Abuja - Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke on Wednesday in Abuja assured the nation that this year’s Christmas and New Year festivities would be free from fuel queues.
Commenting on the resurgence of fuel queues, particularly in Abuja, the minister told newsmen
that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the NNPC would ensure availability of petroleum products during and beyond the festivities.
She said already the ministry had released petroleum products from its strategic reserve to reduce shortages.
``We too, on NNPC side we have pushed out a lot of our strategic reserve in a bid to ensure that people are not overtly put out in terms of fuel scarcity.
``And if not for this recent union issue I think it would have been completely alleviated, but I am sure that over the next few days it will die down completely.
``We are doing everything we can on ground to ensure that this Christmas will be like last Christmas, as well.
Allison-Madueke attributed shortages being experienced in some parts of the country to stringent measures being taken by the Federal Ministry of Finance in the payment of subsidy claims.
She assured that only genuine subsidy claims by marketers would be entertained in line with the transparency and accountability policy of the government.
``Initially, the queues came out of the whole fuel subsidy issue and the fact of course that verifications of certain amounts and certain marketers’ claims were being made very stringently and this had to be done.
``We cannot eat our cakes and have it.
``We cannot keep calling out for transparency and accountability and pointing at corruption if we are not prepared to bear some of the hardship that will obviously come when you are trying to clean up a sector.
``The verifications were being done; payments could not be made by Finance and I think they have said that severally, but the verifications have been done; payments are now being made and like I said the queues have actually begun to go down.’’
The minister also further reassured that the NNPC would continue to ensure a level playing field for all interested marketers and operators in the oil and gas sector of the economy.
Allison-MAdueke pledged to leave behind a positive heritage for Nigerians to stand on in the coming years.