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As fuel scarcity across the country bites harder, the Federal Government, yesterday, ordered that port charges be waived for vessels carrying Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, to ensure their speedy clearance. These charges include port charges, pilotage charges and landing fees.
Petrol-laden vessels of up to 100,000 metric tonnes (summer deadweight) pay up to US$6,800, vessels from 100,000-200,000 tonnes pay US$10,200, while vessels of 200,000 metric tonnes and above are charged US$13,600. The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, charges $0.034 per barrel of fuel.
This came as President Muhammadu Buhari broke his silence on the current scarcity yesterday, sympathising with Nigerians on the excruciating pains they were going through as a result of the scarcity.
Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, who disclosed this at a briefing in Abuja, said the current Landing Cost of PMS was N171 per litre, meaning that at N145 per litre, the Federal Government was currently paying a subsidy of N26 on a litre of the commodity.
Baru stated that the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Customs and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA were currently expediting the clearance of fuel vessels and anchorage services to facilitate speedy product transfers to depots, including during weekends and public holidays.
The NNPC helmsman noted that President Muhammadu Buhari was deeply concerned about the fuel crisis and had ordered all stakeholders involved, including security agencies to ensure speedy resolution of the situation.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, broke his silence and sympathised with the people.
The President, who said he was being briefed on the fuel situation in the country, assured that the NNPC was making efforts to ease the situation.
Buhari in a statement he personally signed and posted on his verified twitter handle, said the scarcity was regrettable.
He said: “The fuel scarcity being experienced nationwide is regrettable. I sympathise with all Nigerians on having to endure needless fuel queues.
“I’m being regularly briefed, especially on the NNPC’s interventions to ensure that there is enough petrol available during this period & beyond.
“I have the NNPC’s assurance that the situation will improve significantly over the next few days, as new shipments and supplies are distributed across the country.
“I have also directed the regulators to step up their surveillance and bring an end to hoarding and price inflation by marketers
“Let me also assure that the relevant agencies will continue to provide updates on the situation. I thank you all for your patience and understanding.”
The persistent fuel crisis, despite assurances from there Federal Government in the past three weeks that it was going to be addressed with immediate effect, left some people stranded, especially those travelling for the Christmas celebration to different parts of the country.
In some filing stations across the country, the petroleum product was sold above the Federal Government recommended pump price of N145.
In some cases, between N200 and N300 per litre, while the black market price by hawkers on the streets was above that. Some Nigerians have argued that the government has no justification for the scarcity of petroleum products after increasing the pump price from N97.00 which was the price in the last administration to between N143-N145 per litre.