NNPC blames social media for fuel scarcity

OrderPaperToday – The Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, has faulted the social media as the cause for fuel scarcity.

Baru made this remark when he appeared at an investigative hearing organized by a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives over the unending fuel scarcity in the country.

Recall that on the 28th of December, the committees slated 4th of January under the directive of the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.

Nigerians had experienced serious hardship during the yuletide season as a result of the fuel scarcity.

But speaking at the hearing on Thursday,  Baru said the fuel hoard by oil marketers was intensified by the social media.

He said: “Queues have disappeared from filling stations for a week now. News in the media, especially social media was one of the reasons why some marketers were hoarding the products.

“We tackled that by re-assuring Nigerians that there is enough of the products and there is no issue as far as increase of price is concerned.”

The GMD of NNPC also identified some of the problems in the oil sector which include: large price differential in neighbouring countries which encourages smuggling; and panic buying by consumers. “Up to 4,500 trucks of products were diverted. We are not just saying this, we have proof,” he stated.

He said further: “Our surrounding countries are selling for not less than N300 and above. Countries like Cameroon sell for N407. That large price differential, N145 to N400, is a large prospect for smugglers.

“Also, massive diversion, hoarding, panic buying and smuggling, coupled with information that three DSDP consortia had rejected October cargoes, there was insinuation of a supply gap.”

Further speaking, Mr. Batu highlighted measures that have already been implemented to curtail the crisis. According to him, there has been increased 24 hours surveillance at depots.

“We directed 24 hours operation in all depots to ensure 24 hours loading of products,” he added, stating further that the measures succeeded through the collaboration of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

He said that NNPC brought in six extra cargoes, 300 million litres, as additional imports to increase sufficiency.

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