Aviation fuel scarcity, not peculiar to Nigeria – Sirika

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MINISTER of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has said the current aviation fuel scarcity in the country with its attendant high cost is not peculiar to Nigeria.

He spoke yesterday while briefing reporters after accompanying a delegation led by the Secretary General of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Mr Juan Carlos Salazar, to the State House, Abuja.

Sirika, who explained the reasons for the high cost of the product globally, also took time to speak on what the government was doing to arrest the spiral in the price of the commodity.

He said: “The scarcity and high cost of Jet A1 in civil aviation is not peculiar to Nigeria. It is a global phenomenon driven by many factors. Some of them include even low capacity to refine the product. It’s also high demand around the world, it has increased activity and increased number of airplanes out there and users of this jet A1.

“Plus also the Ukraine crisis and many more. It’s a time when crude itself is so expensive today, it is in the hundreds of dollars per barrel and only the high cost of Jet A1 product in Nigeria. Also the peculiarity of the fact that we’re not refining the product, so to speak.

“And I did address the press a couple of days ago, saying that, by the grace of God, perhaps once the Dangote refinery is online or if the government fixes the Port Harcourt refinery, which is now ongoing, we will begin to refine this product and sell it.

“And as a stopgap measure, interim measure, there’s an agreement that the airline operators of Nigeria would nominate either from out of themselves or from other major oil marketers to be given the opportunity to import this product. Then, also get the necessary foreign exchange for that purpose. And that will now increase more supply and perhaps drive down the cost.

“So, this is not unique to Nigeria. And unfortunately we’re going through this phase, but civilization from time always survives challenges. They come, unfortunately, but then you see civil aviation graphs keep going up. We hope that this is a temporary thing around the world and we hope that Jet A1 will be very available everywhere and at the very good price.

“And we will hope, in the future, that we learn to do away with all these carbon emitters and have much more cleaner energy, which will be more readily available for everybody on a very cheaper cost to make civil Aviation transportation, the preferred choice.”

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