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Reps query NMDPRA over aviation fuel scarcity

The House of Representatives has ordered the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to crash the price of Jet-A1, otherwise known as aviation fuel, and ensure its availability to airline operators.

The directive was given at a meeting at the National Assembly between the leadership of the House led by the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, alongside the members of the committee on aviation and the Group Managing Director (GMD), of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mr. Mele Kyari, Director-General Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Shuaibu, and NMDPRA.

The House said it would not entertain any excuses until the price of the aviation fuel is crashed and the product is available to the airlines.

The meeting was convened sequel to a motion passed by the House on the need to investigate the sudden and high cost of aviation fuel, which has created an existential threat to airline operations, sponsored by the chairman House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji.

The Deputy Speaker wondered why despite the scarcity of the product, airliners were asked to pay upfront for the product, which he said made the price of aviation fuel rise over a hundred percent.

He said the House as representative of the people would not fold its hands and watch Nigerians suffers.

Speaking earlier, the Director-General of NCAA, Musa Shuaibu, described the increase as a significant concern not only for the inconvenience caused in terms of flight delays and cancellations but also the safety concern of passengers.

According to him, “if airlines can not have enough financial margins to comply with all mandatory requirements and considering the cost of air ticket now and coupled with the increase, the airlines cannot survive.”

He stated that the NCAA would cooperate with the House by supporting any interventions that would improve the supply of the product to address the general concerns raised.

On his part, the Executive Director, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Mr. Ukoha  O. said the agency’s role is to license every dealer of the product.

He said the agency has so far licensed 28 marketers who are bringing the product into the country in the last 3 months, noting that the license lasts for 90 days.

He confirmed that from their record, as of Thursday, they had 34.9 days of sufficiency of the product.

He dismissed the insinuations that there is a scarcity of the product, saying there is enough volume to go round both onshore and offshore for 34 day.

Reporting by Ibrahim Shehu, editing by Daniel Adejo.