The House of Representatives has advised the Federal Government to pay up the independent oil marketers to avoid shutting oil supplies as they have threatened to.

This is as the Managing Director of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company Limited (PPMC), Mr. Umar Ajiya, disclosed that the company has returned to profitability with a trading surplus of N32bn between January and November 2018.

The Chairman, House of Representatives’ Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Joseph Akinlaja, commenting on planned strike by oil marketers during an oversight visit to the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Wednesday, said settling the debt will help forestall any crisis in the country, especially during the yuletide.

He further commended the NNPC on the strategies deployed so far to make petroleum products available to Nigerians throughout the end of year festivities and beyond.

The lawmaker expressed confidence that the elaborate measures put in place by the corporation to avert fuel supply shortage would be successful this year going by the painstaking efforts that went into the planning and execution of the zero-fuel scarcity strategy.

“We are impressed by the presentation and we are sure there will be no war room here again because of products scarcity, you have done very well and I’m happy that Nigerians are going to travel effortlessly at this period of the year”, Hon. Akinlaja enthused.

Speaking further on the need to support NNPC to sustain petroleum products supply, Hon. Akinlaja said the corporation was overburdened and “because of that, when it runs into hiccups, somebody will say their operations are opaque. Let’s avoid fuel scarcity by supporting NNPC”.

The Committee also expressed satisfaction with the improvement on the integrity of the pipelines and urged NNPC to expedite action on the remaining ones, especially those linking the Ore Depot from Benin City and to the Ibadan Depot.

In his presentation to the Committee, Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, reassured Nigerians of the corporation’s preparedness to ensure zero-scarcity of petroleum products during the upcoming festive season and beyond.

The GMD who was represented by NNPC Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, Mr. Henry Ikem Obih, lauded the Committee for its support during the last fuel supply hiccups that occurred in the country from November 2017 to the early part of this year.

He disclosed that adequate measures have been deployed to avert any form of supply challenge, stressing that even if NNPC were to stop importing fuel as from today, there was enough stock of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in the country to last for 45 days.

The other downstream subsidiaries that made presentations were NNPC Retail Limited, Nigerian Pipelines and Storage Company (NPSC) and NNPC Shipping.

The PPMC boss also stated that as part of the zero-scarcity strategy, the company has over 170 million litres of PMS in stock at some NNPC depots across the country following their successful rehabilitation along with connecting pipelines to forestall dependence on private sector depots.

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