Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has assured Nigerians that the Buhari administration is working around the clock to provide relief for the citizenry, and the government is aware that Nigerians are now doubting its change agenda.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by his special adviser, Segun Adeyemi, the minister admits that for a government which was propelled into office by the power of the people, it cannot but feel the pains of the compatriots, and deeply empathizes with its citizens.
He re-assures Nigerians that this administration under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is working round the clock to ease the pains of Nigerians, and that very soon, the efforts of the government will begin to yield fruits for the benefit of all.
While assuring the citizenry that the change agenda is real, and that indeed Nigerians will get the change they voted for, he said government understood the skepticism of Nigerians in questioning whether this indeed is the change they voted for.
On the scarcity of petrol in the country, the minister said that immediate measures were being taken to end the situation just as medium and long-term solutions were being worked out to prevent a recurrence.
Mohammed said that in the medium term, the supply constraints owing to foreign exchange challenges were being resolved through collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria on innovative ways of closing the gaps in accessing foreign exchange.
He also announced the willingness of the international upstream oil companies to support major oil marketing companies with some of the required foreign exchange, thus complementing the efforts of the NNPC, which has been solely importing the refined products, in addition to the fact that the corporation is pursuing an improved model for crude-oil-for-refined-product exchange, to eliminate inefficiencies.
According to the Minister, the ultimate is to ensure self-sufficiency in refined products supply by ramping up our local Refining capacity. All local refineries will be made to run at a minimum 70 percent capacity utilization in the weeks ahead, he said.
This is in addition to the initiative of increasing the combined capacity of the domestic refineries through co-locating smaller but cost efficient modular refineries within the existing refineries premises.
On the epileptic power situation in the country, Mohammed blamed the lack of gas supply to the power generating stations for it, adding that the NNPC was seeking alternative sources of gas supply after the attack on the Forcados export pipeline forced the cut off of gas supplies to the stations.
The minister said even the gas supply that was cut off following the attacks on the Forcados pipeline would soon be restored as Shell, the operators of the pipeline, has awarded the contract to repair it.
In addition, he said, work was nearing completion on the transmission projects in five states in the southeast and south-south, that would ensure that the power stations in those regions were able to work at full capacity, thus adding another 800MW to the national grid.
Although he admitted there were no excuses for the challenges currently being faced by Nigerians, Lai Mohammed appealed to Nigerians to bear with the government as it strives to give the much-needed relief in the days ahead.