The Federal Government on Monday said Nigerians who have been bearing the brunt of the current fuel scarcity across the country were paying for the sins of the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this while answering questions from the State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mohammed was asked what he would be telling Nigerians that had been complaining that long fuel queues being witnessed was not the kind of change they envisaged when they voted the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress government in March.
The minister said one of the major causes of the current fuel scarcity was the failure of Jonathan’s administration to make adequate provision for fuel subsidy.
He explained that out of the N674bn supplementary budget recently presented to the National Assembly, N522bn was for arrears of fuel subsidy which was incurred by the last administration.
He said, “What I will be telling Nigerians is that what we met on ground is such that we are paying for the sins of the last administration. I am being very serious.
“You remember that about two weeks ago, we had to go to the National Assembly for a supplementary budget of N674bn.
“Of that figure, N522bn was for arrears of fuel subsidy which was incurred as far back as August last year. One of the reasons for the fuel scarcity was the inability of the last government to make adequate provision for fuel subsidy. We do face some other logistics problems, but majorly, we are paying for the sins of the last administration.”
Mohammed however said the Federal Government was doing its best to correct the wrongs.
He said the first thing the government did was that, unlike before now when marketers used to import the major percentage of fuel, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had been involved in importation, because some of the marketers had stopped importing for a couple of months.
He said the fuel currently being distributed was imported by the NNPC.
He also said the present administration inherited vandalised pipelines which were currently being fixed.
“We also inherited vandalised pipelines which has made it impossible for us to even transport the fuel.
“In tanks today, we have 14 days’ reserve and in off tank, we have 10 days’ reserve. The issue is not non-availability of the product; it is the distribution, because of pipelines that have been vandalised and the gridlock in Lagos.
“It takes about five days for anybody to take fuel with tanker in Lagos. As of two days ago, this matter has been resolved.
“The Mosinmi pipeline has been secured and it has led to the improvement in the distribution,” he added.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, also said relevant organs of government were already taking actions on the negative effects of the recent ban of the use of ATM cards by Nigerians in some countries.
The minister’s attention was drawn to the difficulty being faced by Nigerian students abroad based on the ban.
“We are taking actions on the development. Only those relevant government organs are not here to say specifically what they are doing about it, but I know actions are being taking,” Udoma said.