The Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), yesterday, lamented that the unending fuel crisis witnessed across the country is having a negative impact on the economy.
Speaking during the NIM/National Defence College Executive Member Conversion Programme Induction Ceremony in Abuja, Mr. Munzali Jibril, President and Chairman of Council of the NIM, called on the Federal Government to urgently address the crisis before it escalates.
According to him, the crisis has had a tremendous negative impact on the economy; the man hours lost on the queues, the things that ought to have been done could not be done, because of lack of fuel.
However, he expressed confidence on the ability of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, adding that the crisis was temporary and would soon be addressed.
“Hopefully, this is a temporary thing; it is not a problem that is beyond solution. All you need is good planning, discipline and so on. I believe the Minister has very good intentions and he is a competent professional, but he is facing challenges that he has never faced before. Working as General Counsel in Mobil, he never faced these challenges. But I am sure that after this baptism of fire he would improve,” Jibril said.
He explained that the crisis is mainly a management issue, especially as the country does not have an accurate figure of its fuel consumption. He further advised the Federal Government and the Nigerian national Petroleum Corporation NNPC, to draw up an importation plan that would guard against disruptions in the fuel supply chain, while ensuring that at all times, the country has a 10-day supply of the product in its depots.
“Ultimately, the long term solution is what the government is trying to do; to domesticate the refining of petroleum within the country, because it is very stupid of us to be a leading oil producer and yet have so little refining capacity to the extent that we rely on supplies from abroad for our own domestic consumption. It is very stupid indeed.
“I think ultimately, we should make all the refineries work at maximum capacity and ultimately stop importing from abroad. People argue that for that to happen, you have to deregulate the downstream market so that people that would come and establish the refineries would do so at a profit. “The government can do it even if it is subsidizing. But if private investors are coming, they have to be assured that they would be a market and they would not be forced to subsidise.”