Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu has said the country would get hard currency to the tune of $200 million from oil majors to pay for fuel imports and ease scarcity of the product.
For weeks motorists have spent several hours on queues at petrol stations as hard currency shortages has made it impossible for importers to bring in fuel. Despite being Africa’s largest oil producer, Nigeria imports most of its fuel needs, with years of negligence reducing the efficiency of its refineries near zero.
“For the first time in this country I have been able to convince the upstream companies to provide some FX buffer over the next one year for those who are bringing in products,” said Kachikwu, who also doubles as the GMD of the state-owned oil company NNPC in a video.
He added that the agreement included Total, Shell, Conoil, ENI and Oando.
While the foreign exchange secured from the oil majors would be able to cater for the forex needs of major oil marketing companies, Kachikwu said he “had to box my way through the CBN (central bank)” to get a bit of foreign exchange so that NNPC will be able to cover its importation quota.
In the video to NNPC staff posted on his Facebook page, the NNPC head also blamed the fuel shortages experienced in the country on a surge in pipeline attacks interrupting crude flows to refineries. However, he said crude flows had been resumed to the Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna refineries.
Last month, Kachikwu, had said Nigeria was in talks with oil majors to get help in revamping its ailing refineries.