The Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has assured air travellers of the Federal Government’s commitment to end the aviation fuel scarcity facing the industry, to ensure a hitch-free yuletide.
Sirika, while briefing newsmen on Monday in Abuja, disclosed that measures had been put in place to ensure the availability of the product otherwise known as Jet A1.
He said that the scarcity was occasioned by the fact that the country does not produce Jet A1 locally, adding that the dearth in foreign exchange had made the importation of the product difficult.
The minister said that the ministry has been discussing with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make it easy for the importer to bring in the product.
According to him, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were working hard to commence the refining of the product locally as a long-term solution.
Another option, he said, was the ongoing discussion with oil marketers to bring in the product on an agreed arrangement, to enable airlines to operate.
He, however, appealed to the travelling public to be patient as the the government was working hard to resolve it.
“The CBN has assured us that they would do the best they can to make Forex available for our people, especially this festive time and so also NNPC. I visited NNPC and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources three times each in the course of the last eight months and they assured us that they would start refining Jet A1 in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna.
They are working hard that for the long-term, we start to produce Jet A1 within the country in order to make it available. The challenge is to make this Jet A1 available in the country, and this is to assure the general public that we are doing the best we can to ensure that the product is available within the country.
The government is not unaware; we are doing our best as we crave your patience to understand the situation and also to plead with you to further endure,” he said.
Sirika explained that the recent congestion at airports especially Lagos and Abuja, was occasioned by cancellation of flights due to the non-availability of fuel.
He said that another reason for the congestion was the airports were no longer robust enough for the growing passenger traffic.