The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, on Wednesday said despite the efforts being put in place by the Federal Government, fuel queues might not be completely eliminated until about two months.
He said since he was not a magician, the fuel queues cannot be eliminated with a magic wand.
The minister, however, said he and members of his team were working hard to resolve the fuel crisis.
Kachikwu, who is also the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, spoke with State House correspondents shortly after he led a joint delegation of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said with the reality on the ground, it was by sheer magic that the country has the amount of products it currently has in the stations.
He said, “One of the trainings I did not receive is that of a magician but I am working very hard to ensure some of these issues go away.
“And let us be honest, for the five or six months we have been here, NNPC has moved from a 50 per cent importer of products to basically a 100 per cent importer and the 445 barrels that were allocated was to cover between 50 and 55 per cent importation.
“So it is quite frankly by sheer magic that we even have the amount of products at the stations. We are looking to see how to get foreign exchange input; the President and I discussed extensively on how to get more crude directed at importation.
“His Excellency will rather have less crude but have individuals in the society suffer less with inconveniences than to have more crude and have them (Nigerians) continue to suffer.
“So we are going to put a new model to enable us increase the pace and actually get majors as part of the crew of those to bring in more products so that the NNPC will sort of go back on the capacity of what it used to do and the majors will take over the balance of importation.
“I think if we do that although, I don’t want to put a time frame, but I will expect that over the next two months, we should see quite frankly a complete elimination of this (fuel queue).
Kachikwu said government’s strategy was that whatever is produced in the refineries would not be sold but be kept in strategic reserve.
This, according to him, is because the major problem is that there is no reserve anytime there is gap in supply.