From Bello Wakili

Following the re-emergence of queues in parts of the country, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, has assured citizens that there is nothing to worry about as the situation will soon normalize.

Mele Kyari who gave the assurance after giving an update on the petroleum industry to President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja on Tuesday, blamed the queues on the industrial action embarked upon by petrol tankers drivers.

He said following the intervention of the corporation, the strike had been suspended for one week to enable a resolution to found for the grievances of the drivers.

Asked about the fuel queues that were particularly visible in the FCT on Tuesday, Kyari said: “These queues will go away. It’s because there was an industrial action by petroleum tanker drivers against their employers, the National Association of Road Transport Owners around their compensation package.

“And those issues were not resolved up till yesterday, until we intervened to ensure that there’s an amicable settlement between the parties so that they will have peace and then normal loading operations will commence from the depots.

“As I speak to you at this moment, loading has commenced in all depots in the country, dispatches of trucks are ongoing in all the depots in the country and they have called off the strike for a period of one week to enable us intervene and find a solution.

On the lingering issue of petroleum subsidy, the NNPC boss said work on it was continuing to ensure that when the nation exits the policy, it would be fair to all parties.

He added: “Subsidy is a policy matter. I’m sure you’re aware of this. There are engagements going on within government to get the best framework for having a fully deregulated PMS market.

“As this is going on, we are engaging all parties and stakeholders as government to make sure that at the end of the day, there’s an exit that is beneficial to the ordinary man.

“That is why we know we will not be able to complete that in the month of May and and therefore, we declared that there will be no increase in fuel price.

“I have no update in hand now. This is beyond me, but we’re engaging to make sure that we have the right timeline.”

On the impact of the rising crude oil price on the corporation, the GMD said it has both benefits and drawbacks.

He explained: “You know, it works both ways. Once prices increase, your revenue also increases. So, I don’t have any numbers around it, but I also know that your obligation to price of petroleum increases and your net revenue also increases.

“There’s a balancing factor. I don’t think there’s anything much to worry about.”

He affirmed that Tuesday’s meeting with President Buhari was routine.