NNPC hands off kerosene import amidst scarcity

Nigeria spent $13.8bn on fuel importation in 2016 --NBS

Amidst kerosene scarcity in parts of Nigeria, it has been confirmed that the NNPC had since October 2016 stopped all direct involvements in importing the products into Nigeria.

The corporation was said to have done this to enable it pay more attention to having PMS (petrol) available to avoid possible scarcity during the 2016 Yuletide, in line with a Presidency directive.

Kerosene, which serves dual purpose for domestic and industrial uses, especially, as aviation fuel has as a result maintained a steady rise in price with a litre, which should sell for N150, currently going for between N250 to N300, depending on the location.

The situation is not helped by major marketers complaining of running unsettled bank loan of about $1.8 billion in 2016 alone, making it impossible for them to change the situation.

However, the NNPC Corporate Affairs manager, Ndu Ughamadu, said kerosene is not in the exclusive list of products for his corporation.

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According to him, with government removing all restrictions on importation of petroleum products, marketers have the freedom to fill up any shortfall in supply at anytime.

But another source said failure of the refineries in Nigeria to produce kerosene has worsened the situation over the past five years.

Even members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have expressed shock that they could not lift kerosene from any of the major depots and were not given any reason for the situation, nor told when the situation would improve.

NUPENG national chairman, Comrade Rotimi Benjamin, lamented the hardship that the situation has caused tanker owners and drivers, who specialise on the product.

He described as a shame, the fact that government’s promises to dedicate some units of three of its refineries for production of kerosene had not yielded any result.

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