would love to see a day when there would be no fuel scarcity in this country. But for that to happen, there are certain realities. The liberalization of the sector is going to be a panacea to being able to solve this. As long as we continue to subsidise products, create market-unfriendly type practices, we would continue to struggle.
“We are not going to trade our way out of the fuel crisis by bringing sufficiency, by expanding reserves, by extravagant costs which cost the country a lot of money; that is not the solution. The solution is to get our refineries working.”
Kachikwu noted that investments are lacking in the petroleum sector, adding that over the years, refineries’ turn around maintenance, TAM, had been fraught with faulty models which had hampered the effectiveness of the refineries.