Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, has said that Nigerians, especially residents of the Federal Capital Territory are likely to continue to witness fuel queues until there is complete deregulation of petrol.
Timipre Sylva stated this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.
The Minister explained that the fuel queues were not caused by shortages in the supply of fuel but by the reluctance of petroleum marketers to sell at the recommended retail price.
“If you look at it, there are no queues when you leave Abuja. In most places, only in the Abuja metropolis do you continue to have these queues. So, is it that there is less supply to Abuja than to the rest of the country? It is not so. It is because if you go out of Abuja, they can afford to probably sell at higher prices.
“And I’m sure a lot of you must be buying at higher prices. But within Abuja, because of the watchful eye of the federal government, they cannot sell at those prices. So, it’s not a very attractive market for them. I think these are all things that we might have to be dealing with for a while until we’re able to fully deregulate”, he said.
Giving updates on the rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries, Sylva said the Port-Harcourt refinery will soon become operational as he added that the Dangote Refinery will commence operation by January next year.
He assured that these issues will gradually be resolved and Nigeria will get to the point where the country will be fully supplied from in-country refined products.
The FEC had also approved, during the meeting, contracts for awards worth about ₦2.449 billion for projects in the ministries of Petroleum Resources and Environment.